Friday, November 24, 2006

West Highland White Terrier

Key Facts:Size: Small
Height: About 28 cm (11 inches)
Weight: 7 - 10 kg (15 - 22 lb)
Life Span: 13 years
Grooming: Medium
Exercise: Undemanding
Feeding: Easy
Temperament: Active & friendly
Country of Origin: Scotland
AKC Group: Terrier
Other Names: Westie
Physical Characteristics:
General Appearance: Sturdy, confident and compact.
Colour: Always pure white.
Coat: The outer coat is wiry, flat, straight and about 5cm (2 inches) in length. The under coat is dense, soft and short.
Tail: Straight, carried high and about 13-15 cm (5-6 in) in length.
Ears: Small, erect and covered with short, velvety hair.
Body: The body is compact with a deep chest and level back. The ribs are well arched and the shoulders are sloping.

Happy, affectionate, extroverted, agile, alert and lively. West Highland White Terriers are extremely confident little dogs that can be cunning and ingenious but also stubborn and independent. They are straightforward to train, but Westies can be persistently naughty and their handler needs to remain consistent and not give in to their charming nature. These dogs are excellent playmates for children as they can withstand rough play. Some Westies may be dominant towards other dogs, but this largely depends on their social upbringing. To prevent them from chasing cats when they are fully grown they need to learn to tolerate them during puppyhood.
The coat should be hand-plucked two to three times a year and shouldn't be washed frequently. When the coat gets dirty, it is best to let the hair dry and then brush the dirt out. Westies do need a trim every now and then to keep them looking tidy, along with regular brushing. The advantage with this breed is that they don't have the typical dog odour.Exercise:Westies love playing with balls and toys and frolicking in the garden or backyard. They need regular exercise and are keen diggers. They are likely to wander off and need to be kept in a well fenced area.
It is believed that the West Highland White Terrier evolved from blends of the Scottish Terrier, Cairn Terrier and Dandie Dinmont. They were originally bred to hunt vermin. In the late 1800s there was a strain of white Scottish Terriers who were owned by Colonel Malcolm of Poltalloch (they were known as Poltalloch Terriers), which were very similar to the West Highland White Terriers that we know today. The first recognized show for the West Highland White Terrier was held in London in 1907.Additional Comments:Westies are steadily growing in popularity and it's no wonder, as they are a handy size to pick up, love people, are generally calmer than other terriers and make delightful and entertaining family companions.
About the Author

Friday, November 17, 2006

Siberian Husky

Key Facts:

Size: Medium

Height: 45 - 50 cm (18 - 20 inches)

Weight: 14.5 - 15.5 kg (32 - 34 lb)

Life Span: 14 years

Grooming: Straightforward

Exercise: Medium

Feeding: Medium

Temperament: Alert & reliable

Country of Origin: Germany

AKC Group: Working

Other Names: Standard Schnauzer, Mittelschnauzer

Physical Characteristics:

General Appearance: Wolf-like, strong and compact.

Colour: All colours and markings are permitted.

Coat: The outer coat is straight, dense, smooth and of medium length. The under coat is soft and dense.

Tail: Heavily furred, fox-brush shape and is carried over the back when active or down low when at rest.

Ears: Set high, triangular, erect and of medium size.

Body: The chest is strong and deep and the ribs are well-sprung. The back is strong and level and the loin is lean and muscular. The shoulders are well-laid back and powerful.


Alert, intelligent, gentle and friendly. Generally Siberian Huskys are not suited as family pets, unless perhaps with an extremely sporty family. They are natural sledge dogs and although it possible to teach them basic commands, this breed will not follow orders unless they think it is necessary. Huskies do not like to be left on their own and tend to howl or become destructive if not occupied. They get along with children and are very tolerant and friendly with people and don't make good watchdogs. They generally get along with other dogs but should not share a home with other pets such as cats, as they do not make good campanions.


Occasional brushing and combing, especially when the coat is moulting is sufficient for Huskies. The coat tends to look better when the dog is kept outdoors in a kennel.


Substantial exercise is essential for these dogs and they are an ideal breed for anyone wishing to be involved in the sport of dog-sledging. Huskies are well known for their speed and owners usually exercise them in front of a sledge at least twice a week. An alternative activity is having these dogs run alongside a cycle to burn energy. Siberian Huskys are known to wander and need to be kept in a fenced off backyard.


Much of this breed's history is unknown, but it is fairly certain that these dogs remained pure with no outcrosses for centuries. One theory suggests that the Chukchis Eskimos had to develop a sledge dog capable of travelling great distances, for their ongoing search for food. Siberian Husky's were greatly admired by early explorers and were used to carry life saving anti-toxins during a diphtheria epidemic in 1925, to the Alaskan city of Nome.

Additional Comments:

For anyone who is considering a Siberian Husky as a pet, it is advisable to contact a specialist in Arctic dogs and/or the breed society, to help make an informed decision.
Because Siberian Huskys do not like to be left alone, it is usually a good idea to get two of these dogs for companionship.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Yorkshire Terrier

Key Facts:
Size: Very small
Height: 15 - 23 cm (6 - 9 inches)
Weight: Up to 3.2 kg (7 lb)
Life Span: 14 years
Grooming: Demanding
Exercise: Medium
Feeding: Undemanding
Temperament: Alert & intelligent
Country of Origin: England
AKC Group: Toy
Physical Characteristics:
General Appearance: Elegant, small and compact.Colour: Dark steel blue with tan on the skull, muzzle, ears and lower legs. All the tan coloured hair strands should be darker at the root and paler towards the ends.Coat: Long, silky, soft and perfectly straight.Tail: Commonly docked and carried slightly higher than the level of the back.Ears: Small, V-shaped, covered with short hair and carried erect or semi-erect.Body: The body is very compact and well-proportioned with a level topline and well-laid back shoulders.

Temperament:Intelligent, tough, determined, playful and lively. Yorkshire Terriers are fairly quick to learn with positive and consistent training. They are tolerant of children, provided they are not treated like toys and have their own space to which they can retreat. This breed can be overly brave towards other dogs, but they generally get along fine with other household pets. Yorkshire Terriers always bark when they sense danger and will always alert their owners when visitors arrive. These terriers become very attached to their family and are not always ideal for the elderly or small children with their lively and exuberant nature.

Grooming:Yorkshire Terriers need thorough daily grooming with a brush and comb. Some pet owners choose to have the coat trimmed, if unable to meet these grooming demands. The hair is usually kept out of the eyes with a bow tied in a top knot. The ears should be checked regularly and the loose hairs need to be removed from the ear canals. If these dogs are being shown the coat is usually protected, by being rolled up in curling papers.

Exercise:This breed is suitable for a flat or small home as they don't need much exercise. Yorkshire Terriers generally adapt to their family activities for their exercise needs.
History:The Yorkshire Terrier has evolved from the Waterside Terrier, a small longish coated terrier seen in Yorkshire for many years, the Skye Terrier and the old English rough coated Black and Tan Terrier. It was in the middle of the 19th century that these crosses resulted in a distinct breed type. They were exhibited as Broken Haired Scotch Terriers in 1861, but by 1870 their name was changed to the Yorkshire Terrier.

Additional Comments:
While these dogs are overly pampered, it is a mistake to think of them as lap dogs. They have the typical terrier character, of being lively, energetic and highly-spirited.
About the Author
This article provided courtesy of

Monday, November 6, 2006

Golden Retriever

The Golden Retriever is a popular breed of dog, originally developed to retrieve shot game during hunting. It is one of the most common family dogs as it is naturally very friendly and amenable to training. It is a high-maintenance dog and thrives on attention, regular, vigorous exercise, a balanced diet, and regular veterinary check-ups. Golden Retrievers are usually compatible with children, adults, and other dogs. They typically bark when startled, but generally their friendly nature makes them poor guard dogs. Golden Retrievers are particularly valued for their high level of sociability towards people, calmness,and willingness to learn. Because of this, they are commonly used as guide dogs, moblility assistance dogs, and search and rescue dogs.

The ideal Golden is athletic,and well balanced. It is a symmetrical, powerful, and active dog. An American Golden is less stocky and lankier than a British. A male should stand from 23-24 inches in height at the shoulders, and females should be 21.5 to 22.5 inches at the shoulders. The coat should be dense and water repellent, in various shades of lustorous gold or cream, with moderate feathering. Excessive length, lightness, or darkness is undesirable. The gait should be free, smooth, powerful, and well-coordinated. In shows, any resistance to handling, shyness, or aggression is a serious fault