History:  It’s not for certain when or where the dogs originated.  There has been reports (legends) that Belgium monks developed this breed in a monastery around the 8th century.  The Bloodhound was first known as the Saint Hubert, named after the monastery from which they were born.  The Saint Hubert came in two colors, black or white.

The monks later sent a pair of black Saint Hubert’s to the King of France as a gift.  This is when they were bred with other dogs and began to get the brown/black color.

Bloodhounds weren’t recognized in the United States until the 1800’s.  They were known to be a great tracking and hunting breed.  They would help their master locate missing-persons, or  wild game.

Description:  These dogs are fairly large dogs with an elongated gait.  They have lots of saggy skin, which helps them pick up scents off the ground while tracking.  Their long ears are known to help gather scents too .  Their primary colors are black/tan or liver/tan.

Size:  Their average weight is 80-100lbs and they stand about 23-27 inches at the shoulder.

Temperament:  This breed can be a great family pet, but they are known to be stubborn.  Since the BH was bread to sniff and track, it becomes hard for them to listen when they find a scent.  You may find it hard to get their attention once they are on a trail.  Another trait is that they might overpower young children if they are left alone with them.  Otherwise, if you train them at a young age, Bloodhounds make great family pets.

Grooming:  The Bloodhound requires a little more time when it comes to grooming.  Since they are always outdoors sniffing around, they tend to get dirty.  You can brush them daily to remove dirt and excess slobber.  Their ears need to be cleaned daily because they can get into the food, water dish, and pick up all sorts of stuff off the ground.  If not taken care of, their ears can get infected from bacteria.

Health:  Bloodhounds are known to bloat. This is when the stomach fills with air from eating or drinking. It’s important to provide them with an elevated food bowl and feed them in two separate meals.

Like most large dog breeds, Bloodhounds are prone to hip and elbow dysplasia.  Bloodhounds also have been known to have a few eye issues.  Entropion, is when their eyelid forms inward, causing the eyelashes to scratch the eyeball.  The opposite would be ectropion, where the eyelid forms outward.  Then the last condition is keratoconjuntivitis sicca, also known as dry eyes.

Not all Bloodhounds are going to have these conditions.  If you are planning on getting your dog from a breeder, make sure you ask them if the parents of the pups have been tested, and always make sure that the blood lines are clean.

Exercise:  Bloodhounds were bread to track a scent for 100’s of miles; with that being said, it’s very important for them to get exercise.  If you are wanting one of these dogs, make sure you have a fenced in backyard, a sturdy leash/harness, and plenty of time to play with your dog.  When Bloodhounds get bored, they become destructive.  They love to eat and chew on anything.  Some owners have said they are great at remodeling your backyard. Remember, a happy Bloodhound make a happy owner 🙂

Lifespan: Around 8-10 years.

Trivia:  The Bloodhounds have been known to play large roles on the big screen. They have appeared in movies such as Lady & the Tramp, Aristocats, Shawshank Redemption, & etc.



Breed of the Month: Doberman Pinscher


History:  The Doberman Pinscher originated in Germany around 1890.  A tax collector, named Karl Friedrich Louis Dobermann ‘designed’ the Doberman to be his guard dog.  Mr. Dobermann had to collect money from people in some pretty shady areas, he decided that having a guard dog would prevent people from stealing his money.

Description: Dobermans’ are a large, muscular dog.  Their bodies are built for endurance and stamina.  These dogs were first bread to guard and protect their owners, now they have the same look as their ancestors, but a more gentle personality.  The head is a wedge shape.  Doberman puppies are born with floppy ears and a long tail.  After they reach a certain age, most owners will have the ears cropped and the tails docked.

Size:  The Doberman is a large dog and averages 61-68 centimeters in height.  Male Dobermans weigh in at 34-45 kg and females at 27-41 kg. (1 pound is about 2.2 kilogram)

Temperament:  Originally, Dobermans were bread to be fearless guard dogs.  They were bred to be large, fearless, and ready to protect when commanded.  These traits have given the Dobermans a bad reputation.  Over the years, breeders have somehow altered the Dobermans’ personality traits.  They are still large and in charge, but are not as aggressive and intimidating.  Today, Doberman’s are still known to be protective of their owners, but they are also good-natured, intelligent, and loyal.

Dobermans’ are prone to separation anxiety. This is because the breed is used to spending a lot of time around humans.  If you work long hours, it would not be a good idea to adopt a Doberman. They can become anxious and destructive when left alone for long periods of time. These active dogs require attention and activity.  If this does not happen, the Doberman will become bored and search for their own source of entertainment; which might not be approved by any owner.

Grooming: Doberman’s could be classified as a ‘low maintenance’ dog when it comes to grooming. These dogs do shed year round, but brushing them weekly is enough to keep it under control.  When it comes to the ‘dog smell,’ most owners have stated that their Dobermans’ rarely smell and don’t bathe that often.  You can get away with bathing these dogs 3-4 times a year.

An important thing to keep up on is checking the Doberman’s ears.  They sometimes have wax build up, which may lead to an ear infection.  If you have noticed issues with your Doberman’s ears, ask your veterinarian if they can recommended an ear cleansing solution.

Health:  Doberman’s have a few serious health issues that their owners should pay close attention to.  The first and most common is Dilated cardiomyopathy.  This is when your heart is an abnormal shape and there are problems pumping blood efficiently throughout your body.  This then causes the rest of your organs to have problems, due to the lack of blood flow. 

Wobbler disease affects most large-breed dogs.  It is a neurological disease that causes a wobbly gait in most animals.  Some dogs will walk with their head hung low, this is a sign that they are in pain.  Their spinal cords are under pressure whether from a herniated disc, or a small spinal canal.

Von Willebrand disease is where the blood has a hard time clotting after a blood vessel becomes injured.  This means after a Doberman becomes injured, they might have excessive bleeding even if the sustained injury is minimal.

Exercise:  Due to the Doberman being bred with an active, athletic nature; they require a large amount of daily exercise and mental activities.  After looking around at a few different sites, most current Doberman owners suggest that you not only have a large fenced-in back yard, but that you also have the time to spend exercising your Doberman.  You might think that putting them out back gives them plenty of time to run around, but playing by yourself can get boring.  This is where a companion would come in.  Not every Doberman owner recommends that you get 2 at once, it is just something to think about.

Lifespan: On average, the Doberman can live 10-13 years.  This also depends on the health of your animal and how well it is taken care of.

Trivia:  Dobermans have also been known for making appearance on the big screen. Zeus and Apollo were owned by Higgens in the television show Magnum PI.  In the movie Resident Evil, there were a few Doberman Zombies.  Also in Disney’s movie Up, there was a Doberman by the name of Alpha.


Breed of the Month: Dogue de Bordeaux

Dogue de Bordeaux

Description: The French Mastiff has brown or hazel eyes set far apart on the large head. Ears are short and slightly rounded. The muzzle is short and broad with the teeth meeting in an underbite. The neck and chest of the Dogue is very broad and deep, respectively. The tail is thick at the base and tapers to a point. The short and smooth coat is somewhere between a dark mahogany and a light faun.

History: The origins of the French Mastiff are somewhat disputed. One such hypothesis is that the modern Dogue descended from a variety of European Mastiffs and other working breeds. Others believe that the breed came from Tibetan Mastiffs and Bulldogs. Either way, the French Mastiff has lived in and around France for about the last 600 years.

Wars like the French Revolution and both World Wars devastated the population of the Dogue De Bordeaux. However, successful breeding programs during the early 1960s helped establish a breed standard and increase the population of the breed.

The first Dogue De Bordeauxs came to America in 1959. In 1989 the Tom Hanks movie, ‘Turner and Hooch’, helped popularize the breed. Beasley, who played the character, Hooch, starred in only one movie.

The Dogue de Bordeaux was recognized by the AKC in 2008. Currently, the French Mastiff is the 68th most registered dog with the AKC.

Size: According to the AKC breed standards, Males: 23–27 inches at the withers, weighing at least 110 pounds. Females: 23–26 inches at the withers, weighing at least 99 pounds.

Temperament: The Dogue De Bordeaux is a breed that is loving of their family, calm, mild mannered around the house, and an excellent guard dog. While the French Mastiff is loving towards their family, they can be very protective and wary of strangers. That being said, the French Mastiff needs a firm pack leader and is probably not a good fit for a first time dog owner or an inexperienced owner. This breed is exceptionally tolerant and loving towards children. However, play time between children and dogs should always be supervised. Dogue De Bordeauxs are inactive indoors but, still need a daily pack walk to get sufficient exercise. This breed will require early socialization with other people, dogs, and other animals if you don’t want your dog excessively protective and aggressive.

Grooming: Opinions differ concerning how much the Dogue sheds. Some sources claim that there is minimal shedding with this breed while others say the French Mastiff is an excessive shedder. Although, there seems to be more agreement around French Mastiffs being an average shedder. Brushing your French Mastiff once or twice a week should cut down on the hair you will find around your house. Dogues will need more grooming care than just brushing their coat because this breed has a wrinkly face that needs to be kept clean by washing thoroughly on a daily basis. Dogues also tend to slobber profusely so a towel will need to be kept handy after eating and drinking.

Health: The Dogue de Bordeaux happens to be prone to hip dysplasia and  hyperkeratosis, which is a hardening of the foot pads. Hyperkeratosis cannot be cured but, can be treated by removal of the excess skin as well as the of application of ointments. The French Mastiff is also susceptible to epilepsy and heart problems.

The Dogue is a brachycephalic breed, meaning it has a short muzzle and can have issues with breathing. Dogs with short muzzles don’t pant as effectively as longer muzzled dogs, which can lead to heat stroke.

Exercise: While the French Mastiff is fairly inactive indoors, they still need exercise. Exercise requirements are low but, they still need a daily pack walk for mental and physical wellness. Excessive exercise in hot temperatures should be avoided or well monitored.

Lifespan: About 8 to 10 years.

Trivia: One of the most notable Dogues is Beasley who starred in the 1989 film, Turner and Hooch.


Breed of the Month – Alaskan Malamute

Alaskan Malamute (Canis familiaris) adult, portrait in snow

Description: The Malamute has a broad skull and muzzle. The erect ears are triangular shaped and slightly rounded on the tips. The tail is plumed and carried over the back. Feet are well padded and have a large snowshoe shape. Malamutes have a double coat. The undercoat is oily and woolly while the guard coat is thick and coarse. Coat length can vary anywhere from 1 to 3 inches. The color of the coat can range from various combinations of light gray, black, sable, to red. According to the AKC, the only acceptable solid color for this breed is white.

History: The Alaskan Malamute is one of the oldest breeds of dogs in the world and can trace its ancestry back 3000 years. The Malamute receives its name from the tribe which raised these dogs, the Inupiat people called Mahlemut. The Mahlemut people and their dogs had a special bond. Malamutes were used to help hunt seals and bears, pull heavy loaded sleds, and were companions to the Mahlemut people. The dogs and these people helped one another survive in the rough conditions of Alaska.

Size: Males: 24–26 inches at the withers, weighing 80-95 pounds. Females: 22–24 inches at the withers, weighing 70-85 pounds.

Temperament: The Malamute are affectionate, loyal, and loving companions. Malamutes do not make good guard dogs due to their fondness for humans as well as their lack of alarm barking. Instead of barking, Malamutes tend to howl. These dogs do well with children who are big enough to play with a large dog.

While this dog is eager to please, its strong will leads this dog to be difficult to train and even housebreak. However, if the owner is a firm leader who understands Malamutes and has experience working with dogs, the dog will show progress in its ability to perform commands.

While properly socialized Malamutes can get along well with smaller animals, Malamutes have a high prey drive which can be stimulated by the running of a small animals such as cats, rabbits, and squirrels. Malamutes get along great with humans but, not so well with other dogs of the same sex. This breed should be given its space when it eats and drinks.

Grooming: Malamutes need to be brushed twice a week. They don’t need to be bathed regularly but, owners can use dry shampoo on their dog when needed. Like other similar breeds, the Malamute blows its coat twice a year which requires special detail to brushing. This breed is a heavy shedder.

Health: While mostly healthy, the Malamute is known to be prone to hip dysplasia, bloat, eye problems (cataracts and PRA), and dwarfism.

Exercise: The Malamute favors the outdoors. This dog loves to roam and go on a long daily walk. Malamutes need physical and mental exercise in order to keep their rambunctious and destructive side at bay.

Lifespan: About 13 to 16 years.

Trivia: The Alaskan Malamute was named the official dog of Alaska in 2010. The Alaskan Malamute can survive in extreme cold temperatures of -70°F.

Breed of the Month – Wolfdog

Pets Wolf Dogs

Description: Wolfdogs are the offspring of wolf and dog. Most wolfdogs are produced by mating two wolfdogs. Typically Nordic-dogs like Huskies and Malamutes, as well as German Shepherds, are bred with Grey wolves or Timber wolves to achieve desired physical characteristics similar to that of full-blooded wolves. However, some wolfdogs may share more physical characteristics with either wolf or dog regardless of genetic content. While a wolfdog’s appearance may not be predicted with absolute certainty, there are many characteristics that can be used to identify a wolfdog, such as; long legs, large paws, webbed toes, long muzzle, yellow eyes, slanted eyes, black lips, narrow chest, and black toenails.

History: There has been fossil evidence of wolfdogs working besides human hunters 10,000 years ago. Wolfdogs were also kept by the Mexican Teotihuacan warriors about  2,000 years ago. It is believed that the first German Shepherd was one quarter wolf. Breeds like the Czechoslovakian wolfdog, the Saarlooswolfhond, and the Lupo Italiano are all breeds of dogs with recent wolf ancestry due to cross breeding.

Size: Males and Females: 26–34 inches at the withers, weighing 60-120 pounds. The ratio of dog to wolf genes as well as the type of dog and wolf cause varying heights and weights for wolfdogs.

Temperament: Socialization at an early age is a must. Introducing young wolfdogs to places, situations, and people it will face in adulthood is necessary to socializing. If not properly socialized, adult wolfdogs can become fearful, leading to behavior problems that will be very difficult to deal with later. Wolfdogs have a high prey drive which can be stimulated by screaming children or running small animals, therefore, wolfdogs should not be left alone with children or small animals. Wolfdogs can be very territorial and may not accept strange dogs or people into their home.

Owners who keep their wolfdog indoors will eventually find it necessary to house their wolfdog outdoors. Many owners find it very difficult to housebreak wolfdogs as they are typically very willful. Wolfdogs have a natural curiosity and will chew anything, especially couches, beds, doors and anything else that will keep them busy. Some wolfdogs jump on furniture, not just couches but, washers, dryers, and even refrigerators. Wolfdogs have a natural tendency to roam and explore their territory so, being kept in a house will be too restrictive for these animals. These animals need plenty of space to roam, burn off excess energy, and utilize their ever working minds.

Wolfdogs are more primitive in their behavior and are not going to be eager to please like a Golden Retriever. These are willful and stubborn creatures who have different behavior than that of human or dogs. A firm understanding of dog and wolf behavior is a must before anyone choses to own a wolfdog.

Grooming: Wolfdogs have a double coat and, like many Nordic-dogs, will blow their coat in the spring time. During this time, owners will need to brush their wolfdog frequently to help remove the excess hair that is being shed.

Health: Wolfdogs are typically very healthy animals where genetic diseases are not often prevalent. Prospective owners should keep in mind that some veterinarians will not examine wolfdogs.

Exercise: The wolfdog should be walked every day, just like a regular dog would need to be walked. Wolfdogs need a lot of mental stimulation and require new toys and games to keep them busy, which redirects them from destructive behavior.

Lifespan: About 13 to 16 years.


Breed of the Month: Old English Sheepdog

Bobtail Old English Sheepdog

Description: The Old English Sheepdog is a medium sized, compact dog with a square frame. The dog has two coats, a textured and hard outercoat and soft waterproof undercoat. The coat color comes in various shades of blue, grizzle, and grey with white markings. The dog has straight front legs and arched and muscular back legs. It has a deep and broad chest. Eyes are blue, brown, or one of each. Teeth close in a level or scissor bite. Its medium sized ears are carried close to the head.

History: There are two theories concerning the ancestry of the Old English Sheepdog. One possibility is that is that it descended mainly from the Bearded Collie while others contest the Russian Owtchar. Regardless of the breed’s progenitor, the Old English Sheepdog was bred in the counties in southwestern England as a drover’s dog and herding dog. British owners of Old English Sheepdogs avoided a dog tax by docking the dog’s tail, showing they were working dogs which were tax exempt. Having the docked tail resulted in the nickname “bobtail.” Before the Old English Sheepdog was old, it was first  known as the Shepherds Dog or Sussex Sheepdog.

Size: Males: 22–24 inches at the withers, weighing 70-100 pounds. Females: 20–22 inches at the withers, weighing 60-80 pounds.

Temperament: The Old English Sheepdog is definitely a very bubbly and excited dog that loves to play. While playful and loving, it can be willful and independent with a strong herding instinct. This breed is said to be good with kids but, play should be supervised as the Old English Sheepdog can be clumsy in its excitement and can inadvertently knock over small children. The Bobtail can exhibit puppy-like energy for many years even into adulthood when age can hit the breed suddenly.

It is said by trainers that his breed can’t focus on tasks for an extended amount of time. As previously mentioned, the Old English Sheepdog was bred as a herding dog and flock guardian, making it very protective of its family. The breed is usually friendly towards strangers but, if it feels the stranger is harming their family, the dog will tend to stand its ground and possibly attack. Because they are a herding breed, the Old English Sheepdogs are typically friendly with other animals in the household and usually get along well with cats.

Grooming: The Old English Sheepdog is known for its unique shaggy fur but, those smashing good looks come with a price. This dog requires frequent brushing with some owners suggesting at least one hour each day. Owners note the Old English Sheepdog can drag in grass, mud, sticks, and other debris that gets caught in its fur. Some owners find that this breed needs special attention after defecating, as fecal matter can collect in the long hair around its backside. Trimming hair around the rear can help resolve this issue.

It is the extensive grooming that is one of the causes the Old English Sheepdog ends up in shelters and rescues. If you plan on adopting or buying a Bobtail, understand they require extensive grooming and will need a monthly visit to a groomer.

Health: The Old English Sheepdog is prone to canine hip dysplasia and bloat. Retinal detachment and deafness are other health issues that this breed may be susceptible to. In the warmer months the heavy double coat could cause issues with heatstroke.

Exercise: The Old English Sheepdog has lots of puppy-like energy and needs to be active for at least one hour a day. A daily pack walk is a good way to achieve mental and physical exercise.

Lifespan: About 10 to 12 years.

Trivia: Paul McCartney of the Beatles had a dog Martha. The song ‘Martha My Dear’ was about Paul’s Old English Sheepdog.

The movie ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ stared an Old English Sheepdog called Edison.

The Disney motionpicture, The Little Mermaid, featured an Old English Sheepdog named Max.

An Old English Sheepdog played Ambrosius in the film ‘Labyrinth.’

Breed of the Month: Airedale Terrier

Airedale Terrier (Canis familiaris) adult

Description: The Airedale Terrier is the biggest terrier and is commonly called “the King.” The Airedale has a distinctive Medium length black and tan double coat with a soft and short under coat and a long, hard, and wiry outer coat. The front legs of the Airedale are straight. Its chest is deep. It has a long flat head with small black eyes and a black nose. Teeth meet in a vice or scissor bite. The Airedale has V shaped folder ears. The tail sits high on the back and, among show dogs, is typically docked.

History: Bred in the 19th century, the Airedale Terrier received its name from the location the breed was developed; the Aire river valley in the West Riding of Yorkshire England. Farmers and working class people bred Otterhounds, Irish and Bull Terriers, and Black and Tan Terriers to develop the Airedale Terrier. The breed was originally bred to hunt small game like otter, weasel, rats, and badgers while also being able to fetch waterfowl.

Its Terrier and Hound ancestry made the Airedale Terrier a good all-around dog favored among farmers and working class people. Airedales could herd livestock, track large game like dear, bay large prey like wolves, fetch waterfowl and upland game, and be a pleasant family companion and guard dog at the end of the day.

In the 1880’s the Airedale was brought to the United States where it became a popular general purpose working and hunting dog. Soon after its introduction to the US, the Airedale Terrier became recognize by the American Kennel Club in 1888.

Before the German Shepherd was used as a law enforcement and military dog, Airedale Terriers would often fill that role. Airedale Terriers served in both World Wars and were used to deliver messages to and from the frontlines and find wounded and dead soldiers.

Among the nearly 1,500 passengers and nine dogs who lost their lives in the sinking of the Titanic was an Airedale named Kitty. A second unnamed Airedale Terrier also perished in the sinking of the ship.

Size: Males: 22–24 inches at the withers, weighing 50–65 pounds. Females: 22–23 inches at the withers, weighing 40–45 pounds.

Temperament: The Airedale is a breed that are known to be good with children. They have a lot energy and are playful. Airedales are very intelligent and, as long as your are perceived as the alpha they, are easy to train and love to learn new things.

While they are a vigilant watchdog and have been used as a guard dog, they enjoy attention from all people.

The Airedale shares many qualities with his terrier relatives. They have a tendency to bark at nearly everything, which is a common complaint among owners. Airedales also like to dig. While they are good with other animals like cats, insofar as they are raised with them, Airedales are also like their terrier relatives in that they have an insatiable urge to chase things like cats and rabbits. Their desire to chase stems from being bred as ratters and hunters.

If these dogs do not have enough mental and physical exercise, they can become bored and destructive. As with all dogs, a daily pack walk is necessary.

Grooming: The Airedale Terrier can require more grooming than other dogs as it needs to be hand stripped of its loose hair. A special hand stripping knife or pumice stone can be used to remove the hair at least twice a year. If the hair is maintained and stripped regularly, this breed will shed very little. Many Airedales have a beard that is allowed to grow long. This beard should be washed daily to prevent food residue and other foreign matter from collecting in the hair.

Health: Airedales are susceptible to gastric torsion, also known as bloat. Bloat can be fatal if not treated immediately. Airedales, like all members of the terrier group, are susceptible to dermatitis or skin allergies. Itchy skin may lead to acral lick dermatitis, where the dog continue to lick the same patch of hair, and hot spots. According to the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals, nearly 11% of Airedales have hip dysplasia and 8% are affected by cataracts. Like most dogs, cancer is the most common cause of death with 40% of Airedales dying from some sort of cancer.

Exercise: The Airedale was bred to be a working dog so it requires daily exercise to stave off mental boredom and physical restlessness. Like all dogs, the Airedale requires a  daily pack walk.

Lifespan: About 10 to 12 years.

Trivia: Paddy the Wanderer. Calvin Coolidge, Theodore Roosevelt and Warren G Harding all owned Airdales. John Wayne owned an Airedale name Duke, from which he received his nickname. An Airedale also had a role in the 1996 film, 101 Dalmatians.