Monday, December 25, 2006

Labrador Retriever

Key Facts:

Size: Large
Height: 54 - 57 cm (21.5 - 22.5 inches)
Weight: 25 - 35 kg (55 - 77 lb)
Life Span: 15 years
Grooming: Easy
Exercise: Demanding
Feeding: Reasonable
Temperament: Friendly & intelligent
Country of Origin: England
AKC Group: Sporting

Physical Characteristics:

General Appearance: Solid, strongly built and friendly.
Colour: Black, yellow or liver/chocolate.
Coat: Straight, dense, short, hard and weather resistant.
Tail: Tapering and carried fairly high in action but should never curl over the back.
Ears: Set far back, pendant and hanging close to the cheek.
Body: The chest is deep and wide with well sprung ribs. The back is long and level with a wide loin. And the shoulders are long and oblique.

Active, gentle, easy-going, bold and intelligent. Labrador Retrievers are very popular household pets as they are people-orientated and extremely devoted to their family. They get on well with children, strangers and other dogs. Their intelligence makes them very trainable and obedient. These dogs are capable of taking all the knocks of a rough-and-tumble family and their even-temperament means they never take offence at any insult.

The coat of the Labrador Retriever is easily maintained with an occasional brush. More attention is needed when the coat is moulting.

These retrievers adapt themselves to their family, but they also need additional exercise such as long walks or playing and retrieving in the water. They need regular exercise to prevent them from becoming too boisterous and exuberant.

Labrador Retrievers can consume any quantity of food and need rationing to avoid them becoming overweight.

The labrador comes from Newfoundland and is thought to have evolved from the St. Johns dog and a water spaniel. It was in the 1800s that these dogs were used by fisherman for retrieving hooked fish from the water. Eventually some of these Labradors arrived in Britain and their qualities were retained through crossing them with other retrievers. This cross-breeding stopped once the breed was high in numbers and quality to maintain the desired breed type.

Additional Comments:

Labrador Retrievers are multi-talented dogs as they are used as guide dogs and also for drug searching.
A distinct characteristic of this breed is the tail. It is often called the 'otter tail' with its relatively short length and thick covering of hair.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Shih-tzu: The Best Lap dog Period

The Shih-tzu is mostly known for its vibrant beauty, abounding energy, and imperial attitude. In fact, the Shih-tzu has become one of the most popular breeds among consumers searching for the unimaginably cute and playful puppy.

The Shih-tzu originates in China. It is believed that these tiny dogs originated in Tibet and then were brought to be bred in the City of Peking. The Shih-tzu quickly caught the eye of the Imperial Chinese court and were guarded protectively by their benevolent owners. Members of the Chinese royalty were so protective of the breed that it wasn't until 1930 that the Shih-tzu debuted in Western civilization.

After being recognized by the British AKC in 1946 and the United States AKC in 1969, the Shih-tzu's popularity grew in leaps and bounds. Today the Shih-tzu remains a very popular breed for both companionship and showing.

Although small, the Shih-tzu is very sturdy and hardy. This breed's most identifiable traits are its abundant coat of long hair, full beard and mustache, and upward growing nose. Weighing in at only 9 to 16 pounds, Shih-tzus can reach an impressive height of 11 inches. The Shih-tzu is full of character. While they can be obstinate, dogs belonging to this breed are generally spunky, active and happy and sometimes portray an attitude that borders on arrogance.

Because of its small size, Shih-tzus do well in very small homes such as apartments. The lack of a yard does not even affect these little guys. They are very sensitive to heat though, and should be kept in a cool environment.

Caring for a Shih-tzu takes a little more patience and dedication than with other breeds. As I said before, these dogs can be obstinate and stubborn which makes training and house breaking a chore. Their thick, long coat requires daily grooming and brushing, and their sensitive eyes need to be cleaned and maintained daily. It is also a good idea to have Shih-tzus professionally groomed on a regular basis. This will aid you in your daily grooming rituals.

The most common health problems associated with Shih-tzus are usually related to their respiratory function. These dogs tend to wheeze and snore a great deal and are prone to ear, eye and other respiratory problems. Shih-tzus also tend to become obese very easily and should not be overfed.
Perhaps the most endearing trait of the Shih-tzu is its clever and affectionate personality which make it ideal as a family pet. So, if you are looking for an adorable, spunky canine companion with an imperial background and attitude, perhaps a Shih-tzu is exactly what you are looking for.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


Key Facts:

Size: There are three sizes: standard, miniature and toy
Height: Standard - Over 38 cm (15 in) Miniature - 28-38 cm (11-15 in)
Toy - Under 28 cm (11 in)
Weight: Standard - 22 kg (49 lb) Miniature - 12 kg (26 lb)
Toy - 7 kg (15 lb)
Life Span: 16 years
Grooming: Demanding
Exercise: Medium
Feeding: Straightforward
Temperament: Sparky & cheerful
Country of Origin: France
AKC Group: Toy & Non-Sporting
Other Names: Caniche, Barbone

Physical Characteristics:

General Appearance: Elegant, finely chiselled and proud.
Colour: Black, silver, blue, white or cream with black pigmentation. Or brown and liver and matching pigmentation.
Coat: Frizzy, dense, fine, woolly and harsh in texture. The coat can be clipped to suit different tastes.
Tail: Set high, commonly docked and carried away from the body at a slight angle.
Ears: Set low, long, wide and hanging close to the head. Covered in long, wavy hair.
Body: The body is longer than the height and the shoulders are muscular and sloping. The back is short and slightly hollowed behind the withers. The ribs should be rounded with a deep chest. The loin is muscular and broad and the croup is rounded.

Even-tempered, fun-loving, lively and intelligent. Poodles are easily trained and quickly learn to perform tricks. They bond closely to their family and can be acutely sensitive to their owners mood. This breed is trouble-free in terms of getting along with other dogs, pets, strangers and children. They make delightful companions with their intelligence and adaptability. This breed should not be kept in a yard alone as they thrive on companionship and attention and their natural spirit can be destroyed if deprived of this.

Poodles that are being shown need to be clipped according to the breed style, which takes considerable skill and knowledge and is usually best left to a professional groomer. Poodles that are kept as pets are commonly trimmed short, leaving the hair longer on the head, the ears and legs. If these dogs are left untrimmed the harsh-textured coats will grow vastly in length. The teeth need to be checked for tartar and the ears should be kept clean. The advantage of these dogs is that they don't shed hair. The coat on a Poodle can be washed quite often.

Poodles live happily in flats or small apartments as they don't demand a great deal of exercise. They still need some exercise outside of the home such as walks to the park. These dogs generally excel in obedience classes.

Poodles are believed to have originated from the old Spanish water dogs. They got their name from the German word 'pudeln' which means to splash in the water. This breed were excellent retrievers of injured water birds and ducks. A smaller variety was produced later which became the forerunner of the Miniature version we know today. Hunters shaved off most of the hair on the hindquarters to help these dogs perform better in water. They left the hair on the chest and front parts of the body for warmth and sections of hair on the leg joints for protection against injury. The custom of tying a bright ribbon on the topknot, was for identification of their dogs when at work retrieving. These customs have been maintained over the years for Poodles being shown today.

Additional Comments:

Poodles are regarded as one of the most difficult breed-standard patterns to achieve (if not the most difficult).
This breed is commonly recommended for people who are allergic to dog hair or dust as the Poodle does not shed any hair.
The Poodle is known for it's intelligence and can be taught a variety of skills from water-retrieving to circus tricks. They appear to enjoy performing with the praise and laughter that it brings.
Different clips for Poodles include: lamb clip, lion clip, puppy clip and continental clip. The puppy clip is always popular for those owners who aren't showing their dogs.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Shar Pei

Key Facts:

Size: Medium

Height: 46 - 51 cm (18 - 20 inches)

Weight: 16 - 25 kg (35 - 55 lb)

Life Span: 10 years

Grooming: Medium

Exercise: Medium

Feeding: Medium

Temperament: Independent but friendly

Country of Origin: China

AKC Group: Non-Sporting

Other Names: Chinese Shar Pei, Chinese Fighting Dog

Physical Characteristics:

General Appearance: Squarely-built, wrinkled and bold.

Colour: Black, fawn, red, cream, dark brown and smoky. White markings are undesirable.
Coat: Short, bristly and harsh.

Tail: Set high and carried in a curl over the back.

Ears: Small, triangular, thick and lying flat against the head.

Body: The body is compact and muscular with relatively loose skin. The chest is broad and deep with a short, strong back.


Friendly, independent, quiet and affectionate. Shar Pei's need confident handlers that are consistent and firm or these dogs will perceive themselves as the boss and become overly dominant. Because Shar Pei's have natural fighting instincts they may not accept other dogs, but this can depend on their social upbringing. They get along with children and strangers but do need early socialization with other household pets to prevent any problems. This breed bonds closely with it's family and makes an excellent guard dog.


The coat can be brushed with a soft brush and the folds of skin need to be checked regularly and kept clean and dry. Some Shar Pei's have tails lying very close to the body and these also need to be inspected and cleaned to prevent infection. The folds of skin are more prominent when these dogs are young and therefore more attention is necessary during this period.


Shar Pei's need an average amount of exercise and if their exercise needs are met, they will be calm when indoors.


It is presumed that the Shar Pei evolved from the same Asian Mastiff family as the Chow Chow, as they have similar blue/black tongues. They were used by the Chinese for protection against wild animals and bandits. In the 14th century, Marco Polo found them to be excellent hunters and later they became known as the Chinese Fighting Dogs and also as a source of food. It was in 1947 when the Communist regime came into power, and many dogs were destroyed as they were a drain on food resources. A dog lover in Hong Kong made appeals to kennel clubs around the world, which fortunately for this breed prevented them from becoming extinct.

Additional Comments:

Shar Pei's have become well known with their unusual appearance of wrinkly skin and a frowning expression.

These dogs are prone to hereditary eye problems that are caused by inturned eyelids (entropion), causing irritation and tear stains. Skin problems can also arise with their wrinkly skin. It is very important with this breed that puppies are bought from reputable breeders, especially in countries where there is a small pool of breeding stock.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Old English Sheepdog

Key Facts:

Size: Large
Height: Above 54 cm (21 inches)
Weight: About 30 kg (66 lb)
Life Span: 13 years
Grooming: Very demanding
Exercise: Medium
Feeding: Medium
Temperament: Friendly & outgoing
Country of Origin: England
AKC Group: Herding
Other Names: Bobtail

Physical Characteristics:

General Appearance: Ambling walk, shaggy, strong and compact.
Colour: Grey, grizzle, blue or blue merle, with or without white markings.
Coat: The outer coat is shaggy, hard in texture and harsh. The undercoat is waterproof.
Tail: Commonly docked completely or from the first joint.
Ears: Small and carried flat against the side of the head.
Body: The body is quite short and compact. The loins are strong and slightly arched and the shoulders are sloping. The chest is well developed and the brisket is deep and full.

Trustworthy, bold, agile, active and good-natured. Old English Sheepdogs love being part of a family and are a very adaptable breed. They socialize well with other dogs, children and family pets. They greet strangers warmly and are not particularly alert. They can be boisterous in nature and will join in every possible activity with great enthusiasm. Old English Sheepdogs want to please their handlers and rarely show dominant behaviour, however training can be slow.

Grooming with these dogs is very demanding. They require regular, thorough brushing as least once a week. When the coat is moulting its quite possible that a rubbish bag full of hair can be collected after a brush. If the coat is left ungroomed for a length of time it will quickly become matted to a degree that leaves little alternative but to clip. Old English Sheepdogs that are being shown should have a higher rear than the shoulders, which is achieved when the hair is groomed upwards. It is also important that the ears are kept free of dirt and hair and that the nails are trimmed. The excess hair between the pads of the feet should also be clipped short.

Old English Sheepdogs need a fair amount of exercise, but will not grumble if a day goes by without any. They love playing with a ball or similar activities and are best suited for rural homes with a spacious backyard. This breed can do well in various dog sports.

This breed has not been around as long as many other dog breeds. It is thought that they evolved from the Bearded Collie in the early 19th century and possibly with crosses from the Briard and the Hungarian sheepdog. Farmers commonly docked this breeds tails in the early 19th century to claim exemption from English taxes. This was because the longer haired 'luxury' dogs only qualified as working dogs if the tails were docked.

Additional Comments:

The Old English Sheepdogs have been nicknamed the Bobtail, because their tails are customarily docked.
If the coat is not properly cared for and well-groomed, it can cause skin parasites.

Saturday, December 9, 2006

King Charles Spaniel

Key Facts:

Size: Small
Height: About 25 cm (10 inches)
Weight: 3.6 - 6.3 kg (8 - 14 lb)
Life Span: 13 years
Grooming: Medium
Exercise: Undemanding
Feeding: Medium
Temperament: Gentle & affectionate
Country of Origin: England
AKC Group: Toy
Other Names: English Toy Spaniel

Physical Characteristics:

General Appearance: Stocky, compact and well proportioned.
Colour: Black/tan, ruby (red), tricolour or blenheim (red and white).
Coat: Silky, long, straight, good feathering with or without a slight wave.
Tail: Well feathered, lower than the topline and may be docked.
Ears: Set low, long, well feathered and hanging by the cheeks.
Body: The chest is wide and deep and the back is short and level. The shoulders are well laid back and the fore and hindquarters are well angulated.

Easy-going, affectionate and happy. King Charles Spaniels get on well with children, other dogs and strangers. They are suited for apartment living and enjoy being with their family and receiving plenty of attention. They are intelligent and learn quickly when being trained. These small dogs are sociable and adaptable which makes them ideal family pets.

The coat of the King Charles Spaniel should be brushed twice per week, especially in the areas more prone to tangling such as the chest, behind the ears and between the legs. The facial creases should be wiped with lotion (for this particular area) from time to time and the ear canals checked for dirt or wax.

The King Charles Spaniel adapts itself to the family activities for it's daily exercise needs. They don't demand a great deal of exercise and are content with being part of the family outings.

This breed shares the same ancestry as the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and were popular in both England and Europe around 3-4 centuries ago. The English breeders preferred shorter muzzles on the spaniels and through selective breeding (possibly with the Japanese Chin) the head shape changed so that the muzzle appeared relatively flat. Later in the 1920s, breeders wanted to restore the longer shaped muzzles of the original King Charles Spaniel, which resulted in two distinct types. The re-established longer muzzled variety had the name 'Cavalier' added to the title of King Charles Spaniel.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Scottish Terrier Dogs Important Facts

Scottish Terriers are short-legged dogs, at a height of ten to eleven inches, comparatively heavy-boned, yet deceivingly trim. They are agile and sporty pets. Moreover, their intelligence, playfulness and loyalty make them popular pets.

Historically, they were the first standard for their breed, back in 1880. So even today, when someone says Terrier, what comes to mind is the Scottish Terrier.

This breed originated in Scotland and is ubiquitously recognized as an icon of the Scottish Culture. Still, even if they have long history, it was only in the 1800s, that their history began to be recorded. Many Scottish Terrier owners insist that all other terriers share a common ancestor in the Scottish Terrier dog.

They were originally bred to hunt foxes and badgers. Although for many Americans, their first sight of a Scottish Terrier was through President Roosevelt’s pet, Fala, this breed had been in the country since the late 18th century. In fact, the first registered Scottie America was ''Dake'' born Sept. 15, 1884.

Physically the average Scottish Terrier weighs 19-23 pounds in adulthood and lives a life span of 12-15 years. They come in most any shades and colors such as black, wheaten, or brown. They don’t shed a lot of hair. Ideally, you should comb and evenly trim his coat regularly to keep the coat neat and shiny.

How does one take good care of a Scottish Terrier dog? Not to worry, they may be sporty; yet don’t require a lot of exercise. You can keep your Scottish Terrier dog indoors, provided you ensure it gets sufficient walking exercises during the day. If you have a small yard, and it is well secured, then let your dog loose. He’ll be sure to get his optimum requirement by playing in the yard. As pets, they are better pets for older and more mature children.

You should follow the basics for taking care of Scottish Terrier dogs. They are, however susceptible to the following diseases such as Canine von Willebrand's disease, Scottie Cramp, flea allergy, intervertebral disc diseases, as well as other disorders.

A sage advice for those wanting to join the ranks of Scottish Terriers Dogs owners: give your pet affection and praise. You’ll get it back from your pet, manifold.