Archive for the ‘Breeds of Dog’ Category

Irish Wolfhound (Hound Group)

Gemma | August 26th, 2007
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The Irish Wolfhound is an imposingly large member of the Hound Group. In fact, it is the tallest sighthound in existence. They have a combination of great speed, size, and power which helps them hunt and take down large prey. But don’t let their instinctive hunting abilities fool you – the Irish Wolfhound also makes a loving house pet. It is calm, easy-going, and affectionate towards its family members. They are wonderful around children and friendly towards strangers.

A Brief History Of The Irish Wolfhound

The Irish Wolfhound has it roots in Ireland, dating back to the Ancient times. It is said that the large dogs came from Greece and into Ireland sometime around 1500 B.C. The size of the dog kept getting larger as the centuries went on.

Irish Wolfhounds were first documented around 391 A.D. in Rome as they were given to the Romans as gifts. The popularity of the Irish Wolfhound rose quickly when being put into the fighting ring, taking down large wild animals during sporting events in the arena. In fact, the dog became the subject of many legendary stories of valor and bravery during battle.

Over many centuries later the Irish Wolfhound diminished in numbers. The wolf was extinct in Ireland during the 18th century which caused less service to be needed by these imposing canines. Many of them were also given away to foreign nobility. When the 19th century came about, the breed was practically extinct.

Captain G.A. Graham was responsible for starting the process of resurrecting the Irish Wolfhound. In 1869, Mr. Graham went about crossing several Wolfhounds with other breeds, specifically the Scottish Wolfhound, Borzoi, and the Great Dane. The breeding practice was successful and today many families enjoy the Irish Wolfhound as a part of the household.

Upkeep Requirements For The Irish Wolfhound

This breed needs daily exercise but despite its large physical body, Irish Wolfhounds only need a few long walks on the leash each day to satisfy its activity requirements. They must have plenty of living space to be happy and stretch out, both indoors and outdoors. Living in a small apartment, or even a cramped house, is not suitable for these dogs.

Irish Wolfhounds have a high tolerance for cold temperatures. The ideal living situation for these dogs is to have access to a large yard during the day and sleep inside at night with the rest of the family. Grooming requirements call for a heavy brushing two to three times per week, with light trimming once per month to clean up uneven hairs.

Health Concerns

The average lifespan of the Irish Wolfhound is between five and seven years. Major health concerns that run common in the breed are elbow dysplasia and gastric torsion. Minor health problems include CHD, OCD, osteosarcoma, and cardiomyopathy. Rarely seen is PRA, vWD, and megaesophagus. Veterinarians suggest that these dogs get specifically tested for cardiac and hip problems.

Irish Water Spaniel (Sporting Group)

Gemma | August 24th, 2007
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The Irish Water Spaniel is one member of the sporting group that does everything with enthusiasm and vigor. These dogs absolutely love to run for hours at a time, swim, play, and hunt. The Irish Water Spaniel also has a funny side, and tends to clown around when having a good time.

In the mix of these wonderful characteristics, this breed has a high rating in terms of training ability and makes an excellent watchdog. A bit stubborn and quite independent, the Irish Water Spaniel tends to be reserved around strange people and other pets, but is generally good around children.

A Brief History Of The Irish Water Spaniel

One of the most distinctive members of the spaniel group, not to mention one of the oldest, the Irish Water Spaniel is reported to have been depicted in various manuscripts from as long as 1,000 years ago.

During the 1100s, there is mention of these dogs by various names, including Rat Tail Spaniels, Shannon Spaniels, and Whip Tail Spaniels. The name Irish Water Spaniel has been found to be the reference to the breed from approximately 1600 and on. Sometime during that period researches documented that an Irish Water Spaniel was given as a gift to the King of France.

Now we do not exactly know whether or not the breed existed in different varieties at this time or if there were just similar breeds that resembled one another. However, what we do know is that in Ireland there were various similar spaniels in existence. They were the Tweed Spaniels, Southern Irish Spaniels, and the Northern Irish Spaniels.

The one type of spaniel listed above that is said to be mostly responsible to the influence of today’s Irish Water Spaniel is the Southern Irish Spaniel, which is also known as McCarthy’s Breed. The breed was part of the show ring by the late 1800s, in both the United States and Britain, and by 1875 it was considered the most popular dog of the time. Today, the Irish Water Spaniel is rarely found as a common pet or in the show ring.

Upkeep Requirements For The Irish Water Spaniel

Sporting dogs need plenty of daily exercise and the Irish Water Spaniel must have mental exercise to match. Plan on giving your Water Spaniel at least one hour of daily stimulation each day. They are inquisitive and sensitive to your needs which makes them easy to train. And a well-trained spaniel makes a great watch dog.

Like all dogs, the Irish Water Spaniel will lose its coat ever so often, but because of its curly coat the hairs do not fall off; instead they become trapped in the other hairs. This means regular brushing so that the dog’s coat does not form cords and mats.

Health Concerns

The average life span of a healthy Irish Water Spaniel is between ten and twelve years. The only two major health issues that are common in this breed are otitis externa and CHD. Minor concerns include distichiasis. Rarely seen is nail-bed disease, seizures, and megaesophagus. Veterinarians suggest that all Irish Water Spaniel dogs get tested for hip problems.

Irish Terrier Dog Breed

Gemma | August 20th, 2007
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The Irish Terrier is known as the world’s oldest Terrier breed. It is said to have descended from the Black and Tan Terrier, also mixed with a larger and more streamlined wheaten colored Terrier. There is no official documentation to list this ancestry, but researchers are pretty confident with this estimation. Other information leads us to believe that the Irish Terrier may also have roots from the Irish Wolfhound dog breed.

Irish Terriers dogs are considered to be the raciest of the Terrier Group. It has a longer body with legs that extend further than most other Terriers. The solid red color of the Irish Terrier became a standard for the breed around the end of the 19th century. Before that time, early Irish Terriers were seen in a variety of other colors, including gray, brindle, and black/tan.

The very first Irish Terrier was shown in the year 1875. They became so popular that by the middle of the 1880s, the Irish Terrier was rated as the fourth most popular dog breed in England. During that time, it was fashionably stylish to crop the ears of the Irish Terrier. However, this practice was banned in 1889 by the Irish Terrier Club Of England. This banning led to the abolition of cropping ears for all dog breeds that were shown in England.

The Irish Terrier soon became quite popular in America. During the late 1920s, they were ranked #13 of all breeds listed at that time. With such fame and a great beginning, you would assume that the Irish Terrier would maintain its popularity. However, it is considered to be one of the more rare Terriers of today.


Irish Terrier dogs are extremely bold, dashing, assertive, and independent. Often said to be one of the most strong-willed of dog breeds, these animals can be a bit aggressive towards other dogs and smaller animals, and tend to be reserved when around strangers. On the other hand, when it comes to its family, the Irish Terrier is top-rated for its playfulness. It loves adventure and is also a first-class watchdog. So long as it gets plenty of daily exercise, this dog will maintain a well-mannered personality.

Taking Care Of Your Irish Terrier

This is one dog that not only needs physical exercise on a daily basis, but it also requires a lot of mental stimulation as well. Daily entertainment and vigorous playtime is a requirement if you plan on raising an Irish Terrier. They make great jogging partners and are often the desired pet for active people. When it comes to grooming, it has a very wiry coat that will need a thorough combing two to three times per week.

Health Information

Irish Terriers are one of the most healthiest dog breeds in existence. They have a lifespan of up to 16 years, with 13 to 14 years being the average. There are absolutely no major health concerns to worry about and the only minor issue that occasionally springs up are urinary stones.

Irish Setter Dog Breed

Gemma | August 17th, 2007
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The Irish Setter is a beautiful, happy-go-lucky dog that was bred to hunt enthusiastically with lots of energy. This dog breed has a natural sense of happiness and excitability towards life. He makes a fantastic companion with both adults and children so long as there is enough activity to keep the dog happy. In fact, if the Irish Setter does not get enough daily exercise then he can become easily frustrated and sensitive toward distractions.

The Irish Setter is an amiable breed of dog which takes great pleasure in pleasing its owners and the rest of the family. Although he would make an ideal pet for a family with kids, it is noted that the Irish Setter may be a little too rough and excitable with very small children.

Upkeep And Maintenance

When it comes to raising an Irish Setter, we can not stress enough how important it is for this animal to get plenty of exercise. If you are thinking about getting a new dog and would like to have an Irish Setter, then you need to consider your lifestyle and understand that he will not be happy as your pet if you are not the active type. You would be doing a great injustice by raising an Irish Setter and then living a sedentary lifestyle while never taking the dog outside.

How much exercise is recommended? Plan on running this dog breed hard for at least one hour of strenuous activity and exertion on a daily basis. The Irish Setter is one particular breed of dog that is not suited for living in a small apartment.

The ideal living situation would be that of a large fenced-in yard with plenty of room for him to move around. The Irish Setter can live perfectly happy as an outdoor dog and during warm temperatures, however, as with most dogs, he would need to be inside during the cold winter months.

Grooming this dog breed must be a daily routine. With his long coat he needs regular brushing and the occasional trim so that he can look his best.

Health Information

The Irish Setter has an average lifespan of up to 14 years. Major health concerns which should be addressed to your veterinarian would be gastric torsion, CHD, and PRA. Less important health concerns which may not affect this breed, but sometimes spring up are: HOD, hypothyroidism, megaesophagus, osteosarcoma, and panosteitis. Veterinarians also recommend that the Irish Setter dog breed be specifically tested for thyroid, DNA for PRA, eye problems, hip dysplasia, and cardiac.

Ibizan Hound (Hound Group)

Gemma | August 16th, 2007
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The Ibizan Hound is one of the most instinctive hunting dogs of the Hound Group. They can locate just about any animal using highly tuned-in scent and hearing skills. If given the chance to chase, these dogs will jump at the opportunity to go after small animals. They often bark while chasing prey, which is uncommon among most sighthounds. Indoors, the Ibizan makes a wonderful house pet with a quiet, well-mannered demeanor and highly devoted to its family.

A Brief History Of The Ibizan Hound

The Ibizan hound has its roots that date back to the Ancient times, from the Balearic Islands. Their physical appearance is strikingly similar to that of the Pharaoh Hound, both bearing an amazing similar look as those depicted in Egyptian tombs.

It is said that Ancient Phoenician sea traders had brought these dogs with them to the Balearic Islands (Ibizan), where they remained secluded from the outside world for some time. And although Ibizan had experienced many rulers over the years, the Ibizan Hound still remained totally pure without being crossed with other breeds. Very little has changed from its ancestral stock.

The first Ibizan Hound made its way to the United States during the 1950s. The dog made quite an impression due to its unusually striking look. Although it became popular quickly, the breed’s numbers never really took off. Gradually it had gained enough notice to be recognized by the AKC in 1979. Today the Ibizan still remains a rare breed to be seen.

Upkeep Requirements For The Ibizan Hound

Being the proud owner of the Ibizan Hound means living an active lifestyle. Daily runs or sprints in a safe area will keep this dog happy. In fact, they have the most fun when allowed to run at full speed, which means having access to a large field. Ideally you should live on a large property with plenty of open land to keep the Ibizan happy.

This not the type of hound that is meant to live outdoors. Although they should have access to the yard during the day it is important that they sleep inside at night with the family. Ibizan dogs have a moderate tolerance for heat but not so much for cooler temperatures. Grooming requirements for the breed calls for the occasional brushing every couple of weeks. The wire-coated version will need brushing more often about once weekly.

Health Concerns

The average lifespan of the Ibizan Hound is between twelve and fourteen years. There are no major health concerns to worry about. Minor health problems that run common in the breed include seizures and allergies. Rarely seen is retinal dysplasia, cataracts, axonal dystrophy, and deafness. Veterinarians suggest that Ibizan Hounds get specifically tested for eye problems.

Havanese Dog Breed

Gemma | August 13th, 2007
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Originating from the Mediterranean during ancient times, the Havanese dog comes from a family of small dogs known as the Barbichon (now called Bichon) family. They showed up in large quantities throughout Cuba when Spanish traders brought them as gifts to give to the Cuban women. This allowed open trade between the two peoples.

The Cubans absolutely adored this little dog and pampered them as if they were Kings and Queens. Havanese dogs were popular with the wealthy. In time, these dogs made their way back to Europe where the people refer to them as the White Cuban. Their popularity continued to grow. Many people owned them as pets but also enjoyed Havanese dogs as performers.

In time, the Havanese became less and less popular except for performing at circus shows. They were seen in many circuses throughout Europe as trick dogs. Eventually, their breed started to dramatically decline in numbers to the point where they were almost extinct. This was happening in both Europe and Cuba.

Good fortune brought this dog breed back up in numbers when three families from Cuba left for the United States and brought their Havanese dogs with them. It is estimated that they arrived in America sometime during the late 1950s, or early 1960s. In fact, just about all Havanese dogs of today come from these bloodlines. Dog enthusiasts took notice of the Havanese and in 1996 it was entered into its first AKC dog show. In 1999, the Havanese was excepted as a new member of the toy group.


The best way to describe the temperament and personality of a Havanese dog is lover of attention. This dog absolutely loves being in the spotlight and is extremely playful. In fact, the Havanese scores on the highest level in terms of affection, friendliness, and playfulness. Considered to be somewhat of a clown, this breed is known for getting along with just about everybody and every animal.

Taking Care Of Your Havanese

Due to its small size and stature, very little extra attention is needed for upkeep and maintenance. A short walk on the leash will take care of its exercise requirements and it must stay indoors with the family. Grooming does take a little work, however. Its long coat requires a good brushing almost daily. The good news is that Havanese dogs do not shed, but the hairs can become tangled up and matted, hence the reason for daily brushing.

Health Information

The average lifespan of a healthy Havanese dog can last up to 15 years. The average time for most is approximately 13 years. There are no major health concerns to be worried about if you own a Havanese. The only minor health issue that may arise is patellar luxation, which is very common amongst small dogs.

Harrier Dog Breed

Gemma | August 8th, 2007
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The Harrier dog breed is a member of the scenthound family and its origins are from Great Britain. The term Harrier used to be a general reference to all hounds which is why it makes it difficult to research the exact history of today’s Harrier dog. Dog historians theorize that this dog may in fact be one of the oldest of scent hounds that are still in existence today.

References to the Harrier dog breed date back to the 13th century in England. And It is quite possible that the breed has ancestry that connects with the Talbot dog (which is extinct today), St. Hubert hounds, Brachet dogs, and eventually the French Basset.

All of these breeds combined produced a dog that had a keen ability to track hare with its strong sense of scent and at a pace slow enough that enabled hunters to keep up with them on foot. In the past, most Harrier packs were owned and used by the gentry. However, hunters that were poor and did not have horses could also hunt alongside Harriers. The Harrier breed has been recognized in the United States since back to the colonial times.


If you have the opportunity to own a Harrier dog as a house pet then you have already seen just how playful and outgoing its personality can be. This dog is much more sociable than its counterpart, the Foxhound, but not quite as extroverted as the Beagle is. Harrier dogs are excellent with children, amiable, and make outstanding watchdogs. They are most happy when able to run free outdoors in a safe area sniffing and hunting.

Taking Care Of Your Harrier

Like most dogs, Harriers need daily physical exercise that can be taken care of with a long walk or a brisk jog out on the trail. It also loves to play vigorous dog games outside. They can live outdoors if need be so long as there is plenty of warm shelter and soft bedding. Grooming requirements are minimal, with only the occasional brushing to remove loose hair. One other important thing to know about Harrier dogs is that they are extremely sociable and need companionship at all times.

Health Information

The average lifespan for a healthy Harrier dog is between 11 and 15 years. The only major health concern that may spring up is CHD. There are no minor issues to date. Occasionally seen is perianal fistula and epilepsy, but both conditions are extremely rare.

Greyhound Dog Breed

Gemma | August 5th, 2007
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Greyhound dogs and all similar-type dog breeds have been depicted since the early ancient times throughout Greece, Egypt, and Rome. The Greyhound is a member of the sighthound family. In fact, the first type of dogs that were specifically bred by humans were called the Sighthound. Sighthounds were created in order to chase and outrun game, ultimately catching it through speed and agility.

The name Greyhound is said to have come from either the Greek word Graius or the Latin gradus, which denotes high grade. When the times of Saxon had been reached, Greyhounds were very popular and well established throughout Britain. They were valuable to both commoners and the rich. Commoners used them to hunt and put food on the table while the upper class enjoyed them for the sport of chase.

The Forest Laws of 1014 ruled that only the nobility could own and maintain Greyhounds. These laws were in effect for nearly 400 years and although the ruling was changed, Greyhounds still remained as dogs of nobility even though they were not functional anymore for chasing game because of the growing practice of agriculture and alternative food sources becoming available to the people.

Soon enough, sport of chasing hare became the sole activity of the Greyhound, especially with the upper class during the 1800s. Throughout the early 1900s and into the late 1920s, these dogs were enjoyed by people who watched them race at the tracks.

When racing parks started to install a mechanical lure to watch the Greyhounds race at lightening speed after it, this dog’s destiny was sealed. Soon enough, many greyhounds were bred specifically for speed to win these races. This sport continues to this day.

Greyhounds also were entered into dog show competitions and were officially recognized by the AKC in 1885. Greyhounds were then specifically bred for either dog shows or racing. There is even an organization called the National Greyhound Association (NGA) which helps register thousands of Greyhound dogs every year.


Considering that this dog was specifically bred for racing, you might think that the Greyhound would be a constant wired ball of energy. Ironically, this animal is very calm and laid-back. They have great manners and generally get along with other dogs and pets. However, once he is outside, watch out, our Greyhound is likely to chase anything that moves. These dogs are very independent and moderately playful.

Taking Care Of Your Greyhound

Upkeep of the Greyhound means plenty of daily exercise. Brisk walks are great, but this dog needs to sprint! They absolutely love to be outdoors running around and chasing things. Danger is easily found when Greyhounds are allowed to run free in areas that may prove to cause injury. To counter this, always take your dog outside in the country where there is little chance of getting hit by a vehicle or some other source. As far as grooming is concerned, very little is needed due to the short-haired coat Greyhounds have.

Health Information

Greyhounds have a life span of up to 14 years, with 11 to 12 being the average. There are absolutely no major health concerns to worry about, however, there are some minor issues which include osteosarcoma, esophageal achalasia, and gastric torsion. Due to their genetic disposition to sprint and run at high speeds, common racing injuries may occur, such as toe and hock problems.

Greater Swiss Mountain Dog (Working Group)

Gemma | August 4th, 2007
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The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is an absolute teddy bear. Full of love and affection that makes the perfect house pet, this dog is ideal for families that not only want a dog that can be trusted around children, but also one that makes an imposing watchdog. They are a sensitive breed, extremely loyal to its owners, and gentle with other pets in the home.

A Brief History Of The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog

Switzerland is the original area of origin for this breed and the first function of the dogs were used as guardians and draft dogs. The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is said to be the largest and oldest of the four types of Swiss Mountain Dogs in existence. The other three are the Bernese, Appenzeller, and the Entlebucher.

One theory of the breed’s bloodline is that they were derived from Molossian dogs or the Mastiff, which were used when the Romans crossed over into Switzerland during the Ancient times. Other researchers claim that the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog came from the Phoenicians when they brought them into Spain sometime during 1000 B.C.

Regardless of the specific truth behind the dog’s bloodline, we have watched them spread throughout Europe in great numbers to become interbred with various native dogs. Eventually, they developed through independent lines and small communities, still remaining excellent guard dogs, draft dogs, and herders.

All of these dogs were known as Metzgerhunde Dogs and shared common physical appearances. Therefore, they were assumed to be the same breed type. Up until the latter part of the 1800s did these dogs become separated into four distinct types by the research of Professor A. Heim. He noticed that there were more specific differences in these dogs than what was assumed.

The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog was finally claimed as its own breed in 1908 but it took some time for them to become popular, especially with the disaster of two World Wars. In 1968, the breed made its way to the United States and was officially recognized by the AKC in 1985 as a member of the Miscellaneous Class, then onto the Working Group in 1995.

Upkeep Requirements For The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog

As a member of the Working Group, this breed thrives on roaming the great outdoors in search of something to do, particularly in colder climates. Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs need plenty of daily exercise which can be met by a vew brisk walks on the leash or long hikes through nature’s trails.

If need be, the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog can live outside, as they have a high tolerance for cold temperatures, but like all pets that thrive on human companionship, it is best for them to sleep inside with the family at night. Grooming requirements consist of only a once-a-week brushing. When shedding, a daily brushing is best.

Health Concerns

The average life span of a healthy Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is between ten and twelve years. The only major health problem that runs common in the breed is CHD. Minor issues include seizures, panosteitis, gastric torsion, female urinary incontinence, shoulder OCD, distichiasis, and splenic torsion.

Great Pyrenees (Working Group)

Gemma | July 31st, 2007
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The Great Pyrenees is one of the largest members of the Working Group. An imposing animal, one that was bred to be a guardian, is highly devoted to its family and very suspicious of unknown strangers, both human and animal. So long as the Great Pyrenees is not provoked it remains a calm, loving, and very well-mannered canine. Only strong minded, dominant owners should raise one of these dogs.

A Brief History Of The Great Pyrenees

Great Pyrenees dogs originated from France. It’s function was to guard sheep. Researchers suggest that the breed descended from an original flock of guard dogs. These dogs were all white, from Asia Minor, some 10,000 years B.C.

Nomadic shepherds migrated to the Pyrenees Mountains sometime around 3,000 B.C., bringing their guarding dogs with them, thus creating the basis of today’s Great Pyrenees. These dogs maintained themselves as superb livestock guardians for centuries to come.

Just before the end of the 1600s, the breed became a favorite among the French Nobility and were heavily requested in the court of Louis XIV. In 1675, Louis XIV publicly announced that this dog was to be known as the Royal Dog of France. It was at this same time that the dogs arrived in Newfoundland.

In 1824, the first Pyrenees is documented to have arrived in the United States by General Lafayette. However, over the next 75 years the breed had lost all popularity in France and could only be found working as useful guardians in small, isolated areas. Interest in the breed remained low and they had all but became instinct in England.

Sometimes in early 1930s, enthusiasts of the Great Pyrenees started a heavy breeding program, importing hundreds of dogs to the United States. In 1933, the AKC officially recognized the breed which helped boost the dog’s popularity with new owners.

Upkeep Requirements For The Great Pyrenees

The Great Pyrenees must have plenty of daily exercise to keep in shape. However, these needs are not excessive and can easily be met with a few brisk walks on the leash. They absolutely love to hike so if you live in an area with nature trails or hills, you have the ideal setting for raising this dog.

This breed can live outside if need be, especially in cold temperatures. However, they are not suited to withstanding hot weather. When sleeping it is best to keep them inside at night with the rest of the family. Grooming requirements call for a thorough brushing, once per week – daily during shedding season. Great Pyrenees dogs also have a habit of drooling.

Health Concerns

The average life span of a Great Pyrenees dog is between ten and twelve years. Major health problems that run common in the breed are patellar luxation and CHD. Minor issues include panosteitis, OCD, osteosarcoma, chondrodysplasia, entropion, skin problems, and cataracts. Veterinarians suggest that these dogs get tested for potential eye, knee, and hip problems.