Bernese Mountain Dog

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History:  

The breed was used as an all purpose farm dog for guarding property and to drive dairy cattle long distances from the farm to the alpine pastures. The type was originally called the Dürrbächler, for a small town (Dürrbach) where the large dogs were especially frequent. In the early 1900s, fanciers exhibited the few examples of the large dogs at Shows in Berne, and in 1907 a few breeders from the Burgdorf region founded the first breed Club, the Schweizerische Dürrbach-Klub, and wrote the first Standard which defined the dogs as a separate breed. By 1910, there were already 107 registered members of the breed. There is a photo of a working Bernese Mountain Dog, dated 1905 at the Fumee Fall rest area in Quinnesec, MI.

In the US, the Bernese Mountain Dog is growing in popularity, ranking in 32nd place by the American Kennel Club in 2013.

Color, Coat, and Grooming:

The Berner coat is gorgeous: a thick double coat with a longer outer coat and a wooly undercoat. Characteristically tricolored, the majority of the Berner’s body is covered with jet-black hair with rich rust and bright white. There’s usually a white marking on his chest that looks like an inverted cross, a white blaze between the eyes, and white on the tip of his tail.

The Berner is a shedder. He sheds moderately all year and heavily in the spring and fall. Brushing several times a week helps reduce the amount of hair around the house and keeps the coat clean and tangle-free. Bathing, every three months or so, will maintain his neat appearance.

Brushing teeth at least two or three times a week to remove tartar buildup and the bacteria that lurk inside it. Daily brushing is even better if you want to prevent gum disease and bad breath.

Trim there nail about once a month if they don’t wear them down naturally. If you hear them clicking on the floor they are to long.

Height and Weight

Height at the withers is 25–27.5 in for males, while it is 23–26 in for females. Weight is 80–120 lb for males, while it is 75–100 lb for females.

Temperament:

The breed standard for the Bernese mountain dog states that dogs should not be “aggressive, anxious or distinctly shy”, but rather should be “good-natured”, “self-assured”, “placid towards strangers”, and “docile”. The temperament of individual dogs may vary, and not all examples of the breed have been bred carefully to follow the standard. All large breed dogs should be well socialized when they are puppies, and given regular training and activities throughout their lives.

Bernese are outdoor dogs at heart, though well-behaved in the house; they need activity and exercise, but do not have a great deal of endurance. They can move with amazing bursts of speed for their size when motivated. If they are sound (no problems with their hips, elbows, or other joints), they enjoy hiking and generally stick close to their people. Not being given the adequate amount of exercise may lead to barking and harassing in the Bernese.

Bernese mountain dogs are a breed that generally does well with children, as they are very affectionate. They are patient dogs that take well to children climbing over them. Though they have great energy, a Bernese will also be happy with a calm evening.

Health Problems:

Cancer is the leading cause of death for dogs in general, but Bernese Mountain Dogs have a much higher rate of fatal cancer than other breeds; in both U.S./Canada and UK surveys, nearly half of Bernese Mountain Dogs die of cancer, compared to about 27% of all dogs. Bernese Mountain Dogs are killed by a multitude of different types of cancer, including Malignant histiocytosis, mast cell tumer, lymphosarcoma, fibrosarcoma, osteosarcoma. A four-year-old Bernese with lymphoma named Dylan was one of the first dogs to receive chemotherapy at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, and it was successful.

Bernese Mountain Dogs also have an unusually high mortality due to musculoskeletal causes. Arthritis, hip dysplasia, and cruciate ligament rupture were reported as the cause of death in 6% of Bernese Mountain Dogs in the UK study; for comparison, mortality due to musculoskeletal ailments was reported to be less than 2% for pure-bred dogs in general.

Several inherited medical problems that a Bernese Mountain Dog may face are malignant histiocytosis, hypomyelinogenesis, progressive retinal atrophy, and possibly cataraacts and hypoadrenocorticism. The breed is also prone to histiocytic sarcoma, a cancer of the muscle tissue that is very aggressive, and hereditary eye diseases are common among larger dogs.

Lifespan:

Compared to breeds of similar size as well as purebred dogs in general, the Bernese is one of the short-lived dog breeds. The average life expectancy of a Bernese Mountain Dog is approximately 7 to 8 years. 

Exercise:

Berners are not suited to apartment or condo life. A home with a large, securely fenced yard is the best choice. Because the Berner is a working dog, he has plenty of energy. In addition to yard play, he needs a minimum of 30 minutes of vigorous exercise every day; three times that amount keeps this sturdy dog in top condition.

With his thick, handsome coat, the Berner is a natural fit for cold climates. He loves to play in the snow. Conversely, with his black coat and large size, he’s prone to heat stroke. Don’t allow him to exercise strenuously when it’s extremely hot; limit exercise to early mornings or evenings, when it’s cooler. Keep him cool during the heat of the day, either inside with fans or air-conditioning or outside in the shade.

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Border Collie

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History:  The Border Collie was bred around the England and Scotland border.  Shepherds needed a companion that was hard-working, dedicated, and athletic.  After combining a few different traits, then end result was a Border Collie.  This breed is considered the best dog to have when herding livestock.

Description:  Border Collies are a medium-sized herding dog.  They have a space between their shoulder blades which allows them to get into their “stalking” position when hearing.  It almost reminds me of a cat trying to sneak up on its prey. Another notable characteristic is when they give you “the eye”.  You could almost call this a Border Collie’s tunnel vision.

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Temperament & Exercise:  Border Collies are a very driven, focused and a high-energy breed.  Some even say that they are in the “Top 3” of intelligent dogs.  Border Collies were bread to herd animals and focus on the task at hand. These dogs can make a great addition to your family; but before you bring them home there a few things to consider.  Owner’s should probably live in a house with a fenced in back yard.  BC’s require lots of exercise and will need space to play.  Also, if you are new to owning a dog, this would not be the best choice on your first dog.

These dogs are very active and energetic.  As the owner, you need to make sure you spend time to play and give these dogs a good work out, and by work out, I don’t just mean a walk around the block.  It’s very important that you take time to train your Border Collie.  They are very smart and can become destructive if they get bored. Take some time to  research training methods or even enrolling in a class could be beneficial to your and your dog.

Health: Overall, the Border Collie is considered a healthy breed. They tend to have hip dysplasia and an eye disease, Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA).  There is a test that can be done to determine if a breeder will have pups with this disease.

**The site below goes into more detail on CEA**

http://www.petmd.com/dog/conditions/eyes/c_dg_collie_eye_anomaly

Life Span: On average, theses active dogs live up to 10-13 years.

Grooming:  Border Collies are ranked low on the maintenance scale.  They are double coated and require regular brushing. The two types of coats are medium- rough and the short- smooth coat.  The common coat color for Border Collies is white and black, but they also have a variety of other patterns.

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Fun Fact:  There was a Border Collie that played in the movie “Babe”.

Sources: 

http://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/border-collie/

http://www.dogzer.net/blog/3091-broken-city/ (image)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Border_Collie

Breed of the Month: Vizsla

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History:  It has been said that the Vizsla originated in Austria and Hungary, dating back to the 14th century.  The ancestors were said to be hunters, part retriever and part pointer.  Back then, only noble or wealthy individuals owned these dogs.  This is how the blood line was preserved so well. Later on the Vizsla was mixed with a Weimaraner and a German Short-Haired Pointer.

Description:  The Vizsla is a medium size dog.  Their muscular bodies are built for activity and lots of running.  They are cinnamon in color throughout their entire body. Their coats are short, smooth, and dense.  An interesting fact about Vizslas, is that the iris of their eye is all brown.  You cannot see any white when looking in their eyes.

Size: The average male is 22-25 inches weighing up to 45-66 pounds.  The female is 21-24 inches and weighs about 40-55 pounds.

Temperament:  These dogs are very loyal and affectionate.  Vizslas form a strong bond with their owner and family.  The Vizsla has been given the nickname “velcro-dog”.  This because if they aren’t outdoors playing, they are by your side or sitting on your lap.  Yes, Vizslas make a good family dog, but you need to be careful when they are around young children.  This is due to their high level of energy and wanting to play a lot.  Vizslas were born with a natural instinct to hunt, but like most hunting dogs, they require training.  It is recommended to train them slowly, because they can become overwhelmed very easily.

Grooming:  The Vizsla is a very low- maintenance dog.  They are good at self-cleaning, and don’t have the ‘dog odor’ that some people tend to smell.  Some owners recommended wiping them down with a dry rag twice a week.  That way they stay clean and you should only bathe them 3-5 times a year.

Health: Vizsla’s are known to have a few common health issues.  The Vizsla Club of America participates in a canine health database.  Before a Vizsla can be registered for a number, they need to be tested for certain ailments, and the owner must provide all test results.  Most breeders are careful and monitor the bloodlines when considering a mate for their dog.  They can use the health database Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) to gather information concerning a Vizslas health history.

Common health issues include:

  • hip dysplasia
  • Von  Willebrand’s disease
  • cancer
  • hypothyroidism
  • eye disorders

Exercise:  This dog requires about 30-60 minutes of  exercise daily.  And when I say exercise, I don’t mean just a walk around the block.  The Vizslas love to run and play.  If you live in town or in an apartment, you might want to reconsider getting a Vizsla.  They enjoy going hunting, running around outdoors, agility courses, and playing fetch.

Lifespan:  The Vizsla tends to live 10-14 years.

Keep in Mind:   Even though you have provided your Vizsla with lots of attention and exercise, they can still become bored.  Especially when they are home alone.  These dogs are known for chewing, so make sure they have toys  of their own to keep them busy and play with.

Sources:

http://www.animalplanet.com/tv-shows/dogs-101/videos/vizsla.htm

http://www.animalplanet.com/tv-shows/dogs-101/videos/vizsla.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vizsla

http://www.vetstreet.com/dogs/vizsla

http://dogtime.com/dog-breeds/vizsla

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.

Sources:

http://www.akc.org/breeds/doberman_pinscher/index.cfm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doberman_Pinscher

http://www.petwave.com/Dogs/Breeds/Doberman-Pinscher/Personality.aspx

http://dobermansden.com/most-famous-dobermans/

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dilated-cardiomyopathy/basics/definition/con-20032887