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

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.

Facts

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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Otterhound
Otterhound

The Otterhound is a large work and hunting dog, bred for their sense of smell and stamina. Today the breed is characterised by their keen nose and shaggy coat which grows low on their face. Their infamous outer and under coat is easily managed.

Facts

Personality: Friendly with humans and all other dogs, the Otterhound is a great addition to the family. However their hunting instincts will take over when other animals are around so care should be taken when walking them. Although an intelligent breed, the Otterhound will take a lot of patience to train.

A great dog for: Active dog owners and families.

Favourite activities: Swimming, running, playing, hunting, jogging and chasing after smells.

Backyard requirements: The Otterhound is an extremely active breed and will choose to jog rather than walk alongside their human companion. They should be allowed to swim as often as possible as it is one of the exercises they are best at and has the lowest risk of injury. The Otterhound will require a large and well-fenced backyard to avoid then slipping through when chasing a scent. A good jumper, the breed will be able to jump most common fences so they will need to be strong and tall. They are able to live indoors with the family as long as they are exercised regularly.

Breed Care

Grooming: The Otterhound’s coat should be combed weekly but can be washed as needed. Their beard should be washed more regularly. There is minimal shedding and no trimming required.

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Borzoi - Russian - Wolfhound
Borzoi

Commonly referred to as the Russian Wolfhound, the Borzoi has been used for hunting wolves, foxes and rabbits since the early 17th century. Shaped much like a greyhound, the breed is characterized by their long muzzle and nose. The Borzoi walks with a proud strut making this an elegant dog, associated with aristocracy.

Facts

Personality: The Borzoi is an intelligent breed of hound which is proud and very loyal to their family. The Borzoi 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 Borzoi 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

Grooming: The Borzoi sheds 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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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 breed is characterized by their long muzzle and nose. The Russian Wolfhound walks with a proud strut making this an elegant dog, associated with aristocracy.

Facts

Personality: 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

Grooming: The Russian Wolfhound sheds 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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Bulldog-adult
Bulldog

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.

Facts

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.

Breed Care

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.

Bulldog-puppy

 

Young-bulldog

 

Bulldog-young

 

 

Bulldog-adult

Wire Fox Terrier
Wire Fox Terrier

The Wire Fox Terrier is said to have originated in the mid 19th century as a cross between the Airedale Terrier, Bull Terriers, Greyhounds and Beagles. Their distinguishing features include their narrow head and dense, wired coat. Originally bred to assist in the hunting of vermin and foxes, the Wire Fox Terrier now makes a great companion.

Facts

Personality: The lively and energetic Wire Fox Terrier is both brave and bold. They absolutely love their family and will do anything to protect them. Much like other terriers, the Wire Fox is intelligent but stubborn. Training is important from a very young age to avoid bad behaviour in the future. They like to play rough so make sure they’re treated to outdoor games and long walks. If possible, it’s a good idea to let the Wire Fox off the leash to run, however they will chase smaller dogs so be vigilant.

A great dog for: Affectionate and protective, the Wire Fox is great for families with young children with time and energy to play with the dog outdoors.

Favourite activities: Playing games, staying active, fetch, long walks, running, playing with children.

Backyard requirements: The larger the space the better for the Wire Fox Terrier. However, they can adapt to apartment living as long as they’re taken on long daily walks. A backyard is preferred.

Wire Fox Terrier

Breed Care

Grooming: The Wire Fox Terrier requires a lot of grooming to look its best. Hand trimming their coat is necessary several times a year, best done by a professional. To keep the double-layered coat tangle free, the coat requires brushing a couple of times a week.