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Picking the Right Dog for You and Your Family

Ron Hines DVM PhD 6/6/03 -

Please remember that this article was written by a veterinarian. People tend to bring me sick, problem animals , not healthy, animals - so my outlook and experience with dogs will not be the same as yours. Also, you probably did not have your physician pick your wife or husband.

Love is not dependent on good health or temperament. That said, my favourite family dog is a black Labrador retriever. When I was a kid, it was easier to choose a dog – because so few of the “new” breeds were available. Labs represented the working breeds – dogs that were bred for a cheerful nature, outgoing personality good health and a love of children.

They had relatively few breed-specific illnesses; they were not subject to skin problems and were relatively plentiful on the market. These breeds also strongly imprint their positive traits when bred to another race of dog. Another breed that share similar attributes to Labradors are the golden retrievers, Rhodesian ridgebacks, and boxers.

Dog’s personalities are highly influenced by their family genetics. That is, the most important factor in obtaining a loving pet is that it was bred from a dame and a sire that had these characteristics. This is why it is so terribly important that you choose your puppy after observing both the puppies’ parents.

If the breeder will not let you spend time with both parents, do not purchase that puppy! This is why you must never purchase a dog through a third party such as a pet shop.

A conscientious breeder will be more than willing to introduce you to the puppy’s parents. All puppies look cute, but they will grow into adults whose temperament and health are quite like their parents.

If a parent is aloof, shy, aggressive, fearful, dominant or submissive, hyperactive, mentally dense, or forgetful then the puppy will grow up to share these traits. The same goes for a dog’s health. If a parent has bone or joint disease, allergic skin disease, bad teeth and gums, ear infections, eye problems, separation anxiety, destructive behavior, tender feet (cutting toe nails), oily musty skin odor, coprophagy, liver, heart or kidney disease, bladder stones, asthma, fatty tumors, poor physique or coordination, umbilical and other hernias or another disease, then the puppy is at least ten times as likely to inherit these problems than a puppy from healthier parents.

Important – but less so – is the generalized temperament of the bred of dog you select. It is easy to fall in love with a puppy the instant you see it. Often the weakest pups in the litter are the most appealing. But remember, you will have 12-18 years with this animal a member of your family.

Do you want the vet bills that puppy will generate? Do you want the family tension it may provide? Do you want the guilt associated with owning a sickly pet?

These are the reasons I never suggest a child be taken puppy shopping. It is a decision best left to the most practical member of your household.

I also do not recommend buying a puppy for as a present for special occasions such as Christmas and birthdays. Christmas and birthdays pass – but the puppy becomes a dog and remains with you. So when you go puppy hunting, spend more time with the parents of the pups than with the pups themselves.

Once you decide you would be happy with either parent, begin looking at the pups. Do not pick puppies from a litter where the first half have already been sold and left the premises. The best pups usually sell first.

Do not buy puppies from a bitch’s first litter – ideally it will be her third litter by the same stud and you can visit some pups from her first two litters. You are never certain how they will turn out. Do not buy the largest or smallest puppy in a litter.

Look for litter size – generally the more puppies in a litter the healthier they will be. So when you have satisfied yourself on these general points, start looking at the pups themselves. I generally keep some cockleburs in my pocket that I can stick on the puppies I like to find again.

Look for puppies that are playful and curious about your presence – not forlorn and apathetic. The puppy should come up to you and begin to play. It should be clean. There should be no fleas or tapeworm segments on the pup.

The owner should willingly supply the name of her veterinarian and satisfied customers from prior litters. Look at the general cleanliness of the operation. Don’t pay attention to awards, show circuit medals, excuses for problems (“her skin broke out yesterday because she got into some fire ants” etc). The puppy should remain calmly in you arms for thirty to sixty seconds and not attempt to squirm away.

The puppy should not vocalize, nip or scratch because you are holding it. Do not buy or accept a free puppy from anyone who apologizes for its behaviour by stating that it or its parents were abused.

Abuse does not account for an animals innate traits. Some of the most loving puppies and dogs at your humane society came from atrocious conditions. Breeding animals should not be a profitable business.

If it is, it is because the owners are scrimping on something, quality diet, breeding a bitch too often, breeding dogs whose health or temperament is undesirable, ignoring medical conditions, buying their drugs at a feed store and administering them themselves, or going to the “El Cheapo” veterinarian that all communities have.

Because most of these puppy mill operations are seedy, their owner often try to wow you with brick-a-brack shelves of trophies and long A.K.C. pedigrees on their dogs.

I personally would not want a pet that would stand motionless for hours on a table before a group of dog judges. Paradoxically, breeders refer to their cull puppies as being of “pet quality” and of lesser value that “show quality” stock.

I would not purchase anything from a breeder who shows this attitude. I particularly like to find breeders that still work their dogs in the dogs traditional role. Such as field trial Labradors, and working breeds that still work in the area they were intended.

Show judges never look for the signs of a quality pet. They judge based on arbitrary, perfidious and trendy criteria that are often antithetical to good health and temperament.

I am going to make a pitch now for adopting your next young dog from your local SPCA/RSPCA.

First, what you see is what you get. Dogs that have their permanent fangs halfway down are approximately 6 months of age. By then, the cuteness of puppy hood has worn thin and you will see the dog you will end up with.

I would insist that the shelter allow you to have a pre-adoption examination by a veterinarian of your choice. I would disregard most information provided to you by the shelter – their job is to place all animals in homes so that they are not destroyed.

Their job is not to find the best pet for your household. I have looked through some of my books and surfed the Internet to find you a list of dog breeds. Generally, the “rarer” the breed, the more subject it is to health concerns.

This is because the gene pool of these rare breeds is quite small. That is they are all inbred and closely related. They are often plagued by the same inbreeding-related diseases that plague small human communities – such as the Amish. My list does not include all dog breeds. But it gives you a good starting point for your search.

Asiatic Terriers :

These dogs generally have loving personalities. I personally do not find them as intelligent as non-Asiatic terriers but then people do not have pets for their intelligence and their owners love them dearly. My biggest concern with this group is that their life span is often shorter than other terriers (10-13 years) and that virtually all of them go blind. They also have a higher than normal propensity for ear infections and seborrheic dermatitis.

Pekingese (Pekingees)
Lhasa Apso
Shih Tzu
Pug (Mopshund)

Japanese Chin The Japanese Chin is a small, well balanced, lively, aristocratic toy dog with a distinctive Oriental expression. It is light and stylish in action. The plumed tail is carried over the back, curving to either side. The coat is profuse, silky, soft and straight. The dog's outline presents a square appearance. A sensitive and intelligent dog whose only purpose is to serve man as a companion. Responsive and affectionate with those it knows and loves but reserved with strangers or in new situations.

Guard Dogs:

The German shepherd is one of the most intelligent of dogs. When purchasing one of these breeds, try not to obtain a pup from parents that are too large. Play close attention to the gait of the parents because all of these breeds have a tendency to hip displasia. Some of these dogs have aggressive temperaments that make them undesirable as pets. Chow Chows, Akitas, Great Danes and large Rottweilers are not known for their long lifespan. With the exception of Danes and Alsatians, these dogs are also prone to eyelid defects.

Be sure to check the parent’s eyes for mattering, inflammation squinting and infection and ask if corrective eyelid surgery was performed on either parent. Be sure the parents hair coats are glossy, no bald patches are present and the coat is odor free.

German Shepherd (Alsatian)
Great Dane (Duitse Dog)
Chow Chow

Fighting Dogs

This is a perplexing group of dogs to comment on. The majority of them are loving pets with adults and children. The problem is that when they go awry, there are exceptionally dangerous because when they bite, they lock their jaws and will not release. They also have the inclination to lose their loving nature when they enter a pack of dogs more aggressive than themselves.

Exceptions are boxers bulldogs and Bostons who seem to have lost their fighting and negative traits. Do not purchase puppies when either parent is aloof or distrusting! Do not purchase them from owners who fight their dogs. If you purchase one of these breeds, accept the fact that it may never get on well with other dogs and may eat cats, birds, etc.

Alapaha Blue Blood Bulldog
American Pit Bull Terrier (Pit Bull Terrier)
American Staffordshire Terrier (Bull Terrier, Pit Bull)
American Bulldog
English Bull Mastiff
English Bulldog
Olde Bulldog
Boston Terrier
French Bulldog

Guard Dogs

These dogs are just what their name implies. They guard you and your children from perceived threats by biting. A good-tempered dog of this class will differentiate the mailman, garbage man your guests, relatives, your children’s wild playmates and veterinarian from burglars, unfortunately some make the wrong decision.

You need to be strongly assertive and in charge with these breeds so they look to you for decisions regarding strangers. If your wife or husband is passive or submissive to dogs, do not purchase one of these breeds. Passive or submissive people rarely overcome this problem by attending dog obedience school.

Akita Inu
Asian Mastiff (Dosa)
Deense Mastiff
Great Dane (Duitse Dog)
English Mastiff
Pyrenese Mastiff
Shar-Pei (Chinese Shar-Pei)dddd
Tibetian Mastiff (Tibetaanse Mastiff)

Argentinian Dogo (Dogo Argentino, Argentinian Mastiff) “The Dogo Argentino is also called the Argentinian Mastiff or Argentine Dogo. It is a muscular, yet graceful dog of mastiff stock with very strong jaws, and a short, sleek, glossy white coat. The skull is massive and the jaws are strong and tenacious..

The Argentine Dogo is an excellent guardian of the home. Loyal to the family, playful and intelligent. It is good with children and loves to cuddle with those the family accepts. Dogos are easy to train. This is a highly intelligent, powerful dog who needs a firm and consistent but loving hand. Adult Dogos can be aggressive with other dogs.

This is not a breed for everyone. Breeders should work with prospective owners to match the dog with the household. This white mastiff needs early socialization with other animals. It also requires early obedience training.”

Epagneul Francais “Not well known outside of France, they make ideal companions being docile and friendly although wary of strangers. 23" and 50 pounds with slightly feathered liver marked white coat.”

Chinese Foo Dog “Every legend is based on fact; every myth is grounded in truth. A spitz-type dog discovered as an extant breed after having long been considered extinct is that of the Chinese Foo Dog, or Sacred Dog of Sinkiang, also known as the Chinese Choo Hunting Dog, Chinese Temple Forest Dog, Chinese T'ien Kou (Chinese Celestial Dog), or Chinese Lung- Kou (Chinese Dragon Dog).

The theory has been advanced that the Chinese Foo Dog originated through a crossing of Northern European hunting dogs and that of the ancient Chow Chow from the barren steppes of Mongolia. Another belief is that the Chinese Foo Dog is perhaps the missing link between that of the Chinese Wolf and the Chow Chow.”

Giant Breeds

I consider any operation with over six females of these breeds being bred once a year as being disreputable and would not purchase from them. I particularly like breeders that work their dogs in field trials, search and rescue, etc. Giant breeds that do not come from puppy mills or through pet shops tend to have wonderful personalities.

The size of these dogs can make a poor choice in a puppy quite dangerous. Be sure that the parents are not aggressive! My biggest concern with giant breeds that that they age so rapidly, reach senility sooner than smaller breeds and have such an abbreviated life span. If this doesn’t bother you, purchase one.

Great Dane (Duitse Dog)
Gread Pyreneese (Pyreneese Berghond)
Saint Bernard ( Sint Bernard)

Greater Swiss Mountain Dog “The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog (Grosser Schweizer Sennenhund) is the largest of the four Swiss Sennenhund breeds, the others being the Berner (Bernese Mountain Dog), Appenzeller and Entlebucher. Historically, the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog assisted farmers and herdsmen with daily chores, such as pulling carts and keeping a watchful eye over livestock. Today the Swissy, as it is known to its friends, is primarily a family dog, though the working dog aptitude remains strong. As a family pet, the Swissy is noted for its gentle nature, great loyalty, and wonderful disposition toward children.”
Bernese Mountain Dog

Miscellaneous Toy Breeds

These are all intelligent, loving breeds with a propensity to become spoiled rotten. More than half my clients sleep with their toy breeds and most share their meals with their owners. They make wonderful companions – but will take advantage of you if you let them. They quickly learn the limits and borders of their behavior and generally mature out they way you offer them.

American Hairless
Pomeranian (Dwergkeeshund)
Maltese (Maltezer)
Papillon (Vlinderhondje)
Miniature Poodle (Poedel)
Toy Poodle (Poedel)

Keeshound “The national dog of Holland. Temperament is of primary importance. The Keeshond is neither timid nor aggressive but, instead, is outgoing and friendly with both people and other dogs. The Keeshond is a lively, intelligent, alert and affectionate companion.”

Chinese Crested “The Hairless variety has hair on certain portions of the body: the head (called a crest), the tail (called a plume) and the feet from the toes to the front pasterns and rear hock joints (called socks). The texture of all hair is soft and silky, flowing to any length.

Placement of hair is not as important as overall type. Areas that have hair usually taper off slightly. Wherever the body is hairless, the skin is soft and smooth. Head Crest begins at the stop and tapers off between the base of the skull and the back of the neck.

Hair on the ears and face is permitted on the Hairless and may be trimmed for neatness in both varieties. Tail Plume is described under Tail. The Powderpuff variety is completely covered with a double soft and silky coat.

Close examination reveals long thin guard hairs over the short silky undercoat. The coat is straight, of moderate density and length. Excessively heavy, kinky or curly coat is to be penalized. Grooming is minimal-consisting of presenting a clean and neat appearance.”


These are very intelligent and very emotional and active dogs. They tend to good health but may be snappy around children.

They do not do well when both owners work and the dog is forced to spend its days alone. They tend to have good coats with minimal oil and a minimum of breed-related diseases.

Doberman Pincher
Manchester Terrier
Miniature Pinscher ( Minpin,dwerg, miniature, Dwergpinscher)
German Pinscher (duitse, german Duitse Pinscher)
Miniature Pinscher (Dwergpinscher)


Pointers are often kept by owners who hunt them. Hunters tend to be practical people who do not put up with bad behavior or poor health. If you can, purchase from a hunter, hunting club or field trial aficionado. Pointers are not the worlds most intelligent dogs, but they go the extra mile to please their owners and are loving and affectionate.

German Pointer (Deuch Staande Hund)
English Pointer (Engelse Pointer)
Portugese Pointer (Perdigueiro)

Scent Hounds

The same general points that were made for Pointers apply to Scent Hounds. These are hunting dogs that follow the scent or spoor of game. Unless purchased from hunting sources, they tend to have more allergic skin diseases than other breeds so be sure that both parents are over 2.5 yrs old and have good coats. They tend to be very vocal so be sure your neighbors are either deaf or understanding.

Basset Hound
Blue Tick Hound
Walker Hound
American Foxhound
Catahoula Leopard Dog
Dachshund (Teckel, Wiener Dog, Dackeld)
Blood Hound
English Foxhound
Swedish Foxhound (Zweedse Hamilton Stövare)

The Drever “is a quite new breed. The breed was approved in Norway not too many years ago, and there haven't been a lot of these small dogs until lately. The Drever has a lot in common with it's "cousins", the Basset, The Beagle and of course the Dachs.

If I should describe these races in one, I would describe them like this : Short legs, big body, strong built, and a lot, a lot, of dog. The Dachsbracke, a German dog which there is not many left of now, I think, is the "father" of these dogs.

A lot of experimenting with blood and genes and of course hard work in later years to give the breed it's appearance and standards, has been successful. The Drever is the kind of dog all roedeer hunters need. But not only is it a hell of a roedeer hunter.

With this dog you can hunt anything from hare to deer. And that is the reputation is has got over the last years; a combination-dog. But has also gained another reputation; aggression. This I have not noticed. Viggo is the kind of dog who lies on the sofa all day, but is still a "killer" in the forest.”


These are exceptionally intelligent, long-lived and desirable pets. They shed very little and do not have oily coats.

Certain lines do have more allergic skin disease and allergies to vaccinations than dogs in general. So be sure to check the status of both parents. They tend to be closely attuned to their owners. When the owners are nervous or depressed, these dogs will be too.

Miniature Schnauzer (Dwergschnauzer)
Standard Schnauzer (Middenslag Schnauzer)
Giant Schnauzer (Riesenschnauzer)


Because setters are used to flush game birds, they tend to be hyperactive. This is not a problem if you are a “setter or spaniel person”. There is just a lot of tugging at the leash, jumping up on the owners and slobbering going on. Setters, pointers and spaniels have similar intelligence. They have slightly more that the average number of allergic skin complaints. Some of these skin problems are food allergies but more relate to dusts and pollens in the air. They require a lot of skin care and grooming.

Irish Setter
English Setter
Gordon Setter

Sight Hounds

These tend to be happy, affectionate, non-aggressive pets. The long-haired varieties such as Afghans, require a lot of grooming time. Many result from small show-circuit gene pools so the health of the parents is doubly important. Of the group, greyhounds obtained as “racing culls” have the best health and sweetest nature.

Afgan Hound (Afgaanese Windhond)
Borzoi (Russian Wolf Hound)
Irish Wolfhound
Italian Greyhound
Pharo Hound (Pharao Hond)
Saluki Azawakh “Attenuated, dry, elegant, and intense, this African hound of ancient Asiatic origin has been molded by time, a harsh desert environment, and the hand of man into an animal of unique physical, mental, and aesthetic qualities.

Historically these qualities have allowed him to serve three distinct and often inextricably interrelated purposes: as a protector of stock, herdsmen, and camp, as a swift and efficient courser, and as a functional and highly ornamental status symbol, though not necessarily in this order. In his native region, an area approximately the size of France situated in the Sahara and the sub-Saharan Sahel of the postcolonial countries of Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso, he is raised today principally by the Tuareg* nomads, a Caucasian ethnicity of Berber descent.”

Ibizan Hound “The Ibizan's clean-cut lines, large prick ears and light pigment give it a unique appearance. A hunting dog whose quarry is primarily rabbits, this ancient hound was bred for thousands of years with function being of prime importance. Lithe and racy, the Ibizan possesses a deerlike elegance combined with the power of a hunter. Strong, without appearing heavily muscled, the Ibizan is a hound of moderation. With the exception of the ears, he should not appear extreme or exaggerated.

In the field the Ibizan is as fast as top coursing breeds and without equal in agility, high jumping and broad jumping ability. He is able to spring to great heights from a standstill.”


See my comments on setters. Spaniels are quite like setters. They do tend to suffer from chronic ear infections so check both parents out for reddened, musty-smelling or discolored ear canals. Again, the “rarer” spaniels have small gene pools which makes them more susceptible to genetic diseases.

American Cocker Spaniel
English Cocker Spaniel
American Water Spaniel
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (Toy Spaniel, Dwergspaniel)
Brittany Spaniel
Field Spaniel
Irish Water Spaniel
English Toy Spaniel
Sussex Spaniel
Springer Spaniel (Engelse Springer Spaniel, English Springer)
Springer Spaniel (Welsh Springer Spaniel)
Tibetian Spaniel (Tibetaanse Spaniel
Welsh Springer Spaniel


Like schnauzers, these are exceptionally intelligent, long-lived and desirable pets. They shed very little and do not have oily coats. Also like schnauzers, certain lines do have more allergic skin disease and allergies to vaccinations than dogs in general. They also seem to have a greater incidence of epilepsy. So be sure to check the status of both parents. They tend to be closely attuned to their owners. When the owners are nervous or depressed, these dogs will be too. Most of mine have trained their owner into giving them people rather than dog food. These dogs will loose their teeth and develop strong bad breath unless you brush their teeth or have a veterinarian clean them every year.

Aberdeen Terrier (Schotse)
Airedale Terrier
Australian Terrier
Dandie Dinmont Terrier
Fox Terrier
Wirehair Fox Terrier
Silky Terrier
Maltese Terrier
Yorkshire Terrier
Jack Russell Terrier (Parson’s Jack Russell Terrier)
Kerry Blue Terrier
Lakeland Terrier
Manchester Terrier
Pit Bull Terrier
Patterdale Terrier
Portugese Terrier Pointer
Rat Terrier
Scottish Terrier (Aberdeen Terrier,Schotse Terrier)
Sealyham Terrier
Tchiorny Terrier ( Zwarte Russische Terrier)
Tenterfield Terrier
Skye Terrier
Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
Tibetian Terrier (Tibetaanse Terrier)
Welsh Terrier
West Highland White Terrier
Black Russian Terrier (Zwarte Russische Terrier)
Cairn Terrier
Irish Tgerrier (Terrier) “The temperament of the Irish Terrier reflects his early background: he was family pet, guard dog, and hunter. He is good tempered, spirited and game.

It is of the utmost importance that the Irish terrier shows fire and animation. There is a heedless, reckless pluck about the Irish Terrier which is characteristic, and which, coupled with the headlong dash, blind to all consequences, with which he rushes at his adversary, has earned for the breed the proud epithet of "Daredevil."

He is of good temper, most affectionate, and absolutely loyal to mankind. Tender and forbearing with those he loves, this rugged, stout-hearted terrier will guard his master, his mistress and children with utter contempt for danger or hurt. His life is one continuous and eager offering of loyal and faithful companionship and devotion. He is ever on guard, and stands between his home and all that threatens.”

Norfolk Terrier
Bedlington Terrier

Upland Retrievers

Because these dogs are still often hunted, their general health and temperaments are good. They have great stamina, mellow dispositions and make great pets.

Drentsche Patrijshond (Dutch Partrige Dog)

Water Retrievers

Like the upland retrievers, they are often still hunted so their general health and temperaments are good. I would not purchase any of these dogs from show breeders – they are selecting for the wrong traits. The exception would be the Standard Poodle because these are rarely hunted.

Flat Coated Retriever
Chesapeake Bay Retriever
Labrador Retriever
Golden Retriever
Standard Poodle (Poedel)
Portugese Waterhound (Water Dog)
German Braque (Duitse Brak, German Short Hair Pointer)

Work Dogs

My suggestion is that anyone living south of Kansas purchase only shorthaired dogs. Many of these breeds were bred for cold climates. They suffer greatly in my portion of Florida.

A second alternative that few of my clients accept is to have the dogs sheared three times a year. Dalmatians can be shy and distrusting so check their parents out well. All these breed really try to please their owners. They are quite intelligent but do not live as long as the terriers.

Siberian Husky (Siberische Husky)
Alaskan Malamute
German Shepherd (Alsatian)
American Eskimo Dog
German Shepherd Dog (Duitse Herder)
Finnish Spitz
Caucasian Mountain Dog
Belgian Malinois
Old German Shepherd Dog (Oud-Duitse Herdershond, Duitse Herder)
Bernese Mountain Dog
Appenzeller Mountain Dog (Cattle Dog) “A strong, medium size dog with a weight of about 60 lbs. Short, tight dense and shiny coat, Black with tan and white markings.

Characteristically for this breed is the seideways over the croup curly rolled tail. (das Posthoernchen) (The post horn). Very agile and demanding. Originaly bred for herding and driving big cattle herds. A dog for active people. They still need a meaningful purpose. Appenzeller and couch potatoes don’t fit together. He is ok in house and garden, but his dream is a farm. With his eagerness to learn he is easy to train as a companion and work dog. He loves "Breitensport" and agility. A dog that should keep his attributes to fully develop his personality. Anyone who wants an Appenzeller should have some dog experience”

Finnish Lapphound “There are actually three breeds of Lappish dogs. Finnish Lapphound and Lapponian Herder are from Finland. "Lapphund", Swedish Lapphound is from Sweden. The breed association in Finland for all Lappish dogs is Lappalaiskoirat ry. Lappish breeds are very versatile, healthy and long-living dogs compared to many other breeds. The oldest dog in Finland (by the Finnish Kennel Club, Koiramme-magazine 6/96) was Finnish Lapphound male FIN CH Peski Surbmi that lived almost 20 years old!

His son was at least back then alive, he was quite aged too - 18 years. Lappish breeds are also the part of both our national and Lappish culture. Healthy, beauty and versatility are all in one.

By their primitively they remind us of the brisk wind in the fields of Lapland and Lappish mythology... They are unique and as unique they are worth treasuring. Lappish dogs are still working as reindeer- or for example sheep herders, even though they are formed more and more into pets by development.

As pets and yard dogs they mostly are seen today. After all, they are great pets, but it should be remembered what purpose they were originally bred to. These breeds are originally working dogs, and because of that they are not suitable only as "coach dogs".

That is why we enthusiasts and breeders hope, that they who own these dogs, would be interested in some kind of activity and at the same time, would make their breed positively noted in every possible ways. We would also love to sell our puppies to the active families.”

Belgian Turveren “55-70 pounds 24-26 inches (male) 22-24 inches (female Prone to hip and eyelid problems”

Bouvier de Flanders ”The legacy of the Bouvier has produced many admirable qualities in this breed. He is a square, powerfully built dog, rugged and formidable in appearance. His harsh double coat protects him in all types of weather; his keen sense of smell and watchful gaze make him a most suitable farm dog. (He thrives on plenty of room to work and exercise, but he is not an "outdoor dog"; he must live with his loving people -- his "flock," his "pack".)

He is agile, alert and intelligent, with character of great spirit and fearlessness; yet, he is serene in disposition, and has an even temperament. Today, the Bouvier des Flandres acts as a farm dog, family friend, protector, shepherd, and guide dog for the blind or hearing impaired. His intelligence, sense of threat discrimination and keen scent qualifies many Bouviers to excel in police work, tracking and drug detection. Owning a bouvier, like many dogs, requires patience, love, a lot of grooming, a willingness to exercise the dog and pay for regular health care, a desire to have a companion who follows you around the house keeping an eye on you, and a commitment to complete at least one set of good obedience classes.”

Sheepdog Herders

Again, many of these dogs have long, oily hair coats, which are unsuitable for hot climates. All the sheepdogs are very active and attune to their owners. They love to please. They are inquisitive and brave. They make excellent pets for children – worrying about them constantly as they formerly worried about the sheep in their charge. Do not pick puppies from parents that are oversized or near the maximum allowable size for the breed.

Atlas Sheepdog
Austrailian Shepherd
Queensland Blue Heeler
American Tkundra Shepherd
Anatolian Herder (Analolian Shepherd)
Atlas Sheepdog (Aidi)
Australian Cattle Dog
Australian Shepherd
Azores Cattle Dog
Dutch Shepherd Dog
English Shepherd Dog Ainu Dog (Hokkaido)
Icelandic Sheepdog
Belgian Sheepdog
Lancashire Heeler
Old English Sheepdog ( Bobtail)
Picardische Herder (Berger Picard)
Pyrenese Shepherd (Pyrenese Herdershond)
Pyrenese Shepherd (Pyrenese Herdershond)
Old German Shepherd Dog (Oud-Duitse Herdershond, Duitse Herder)
Sheltie (Shetland Sheepdog)
Collie (Schotse Herder)
Bearded Collie
Border Collie
Tervuerense Herder (Tervueren)
Polish Tatra Sheepdog
White Shepherd Dog (Witte Herder (A. C. en Duitse)
Yslandse Herdershond ( IJslandse Herdershond)

Akbash “The part of the world currently occupied by Syria, Turkey, Iraq and Iran is believed to be where humans first lived in sufficient numbers to form civilizations. The fossil record shows that this large dogs (large for their time, anyway) appeared almost concurrently with domesticated flocks of animals, suggesting that livestock protection dogs were among the first types of dogs. A reasonable hypothesis would be that early shepherds crossed guarding or war dogs, which were probably similar to the mastiffs of today, with a sight hound-like ancestor, something like today's whippet or greyhound, to produce a fleet-footed, strong, protection dog.”

Australian Kelpie “It was once said that"Australia rode on the sheeps' back" - referring to the dependency of the Australian economy on the wool industry. Without the Australian Kelpie, Australia may very well have not been so prosperous! Without doubt the Kelpie contributed greatly to the industry - being able to perform the work of several men.

Tireless workers in the hottest and dustiest of climates, the Kelpie has been known to travel more than 50 kilometers in one day. The first sheep grazers in Australia did not use dogs to herd and guard their flocks. These tasks were originally undertaken by convicts or Chinese who were employed as shepherds and sheep were yarded at night.

Following the opening up of vast areas of land in New South Wales and Victoria, the sheep numbers increased so dramatically that some properties were over two million acres and ran over a quarter of a million sheep! In areas as extensive as these, shepherding was impractical and wire fences were erected and sheep were left to run free.

It was now necessary to have dogs to handle sheep in such large areas. Like so many breeds, the origins of the Kelpie are disputed.”

Karelian Bear Dog “The Karelian Bear Dog was used mainly for hunting small furbearers, such as squirrels and marten. Where available, three were also helpful in bird hunting and, of course, in the moose and bear hunting. It was the Eurasian brown bear, which is big and as aggressive as the American grizzly bear is. Actually, these dogs never fight dealing with the bear.

This is a quick and well-coordinated predator and this kind of hunting is very demanding and requires great courage, aggressiveness and agility of the dog. The dog must keep bear preoccupied by attacking him from behind.

Usually a pair of well working and raised together dogs do the best job. Their protection against the bear cannot be achieved by fighting. Nothing will stop an angry bear. But the dog may be brave and quick enough to make a lot of noise and keep the bear busy enough to allow enough time for the master either to retreat or to kill the bear.

Every Karelian Bear dog (=Russo-European Laika) will tree squirrels and other fur bearing game. They are good for coon and bobcat hunting here, in the USA. However, bear and moose hunting is more demanding and some dogs may be better than others. Dogs start naturally, learn on the job and may improve their performance with age and depending on the preferences of the hunter. Unlike hounds, these dogs do not chase very far, they work with the hunter and for him in close range, chase the game silent and fast and bark with it is treed or bayed.”

Briards “This is a dog of heart, with spirit and initiative, wise and fearless with no trace of timidity. Intelligent, easily trained, faithful, gentle, and obedient, the Briard possesses an excellent memory and an ardent desire to please his master.

He retains a high degree of his ancestral instinct to guard home and master. Although he is reserved with strangers, he is loving and loyal to those he knows. Some will display a certain independence” has a strong character and is happiest leading a busy, active life. This big dog thinks for himself, so training may take patience. Like most r human.