The Queen’s Dog of Choice

Female Welsh corgi dog

It is hard to imagine this little dog herding cattle, but that is exactly what he was bred to do.  In reality, his shortness gives him an advantage because it allows him to avoid cow hooves.  He nips at the cattle’s heels and then quickly gets out of the way with great agility.

There are two breeds, the Cardigan, which has a larger head, and the Pembroke.   Cardigans have long tails while the Pembroke has a docked tail.

The dog originated in Wales.   This breed has a lifespan of 12 to 14 years.

Although we more often see pictures of the tan coloured Corgi, it also comes in other colours including black and white and merle.    The dog stands between 10 to 12 inches at shoulder height.

The Corgi has a nice personality.   It likes children and makes a great family dog.  However, it may not always be tolerant of other dogs.  This little dog has lots of energy and loves to play ball, and takes well to agility and obedience training.   Its short fur means he does not need special grooming like my shelties require.  And this is the Queen’s dog of choice.

 

Okay…so it’s the perfect little dog.  Not quite.  It is known to be a barker and to be stubborn.  It also likes to eat (who doesn’t) and may easily become obese if not checked.  It can weigh up to 30 pounds.  Anything more than that may mean a diet adjustment.

The Afghan Hound

glamorous cream and black afghan hound
Could be a model

One of the most majestic dogs around.  Absolutely beautiful.  It comes in several colors and looks especially gorgeous, I think, in jet black.

As its name implies, this dog originates from Afghanistan.

The height is from 61-74 cm (24-29 inch).

It can weight from 20-27 kg (44-60 lb)

This dog has unfortunately been labelled as stupid because it is difficult to train.  In fact, it is its strong independence streak that makes it hard to train.

Although the breed is not well represented at obedience trials, it is often seen in the sport of lure coursing where the dog chases a mechanically-operated lure that looks like an animal, fox or rabbit as two examples.

The dog has an expected lifespan of 12-14 years.

This dog is highly sensitive, so if you get angry often, it is probably not the dog for you.

This dog does not make a good watchdog.

Because of its independence and aloofness, it is not the best dog for small children.

It needs a lot of exercise but needs to be kept on a leash as it tends to run after small animals.  Even though it looks like royalty, it is still a hound.

Golden Retriever

I have always found this dog to be super attractive.  Unfortunately, its size has kept me from actually getting one as I feel it is prudent to get only as much dog as you can handle.

This breed was bred for hunting waterfowl.  It takes 8 to 12 months to train the dog for this work.  In addition, this breed is excellent in obedience, agility, tracking (rescue operations) and as a therapy dog.

As its name implies, this dog is a golden color with shades ranging from light to quite dark.

Height is 20 to 24 inches.  Weight goes from 55 to 80 pounds.

Some retrievers are super affectionate while others are independent.  It is best to respect the dog’s character and not try to mold it to something it is not.  So, even if your friend’s retriever has exactly the qualities you want, your retriever may come out quite a bit different.  Generally though, they make good pets as well as working companions.  Like any working dog, they will need exercise.

Life expectancy is 10 to 12 years.  This breed is prone to hip problems, heart problems as well as eye problems, but then every dog has its day, folks.  The breed I have is supposedly prone to hip problems also and yet none of my 5 shelties  has had hip problems.

Easy to groom.  Sheds no more than most dogs even with that beautiful coat.

The Golden Retriever
The Golden Retriever

Karelian Bear Dog

Here in Northern Ontario, Canada people love blueberries and we have them in abundance. Sinatra and Mr. Bean even enjoy them. I had one dog who would sit right in the patch and munch away.

Unfortunately, this year a late frost killed off the blueberry flowers so that in August, when both people and bears go blueberry picking, the crop was very small. The bears were extremely hungry as blueberries are one of their main food choices.  As a result, the bears came into the city in large enough numbers that someone saw one nearly every day.  Sadly,  our Natural Resource Department has been short staffed for close to 10 years and they have reneged their responsibility for the bears. It fell to the local police to kill a number of bears just to keep people safe. This is a choice they made only when the bears seriously endangered people by displaying aggressive behavior like ripping up doors to get into a house.
What does this have to do with dogs? During the time this was all going on with bears digging into garbage right in people’s yard — tearing apart steel garbage containers to get at the bags —someone called the radio station and suggested we bring in some Karelian Bear Dogs to deal with the problem.
A dog willing to chase a bear?  Never heard of it.  After some research here is the lowdown on this formidable dog.

 

Bear on deck – not my deck thank goodness
K.B. Dog chases bear
K.B. Dog chases bear

 

 

 

STATISTICS BLACK BEAR KARELIAN BEAR DOG
Ursus americanus Canis lupus familiaris
Height 2-1/2 to 3 feet 21-24 inches
Weight 90 to 600 lbs 44.1 to 50.7 lbs
Colouring Black with some brown Black and white
Personality Solitary animals, though you will see a mother with her cub(s) as we did. The mother abandons cubs when they are 2 years old. Very social with humans but not other dogs, prone to separation anxiety.
Population Widespread distribution and large population due to admirable ability to adapt.

Smart enough to hibernate in winter.

Originated in Finland where it is highly regarded for its quick reflexes and fearlessness.

 

Looks for home with fireplace to past the winter. (kidding)

 

 

 

 

The Barkless Dog

For any of you who have ever owned a Shetland Sheepdog –or even lived next door to one–  you’ll know that they love to bark.  My Shelties are especially excitable as I play with them a lot.  They bark when I pretend to box with them, they bark when I play hide and seek with them, and they really bark when I play “who is chasing who around the billiard table”.  And, if I’m out shoveling snow, all hell breaks loose,  because they bark at flying snow.  Oh, and they bark when my husband sneezes.  I don’t rate a bark when I sneeze and I have no idea what makes my husband’s sneezes so special.

Imagine my surprise (and delight) when I heard about a barkless dog….thinking maybe I had found my next pet.    Unfortunately, after some research I was disappointed to learn that, due to the structure of the dog’s larynx, it “yodels”.  I don’t think my neighbors would appreciate that.

 

BREED:  The Basenji

 

ORIGIN

  • one of the oldest breeds
  • engravings of the dogs that date back to 3600 BC were found in Egypt

PERSONALITY

  • aloof and independent
  • attaches to one or two members of the family, but not overly friendly
  • very clean dog – grooms itself – no need for you to do grooming – Bonus!
  • highly intelligent

APPEARANCE

  • 16 to 17 inches
  • 22 to 24 pounds
  • short and silky coat
  • colors:  chestnut red, pure black, or black and tan, all with white feet
  • tail curled on back

TRAINING

  • not easy to train due to independent nature but can learn with much patience
  • used for hunting
  • needs space and exercise

 

HEALTH

  • needs to be checked for fanconi syndrome
  • life expectancy is about 12 years

 

 

iStock_000006550290_Medium

 

The Chow Chow

I live in northern Ontario which is known to be bear country.  Yesterday, while walking my two shelties, I saw a big black creature coming around the bend.  I knew it wasn’t a bear because they are in hibernation this time of year.  This dog was huge — and absolutely beautiful.  In addition he was one of the most calm dogs I had ever come across. The owner said that the dog was very independent and had a mind of his own.   When I encounter temperament like that I wonder if it’s training or part of the breed’s characteristic.  So I researched the Chow Chow.

black chow

ORIGIN

The Chow Chow’s origin seems to be unknown.  Even though the dogs are seldom seen in China today, the Mongolian tribes in China did keep this breed.  The breed then appeared in England in the 1800s.

PERSONALITY

  • strong-willed
  • aloof and indifferent like a cat
  • excellent watchdog
  • wary of strangers

APPEARANCE

  • 17-21″ at the shoulder
  • 45-85 pounds
  • color varies from black to mahogany
  • mixed breeds can be white or even blue merle

TRAINING

  • younger Chow Chows are more pliable so training should start early
  • older dogs may be difficult to train

More about the Chow Chow

http://www.canismajor.com/dog/chowchow.html

Chow Chow pictures

https://www.pinterest.com/explore/chow-chow/