Archive for Dog Breeds

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.

Popular Dog Breeds: Boston Terriers

The dapper Boston Terrier is one of the few breeds that was entirely developed in the United States. He is a true All-American. Gentle, lively, and highly intelligent, the Boston Terrier makes a wonderful companion. He is particularly well-suited to apartment life and being a house pet.

History

Although they may not look like it today, the Boston Terrier was originally developed to be a fighting dog. Bostons were originally bred in the stables of Boston, Massachusetts after the Civil War. Almost all modern day Boston Terriers trace their lineage back to an imported dog known as “Hooper’s Judge” who was sold to a man from Boston in 1870. The breed was the result of a cross between an English Bulldog and a white English Terrier. They took the name of Boston Terrier in 1891. The American Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1893. Much of the progress in developing the Boston Terrier came in the 20th century and the breed became well-loved as a smaller companion dog instead of a fighting dog.

Temperament

In temperament Boston Terriers are very gentle and they love to be with their owners. They are lively in the home and they typically get along with other dogs and pets. They get along well with children. They are friendly dogs so don’t expect them to act as guards or watchdogs. They don’t usually bark very much which makes them a good choice for people who live in apartments. They are somewhat cat-like in their habits and actions. They are very clean and like to stay that way. They can be stubborn at times but they usually like to please their owners. Boston Terriers are known for having naturally good manners and they are considered to be easy to train. Bostons only need a moderate amount of exercise and grooming is minimal.

Appearance

Boston Terriers come in three sizes: Under 15 pounds; 15 pounds and under 20 pounds; 20 pounds and not to exceed 25 pounds. The appearance is the same for all sizes. They are short-headed and have a compact body. They have erect ears, short tails and a short muzzle that is usually free of wrinkles.

The coat is short, smooth, bright and fine in texture. Colors include brindle, seal, or black with white markings. Bostons typically give a clean-cut, striking appearance and are easily recognizable.

Health

There are a number of health issues that can affect Boston Terriers. Eye problems such as glaucoma, corneal ulcers, and cataracts can be common in the breed. Mitral valve disease, heart murmurs, epilepsy, and allergic dermatitis can also occur. You can find out more about genetic health issues in Boston Terriers here: http://www.bostonterrierclubofamerica.org/boston-terrier-health/Boston-Terrier-Health-Links.htm

Boston Terriers are a brachycephalic breed, meaning they have a shortened muzzle like some other breeds. This means that they may not be able to tolerate heat or humidity very well. You should not leave a Boston Terrier outside in the heat or allow them to over-exert themselves, especially in warm weather. Bostons may also need special care if they need anesthesia.

Boston Terriers have an average lifespan of 12-13 years but many of them live even longer.

Training

Boston Terriers are considered to be very intelligent dogs and are usually easy to train. Owners say that they can be stubborn at times but they usually have a strong desire to please. While Bostons are not usually the most athletic dogs, you can train them to learn anything you would like to teach them. They are friendly dogs and they will enjoy going out with you, taking classes, and participating in dog events for dogs their size.

Popular Dog Breeds: Australian Shepherds

Despite their name, the Australian Shepherd probably originated in the Pyrenees Mountains between Spain and France and then they were brought to Australia – and then to America – by Basque Shepherds in the 1800s. The breed is known for being intelligent and versatile as well as very energetic.

 

History

The Australian Shepherd is something of a world traveler. Despite their name, the breed as its known today was developed in the United States, though it originated in Europe. There are a number of herding breeds in the Pyrenees region of Spain and France and these dogs probably contributed to the early gene pool. Dogs were brought along to Australia with Basque immigrants in the 19th century. Later, these Basque shepherds immigrated to the United States and brought their dogs with them. The name “Australian Shepherd” stuck, although the breed had a number of other names through the years such as Spanish Shepherd, Pastor Dog, Bob-Tail, Blue Heeler, New Mexican Shepherd, and California Shepherd. Because of their herding ability and versatility, the breed proved to be an asset on farms and ranches, especially in the western U.S. They became especially popular after World War II when Western riding became popular through rodeos, movies, and TV shows. The breed was recognized by the AKC in 1991. The kennel club in Australia does not recognize the breed as a native breed.

 

Today the Aussie is still used by ranchers for herding livestock and working as an all-purpose farm and ranch dog.

 

Temperament

Australian Shepherds are described as animated, adaptable and agile and they live to have a job to do. They love to work which, in their case, means herding. These dogs needs lots of activity and they generally need a purpose in order to feel happy. They are very intelligent, versatile dogs but they are usually not happy if they are left home alone all day with nothing to do. They have strong herding and guarding instincts and they need a job. They also require vigorous daily exercise. Simply taking an Aussie for a walk a few times a day will not be sufficient.

 

Australian Shepherds love to be with their families but they can be reserved with strangers as you would expect with a dog who is able to guard the farm. Some dogs “smile” by showing their teeth. They are very loving, loyal dogs to their owners. They tend to form very close, intense bonds with one or two people. Aussies are usually playful at home. Since they are very intelligent dogs, they learn quickly and they are usually easy to train. However, if they are left alone or not trained, they can become destructive and get into trouble. This is also true if they don’t get enough exercise. They love to learn tricks and perform. They usually get along well with other dogs and other pets and they are good with children, although they may try to herd other pets and kids.

 

Appearance

Aussies are medium-sized, solidly-built dogs. Male Australian Shepherds are 20-23 inches tall and females are 18-21 inches tall. Males usually weigh 50-65 pounds and females weigh 30-45 pounds. The breed is somewhat distinctive for the fact that many dogs are born with a naturally bobbed tail. Historically, tails have always been docked in the breed and they still are in the United States. Eyes can be brown, blue, amber or any variation or combination thereof, including flecks and marbling. The coat is of medium texture, straight to wavy, weather resistant and of medium length. Aussies come in a variety of colors: black, blue merle, red merle and red with or without white markings.

 

Health

According to the United States Australian Shepherd Association, the AKC parent club for the breed, the most common health problems found in Aussies are hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, hereditary eye defects, MDR1 [Multi-drug sensitivity], thyroid disease, cancer, and epilepsy. The club encourages testing for these issues where tests exist. There is ongoing research into many of these issues in the breed. http://australianshepherds.org/health-genetics/usasa-health-genetics-program/

 

There is some discrepancy about how long Aussies live. Some owners report dogs that live 12-15 years on average. Small Internet samples asking about the longevity of the dogs have found lifespans between 11-13 years.

 

One issue that does occur in the breed is the merle allele. Merle is the mingled or patchwork coat pattern. When two merle dogs are bred together the resultant offspring have a 25 percent statistical chance of having two copies of the merle allele. Such puppies are more likely to be deaf or blind. For this reason, many breeders avoid merle to merle breedings.

 

Training

Aussies are considered to be very easy to train. They have natural herding ability so if you’re interested in a herding/working dog, you should find your dog to be easy to train. According to experts, Aussies are a loose to medium-eyed dog in the way they work stock – “eyed” referring to the way they control other animals with their gaze. They do not stare at the animals as intensely as some other dogs.

 

But Australian Shepherds are very versatile and they can learn to do many things. They have been used as guide dogs for the blind, hearing dogs for the deaf, therapy dogs, narcotics detection dogs, and search and rescue dogs, for example. They also excel at sports such as agility, flyball, and frisbee.

Popular Dog Breeds: Great Danes

Despite their enormous size, Great Danes are a very popular breed. They rank in the top 20 of the American Kennel Club’s most popular breeds each year. Strong, elegant, and friendly, Great Danes are, nevertheless, energetic dogs and they do require plenty of room and regular exercise.

History
Great Danes are a mastiff or molosser-type dog which is a very large family of dogs containing all kinds of powerful dogs found all over the world. Dogs similar to the Great Dane have been known for several thousand years. However, today’s Great Dane seems to trace to the Irish Wolfhound and the Mastiff from the Middle Ages. The breed as it is known today is about 400 years old. Great Danes are not actually from Denmark but come from Germany where they were bred to hunt wild boar which can be ferocious. When boar hunting was no long necessary, the breed became an esteemed companion and estate guard dog. The breed was recognized by the AKC in 1887.

Temperament
Great Danes are true gentle giants and they make excellent family dogs. They are sweet, loving dogs in the home and they get along great with children. However, because of their great size, owners need to be especially careful about letting children play with the dogs. It’s very easy for a playful Great Dane to knock a child over or pin a child to the ground while playing. They mean no harm but someone can get hurt. The same is true when a Great Dane plays with smaller dogs. Parents should always supervise when their Great Dane plays with small children or small dogs.

Otherwise, Great Danes make wonderful pets. They require regular daily exercise and they do eat quite a bit. You can expect your food bills and other bills associated with dog ownership to be somewhat higher when you have such a large dog. They require minimal grooming since they have a short, smooth coat. In the U.S. their ears are usually cropped.

Appearance
Great Danes have a striking appearance and most people recognize them on sight. In addition to their great size, the dogs are regal, dignified, strong, and elegant in appearance. They should be spirited, courageous, friendly, and dependable. The head is rectangular, expressive, and distinguished. Eyes are dark with a lively, intelligent expression.

Minimum height of 30 inches tall at the shoulder for males and 28 inches tall for females. Males can weigh between 120-200 lbs; and females can weigh between 100-130 lbs.

The coat comes in a number of colors: Brindle, Fawn, Blue, Black, Harlequin and Mantle (similar to a Boston Terrier).

Health
As a giant breed, the Great Dane has some special needs, especially as a puppy. It’s important to make sure that puppies do not grow too fast or they can develop musculo-skeletal problems as adults. Feed your Great Dane puppy an appropriate large breed puppy food. Make sure that you don’t overfeed a large breed puppy or allow him to become overweight since this can result in joint and hip problems later in life. Slow growth from a moderate diet if always recommended for large and giant breed puppies.

You should also take care that you don’t allow giant breed puppies to over-exercise when they are young. Repetitive actions (such as jogging with an owner on a bike) or allowing a puppy to leap from high places can lead to bone and joint injuries. It takes a long time for a giant breed puppy’s growth plates to close so try to keep your big puppy from over-doing things and injuring himself.

Like some other large and giant breed dogs, Great Danes can have problems with bloat, or gastric dilatation volvulus (GDV). It’s usually recommended to feed such dogs several smaller meals per day rather than one or two large meals. You can find other recommendations about how to try to avoid bloat online. Hip dysplasia can also be an issue for Great Danes. Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) can also occur in the breed.

Many giant dog breeds have a shorter lifespan than other breeds. The average lifespan of a Great Dane is 6 to 8 years. Even the healthiest Great Danes don’t usually live past 10 years, though some dogs have been known to live to be 12-13 years of age.

Training
While you may think of Scooby Do and Marmaduke when you see a Great Dane, they really aren’t that hard to train. They are BIG but they still think and act like other dogs. If you have a Great Dane puppy or rescue, training is very important. Otherwise, you could find yourself chasing a rambunctious dog when he ignores your calls to come back. So, do plan on puppy kindergarten or puppy preschool for your puppy, followed by a good basic obedience class. If you have a rescue dog, sign up for the first obedience class you can. When a dog weighs 120 pounds, you really want him to listen to you.

Be sure to socialize puppies and young dogs well. Some Great Danes can become anxious and too glued to their owners if they don’t have enough socialization training when they are young.

If you have to leave your dog home alone everyday, make sure you provide him with lots of chew toys and other things to keep him amused. Otherwise, he will find his own ways to amuse himself and they will probably include eating your sofa. When a Great Dane is bored, you will know it. For this reason, make sure you are providing your puppy or dog with enough play time and exercise each day.

Great Danes can learn to do the same dog activities and sports as other dogs. You can have fun with obedience, agility, rally, and tracking, for example. Great Danes have a good nose and they can have fun with tracking exercises.

You can learn more about finding a Great Dane and what to expect here: http://www.gdca.org/greatdanerightforyou.html

Popular Dog Breeds: Miniature Schnauzers

Smart, trainable, and always cheerful, this smallest of the Schnauzer breeds can easily adapt to living in a city apartment or running around in his own yard in the country. Their double coat sheds very little but it does require regular trimming. Miniature Schnauzers can make a good choice for people who are allergic to dogs.

History
The Miniature Schnauzer is derived from his larger cousin, the Standard Schnuzer. He comes from Germany where he was first seen as a separate breed around 1899. Originally bred to be a small farm dog, the Miniature Schnauzer was also bred to go to ground after all kinds of vermin. Small Schnauzer-type dogs are seen in German paintings as far back as the 15th century. It’s believed that the Miniature Schnauzer was produced by crossing small Standard Schnauzers with Affenpinchsers and Poodles. The breed was first recognized by the AKC in 1926.

Temperament
Charming and handsome, the Miniature Schnauzer loves to be home with his family. He is hardy, healthy, intelligent, and fond of children. Mini Schnauzers are very adaptable and enjoy city life as much as living in the country and having their own yard to explore. These dogs usually prefer to avoid a fight but they will stand up for themselves when necessary.

Miniature Schnauzers make good small guard dogs and will give a proper alarm when someone or something comes near the home. These dogs do require regular exercise or they can get into trouble. They are described as alert and spirited dogs, but obedient to command. “Friendly, intelligent, and willing to please…never overaggressive or time.” They are considered easy to train and they have a good territorial instinct but they are more likely to bark than harm someone. They are usually reserved with strangers until they know they are welcome.

Mini Schnauzers do have a high prey drive which means they can hunt other small pets in the home such as hamsters, rabbits, snakes, and birds. They will even attack cats in the home. This behavior can be stopped with steady training or if the dog is raised with a cat.

Appearance
The Mini Schnauzer is handsome and distinguished in appearance. They are easily identified by their whiskers, wiry coat, leg furnishings, and stocky build. The breed has a double coat which has a hard, wiry outer coat and a close, soft undercoat. Coat colors can be salt and pepper, black and silver and solid black. The Miniature Schnauzer is 12 to 14 inches tall at the withers and weighs 12 to 20 pounds.

Proper coat care for dog shows requires that the dog’s coat be hand-stripped or stripped with a stripping knife that pulls out the dead hair. (This doesn’t hurt. The hair is already dead and is simply being dragged out since it doesn’t shed on its own.) This maintains the correct texture for the outer coat and keeps it wiry. However, most pet owners usually opt to have their pet Miniature Schnauzers clipped by a groomer. This saves time. You should be aware that eventually the coat will lose its wiry feel and only the undercoat will be exposed. This isn’t bad for the dog but it gives the coat a different feel and texture.

Since Miniature Schnauzers shed very little, they often do make a good choice for people with allergies to dogs. As always, if you are allergic to dogs and you are considering getting one, you should meet the individual dog to see how you react to it.

Health
The median lifespan of the Miniature Schnauzer is said to be around 12 years, though it’s not unusual for this breed to live past 15 years. They are a hardy breed. They do tend to suffer from problems associated with high fat levels such as hyperlipidemia and pancreatitis. Diabetes, bladder stones, and eye issues can also be problems. A low fat diet (and fewer treats) are recommended for this breed. Comedone syndrome, a condition that produces pus filled bumps, usually on their backs, also occurs in this breed. Von Willebrand’s disease, an inherited bleeding disorder, can also occur in Miniature Schnauzers.

If you are considering getting a Miniature Schnauzer, you should talk to the breeder about these health issues.

Training
Miniature Schnauzers are intelligent dogs and they are usually fairly easy to train. They are good at obedience, agility, rally, tracking, flyball, and other dog sports. They enjoy doing things with their owners. Since they are very playful, energetic dogs, they will have a lot of fun participating in these activities. Many Miniature Schnauzers are food-motivated but you should keep in mind that the breed can have problems with weight and high fat levels. Use low-fat treats if you use treats as a reward.

Popular Dog Breeds: Chihuahuas

Saucy and alert, the popular Chihuahua originally comes from Mexico. They are right at home in the city or cuddled up beside you wherever you may live. Don’t let their small size fool you though. Chihuahuas are quite feisty and can easily take charge of your home.

History
The Chihuahua is named after the Mexican state of the same name, where the earliest examples of the breed were discovered in modern times. The small dogs were used in religious ceremonies and were pets for the upper classes at one time. The dogs are probably descended from the Techichi, ancient companion dogs of the Toltecs. Records of these dogs date to around the 9th century but it is possible that the dogs were also present during earlier Mayan times. Dogs similar to the Chihuahua have been found in materials from the Pyramids of Cholula and at Chichen Itza on the Yucatan peninsula. Chihuahuas were first recognized by the AKC in 1904.

Temperament
Chihuahuas are alert, highly intelligent dogs and they make excellent companions. Although they are small in size, they should not be underestimated. The breed has many Terrier-like qualities, although they developed on their own, in a different part of the world from the Terrier breeds. They are smart, curious, often bold and confident, and they don’t always listen to commands. The breed standard describes them as having an attitude of “self importance, confidence, self-reliance.” Chihuahuas make good family pets but they are usually better in homes with slightly older children. Their small size means they can sometimes be injured by very young children who play too roughly or who might fall on them.

Chihuahuas often become very attached to one person in a home which may or may not be a problem. In some instances they can become overly jealous of their favorite person. They can also have problems getting along with other pets.

Appearance
Chihuahuas come in both longcoats and smoothcoats. Any color is acceptable – solid, marked, or splashed. The dogs have a well-rounded “apple dome” skull and the body is a little off-square in shape. The breed is not supposed to weigh more than 6 pounds but many pet Chihuahuas weigh more than this. Chihuahuas typically stand 6 to 10 inches tall at the shoulder.

Smoothcoated dogs require very little grooming. Longcoated dogs need to be brushed a little more often.

Health
Chihuahuas are a very long-lived breed. It is not unusual for a Chihuahua to live well into his teen years. Some Chihuahuas live to be 18 or 20 years old. The lifespan for the breed is estimated to be 10-18 years. However, like all dogs, they can have some health issues. Teeth can be a problem in the breed, as with many Toy dogs. They may not fit properly or some may be missing. They can also have more problems with tooth decay and losing teeth than larger breeds.

Hydrocephalus can occur in Chihuahua puppies. Molleras occur in Chihuahuas but this is normal for the breed. The skull is not fully formed at birth and there is a soft spot that continues to fill in during the puppy’s first six months. Owners need to be careful during these months so the puppy’s head is not injured.

Hypoglycemia can also be a problem for Chihuahuas, especially for puppies. This is not unusual with Toy breed puppies or very small dogs. It refers to low blood sugar. You should make sure to feed Toy puppies several small meals per day until they are older and can better regulate their blood sugar.

Since Chihuahuas have very large eyes they can be at risk of eye injury. Be sure to clean their eyes and face regularly and check for any wounds or scratches.

Other possible health problems include issues that can affect many Toy breeds such as luxating patellas (slipped kneecaps) and collapsed trachea (a weakness in the tracheal wall that can be exacerbated by pulling against a leash). Heart murmurs and pulmonic stenosis are also possible concerns.

Regular visits to the veterinarian will catch many problems before they become serious. If you are interested in getting a Chihuahua, you should talk to a breeder and be sure to ask about health issues in the breed.

Training
Chihuahuas are very smart dogs but that doesn’t mean they are always easy to train. Like many Toy breeds, they can be hard to house train. Allow extra time for house training and lots of patience. Be sure to praise and reward your Chihuahua when he potties where you want him to go. Like other dogs, Chihuahuas respond well to positive reinforcement. Chihuahuas can be very strong-willed dogs and it’s important that you remain in charge. Even though they are small dogs, you should continue to treat them like dogs and not like small children. If you don’t maintain your authority with your Chihuahua, it’s very likely that he will take control. There is such a thing as Small Dog Syndrome where small dogs are spoiled to such an extent that they no longer respect their owners. In these cases the dog can become very hard to live with. You can avoid this problem by socializing your Chihuahua from a young age. Take him to puppy kindergarten classes. Attend a basic obedience course with him. Make sure he has good manners at home and when you go places with him. You and your Chihuahua will both be happier if you know which one of you is in charge.

Popular Dog Breeds: Bulldogs

Known for their shuffling gait and adorable wrinkly face, the Bulldog wants nothing more than to be a lap dog. Although the breed originated to bait and fight bears and bulls several centuries ago, the breed today couldn’t be anymore cuddly or loving. They are one of the most popular dogs in the U.S. today.

 

History

Originating in Britain several centuries ago, the Bulldog was originally developed to be courageous and ferocious during the bloody sport of bull and bear baiting. Dog fighting became illegal in England in 1835 and these dogs could have become extinct but dog lovers were determined to breed out their fierceness and keep their other good qualities. Within a few generations the dogs had lost their fighting instinct and were known as affectionate and desirable pets. The breed was first recognized by the AKC in 1886.

 

Temperament

Although the original Bulldog was a fierce and savage dog used for dog fighting, it’s been nearly 200 years since the breed has been a fighter. Bulldogs today are almost comically sweet and loving. They make wonderful family dogs and are known for being particularly gentle and protective of children. They are so attached to their families that they often want to climb in your lap, even though they can weigh up to 50 pounds. They are kind, dignified, courageous dogs and they make an excellent pet.

 

Appearance

In terms of appearance, the Bulldog typically weighs between 40 and 50 pounds. They are usually between about 12 and 16 inches tall at the shoulder though no specific height is given in the breed’s standard. The dog’s height should be proportional to their weight and body mass.

 

Bulldogs are easily recognizable by their short-faced, massive heads covered with heavy wrinkles. They are a medium-sized dog with a smooth coat and a heavy, thick-set, low-swung body. They have wide shoulders and sturdy limbs. The Bulldog may be brindle, white, red, fawn, fallow or piebald. The coat is short, straight, and flat. When the Bulldog walks he has a loose-jointed, shuffling, sideways motion that gives him a characteristic roll.

 

The Bulldog usually has thick folds of skin above his brow and round, black, wide-set eyes. There are characteristic folds called “rope” above his short muzzle and hanging skin under his neck. He also has drooping lips and pointed teeth. An underbite is desirable.

 

Health

Bulldogs can suffer from some health problems. The Bulldog Club of America gives the lifespan for the breed as between 8 and 12 years. In Britain their lifespan is shorter – 6.5 years. According to a British health survey, the leading causes of death in the breed were: cardiac, cancer, and old age. Dogs that died due to old age lived to be 10-11 years old.

 

Hip dysplasia and luxating patellas are common problems in Bulldogs. Statistics from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals ranks the Bulldog as the worst breed in terms of hip dysplasia with 73.9 percent of Bulldogs tested having some degree of hip dysplasia. Interdigital cysts can also be a problem (cysts that form between the dog’s toes), though these cysts can be removed by a vet. Respiratory problems, cherry eye, and allergies can also be problems for Bulldogs.

 

As a brachycephalic breed (short-nosed), Bulldogs can suffer from the same breathing difficulties as other short-nosed breeds during hot weather or if they over-exert themselves. They can also have difficulty flying on planes. If you have a Bulldog, you will need to take special care during warm weather months. These dogs generally do best in cooler weather or if air conditioning is provided. Do not leave them outside in hot weather.

 

It’s also necessary to watch for weight gain and obesity with Bulldogs. Hip dysplasia, arthritis, and breathing difficulties can all be made worse if a dog is allowed to become overweight.

 

Training

Bulldogs are not the most athletic of dogs but they are tractable and very willing to please. You shouldn’t have any trouble training your Bulldog to learn basic obedience and good manners. They are such well-behaved dogs in the home anyway that it’s easy to teach them what they need to learn. Most Bulldogs respond very well to food rewards as motivation.

Popular Dog Breeds: Labrador Retrievers

The Labrador Retriever is one of the most popular breeds of dog in the world today. They have been ranked as the number one dog in the United States for over 20 years. They are also extremely popular in Canada, Great Britain, and Australia. Affectionate, extremely intelligent, easy-going, and fun-loving, Labs make excellent family dogs. They are the ideal dog for many people.

 

History

The original Labrador Retriever originated in Newfoundland, Canada from crosses between Newfoundland dogs and small water dogs found in the area. When bred together these dogs produced dogs called the St. John’s Water Dog which became the ancestor for many retrieving breeds today. These dogs were used for hunting and retrieving as well as helping fishermen with their nets. In the early 19th century the British Earl of Malmesbury saw some of these dogs at work in the field and imported some to England. The St. John’s Water Dog later died out in Canada due to a heavy dog tax and quarantine law but Malmesbury’s dogs thrived in England and it is there that the breed continued to develop. He introduced some other breeds into the basic St. John’s Water Dog stock but they stayed essentially the same dog. They got the name “Labrador Retriever” because Malmesbury said that’s what he always called them. Pedigrees of Labs today go back accurately to 1878 and the breed was recognized by the Kennel Club in England in 1903. They were recognized by the AKC in 1917. They first became popular in the U.S. in the 1920s and ’30s.

 

Temperament

The Labrador Retriever is known as a gentle, friendly dog. They are very affectionate with their family and loved ones. They are not quite as outgoing and welcoming to strangers as the Golden Retriever but they don’t usually make very good guard dogs. Labs can be rather friendly with people they don’t know and they will happily welcome someone into the house once you invite a person inside.

 

Labs are excellent with children of all ages and can be protective of small kids. They are recommended for families looking for a breed that’s good for kids. Labs are also known as one of the most intelligent of all breeds and are often used as service dogs, assistance dogs, and therapy dogs. They work as guide dogs for the blind and are trained to work with people with other disabilities. They are good at these jobs because of their brains and because they are gentle and patient. They love to please their owners. They also make a good dog for older people.

 

Labs are a sporting breed and they do require regular exercise. This is especially true when they are young. A young Labrador Retriever can be quite exuberant. Young dogs can also be mouthy and will probably want to chew on things so be sure to provide a Lab with plenty of toys and safe things to chew on.

 

Since this is such a loving, affectionate breed, they need to be around people quite a bit. A Labrador Retriever will never be happy if he is left out in the yard, living in a dog house. He wants to be part of the family. If he is left alone too much, he can develop behavior problems.

 

Appearance

The Labrador Retriever is a medium-large dog. They weigh between 55 and 80 pounds, with males being a little heavier than females. In height they stand from about 21 ½ inches to 24 ½ inches tall at the shoulders, with males being a little taller than females. Overall, the dogs are strongly built, athletic, and well-balanced.

 

Labs have a short, dense double coat that is weather-resistant. Their coat sheds seasonally but it can shed a lot when it sheds. Regular brushing will help cut down on the amount of dead hair that is shed in the house. Labs come in black, chocolate, and yellow coat colors.

 

The breed also has an “otter” tail that acts as a rudder when the dog is in the water. The Lab’s head is clean-cut with a broad back skull. Their eyes are kind and friendly. They should express character, intelligence, and good temperament.

 

There are also field-bred Labrador Retrievers in the U.S. which are typically a little taller and have a lighter frame but they are still able to fit the AKC breed standard. Breed standards in other countries can vary slightly but Labs are still easily recognizable all over the world.

 

Health

Labradors are considered to be a generally healthy breed and most dogs have few issues during their lifetime. Life expectancy for the breed is 12-13 years. However, like all dogs, there are health issues found in the breed, in general. Things that sometimes occur in the breed include:

 

Hip and elbow dysplasia, luxating patellas (slipped kneecap), eye problems such as progressive retinal atrophy, cataracts, corneal dystrophy, and retinal dysplasia.

 

Very rare conditions include hereditary myeopathy, autoimmune disease, and congenital deafness. Exercised induced collapse is also possible.

 

Labs can also suffer from health problems associated with being overweight or obese. Labs are highly food-motivated and they can easily become too interested in food, especially if the owner is not careful about watching the dog’s food intake and exercise. These dogs love to eat. If you have a Lab, watch his weight. Obesity can lead to problems with diabetes, the heart, respiratory disease, arthritis, and other serious health issues.

 

Training

Because of their intelligence and eagerness to please, Labs are usually very easy to train. In fact, they love to do things with their owners so they usually love any kind of training. They respond very well to positive reinforcement – using praise and rewards for training. Labs can excel at obedience, agility, rally, hunting, any kind of water sports, tracking and scent work, search and rescue, or just about anything else you would like to do with your dog. They are one of the most versatile of all breeds.

 

Even if you just want to have a Lab as a wonderful pet, training is recommended. Your dog will benefit from it, especially as a puppy or young dog when he’s frisky and very active. Training is also a great way for you to bond with your dog.

Dogs have been connected to royals throughout history. While Britain’s Queen Elizabeth is known today as a famous dog lover, kings and queens have always had their favorite canine companions. Here’s a look at some of the dogs remembered today for their place in history.

Ancient times

The ancient Egyptians were one of the first civilizations to celebrate the dog. There are paintings of hunting dogs similar to Pharaoh Hounds, Ibizan Hounds, and other similar breeds in many royal tombs dating back thousands of years. The Egyptians also favored the fast, graceful Saluki for desert hunting and paintings of these dogs can be seen on the walls of King Tutankhamun’s tomb. Favorite dogs were often mummified to accompany their owners into the afterlife.

In China, there were several breeds considered to be “royal” dogs over the millennia. One of these royal dog breeds was the Pekingese. The breed is over 2000 years old. The dogs were carefully bred and guarded in the Imperial Palace and only people within the royal circle could own one. A number of Chinese breeds, including the Pekingese, were unknown in the West until the 19th and 20th centuries because they had been so closely guarded.

Europe and the UK

Europe has many stories of famous royal dogs. Some of the most famous are the Pugs that belonged to William of Orange. Prince William of Orange (in the Netherlands) had his life saved when his Pug named Pompey alerted him to the approach of assassins in 1572. Thereafter, Pugs were often associated with the family. A Pug traveled with his descendant, William III, when he left the Netherlands to become King of England in 1688.

Pugs were also popular in France in the 19th century. The Empress Josephine had her Pug named Fortune carry concealed messages to Napoleon when she was imprisoned before their marriage. Later in the 19th century, Queen Victoria of England bred her own Pugs. Her involvement with the breed, and with other breeds, helped launch Britain’s Kennel Club. Victoria was so passionate about dogs and such a devoted dog breeder, that she helped develop a number of breeds we have today. For instance, she was instrumental in developing the Pomeranian as we know the breed now. Victoria was also responsible for making Collies and other Scottish breeds popular.

The royal Stuart family of Britain had a number of devoted dogs. One of the most famous was the dog Boye. Boye was the companion of Prince Rupert of the Rhine, nephew of Charles I, and one of his most dashing and accomplished military commanders during the English Civil War. Boye, a white Poodle that Prince Rupert used for hunting, often accompanied the prince into battle. Enemies of Prince Rupert and his dog alleged that Boye had supernatural powers. Prince Rupert received the dog while he was imprisoned during the Thirty Years’ War to keep him company. Boye accompanied Prince Rupert from 1642 to 1644 when he died at the Battle of Marston Moor. While he lived, Boye was a symbol of the Royalist cause and much-loved.

Mary Queen of Scots was also an animal lover. After she was beheaded at Fotheringay Castle in February 1587, it was discovered that her small Terrier had been hiding inside the folds of her gown. The dog refused to leave the side of his dead mistress.

One of the great dog lovers among British monarchs was King Charles II. He was famous for the small spaniels that always surrounded him – King Charles Spaniels or English Toy Spaniels. A different breed, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, are probably named after his father, Charles I, who was also a dog lover.

Some breeds could only be owned by royals and nobles. The Scottish Deerhound – a Greyhound-type dog with a harsh coat for protection from the elements – could only be owned by people of the nobility in Scotland at one time. They are known as the Royal Dog of Scotland.

Today

Today Queen Elizabeth II is known for her beloved Corgis. She is said to have 10 dogs: four Corgis and three Dorgis (a cross between Corgis and Dachshunds). She also cares for three Corgis that belonged to her late mother, the Queen Mother. According to a recent news story, one of the Queen’s Corgi’s nearly took the ear off Princess Beatrice’s Norfolk Terrier, Max, at Balmoral during a vacation.

There’s also Kate and William’s dog Lupo. Lupo is a black Cocker Spaniel. There are American and English Cocker Spaniels though they used to be a single breed. Lupo is what Americans would call an “English” Cocker, though he’s simply a Cocker Spaniel in Britain.

You can see that not only are dogs man’s best friend, but they’re often a king or queen’s best friend.

Popular Dog Breeds: Yorkshire Terriers

Yorkshire Terriers are one of the smallest of all dog breeds but don’t let that small size fool you! Yorkies are feisty little dogs with a big dog personality. They may be a Toy breed but they began as Terriers and they still have a Terrier attitude. Brave, determined, curious, and energetic, Yorkies are dynamos!

 

History

The Yorkshire Terrier is named for the region in England where they originated. At that time Yorkies were used to hunt vermin in textile mills. As Terriers they were fierce in finding and killing rats in the mills. They were owned and bred by weavers and working class people. But the small dogs were so beautiful that they became popular as pets for people in high society in England and Europe. By the late 19th century Yorkshire Terriers were fully established as companion dogs instead of ratters.

 

Temperament

Although they are no longer used to hunt and kill rats, Yorkies still have a Terrier personality in many ways. They are bold and fearless; they like to investigate things; and they are quite determined and energetic, especially for a small dog. In fact, if you’re not careful, a Yorkie will become the boss in your home so it’s important that you don’t let this little dog become too bossy or spoiled. They adapt well to all kinds of home environments and make excellent apartment dogs. They don’t require much exercise because of their small size. They do need to be around people a great deal and they crave human companionship. They love attention and they are very affectionate with their owners. However, Yorkies do tend to bark a lot so this is something you should take into account, especially if you live in an apartment.

 

Appearance

The Yorkie has a long, luxurious coat that has a steel blue body and tan coat around the face and legs. The coat is glossy, fine, and silky. Yorkies are very small dogs. They weight is not supposed to exceed seven pounds for show dogs though pet dogs might weigh a little more than this. Most dogs are between four and seven pounds when they are not overweight. There are some so-called “teacup” Yorkies sold sometimes which are excessively small – as small as a couple of pounds. Dogs this small often have an increased risk of health problems and a shortened lifespan. Yorkshire Terriers have their tails docked in the U.S. and dew claws are removed when the puppies are a few days old.

 

Health

Like many Toy and small dogs, Yorkies can have a very long lifespan. Their lifespan is reported to be 17 to 20 years, though the average lifespan may be somewhat shorter. However, like all breeds, Yorkies are subject to certain health issues. Issues in this breed include: bronchitis, lymphangiectasia, portosystemic shunt, cataracts, and keratitis sicca.

 

Genetic issues in the breed can include: distichiasis, hydrocephalus, hypoplasia of dens, Legg–Calvé–Perthes syndrome, luxating patella, portosystemic shunt, retinal dysplasia, tracheal collapse, and bladder stones.

 

Yorkies can also have problems with hypoglycemia, especially as puppies or juveniles. Hypoglycemia is low blood sugar and it is typically caused by going too long between meals. As a small breed Yorkshire Terriers need to eat several small meals per day, especially as puppies and young adults, to keep their blood sugar level steady. If your Yorkie shows signs of hypoglycemia it’s important to give him some Nutrical or syrup right away to get his blood sugar level up and then take him to the vet. Feeding frequent meals or adding snacks between meals usually prevents this problem.

 

Training

Yorkies are very smart little dogs and they can be easy to train. Ideally you should start training your Yorkie when he is young. Try to find good ways to motivate your dog. Some Yorkies are food-motivated but some aren’t. Praise, toys, playtime – all of these things can be used as motivation.

 

Be careful about using certain collars when training your Yorkie. Yorkies are subject to tracheal collapse and it has been suggested that pulling too much on the leash and collar is one possible cause of this condition. You should avoid using chain collars with Yorkshire Terriers for the same reason.