Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Dandie Dinmont Terrier

  The Dandie Dinmont Terrier is a good companion canine.  It was named after a funny character in the book Guy Mannering written in 1814 by Sir Walter Scott.  The character's name?  Dandie Dinmont.  Queen Victoria had a Dandie Dinmont Terrier.  It was once popular with gypsies and the highly wealthy.  It was originally bred to go to ground, and so it possesses a long body.  It is also low to the ground.  It has an easy-to-identify large head with a silky topknot.  Its eyes are dark and have a soft and wise expression.  For a small dog, it has powerful teeth, especially his canines, which are bigger than that of the average small dog.  They give the Dandies to hone great holding and punishing power with its teeth.  It comes in two colors- pepper and mustard.  According to the AKC, the pepper color ranges from dark-bluish-black to a light, silvery grey.  Mustard varies from a reddish-brown to a pale fawn color.  Its overall appearance makes it look like a great dog.

  It was first recorded as a distinct type of breed at about 1700.  It was bred from selected specimens of the rough native terrier of the border country between Scotland and England.  It was distinguished by its skill in hunting otters and badgers.  Since the entire original purpose of the Dandie Dinmont is hardly needed at all today, so it is more of a companion and house dog.

  An independent, stubborn, and determined breed of great intelligence, they are a challenge to train.  It may not be the best for first-time dog owners, but some can cope.  A loophole is to start training a Dandie Dinmont Terrier at an early age.  It can be a good family dog and devotes himself to his family.  It's very sociable, so as long as it's introduced to other pets and family members at a young age, it is a family-friendly pooch.  Being a long and lowly-set breed, it is susceptible to some intervertebral disc problems.  To lower the risk of this happening, it's best to make sure it avoids stair climbing and jumping on and off furniture.  If you want it upstairs, downstairs, or on the couch, pick it up yourself and place on the couch or basement or upstairs.  Its other health problems include hip dysplasia, kneecap luxation, torn ligaments, arthritis, and glycoma.  As far as grooming goes, you're in for a lot of work or a pricy grooming bill.  Because it never sheds, its hair just keeps getting longer and longer.  As a puppy, it will need combed daily to avoid the coat from matting.  Adults need to be hand-stripped, preferably by an expert, 2-3 times a year.  Let the coat mat to much, and it'll be required to be hand stripped close to the skin.  It'll take months for the beautiful Dandie Dinmont coat to grow back.  Its feet also need regular trimming.  The Dandie is ideal in most environments, but needs about twenty minutes of exercise daily.  Since it was originally bred as a hunting dog, it is best to make sure the breed is supervised and secured in a fenced in area, since it might run after a squirrel or other small animals.

Though stubborn, it is a magnificent dog breed that gets along well with the people it knows, and has a serious side in its personality as well as a playful one.  If you're looking for a dog thats brilliant, intelligent, and fun, and as long as you don't mind putting in effort grooming and training this breed, the Dandie Dinmont Terrier could just be the right breed for you.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Brussels Griffon

  The Brussels Griffon- a cute pooch known to have a human-like expression.  One was featured in a 1997 hit, "As Good As It Gets".  It is intelligent and sensitive, and is self-conscious around strangers.  It has an adorable flat face.  There are two coat types. There's the rough coat, which is wiry and dense.  According to the AKC the hardy and wiry the coat is, the better.  The second is the smooth coat, which is straight, short and glossy, with no trace of wiry hair.  The smooth-coated Brussels Griffon are sometimes called "Brabancons".  Their bodies are square-shaped and their tails are set and held high. Their whole structures make for a lovable dog with a tail facing up as if showing pride, a cute and convincing flat face and lovely coats.  

  The breed's origins are traced back to Belgium in the 19th century.  Belgian coachmen kept small, wire-coated terrier-like dogs in their stables as ratters.  The dogs developed from the Affenpinscher and general street dogs.  Other breeds have apparently been used in the mix, such as the Pug, King Charles Spaniel, and the Ruby Spaniel.  This resulted in two different varieties of coats.  The smooth and the rough coats.  The smooth ones were named Brabancons.  This term honored the Belgian national anthem, "La Brabonconne".  These eventually became the Brussels Griffon breed.  Today, the breed doesn't have much use as a ratter.  Instead, they make spectacular companion dogs.

   Though it is somewhat healthy, it is advised that you watch out for hereditary eye defects, patella luxation, and hip dysplasia.  Intelligent and naughty, as well as curious, training isn't too hard, but try to start at an early age.  Let the breed know who strangers are and who aren't strangers, as the breed is sensitive around them. It is a playful and enjoyable breed.  It enjoys playing and like to have walks on a leash.  Its small size makes it suitable for apartment-living, though they still need some exercise and daily walks. Whether the coat is rough or smooth, the coats need brushing twice a week and shaping every three months.  If the dog is going to be shown, hand stripping is essential for the rough coat.  The smooth coat is easier to maintain, but during shedding season, regular brushing and baths are required.  It gets along well with children, and therefore, they make for good family pets.

  The Brussels Griffon is a delightful breed that's curious, adorable, small, mischievous, and great with children and pets alike.  They do enjoy some exercise and are really keen canines!