Dog Breed Classifications: Part 1

dog-line-up

Ever wonder why some dogs have never ending energy while others are more inclined to lay on the couch all day? Well part of the reason is what the dog’s ancestors were bred for! Today we will look at 3 of the 7 different classifications of dogs that will give us more insight into their personalities and why they act the way they do!

 

Hounds: The hound group includes dog breeds such as beagles, Norwegian elkhounds and basset hounds. These dogs typically have more scent receptors than breeds in other groups which tells you why they are known to always be on a scent. If you are interested in bringing a hound into your family, be aware that it may be more difficult to have reliable recall as they will often be distracted by a good scent. As well as they will typically ‘bay’ instead of bark, which some people prefer but it is not for everyone. So it helps to have a fondness for that baying sound!

 

Herding: Some of the dog breeds belonging to the herding group are the Border collie, Australian cattle dog and the Collie. You will often notice right away when a herding-type dog is playing at the dog park as their favourite way to play is chasing other dogs, mimicking their herding nature. Owners of herding dogs would be wise to ensure their dogs learn early on how to play nicely as they can sometimes be prone to nipping other dog’s ankles as this is the way their ancestors would herd livestock.  Herding dogs are generally very high energy and very intelligent so they are best suited to a family with an active lifestyle. They love to be challenged to learning new things and do great in agility competitions.

 

Toy Group: Examples of breeds from the toy group are the Chihuahua, maltese and Pekingese. These dogs were bred with the intent to have a small compact dog suitable to apartment and city living (as well as to be very cute!). These dogs do typically have that high-pitch bark so it would be wise to teach them early on to be quiet on command. You will often find toy dogs with not so great manners (of course this does not go for all toy dogs!) because their cuteness will generally let them get away with whatever trouble they get into. It is very important for owners of a dog from the toy group to look past that adorable face and ensure they are keeping up with their manners (not barking, jumping up on people, nipping, etc.).

 

Now that we’ve had a look at 3 of the 7 types of dog classifications, be sure to check in next week for the remaining 4!

Breed of the Week: Chihuahua

chihuahua

We’ve discussed lots of giant dog breeds in our ‘breeds of the week’, but this week we will be looking at a tiny little dog, the Chihuahua! Popularized in the 90’s as a mascot for a fast food chain, this tiny dog has a very big personality!

 

This breed was developed in Mexico in the mid 1800’s. They were named after the ‘Chihuahua’ state in Mexico. They are thought to originate from an ancient small breed in Mexico call the ‘Techichi’. It was common to find ancient remains of Chihuahua-looking dogs in old Mexican ruins. The Toltec people of Mexico created the Techichi and believed that their faithful companions would follow them to the afterlife and so this ancient civilization would have their Techichi buried with them when they would pass away.

 

The Chihuahua started to become popular in America in the mid 1900’s as this was the time when more people were settling down in cities and less people were working on farmland. The Chihuahua wasn’t very popular earlier than this, due to their very small size, they aren’t a working dog breed. Dogs were generally owned to work alongside farmers, guarding livestock, pulling carts, etc. When more of the population started residing in cities, they were now becoming more interested in owning a dog for companionship, but keeping in mind they need to be small as they’d be living in smaller places.

 

The Chihuahua can come in almost any colour or hair type you can think of! You can get a Chihuahua that’s blonde, black, white, short haired, long haired, you name it! Only if your Chihuahua is long haired will it require hair clipping. Every Chihuahua will need brushing about once every two weeks. They do not shed as much as many other types of dog breeds, but they still do shed! They will require basic grooming like bathing, nail clipping, etc. Generally speaking, the short haired Chihuahua is one of the more low maintenance dog breeds in terms of grooming needs.

Chihuahuas can be very sensitive dogs and will quickly respond to how their owner is feeling and acting. If the owner is calm and confident, the Chihuahua will often be a sweet and gentle dog. Unfortunately, if the dog is spoiled or coddled too much, this can create the dog to feel anxious or fearful and will often result in barking or nipping. For instance, the Chihuahua is the breed you often see being carried around in a purse and being reassured or coddled when barking or acting fearful around strangers. Dogs need their owner’s guidance and corrections to learn what behaviour is not okay and what behaviour is. For this reason, it is very important to socialize your Chihuahua and not accidentally reward or coddle them if they are barking or trying to nip at strangers.

 

Chihuahuas can be wonderful companions that are faithful to their owners, and when properly socialized, sweet and well-mannered little dogs. With their small size, they are perfect pets for small living spaces such as apartments. If you are interested in a popular pint sized pup, look no farther than the wonderful Chihuahua!

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.