Archive for Dog Breeds

The Ultimate Good Boy: The Labrador

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Looking for a new dog for your family? Many dog owners would agree that the Labrador is the best family dog going. It is a very placid dog, so great with children. But it will also need lots of long walks, which makes it a great option for those of you looking for an excuse to get out of the house more often.

 

So, what else makes the Labrador the ultimate good boy? We’ve taken a look at this breed and found out everything that you need to know about owning this easy-going pooch!

 

Very Easy To Please

 

One thing is for certain – your new Labrador is certainly going to be very easy to please! They have a very happy go lucky attitude and have a very enthusiastic way of looking at the world. And that means that they are super playful. They will make great play pals for children and will always be up for making mischief with them. It’s important to bear in mind that all of this happiness can often bubble over into over excitement when the Lab is still a young puppy. But as long as you are thorough with their training, they shouldn’t be too poorly behaved when they get a bit too excited!

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Don’t Need Too Much Grooming

 

Don’t fancy taking your dog to the groomer’s every month? That’s fair enough – after all, it can cost a lot of money and will take up a fair bit of your time. Thankfully, Labradors don’t require much grooming at all. You just need to make sure that your dog gets a bath whenever they are dirty or smelly, and that’s it! They have very short fur, so won’t require frequent haircuts. Plus, their nails should get worn down with all their walking, so you won’t need to take them for their nails to get clipped quite as often either. However, these dogs do shed quite a bit, so you might have to get the vacuum cleaner out to hoover up all their shedded fur a couple of times a week.

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Few Inherited Diseases

 

As you will probably know by now, there are a few breeds that suffer from common inherited diseases and health conditions. This is often the case with breeds like French Bulldogs and Pugs that have been bred to encourage certain strong physical traits. These traits can actually end up harming the dog. For example, the Pug has been bred so that it now has an extremely flat face, which causes lots of breathing illnesses and problems. These kinds of breeds can, therefore, be very expensive to own as you may have to take them to the vet for emergency veterinary attention, checkups, and medications. However, this is very rarely the case when it comes to Labradors. The breed has few traits that cause it to develop any serious health conditions at a young age. However, that doesn’t make it completely immune to diseases and illnesses, and some Labradors will succumb to health conditions like cancer and heart problems as they reach old age.

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Good With Other Animals

 

Are you worried about another pet that you have in your home? Well, there is no reason to worry when you introduce a Labrador to them! Labradors are very peaceful and are good around other animals and pets, even cats! So you shouldn’t have too much trouble introducing your new Labrador to some other pets that already live in your home. If you are bringing home a puppy, though, remember that they tend to be a bit more excitable than adult dogs, so they might be a bit too enthusiastic when meeting any new pets! Remember to carefully watch each pet when you are introducing them to each other so that one doesn’t cause the other harm.

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Easy To Train

 

Don’t want to spend too much time trying to train your new pooch? Don’t worry; Labradors are extremely easy to train. They love to please their owner so will want to do everything they can to make you happy, even if that includes learning tricks such as to sit and wait! But, as with everything else, puppies will be quite hard to train because they have so much energy and will just want to bounce around all day! But, with a little perseverance and structure, you will find that they are quite susceptible to training. Forget about that old adage that you can’t teach old dogs new tricks – old Labradors are very clever and wise and will quickly pick up whatever it is that you are trying to teach.

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Needs Plenty Of Exercise

 

Have you got your walking legs on? You will certainly need them once you become a Labrador owner! These dogs require a lot of exercise – they won’t be able to cope with just two short walks each day. As well as letting them out a couple of times to go to the bathroom, they will need some long walks so that they can burn off all of their pent up energy. If they don’t get all the exercise that they need, they will end up very bored which might lead to behavioral problems and issues. As well as needing lots of exercise, these dogs require quite a bit of company and attention. They won’t be happy if you leave them at home alone all day while you are out at work. So, make sure that you only commit to owning a Labrador if you can help it exercise and can’t stay at home with it long enough.

 

Labradors are super fun dogs to own, and you will certainly love welcoming one into your home. And your new Labrador will definitely love becoming part of your family. Hopefully, all of the above tips will help you figure out whether or not this is the best breed of dog for you.

 

Think you’d like a Lab? Then why not contact your local breeder for more information today! Alternatively, contact your nearest dog rescue center to see about adopting one.

 

Adopting A Greyhound? Read This!

With so many breeds to choose from, it can often be a hard decision to make when selecting a dog to give a forever home to. Of course, some breeds don’t always get the mainstream attention they should from potential adopters, and one such example is the greyhound.

As you probably know, greyhounds get bred to compete in short-distance running. That’s because they can achieve a top speed of around 45 mph, believe it or not! The trouble is, dogs only have a short “useful” time at the tracks. When they get retired, their handlers put them up for adoption.

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If you are thinking of adopting a greyhound, you might be keen to learn more about this breed and whether it will suit your lifestyle.

Temperament

In general, greyhounds are quite laid back dogs. Sure, they are accomplished at sprinting short distances at high speeds. But, for the most part, they enjoy nothing more than lazing around, preferably on a comfortable bed. That’s why they have earned the nickname “45 mph couch potatoes”!

Most greyhounds get on fine with other dogs, and despite what you might think, some are even happy to live with cats! As you can appreciate, each greyhound has their own personality just like us humans do, so it’s important to get a feel for the one you are considering adopting.

Health

Like with other breeds, if you feed your greyhound a proper diet rich in proteins and vitamins, they will live long and happy lives. They especially love to chew on bones and hard meat, as they mostly get soft meats and vegetables to eat during their racing careers.

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Greyhounds have short coats, which means they are quite easy to bathe and keep clean. It’s important you keep an eye out for flea and tick protections because they can affect greyhounds the worst out of all breeds. Thankfully, there is an abundance of flea and tick protection for dogs so you can tackle such problems quickly.

Another thing to watch out for with greyhounds is their teeth. They are a breed that is notorious for having bad teeth, and so you should ensure they get kept clean on a regular basis. Consider giving your greyhound a food supplement like Plaque Off mixed with their food each day to assist with their dental care.

As with other dog breeds, greyhounds need the usual inoculations each year to keep them fighting fit.

Training

Greyhounds are probably one of the better breeds for learning how to do things and can pick things up fairly quickly. You might find it a challenge to get your greyhound to sit on command; because they have long legs, they find it really uncomfortable to sit down like other breeds.

You can teach them to do things like stop on command, and, of course, to chase (they are sighthounds, after all). When it comes to behavioral training, greyhounds are quite responsive as long as you remember to reward them for good work.

 

Conclusion

There are many benefits to owning a greyhound as you may have gathered already! With so many available for adoption, it’s important they end up in loving forever homes so they can enjoy their retirement.

 

You’ve done all your research and finally decided you want to adopt a
Border Collie. Congratulations! Border Collies are smart, highly trainable,
social dogs that do well in single households and families alike. Here are
eight things you should know if you want to adopt a Border Collie.

1. They’re Super Intelligent

If you search ‘Border Collie’ on the internet, one of the first things
you’ll notice is that this breed pops up at the top of plenty ‘most
intelligent breeds’ lists. Because they’re so smart, they pick up on
everything, both verbal and non-verbal. This means they’re perfect to
train in things like catching Frisbees or running agility courses.

2. They Were Born to Herd

Border Collies are herding dogs. Herding dogs do great on farms and ranches
where sheep or horses or cattle need to be directed. For Border Collies
brought home as a house pet, this can be a problem as there are no animals
to herd—except you and your family. Herding is a natural instinct that
all Border Collies are born with, so you’ll have to be diligent in
teaching your Border Collie not to herd humans.

3. They Have The Eye

When a Border Collie stares you down, you’ll understand “the eye.”
It’s a stare Border Collies do when they’re controlling their flock but
they frequently give it to us humans, too. Don’t be scared when your
Border Collie breaks out their eye. Grab your camera and capture their
intense stare to share with the world!

4. They Need a Lot of Exercise

Border Collies are born with a lot of energy, stamina, and deep working
drive. For a house dog, these qualities can be a little harder to deal
with. Border Collies require a decent amount of exercise to stay happy and
healthy, so a quick walk around the block in the morning isn’t going to
cut it. Border Collies need two walks a day, and a nice long one in the
morning before you go to work.

5. They’re Well Socialized

Most Border Collies who are raised properly are well-socialized and get
along great with other dogs and humans. Border Collies are gentle with
children (when they’re not trying to herd them) and enjoy meeting other
dogs on walks and at the dog park.

6. They’re Prone to Certain Health Conditions

Just like other breeds, Border Collies are prone to certain health
conditions which all owners should be aware of (but please remember that
not all Border Collies will get any of all of these diseases). Some of the
most common conditions to affect Border Collies include hip dysplasia,
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), epilepsy, Collie eye anomaly, allergies,
and Osteochondrosis Dissecans (OCD) . Treatments vary and the best way to
make sure a Collie stays healthy is by visiting the vet regularly. For more
information about the aforementioned conditions, please visit the Border Collie page on DogTime.

7. They Need a Job

Border Collies were bred to gather and control sheep and to be able to
withstand working long days on the farm and ranch. Therefore, if you leave
your Border Collie alone all day while you’re at work and they have
nothing to do, they’re not going to be too happy. In addition to two
walks a day (see above), if you can’t get home in the middle of the day,
it’s a good idea to have  a pet sitter look in on your Border Collie or
take your Border Collie to doggy day camp where they can get attention all
day. You can also leave plenty of stimulating toys out.

8. They’re Not Cuddlers

As much as Border Collies enjoy being around family, they’re not big
cuddlers. Some dogs love nothing more than curling up next to you on the
couch and being petted. The Border Collie is not that type of dog. This
doesn’t mean they won’t want affection every once and awhile but they
are definitely not going to sit down for a cuddle-thon.

Adopting a Border Collie is an exciting decision, and with these tips,
you’ll be able to give your Border Collie a long, healthy life!

Author bio: Jessica Roberts is a freelance writer who offers blogging services for the pet industry. She works closely with businesses to provide engrossing and informative content that boosts Google visibility and social media ratings. When she isn’t writing, she’s walking her Border Collie/Aussie mix, Socks, and making a mess in the kitchen. For more of her services, visit her website, www.jessicarobertsonline.com.

3 Breeds And What They Need

Dog’s are just like us, they come in lots of different shapes and sizes and have different temperaments. Some need to go for long walks, others only need a little exercise. Some dogs have long hairy coats which shed, and others don’t. There is a big difference between them depending on their breed. Make sure you’re taking into account your dog’s breed, and what it needs.

 

Dalmatian

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Dalmatians are beautiful spotty dogs made famous by the films. More people than ever want one, but you have to know how to look after them. Dalmatians are athletic dogs and have been bred for thousands of years.

These dogs are affectionate and interact well with other dogs as well as children. This makes them great for first-time owners. They also respond well to training. Dalmatians are incredibly playful and have lots of energy. They should be exercised in secure areas as they are capable of roaming for miles without tiring! Dalmatians need a lot of exercise so only get one if you can keep up. Running with your dog and lots of play will keep it fit and healthy.

Dalmatians have a short coat that doesn’t require much attention. Brush regularly to remove dead hairs, but other than that they’re fairly low maintenance.

Bulldogs

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There are three main types of bulldog, American, French, and English. They often get a bad rep but this is due to the owners rather than the dogs themselves

English bulldogs are small dogs which were bred for working with bulls. Despite their past, these dogs now make very loving pets if treated correctly. Bulldog area has some more information about these popular pets on their site. The bulldog’s temperament often surprises people. It is in fact very docile and obedient. The bulldog is a fiercely loyal dog which is stubborn but also willing to please.

Bulldogs also don’t need much grooming in terms of their coats. But be sure to clean between the fold of their skin so that infection doesn’t set in. Because of the size and power of their jaws, regular dental checkups are required. Take care to keep teeth clean and well maintained.

The American bulldog is muscular and larger than the English bulldog. Their temperament is similar to an English bulldog and they are loyal to their owners. Training is essential and they do need strong leadership. French bulldogs are fun-loving and free. They are more unrestrained than other types of bulldog and are a family favorite.

Labradors

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Labradors have a great reputation as loving lap dogs who love attention and fit right into a warm and loving family,

They are loyal and intelligent dogs and make great first time pets because they’re so easy to train. It doesn’t need excessive exercise, just regular trips to a park or field for walks. They’re also great with kids because they’re so playful and gentle.

 

 

When I first met my husband, I was worried about our compatibility.  You see, he’s a dog guy while I’m a definite cat lady.  Owning pets is a non-negotiable for both of us, but it was hard to see what our future would hold.  Were we going to have to choose between owning cats or dogs?  Is it possible for felines and canines to get along?

The good news is that yes, it’s certainly possible to have cats and dogs in the same household.  To help those of you thinking about introducing a pup to your feline friend, Nancy has kindly invited me to share some information here on Pampered Dog Blog about some of the best dog breeds to get along with cats.

 

  1. Golden Retriever

The golden retriever is one of the most well-known family dogs.  Its gentle and tolerant nature means that it gets along well with both children and other animals.  Although cats may find their large size intimidating at first, golden retrievers are extremely unlikely to attack even if provoked.

This is a good dog if you have a mischievous or energetic cat as the two will play together until they’re worn out.

  1. Bichon Frisé

On the smaller side we have the bichon frisé.  According to veterinarian Dr. Mark they are one of the most loving dog breeds and will play and cuddle with your cat if she allows it.  Bichon frisé dogs are generally obedient and easy to train so it shouldn’t take too long to introduce one to your other pets.  Bichon frisés often become anxious when left alone so a kitty friend should help to keep your pup company.

  1. Basset Hound

Basset hounds actually have a lot in common with cats – not least their stubborn personality!  They too prefer to live in the comfort of their human’s home instead of being left outside in the yard. Although training a basset hound can be a challenge, their relaxed and friendly nature makes them great companions for your feline.

  1. Poodle

I must admit, poodles are one of my favorite dog breeds (although it’s almost impossible to choose – I love them all!).  Not only do they look adorable but their personality traits are very endearing too.  A poodle is more likely to act as protector to his feline friends than to chase them.  Poodles are smart and easily trained so with your guidance and supervision, an introduction between cat and poodle should go very well.

  1. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are small and meek dogs – two characteristics which make them a good companion for cats.  Cavalier King Charles Spaniels will likely let your feline take the lead but enjoys play if kitty initiates it.  This is another dog breed that likes to form close attachments so if all goes to plan, your pets should make friends for life.

 

Other Tips

If you have a timid cat, choose a smaller dog breed – will be less intimidating.  Likewise, breeds that bark a lot can scare cats.  Do your research and spend time with the breeder getting to know your dog before taking him home if possible.  Some even offer a trial period.  Adopting from a breeder or owner who also keeps cats is a guaranteed way to make sure your new pet will get along with your feline fluffball.

 

Although it might be tempting, you can’t just release your new dog into the same room as your cat and hope that they’ll work things out by themselves.  During the introductory period, make sure to deter bad behavior and reward friendly interactions with a treat.  Make sure to supervise all interactions until your pets are fully comfortable together.

Final Thoughts

Don’t forget that while choosing one of the above dog breeds increases your chances of a harmonious household, every pet has its own unique personality.  Some cats don’t like company at all, whether it’s a human, a dog or another cat.  In addition, a poorly trained dog may find himself unable to resist chasing the smaller animal.

With a little luck and a lot of patience, you should be able to create a cat-dog friendship that will last a lifetime.

Author bio:  Annie Cooper blogs at catobsessed.com.  She lives in Australia with her husband and two very fluffy felines.  Apart from cats, Anne loves traveling, DIYing and all things cute.

 

Getting A Mini Husky Into Your Life

The legendary husky is known for its many sterling qualities. Movies such as ‘Eight Below’ have made this breed even more famous for their:

  • High intelligence
  • Strength of spirit.
  • Tremendous resilience.
  • Ability to face the most challenging of weather zones – icy Arctic and so on.

So if you are one of those people who simply want to have a husky in your life then you are not alone. However, a few factors may come in the way of you having this magnificent dog species. Primary among those considerations could be the space that you have in your home. But thanks to the availability of this species called mini husky you really can have your husky and enjoy it too!

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What is the miniature husky?

Think of a normal Siberian husky in a much smaller avatar and that is the mini husky or teacup husky for you. For all practical purposes, it is absolutely similar to its ‘bigger cousin’ in:

  • Energy levels.
  • Curiosity
  • Friendliness
  • Loyalty too.

Typically, they can live for anywhere between 12 and 14 years and attain a lofty height of up to 17 inches.

 

Dog experts will tell you to be careful about the way you look after this dog. Treat it as a husky when it comes to diet. A common mistake to make is to feed it a diet meant for a small dog – this can result in lots of health problems.

High-energy breed

The tiny husky is known for its energy levels. They will need to be engaged in physical activity and mental stimulation. The energy level of your mini husky will also have an impact on their training. While they are smart and will learn pretty quickly, you cannot have long training sessions. Short and effective training spells will have the best possible effect for the dog.

Gentle training is great for any dog. No dog should be treated cruelly during training. Training is meant to help you bond with the dog and get him or her to respond to a few things you want. Be consistent in your commands and training sessions. Be generous with your treats – ideally invest money in the treats that your dog loves. You should also practice your commands in different scenarios so your intelligent little husky will react correctly – no matter where he or she is.

Who should have a mini husky?

Given the cuteness quotient of this dog, it is likely that everybody in the world will like to own one! The personality of these little dogs makes them ideal for a family with kids or someone who is willing to spend a sizeable portion of time in keeping them active – walking, playing, grooming etc. You can make the dog even happier with a yard or garden in which he or she can stretch out those legs and play to their heart’s content.

Popular Dog Breeds: Rottweilers

The powerful Rottweiler makes a devoted companion but he is also renowned as a police dog, herder, service dog, therapy dog, and an excellent obedience dog. While these muscular, protective dogs can strike fear in the hearts of intruders, they are often clownish and fun-loving at home with their families.

 

History

The Rottweiler has a long and distinguished history. Their ancestors were the drover’s dogs that were used to herd the cattle and other herds the Romans brought with them into Europe 2000 years ago. The Germans recognized the superior herding and guarding instincts of the dogs and bred for these traits. The result was a dog developed to drive cattle to market in the Rottweil region of Germany. The dogs were also useful to butchers and were used to pull carts. This continued until the mid 19th century when cattle driving was outlawed. The number of Rottweilers declined drastically after this time since there was no work for them to do. After 1901 the Rottweiler began to be favored as a police dog and the breed’s fortunes improved again. The Rottweiler was admitted to the AKC studbook in 1931 and the breed parent club was formed in the U.S. in 1971. Today the breed is very popular in the U.S.

 

Temperament

Rottweilers are devoted to their owners and their families but they are a protective breed. They will protect their territory and they do not welcome strangers unless they are properly introduced. They are generally loving and even comical at home with their loved ones. It’s very important that Rottweilers are well-socialized from the time they are puppies so they will not be overly mistrustful of people. Obedience training is also recommended for Rottweilers. They are large, strong dogs and they should always be obedient to their owners.

 

These dogs are calm, confident and courageous with a self-assured aloofness. They are very self-confident.

 

Rottweilers do require regular daily exercise. They are active dogs and they need exercise and play as outlets. They love having a job to do and they like to work, so if you can do obedience, agility, or another activity with your Rottweiler, he will be very happy. Rottweilers are very intelligent dogs and they learn easily. They require a minimum of coat care.

 

Appearance

Rottweilers are medium-large robust and powerful dogs with a compact and substantial build that denotes great strength, agility and endurance. They have a black, short-haired coat with rust to mahogany markings. They stand 22 to 27 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh between 77 and 130 pounds. They are double-coated and the coat is short, hard, and thick.

 

Health

Rottweilers are considered to be a relatively healthy breed. However, they are not an especially long-lived breed. According to breed surveys, the average lifespan of Rottweilers is approximately 9-10 years. There is currently research being done to learn more about the Rottweiler’s lifespan.

 

Rottweilers can be prone to hip dysplasia, like many larger, heavier dogs. Osteochondrosis Dessicans (OCD) which is a joint problem affecting the shoulder or elbow, can also occur in Rottweilers. Better breeders usually x-ray the hips and elbows of breeding stock before breeding.

 

Rottweilers can also have eye problems with entropion and ectropion (eye lid issues). Full dentition (having all of their teeth) and a proper scissors bite are also issues in the breed. If you are thinking of getting a Rottweiler you should talk to the breeder about these issues.

 

Rottweilers also seem to be prone to some kinds of cancer which is a common cause of early death in the breed. Rottweilers, along with other black and tan dogs, seem to be more susceptible to parvovirus. This is a highly contagious disease that occurs in dogs, especially puppies and young dogs. Vaccination against this disease is very important, starting when a puppy is a few weeks old.

 

Rottweilers usually enjoy eating and they can tend toward obesity. If you are getting a Rottweiler you should manage his meals appropriately and make sure that he gets plenty of exercise throughout his life. Do not overfeed your dog.

 

Training

Rottweilers are very smart dogs who like to work and enjoy having a job to do. They are usually easy to train. Early socialization and lessons in basic obedience are recommended. Many Rottweilers are also food-motivated which also helps with training. Rottweilers can excel at many activities including obedience, agility, herding, rally, and other dog sports.

Noble. Loyal. Courageous. German Shepherds (officially known as the German Shepherd Dog by the AKC) are all of these things and more. They’ve been one of the most popular dogs in the United States almost since they were developed, a little over 100 years ago.

 

History

The German Shepherd Dog is another rather young breed. They were intentionally created by Captain Max von Stephanitz and others who shared his vision around 1899 in Germany. The breed is derived from old breeds of herding and farm dogs but Capt. Von Stephanitz wanted to develop a new breed that would excel at police work, too. And he succeeded. The breed was still very young in World War I when an American soldier rescued a young German Shepherd pup from a battlefield and brought him back to the U.S. That dog would go on to became famous in early films as Rin Tin Tin. An even earlier German Shepherd film star had been Strongheart, one of the first dogs to star in the movies. Right from the start, Hollywood was fascinated with German Shepherds and the publicity gave a big boost to the new breed. They have remained popular ever since that time.

 

Temperament

German Shepherds are loving, energetic, and fun-loving. They are good family dogs and they get along well with children. They are exceptionally loyal and make a good guard dog for the family home. German Shepherds do require a good deal of daily exercise and they need to be groomed regularly. While we think of German Shepherds as police and military dogs, they are descended from herding dogs and they often have an innate desire to herd and organize other pets and family members. They like order and organization. They like to have roles and authority clearly defined in the home. The breed is extremely intelligent and usually easy to train. They tend to be reserved with strangers until they are certain the person is welcome in the home.

 

Appearance

German Shepherds stand 22 to 26 inches tall at the shoulder. They can weigh between 55 and 95 pounds. Their coat can be a lot of different colors but the most common is tan and black or red and black. Most of the color varieties have black masks on the face and black body markings. These markings can range from the classic saddle to an all-over “blanket.” Rarer color variations include sable, all black, all white, liver, and blue varieties.

 

Health

The lifespan of the German Shepherd is about 11 years. Like other breeds, they can be prone to certain health issues. Hip dysplasia can be a problem in the breed. According to the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals, 19.1 percent of German Shepherds which have been tested have some degree of hip dysplasia. Elbow dysplasia can also be a problem in the breed. German Shepherds rank 12th in the OFA database for elbow dysplasia with 19 percent of dogs tested having some degree of elbow dysplasia. Both of these problems can lead to arthritis as the dog ages.

 

Degenerative spinal stenosis can also be a problem with some dogs. Degenerative myelopathy, a neurological disease, and Von Willebrand’s disease, a bleeding disorder, also occur in the breed. In addition, bloat (gastric dilatation volvulus) and ear infections can also occur.

 

Before getting a German Shepherd puppy you should talk to the breeder and inquire about the health of the parents. Make sure the breeder has tested them for hip and elbow dysplasia. Health tests recommended by the German Shepherd Dog Club of America, and those which are considered optional but suggested, are listed here: http://www.caninehealthinfo.org/brdreqs.html?breed=GS

 

Training

German Shepherds are one of the most versatile of all dog breeds. With their intelligence and physical abilities, these dogs can excel at nearly every kind of canine sport and activity. They are terrific at obedience, rally, agility, herding, police and military work, Schutzhund, scent work – you name it, German Shepherds can learn how to do it. If you are willing to take the time to train your dog, a German Shepherd will love to learn what you want to teach him. These dogs love to work and learn.

 

Getting A Dog From A Breeder

If you are thinking of getting a dog from a breeder you will find that it is quite different from adopting a dog in most ways. Purebred dogs are intentionally bred for specific reasons. Each breed originally had a purpose, even if the dogs are no longer used for that purpose today. Breeders and breed clubs keep extensive information about their dogs, the history of the breed, and their health. If you are planning to get a purebred dog you should ask the right questions about the puppy or dog you’re considering, especially about the dog’s health. The knowledge available can help you choose a dog who has a better chance of living a long and healthy life.

Before you get a purebred dog
Before you get a purebred dog – or any dog – you should ask yourself some basic questions:

• Do you have time for a dog right now?
Dogs require lots of time and patience. They need love and attention, as well as training. You also have to make time to feed and groom them. Everyone’s excited about a dog in the beginning but you may have a dog for many years and you have to go on caring for them.

• Is it a good time to get a dog from a financial viewpoint?
Dog food and vet care get more expensive each year. In addition to vaccinations, your dog will also need flea and tick preventive as well as heartworm preventive on a regular basis. Dogs also need toys, chews, grooming supplies, beds, collars and leashes – the list goes on! Some breeds need to be professionally groomed every few weeks. Dogs also need training such as a class you take with your dog or an investment in books or CDs so you can train your dog yourself. All of these things add up in terms of dollars each year.

• What about your family?
If you have a spouse or family, are they on board with you getting a dog? No matter how much you love and want a dog, if your spouse or family are opposed to the idea, it can cause a lot of tension in the home. Maybe you have kids who swear they will take care of the dog. Sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t. Are you prepared to take care of the dog if your kids slack off?

These are some of the things you need to consider before getting any dog. There are other things, depending on the size and kind of dog you are interested in. For example, if you live in an apartment, consider carefully before getting a very large dog. Some large dogs, such as Greyhounds, can be very laid back and adapt to living in an apartment or small house, but they do require regular runs and exercise. But other large dogs do better with a yard of their own. Other dogs, even small dogs, do not do well in an apartment because they are active and they bark, such as Beagles. Make sure you know the pros and cons of any breed you are considering so you will know if it suits your situation.

Advantages of getting a purebred dog
There are some definite advantages to getting a purebred dog. Many things about a breed can be predicted with some assurance such as their usual temperament, how large they will become, what kind of coat they will have, their activity level, their instincts and what kind of things they will enjoy doing, and some things about their health. If you work with a good breeder you should also have an expert in the breed to help you throughout your dog’s life. This means that if you have any problems with your dog, you should be able to contact the breeder for advice. This can be very helpful with training, health issues, and other matters. Some breeders are even willing to board one of their dogs for you when you go on vacation if you keep in touch with them. Many people find that they develop good friendships with their dog’s breeder and return to the breeder years later when they are looking for another dog.

How to find a good breeder
The easiest way to find a good dog breeder is by contacting the breed club for the kind of dog you are interested in. You can visit the breeder referral search page on the American Kennel Club web site: http://www.akc.org/breederinfo/breeder_search.cfm This page lists all of the AKC breed parent clubs with links to their web sites. Visit the parent club for the breed you are interested in. The appropriate contact person can put you in touch with breeders who are expecting a litter.

You can also visit a local dog show when there is one in your area. Watch the show to find breeds you like. If you already know which breeds you like, watch them show and pick out which dogs you like. You can find the owners after they have finished in the ring. The owners and their dogs will be back in the grooming area after they have finished showing and you can speak to them then. (It’s best to wait until after people have shown when they are more relaxed.) Some of the people showing dogs are professional handlers but they can still provide you with information. Or find some of the owner-handlers to speak to. Ask them your questions about the breed. Most people are happy to be helpful.

Questions for breeders
Once you have found some breeders with puppies or dogs you like, you can contact them directly. Many breeders have web sites about their dogs so you can check them out online. This will probably give you some of the information you want. Questions that you should ask include:

• How long have you been breeding?

• How many dogs do you have?

• Tell me about your dogs. (Most breeders are happy to tell you LOTS about their dogs.)

• What kind of health tests have your dogs had? (You should already know which tests are common for the breed. Different breeds use different tests.)

• What were the results?

• What kind of contract and guarantee do your puppies have?

If you are interested in a puppy, you should say so. If you want a pet, you should say so. Do not tell a breeder that you want a top quality show prospect puppy when you don’t intend to show the dog. It’s not fair to anyone to lie about your intentions. A top quality show puppy needs to be shown so allow the breeder to place the puppy in the correct home. What’s the difference between a pet and a show puppy? It’s often something you would never notice. It could be something like a patch or the color of the markings. It doesn’t make the puppy inferior in anyway. It would just make the puppy less desirable as a show dog so the breeder wants to place the dog in a pet home.

Breeders also have adult dogs looking for homes sometimes so if you are interested in an adult dog, you should mention this fact. A breeder might have a retired male champion, for example, or they have decided they have too many dogs and they need to place one so they can keep a puppy. Breeders love their dogs and they will only place one of these dogs in a very good home, but if you are interested in an adult, go ahead and mention it.

As you can guess, people who call up and start off by demanding to know how much a puppy costs don’t usually get very far with a good breeder. You can expect a breeder to ask you a lot of questions about yourself and your home, too. They want to make sure they are placing their puppy or dog in the very best home possible. Some breeders will has to do a home visit first.

If you like a particular breed and you like knowing as much as possible about a puppy or dog before you get him, then getting a purebred dog is often a good choice. It also helps to work with a good breeder who is able to stand by the dog and answer your questions. No dogs are perfect, of course, but a purebred dog can make a great pet.

Popular Dog Breeds: Shih Tzus

The Shih Tzu originated in China where it was cherished by members of the royal family for over 1000 years. Always a house pet and companion, these compact dogs have a beautiful flowing double coat. They are one of the most popular breeds of dog in the United States today.

History
The Shih Tzu is an old breed, developed in China more than 1000 years ago. It seems likely that they were originally a cross between the Lhasa Apso (or the Tibetan mountain dog) and the Pekingese, two very ancient breeds. Information and images of Shih Tzu date from documents, paintings, and objects of art all the way back to 624 AD. The dogs have been associated with the Chinese court and royals for hundreds of years. They are the oldest and smallest of the Tibetan holy dogs. They were housepets during the Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644 A.D.). In the 19th century the Dowager Empress kept an important kennel that included Shih Tzu but following her death in 1908 the dogs were dispersed and breeding mostly stopped. All Shih Tzu today can be traced back to 14 dogs, some of which were brought to England. In England the dogs were first mistaken for Lhasa Apsos but they were soon sorted out and serious breeding began in 1930. The Shih Tzu Kennel Club of England was formed in 1935. They were admitted to the AKC in 1969.

Temperament
Shih Tzus are outgoing, happy, affectionate, friendly, and trusting toward everyone. Although they look arrogant and proud with their long coat and their head held high, they are very sweet, loving dogs. They have always been kept as companions and house pets and that is still their function today. Although they don’t require a lot of exercise, they are lively, alert dogs and they are quite playful. The breed is very loyal and they love to be with their owners. They usually get along well with children and other pets. Although they are a small dog, they can stand up for themselves.

Appearance
The Shih Tzu is recognizable by its beautiful long, flowing double coat. The dogs usually have a topknot on their head to secure their hair out of their eyes – either a bow or a barrette. The dogs have a distinctive, arrogant carriage with their heads held high and their tails curved over their backs. Their coat can be any color. The luxurious coat does require daily brushing unless you choose to keep it cut short. They are sturdy, lively, alert dogs with a proud bearing.

In terms of height, the Shih Tzu is usually 9 to 10 ½ inches tall at the withers. They should not be less than 8 inches tall nor more than 11 inches tall. Mature dogs usually weigh between 9 and 16 pounds.

The dogs also have large, dark eyes and a short muzzle. Shih Tzus have an underbite.

Shih Tzus are often called “chrysanthemum-faced” dogs because of the way the hair grows around their faces.

Although Shih Tzus do not shed as much as some breeds, they are not considered to be a “hypoallergenic” breed.

Health
Shih Tzu tend to be a long-lived breed. Many dogs live between 10 and 20 years. A health survey for the breed in the UK puts the average lifespan at 13 years and 7 months.

As with other breeds, there are some health issues found in the breed. Some of these issues include: hypothyroidism, intervertebral disc disease, portosystemic liver shunt, hip dysplasia, and, occasionally, epilepsy.

The Shih Tzu is a brachycephalic breed (short-hosed) so they do not do well in hot weather. Do not leave your Shih Tzi outside when the weather is hot and do not force the dog to take part in strenuous exercise. Shih Tzu may also have problems breathing at high altitudes or in airplanes. They do best in cooler climates or in air conditioning.

Training
Because of their small size Shih Tzu are not usually trained for dog sports but they should learn some basic obedience and good manners. It’s a good idea to start training your dog as a puppy. Like many small dogs, a Shih Tzu can become quite bossy and badly-behaved in the home if you do not provide some training. Good socialization is important for a Shih Tzu, so be sure to take him places and let him meet other people and dogs when he is young.