Category Archives: dog breeds

What Do the 8 AKC Dog Breed Groups Mean?

akc groups aussiegallBy Linda Cole

The American Kennel Club, established in 1884, is a registry of purebred dogs in the United States. To help categorize breeds, dogs are put into one of eight groups based on why the breed was created – i.e., what his job is.

Herding Group

The main function of dogs in this group is to control the movement of other animals. AKC created this newest classification in 1983. Prior to that, they were members of the Working Group. These breeds have the stamina and superb athletic ability to work long hours in difficult weather conditions and over rough terrain. Their job is to drive livestock or herd sheep, controlling them by manipulating their movements. They are extremely intelligent, able to problem solve and have the ability to work on their own when necessary.

Sporting Group

Members of this group were developed to flush out and retrieve quarry on land or in water. In Europe it’s called the Gundog Group, and many of the breeds have their origins in European countries. At one time, hunting was essential to provide food for the family and dogs were indispensable in helping the hunter locate fowl hiding in thick underbrush. When hunting with guns became more popular, retrievers were developed to bring back quarry that had been shot down. These dogs have a generally laid back temperament, are very intelligent, easy to train and want to please.

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Eight Tough-to-Train Dog Breeds

By Linda Cole

Some of the more challenging dog breeds to train are also among the smartest. Part of the problem with smart dogs is they can think for themselves and quickly learn how to control their owner.

Dog intelligence is determined by how many repetitions it takes for a dog to learn a new command or task. Breeds considered the smartest learn in just a few repetitions. Canines at the bottom of the list take a lot longer to catch on. It’s not that they aren’t as bright as the top tiered dogs; they just need more motivation.

Border Collies can either be one of the most challenging – or easiest – dogs to train. This free thinking, problem solving and sensitive herder is capable of learning new things in just one try, but you can’t use heavy-handed training methods. This breed can be difficult for an inexperienced owner to train because he is an intelligent dog and notices absolutely everything you do. Subtle changes in your tone of voice and hand gestures can confuse him, because he thinks you’re teaching a new command. You have to be exact each time with your commands and gestures.

Beagles are happy, confident dogs from the hound group. This lovable scenthound has a stubborn streak a mile long, which can cause a novice trainer to throw up his arms in defeat. He needs a good reason to learn. Your best training tool is lots of tasty, healthy dog treats like CANIDAE Pure Heaven Duck or Salmon. Beagles love food, and are willing to learn anything for a favorite treat. The U.S. Department of Agriculture started the Beagle Brigade in 1984 to sniff out contraband food coming into the country via airports because this cute, friendly and small dog isn’t as intimidating as larger dogs.

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Eight Easy-to-Train Small Dog Breeds

Yorkie

By Linda Cole

Training any dog can be hard if you aren’t consistent and dedicated. Small dogs, which include terriers, come with big attitudes and aren’t afraid to take on big jobs. These dogs are intelligent, agile and tenacious. Dogs under 22 pounds or standing under 16 inches are considered small, although there are some small breeds that weigh a little more and are taller. If you want a small dog that’s easy to train, there’s a nice variety to pick from, including the breeds listed below. Carry a pocketful of CANIDAE Pure Heaven treats, and these dogs will practically train themselves! LOL.

Yorkshire Terrier

This breed has been in the top ten most popular dogs for the last decade. The Yorkie may be small, but he’s all terrier, with an expertise in rooting out and catching rats and other small rodents. The breed was developed in northern England’s Yorkshire County to control rodents in coal mines and textile factories. Earlier dogs were larger than the breed we know today, and fearless when it came to doing their job. It wasn’t long before high society adopted the Yorkie as a companion pet, and that’s when the breed was bred down to the size we know today.

Pomeranian 

The smallest of the Spitz family of dogs, the Pomeranian is descended from Northern breeds like the Norwegian Elkhound, American Eskimo Dog, Samoyed and Schipperke. Before this breed was bred down to their 3-7 pound size, Poms weighed up to 30-35 pounds. The dog was developed in Pomerania, a small province in today’s eastern Germany. This compact little dog can excel at agility and obedience, or be happy hanging out in the lap of the one he loves.

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The Phalene, a Lap Dog Loved by Kings

By Linda Cole

The early years of the Phalene were spent in the company of kings and queens as lap dogs to help keep their royal masters warm. The dogs were also good at catching rats that dared to wander the great hallways and rooms of these majestic castles.

This small dog breed has also been called Little Squirrel Dog (because of his bushy tail), Continental Toy Spaniel, Belgium Toy Spaniel, Royal Toy Spaniel and Epagneul Dwarf Spaniel. The name most people will recognize, however, is the Papillon. The Phalene and Papillon are considered separate breeds, but both are judged by the Papillon standard by the AKC, even though there is a difference between the two.

The history of the Phalene and Papillon are one and the same, with the Phalene being the older of the two breeds by a couple of centuries. The Phalene was bred as a companion pet, mainly for ladies, and their primary function today remains that of a companion pet. This is a happy dog that gets along well with other pets and wants to be with his human at all times. He is extremely loyal and protective of the one he loves.

No one knows for sure where or when the Phalene roots began, but three countries – Spain, Belgium and France – insist that the breed originated in their country. This little dog was also widely found in Italy. From the 15th to 18th centuries, Italian artists created portraits and tapestries of kings and queens with small dogs at the feet of their royal owners, and the earliest known portrait that included a Phalene is Italian, dating back to the 1400s.

This breed is believed to be a descendant of the Cayenne Dog and the English Toy Spaniels that are commonly seen in centuries old paintings. He is considered among the oldest of the toy spaniels. King Louis XIV, a 1600 French king, was very fond of this dog breed, as was Marie Antoinette. After the French Revolution, the Phalene became more popular in Belgium.

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Difference between Parson, Jack Russell and Russell Terrier

By Linda Cole

The Parson, Jack Russell, and Russell terriers are actually three different breeds, even though they’re related and look much alike. The Russell Terrier was introduced at the National Dog Show in 2012 as a new breed recognized by the AKC. The Jack Russell is not a recognized breed, despite the dog’s popularity in this country. There is a good explanation as to why, but it can be a bit confusing.

The Parson, Jack Russell and Russell terrier breeds were all named after the Reverend John “Jack” Russell (1795 – 1883), a parson who lived in Devonshire, England during the 1800s. He was an avid fox hunter, when he wasn’t attending to his duties at his church. The Reverend was also quite fond of fox hunting dogs, and bred them. His first terrier, a female named Trump, was likely the foundation for Russell’s working dogs.

Reverend Russell, also known as “The Sporting Parson,” wanted a working dog that was feisty, strong and confident ,to hunt fox and go to ground to flush out fox or other prey from a hole. The Reverend lived in the southern part of England where the terrain wasn’t as hilly, and a short legged dog met his needs. The small dog ran with hunters on horseback, and hounds following a fox. When the hounds chased the fox underground, it was the terrier’s job to follow and flush the fox out of the hole so the hunt could resume.

It was after Reverend Russell’s death when the JRT breed began to evolve into the Parson Terrier. Hunters living in areas where the land was more uneven and hillier wanted dogs with longer legs that allowed them to better navigate rougher terrain so they could keep up with the hounds and horses. They were also more interested in hunting other prey, primarily badger. If a pup was born with shorter legs, they were kept at home as companion pets, to roam around the barn and home catching vermin, and as watchdogs.

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How Some Popular Dog Breeds Got Their Name

Cocker Spaniel

By Linda Cole

Deciding on the perfect name for a new puppy or dog isn’t always easy to do. You want to pick one that fits his personality and is easy to learn. Now imagine coming up with a name for a new dog breed. The history of dog breeds is an interesting story. The history behind naming some of our popular dog breeds is also an intriguing tale.

Cocker Spaniel

Spaniels date back to the 14th century; they evolved over the years with some working on land and others working as water retrievers. These dogs were highly prized by English hunters for their outstanding ability to flush out and retrieve a large, short legged and bulky wading bird called a woodcock. This nocturnal bird spends most of the day hiding in dense cover. People started calling the dog “cocker,” and the name caught on.

Labrador Retriever

Newfoundland is the land of the Labrador Retriever, not Labrador. Fishermen around the Canadian province used a small water dog that was bred with Newfoundland dogs to produce a first-class swimmer called the St. John’s Water Dog, the ancestor of the Labrador. The breed had webbed feet and was used to retrieve fishermen’s nets from the icy waters and bring them back to shore. In the early 1800s, the Earl of Malmesbury saw one of the dogs in action and imported it to England. He trained his dogs to retrieve ducks and called them “Labrador dogs.” Even though the Earl was confused about which province his dogs came from, the name stuck as the dog became more popular.

Cairn Terrier

Cairn Terrier

This little dog was developed on the Isle of Skye, in Scotland. Farmers wanted a small, feisty dog with lots of courage, determination, intelligence and the ability to go to ground when necessary after prey. The Cairn Terrier was bred to hunt badger, otter, fox, rabbit and other vermin. They were especially good at digging prey out from under cairns, which are mounds of man-made piles of stone used in the Scottish Highlands as grave site memorials and boundary markers. People started calling the dogs Cairn, and that’s where the breed name came from.

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