Pet Word

The First and Last Word on Pets

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Shetland Sheepdog

Getting to know your dog starts by getting to know its breed, and that includes getting a better idea about its appearance, personality, and health requirements. Here’s what you need to know about Shetland Sheepdogs:

Also known as the “Sheltie,” the Shetland Sheepdog originally began life as a small herding dog for Shetland Island terrain. When you first look at this breed, you will notice a strong resemblance with the Collie although the Shetland Sheepdog is smaller. While the exact origin of this breed remains unknown, we do know that somewhere off the coast of Scotland the dog was bred down to what we know it to be today.

To give you an idea of the makeup of the Shetland Sheepdog, you have breeding from the Yakki, Icelandic Sheepdog, and Border Collie. Then, it is believed that in the 19th century, this breed could have been crossbred with other dogs to include the Prince Charles Spaniel, Pomeranian, and perhaps even the King Charles Spaniel. However, to add even more question to the mix is that in the early part of the 20th century, the coat of the Shetland Sheepdog came out brindle, which would indicate two other breeds to include the Corgi and Terrier.

What we do know is that the American Kennel Club first recognized the Shetland Sheepdog in 1911, which resulted from the first registration of a dog named Lord Scott. Although the Shetland Sheepdog was once a prominent breed in Shetland, today you rarely see it. Instead, the Border Collie has taken its place in importance and use.

This breed has an amazing ability to compete. As an agile dog, they are outstanding when it comes to showmanship, obedience, herding, tracking, and so on. Therefore, using the Shetland Sheepdog in competitions or show is a satisfying decision.

Physical Appearance

The Sheltie has a graceful and sweet appearance. As far as the breed’s coat, there is a double coat with the topcoat being long and straight and the undercoat being short and furry. In fact, the topcoat is water-repellant while the undercoat is extremely thick. To keep tangles at bay, it is important that the Shetland Sheepdog be brushed and groomed on a regular basis. Otherwise, you could be dealing with deeply matted hair in places such as the hind legs, under the elbows, and even behind the ears.

If you want to show your Sheltie through the American Kennel Club, there is a definite height requirement. For instance, the male and female dog would need to be between 13 and 16 inches at the withers. For weight, most males will fall somewhere around 14 to 18 pounds with the females averaging 12 to 16 pounds. Another requirement includes ears that are tipped or just slightly bent. Colors of this breed also vary to include:

Sable (light gold to mahogany)
Tri-color (white, black, and tan)
Blue Merle (gray, black, white, and tan)
Bi-blues (gray, black, and some white)
Merle (not often seen in show but acceptable)
Double Merle (brings risk of blindness and deafness)

Temperament and Personality

When looking for a good family dog and companion, the Sheltie is a great option to consider. This particular breed is exceptionally bright, loyal, affectionate, and loving. The one thing you need to be aware of is that the Sheltie can be wary of strangers. Socializing this breed at a young age can help overcome some of those types of unwanted behaviors. The Shetland Sheepdog is great with adults but wait until you see them with children. They are patient, protective, and extremely gentle even with the smallest of child. This breed also works well with other animals.

Some people believe that the Shetland Sheepdog barks too much and while some can be a little on the yappy side, but with proper training, this trait can be overcome. With most breeds, you would find either the male or female having a slightly better edge over the other. However, with the Sheltie, male and female are equally great dogs. When choosing this breed, just make sure you have adequate time for training and playing, as well as room for running around.


Unfortunately, the Shetland Sheepdog is prone to certain health problems such as Epilepsy, Ophthalmologist, Hypothyroidism, and various types of skin allergies. As far as the eyes, this particular breed can inherit two problems. The first is called Sheltie Eye Syndrome or SES, which affects all three layers of the eye, resulting in a blind spot to full blindness. For this, special testing can be performed while a puppy to determine if the defect exists. The second is called Progressive Retinal Atrophy or PRA. In this case, the dog would begin to experience problems with night vision, which would eventually lead to daytime problems and then blindness.

Dermatomyositis is another health risk associated specific to the Sheltie. Unfortunately, this problem is often not diagnosed until after six months or is even misdiagnosed. What happens is that Dermatomyositis starts as Alopecia on the top of the head, which means losing hair. Sometimes, the problem can affect the dog’s tail as well. Sadly, while this appears as a skin problem, it is actually an autonomic nervous system disease, eventually leading to the animal being humanely euthanized.

Other possibilities although not as common, include Von Willebrand Disease, a hereditary defect, and Hypothyroidism, a condition in which the thyroid is not functioning as it should. Typically, good grooming, diet, and exercise will go a long way in keeping the Shetland Sheepdog healthy.

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Bull Terrier and Bull Terrier Miniture

Description: The Miniature Bull Terrier is a muscular and strongly built dog. Standing between 10 and 14 inches in height, and 24 to 23 pounds in weight, it is stocky and short. The head is oval in shape long and strong, it slopes evenly down to their nose, which is black. The eyes are small, almond shaped and deep-set, these are dark in colour. Their ears are small, thin and close together. This breed has a long neck that is very muscular, with broad shoulders. The tail is set low, and is not long. Their coat is short, flat and dense that is harsh to the touch. There are two colours recognized by the AKC; the white bull terrier is allowed to have coloured markings on the head, but not on the body and the coloured bull terrier, which can be black and brindle, red, fawn and tricolour with white markings. Their life expectancy is between 10 and 12 years.

History: The Miniature Bull Terrier breed started in the 1800s when Bulldogs were cross with the Terriers. In 1830 there was a popular sport of Bulldogs fighting bulls in a pit. Lovers of this fighting wanted to create a dog that was more agile, so they cross the bulldog with an old English terrier, Spanish point blood. The result was the Bull Terrier breed, this was not as successful a fighter as the breeders had wished, and by 1860. the dog had switched, to being fashionable for nobles. This breed has been used as a guard dog, herder, ratter and watchdog. The miniature Bull Terrier was first recognized by the AKC in 1991.

Temperament: Although the Miniature Bull Terrier breed history is in the fighting ring, it is now a much gentler dog. Now it is bred to be a guard dog still retaining its courageous nature and ability to defend its owner. It is just as happy to be part of the family and lie in front of the fire. This breed loves and needs firm consistent leadership, combined with affection. This will make the miniature Bull Terrier, a wonderful pet. This breed will prefer an active family as they like to be doing something all the time. Without the right amount of mental and physical exercise this dog can be too energetic for some families, and definitely too energetic for small children. This is not a dog for a weak willed person, as this will bring out possessiveness, or jealousy, and over protectiveness in this breed. The males of this breed are unlikely to get on with other male dogs. The miniature Bull Terrier will not get on well with other non-canine pets such as mice, rabbits and rats. This breed is not the easiest to train, so is not recommended for new dog owners. The miniature Bull Terrier does make a wonderful and good watchdog.

Health issues: The Miniature Bull Terrier can suffer dislocation of the kneecaps, zinc deficiency, which can cause death, kidney failure and heart defects, skin and flea allergies. It is best not to over feed this breed, as they can gain weight easily.

Grooming: The Miniature Bull Terrier breed sheds twice a year. Being an average shedder, brushing over the coat every so often is all that is needed for the Miniature Bull Terrier.

Living conditions: Given the correct amount of exercise the Miniature Bull Terrier will do well in an apartment. A small garden will be all that is required.

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English Cocker Spaniel

Everything you should know about a Cocker Spaniel. Whether it’s a cocker spaniel for hunting or a cocker spaniel for the home.

Pro’s and con’s of owning a Cocker Spaniel.

Cocker Spaniels are very sweet-natured. They are as popular both on the hunt and as household pets; and this is with good reason.

The Pro’s

There are loads of good points about cocker spaniels and even though they were bread as a hunting dog (Woodcocks to be precise)

•They are intelligent but not stubborn.
•They are easy to train and willing to respond to commands.
•They are playful and well-rounded toward other animals.
•They are great if you have young kids as they love to play.
•They are great at flushing out birds as they will go through anything (even brambles and thorn)
•They are good retrieving dogs especially for bird hunting, as they have soft mouths.

The Con’s

There are few cons with the spaniel. The main concern people have is with their health. Since this is such a popular dog, people tend to breed without discretion. This brings a problem of mixing in bloodlines that are filled with past problems.

Some health concerns this can create are:

•hip dysphasia
•elbow dysphasia
•Immune Mediated Hemolytic Anemia.

Do not let this put you off getting a Cocker though as the pro’s far outweigh the cons. But it is best if you buy this breed for a reputable source. Do not visit puppy farms and the alike. You need to have a dog that has been thoroughly screened and whose bloodline is clean. Ask to see the pup’s parents if possible, this should be enough to assure you that you are getting a great dog.

Due to the problems which may come with spaniel ownership I would recommend taking out health insurance.

Height & Weight:

The Male is usually 28-34 pounds and between 15-17 inches high.
The Female is usually 26-32 pounds and 14-16 inches high.


The coat does require regular combing. Some Cocker Spaniels have coats that are prone to matting, while others tend to lay flat, so some trimming is necessary, particularly around the pads of the feet. Shampoo and bath regularly also check ears carefully for wax and foreign material, particularly after outdoor play.

Life Expectancy:

Well cared for dogs can be expected to live up to 15 years old.


As I mentioned earlier they were bread for hunting woodcocks in the 1800’s. In the 1800’s there were lots of types of spaniels including the Clumber, the Welsh Springer, the Field, the Sussex, the Irish Water Spaniel, the Field, and the Cocker. In 1892 the Cocker and Springer Spaniels were divided into separate breeds, and in the 1940s, the English and American Cocker Spaniels were divided again.

Gun Dog, AKC Sporting




The great thing about the cocker spaniel is you can either train as a pet or as a hunter or combine both training methods. We find the best way to train is to train your cocker as a hunting dog. This seems to give you a more obedient pet whether you use him on the field or not.

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Belgian Sheep Dog

The Belgian Sheepdog is one of four sheepdogs originating in Belgium. It is also known as the Belgian Groenendael (Grow-en-en-doll ) or Chien de Berger Belge. In some countries they are all considered one breed. The AKC recognizes three of the four breeds including the Belgian Groenendael. These four breeds are so closely related that, when they have a litter of puppies, some of the puppies will closely resemble one of the other three breeds more than its parents.

This medium to medium/large breed weighs between 55-75 pounds and is between 21″ to 27″ in height. They are a working dog and want a job to do. A bored Belgian Groenendael will find some way to fill its time and will make their own dog toys. That being said, it is best to ensure that they have plenty to fill their time.

The AKC recognized coat color for the Belgian Groenendael is black. They are permitted to have a very small patch of white on their muzzle, forechest and between feet pads. Their dense undercoat and long, straight, heavy outer coat needs daily grooming to prevent tangles and mats. They shed regularly but have a heavy shedding period twice a year.

Energetic and protective, the Belgian Groenendael is loyal to their family and makes an excellent watchdog. While two of the other Belgian Groenendaels are still used more as working dogs, the Belgian Groenendael is seen as family pet and watchdog. They need plenty of time and room to roam and run, so they work best with active families that have a large yard or regular access to a park or farm. They need early socialization for other dogs, children and pets. Some Belgian Groenendaels have been known to be aggressive so you should talk to the breeder about aggression in their ancestry. They are fairly easy to train, but early training is recommended.

Originating in Belgium, the Belgian Groenendael was developed by a breeder in Groenendael, Belgium. They have been traditionally used as working dogs and have had such jobs as police dog, cattle and sheep herder and search and rescue and message delivery dogs during WW I and II.

Family friendly, loyal and affectionate, the Belgian Groenendael enjoys companionship for play and rest. They are definitely not for families who want a calm lap dog. But, if you want an intelligent, energetic dog that enjoys exercise and play, then the Belgian Groenendael will not disappoint you in any way, shape or form.

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Standard Poodle

If you want a confident, intelligent dog that enjoys an active life, a Poodle may be the best breed for you. Poodles are full of life and energy; inquisitive, dignified; and loyal. For at least the last ten years, the American Kennel Club of the United States has listed the Poodle as one of its ten most popular breeds. One reason Poodles are so popular is that they come in a variety of size like small, medium and large, known in the dog world as Toy, Miniature and Standard Poodles.

To measure a Poodle’s height against the standard of the breed, measure the dog at the highest point of the shoulder. A Standard Poodle measures more than fifteen inches at the shoulder. A Miniature Poodle measures fifteen inches or less at the shoulder, and a Toy Poodle measures less than ten inches.

The Poodle’s coat is always naturally curly and dense in texture. Several colors are allowed, including black, white, apricot, brown, blue, gray and silver. Within each solid color, slight variations in hue are also allowed.
The origins of the Poodle breed are uncertain, although Germany, Denmark and France have all claimed credit for developing the breed. Over the years, France has come to be recognized as the Poodle’s place of origin, and the French hold a special place in their hearts and in their culture for what they call the Caniche.

The Standard Poodle is thought to have descended from a mix between the Barbet, a French water dog and a Hungarian Water Hound. The Miniature and Toy varieties were bred down from the Standard Poodle. Once used as a sporting dog, Poodles retrieved waterfowl during gun hunts. The traditional Poodle cut, with extra hair at the joints, was meant to insulate the dogs’ joints against the cold water. Poodles also worked as truffle hunters, and circus performers. In fact, they remain familiar icons in popular culture, and they continue to perform in the modern entertainment industry.

Standard Poodle can become famous as a performer, while others derive their fame from their celebrity owners. Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas loved their first Poodle, Basket, so much that they got two more Poodles, named Basket II and Basket III.

Performer “Weird Al” Yankovic has a Toy Poodle named Bela, whom he on top of his head for the cover of his album “Poodle Hat”. Wrestling star Rene Dupree, who know uses the professional name “Rene Bonaparte”, often refers to his Poodle Fifi.

Poodles are well known as characters in literature, film and television. The late Jacqueline Susann, the darling of the 1960s, wrote a best-selling novel, Every Night Josephine, about her Poodle, Josephine. One of many examples of Poodles in film is the 2000 film Best In Show, which featured a Poodle named Rhapsody in White as the canine character “Butch”. The TV family in the animated series Rugrats has a Poodle named Fifi as a pet. Although most Standard Poodles will never appear on the pages of a novel or on the big screen, their owners consider them superstars of the highest magnitude.

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