Category: About Dogs

Want to find the breeds that bark the least?

The best jogging companions?

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Visit our new Top Dog Lists!

Please note that if you are looking for a dog breed that is the best compromise of various traits (for example, SMALL and GOOD WITH OTHER PETS), you should try our Dog Breed Selector.

Have you ever wondered why dogs are so friendly and affectionate?

You may be surprised to know that scientists have wondered the same thing.  To answer the question, scientists from Princeton University and Oregon State University compared the behavior of a group of dogs with their closest relative, wolves.





The wolves in the study  were raised by humans and fully socialized.  Even so, the wolves were much more “aloof” than the dogs.  The wolves would give a friendly greeting to humans, but then mostly ignore them, while the dogs continued to interact with the people around them.

When the researchers examined the genetic structure of the dogs and the wolves, they found that the “friendly” dogs had variations on chromosomes 6 and 7.  Disruption on a gene for a protein called GIF21, which regulates the activity of other genes, was associated with the friendliest, most social dogs.

This same genetic disruption also causes “hypersocial” behavior in rats.

Perhaps the most interesting fact is that a similar genetic disruption can be found in humans with Williams-Beuren syndrome, which leads to mental disabilities, but also causes the victims to be very trusting, friendly, and affectionate.

It is very likely that early humans kept and bred the  friendliest dogs – dogs that possessed the genetic abnormality.  These dogs passed on the abnormality to their offspring, giving rise to the modern, domestic dog.

Whatever the reason, it is clear that dogs love their human families, and we love them back!

For more information, visit ScienceMag.org.

miniature schnauzer puppy and mirror

miniature schnauzer puppy and mirror

For most dog owners, the answer to this question is a resounding YES! Clearly, your dog thinks of himself as a distinct “being.”

But the question of self-awareness is much harder to test. After all, you can’t ask the dog.

For years, the standard test of self-awareness has been the mirror test. The animal is shown a mirror. Typically, the researcher will first put a spot of paint on the animal’s face. If the animal looks in the mirror and then attempts to remove the paint, it is clear that he recognizes “himself.”





Elephants, chimpanzees, dolphins, and even magpies have passed the mirror tests… but dogs do not. It’s possible that a mirror isn’t a valid test for dog, since dogs rely much more on scent than on sight. Or perhaps dogs just don’t care if there’s a spot of paint on their face!

Recently, researchers have begun to question both the methodology and the conclusions of the mirror test, and to find different ways to understand and discuss the question of self-awareness. But whatever the researchers find, dog lovers are likely to draw their own conclusions!

Read More

What Does Your Dog See When He Looks in a Mirror? Science of Us. May 23, 2016.

AKC Herding Group





History

Photo copyright © Cook PhoDOGraphy. All rights reserved.

Photo copyright © Cook PhoDOGraphy. All rights reserved.

The Australian Cattle Dog was developed by pioneer settlers in nineteenth-century Australia to herd cattle on large ranches. Dogs the settlers brought with them from Europe were not able to handle the long distances and inhospitable climate of the new continent, so ranchers began experimenting with new crosses. The Australian Cattle Dog was primarily derived from a mix of blue merle Collie imports from Scotland and wild Australian Dingoes. Australian Kelpie, Dalmatian, and Bull Terrier were also added. The result was an excellent herding dog who worked the stock quietly yet forcefully, and had superior stamina well suited to Australia’s harsh conditions. The breed became known as the Queensland Blue Heeler because it was used so extensively in Queensland. Robert Kaleski drew up a standard for the breed in 1893, which was finally approved in Australia in 1903. The Australian Cattle Dog was fully recognized by the AKC in 1980.

Description

The Australian Cattle Dog is a sturdy, compact working dog that is well-muscled, powerful, yet very agile. The body is a bit longer than high with a slightly curved tail reaching approximately to the hock. The front legs should be perfectly straight when viewed from the front. The head is broad and slightly rounded, with a slight, but definite stop. The prick ears are widely set, and moderately pointed. The oval eyes are dark brown. The teeth should meet in a scissors bite. The weather-resistant, smooth double coat consists of a short, dense undercoat and a short, straight outer coat. Comes in blue or in red speckle. Blue color is either blue, blue-mottled, or blue-speckled with or without black, blue, or tan markings on the head, with tan points. Black markings on the body are not desirable. The red speckle variety should be evenly speckled all over, even the undercoat.





Key Facts

  • Height: 18 to 20 in. (male); 17 to 19 in. (female)
  • Size: Medium
  • Weight: 40 to 65 lbs
  • Availability: Might take some effort to find
  • Talents: Retrieving, herding, guarding, agility, competitive obedience, and performing tricks

Notes

Very good in the obedience ring, and in herding and agility. Firm training from the start and lots of daily attention will produce a fine and happy pet. Some tend to nip at people’s heels in an attempt to herd them. Beware of hip dysplasia, PRA, and deafness. Buy only from stock with OFA, PennHIP, or another national hip-dysplasia clearance and with current CERF or OFA eye clearance. DNA tests for PRA and primary lens luxation are available and recommended for breeding stock. Select a puppy that has had its hearing BAER tested after 2 weeks of age.
If you are buying a pet, avoid strictly working lines as these dogs might be too active and intense for home life. Contrary to popular belief, the coat is neither merle nor roan, but heavily ticked over a mostly white background. Puppies are born white and the color gradually comes in as a form of extreme ticking (inherited from early Dalmatian crosses). The adult color can be seen in the paw pads.

Personality

A working, herding breed, the Australian Cattle Dog is not suited to life alone in the backyard. One of the most intelligent breeds, the Australian Cattle Dog can become easily bored, leading to serious behavior problems. This dog needs to be part of the action! Loyal, protective, alert. An excellent guard dog. Brave and trustworthy.

Behavior

  • Children: Best with older, considerate children
  • Friendliness: Moderately protective
  • Trainability: Very easy to train
  • Independence: Needs people a lot
  • Dominance: High
  • Other Pets: Might be aggressive with dogs of the same sex; do not trust with non-canine pets.
  • Noise: Not a barker
  • Indoors: Moderately active indoors
  • Owner: Not recommended for novice owners

Care

  • Grooming: Very little grooming needed
  • Trimming and Stripping: No trimming or stripping needed
  • Coat: Short coat
  • Shedding: Average shedder
  • Exercise: Needs lots of exercise
  • Jogging: An excellent jogging companion
  • Apartments: Not recommended for apartments
  • Outdoor Space: Best with a large yard
  • Climate: Does well in most climates
  • Longevity: Moderately long lived (12 to 15 years)






Useful Links

AKC® Australian Cattle Dog Breed Standard

akc.org/breeds/AustralianCattleDog.pdf

Australian Cattle Dog Breed Club

acdca.org

Search for a Breeder

akc.org/classified/search/landing_breed.cfm

Rescue Organizations

akc.org/breeds/rescue-network/contacts

Books about the Australian Cattle Dog

Amazon.com

Australian Cattle Dog Gifts

CafePress.com

AKC Hound Group





History

Photo copyright © Cook PhoDOGraphy 1995. All rights reserved.

Photo copyright © Cook PhoDOGraphy 1995. All rights reserved.

This elegant small hound was developed by crossing greyhounds with Italian greyhounds and terriers. Racing these dogs was an entertaining form of gambling for the lower classes in England. They also helped in poaching endeavors. The Whippet is an outstanding track racer over short distances, reaching speeds of up to 37 miles per hour in seconds. The Whippet’s sweet personality makes him a fine companion dog.

Description

The Whippet looks like a small Greyhound. He is graceful and slender, but is actually quite hardy. The head and muzzle are long, with scarcely perceptible stop. The eyes are large, and round to oval in shape. The rose ears fold gracefully back when the dog is at rest, and are often semi-pricked when the dog is alert. The dog gives a very curvaceous impression, with his deep chest and tucked abdomen, and arched neck, back, and loins. The tail is long and carried low. The short, sleek coat comes in many colors: black, fawn, blue, red, and brindled, all with or without white.





Key Facts

  • Height:  19 to 22 in. (male); 18 to 21 in. (female)
  • Size:  Medium
  • Weight:  20 to 35 lbs.
  • Availability:  May take some effort to find
  • Talents:  Hunting by sight, watchdog, racing, agility, obedience, and lure coursing

Notes

Sensitive to the cold. The skin can tear easily. A clean dog, easy to care for and easy to travel with. Deafness is a problem, particularly in predominantly white dogs.

Personality

Elegant and lively. Very affectionate and sweet, to the point of being clingy. Quiet and calm at home. Can be high-strung and timid. The most obedient of the sighthounds. The Whippet should never be roughly trained, for he is very sensitive.

Behavior

  • Children:  Best with older, considerate children
  • Friendliness:  Reserved with strangers
  • Trainability:  Slightly difficult to train
  • Independence:  Moderately dependent on people
  • Dominance:  Low
  • Other Pets:  Generally good with other dogs; do not trust with non-canine pets.
  • Combativeness:  Friendly with other dogs
  • Noise:  Not a barker
  • Indoors:  Relatively inactive indoors
  • Owner:  Good for novice owners

Care

  • Grooming:  Very little grooming needed
  • Trimming and Stripping:  No trimming or stripping needed
  • Coat:  Short coat
  • Shedding:  Average shedder
  • Exercise:  Needs lots of exercise
  • Jogging:  An excellent jogging companion
  • Apartments:  Will be OK in an apartment if sufficiently exercised
  • Outdoor Space:  A small yard is sufficient.
  • Climate:  Prefers warm climates
  • Longevity:  Moderately long-lived (12 to 15 years)






Useful Links

AKC® Whippet Breed Standard

http://images.akc.org/pdf/breeds/standards/Whippet.pdf

Whippet Breed Club

americanwhippetclub.net

Search for a Breeder

akc.org/classified/search/landing_breed.cfm

Rescue Organizations

akc.org/dog-breeds/rescue-network/contacts/

Books about the Whippet

Amazon.com

Whippet Gifts

CafePress.com

AKC Non-Sporting Group





History

Photo copyright © Cook PhoDOGraphy 1995. All rights reserved.

Photo copyright © Cook PhoDOGraphy 1995. All rights reserved.

Originally bred by Tibetan monks, the Tibetan Terrier is an ancient contributor to many other Tibetan breeds. The breed was considered to be lucky and dogs were often given as gifts, but never sold. Dr. A.R.H. Grieg was responsible for the breed’s introduction to the West. She was given several dogs, the first by a grateful patient, and then by the Dalai Lama himself. She later established a Tibetan Terrier kennel in England. The “terrier” part of the breed name is a misnomer, as the dog is in no part a terrier. It was given the name simply because it was of terrier size. In the United States, the Tibetan Terrier is primarily a pet and companion.

Description

The Tibetan Terrier is a medium-sized, squarely proportioned dog that looks more like a sheepdog than like a terrier. Height at the withers of more than 17 in. or less than 14 in. is considered a fault. The double coat protects the entire dog, even falling in front of the dark, widely spaced eyes. The fine outer coat can be straight or wavy. The undercoat is soft and woolly. The coat should be long, but should not touch the ground. Any color (or combination of colors), including white, is acceptable in this breed. The Tibetan Terrier does not shed seasonally, but will drop some hair if kept in full coat. The tail is heavily furnished and carried over and on the back. The heavily feathered ears hang pendant, falling not too close to the head. The nose is black. The lower jaw is slightly bearded. The desirable mouth is a tight scissors bite or a tight reversed scissors bite (the inner surface of the lower teeth touches the outer surface of the upper teeth). The topline is level. This breed’s unique large flat feet, well- furnished with hair, produce a snowshoe effect that provides traction and flotation in snow. The Tibetan Terrier has great agility and endurance.





Key Facts

  • Height:  14 to 16 in.
  • Size:  Small
  • Weight:  20 to 24 lbs.
  • Availability:  May take some effort to find
  • Talents:  Watchdog, agility, and obedience

Notes

Tibetan Terrier bloodlines in the United States vary in terms of height, coat, and personality. Check with the breeder about any particular litter’s genealogy. Buy only from stock with OFA, PennHIP, or another national hip dysplasia clearance and current CERF or OFA eye clearance. The long coat needs a lot of attention, so many owners who are not showing their dogs clip them, especially in summer. Bathe every seven to 14 days. Can be very flea sensitive. Brush every two to three days with a pin brush or slicker. Never brush a dry coat; always mist with conditioner and water to ease brushing. Novice owners should be ready for the responsibility of grooming a coated breed! Because he is such a light shedder, the Tibetan Terrier is one of the better breeds for allergy sufferers. The Tibetan Terrier is a particularly good watchdog.

Personality

Sweet, gentle, and loving. Lively and fun. Can be willful. Devoted to the family, but wary of strangers. Some are good guard dogs.

Behavior

  • Children:  Best with older, considerate children
  • Friendliness:  Reserved with strangers
  • Trainability:  Slightly difficult to train
  • Independence:  Moderately dependent on people
  • Dominance:  Low
  • Other Pets:  Good with other pets if raised with them from puppyhood
  • Combativeness:  Friendly with other dogs
  • Noise:  Likes to bark
  • Indoors:  Relatively inactive indoors
  • Owner:  Good for novice owners

Care

  • Grooming:  Extensive grooming needed
  • Trimming and Stripping:  No trimming or stripping needed
  • Coat:  Long coat
  • Shedding:  Very light.
  • Exercise:  Moderate exercise needed
  • Jogging:  A good jogging companion
  • Apartments:  Will be OK in an apartment if sufficiently exercised
  • Outdoor Space:  A small yard is sufficient.
  • Climate:  Does well in most climates
  • Longevity:  Moderately long-lived (12 to 15 years)






Useful Links

AKC® Tibetan Terrier Breed Standard

http://images.akc.org/pdf/breeds/standards/TibetanTerrier.pdf

Tibetan Terrier Breed Club

ttca-online.org

Search for a Breeder

akc.org/classified/search/landing_breed.cfm

Rescue Organizations

akc.org/dog-breeds/rescue-network/contacts/

Books about the Tibetan Terrier

Amazon.com

Tibetan Terrier Gifts

CafePress.com

AKC Herding Group





History

Dlarah©s Puta Spell On You. Owned by and photo copyright © 2006 Leonie Darling, Australia. All rights reserved.

Dlarah©s Puta Spell On You. Owned by and photo copyright © 2006 Leonie Darling, Australia. All rights reserved.

The sturdy little Swedish Vallhund has been traced back more than 1,000 years, to the time of the Vikings. In fact, the dog was at one time known as the “Vikingarnas,” or “Viking Dog.” The Vallhund was originally bred to herd cattle—with a short stature (good for nipping hocks) and an appropriate name (“Vallhund” means “herding dog”). Historians believe the Vallhund and Pembroke Welsh Corgi were interbred sometime in the eighth or ninth century, which is why the two breeds look similar today. The Vallhund was a popular farm and herding dog for centuries. Like many European breeds, however, its numbers were decimated during World War II, and by 1942, the breed had nearly become extinct. Fortunately, Bjorn von Rosen, a Swedish count who had worked to save other dog breeds in Sweden, found several existing Vallhunds and revived the breed. Just one year later, the Swedish Kennel Club ratified the breed standard, recognized the breed, and renamed it “Svenska Vallhund.” In 1964, the club gave the breed yet another name, “Västgötaspets,” which refers to the Swedish province from which the dog is believed to have originated. This name is still used in Sweden today. The first Swedish Vallhund was brought to England in 1974 and the first of the breed arrived in the United States in 1984. Today, the courageous little Vallhund thrives (and herds) in many countries, including Finland, France, the Netherlands, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Holland, Denmark, the United States, and Switzerland. The AKC accepted the Swedish Vallhund into the Herding Group in 2007.

Description

A Spitz-type Nordic dog, the Swedish Vallhund is small yet powerful. This is a fairly short-legged, long-bodied dog, with the ratio of height to length of 2:3. The head is long, clean, and wedge shaped, with a well-defined stop. The ears are pointed and pricked, and the dark brown oval eyes are medium in size with black eye rims. The Vallhund’s neck should be long and strongly muscled. The topline should be level and the chest should show good depth. The abdomen should be slightly tucked up and the back and shoulders should be well muscled. The feet are medium sized, short, and point forward.

The Swedish Vallhund’s top coat is close fitting, hard, and of medium length. The undercoat should be soft and dense. The dogs are shown in a natural state—that is, without trimming. The coat color is a range of sable patterns of gray, red-yellow, gray-yellow, red-brown, or gray-brown. Lighter shades on the chest, belly, buttocks, lower legs, and feet are desirable. Narrow white blazes, neck spots, necklaces, or markings on the leg and chest are permitted, but these can’t make up more than one-third of the dog’s total color. Although a dark muzzle is acceptable, a well-defined mask (with lighter hair around the eyes, on the muzzle, and under the throat), giving a distinct contrast to the head color, is highly desirable. The dog’s coat also must show “harness markings” (lines of lighter-colored fur running down the sides along the shoulders). For showing, it doesn’t matter whether the tail is natural (long, stubbed, or bobbed), or docked. The Swedish Vallhund gives an impression of intelligence, courage, and energy. Because of the breed’s herding heritage, the Vallhund’s gait should have reach and drive and show great agility and endurance.





Key Facts

  • Height:  12-1/2 to 13-1/2 in. (male); 11-1/2 to 12-1/2 in. (female)
  • Size:  Small
  • Weight:  25 to 35 lbs.
  • Availability:  Difficult to find
  • Talents:  Obedience, tracking, agility, herding, search and rescue, family companion, ratting, watchdog, tricks, and retrieving

Notes

Like many Spitz breeds, Vallhunds tend to bark a lot, although they can be trained not to do this. The breed is generally hardy and not prone to health problems. The Swedish Vallhund Club of America, however, recommends that breeding dogs’ hips be certified by the OFA and their eyes be certified by CERF.

Personality

Called the “little Viking dog” by its admirers, this dog’s short stature belies a big, big spirit. Vallhunds are watchful, fearless, and energetic, but they are also extremely friendly, loyal, and eager to please. These fast, agile, little dogs love to be trained, to solve problems, and to work. They also love to play with (and sometimes herd) children (and adults)—and to accompany them on outdoor adventures. As this breed can be wary with strangers and protective, puppies must be well socialized and trained, and mature dogs need to be handled firmly. Breeders caution, however, that harsh training techniques do not work on this breed, as the Swedish Vallhund will shut down and stop responding to commands.

Behavior

  • Children:  Good with children only when raised with them from puppyhood
  • Friendliness:  Fairly friendly with strangers
  • Trainability:  Can be slightly difficult to train
  • Independence:  Moderately dependent on people
  • Dominance:  Moderate
  • Other Pets:  Generally good with other pets
  • Combativeness:  Not generally dog-aggressive
  • Noise:  Likes to bark
  • Indoors:  Moderately active indoors
  • Owner:  Not recommended for novice owners

Care

  • Grooming:  A little grooming needed
  • Trimming and Stripping:  No trimming or stripping needed
  • Coat:  Medium coat
  • Shedding:  Seasonally heavy shedder
  • Exercise:  Needs lots of exercise
  • Jogging:  A fairly good jogging companion, though small
  • Apartments:  Not recommended for apartments
  • Outdoor Space:  Best with at least an average-size yard
  • Climate:  Does well in most climates
  • Longevity:  Long (15-plus years)






Useful Links

AKC® Swedish Vallhund Breed Standard

http://images.akc.org/pdf/breeds/standards/SwedishVallhund.pdf

Swedish Vallhund Breed Club

swedishvallhund.com/

Search for a Breeder

swedishvallhund.com/breeders/breeders-list

Rescue Organizations

swedishvallhund.com/breed-information/rescue

Books about the Swedish Vallhund

Amazon.com

Swedish Vallhund Gifts

CafePress.com

AKC Non-Sporting Group





History

Photo copyright © Cook PhoDOGraphy. All rights reserved.

Photo copyright © Cook PhoDOGraphy. All rights reserved.

The Bichon Frise first appeared in the fourteenth century, a cross between the Barbet Water Spaniel and the Poodle. The Bichon was traded by Spanish sailors and became a favorite of sixteenth-century French royal courts. In the nineteenth century, the breed fell from favor and earned its keep as a street performer. It was a popular organ grinder’s dog and a circus performer. The Bichon came to America in the 1950s and joined the AKC ranks in 1971. Today the Bichon Frise is primarily a show dog and companion.

Description

The Bichon Frise is a pure white dog with a curled double coat consisting of a textured outer coat lined with a soft undercoat, the whole resulting in a springy feel to the coat. The Bichon is shown trimmed for a rounded appearance. Show dogs are trimmed with scissors; the body of pet dogs may be clipped with electric clippers though the rest of the dog still must be scissored. When properly groomed, the dog looks like an elegant powder puff. The ears are pendant. The nose is black, the eyes dark with a curious expression. The plumed tail is carried loosely over the back.





Key Facts

  • Height: 9 to 12 in.
  • Size: Small
  • Weight: 10 to 18 lbs.
  • Availability: Might take some effort to find
  • Talents: Watchdog, agility, competitive obedience, and performing tricks

Notes

This breed should be groomed frequently and bathed every 10 to 14 days. Professional grooming every four weeks is recommended. The coat is virtually hypoallergenic. Watery eyes, cataracts, and skin and ear ailments are sometimes a problem. Bichon Frises can be difficult to housebreak. Some are very sensitive to fleabites. Some might have slipped stifles. Does better with walking than with jogging.

Personality

The Bichon Frise is a most appealing little white dog. Charming and lively, cheerful, bold, gentle, dignified, intelligent, and self-assured. Playful and affectionate, with a happy temperament. Easy to live with.

Behavior

  • Children: Excellent with children
  • Friendliness: Loves everyone
  • Trainability: Easy to train
  • Independence: Needs people a lot
  • Dominance: Low
  • Other Pets: Generally good with other pets
  • Combativeness: Friendly with other dogs
  • Noise: Can bark a lot
  • Indoors: Fairly active indoors
  • Owner: Good for novice owner

Care

  • Grooming: Daily grooming is best.
  • Trimming and Stripping: Extensive trimming and shaping are needed.
  • Coat: Medium coat
  • Shedding: Very light
  • Exercise: Moderate exercise needed
  • Jogging: A poor jogging companion
  • Apartments: Will be OK in an apartment if sufficiently exercised
  • Outdoor Space: Does all right without a yard
  • Climate: Prefers cool climates
  • Longevity: Long (15 or more years)






Useful Links

AKC® Bichon Frise Breed Standard

http://cdn.akc.org/BichonFrise.pdf

Bichon Frise Breed Club

bichon.org

Search for a Breeder

akc.org/classified/search/landing_breed.cfm

Rescue Organizations

akc.org/dog-breeds/rescue-network/contacts/

Books about the Bichon Frise

Amazon.com

Bichon Frise Gifts

CafePress.com