Considered a symbol of strength, the British Bulldog has earned its place as the national dog of England.
Also called the English Bulldog and British Bulldog, this breed has been around since ancient Egypt and has evolved into a good natured, family-oriented dog. One of the defining features of the breed is their rolling skin. Due to its eccentric short build and sideways motion when walking, the Bulldog is susceptible to many health issues relating to the joints, bones, respiratory system and eyes.
Personality: Originally bred for bull baiting, the British Bulldog is an amazing dog with strength and intelligence. These traits are coupled with a great temperament and an extremely laid-back personality to form a breed that has become the mascot for numerous universities, schools and organisations. Affection is one of the attributes most commonly noted about this adorable dog.
Suitability: The breed generally loves everything to do with families and wants nothing more than the affection and attention of its owners. The British Bulldog loves to be with children and also makes a great companion dog. They are well-suited to a family living in a home with a small backyard or courtyard area with plenty of shade.
Favourite activities: The British Bulldog doesn’t need a lot of exercise, but does like a walk or a romp on the beach. They enjoy being indoors and can easily overheat. A boisterous young pup, this playful breed calms down as it grows up. The Bulldog likes to be involved in whatever its owner is doing and isn’t particularly fussed about specific activities. They generally prefer to have a cuddle with a member of the family.
Watchdog qualities: Alert and inquisitive, this breed will alert the owner if anyone is around. They rarely bark, so when they do it grabs people’s attention. Their stubborn nature and strength mean they should make a good guard dog.
Hereditary diseases: Prone to overheating, the British Bulldog should never be left in a hot car. They are known to drool and snore. As with all breeds, they can inherit problems such as hip dysplasia.
Grooming: The Bulldog requires regular brushing to avoid the build up of dirt and grime in their skin folds. Wrinkles and the skin surrounding the eyes as well as the tail should be cleaned regularly to avoid moisture and infection.
Daily: Shade, fresh water and a well-balanced diet are essential. This breed is prone to overheating so it should have an area indoors where it can rest.
Weekly: Brush every week and bathe when necessary. Clean the face, wrinkles and ears.
Other: Make sure your British Bulldog is wormed, vaccinated and regularly checked for ticks.
The French Bulldog is a small, stocky and miniature bulldog breed hailing from England. The companion dog makes a great addition to the family and is active, alert and affectionate. Not accustom to the heat, this breed needs a lot of care in the warmer months.
Personality: Intelligent and courageous, the French Bulldog can be trusted with young children and will act as a good watchdog against strangers. You’ll get laughs out of this dog too with its clownish nature. The fun-loving and affectionate breed becomes part of the family so time must be taken to train them at an early age.
A great dog for: Anyone with time to devote to their dog. The French Bulldog is not a dog to be left alone in the backyard, they love human companionship. Retirees, families with young children and apartment dwellers will all benefit from the love of this breed.
Favourite activities: Playing, walking and sitting in your lap. The French Bulldog needs its daily walk. However they don’t handle the heat so walks should be done during the coolest time of the day. Due to the unique build, Bulldogs cannot swim so care should be taken around water.
Backyard requirements: Their small stature and minimal shedding make the French Bulldog a great indoor pet. A medium sized and fenced backyard provides the space this dog needs to run around and play games but a daily walk is a necessity.
Grooming: Minimal grooming is required but a light brush through their coat will help dispose of dead hairs when malting.
Care & Exercise
Being an active breed, the Tibetan Spaniel needs regular exercise, but this can be achieved easily by play with children or a walk which does not need to be all that long. The Tibby coat is soft and silky, medium to short in length, with a fine and dense undercoat. Brushing a few times a week will usually see it kept in good order, with the occasional bath when the need arises.
Its smallness suits the Tibetan Spaniel to just about any sized living situation. As with most toy breeds, the Tibby may enjoy a romp around a large garden, but is perfectly happy to spend most of its time indoors. Its gay, loving nature makes it an excellent family pet, but be prepared for it to treat visitors with some suspicion or aloofness. Its coat needs a moderate amount of maintenance without which it will quickly become grubby, matted and scruffy, so it is not a breed for those without either time or inclination for grooming.
This stunning breed has been a much-favoured companion in monasteries as a prayer dog. Its loving nature and delightful character make the Tibby a perfect addition to any loving home.
In spite of its name, the Tibetan Spaniel is classified as a toy, not a gundog and is known to its owners as the Tibby. It has its origins in the Himalayas and is known to have existed for at least 2000 years, being much favoured in the monasteries as a companion and prayer dog. A sturdy, sweet-natured, intelligent little dog, it can be stand-offish with strangers, but a delightful, loving, mischievous pet to its family. A characteristic of the Tibby is its slightly bowed front legs, correct for this breed but undesirable on most others. Like the other Asian breeds, it can be quiet at times, or quite assertive and fearless when it sees the need.
The Tibetan Spaniel has a relatively easycare medium length, silky coat which can come in any colour. The usual size is around 25cm at the shoulder, weighing between 4.5 and 7kg, and the Tibby should look slightly longer than high.
Care & Exercise
Although not a hard coat to maintain, it does need a good brush at least every second day and regular bathing. With moulting of the double coat every six months, extra time is needed to remove all the dead hair. A regular trim of the coat round the eyes and feet, as well as checking of the ears, is essential. This is a lively, intelligent breed and care must be taken to train the puppies in obedience right from the time they join their new family. The TT is not demanding but needs a good walk or a game to keep it fit and happy.
This sheepdog-like small breed can be a most devoted family companion. Its coat does take time to maintain and if you do not relish the thought of brushing a longish coat for about an hour every second day, this is not the breed for you. The Tibetan Terrier is a gentle, engaging breed who is a loyal, outgoing family pet, capable of adapting to almost any circumstance as long as it has human company.
This lovely dog is sure to win over your heart and soul. With their loving and intelligent nature this darling breed is sure to light up your home.
Little is known of the Tibetan Terrier in the Western world until about 70 years ago, but in its own country, it is thought to have been around for about two millennia. Bred by Tibetan monks, the breed is known as a symbol of good luck and, as such, is very much treasured. The dogs, referred to as TT, were often presented as gifts to special friends to bring them luck in the future. The dogs were never bought or sold, as one could never sell luck and might tempt fate. Besides being an affectionate companion, these dogs were sometimes used as an all-purpose farm dog. Their zest for life and enthusiasm for joining in family daily life abound. They are intelligent and game and make a good watchdog but, being good natured, they would never make a guard dog. Although called a Terrier, this breed has no terrier blood or traits and the name is somewhat misleading.
The TT is a compact breed, square in shape, and about 35 to 40cm high at the shoulders. The heavily furnished head and body are covered in a double coat of fine woolly undercoat and profuse, fine, long outercoat. This can be either straight or waved but never curled. It varies in colour from white through gold, grey to black and parti-colours and tri-colours. In fact, any colour except chocolate or liver. With its black nose peeking out of its fall of hair from over its round eyes and small beard, the Tibetan Terrier is a very attractive animal. Its high set, medium length tail is carried in a gay curl over the back and covered in long hair. Although not one of the glamour breeds of the dog world, the TT is a handsome breed who is outgoing, alert and intelligent. An unusual feature is their large, round feet which are down on their pads. There is no arch in the feet but that does not stop this lively dog jumping to good heights if it has the mind to do so.
A sturdy, medium-size breed, very lively but loyal in nature, they appreciate the companionship of their family but can be sparing of affection to strangers.
Cute as a button and ideal for allergy sufferers, the adorable Bichon Frise is the perfect fit for some dog lovers. By Michelle Segal.
Personality: A gorgeous dog, hard to resist picking up and cuddling, the Bichon Frise is intelligent and great fun to have around. It bonds closely with its family and is especially loyal.
Suitability: This little pooch is ideal for families, singles and elderly people as long as they do not have time-consuming careers and have time to spend with their dog. The Bichon gets extremely attached to its owners and will fret if left alone all day. Prospective owners should also make sure they have time to dedicate to grooming.
Favourite activities: Spending time with the family is top of the wish list for this pooch. The Bichon loves to play games and go on outings, but is just as happy to curl up on the lap of its favourite person and have a snooze.
Watchdog qualities: While not considered an effective watchdog, the Bichon is alert and has an acute sense of hearing. This will make it very aware of strangers and intruders.
Hereditary diseases: This pooch is relatively free of disease due to careful breeding, but can be affected by luxating patellas (slipping kneecaps), the eye disease progressive retinal atrophy, and skin allergies.
For information on breeders and clubs in your state, visit
Australian National Kennel Council: www.ankc.aust.com
New Zealand Kennel Club: www.nzkc.org.nz
Easily mistaken for a fox due to its beautiful red coat and pointy ears, the Finnish Spitz is a national symbol to be proud of. The Fins appointed it their national dog in 1979, and this gorgeous breed has continued to be a valued member of households, not only in its country of origin, but around the world.
Despite its small size, the Finnish Spitz was originally used as a hunter of small game and birds, as well as larger animals such as moose and elk even bears! It was used mostly as a hunter of birds, however, and would run to the tree where it heard birds flapping, barking to get the attention of its hunter guardian.
Today in Finland, this little Spitz is still used to hunt, but is more common as a household pet both there and around the world.
Rare but remarkable
Barry and Pam Vogt, members of the Victorian Spitz Breed Club, are staunch supporters of the Finnish Spitz and have lived with the breed for the past 22 years. Even back in those early days, the Finnish Spitz was a rarity, and enjoying a challenge, Barry decided he wanted to get involved with this uncommon but special dog.
This breed is very uncommon and is never going to be a popular dog, says Barry, but he adds that once you have owned a Finnish Spitz, its hard to live with any other breed. We have a very long list of people waiting for pups even people from Finland have their names down with us in case one of their dogs dies. They would want to replace it with another as soon as they can.
A clever and alert breed, the Finnish Spitz makes an excellent family pet, but it is fairly independent and strong in character.
You need to be a good dog person to own a Finnish Spitz, Barry claims. This breed can be noisy and difficult if its ignored, but it is extremely affectionate if given time and attention and kept indoors with the family.
From its early days as a hunter, the Finnish Spitz was used to spending long stretches of time with its guardians, living in close contact with them. Still today, this pooch bonds very closely with its family and will become depressed if left to its own devices and not included as one of the pack. The Finnish Spitz needs to be indoors with its guardians and not left out in the yard with no family contact.
Keep it interesting
As with all breeds, the Finnish Spitz should be introduced to training and socialisation during puppyhood, however, because of this breeds intelligence, training should be made interesting and stimulating or this pooch will bore easily and lose interest. This dog is too smart for repetitive training, Barry warns.
Patience is also needed when training this dog, and harsh measures will not work. Rather, positive reinforcement is the way to go.
The Finnish Spitz adores children and makes a great family addition, although it is wary of strangers and will protect its family by warning you of any unusual activity on or near your property. This breed is known for its high-pitched bark, which can become problematic unless nipped in the bud at puppy stage.
Bred to hunt, the Finnish Spitz is an active, athletic breed and still exhibits those instincts today. This canine needs regular daily exercise and its wellbeing depends on being stimulated, both mentally and physically each day. They are known to excel at agility, obedience and field training and have also been used as companion dogs.
One of this breeds most eye-catching qualities is its exquisite thick red coat. Born dark grey or fawn in colour, the Spitzs coat begins to turn its beautiful red at about four months of age. Its a double coat with a soft, thick undercoat and longer-haired topcoat. The top layer boasts the beautiful red hue, while the under layer is lighter in colour.
The coat sheds twice a year, and during shedding its important to thoroughly brush out the undercoat so the new coat can grow. If left unbrushed, the dead undercoat will not fall out and can cause skin problems.
Did you know?
As a known hunter of birds and a breed with a high-pitched bark, the Finnish Spitz was given the nickname Finnish Barking Bird-dog.
For more information on the Finnish Spitz or to locate a breeder, contact your state canine council via the Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC) website www.ankc.org.au
In New Zealand, please contact the New Zealand Kennel Club via its website at www.nzkc.org.nz/about.html
Spitz Breed Club Inc (New Zealand): http://spitzbreedsclub.co.nz
Care and exercise
The crowning glory of the Lhasa Apso is, of course, its magnificent coat, which requires daily attention in the form of combing and brushing to keep it at its best and free from mats and tangles. About ten or fifteen minutes each day should suffice. Exercise requirements are not high, as the Apso will get most of what it needs running around the house and yard, but if you take it for a walk, you will tire long before it does!
The Lhasa Apso is an excellent choice for anyone wanting a small dog of great beauty and with a somewhat assertive personality, to serve as companion, entertainer and sentinel; and who has the time and desire to undertake the daily grooming to maintain that Apso coat in all its glory.
The Apso is an affectionate, loyal and loving dog that simply adores its family and friends.
This very attractive little dog is one of four breeds originating in and around the monasteries of Tibet, and as well as carrying a glorious coat designed both for beauty and warmth, the Apso also shares the gay, assertive, friendly but sometimes stubborn nature of the others. It may look like a toy breed, but under that long, straight, glamorous coat you will find a sturdy, lithe, active small dog with little interest in being a mere lapdog. Referred to in its homeland (now part of China) as the Lion Dog, the Lhasa Apso for centuries acted as inside watchdog and companion to the monks. A firmly held belief was that priests who failed to reach Nirvana were instead reincarnated as Apsos!
The Apso is an affectionate, loving dog to its family, but can be wary of strangers and unfamiliar situations. It has an acute sense of hearing and makes an excellent burglar alarm. It is an intelligent breed, readily adapting itself to the familys routine and is easily trained if this is done in short sessions. The Apsos playful nature and its enjoyment of human company make it an ideal companion dog, particularly for the older owner. About 25cms at the shoulder and weighing around 7kg, the Apso is quite small, but big enough to make its presence felt when it feels the need. That beautiful long coat is seen in a range of very attractive colours: Gold, sandy, honey, dark grizzle, slate, smoke, black, white, brown, and parti-colour.
The Chow Chow does not have a particularly high exercise requirement, being quite happy with an occasional walk or potter around the backyard. The rough-coated variety, does, however, need a fair bit of regular work on its jacket. This is a very profusely-coated breed, with a harsh, stand-off outer coat and dense, woolly undercoat. Daily brushing and combing are necessary to control mats and tangles and to keep dead hair coming out, particularly at the twice-yearly moult. Bathing a Chow Chow is not the easiest thing to do, because of the amount and thickness of coat, and drying can be a long process. It also makes keeping it free of grass seeds, burrs, etc, a difficulty if the dog spends a lot of time in the yard.
A natural guard and one-person (or one family) dog, the Chow Chow is not suitable for everyone, but it has been said that once you have owned a Chow you will never have another breed. They can be obstinate and self-willed, so early in life their ground rules need to be clearly set. As with any dominant breed of dog, it is vital with the Chow Chow that its owner is established as the pack leader, right from day one. While their need for exercise is minimal, the grooming requirements are high, and this must be taken into consideration before choosing a member of this extraordinary oriental breed.
This addible breed is well known for their teddy-bear qualities. With a loving soft nature and minimal exercise requirements, the Chow is sure to be your next four-legged best friend.
Now, this is a most interesting breed, for several reasons. One, it was bred in China centuries ago for its meat as well as its guarding and hunting ability, two, it has a blue tongue, three, instead of the usual happy doggy expression, it wears a scowl and its straight back legs give it a unique stilted gait.
The Chow Chow is also rather inscrutable and aloof, very much a one-person dog. Behind that rather impassive, thoughtful face, seemingly indifferent to its surroundings, is a personality all its own. Devoted and loyal to the extreme, the Chow can be at times over-protective. It is not a breed to leave running in your front yard. Likened by some to a bear, it is actually more like a lion, with its large head, profuse mane and very solid, strong build. The Chow Chow is most commonly seen in the rough-coated form, but there is also a smooth variety with a short coat.
Average height is around 46-48cm, and weight about 25kg. Both varieties come in a range of solid or shaded colours black, red, blue, fawn, cream or white.
Care and exercise
This alert and lively dog is happy to be exercised with a walk or a game of catch. It is not demanding as long as its family is in sight. With a thick double coat, this breed must be brushed on a regular basis. When the coat starts to shed, it can take a lot of brushing to remove the dead coat. It is not a clipped breed and good brushing, right down to the skin, is essential to keep this dog looking beautiful and healthy.
With his lively, affectionate nature and compact size, the Japanese Spitz is well suited to all ages in the family. Exercise requirements are not high and it is quite happy living in a small area. Be prepared to spend at least half an hour, every second day keeping its coat properly groomed.
This relatively rare breed but is becoming more widely known. Its gentle and alert nature makes it the perfect addition to many loving homes.
Like the look of the Samoyed but would like something more compact and not as much coat? The Japanese Spitz is the answer. This pure white dog with its profuse, stand-off coat knows it is as pretty as a picture and struts just to show off. Standing between 30cm and 36cm at the shoulder and weighing 7-10 kilos, it is an ideal size for a family pet or a personal companion. Although affectionate and friendly, it can be wary of strangers and this makes it a good watch-dog.
The Japanese Spitz is said to be the first breed to receive official recognition in Japan as a purebred. This dainty dog has a characteristic Spitz-type pointed muzzle, small, round, black nose and dark almond eyes with black rims. Its triangular ears peek out from its mane which covers neck, shoulders and chest. Its tail is curled over the back and is covered in long hair. Face, ears and lower legs are covered in short hair.
Personality: The Dalmatian is elegant, yet playful. It is also a highly intelligent and active breed with a very sociable personality and a craving for love and attention.
Attitude to strangers: Can be wary and will alert their owners to any unusual happenings.
Backyard Requirements: This breed is highly active and needs to have daily exercise including long walks or runs. A large backyard is good to allow your Dally to chase the ball and play between walks. However as long as they are correctly exercised outside the home, your Dally will live happily in an average sized backyard.
Activity level: Extremely active. This breed thrives on a good walk, run or game of fetch. They also enjoy the water, and their intelligence and activity levels ensure they excel at activities, such as obedience and agility.
Watchdog qualities: Very good.
One of the most distinctive breeds of dog, the Dalmatian is unmistakable, and its endearing nature makes it even harder to forget. Elegant, humorous, active and intelligent, the Dalmatian is a highly sociable breed with a clown-like personality and a craving for companionship.
The Dalmatian is believed to have originated in the eastern Mediterranean, spreading to India and then across Europe. A purpose for which the breed became known was to accompany carriages and clear the road of stray animals, a job that required great strength, stamina and endurance. Boasting protective qualities, Dalmatians also served as guard dogs, war dogs, faithful companions, coach dogs and mascots for horse-drawn fire engines.
As its history suggests, the Dalmatian will run with horses for long distances. This is something it has a natural affinity for, not to mention the apparent calming effect the dogs have on horses. The Dalmatian is considered somewhat of a guardian angel.
With distinctive black or liver spots, the Dalmatian is a unique breed and an active one at that. They will therefore need a daily walk, run or game of ball, and a big backyard to run around in. Leaving this breed alone in a backyard for extended periods of time will result in boredom, leading to destructive behaviour, such as barking or digging.
This is not to say they cannot be left alone while owners are at work, but they need to be stimulated with regular exercise, toys and, most importantly, social interaction with people and other dogs. They thrive on love and attention, and simply enjoy being part of the family.
A highly intelligent breed, the Dalmatian can have a mind of its own at times. The breed is well suited to older children, but remember, if you are looking for a dog for smaller children, Dalmatian puppies can be rather boisterous and grow quite quickly, so they can be intimidating to little people.
In line with the uniqueness of this breed, the Dalmatian is known for its smile. A curl of the lip and baring of teeth can be confused for a snarl, but it is just their way of smiling and is usually a sign of affection or submission if they happen to be in trouble – after all, how can you be angry at a grinning dog?
This breed requires minimal maintenance in terms of grooming and bathing. A quick brush once a day will keep its short, dense coat in good condition, and will also keep shedding to a minimum. However, if the presence of small white hairs around the house or on dark clothing would slowly send you mad, then perhaps the Dalmatian is not for you.
Another reason the Dalmatian may not be suitable for everyone is the breeds endless amount of energy. If they are not given the chance to expend this energy they can become destructive, but if you have the time to share with this breed and its a companion you’re after, the Dalmatian is the dog for you and you truly will have a friend for life.
Dalmatian breeder Deborah Harbin of NSW has been involved with the breed for 22 years, and was initially attracted to it because she had horses and wanted a dog that would run with them.
Harbin tells Dogs Life that Dalmatians are very affectionate and people-orientated. They are an active, playful dog and simply love the water and open spaces. They do well on properties, but are equally at home with city-dwelling families who will include them in their activities. She stresses that this breed does not cope well being put in a backyard and ignored.
They are very easy to train and respond well to positive food training. They can be excellent at obedience and agility, Harbin explains.
Dalmatians are very sociable dogs and aggression just isn’t in their nature, Harbin says. Their tails are quite strong and wag a lot, so sometimes this can be off-putting for small children who are not used to dogs. Harbin says she has found the breed to be excellent with children and they usually develop a close bond, although they can be rather boisterous at times.
The Dalmatian is a unique, spotted dog that turns heads when out and about, Harbin says, summing up her favourite breed.
The breeds unique appearance is what attracted Sandra Blomeley of Chatswood, NSW, to the Dalmatian. She also believes the breed has good guarding instincts and makes a faithful companion 12-year-old Max does just that!
He is a very loyal dog and well trained, Blomeley says. He likes to know where you are at all times, so will always be watching you and seems to have this knowledge if anything is wrong. He loves playing, as long as he is in charge, and he is very protective.
Blomeley says Max loves swimming and going for walks, but with age he has slowed down a bit and now prefers to take it easy, while still keeping an eye on everyone. She says food is his number-one priority in life.
Max has always been a city dog and has adapted very well to city living, but he has always had a pretty big yard to run around in, Blomeley says.
Nine-year-old Bella loves the country air and is very much at home on an acreage surrounded by horses. Gael Simonson of Galston in NSW says Bella is a very kind dog and a good guard dog.
Because shes a reasonable size, people think she could be aggressive, but there’s just no way. Shes very much a people dog and just craves attention, Simonson tells Dogs Life.
Simonson says Bella is a loveable dog and just wants to be near you. Bella is always dying to come in when she gets home, and says that if she had it her way, she would be indoors all the time. Simonson says Bella is very much at home on their five-acre property – she loves her walks and is terrific with the horses.
She is also very obedient. She is sociable, totally trustworthy and very tolerant, and we couldnt have picked a nicer-natured dog if we had gone searching, Simonson says
If it is an energetic, yet elegant, humorous and truly unique breed of dog that you’re after, then perhaps the Dalmatian is the breed for you.
Daily: Daily grooming will keep the Dalmatians coat in excellent condition and minimise any shedding. Fresh water and a well-balanced diet are also essential.
Weekly: A bath once a fortnight should suffice for this breed.
Monthly: Like any other breed, the Dalmatian should be treated for heartworm, ticks and fleas, and their nails should be trimmed regularly.
Regular: Gastrointestinal worming, annual vaccinations and nail clipping.
For more information on the Dalmatian or to find a breeder, contact your state canine council via the Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC) website at www.ankc.org.au or state breed club.
In New Zealand, please contact the New Zealand Kennel Club via its website at www.nzkc.org.nz/about.html
Dalmatian Club of Victoria: www.dalmatian.asn.au
The Dalmatian Club of New South Wales Inc.: www.dalmatiansofnsw.org.au
Dalmatian Club of South Australia: www.dalmatianclubofsouthaustralia.com
Dalmatian Association of Queensland: email firstname.lastname@example.org
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