German Shorthaired Pointer
German Shorthaired Pointer

The German Shorthaired Pointer is a stunning dog which is athletic, loyal and loads of fun. If you’re a sporty family looking for a four-legged companion, this breed could be the perfect addition to your household.

There is something about sleek, athletic dogs which always commands the attention of passers by, and watching a German Shorthaired Pointer strut its stuff is truly marvellous.

The agile German Shorthaired Pointer belongs to the gundogs group and is the quintessential working dog. Known as a hunt, point and retrieve breed, it was trained to work alongside hunters in the field to serve and help. While the German Shorthaired Pointer is still used in this capacity in some parts of the world, it is widely considered an outstanding family dog and makes a wonderful companion for those suited to the needs of this breed.

German Shorthaired Pointer puppies are so adorable that it’s very easy to convince yourself this is the right dog for you, but experts warn the German Shorthaired Pointer is not for everyone and you need to do your homework before rushing out to buy one.

Energy plus

As its name suggests, the German Shorthaired Pointer originated in Germany in the 19th century and is said to have developed into the almost ideal gundog by 1907. The breed made its debut in Australia in the mid 1950s and has been popular ever since.

German Shorthaired Pointer owner Ellen True is physically active and has always enjoyed jogging in the morning before beginning her day. She felt vulnerable in the early, dark hours of winter and decided to get a companion to run with her. Sam became her running mate as well as a firm favourite of the whole family.

“He made such a difference to my morning jogs,” says Ellen. “He sets the pace for me and I feel very safe with him by my side.”

Ellen is a strong advocate of the German Shorthaired Pointer but stresses the many aspects of this dog’s development that need to be strictly adhered to if owners want a strong, healthy adult dog. This is one breed you need to be suited to, she stresses, and if its high energy needs don’t match your lifestyle, it’s best to look at other breeds which are more suited to your family’s way of life.

Ellen emphasises the importance of buying a pup from a reliable and registered breeder and to see the pup’s parents if possible.

A team player

The German Shorthaired Pointer is an especially intelligent breed and will excel at activities such as obedience and agility. These pooches love fetching and retrieving and especially enjoy swimming. Despite its high energy levels, the German Shorthaired Pointer does not necessarily need an enormous yard as long as it gets plenty of exercise each day, but it is not suited to apartment living. Breeders say it is important to have a well-fenced garden as this breed’s strong hunting instincts will see it transformed into an agile escape artist at the first available opportunity.

Having been bred to work closely with its hunter-owners, the German Shorthaired Pointer is a very people-oriented dog and a strong team player. It will be unhappy if excluded from the ‘pack’ and needs to be included as one of the family. Despite its large size, the German Shorthaired Pointer is very adaptable and is easy to live with – inside and out.

As well as being one of the most adept hunters and retrievers in the dog world, the gorgeous German Shorthaired Pointer is also one of the most cheerful, fun and loyal breeds around. It grows extremely attached to its family and is good with children. Although as with all breeds, it must be supervised around younger children.

“This is an amazing dog,” says Ellen. “The German Shorthaired Pointer can be whatever you want it to be — a training partner, a playmate for the kids, or a best friend. It will love you and repay your kindness ten-fold. Our Sam is a dog in a million.”

German Shorthaired Pointer vs German Wirehaired Pointer

They may sound similar, but the German Wirehaired Pointer is a totally separate breed to the German Shorthaired Pointer. The GWP is bigger and heavier than the German Shorthaired Pointer, and not as square in shape.

The most obvious difference between the two breeds is the coat, which is the GWP’s most distinctive feature. This dog’s coat is so dense that it protects against cold even in icy water. Naturally, it is more difficult to maintain and needs to be brushed at least twice a week. It may also need stripping from time to time and sheds heavily in summer.
Like the GSD, the GWP is a very energetic dog and needs to be kept well exercised and stimulated. It is extremely agile both on land and in water, due to its versatile coat, and will be most happy if allowed to participate in lots of physical activities.

Five fast facts

Personality: The German Shorthaired Pointer is a happy, fun-loving, energetic and loyal pooch. A working gundog breed, it is highly intelligent and will do anything to please its family.
Favourite activities: This breed is very active and will excel at most field sports. Daily exercise is a must, and they will also love regular swims, retrieving and playing ball in the backyard with the family. They develop especially close bonds with their owners and need to be taken in as one of the ‘pack’.
Backyard requirements: Definitely not suited to apartments, the German Shorthaired Pointer needs a decent-sized backyard with solid fencing to prevent any attempts to escape and go ‘hunting’. Because of its origins, the German Shorthaired Pointer is an active, athletic dog which will not be happy if left in the yard with no recourse to exercise and stimulation.
Watchdog qualities: Experts point out that some German Shorthaired Pointers will be more friendly than others, but all will alert you with a loud bark to any strangers entering your property. Some will be more reserved than others with people they don’t know.
Hereditary diseases: This breed is a normally healthy one. Conditions to look out for include hip dysplasia and entropian. Because of its floppy ears, the GSD can be prone to ear infections so make sure you regularly check and clean ears.

Care of the breed

Daily: The German Shorthaired Pointer is a finely tuned athlete and requires daily exercise and stimulation to keep it happy and healthy. If you are unable to take your pooch out and least once, preferably twice, a day for a good dose of exercise, reconsider buying this breed. Feed an appropriate diet (speak to your breeder or vet) and make sure your pooch always has access to fresh water.
Weekly: Wipe coat with a chamois or hound’s glove to keep it shiny and healthy. Check ears and eyes. Check your pooch’s feet and remove any debris that may have collected from outdoor activity.
Monthly: Check if nails need clipping. Bath once a month if necessary.
Other: If you live in a high-tick area, check your German Shorthaired Pointer’s body during the summer tick season and apply anti-tick treatment as necessary. Gastrointestinal worming every three months for adults, more frequently for puppies, heartworming and vaccinations.

Breed Society VIC

Borzoi - Russian Wolfhound
Russian Wolfhound

Known as the Borzoi, the Russian Wolfhound has been used for hunting wolves, foxes and rabbits since the early 17th century.

Shaped much like a greyhound, the Russian Wolfhound is characterized by their long muzzle and nose. They are known for their distinctive walk, with a proud strut making this an elegant dog, associated with aristocracy.



The Russian Wolfhound is an intelligent breed of hound which is proud and very loyal to their family. The Russian Wolfhound is an old hunting breed and will never grow out of its hunting tenancies. Good around other dog breeds, the hound will need to be socialized with other non-canine animals at a young age to avoid chasing them, however they will likely continue to chase after a fleeting animal into their adult life.

Borzoi - Russian Wolfhound

A great dog for:

The Russian Wolfhound is good natured but hesitant with children as they don’t enjoy rough play time. They thrive in training but require a patient owner.

Favourite activities:

Training, long daily walks, hunting and running.

Backyard requirements:

All hound breeds require large amounts of open space however these dogs can adapt to indoor living provided they are taken on long daily walks.

Borzoi - Russian Wolfhound

Breed Care


These dogs shed a moderate amount of hair and their coat needs to be groomed regularly. The fur is easy to brush with dry shampoo. The hair between the pads on their feet will also need to be trimmed frequently.

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Lagotto Romagnolo
Lagotto Romagnolo

Michelle Segal reveals that this rare but remarkable breed, the Lagotto Romagnolo is a treasure trove of fun and affection for any family lucky enough to own one.

If you want to stand out from the crowd, taking a walk with your Lagotto Romagnolo could do the trick. This unusual breed is still something of a conversation piece in Australia, where they remain rare, and being put onto a waiting list for a pup is not uncommon.

This gorgeous dog, with its distinctive curly coat, was originally bred to hunt water foul in Italy as far back as the 1300s, and became renowned as a formidable hunting partner. When the Lagottos’ marshland hunting grounds began drying up in Italy’s north, owners of the breed decided to tap into this dogs amazing sense of smell and began using the Lagotto to sniff out and find truffles in the hills of Romagna in the country’s north. The breed took to this job with gusto due to its amazing concentration skills and very strong sense of smell. It proved to be a tough worker and was protected from bush thorns and spikes by its thick, curly coat.

Today, the Lagotto Romagnolo is not so much a truffle hunter as it is a family companion, known for its gentleness, strong loyalty and non-shedding, hypo-allergenic coat. Despite its medium size, the Lagotto is very much a family pooch and breeders emphasise that it will want to be an indoor dog and considered one of the pack.

Debra Howell has lived with Lagottos for a number of years, and is clearly a fan of the breed. I have a male called Australian Champion Tartufo Zabaglione (Vinny), just over two years old. These dogs are very amenable with people and other dogs, says Howell. Vinny lives with a Whippet, Schipperkes and Weimaraners. However, they are more suited to families and active people. They seem to like water and Vinny loves to chase the ducks in the dam. I have found him easy to train, except that when he gets in the dam, he wont come out until the ducks fly away!

Coat care

A stand-out feature of this breed is its amazing coat of curls, but it does come with responsibility for the Lagotto owner. Experts stress that if you don’t have the time for weekly grooming, you should consider another breed.
Once a year, the Lagotto’s thick, woolly coat needs to be completely clipped and then maintained with shorter clips a few times a year. The coat should not be kept permanently short. Each week, the coat needs to be brushed with a comb to keep the curls from matting.

The Lagotto’s coat does require grooming and regular trimming to keep it tidy, as the coat does not shed like some other breeds, warns Howell. Their coat has a curl and can be somewhat like a sheep’s fleece.
A huge plus to the Lagotto’s coat is its non-shedding property, making this dog a pleasure to have inside if you are house-proud. Even better is the fact that the coat is non-allergenic, making it the perfect breed for people susceptible to allergies.

Energetic and loyal

This stunning pooch is not only eye-catching and interesting, it also has a wonderful nature, making it great fun to be with. Because of the close working relationship the Lagotto used to share with its hunter guardians, the breed still forms close bonds with its owners and will need to be taken in as one of the family, not left in the yard to its own devices. It is extremely loyal and affectionate to its family and will want to do anything it can to please its owners.

The Lagotto Romagnolo is not known to suffer from any major health issues, although its recommended that you ask your breeder for hip scores if possible to prevent buying a pup with potential hip dysplasia problems.

Like all breeds, the Lagotto should be socialised from an early age, but is known to get on well with other animals. It will be an effective watchdog, alerting you to anyone approaching your property.

Breeders emphasise that this dog is bright and energetic and will need a good dose of daily exercise. As a hunter and retriever of water fowl, the Lagotto was bred to be a strong swimmer, and today it still has an inherent love of swimming. A good daily outing and swim with its guardian would top the list of treats for this pooch! If you do not have the time to dedicate to play and exercise each day, its best to avoid this breed.

Breed Contacts

Visit the Facebook page for the Lagotto Romagnolo Club of NSW

Cocker Spaniel
Cocker Spaniel

The Cocker Spaniel is a medium breed that is happy and very good with children.


Personality: Known as the merry Cocker, this breed is happy, playful, clever and loyal. Your Cocker Spaniel’s tail can sometimes wag incessantly and although it’s inherently a gun dog, it makes the perfect companion. This breed is also very good with children. A sad Cocker is one which is not accepted as part of the family.

Suitability: Active families looking for a dog to involve in their lives. And singles who want a real companion dog. The Cocker Spaniel is happiest when around people and takes great delight in getting out and about regularly. New owners must be prepared to put time into training and also ensure the dogs coat is groomed regularly. A well-fenced backyard is ideal for this breed, although your Cocker will be happiest when indoors with you.

Favourite activities: Bred to be a gun dog, the English Cocker will excel at sports such as obedience, tracking, agility and flyball. But mostly this dog loves to be by its owners side and a good daily run or walk with its favourite person will keep it happy and content.

Backyard requirements: This breed is highly adaptable and can live on large blocks or in apartments, as long as its exercised regularly. A high-energy dog, the English Cocker needs a good daily romp to burn off its energy. It will wait patiently for you to return home from work (its a good idea to provide lots of toys so your pooch can occupy itself), but then will need lots of love and attention once you’re back.

Watchdog qualities: The English Cocker will bark if a stranger approaches the household but will settle down quickly. This breed loves people too much to be an effective watchdog.

Lady really was the consummate lady in Disney’s Lady And The Tramp. And just as the demure Cocker Spaniel lit up the life of the love-stricken Tramp, so is this breed becoming a treasured part of families the world over.

Today, The English Cocker Spaniel is an increasingly in-demand breed, considered a perfect family pet because of its wonderful disposition, its fun-loving nature and convenient size. And as any English Cocker owner will attest, take one look into the mesmerising pool-like eyes of this pooch and it will win you over for life.

I really can’t imagine life without a Cocker Spaniel, says long-time Cocker owner and breeder Betty Richter. Betty, who is secretary of the English Cocker Spaniel Club of New South Wales, got her first Cocker Spaniel an amazing 60 years ago and has not been without one since.

This is a wonderful family dog and its greatest joy is to be with its owner, she says. It is a people dog and a loving companion.

Betty does point out that although it is extremely versatile, the English Cocker Spaniel is essentially a gun-dog and, although slightly bigger than the American Cocker Spaniel, is the smallest of the gun-dog breeds.

Because of its inherent instincts as a gun dog, the Cocker Spaniel is not a lap dog. It’s basically a working dog, bred to work with the gun. However, it can be whatever you want it to be. My two Cockers are my constant companions and I couldn’t imagine my days without them.

This breed encompasses most of the attributes pet owners look for when deciding which dog to buy. It’s small enough not to get in the way, fun-loving, intelligent and adaptable. But breeders emphasise the importance of training to get the most out of your Cocker. Puppy school is highly recommended and owners say that with gentle teaching, even a puppy will soon learn its place in the home and where its allowed.

The English Cocker is adaptable and happy to live anywhere as long as its close to its family, but this breed has lots of energy and will need daily exercise to keep it stimulated. Because of its hunting history, it loves a good outing and will thrive at fetching or field work. Because of its instinctive gun-dog tendencies, the Cocker may be inclined to take off after a scent so unless your pooch is well trained to come when called, keep it on leash until you feel confident enough to let it run free.

After a good walk or run, your Cocker will love nothing more than to spend the evening inside with the family, tending to follow its owner around and offering kisses at any given opportunity. Breeders emphasise the English Cocker is not a yard dog and will be most happy if accepted as one of the family.

Although an easy dog to own, the English Cocker Spaniel will need grooming and is considered a long-haired breed. When shedding, the Cocker’s hair will not drop directly to the floor but gets caught up in the dog’s soft feathering and in its ears. If not brushed out, knots will form. Betty Richter suggests owners begin regular grooming sessions when their Cocker is still a puppy so it gets used to being groomed.

They will soon learn to love it, says Betty, because it means quality time with its owner. And its important they get to enjoy it because grooming has to be done on a regular basis with these dogs. Betty also recommends a professional clip for pet Cocker’s about twice a year.

Although English Cocker Spaniel enthusiasts will shake their heads adamantly when asked if this breed has any flaws, it does have one weakness which even die-hard Cocker lovers have to admit to these pooches love food and will over-indulge whenever possible. Owners stress that the hardest part of keeping your Cocker trim is having the strength not to give in to your pets soulful eyes and pathetic look as it watches you eat dinner. Be strong, they say, because this breed will eat far more than it should if allowed to and this can be bad for your pets health and wellbeing. Give treats, they say, but when appropriate, such as when training.

The Levitan household was changed forever when their English Cocker Spaniel, Goldie, came into their lives as a tiny eight-week-old puppy three years ago. Mum Cherrise admits she is not much of a dog person, but Goldies loyalty has won her over. She follows me all over the house and will lie at my feet when I sit down to do some work, says Cherrise. She is amazingly in touch with our emotions. According to Warren Levitan, Goldie is an amazingly intuitive dog and he says its not accurate to label Cocker Spaniels as unintelligent.

Goldie actually recognises some words and is completely in tune with what goes on in our family and how we are feeling, he says. She follows our orders perfectly and was easy to toilet train. She is a very loving dog and considers herself one of the family in fact I am convinced she thinks she is the fourth child in the household!

Warren emphasises that Goldie is particularly good with their three children. When our youngest was two years old, he used to use Goldie as a foot-stool to reach things she would just lie their and take it all, he says with a laugh.

When deciding what dog to get, Warren knew that he did not want a small dog and was drawn to the medium-sized English Cocker after having lived next door to one as a child. The Cocker Spaniel next door was such a good-natured and friendly dog and I have never forgotten it, says Warren. When it comes to medium-sized dogs, the English Cocker Spaniel is the best.

How eary!

Swinging like pendulums next to their faces, Cocker ears are wonderful to look at and feel but can cause trouble for your pooch. Because of the length of the ear, air does not circulate as well as it should internally, allowing bacteria to thrive and ear infections to develop. Signs that something is amiss is if your dog shakes its head vigorously or scratches at its ears. You’ll also know something is wrong if the ear turns pink inside or has a bad odour. If this occurs, clean the ear with an ear cleaner and see your vet if the condition persists.

Regularly check your Cocker’s ears, starting this routine while your pooch is a puppy so it gets used to it from the very beginning. Wipe out once a week with a DRY cotton ball and remove any visible wax.

Place water and food in a deep, narrow bowl to prevent ears from falling in. You can also use a snood to hold the ears back while your dog is eating.

Brits vs Yanks

The English Cocker Spaniel differs from the American Cocker Spaniel mostly in physical appearance. The English Cocker has less prominent eyes and a different-shaped head from the American Cocker.

The English Cocker is heavier and slightly bigger than its American cousin and has less hair on its stomach and legs.

Both breeds are found in the same colours and breeders in both countries refer to their respective Cockers as Cocker Spaniels.

Breed Care

Daily: This breed needs regular grooming, some owners choosing to give the coat a quick brush once a day to avoid knots. Make sure your dog has plenty of fresh water and shade if left alone. Buy your Cocker a deep narrow feeding bowl to prevent ears from falling into food and water, or use a snood. A trampoline bed, which will keep your pooch off a cold or hot floor, is a good idea. In winter, a blanket over the bed will keep your Cocker warm. Daily exercise is needed.

Weekly: Brush coat with a pin or slicker brush. Check your Cocker’s ears regularly. Wipe the ear out with a dry cotton ball and remove any visible wax. Make sure to keep moisture away from the ears.

Monthly: Check nails. Bath your Cocker once a month or when necessary.

Regular: Gastro-intestinal worming, heartworming and annual vaccinations. Unless you are showing your Cocker, its a good idea to get a professional hair clip about twice a year.

Hereditary diseases: This is a generally healthy breed, although the eye disease PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy) can affect the English Cocker. Make sure you buy from a reputable and registered breeder.

Breed Contacts

New South Wales: (02) 9894 7935
Northern Territory: (08) 8984 3570
Queensland: (07) 3300 1330
South Australia: (08) 8387 4127
Victoria: (03) 9786 2772
Western Australia: (08) 9398 7857


The Weimaraner thrives on exercise, is a high-energy breed and loves room to run around.


Personality: A friendly and alert dog, also loving and full of energy. The Weimaraner takes great joy in pleasing and working with its owner. An obedient breed, the Weimaraner will try to take the upper hand if not properly socialised and trained from an early age.

A great dog for: Singles and families who are active and have the time to offer their dog lots of opportunities for exercise and training. This dog is only for those who want to share their homes with their canine and who want a close-knit relationship with a loyal and energetic pooch.

Favourite activities: Thrives on exercise and obedience training. The Weimaraner will excel at all dog sports and is an especially proficient hunter and tracker. Without the physical and mental stimulation of these activities, this breed will become bored, destructive and unhappy.

Backyard requirements: While this breed does not require a huge backyard, it does need a reasonable amount of room to run around and burn off energy. To prevent your Weimaraner from following an intriguing scent, a fenced yard is a must.

Watchdog qualities: This breed is very wary of strangers and will size them up from a distance. Once the visitor is welcomed, the Weimaraner will be friendly. It is very protective of family members.

Sleek and silver, the aristocratic Weimaraner attracts attention wherever it goes. Captivating amber or grey eyes and a stunning silver coat come together in a breed that almost demands respect from owners and passers-by alike.

But while this dog can come across as noble and aloof, the Weimaraner is actually a down-to-earth, people-loving and affectionate breed that thrives on being part of its human pack. It is definitely not an outside dog and, if left to its own devices and not made to feel part of the family, the Weimaraner will become a sad shadow of its former self.

This need to be always close to its family was especially noticeable when the Weimaraner was used prolifically as a hunter in the 1800s. Known then as the Foresters Dog, this breed was always closely bonded with its hunter-master, spending days together with its owner but also resting at night by its masters side in front of the fireplace.

Known originally as the Weimar Pointer and used by German hunters to hunt big game, the Weimaraner was later used more for retrieving and tracking. Unlike some hunting dogs, the Weimaraner enjoyed hunting not only for the hunting itself, but because it was an activity shared with its owner and one which allowed the two to work closely together.

This is a real companion dog, stresses Val Peters, who’s been involved with the breed for the past 20 years.

It will want to be where you are. In fact, the thing I love most about this dog is its companionship your Weimaraner will just love you. Its not particularly a one-person dog; it will love the whole family.

Breeders agree if you want a dog that will be happy left alone, the Weimaraners not for you. But if its close-knit companionship you’re after and a dog that may never leave your side, this breed will probably hit the spot.

Val, who is vice-president of the Weimaraner Club of NSW, says that after losing her very special Dobermann, with which she shared her life for many years, she felt she couldn’t replace it with another of the same breed and opted instead for the Weimaraner.

I was struck by the breeds colour, eye colour and temperament, she explains, and have had them now for 20 years.

Val says that with its short coat which sheds only twice yearly, this dog is an especially easy one to look after, needing a bath only when necessary. It also has no doggy odour.

However, as with all dogs, training and socialisation are a must; the Weimaraner will definitely need obedience training.

This dog needs to know its place in the family and that its place is last! says Val. She adds that the breed is extremely clever and will learn quickly if taught appropriately.

Val tells the story of a Weimaraner puppy she sold to a lady who lived on a chicken farm. Despite the Weimaraners natural instinct to hunt and track down prey, this particular dog never touched a single chicken because it had been taught not to.

It was taught not to touch so it didn’t, relates Val. Although it was instinctively a gun-dog, it followed the rules. Its owner did the right thing by it.

Because of the Weimaraners natural hunting instinct, a fenced yard is a must to prevent this pooch from taking off after a scent. Although the Weimaraner is happy to be a lounge lizard, it loves walks and needs opportunities to burn off energy and be mentally stimulated.

But breeders emphasise that, as with all large dogs, no hard exercise should be undertaken until the dog reaches adulthood. Young dogs should never be run or jogged till fully grown.

According to Elizabeth Harding, president of the Weimaraner Club of Victoria, the Weimaraner thrives on obedience training and learning. She also emphasises that this intelligent breed is a natural tracking dog whose prime purpose is to hunt.

Unashamedly smitten with the breed I married them, she proudly confesses Elizabeth stresses that Weimaraners are born gun-dogs and still retain that ability.

This is an active dog requiring exercise and mental stimulation and is not suited to everyone, she says. We prefer that people who are not active do not buy this breed.

But, she says, while a working gun dog, its not an outside kennel dog and needs constant attention and family contact. Referring to the Weimaraner as a multipurpose dog, Elizabeth adds this wonderful breed is very smart, likes to be with people and can be very gentle.

The Weimaraner is good with children but, as always, supervision is recommended and children and dog need to learn to respect each other.

I had four Weimaraners when my son was born and they always accepted him, relates Elizabeth. In fact, they were very protective of the baby and definitely have a guarding instinct.

However, it is imperative kids understand dogs, just as dogs must be taught to understand kids, she says.

While the Weimaraner is clearly not for everyone, breeders emphasise that, for the right owner, this breed is an honour to live with. Its joy at spending time with its family, its sensitivity to your moods and its loyalty will add a precious spark to each day you spend with your Grey Ghost.

Rescue a ghost

Weimaraner rescue groups receive many calls each year from people who do not want their Weimaraners any more. The reasons are many: the owner isn’t able to provide sufficient exercise; the dog barks too much; it was an impulse purchase because the puppy was so cute; it didn’t really fit the owners lifestyle.

As most longtime Weimaraner owners can tell you, despite its many virtues this dog is not for everyone. It presents numerous challenges and requires consistent training at an early age so as to become an obedient adult. It loves its people dearly, but that’s no guarantee it will listen to your commands.

Rescued Weimaraners, overwhelmingly adults, are available for adoption after careful screening.

These dogs need homes with people who can appreciate their unique qualities and provide the care, training and love they deserve. If you don’t have the desire to housebreak and train a puppy, consider adopting an adult Weimaraner.

If you are interested, contact the Weimaraner Club of New South Wales to find out what is available. Contact Leone Kellett on (02) 9528 5704 for rescue information. The Weimaraner Club of New South Wales, ph (02) 9634 5776.

Breed Care

Daily: The Weimaraner is a high-energy breed that requires a good daily walk or off-leash run each day. However be careful not to over-exercise your young pup. The breed also requires lots of mental stimulation and does not take well to being left alone for long periods of time.

Weekly: A brush with a rubber groom glove to remove loose hairs. Check that ears are free of dirt and check if toenails need clipping.

Monthly: Heartworm, gastrointestinal, flea and tick treatments. The Weimaraner is also a wash-and-wear breed and requires bathing only when necessary Regular: Annual vaccinations and positive reinforcement training.

Breed Contacts

New South Wales: (02) 9634 5776
Northern Territory: (08) 8984 3570
Queensland: (07) 5497 9697
South Australia: (08) 8391 0318
Tasmania: (03) 6375 1281
Victoria: (03) 9436 1313
Western Australia: (08) 9456 1836

Hungarian Vizsla
Hungarian Vizsla

Hungarian Vizsla

A combination of good looks, athletic prowess and loyalty makes the Hungarian Vizsla a wonderful companion for dog lovers, as Michelle Segal discovers.


Favourite activities: This pooch needs about an hour each day of physical exercise (playing and socialising in an off-leash park is ideal). It also loves to swim and excels at dog sports. Also high on the Hungarian Vizsla’s list of priorities is a good nights sleep under the blankets of its owners bed and lots of close contact with the family.

Personality: This is an active, happy and loyal dog breed that thrives in the right household and will be a loyal, affectionate dog to its family. The Vizsla needs human companionship and will be content as long as it is included as part of its human family and receives its daily dose of exercise, mental stimulation and affection.

Suitable for: Singles and families, as long as the Vizslas owners have the time to exercise their dog and provide the required amount of companionship and stimulation. This pooch thrives on human contact and should be kept inside as one of the pack.

Watchdog Qualities: Not known for its watchdog qualities, the Hungarian Vizsla will alert owners to a stranger approaching the property, but that’s about all although their large size is usually enough to deter any possible intruders.

Backyard Requirements: The Vizsla is an extremely active breed and needs plenty of room to move. A large yard is preferable, however your Vizsla will need to be let off leash daily for a good run. High fences are also a must as this breed has been known to scale walls to escape, especially if bored or not exercised adequately.

This amazing breed really does live up to its adopted name, the Versatile Vizsla. With an endearing temperament, convenient size and striking looks, the gorgeous Vizsla makes an outstanding companion for individuals and families.

As its name states, the Hungarian Vizslas origins are linked to Hungary. Its thought the Vizslas ancestors referred to as yellow dogs hunted with Asia Minor’s Magyar tribes, who eventually introduced the dogs to Hungary as early as the ninth century. The breed was eventually developed into a remarkable hunting dog by Hungarian nobility and survived wars and occupations to become recognised internationally as a very special gun dog and companion.

Personality plus

From the moment you arrive home with your Vizsla puppy, you will be able to tell you have selected a very special friend. Your puppy will be boisterous and playful and will eventually develop into a dog which is known for its intelligence, athletic prowess, exuberance and loyalty. The only Vizsla characteristic prospective owners need to be aware of from the start is this breeds high energy level, which means it may not be suited to everyone.

This is an aesthetically pleasing dog, but is not for everyone, explains Ros Leighton, committee member of the Hungarian Vizsla Club of New South Wales. What I love most about these dogs is their high energy, high intelligence, responsiveness and their focus on people, but prospective dog owners can underestimate the Vizslas training needs, and they may not be a good choice for a novice dog owner. The Vizsla has high-energy and high-maintenance needs when it comes to training, exercise and companionship.

The Vizsla is a medium-sized dog, making it perfect for many, and it is also a lean, slick-looking canine. It is very much a people dog and becomes strongly attached to its family. A contented, well-adjusted Hungarian Vizsla will be un-aggressive, happy and enthusiastic, and will bark only when necessary.

The demanding part of owning a Vizsla is ensuring this energetic and robust dog receives its required dose of daily exercise to keep it physically and mentally stimulated, and is well trained from the start.

The Vizsla is still a breed that can do what it was originally designed for to hunt, emphasises Leighton. Therefore it is best suited to those who are not too busy and have the time for an ongoing commitment to training and exercise.

If you are not a physical person or do not have the time for a decent outing each day, this pooch may not be right for you. Without its daily outing and mental stimulation, your Vizsla will become depressed and troublesome.

Breeders also stress this pooch is very much a people breed and will need to be taken in as one of the family. In fact, the Vizsla is often described as the Velcro dog because it tends to stick to its owners, wanting to be constantly by their side.

Some also claim the breed is happier living inside with the family, not only because of its close bond with its owners, but because it can suffer from the cold due to its thin coat, which has no undercoat. If your Vizsla uses a kennel outside, breeders emphasise the kennel needs to be properly insulated and very warm.

Striking coat

The Vizsla sports a beautiful coat, which is usually a golden-rust colour. The sign of a pure Vizsla is a reddish nose, which will blend beautifully with the dogs coat colour.

When it comes to grooming, the Vizsla is not high maintenance due to its thin, uncomplicated coat. A grooming mitt or rubber brush can be used a few times a week to get rid of dead hairs (the Vizsla sheds twice a year), and bathing is only needed when necessary to avoid stripping the coat of its natural oils.

A huge plus with this breed is that it does not have a strong dog smell, even when wet, and likes to keep itself very clean.

Well trained

As with all breeds, its advisable to start puppy training with your new Vizsla as soon as possible to ensure a well-mannered and socialised adult dog. Vizslas are extremely intelligent and will train well if they are stimulated and treated kindly. This breed will not react well to harsh training methods, which can have negative and destructive consequences.

The Vizsla is especially suited to dog sports due to its inherent athleticism and will excel at agility, tracking and obedience. They adore swimming and will take to any body of water with gusto sometimes even saving swimming children, a throwback to their working days as hunting and retrieving dogs.

Breed Care

Daily: The Vizslas daily needs include about an hours exercise and stimulation each day. If you live in a tick-prone area, a daily check for ticks, especially during summer, is imperative. If you suspect your dog may have a tick, rush to your vet immediately. If it stays outside, your Vizsla must be kept warm and snug in winter as it will feel the cold more than other breeds due to its thin, single-layer coat. Ensure there is always fresh water for drinking and feed an appropriate diet.

Weekly: A brush once or twice a week with a grooming mitt or rubber brush will get rid of dead hairs. Check ears, eyes and trim nails.

Other: Bathe only when necessary to avoid stripping the coat of natural oils. Gastro-intestinal worming every three months for adults, more frequently for puppies, as well as heartworming and vaccinations.

Breed Contacts

For more information on the Hungarian Vizsla or to find a breeder, contact your state canine council via the Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC) website at or state breed club. In New Zealand, please contact the New Zealand Kennel Club via its website at

New South Wales:
South Australia: email
Queensland: email

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Norwegian Elkhound
Norwegian Elkhound

The Norwegian Elkhound is one of the most ancient dog breeds in the world, originally used to hunt elk or moose. The breed possesses traits from both hound and spitz breeds, making them playful and hardworking by nature. The Elkhound is characterized by their thick double coat, upright ears and broad head. The breed are built to withstand the cold and snowy conditions of the Nordic region.


Personality: The Norwegian Elkhound is extremely energetic and has a bold and independent personality. Training from a young age is required to avoid bad and destructive behaviour in later years. Although not aggressive by nature, the breed make great watchdogs, cornering intruders or animals they perceive as a threat. The Elkhound is a headstrong breed and requires patients when training.

A great dog for: The breed make the perfect companion for energetic owners who are willing to spend time training and exercising their dog. Experienced dog owners will find the breed to make a great companion.

Favourite activities: Playing hard and exercising. Hunting and chasing qualities are still present in the breed so they tend to chase cats and other game animals.

Backyard requirements: Prone to destructive chewing and with high levels of energy, the Norwegian Elkhound requires room to move. A medium backyard will provide adequate space if exercised regularly.

Norwegian Elkhound

Breed Care

Grooming: The Norwegian Elkhound’s unique double coat sheds a lot, losing its entire coat at least twice a year with season changes. During the season changes, brushing is required daily, otherwise weekly brushing will suffice. Ears should also be checked regularly for wax build up.

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