Thursday, January 25, 2007

Airedale Terrier

The Airedale Terrier (often shortened to "Airedale") is a terrier dog breed originating from Airedale in Yorkshire, England. It is sometimes called the "King of Terriers" because it is the largest of the terrier breeds, 50 to 70 pounds (23-32 kg). The breed has also been called the Waterside Terrier, because it was bred originally to hunt otters.

Airedale, a valley (dale) in the West Riding of Yorkshire, was the birthplace of the breed. In the mid-19th Century, working class people created the Airedale Terrier by crossing the old English rough-coated Black and Tan Terrier with the Otterhound. In 1886, the Kennel Club of England formally recognised the Airedale Terrier breed.

Well-to-do hunters of the era were typically accompanied by pack of hounds and several terriers, often running them both together. The hounds would scent and pursue the quarry and the terriers would "go to ground" or enter into the quarry's burrow and make the kill. Terriers were often the sporting dog of choice for the common man. Early sporting terriers needed to be big enough to tackle the quarry, but not so big as to prevent them from maneuvering through the quarry's underground lair. Obviously these terriers had to have a very high degree of courage and pluck to face the foe in a tight, dark underground den without the help of human handlers.

During the middle of the nineteenth century, regular sporting events took place along the Aire River in which terriers pursued the large river rats that inhabited the area. A terrier was judged on its ability to locate a "live" hole in the riverbank and then, after the rat was driven from its hole by a ferret brought along for that purpose, the terrier would pursue the rat through water until it could make a kill. As these events became more popular, demand arose for a terrier that could excel in this activity. One such terrier was developed through judicious crossings of the Black-and-Tan Terrier and Bull-and-Terrier dog popular at the time with the Otter Hound. The result was a long-legged fellow that would soon develop into the dog we recognize today as the Airedale Terrier. This character was too big to "go to ground" in the manner of the smaller working terriers; however, it was good at everything else expected of a sporting terrier, and it was particularly adept at water work. This big terrier had other talents in addition to its skill as a ratter. Because of an infusion of hound blood it was blessed with the ability to scent game and the size to be able to tackle larger animals. It became more of a multipurpose terrier that could pursue game by powerful scenting ability, be broken to gun, and taught to retrieve. Its size and temperament made it an able guardian of farm and home. One of the colorful, but less-than legal, uses of the early Airedale Terrier was to assist its master in poaching game on the large estates that were off-limits to commoners. Rabbits, hare, and fowl were plentiful, and the Airedale could be taught to retrieve game killed by its master, or to pursue, kill, and bring it back itself.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

American Eskimo Dog

The American Eskimo Dog or Standard German Spitz is a breed of companion dog originating from Germany. Despite its name and appearence the American Eskimo dog is not from Alaska or a descendent of the Husky. The American Eskimo is a member of the Spitz family, which also comes from Germany. The breed was formerly called a German Spitz, but due to anti-German prejudice during the First World War, it was renamed to American Eskimo Dog. In addition to serving as a companion, it has been used as a watchdog, and also achieved a high degree of popularity in the 1930s and 1940s United States as a circus performer. The very first dog to walk a tightrope was an American Eskimo.[citation needed] The breed became popular as circuses would sell the puppies during their travels across the nation. The American Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1994 and set the current standard for the breed. The United Kennel Club had recognized the breed long before 1994, and there is no difference between the two breed standards except that the AKC allows the toy size and the UKC does not. The American Eskimo has pending acceptance in the CKC (Canadian Kennel Club).

American Eskimos were bred to be companion dogs, and thrive on being a part of their human family. Eskies are easily trained and very intelligent, as well as being strong-willed and independent. At home, Eskies make excellent watchdogs, barking to announce the presence of strangers. The Eskie can be protective of its home and family, but it should not threaten to attack or bite a person (unless provoked). American Eskimos must be trained early in age. They do not respond well to aggressive discipline. Spanking an American Eskimo for its mistake may result in a growling war instead of punishment. It is important to research the dog's parents as their temperament may vary due to inheritance.

Puppy at 11 weeksMany people find the puppies of American Eskimo Dogs to be very cute and purchase this breed as a puppy without doing sufficient research, such as discovering the longevity and needs of this breed. This breed can take longer to mature than other breeds, and Eskies can behave more like puppies than like adults for up to two years, when they finally start to mature and grow their adult coats. They are also a very intelligent dog and need to be stimulated. When their intelligence is not stimulated or they are ignored, they can develop behavior issues. Owners can avoid this problem by socializing their Eskie through obedience training or participating in dog sports, such as dog agility, flyball, dancing, and Schutzhund.

The breed lives on average between 12 and 14 years, although some individuals might live as long as 20 years or longer. They are prone to hip dysplasia, Elbow and Knee degeneration, patellar luxation, Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease, progressive retinal atrophy, cataracts, epilepsy, urinary stones and allergies, especially flea allergies, that can lead to acute moist dermatitis or "hot spots".

Monday, January 15, 2007


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: Rugged, robust and squarely-built.

Colour: Salt and pepper or solid black.

Coat: The outer coat is wiry and harsh and the under coat is soft and dense.

Tail: Set high and customarily docked.

Ears: Set high, V-shaped with the tips dropping forward towards the temple. In some countries they can be cropped and carried erect.

Body: The chest is moderately wide and the back is short. The belly is slightly raised and the shoulders are flat and muscular.


Fearless, protective, lively, affectionate, intelligent, observant and spirited. Schnauzers are dependable dogs that learn quickly and are eager pupils. They do have a stubborn side, but will respond well to fair and consistent training. They make good watch dogs and guard dogs as they are naturally distrusting of people they do not know. Schnauzers get along well with other dogs and household pets and are very tolerant of children.


The coat of the Schnauzer needs to be plucked by hand at least twice a year. Plucking is necessary with most wire-haired breeds as it is the only way to keep both the coat and skin in it's best condition. The excess hair between the pads of the feet should be clipped and the loose hair in the ear canals should be removed. The beard, moustache and eyebrows need regular combing to prevent tangles. The advantage with these dogs is that they shed little or no hair and don't tend to have a dog odour.


Schnauzers need an average amount of exercise, but they like to be busy and kept occupied. Suitable activities for these dogs include, swimming, running alongside a cycle (once fully grown), agility skills, fly-ball, playing in the garden and running in the woods. If their exercise needs are met, then they should be quite peaceful and calm.


It is believed that Schnauzers evolved from German Wirehaired pinschers, black poodles and a spitz-like grey dog. They date back to the 15th and 16th centuries when they were used for herding, ratting and guarding. These dogs were once known as the Schnauzer-Pinscher.

Additional Comments:

Schnauzers need firm training and early socialization with a variety of people and animals to help prevent them becoming overly protective and dominant

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Saint Bernard

Key Facts:

Size: Giant

Height: 69 - 86 cm (28 - 34 inches)

The taller the better.

Weight: 50 - 75 kg (110 - 165.5 lb)

Life Span: 7 years

Grooming: Medium – demanding

Exercise: Medium

Feeding: Demanding

Temperament: Patient & docile

Country of Origin: Switzerland

AKC Group: Working

Other Names: Alpine Mastiff

Physical Characteristics:

General Appearance: Massive, powerful with a kindly expression.

Colour: White with shades of red or brindle. The white colouring is on the chest, forelegs, tail tip, muzzle, feet, collar and blaze.

Coat: Rough coat - Flat, dense, smooth or slightly wavy. Smooth coat - Close, dense and flat.

Tail: Long, heavy, carried low when at rest and raised when active.

Ears: Set high, lying close to the cheek and of medium size.

Body: The body is well-proportioned with a broad straight back and a deep, wide chest.
The shoulders are wide, oblique and muscular and the ribs are rounded.


Easy-going, kind, trustworthy, reasonably lethargic and patient. Saint Bernard's are wonderful with children and extremely loyal to their families. They generally get along well with other dogs and household pets. These gentle giants are easily trained and early training is important so that they don't pull on the lead, as they quickly become very strong. As adults they are not overly active and will defend their owners and property if necessary, however this is not their primary role.


Daily grooming is needed with a brush and comb to remove the loose hairs. The ear canals need to be kept clean and if the dog has drooping eyelids then these should also be checked regularly.


Saint Bernards should not be over-exercised as puppies to prevent any damage to their rapidly growing bones and muscles. They are much more active when younger, but tend to slow down once fully grown and don't need as much space for exercise. They need an average amount of exercise and will be happy with regular walks and opportunities to run freely of the lead.


These dogs descended from the Asian Mastiff family and travelled from Greece to Italy and then into Europe. Around 1000 AD the breed had established a reputation for assisting lost travellers, due to the Swiss monk Bernard de Menthon (from whom they got their name). They were never given formal training, but these dogs had an amazing ability to scent out stranded people in the snow. They would often keep the victim warm by lying on each side of the body, while another dog would go back for help. Inbreeding occurred over the centuries and it became necessary to outcross to Newfoundlands and Pyrenean Mountain Dogs. However these crosses brought in rough coated varieties whose coat collected snow and weighed them down in icy weather.

Additional Comments:

Saint Bernards need plenty of bone forming additives, vitamins and minerals when growing, for them to develop the muscles needed to carry their large frame.
Saint Bernards tend to drool a fair amount, due to their lower lips drooping at the outside corners. It is especially noticeable when they are eating and drinking.

Friday, January 5, 2007


Key Facts:

Size: Large

Height: 58.5 - 68.5 cm (23 - 27 inches)

Weight: About 50 kg (110 lb)

Life Span: 12 years

Grooming: Simple

Exercise: Medium – demanding

Feeding: Demanding

Temperament: Courageous & trainable

Country of Origin: Germany

AKC Group: Working

Physical Characteristics:

General Appearance: Solid, powerful and protective.

Colour: Black with tan markings on the cheeks, muzzle, chest, feet, over the eyes and beneath the tail.

Coat: The outer coat is flat, coarse and of medium length. The undercoat is thick and must not show through.

Tail: Customarily docked and carried horizontally.

Ears: Set high, small, triangular and pendant.

Body: The shoulders are long and sloping with a broad chest and well-developed sternum.
The ribs are well-sprung and the back is firm and straight. The body is longer in length than in height and the croup is wide and slightly sloping.


Highly intelligent, bold, courageous, obedient and protective. Rottweilers are extremely protective and loyal to their families and tend to be one-person dogs. They are dominant in nature and need a confident, fair handler to provide consistent training. If they are raised properly they happily get along with children and people whom are familiar to them. They need early socialization with household pets to prevent difficulties when they are fully grown. They are superb watchdogs and guard dogs and will not let strangers onto the property.


The coat of the Rottweiler is relatively easy to maintain. When it's moulting it is best to use a rubber glove to remove the loose hairs rather than a normal brush. To bring out the shine in the coat there are special lotion that can be used. The ear canals need to be kept clean and the claws trimmed short.


Rottweilers are reasonably demanding with their exercise needs. They enjoy running freely in the country and retrieving objects. These dogs tend to stick by their owners without running off when being taken for walks. Good activities for Rottweilers to burn energy include running alongside a cycle (once fully grown) and going swimming.


These dogs come from the Asian Mastiff family and look like a heavier version of the Dobermann. They were used by the Roman armies for fighting, cattle droving, guarding and as draught animals to carry their goods. When the invading soldiers moved on from the town of Rottweil in southern Germany, some of their dogs were left behind with the locals. The dogs were then used to drive stock to and from the markets and the farmers would tie their money to the dog's collar for safety, as no bandit would take on one of these dogs. At one stage Rottweilers were called Metzgerhund (butcher dog) as their main job was to haul carts for butchers and cattle dealers.

Additional Comments:

Generally it is necessary to be firmer with the dogs than the bitches, as the females tend to have a slightly gentler nature.
Rottweiler's are ideal for security work and defence dog training and sports. They are used by the police and army for defence purposes.

Monday, January 1, 2007


Key Facts:

Size: Small
Height: 25 - 27 cm (10 - 11 inches)
Weight: 6.4 - 8.1 kg (14 - 18 lb)
Life Span: 14 years
Grooming: Undemanding
Exercise: Medium
Feeding: Medium
Temperament: Lively & cheerful
Country of Origin: China
AKC Group: Toy
Other Names: Carlin, Mops

Physical Characteristics:

General Appearance: Solid, square and compact.
Colour: Fawn, black, silver or apricot with a black mask and a black trace along the back. There are also black thumb-marks on the forehead and black moles on the cheeks.
Coat: Smooth, short, glossy and fine.
Tail: Set high and curled tightly over the hip.
Ears: Set high, small and fine. 'Button' ears which fold forward are desirable but 'rose' shaped ears folding back are accepted.
Body: The body is short, stocky and square with a broad brisket. The ribs are deep and rounded and the legs are moderately long and very strong.

Cheerful, good-natured, affectionate and people-orientated. Pugs are very sociable and get along extremely well with children, strangers and other dogs. They do like to be the centre of attention and can become jealous if their owners attention is directed elsewhere. They respond best to gentle-handed training and are sensitive to the intonation in their handlers voice. Pugs have a good sense of humour despite their serious facial expressions. They make calm indoor dogs and are very pliable and straightforward to care for.

Pugs don't require much grooming with their short coats. The loose hairs can be removed with a rubber brush and the facial creases should have lotion applied to them every now and then.

Pugs enjoy playing and roaming about and don't need too much exercise. Due to their short muzzles, their breathing can become somewhat restricted if over-exercised or kept in hot weather. Therefore light exercise is recommended and having a cool, shady area available during summer.

Pugs have evolved from Chinese Buddhist monasteries and were depicted on scrolls as far back as 400 BC. It is thought that they made their way to Europe (in particular to Holland) with the Turkish fleet in 1553 or with the Dutch ships in the China trade. Pugs became established in Holland and then later in Germany where they got the name 'mops' (angry looking). In Italy they were known as a 'Carlin'. During the Napoleonic times it was a fashion statement to own a Pug.

Additional Comments:
Most Pugs snore due to their short muzzles.
The Pugs tail is made up of several small vertebrae that forms the final length of the spine. The coiled tail is characteristic of the Pug and forms a single or double spiral that is held tightly over the hip. The double curl is considered to be ideal.