Rottweilers – Choosing a Rottweiler

The Rottweiler is a strong powerful breed with natural protective instincts. Originally used as a herder, the Rottweiler quickly developed a reputation as a highly effective guard dog. Though sometimes maligned due to improper training leading to aggression, properly trained and cared for Rottweilers can make excellent companions.


The Rottweiler is the eighth most-popular breed of dog according to the American Kennel Club (AKC) tallies.

History & Origin

It is believed that today’s Rottweiler is a descendant of the herding drover dogs of the ancient Romans. As the Romans expanded their power across Europe by foot, the Rottweiler was at their side to control cattle herds and protect the soldiers and their food from predators. History records that Roman troops eventually entered Germany and settled in 74 A.D. At the time, red tile roofs were the common architectural style and the settlement was named Rottweil, a take on the German words for red tile. This settlement gave rise to the name of the breed that so loyally and courageously contributed to the development of ancient Roman and German civilization. The Rottweiler is categorized as a working dog and was first registered by the American Kennel Club in 1931.


The Rottweiler is a medium-size black dog with rust markings. The breed’s coat is a medium length, straight and almost coarse. The head is broad with hanging and triangular ears. The Rottweiler possesses great strength and has a broad, deep chest. The tail is docked (shortened in length) to only one or two vertebrae (back bones).


The adult Rottweiler averages 22 to 27 inches in height at the shoulders and weighs an average of 90 to 110 pounds.


The Rottweiler is generally a quiet, alert pet and excellent watchdog. Seemingly fearless, the breed is well known for providing undying protection to the guardian. Barking is often reserved for unwelcome intruders.

Home & Family Relations

The Rottweiler is a good pet for individuals seeking a loyal friend and faithful watchdog. Owners share a strong bond with their pets; however, the breed is not known for the ability to form quick, friendly relationships with strangers. Often viewed as threats by the Rottweiler, strangers may be greeted with an aggressive response. The breed may not be suited for a family with small children due to the pet’s strength and potential intolerance of children’s antics. The Rottweiler enjoys being the only dog in the household.


Rottweilers are highly intelligent and have courageously served as watchdogs for centuries. During the early years of the 20th century the breed worked as police dogs. They are eager and willing to learn. Unfortunately, some people have chosen to take advantage of the Rottweilers enthusiasm to learn and have trained them to be aggressive. This has resulted in a bad reputation for the breed that many Rottweiler owners desperately try to repair. With appropriate training, the Rottweiler can be a loving devoted member of the family.

Famous Rottweilers

There have been a number of Rottweilers who have made appearances in pop culture, including:

  • Arnold: In the hit HBO show Entourage, the main characters adopt a pet Rottweiler named Arnold.
  • Hellhound: In the 1976 horror flick The Omen, a Rottweiler referred to as Hellhound makes an appearance.
  • Bueller Family Dog: In the classic 1986 Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, the titular character’s family dog is a Rottweiler. When Principal Rooney tries and catch Ferris skipping school, the trusted family pet comes to the rescue.

Celebrities With Rottweilers

Some of famous celebrities that love Rottweilers include:

  • Will Smith: The Fresh Prince of Bel Air is an avid lover of Rottweilers. Smith owns 5 pet Rottweilers.
  • Bruno Mars: The hit vocalist has a pet Rottweiler named Geronimo.
  • Leonardo DiCaprio: The oscar-winning actor has a pet Rottweiler named Baby.
  • Miley Cyrus: The actress/singer adopted a Rottweiler-Beagle mix named Happy.

Special Concerns for Rottweilers

Some Rottweilers snore while they sleep and occasionally cough as a result. This is not a health concern for the pet. However, if coughing is a common occurrence, especially while your pet is sleeping, this may be an indication of heart or lung disease. These are serious problems that should be treated promptly.

The Rottweiler should be brushed about twice weekly. This is a general rule for all shorthaired breeds. A grooming glove is adequate to use for a thorough brushing. Brushing encourages the growth of new, healthy hair and removes older hair ready to shed. It also allows you to bond with your Rottweiler. Beginning this regimen while your pet is a puppy is an excellent way to begin a close, trusting relationship.

Health Concerns for Rottweilers

Gastric torsion (bloat)is a life-threatening sudden illness associated with the stomach filling with air and twisting.

Golden Retrievers – Choosing a Golden Retriever

The Golden Retriever consistently tops the list of most loved family pets. Usually associated with children and suburban life and with their love of water and natural retrieving ability, Golden Retrievers are also excellent companions to hunters. The Golden Retriever has been one of the top breeds based on the American Kennel Club (AKC) tallies for years. They currently rank as the third most popular breed!

History and Origin

Recorded history of the Golden Retriever dates to the early 1800s when the breed was a popular hunting dog in Scotland. As a rugged, middle-size dog, the breed was appreciated for the ability to hunt on land and in water. Sportsmen admired the dog’s athletic ability and diligence while their families enjoyed the gentle, friendly nature of the pet. By the late 1800s, the Golden Retriever was well known in North America and was registered with the American Kennel Club in 1925.

Over the years, Golden Retrievers have become useful as guide dogs for the blind, deaf, and other handicapped individuals because of their intelligence, trainability, well-rounded temperament, as well as their ability to get along well with people. They are trained as therapy dogs to perform a wide variety of tasks. The Golden Retriever is truly a jack of all trades when it comes to job capabilities.

Appearance and Size

The Golden Retriever is a strong, middle-size dog with a moderately round skull and medium to dark brown eyes. The breed’s ears are triangular and pendant (hanging) and fall approximately to the level of the jaw. The outer water-repellent coat is thick and soft, although not usually silky. The undercoat is moderately dense. As the name of the breed indicates, the coat color is golden or a close shade of golden. Longer hair of a lighter shade, known as feathers, is present on the back of the forelegs and thighs, underbelly, front of neck and underside of the tail.

The adult Golden Retriever is approximately 21 to 24 inches in height at the shoulder and weighs about 55 to 75 pounds.


The Golden Retriever is a playful, affectionate companion with an amiable personality. If not for the dog’s size, Golden Retrievers would be welcome lapdogs. Although not generally a boisterous breed, this pet will announce visitors.

Home and Family Relations

The Golden Retriever is an excellent family pet that is good with children and other pets. This breed is an appropriate choice for a first pet provided that the owner is capable of managing a dog of this size and strength.


The Golden Retriever is intelligent and highly trainable. In addition to being adept hunters, this breed has been trained to be companions for disabled persons including guide dogs for the blind and so much more. Golden Retrievers have also been trained to carried out drug detection and search and rescue work.

Special Care

Golden Retrievers who hunt on land and are allowed to swim require special attention. Running in the woods can cause small foreign bodies such as burrs and other flora to become lodged under the eyelid or in an ear. The surface of the eye and the ear can become irritated and inflamed.


Golden Retrievers also benefit from regular brushing, once daily if possible. Brushing helps to promote a shiny, healthy coat and decreases shedding. This is also an opportune time to find those nasty mats that can be painful for your pet. It is safest to let a professional groomer or a veterinarian remove large mats from your pet’s coat.


Though they can be docile and lapdogs on occasion, Golden Retrievers require ample exercise such as long walks or runs. A Golden Retriever could make for a great apartment companion if one is dedicated to giving this breed the exercise it needs.


Famous Golden Retrievers

Liberty: Liberty was the famous pooch belonging to President Gerald R. Ford. Some claim that President Ford taught Liberty a hand signal that would prompt her to get up and interrupt his meetings in the oval office, allowing for the president to casually end the conversation.

Duke: If you’ve ever seen a Bush’s baked beans commercial you know Duke from his carefully constructed plans to steal the family recipe. While multiple dogs have play Duke throughout the filming of the company’s many commercials, the original Duke is very real and is owned by Jay Bush himself.

Buddy: If you’ve ever seen Air Bud then you’ve seen Buddy the Wonder Dog melting hearts of all ages. This full time movie star started off life as a stray and went on to star in both feature films and the wildly popular TV hit, Full House via a guest appearance in the episode “Air Jesse.”

Celebrities With Golden Retrievers

Golden Retrievers are in high demand in Hollywood, and it’s easy to see why! Here’s a list of some celebs who love their Golden Retrievers.

  • Lisa Vanderpump
  • Shawn Johnson
  • Colbie Caillat
  • Jackie Chan

Common Diseases and Disorders

In general, the Golden Retriever is a healthy dog with few medical concerns. However, the following diseases or disorders have been reported:

Choosing a French Bulldog

The adorable French Bulldog, with his distinctive bat-like ears, is a compact and tough little dog. The breed has been a treasured family companion for many years. Although adopted by the French as their own, the breed is likely to have the English Bulldog in his ancestry. French Bulldogs currently rank as the sixth most popular dog breed, and it’s easy to see why!

History and Origin

The French Bulldog is an amiable breed that descends from the English Bulldog, among other French and English breeds. The French Bulldog enjoyed much popularity in France during the late 1800s and was brought to North America around this time. The French Bulldog is a non-sporting dog who takes pride in being a treasured family pet. The American Kennel Club accepted the French Bulldog as a breed in 1898.


The French Bulldog has a dwarf mastiff appearance with a small or medium overall size, broad shoulders, deep chest, thick neck, and well-developed muscles. The breed’s coat is short and shiny. Acceptable colors for show dogs are brindle or brindle and white, fawn, and white. Dogs not bred for show may also have black, mouse, and liver-colored coats.

The French Bulldog’s head has an interesting shape. The ear is a classic example of a bat ear. That is, the ear is erect with a broad base and rounded tip. The opening is to the front. The breed’s skull is flat between the ears on top of the head and curved across the forehead. The French Bulldog has a very short nose and pendulous upper lips that overhang the lower lips on the sides. Loose skin on the head and shoulders forms wrinkles.


Adult French Bulldogs average 11 to 12 inches in height at the shoulder and weigh 17 to 28 pounds.


The French Bulldog is generally energetic and affectionate. French Bulldog owners easily form close, loving bonds with their pets. These pets are faithful watchdogs and enjoy spending as much time as possible near their owners. Exercise requirements are moderate since the breed is not intended to be a sporting dog.

Home and Family Relations

The French Bulldog is a good family pet but tends to do better in homes with more mature people. The “Frenchie” isn’t always too understanding or tolerant of the antics of children. Other pets are generally tolerated if introduced when the French Bulldog is young. This breed’s smaller size, easy-going nature, and minimal exercise requirements are ideal for elderly owners and apartment dwellers. French Bulldogs have a somewhat independent streak and many enjoy being the only pet in the home.


The French Bulldog is attentive, intelligent, and easy to train; however, the breed is most cherished as a family pet, which comes naturally to the “Frenchie.”

Special Concerns

The French Bulldog may develop breathing problems during times of excessive exercise, excitement and high environmental temperatures. This is caused by the short structure of the pet’s nose and general shape of the skull (brachycephalic syndrome). This problem may be life threatening. Avoid walking your pet in hot, humid weather and leaving him outdoors for longer than a few minutes in this climate. Talk with your veterinarian if your pet has trouble breathing and sounds like he cannot “catch his breath.”

Celebrities with French Bulldogs

It’s no surprise that many people, including the stars love French Bulldogs. Here’s a list of some of the top A-listers who love to chill with their French Bulldogs

  • Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
  • Chrissy Teigen and John Legend
  • Madonna
  • Lady Gaga
  • Carrie Fischer

Health Concerns

In general, the French Bulldog is a healthy dog with few medical concerns. However, the following diseases or disorders have been reported:

Facial fold dermatitis is a skin irritation that occurs when moisture is trapped in the facial wrinkles.

Atopy is an itchy skin disease of animals that is caused by an allergy to substances in the environment.

Interdigital dermatitis, also known as pododermatitis, is an inflammation of the paws involving the feet and nails.

Food allergy affected pets develop skin allergies due to a variety of food ingredients.

Entropion is a problem with the eyelid that causes inward rolling. Lashes on the edge of the eyelid irritate the surface of the eyeball and may lead to more serious problems.

Cataracts cause a loss of the normal transparency of the lens of the eye. The problem can occur in one or both eyes and can lead to blindness.

Congenital hypotrichosis – is a congenital disease causing symmetrical hair loss.

Labrador Retrievers – Choosing a Labrador Retriever

Friendly, loving and very playful, the Labrador Retriever has become one of the most popular breeds in the United States. Historically, this large “sporting” breed has been used to hunt and retrieve birds and only recently has the dog become known as a companion dog. The Retriever is highly regarded for its pleasant temperament, easy trainability, and intelligence.

The Labrador Retriever the #1 top breeds based on the American Kennel Club (AKC) tallies.

History and Origin

The Labrador Retriever hails from Newfoundland and not Labrador, as the name suggests, though both areas are located in eastern Canada. It is possible that geographic confusion led to the name. Exactly how the breed came to inhabit Newfoundland is not known. The first written report of the breed, a letter written by a traveler to this area, dates to 1822. Fishermen brought the breed to Britain in the early 19th century. Originally, the dogs ranged from a heavy-coated variety known as the Large Newfoundland to a smaller rough-coated variety called the Lesser Newfoundland or St. John’s Dogs. The modern-day Labrador Retriever probably descends from this St. John’s Dog and the currently known Newfoundland breed from the Large Newfoundland.

The breed was not originally used as a companion dog. Instead, Retrievers were bred exclusively as hunters, a job for which they possessed superior talents. The Labrador Retriever was officially accepted into the English Kennel Club in 1903 and the American Kennel Club in 1917.

Over the years, Labrador Retrievers have become useful as guide dogs for the blind, deaf and other handicapped individuals because of their intelligence, trainability, well-rounded temperament, as well as their ability to get along well with people. They are trained as therapy dogs to comfort residents in nursing homes and emotionally disturbed children. The military and police force employ the breed for scent-discrimination to track criminals, drugs, weapons, bombs, and to find people buried in debris of earthquakes or other disasters.

Appearance and Size

The Labrador Retriever is a strong, medium-sized dog possessing a sound, athletic, well-balanced conformation that enables him to function as a retrieving gun dog and as a member of the family. The coat is short, dense and weather-resistant and is black, yellow or chocolate. The breed has an “otter” tail that is thick at the base and gradually tapers.

The adult Labrador stands 21 to 24 inches at the shoulder and weighs 55 to 80 pounds.


The breed is known for its kindly, outgoing and tractable nature. The Lab is eager to please and usually non-aggressive toward man or animal.

Home and Family Relations

The Labrador Retriever is good-natured and gentle enough to live with children, though some breed lines have been found to be somewhat hyperactive. The breed will share the home with another dog if introduced and socialized at an early age but has a tendency toward jealousy. They are not the best watchdogs as they are not overly suspicious and might be won over by a friendly gesture of a stranger.


Labrador Retrievers are intelligent and love to learn. Most Labradors can begin command training at 6 to 8 months of age. At this age, they can have twice daily, 10-minute lessons. If the dog wanders physically or mentally, he is still too young to begin training. Should the dog misbehave, the reprimand must be consistent and appropriate.

Special Characteristics

Labrador Retrievers are powerful swimmers, a skill aided by the webbing between their toes and their water-resistant coats. They are also avid hunters.

Special Care

By heritage, the Labrador Retriever is a worker and requires regular exercise. They should have three walks per day and not be allowed to remain inactive and grow overweight. On the average, an overweight dog will die at an earlier age than a trim, active dog. The dog can become depressed and destructive in the home if adequate exercise is not allowed and encouraged.

Common Diseases and Disorders

In general, the Labrador Retriever is a healthy dog with few medical concerns. However, the following diseases or disorders have been reported:

Gastric torsion, also known as bloat, is a life-threatening sudden illness associated with the stomach filling with air and twisting.

Hip dysplasia is a malformation of the hip joint that results in pain, lameness, and arthritis.

Elbow dysplasia is the abnormal development of certain parts of the elbow joint during the growing phase of a dog’s life.

Progressive retinal degeneration is a disease that causes nerve cells at the back of the eye to degenerate. The condition can lead to blindness.

Shedding in Dogs

If you read or hear about how some breeds of dogs don’t shed, you can discount it. Every dog sheds – some more than others – but they all shed.

So why then do some dogs appear not to shed while others shed so much you could weave a thick blanket out of the discarded fur? The answer lies in the growth rate of the hair, which is based on genetics, nutrition and environment.

Shedding is the process by which old hair naturally falls out and new hair begins to grow in its place. The new hair does not “push out” the old hair. Since hair growth and loss is a continual cycle, there is no true starting point.

When dogs run free in the wild, they brush up against bushes, trees and other flora. This action removes old hair naturally. Our house pets need brushing to accomplish this same goal and to prevent large amounts of hair from accumulating in the coat. But brushing is also good for your dog. It not only decreases the amount of hair on your clothes and furniture; it also stimulates the blood supply to the skin. And brushing your dog’s hair helps to prevent skin parasites, such as mites, fleas and ticks, from infesting your pet and your home and keeps unsightly and sometimes painful mats from forming.

Once the individual old hair has been removed, new hair can form. The growth of hair occurs in three cycles:

  • Anagen. This is the initial hair-growing phase, the period of active production by the hair follicle.
  • Catagen. After the hair has grown to a specific length, determined by genetics, the hair enters this temporary transitional state.
  • Telogen. After a brief time, the hair then enters the final resting phase or non-growing state.

    Exactly when the hair falls from the follicle and sheds depends on environment, heredity and nutrition. For “non-shedding” dogs, the hair growth is much slower and few hairs are shed at a time, giving the false impression that the dog does not shed.

    At any point, approximately 90 percent of a dog’s hair is in the growth stage. The remaining hair is in either the resting or transitional phase. The growing phase occurs in patterns and is not synchronized all over the body.

    Shedding in dogs is influenced by the amount of time spent in the sunlight and by temperature fluctuations. Outdoor dogs usually shed their thick undercoat in the spring to prepare for warmer weather. Indoor dogs shed all year long but in smaller amounts, since they are exposed to a more constant temperature and consistent light source. A dog’s shedding cycle may also change as the pet ages or becomes ill.

    Some female dogs shed more hair than usual after they have been in heat. This usually occurs around 3 to 4 years of age, if at all. Some breeders refer to this as “blowing their coat.”

    Puppies‘ coats are usually fuzzy with short, downy hair. In some breeds this hair may not change to the adult coat until the age of 5 months. The best time to begin grooming is when your pet is still a puppy. By spending a few minutes every day gently brushing your puppy, you are creating a close, trusting bond. Eventually, your dog may look forward to this time every day.

    Adequate grooming, proper diet and exercise all contribute to a shiny, healthy-looking coat and a happy pet. If your dog appears to be losing a large amount of hair and/or if the coat is dull and dry, see your veterinarian.

  • Grooming Tips

    Brush short-coated dogs two to three times per week whether they have smooth or rough hair. You can use a hound glove (a grooming glove with wire bristles in the palm) with medium-soft bristles. Gently brush in the direction of hair growth (with the grain).

    Medium-coated dogs like golden retrievers require a slightly firmer bristle brush. Be sure to brush the feathering (longer hair) on the chest and legs, too. Again brush with the grain of the hair.

    Long-coated dogs, such as Yorkshire terriers and Afghan hounds, require a soft, long-bristle brush and wide-tooth comb and should be brushed daily. Grasp a handful of hair and gently brush from the skin outward, paying special attention to mats. Severe mats can only be removed by careful shaving, which should only be done by your veterinarian or a professional groomer. Combing afterward can help smooth the coat.

    Dogs with double coats, such as Alaskan malamutes and Pomeranians, require a stiff long-bristle or wire brush. These breeds have a thicker undercoat that can get trapped in the outer coat during shedding. Brush with the grain of the hair at least two to three times weekly. Daily brushing is recommended during the shedding period.

    Carder or slicker brushes are also useful. These consist of a small, flat board with multiple, fine wire teeth on one side and a short handle. They are especially useful with mats. You may need to experiment with several types of brushes before you find the one that is best for your dog.

    Brushing is only one part of a thorough grooming regimen, and if done on a regular basis, only about 10 minutes a day are needed. To learn more about grooming, consult your veterinarian or a professional groomer.

    Choosing an Alaskan Malamute

    The Alaskan malamute is one of the oldest of the Arctic sled dogs, powerfully built and originally bred to pull heavy weight over long distance in harsh conditions. Best known as a member of a sled dog team, the malamute has slowly gained popularity and is now better known as a companion rather than a working dog.

    History and Origin

    The exact origin of the Alaskan malamute is uncertain, as is the origin of the people who came to inhabit the land now called Alaska (the Inuits). Written accounts exist of an Inuit tribe called the Mahlemut, who settled along the shores in the upper western part of Alaska, and are believed to have bred these dogs to pull sleds and as pack animals. The dogs are named for the tribe. Over time, the name changed to malamute. The tribe appeared to have high regard for their dogs and took great efforts to care for them. Today the breed is a popular pet and still maintains a reputation as an impressive recreational sled dog. The Alaskan malamute was first registered with the American Kennel Club in 1935 as a working breed.


    The Alaskan malamute is a large dog. The undercoat is extremely thick and the outer coat is coarse, reaching 2 inches in length on some pets. The coat may be all white or range from light gray to black with white markings. The ears are triangular and usually erect, pointing slightly forward. However, the ears may fall forward even more when the dog is working. The tail is full and brush-like, widening toward the tip and arching over the back. The forelegs are straight and under the shoulders while the hindlegs extend slightly outward and in back of the hind end. The dog's chest is deep and the eyes are brown. Despite its large size, the malamute moves quite gracefully.


    The Alaskan malamute possesses a quiet, dignified demeanor. The pet easily and quickly becomes a cherished family member.

    Home and Family Relations

    The Alaskan malamute interacts well with children and other dogs. The breed is also a good first pet as long as the owner has the time and energy to provide the much-needed exercise for a dog of this size and heritage.


    The Alaskan malamute is well known as an intelligent dog and highly trainable. They do well as sled dogs and also on search and rescue teams.

    Special Characteristics

    Because of the breed's northern origin, a cooler climate is preferred. Pets who live in warmer and humid environments must never be left outdoors for more than a few minutes and should not be made to exercise in the heat. Serious health problems could result. Alaskan malamutes shed significantly in the summer.

    Special Care

    The Alaskan malamute benefits from daily brushing. If this is not possible, brushing the coat thoroughly several times a week may be adequate. This activity encourages the growth of a healthy coat, along with a proper diet and adequate exercise, and eliminates mats.

    Health Concerns

  • Zinc responsive dermatosis – is a condition that results in hair loss and skin crusting around the eyes, ears, mouth and genital area. The problem usually develops around 1 to 3 years of age.
  • Demodectic mange is a parasitic skin disease caused by a mite. Hair loss and itchiness are common.
  • Hypothyroidism results when the thyroid gland does not function adequately.
  • Polyneuropathy – is a degeneration of nerves that can cause weakness in all limbs and exercise intolerance. The disease usually begins at about 1 to 1 ½ years of age.
  • Renal dysplasia is a disease in which development of the kidney tissue is abnormal which can cause renal failure.
  • Hemeralopia – is a problem with the eyes that causes the dog to lose vision in bright light but normal vision returns at night.
  • Corneal ulceration is the loss of the corneal epithelium (the outermost cells of the cornea).
  • Cataracts cause a loss of the normal transparency of the lens of the eye. You may see a cloudy, white color in the pupil, which is normally black. The problem can occur in one or both eyes and can lead to blindness.
  • Progressive retinal degeneration (PRD) is a disease that causes nerve cells at the back of the eye to degenerate. The condition usually begins in older pets and can lead to blindness.
  • Glaucoma is a painful and serious condition that causes pressure within the eye to increase. It can lead to blindness if not treated early.
  • Choosing a Bichon Frise

    The bichon frise is a small, friendly, affectionate dog of Mediterranean ancestry. Related to the Maltese and the poodle, the bichon frise is often recommended for people with mild allergies because its curly coat infrequently sheds. (If you have allergies, speak with your doctor before making a decision to buy any pet.) This breed has recently become even more popular after winning the 2001 Westminster Dog Show and 2001 AKC/Eukanuba American Dog Classic.

    History and Origin

    The bichon frise is an old breed that can be traced to the 1300s, but it is likely far older (some people say it pre-dates the Common Era). Its oldest recognized ancestor is the barbichon cam, or "water spaniel," which evolved into four breeds: the bichon bolognese, the bichon havanese, the bichon Maltese and the bichon Tenerife. Today's bichon frise, named in 1933, is directly descended from the Tenerife and is a member of the non-sporting group of dogs.

    The bichon Tenerife attracted the attention of Europe's nobility, particularly those in Italy, as well as wealthy merchants. As Italian influence spread, the Tenerife happily followed. The dog became part of the court of the French King Francis in the early 1500s. By the late 1500s, the Tenerife had become a favorite of France's King Henry III, who reportedly had a Tenerife travel with him wherever he went. The dog was pampered, perfumed and beribboned, giving rise to the French verb, "bichonner" (to pamper).

    The bichon Tenerife was soon given a prominent place in other countries, and artists included a bichon-like dog in many of their portraits. The Spanish artist Francisco Goya was one famous artist who favored the bichon Tenerife.

    The dog gradually lost his aristocratic favor and became a street dog, performing in circuses and fairs. The breed survived and in 1933, the name was changed to bichon a polio frise (bichon with the curly coat). The name was shortened to bichon frise, and the dog was admitted to the French Kennel club in 1934. The bichon frise was admitted to the American Kennel Club in 1972.

    Appearance and Size

    "Bichon frise" refers to the breed's curly coat, which is white. The dog has black eyes, eye rims and halos. Puppies sometimes have beige to apricot markings, but these fade over time. An adult dog is sturdy and muscular.

    The white coat hides graying hairs, so it can be difficult to tell the age of a particular bichon frise.

    The adult bichon stands 9 1/2 inches to 11 1/2 inches at the shoulder and weighs between 10 and 18 pounds.


    The bichon frise is gentle, sensitive, playful and affectionate. The cheerful attitude is the breed's hallmark.

    Home and Family Relations

    The bichon frise gets along well with people of all ages and in varied living conditions. The dog loves to play but is not hyperactive. This breed tends to be good with children and with other animals. The bichon frise is not a guard dog, but is a watchdog and will announce strangers.


    The breed is easy to train using standard obedience commands. The bichon frise is alert and eager to please.

    Special Care

    It is very important to groom a bichon frise. Because the coat sheds slowly and infrequently, it will become matted quickly if not brushed often.

    Common Diseases and Disorders

    In general, the bichon is a healthy dog with few medical concerns. However, the following diseases or disorders have been reported:

  • Epilepsy is a seizure disorder that develops between the ages of 2 to 5 years.
  • Cataracts cause the lens of the eye to loose transparency and can result in blindness.
  • Entropion is a problem with the eyelid that causes inward rolling. Lashes on the edge of the eyelid irritate the surface of the eyeball and may lead to more serious problems.
  • Urolithiasis is a condition affecting the urinary tract resulting in the formation of bladder stones.
  • Corneal dystrophy is a primary, inherited, bilateral (both sides), symmetrical condition of the cornea that is not accompanied by corneal inflammation or systemic disease.
  • Diabetes is a disease of the pancreas related to insufficient amounts of insulin production.
  • Patent ductus arteriosis (PDA) is a congenital birth defect caused by a blood vessel that normally closes after birth, but remains open resulting in the passage of extra volumes of blood into the lungs.
  • Congenital hypotrichosis – is a congenital disease causing symmetrical hair loss.
  • Choosing a Dachshund

    The dachshund is a short-legged long-bodied breed affectionately referred to as a "wiener dog". (The nickname gained notoriety after an American artist drew a dachshund in a hot dog bun in the early 20th century.) This breed is very popular and is typically within the top 10 most loved breeds. Playful but stubborn, the "doxie" is a member of the hound breeds.

    The dachshund has been one of the top breeds based on the American Kennel Club (AKC) tallies.
    History & Origin

    In the 15th century, a short legged, long bodied dog with hound ears was used to chase and hunt badgers in Germany. The name "dachshund" means badger dog. In addition to badgers, dachshunds were originally bred to hunt wild boar, foxes and rabbits. The dachshund's long body allows the animal to chase these adversaries underground. In Germany, this breed is often still employed in this capacity.

    Today, in America, the dachshund enjoys a different lifestyle as a companion animal. The existence of other hunting breeds allows dachshund owners to appreciate their pets' faithful, fun-loving and energetic nature in their home.

    The dachshund was officially accepted into the American Kennel Club in 1885.


    Dachshunds have long bodies, short legs and deep chests. They are strong in front, a characteristic that enables them to work well below ground. The wrists (also called carpus) are slightly closer together than the shoulder joints when viewed from the front. This feature gives the dachshund the appearance of having "crooked" legs. Alternatively, the hindlegs appear straight when viewed from behind. Due to efforts by US breeders, the crookedness of the legs has been lessened in comparison to dachshunds bred in other countries.

    The dachshund's coat can be smooth (shorthaired), wirehaired, or longhaired. The dachshund can be one-colored (red or cream), two-colored (black, chocolate, wild boar, gray or blue and fawn or Isabella with tan markings). In addition to color, dachshunds also come in a variety of patterns. Dapple (light areas and a darker base color), brindle and piebald are some common color patterns.


    Dachshunds are bred in the United States as either miniature or standard. The miniature is 11 pounds or less. From the ground to top of the shoulder, the dog stands about 5 inches. The standard dachshund ranges from about 16 to 32 pounds with a height at the shoulder of 7 to 10 inches.


    Dachshunds are outgoing and strong-willed – even considered stubborn by some owners – and are very alert.

    Home and Family Relations

    The dachshund is a well-loved pet. The breed is curious, persistent and enjoys participating in activities with members of the family. Your dachshund may appear to possess seemingly boundless energy, thus keeping you well entertained. Because of their size, dachshunds make a good first pet. Vocalizing readily when strangers approach, the breed can be a good watchdog. If introduced at an early age, this breed can do well with children. Shorthaired dachshunds are particularly easy to maintain because they do not require frequent grooming. One concern for avid gardeners, however, is the dachshund's love of digging.


    Dachshunds are intelligent and willing to learn; however, they may be strong-willed. This trait may make Training challenging, but nonetheless fun.

    Special Care

    Longhaired and wirehaired dachshunds benefit from daily brushing. This activity promotes circulation to the skin and hair follicles and encourages a healthy coat. Brushing is also relaxing for your pet and provides the opportunity to bond with your dachshund. The pendant or hanging nature of the pet's ears can create an environment for infections and inflammation in the dachshund's ear canal. Longhaired and wirehaired dachshunds that run in the woods may need to have coats checked regularly for mats and burrs.

    Health Concerns

  • Because of the long body, short legs and hereditary, dachshunds are predisposed to unusual stresses on their intervertebral disks and subsequent back problems. They may develop a ruptured or prolapsed disk.
  • Cataracts result when the lens of the eye is no longer transparent and can result in blindness.
  • Congenital Deafness present at birth.
  • Atlantoaxial subluxation is a condition in which the first two cervical (neck) vertebrae are not firmly attached. Dogs are born without ligament support to their atlantoaxial joint,
  • Pyoderma refers to deep skin infections.
  • Cryptorchidism results when only one testicle descends into the scrotum and the other testicle remains in the abdomen.
  • Diabetes is a disorder of the pancreas that results in inadequate amounts of insulin being secreted.
  • Choosing a Dalmatian

    Easily recognized by his white coat and black spots, the Dalmatian is a good watch dog and natural protector. Also called the Carriage Dog, the Dalmatian has a long history of accompanying their masters on chariots, carriages and even fire engines.

    History & Origin

    The history of the Dalmatian is uncertain to say the least. Experts disagree as to the country of origin of this breed. Dalmatia, a province of Yugoslavia and formerly of Austria, has claimed the origin of Dalmatians. However, France, India, Greece and several other countries have done likewise. Engravings from ancient Greece depict a spotted dog running behind chariots. This coaching ability is one of many ancient skills the breed possesses. The Dalmatian has proudly followed, preceded and run underneath traveling coaches providing protection from bandits. Nighttime found the pets sleeping beside the horses in the stable guarding the master's belongings. Historically, the Dalmatian has been utilized as a firehouse dog, circus performer, for search and rescue missions, and for hunting and retrieving. Recently, this spotted performer has gained popularity as one of Hollywood's favorite breeds. The American Kennel Club first registered the Dalmatian in 1888. It is classified as a non-sporting breed.


    The Dalmatian is a medium-sized dog with a sleek and muscular body. The facial expression is one of intelligence and readiness. The breed has a short, thick coat that lies very close to the body. The spots are black or liver brown and round. They begin to appear at around two weeks of age. Combinations of these colors and/or patches are not acceptable for show dogs. The top of the breed's head is flat. Ears are triangular and pendulous with the tip reaching approximately to the bottom of the cheek. The Dalmatian has blue or brown eyes. Combinations of these colors are acceptable. The nose should be the same color as the spots.


    Adult Dalmatians average between 19 and 23 inches at the height of the shoulder and weigh between 45 and 70 pounds.


    The Dalmatian is an active, energetic pet well known for undying protection of his owner. While not renowned as a dog that barks excessively, the Dalmatian may become vocal when strangers approach. The breed is usually eager to please his owner though is not too friendly with people they do not know or trust.

    Home and Family Relations

    This breed generally makes a good family pet. They can get along well with children and other pets if they are introduced while still a puppy. This breed enjoys being active and loves to go for long walks or to run in a big yard. Some owners report that their Dalmatian is curious and likes to explore.


    The Dalmatian is an intelligent dog and learns readily. They have been successfully trained for retrieving, rescue, circus performance and as coach dogs. They provide excellent protection. Dalmatians are considered easy to train.

    Special Concerns

    Dalmatians may exhibit a curious combination of a smile and a snarl, a smarl. Lips may be drawn tightly back away from the teeth. Interestingly, this expression is an indication of a playful mood.

    With the popularity of Dalmatians, overbreeding and poor breeding have resulted in temperament problems with the breed. Ethical and diligent breeders are continuing to try to reduce the incidence of aggression and behavior problems within the breed. Make sure you obtain your Dalmatian from a reputable breeder.

    Dalmatians shed. Their short white hairs are easily noticeable on your clothes and furniture. Brushing your Dalmatian once or twice a week helps to remove dead hairs from the coat. Dalmatians may have "flaky" skin during winter months when the humidity is lower. Talk with your veterinarian to determine possible treatments. Dalmatians' ears are very thin and have a poorer blood supply compared to the rest of the body. Because of this, frostbite can occur if your pet is left outside for too long in cold weather.

    Health Concerns

    In following diseases or disorders have been reported in the Dalmatian:

  • Gastric torsion, also known as bloat, is a life-threatening sudden illness associated with the stomach filling with air and twisting.
  • Hip dysplasia is a malformation of the hip joint that results in pain, lameness and arthritis.
  • Interdigital dermatitis, also known as pododermatitis, is an inflammation of the paws involving the feet and nails.
  • Atopy is an itchy skin disease of animals that is caused by an allergy to substances in the environment.
  • Choosing a Bouvier des Flandres

    As the name implies, the Bouvier des Flandres originated in the Flandres area, which included areas of Belgium, the Netherlands and France. Commonly called the Bouvier, this breed is an excellent working dog, guard dog and family companion.

    History and Origin

    Historical information concerning the Bouvier des Flandres dates largely to the 1800s. The name "Bouvier" means ox driver, one of the many jobs of the early Bouvier. The Flemish developed this hard-working breed out of necessity; the dog not only drove herds, but he pulled carts, guarded the herd and the home and hunted vermin. These were hard-working pets appreciated for their endurance, loyalty and protection. The privations caused by both world wars took their toll on the Bouvier population; the breed owes their continued existence to a few dedicated and devoted breeders.

    Today, the breed is still utilized as a farm dog, guard dog and enjoyed as an important member of the family. The Bouvier des Flandres was introduced in North America in the early 1900s and was first registered by the American Kennel Club in 1931.

    Appearance and Size

    The Bouvier des Flandres has a dense, rough-haired double coat. The outer coat has whorls but is not curly and is approximately 2 to 3 inches long. This water-resistant coat is a hallmark of the breed and enables the pet to brave the harshest elements. The Bouvier des Flandres has a rough beard and shorter moustache. Eyebrows frame this breed's eyes. Ears are upright and triangular. The coat color ranges from gray to fawn and many variations in between. The breed is medium- to large-sized and well-muscled with a brave, intelligent appearance. The American Kennel Club requires that the tail be docked to approximately 2 to 3 inches.

    Adult Bouvier des Flandres average 23 to 27 inches in height at the shoulder and weigh around 75 to 95 pounds.


    The Bouvier des Flandres is an even-tempered, sensible pet with moderate exercise requirements. The breed is well known as a loving, gentle companion with a strong sense of loyalty and protection for the owner.

    Home and Family Relations

    The Bouvier des Flandres is touted as an excellent family pet that fares well with children. Other pets are best tolerated if introduced when the Bouvier is young.


    The Bouvier des Flandres is intelligent and alert. In addition to being trained to herd cattle, the breed is trained as a guard dog and, to a limited degree, for rescue work. This is a hard-working breed and well-loved family pet.

    Special Concerns

    Ideally, the Bouvier's thick coat requires daily grooming. While the density of the Bouvier des Flandre's coat is one of his most beautiful features, it can also cause serious health problems in hot and/or humid environments. This breed should not be left outside for longer than a few minutes in such weather.

    Daily exercise is essential for your Bouvier's health but it should be done in the early morning or late evening hours if you live in a hot, humid climate.

    Common Diseases and Disorders

    In general, the Bouvier des Flandres are healthy dogs, however the following diseases or conditions have been recognized in this breed;

  • Gastric torsion, also known as bloat, is a life-threatening sudden illness associated with the stomach filling with air and twisting.
  • Hip dysplasia is a malformation of the hip joint that results in pain, lameness and arthritis.
  • Muscular dystrophy – is type of congenital disorder affecting the muscle.
  • Laryngeal paralysis is a dysfunction of the larynx, or voicebox causing respiratory distress. Most common is the acquired idiopathic form.

    In addition, although these occur infrequently, the following disorders have also been reported:

  • Glaucoma is a painful and serious condition that causes pressure within the eye to increase. It can lead to blindness if not treated early.
  • Laryngeal paralysis is a serious disease that may begin as early as 4 months of age. Nerves and muscles of the voice box (larynx) function abnormally.
  • Cataracts cause a loss of the normal transparency of the lens of the eye. The problem can occur in one or both eyes and can lead to blindness.
  • Entropion is a problem with the eyelid that causes inward rolling. Lashes on the edge of the eyelid irritate the surface of the eyeball and may lead to more serious problems.

    Life Span

    The average life span of the Bouvier des Flandres is approximately 8 to 10 years.