Archive for the 'Breeds' Category

Why You Should Train Your Small Dog

The reasons for training large, powerful dogs are obvious and abundant.  You need to be able to control them and they’re often much stronger than you.  They can very easily outrun you and it’s very possible they could hurt another person, whether intentionally or inadvertently.  Even just walking a bigger dog on a leash can be next to impossible if the dog hasn’t received some basic obedience training.

Small dogs, on the other hand, are not strong or threatening.  All you have to do is pick them up – problem solved, right?  Wrong.  It’s very important for you and for your small dog that you take it through at least some basic obedience training.  The health of your dog and your relationship with them will be greatly improved with just a small investment in obedience training.


Aggression in small dogs is very common.  Many small dog owners don’t see this as a problem because they figure their dog is too small to hurt anyone.  This is both an errant assumption to make and an insufficient reason not to address your dog’s aggressive behavior.  Aggression is just as much a problem in small dogs as it is in larger dogs.

Small dogs are very likely to become aggressive precisely because they never receive the obedience training that larger dogs get.  People tend to think that everything they do is cute and so inappropriate behavior is rewarded.  Also, the easiest way to control a small dog is simply to pick them up.  This gives them the attention they want and reinforces the inappropriate behavior as well.

Being the Alpha

All of these dynamics make the small dog think it is in control – it is the dominant one in the owner-dog relationship.  If you don’t assert your dominance effectively and consistently, your dog will forever be fighting you for the top spot in the pack.  This is not going to get your dog to behave well and it’s not healthy for the dog either.

The benefits of obedience training are not limited to the specific commands you teach your dog.  By taking your dog through an obedience training regimen, you’re establishing your authority and opening a clear line of communication with your dog.  Having this type of relationship with your dog is just as important no matter what size your dog is.


Having an established way of communicating with your dog is definitely important for the health of your relationship with your dog, but it’s also vital to ensuring his safety as well.  When your dog listens to you and respects your authority, you can protect it from a variety of dangerous situations.  If you don’t have the tools to command your dog’s attention and respect, you won’t be able to keep him safe nearly as effectively.

If you own a small dog, you no doubt want the best for it.  In order to make sure you’re giving your dog the best care possible, it is terribly important that you take it through some basic obedience training.  This really takes very little effort and the benefits are numerous.  You may very well be shocked at how much some simple training can improve your relationship with your dog.

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Claudie on October 5th 2010 in Dog behavior, Dog Ownership, Toy Dogs, training Tips

Herding (Pastoral) Breed Overview

The Herding Group is the newest classification with the kennel clubs, created in 1983 in the US and 1999 in the UK, except for the Leonberger which was in the Utility group, all the other breeds were formerly members of the Working Group. The Herding group has the highest number of breeds, over 30. Breeds such as the Collie family (Border Collies, Rough Collies, Shelties), Old English Sheepdogs, Samoyeds who have been herding reindeer for centuries, Shepherd (Australian, Belgian, German) to name of few.

Herding dogs are associated with working cattle, sheep, reindeer, geese etc; they all share the fabulous ability to control the movement of other animals. In this group the size of the breeds vary enormously, i.e. the small but big in charactere Welsh Corgis which will drive cattle, many time their size, by nipping at their heels, compared to the larger breeds like the Pyrenean or Estrela Mountains Dogs who protect shepherds and their flocks from predators.

Pyrenean Mountain Dog

Pyrenean Mountain Dog

They all have great stamina and an abundance of energy, they are very intelligence and easy to train. One of the most popular breed in the sheepdogs group are the Border Collies, whilst some are pets, many work in farms where are are most valued as they do the work of several trained men. Their ability to be trained to work on the sound of a whistle or word of command is renowned throughout the world.

Border Collie working hard

Border Collier retrieving a piece of wood

As well as herding, many in this group are also trained for rescue work, explosive search, police work etc.

Because the breed is required to work and mostly live in all weather, most have a serviceable coat and a dense undercoat which do not require excessive grooming. Whereas the Hungarian Puli and Komondor which have a distinctive coat which form cords require an unusual grooming demand. They require constant, vigilant attention during their first 18 months whilst their coat is growing, a least a grooming session every 2 – 4 weeks and once the coat is fully grown a grooming session every 8 weeks, all with weekly maintenance interval. So when considering these breeds you will have to bear this in mind.

The vast majority of Herding dogs are pets and never cross path with farm animal. However it is wise to bare in mind that they were bred originally to do a job of work and thrive on challenging activities. They prefer a lead a busy life, so they need plenty to occupy their minds; some might gently herd their owners, especially the children or they can become very protective towards their owners and property.

In general, these intelligent dogs make excellent pets and response well to training. Many do well in obedience trials, agility, fly ball or Schutzhund disciplines.

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Claudie on June 23rd 2010 in Herding (Pastoral) Dogs

Working Group Breed Overview

If you want a dog to perform such jobs as guarding your property, performing water rescues, pulling sleds you will need to consider dogs in the working group.  The group comprises of over 50 different breed i.e. Doberman Pinscher, Alaskan Malamute, Bernese Mountain Dog, Giant Schnauzer, Newfoundland, Great Dane to name of few.

Huskys working

Huskys working

They are intelligent, quick to learn and have been aiding humans in many walks of life.  Without a doubt the Working Group consists of some of the most heroic canines in the world i.e. war dogs, sea and mountain rescues etc.

With such a variation of breeds within this group their function in life differs considerably; they can work as guard-dogs (in the past they even have been used as fighting dogs), as rescue dogs (sea and land) or they can herd cattle or get involved in heavy haulage work.

However, nowadays many of the dogs are used for exhibition purposes and as companions rather than work as was originally intended.  Careful handling and training is a must due to their considerable strength and size.  They are powerful in every way so it is of the utmost importance that they know who is their boss and therefore might not be suitable as pets for average families.


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Claudie on March 16th 2010 in Working Dogs

Hounds Breed Overview

Some of the oldest dog breeds in the world are amongst the hound group, e.g. some evidence can be found in Egypt in the tomb of the pharaohs.  Most hounds were originally used for their hunting instincts either by sight or scent.  Beyond this, it is difficult to find generalisations amongst the breed as there are quite a mix of sizes (from the giant Irish Wolfhound to the small Dachshund), coat types and attitudes.

The Hound Group can be divided in two groups:

– The Sight Hound group i.e. Saluki, Afghan, Borzoi, Pharaoh Hounds, Basenji, Deerhound, Otterhound, Whippet and Elkhound which are believed to date back to 5000 BC.



Sight Hounds possess a lean, powerfull body with a deep chest and long legs which give them both speed and a phenomenal gift of stamina.  They also have exceptional eyesight, this combined with the speed and stamina are what make them so efficient at catching the intended prey once spotted.  Typical examples of sight hounds are the Whippet and Greyhound.  Using these strong characteristics they can be used for racing or hare coursing.  Others in the group can be described as proud and aloof nevertheless they can make trustworthy companions.  They all will require a significant amount of exercise.

–  Scent Hound group i.e. Bloodhound, Dachshund, Beagles, Foxhound, Rhodesian Ridgeback and various Basset Hounds.

Scent Hounds rely strongly on the sense of smell to follow the trail of a prey, such as the Bloodhound, quite literally follow their noses.  Eyesight and speed is of less importance.

Only second to the Bloodhound, the Basset Hounds are specially good at scent tracking, and due to this very strong instinct could easily wander off following their nose if they are left unattended in an open space.  Early training of walking on the lead is strongly recommended as they can have a one track mind when following an interesting scent, and will pull you in all directions.
Scent Hounds are friendly and social; many have been bred to hunt in packs and therefore enjoy the company of other dogs.

Basset Hounds

Basset Hounds

After many thousands of years of breeding, and valued for their independence of thought, the breed is generally not the easiest to train; the Afghan which a very independent spirit being the most challenging with the Ridgeback being the most obedient in the group.  Nevertheless they can make good family dogs and can get along with other family pets, however some might be tempted to chase the neighbour’s cat.

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Claudie on November 23rd 2009 in Hounds

Sporting Dogs (Gundog) Breed Overview

Sporting dogs, also known as gundogs (UK) were originally bred and trained to find live game and/or retrieve game that had been shot on land as well as in water and  are instinctively good swimmers. Even without any special training they will be happy to retrieve things from water however they will need to be taught what needs to be retrieved.

They are known for their intelligent and good temperament and make excellent hunting companions as well as ideal all-round family dogs. Due to their high level of intelligence, they are easy to train.  They are active dogs with an inherent natural love for running and swimming and will require plenty of exercise and attention.  If you are looking to train the puppy for gundog work  look  for parents from working stock as puppies inherit their hunting abilities from their parents; this will give him a head over others.

The breed can be divided into four groups, retrievers (retrieve game once shot), Spaniels (flush game), Pointers and Setters (who use their excellent scent to find game, then stay motionless pointing their body towards the game)however many of the breeds are very capable of doing the same work as the others in the group.

There are over 30 different breeds within the sporting dog group to choose from, the Labrador retriever being the most popular breed of all.  The American Cocker Spaniel  and Cocker Spaniel breeds also have a lot of followers.

Cocker Spaniels

Cocker Spaniels

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Claudie on November 15th 2009 in Sporting (Gundogs)