Breed of the Week: English Toy Spaniel

english toy spaniel

Meet our cute and affectionate featured breed of the week, the English Toy Spaniel. This breed loves spending time playing and cuddling with their owner and rarely leave their side. They can be surprisingly reserved with strangers as they are very picky about who they give their affection to. One of the typically quieter toy breeds, the English Toy Spaniel can be a great addition to almost any family and living space.

 

For a breed that’s been around for so many years, it’s amazing how well-documented their history is. During the 16th century, ‘exotic’ type lapdogs were all the rage. During this time, the English Toy Spaniel was developed with it’s immediate ancestors being the Pekingese and Japanese Chin. Many artists during the 16th century loved painting the English Toy Spaniel with their very easy-going personality, they aren’t your typically high-energy small dog and generally prefer to just lounge around most of the day (making it much easier to paint!). This breed goes by many other unofficial names such as Toy Spaniel, King Charles Spaniel (different from the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, and ‘Charlies’ (after King Charles I and II who both favoured this breed).

 

‘Charlies’ are not high-energy dogs, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t speedy! Although they prefer to lounge around, they absolutely love to chase things that move fast. If a butterfly happens to catch your Toy Spaniel’s attention, they’re off on the hunt in a second! They can get along well other pets and young kids as long as they’ve been introduced early and well-socialized. English Toy Spaniels can be goofballs and have tons of affection to give, but they are very picky who deserves their affection. You will find this breed likes to pick favourites amongst the people he meets and only those people will see the Toy Spaniels more outgoing side.

 

English Toy Spaniels are great dogs for first time owners. They are fairly easy to train (albeit a little stubborn at times) and will really work hard to please the people they are bonded to. They don’t require much exercise, but are also more than willing to go on a hike with you! Anything you are planning for the day, the Toy Spaniel wants to come with you! They do well in almost any living situation, they are small enough for apartment living and are very adaptable dogs. They only thing they don’t adapt well to is being left home alone all day as they crave attention from their favoured human companion.

 

This breed needs a lot of maintenance to keep looking their best. With their short muzzles, their faces are perfect places to gather up dirt and debris, so it will need to be wiped daily and after romping around in the garden! They need to be brushed about twice a week to prevent matting in their hair. They should go to the groomer for hair trimming once every 2-3 months. Especially in colder weather, when the hair on their feet and legs gets too long, water will freeze on that fur and can contribute to frostbite. In hot weather, the same area of fur can develop tangles covered in mud and dirt and be very uncomfortable and cause skin irritation if the hair is not kept trimmed.

 

‘Charlies’ can be a perfect companion dog for a first time owner, especially for people living on their own as English Toy Spaniels like to pick one person to give all their love to. With their easy-going and gentle nature, they are great company to bring to pet-friendly offices. They rarely bark and prefer and slower, quieter lifestyle. If you’re looking for an adaptable and loving small dog, consider the distinguished and sweet natured English Toy Spaniel!

Breed of the Week: Boxer

Boxer dog

Meet our sweet and lovable breed of the week, the Boxer! An active breed that loves spending time with their family. It’s easy to fall in love with this charming breed, read on to discover their wonderful attributes!

 

Developed in Germany in the late 1800’s, the Boxer is considered part of the ‘Molosser’ group which all bulldog breeds also belong to. His ancestors are the English bulldog, and an old mastiff-type breed that does not exist anymore, called ‘Bullenbeisser’. The Boxer was originally bred for hunting large animals such as deer and wild boar. They were trained to take down the animals and hold them until their hunting master could get to the animal.  Boxers were bred with the intent to make the perfect hunting companion. The strength and determination of a bulldog, combined with the stamina and size of the Bullenbeisser (small mastiff-type dog). Everything about the Boxer breed was very intentional, even their colouring. The brindle colouring of many Boxers was specifically created by breeders to help them camouflage when on the hunt.

 

The Boxer completely suits their name as anyone who has watched a Boxer play, knows how much they like to ‘stand up’ and use their front paws (and they look like they’re boxing!). Which makes sense considering the large prey they were bred to hunt, it was natural for them to go on their hind legs so they could reach the neck of their prey. As this action of jumping up is so natural for these dogs, one of the most valuable things you can teach your boxer is to not jump up on people. Once taught, this breed will often require management on their manners; meaning even when they’re an adult, you may still need to do training sessions once in a while on how to properly greet a stranger and not jump.

 

Boxers are one of the most family friendly breeds you will find. They love to spend every minute of the day with you. When properly socialized, they get along amazingly with kids, but be sure to watch them around very young kids as the boxer’s boisterous energy may knock young children over! They are very active dogs and will need to be with an owner who has an active lifestyle to match. They are able to adapt to apartment living if they have sufficient time running around and getting out their energy.

 

If you want a dog that doesn’t require regular trips to the groomer, the boxer might be your next dog! They don’t require any hair clipping, but they do shed and require regular brushing at home, along with bathing, nail clipping, etc. Also be sure to inspect and wipe out their facial wrinkles as needed to ensure they stay clean and don’t get infected or irritated.

 

The wonderful Boxer can make a great companion to an active individual or family. Be sure to teach them early on not to jump on people, and continue to maintain those manners throughout their lives. If you think you can handle the energy of these playful wonderful dogs, then consider bringing a Boxer into your life!

Breed of the Week: St. Bernard

saintbernard

If you’ve seen the famous movie ‘Beethoven’, then you’re already familiar with our breed of the week, the St. Bernard! This big cuddly goofball is a well-known family dog that really is a gentle giant! Read on to find out why everyone’s heart melts when they meet a St. Bernard!

 

The St. Bernard breed was developed in the 17th century Switzerland as companions to monks. They were bred from various mastiff-type dogs. These dogs would accompany the monks on search patrols as they were excellent at detecting avalanches about to happen. With their keen sense of smell, they were also used to track anyone who had been buried in snow by the avalanches. When the weather was too bad for the monks to do their searches, they would send out groups of St. Bernards to go alone and search out for anyone who had been lost or buried in the snow. When the dog would find someone, one St. Bernard would lie on the body to keep it warm, while another Bernard would go back to the monastery to alert the monks. The very recognizable barrel under the neck of a St. Bernard, would contain some sort of alcohol so that the person being rescued could drink it to help stay warm while waiting to be rescued.

 

Now that we use helicopters and various forms of technology for search and rescues, the St. Bernard is generally just used as companion dog. As with most giant breeds, the St. Bernard does require daily exercise but not as much as a highly active dog such as a Border collie or Weimaraner.  But due to their extra-large size, they do take up a lot of space so they may not be best for small living areas such as an apartment. They get along great with kids as well as cats and other dogs. As with any breed they should be well socialized at an early age. St. Bernards should also learn all of their basic obedience at an early age as to not become to rambunctious when full grown and to prevent jumping on people (as they could easily knock an adult over!).

 

The St. Bernard doesn’t require any hair trimming, but they do shed a lot! They will need to be brushed at least once a day. And if you don’t like drool, then you will not enjoy living with a St. Bernard. They will drool on anything and everything! You won’t ever have to worry about buying them booties or a jacket for the cold weather, they were bred to work in the snow! So they often really enjoy going for even longer walks during the cold weather.

 

Living with a St. Bernard is like living with a giant cuddly teddy bear, they are excellent cuddlers (their original job was to basically cuddle people buried in snow and keep them warm!). They get along great with everyone and really enjoy being around their owners. Hopefully you like the snow because St. Bernards will want to play in the cold weather all day! And as long as you’re okay with drool, the St. Bernard could be the perfect breed for you.

Breed of the Week: Golden Retriever

golden-retriever

Possibly the most well-known dog breed anywhere, our breed of the week is the ever classic Golden Retriever! This breed has been popular in TV & film, and commonly thought as the most family oriented breed. If you are considering adding a Golden Retriever to your life and family, read on to learn more about why we love them so much!

 

Goldens originated in Britain in the 1800’s. To develop the Golden that we know and love today, breeders crossed various existing breeds such as the Newfoundlander, Irish setter, and various water spaniels. The breed was used to retrieve water fowl for hunters. When the hunters would shoot the fowl, the Golden Retriever had to quickly swim out into the water and bring the water fowl to his owner. The task required the dog to be accustomed to the loud noise of the gun, as well as energy and focus to swim out into the water all day.

 

The loving and happy Golden Retriever is a wonderful family pet. They get along great with kids of all sizes, cats, dogs, you name it! As with every dog breed, even Golden Retrievers need to be socialized early to reinforce their love for everyone! Goldens have a lot of energy and will need daily walks as well as regular hikes or some other form of energy-draining activity. They are very intelligent dogs and will often learn all of their obedience very quickly. To help keep them from boredom, try playing some games that mentally stimulate them or teach them a new trick such as bringing you your car keys! They do very well learning tricks involving ‘retrieving’ considering their history.

 

Golden retrievers do require daily brushing, sometimes twice a day as their hair can easily tangle after a few hours of playtime! Depending on your particular golden, many owners will bring their Golden Retriever once every few months to have their ‘feathers’ trimmed. ‘Feathers’ being that wispy looking hair off of their legs and tail. You may find you need to bathe your Golden every month or so as they have a tendency to get dirty when playing. They gravitate towards playing in the dirt or muddy water. We would recommend investing in a sensitive shampoo that is advertised as safe to use for frequent dog bathing, as you don’t want to dry out your dog’s skin by bathing too often.

 

If you’re looking for an all-round great companion that greets everyone with a wagging tail, you are sure to love the Golden Retriever! They do great with most living situations; even in small apartments, as long as they receive enough exercise. They are gentle dogs with lots of energy that have a way of quickly becoming your best friend for life!

Breed of the Week: Briard

briard

Our super hairy, fun-loving breed for this week is the wonderful Briard! A large breed dog with a lot of energy and a lot of brains! Let’s take a closer look at this gentle and family-oriented breed.

This Briard is originally from France and mentioned in records from as far back as the 12th century! They were used primarily as working dogs to guard livestock (most often sheep).

With their history in protecting livestock, they can sometimes be quite defensive and protective of family members they have strongly bonded to. It is important to heavily socialize this breed to ensure they are not wary of friendly strangers. The stamina it took for their ancestors to work on the farm all day is evident in the energy level of today’s Briards. This breed requires a lot of exercise to stay calm and content. They get along great with kids and are excellent dogs for active families.

This breed is very intelligent and is a quick learner! You will likely fly through basic obedience and your Briard will be asking to learn more and more! Briards do great in agility competitions with their excellent combination of high energy and high intelligence.

It is easy to see that the Briard has a lot of hair! Resulting in daily brushing to avoid tangles and gunk in that hair, as well as regular hair trimming.

One of the oldest breeds in France, the Briard can be a great addition to your home and family. Ensure your Briard gets enough daily exercise and mental stimulation to stay happy. The Briard is a gorgeous dog that will bring your family endless joy!