Not accustom to the heat, the French Bulldog, or ‘Frenchie’ as it’s affectionately known, needs a lot of care in the warmer months.
Personality: Intelligent and courageous, Frenchies 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.
For more information, including where to find registered French Bulldog breeders, visit Frenchies Australia: frenchiesaustralia.com
Poodle breeds have good temperament, are intelligent and are great pets for allergy sufferers.
Good temperament. Extremely intelligent and likes to please owner so will quickly pick up commands. Needs challenges and gets bored easily if not given agility or obedience exercises. Loves human company. Great house dogs despite large size but need discipline and guidance. They love children and will romp and play very happily with them. Puppies do not mature until 18 months old.
A great dog for allergy sufferers and asthmatics who have trouble with dog hair because poodles do not drop hair and the mandatory grooming regime keeps dust and pollen out of their coats. The dog suits families, couples and singles. Suitable companion for all age groups if obedience trained but older people may prefer a trained, mature dog because it is less boisterous than a puppy.
Anything is possible with a poodle if you get it between eight and 12 weeks of age and start training it. They have many talents but on a light-hearted level, splashing around in the water is something these immaculately coiffed dogs are more than happy to do. This all goes back to their breeding gun dog and water retriever. If given the chance they love to herd or chase ducks; they also love to entertain and play with their humans.
This dog is so intelligent it will adapt to any kind of circumstances you live in, whether that’s an apartment or a mansion on an allotment. Despite their size they are an excellent, clean housedog and will be happy if they have your company and receive regular exercise.
being alert, loyal and intelligent, these dogs are great watchdogs and they look out for their family members. But their gentle nature means they are more likely to lick an intruder to death than guard your property.
The Standard Poodle, like its smaller cousins, literally sets the standard for companionship for many dog owners. Fun loving and highly intelligent, this breed delights in pleasing. The warm, loyal personality engages people. And combined with strength and aristocratic looks, Standard Poodles are among the worlds most loved dogs.
Beyond the glamour clips and the need for grooming, these dogs are surprisingly down to earth and funny. Many owners delight in the breeds sense of mischief and humour and there are amazing stories of the dogs awareness of owners needs, such as the Poodle who hid the car keys in a game to prevent a very tired breeder from driving home after a dog show!
The Standard Poodle is a large, active gun-dog originally bred for hard work. It is also the original Poodle. Despite the popular belief that Poodles are French, the truth is rather less certain. The breed probably originated from a water spaniel in Germany and the name derives from the German word pudelin, which means to splash. What is certain is that the Poodle is the worlds oldest water retriever, circus performer and truffle hunter. They are still used for hunting in some parts of the world.
The intelligence and adaptability of the breed has led it into a wide range of careers.
In the past, Standard Poodles have been used to pull milk carts, they have been messengers during times of social unrest and they have excelled as performers in the circus. Today, Poodles are still used for a variety of tasks. In fact, there is even a website dedicated to promoting an awareness of the breeds impressive capabilities, called Versatility in Poodles.
These dogs shine wherever intelligence and adaptability are important attributes and they make equally good hospital therapy dogs, hunting dogs or loyal companions. The standard variety is ideal for those individuals who prefer a larger dog but like the Poodle temperament.
The Poodle coat is composed of individual hairs which never stop growing, similar to that of human head hair. The Poodle puppy has a soft hair coat which usually falls in gentle waves to soft curls. As the puppy grows, so does the coat. Sometime between nine and 16 months the coat begins to undergo a change in texture. During this coat change the coat tends to mat easily and if it is maintained for conformation showing, it requires frequent brushing to keep the mats out and the dog comfortable. Once the coat change is complete the brushing can often be decreased to once a week, depending on the activities of the dog and its individual coat type. Most adult Poodle coats will naturally form cords if not brushed out after a bath. It is usually very difficult to care for a corded Poodle coat as it takes a very long time for the cords to dry, especially in humid climates.
Ironically, at shows, the dog with the fluffy pompoms, sometimes sniggered at at dog shows, was not bred to be a canine of leisure. In fact, the elaborate hairdo itself was developed for practicality, not fashion. Working as a water retriever in cold water was hard enough, but with an unclipped thick and endlessly growing coat, it could be deadly to a swimming dog. The thick waterproof coat was a very heavy burden when wet so the hair was trimmed from those parts of the body where it did not serve the essential purpose of keeping the dog warm. That’s why the rump was bare while the vulnerable chest, joints and kidneys remained covered by insulative hair!
Similarly, the tradition of coloured ribbons in the hair that continued to be used in show dogs until the 1970s dates back centuries when these dogs were retrievers of waterfowl. As most of those dogs were black or white at that time, the coloured ribbons identified the dog to their owners.
Poodle grooming books usually have detailed photos and drawings of the various Poodle clips. So good hair really is a must for Poodles simply because even when they are sleeping that hair is growing and growing.
They need regular haircuts and the kind of clip probably depends on what your dog is being asked to do, be it family pet or champion in the ring or the water retriever of old.
All recognised breeds have certain health problems and the Poodle is no different. Among the more common hereditary health problems diagnosed in all three Poodle varieties are the genetic disorders hip dysplasia, PRA and cataracts (leading to blindness) and epilepsy (seizures). The best way to discover if your intended puppy is free of such problems is to ask for a written report with the results of x-rays, blood tests, eye examinations and punch skin biopsies for the sire and the dam of the puppy. Most breeders will be delighted to answer any questions about the pups health.
Remember also that Poodles take about two years to mature so you will have a puppy with puppy behaviour for quite a while. Regular obedience training will help you develop a good relationship with your little pooch but you must be prepared to put in the work to keep your dog happy and healthy. That means exercise, grooming and companionship.
Poodle enthusiast Sharon Williamson says there are several important things to teach your new Poodle puppy.
A Poodle puppy must be taught not to touch or eat things that don’t belong to him and to help your Poodle to grow up confident and proud, early socialisation is very important, says Sharon, adding that people contact is all important to this loyal breed.
They are wonderful as a family companion and the Standard is definitely a protector, she says. The Poodle is like another person and will see itself as an important part of the family.
Sharon describes the breeds temperament as generous, proud, happy, playful and intelligent. Her dogs are a great source of joy to her and she says that you too can share that joy as long as you have time and inclination to look after the coat.
Sharon adds that this intelligent dog will also get along with existing dogs and other pets as long as introductions are done carefully.
We have a Poodle and a Chihuahua and together they’re a funny pair, she laughs.
So if you’re thinking of buying a Poodle, the best advice is to know what you want and why, and contact a breeder to find the right Standard Poodle for your needs.
There is an enormous amount to enjoy about these dogs but they do require quite a lot of effort to groom, so don’t buy on impulse.
Put a Toy Poodle in your life for just a short time and you’ll soon wonder how you ever managed without one in the first place. Elegant, extremely cute and with the darkest eyes brimming with expression, this breed gives years of pleasure to those lucky enough to have one as part of the family. Ask any Toy Poodle owner about this pooch and you’ll open a floodgate of stories about extreme loyalty, super intelligence and absolute devotion.
Toys are like little people, says Sydney-based breeder Pam Brennan. They are more in tune with humans than any other breed I know. They are just beautiful!
The Toy Poodle is one of three poodle sizes, the others being the Standard and the Miniature. The Toy and the Miniature were bred down from the Standard, but the three are considered one breed and judged by the same breed standard.
While the Poodle is sometimes considered an almost snobby or arrogant dog, one which often sports the strangest of haircuts and seems preoccupied with its appearance, the truth is that this is a strong and agile dog which was used prolifically as a retriever of water fowl, the dogs strange haircut a deliberate move to facilitate the breeds retrieving abilities in thick brush and water. The clip would lighten the Poodles coat in water but patches of hair would be left longer over joints and major organs to protect them from the cold.
The Toy Poodle became renowned for its ability to sniff out truffles in European woods and although today it is mostly a companion dog, its great intelligence and retrieving skills should not be overlooked.
According to Pam Brennan, the Toy may appear fragile but its far from that. This is a hardy breed, she emphasises, with a solid body and strong legs. And as for its reputed intelligence: The Poodle is said to be the most intelligent of all dogs, she says. It is definitely a highly clever animal and learns very quickly.
Experts strongly recommend early socialisation and training for Toys as their reputed intelligence can lead to misbehaviour. While not all Toys are yappy, training can teach those that are to control their bark. They can be reserved with strangers and need to get used to being with other dogs. Because they are so clever, however, they learn quickly and often excel in the sports arena.
Toys are especially known for their extreme loyalty and will stick by their owners side through thick and thin.
Mine follow me everywhere, says Pam. They hate being outside and want to be buzzing around with me wherever I go. In fact, experts emphasise that the Toy differs from other Poodles in that it is very much a people dog and needs to be kept inside with its owner, not left outdoors on its own. Similarly, the Toy should be watched around young children and certainly does better with the older, more responsible child. While Pam points out that her Toys are wonderful with her nine grandchildren, aged three to 13, she doesn’t advocate leaving youngsters unsupervised.
We often make the children sit on the ground so they are on the same level as the dog, she says.
Carol Vimpany has shared her life with Toy Poodles for more than 20 years and reiterates that Toys are more like little people: There’s not a lot of dog in the Toy; they see themselves as people, she says.
Clearly a great lover of this breed, Carol is fastidious about her Toys and will only keep a small number of dogs at one time at her kennel. She insists the Toy needs to stay within the home environment and to truly give them what they need, 10 at a time in her home is the maximum for her!
It does get quite difficult to say goodbye when I place a dog, says Carol, but I often keep in contact and sometimes visit to celebrate a birthday.
Carol emphasises that this breed is better suited to older people or grown and half-grown families, and says if you’re looking for a dog that’s great with the kids, this wouldn’t be the breed for you.
She also points out that prospective owners need to be aware that the Toys profuse, curly coat needs clipping every six to eight weeks, and it is high-maintenance if you choose to show your Toy. Because the coat needs such regular care and the Toys hair like human hair – grows thickly and quickly, many Toy owners choose professional groomers for regular clipping, having nails and ears checked at the same time. However, clipping can be done by owners themselves once they have learned the correct procedure.
But this mass of curls does bring with it some precious advantages. People who suffer from asthma and other allergies apparen’tly remain unaffected by the breeds coat, a godsend for those animal lovers unable to own a pooch because they react to the coat of so many dogs. Similarly, the Poodle does not drop hair which means a cleaner house for Poodle owners – and has no smell, as the Poodle coat has no doggie odour.
The Toy is a convenient size for those looking for a smaller dog. They grow to about 25cm in height and weigh about three to four kilos. Their beautiful curly coat comes in a rainbow of colours including white, brown, apricot, cream, red, blue and grey.
While today its an overall healthy breed, the Toy used to suffer a lot from inherited Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), a debilitating eye disease which only shows up in a puppy after its two years old. A concerted effort was made to breed out this scourge from Toy populations and all good and responsible breeders will check their stock regularly. Prospective buyers should ask to see eye certificates of a puppys paren’ts.
Both Pam Brennan and Carol Vimpany predict they will remain Toy owners for many years to come, convinced this is a one-in-a-million pooch.
There are not too many people who will buy another breed once they have owned Toy Poodles, says Carol. Often, they will progress from owning Standards, to Miniatures and finally settling for Toys. As for myself Im hooked! Ill definitely be sticking with this breed.
Daily: Brushing your poodle every day is a must even if it does not have an exotic clip.
Weekly: Obedience classes will make your puppy into a great companion in no time.
Fortnightly: Baths when necessary
Monthly: Clips are necessary every month to keep the thick non-shedding coat in good condition.
Regular: Ears need to be regularly plucked. This dog was bred to hunt so it benefits from regular exercise and agility and obedience training.
Hereditary diseases: Hip Dysplasia – a painful hip condition that plagues many large breeds. If possible, check the medical records of the dogs paren’ts up to four generations back. Can also suffer from Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) and epilepsy.
New South Wales
The Japanese Spitz is a relatively new breed and was only introduced to the UK and Ireland in 1976. Their origins are quite obscure, but they are known to have originated from the far north of America and were bred by American Eskimos. In 1923, a small group of Spitz were discovered among rescue cargo from Canada at the time of the great Japanese earthquake. The dogs were taken into care but it wasn’t really known what kind of Spitz they were, although it is presumed they were of the American Eskimo variety. They were then cross-bred during the 1930s with a breed called the Russian Spitz, which had been brought back to Japan by soldiers returning from service in Russian Manchuria. In this way, the Japanese Spitz as we know it today came into existence.
Although the Japanese Spitz is now well established, it is still a relatively unknown and rare dog in Australia. Elizabeth Chapman, a Japanese Spitz breeder from Victoria, shares some advice on the personality, energy level and care requirements of this fascinating breed.
The Japanese Spitz is known to be a very cheerful and affectionate breed that requires a loving, enriched environment in which to thrive. It is well known for its loyalty and devotion to any loving home. This bold little dog makes a great watchdog and will alert owners when it feels it’s necessary. They are quite wary of strangers but will accept them once they are introduced by their owners. These dogs also get along wonderfully with children and other pets. As with all breeds, however, children should be supervised when playing with the dogs. Socialisation and training are a must from a young age to ensure a well-mannered and adjusted adult dog.
The Japanese Spitz is a family dog and thrives on human companionship. It will fit in with people in most situations as long as it receives plenty of love and affection. The Japanese Spitz does not adapt well to solitary life in a backyard and would prefer to be inside with the family. They enjoy being wherever you are and will normally attach themselves to one member of the family and be their every shadow. This loving breed can live quite happily indoors as long as it gets adequate exercise.
Quite an active little breed, the Japanese Spitz enjoys a daily walk or run in the park, which will also help keep it fit and happy. It will benefit from a regular chance to run off leash in a safe area. This breed requires an average-size backyard that is fully fenced. Breeders also recommend regular exercise to stop these pooches from becoming bored and getting up to mischief. The Japanese Spitz is very intelligent and quite easy to train as long as you are consistent. They are eager to please and learn quite quickly. The breed also excels in agility, flyball and obedience and loves to play a game of fetch or Frisbee.
Despite its beautiful long, pure white coat, the Japanese Spitz is a low-maintenance breed. Its coat is very easy to look after due to its texture. Mud and dirt will fall off and can be brushed out very easily. A regular brush or comb is needed to keep the coat from matting, and will require a little extra brushing when shedding, which only occurs once a year.
The Japanese Spitz is quite a healthy breed but can suffer from patella luxation (slipping patella) and can also be prone to runny eyes, but this is rarely caused by any serious eye defect. Many of these issues have been eliminated due to good breeding practices. Ask your breeder about bloodlines as responsible breeders will try to reduce the chances of your Japanese Spitz developing inherited problems.
The lifespan of this breed ranges from between 12 to 15 years. If you have the time and dedication for one of these admirable dogs, you will have a proud and affectionate companion for many years.
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 Read More
Dalmatian Club of Victoria: Read More
The Dalmatian Club of New South Wales Inc.: Read More
Dalmatian Club of South Australia: Read More
Dalmatian Association of Queensland: email firstname.lastname@example.org
Hey, hey, Roley hang on!
Yes that’s right this adorable pooch is well known for toilet tissue commercials, and even wrinkle creams. With such an adorable face and easy going nature its no wonder this breed is such a big hit with the general public.
Ask Shar Pei enthusiast Wayne Grace from Sydney, NSW, about the breed and he’ll soon have you thinking seriously about welcoming one of these dogs into your family. “They have the most wonderful natures,” Grace enthuses. “They are intelligent, not yappy, lovable, affectionate and they make me laugh.”
Grace has been involved with the breed for more than 10 years and had the first Grand Champion Shar Pei in Australia. Wayne points out that, like all dogs, some Shar Peis can be temperamental — but with the right training and correct treatment, they make outstanding family dogs.
“This breed loves attention,” says Grace, “and is not your backyard dog. It wants to be part of the family.”
Originating in China some 2000 years ago, the Shar Pei was originally unknown outside that country. The breed was initially used as a farm dog for herding, hunting, guarding and as a companion. By the time communism arrived, the Shar Pei became almost extinct. And by the 1960s, there were very few left worldwide. In fact, the Guinness Book of Records listed it in 1978 as the worlds rarest dog and it was this mention that attracted some dog breeders outside China to begin the long, slow process of reviving this very distinctive breed. In the 1970s Matgo Law, a Hong Kong resident, called for international help to revive the breed and slowly the Shar Pei crawled back from virtual extinction to become one of the rarest but trendiest of dog breeds.
This interesting dog has a number of characteristics that make it unique in the dog world. Of course, the famous Shar Pei wrinkles spring instantly to mind. While these wondrous wrinkles may be the first thing that attracts prospective owners to the breed, the wrinkles remain only during puppyhood and then begin to disappear.
The Shar Pei, whilst in its state of redevelopment, became known for its suspicious and aggressive temperament, but with careful and responsible breeding, this problem has largely been solved. One rarely encounters a nasty Shar Pei nowadays, but puppy-seekers should ask to meet both parents, and as many other related dogs as possible, to make sure of their dispositions. The Shar Pei should be a calm, even-tempered, well-mannered, friendly dog with humans, but may retain some dislike of other dogs and a tendency to stubbornness. Its rather loose, wrinkly skin should have a harsh, bristly, short coat to protect it. It comes in solid colours only black, red, and light or dark shades of fawn or cream. Its adult height is in the range of 46-51cm at the shoulder and weight 18-25kg. The Shar Pei makes a good housedog and watchdog.
The Shar Pei has a padded head and is very sensitive to heat. On hot days, make sure your pooch is kept cool and has plenty of fresh water available. Shar Pei owners should also ensure their dog eats a balanced low-protein diet with few table scraps as too much of these can lead to skin and kidney problems.
This breed can have a sensitive skin so breeders suggest owners use only dog products on their Shar Peis and not products made for humans. Experts warn that the Shar Pei’s skin can easily react to perfumes and other ingredients in conventional products.
Fergus strongly recommends new or potential Shar Pei owners familiarise themselves with this breed and its needs before they buy a pup. “You need to research the breed before you buy a Shar Pei and make sure you are able to provide the proper care and environment to maintain a healthy, happy dog,” she says.
She also strongly advises potential owners to deal only with reputable, ethical and registered breeders as this should lessen the chances of buying a Shar Pei pup with health problems.
Care and exercise
Regular exercise in reasonable amounts is the order of the day with the Shar Pei. When exercising in public, the Shar Pei should be kept on a lead it may otherwise try to protect you from any other dog it sees. Regular brushing and the occasional bath should keep the Shar Pei’s unique bristly coat in good condition, but more important is frequent attention to any deeply wrinkled areas, especially around the face, to minimise skin problems.
While the Shar Pei is one of the most unusual and distinctive breeds, it should not be purchased simply because we wanted something different. It can be an excellent, appealing family dog and a worthy watchdog and will accommodate itself to most living situations. It can also be stubborn, self-willed and try to dominate its owner. The heavily wrinkled skin which gives this breed its unique appearance brings with it a heavy responsibility to take care of it. The Shar Peis propensity for arguing with other dogs also must be taken into account. This is definitely not a breed for novice dog-owners.
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.
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
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