All posts in Canine Breeds

Canine Breed Spotlight: Boston Terrier

Boston Terrier!

Dog breed group: Non-sporting

Average life expectancy: 11-13 years

History

The Boston Terrier originated in the United States in the 1870s in Boston, Massachusetts. In the past this breed of dog was primarily bred as a pit fighting dog. The original Boston Terrier was a dog named “Judge”, he was Bulldog/English Terrier cross- a sturdy dog with a blocky head. “Judge” and his offspring were bred with the smaller French Bulldog until the Boston Terrier we know today was created; a small, compact dog with a short tail and erect ears.

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Temperament

These dogs have left their fighting days behind and are now known for their friendly and happy temperament. Each Boston Terrier is different, some are stubborn, some are very high spirited and excitable, other can be calm and gentle. These dogs love to play games! Fetch, dock diving, flyball and agility are all favorites. Because of their sweet and charming personalities Boston Terriers are also popular therapy dogs.

Is this breed right for you?

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  • Boston Terriers have a short face, this makes them prone to snorting, snuffling, wheezing, snoring, so they can be noisy sleepers.
  • They are highly active and need exercise and will do better when the owners are at home for the majority of the day.
  • They are slow to house train. This is due to their stubborn streak. Expect to put a lot of time and effort into crate training and housebreaking your Boston Terrier.

Health concerns

Both pure-bred and mixed-breed dogs have varying kinds of health problems that may be either influenced by genetics or environmental factors. Here is a look at some health concerns that are commonly seen in the Boston Terrier.

This breed is brachycephalic (short faced) and this can lead to some health problems. This is what makes them snort and snore. It can also cause episodes of reverse sneezing. The short face also makes them “bug-eyed” which can lead to eye problems such as cataracts, corneal ulcers and glaucoma. Brachycephalic breeds also at a slightly higher anesthetic risk than dogs with long faces.

Boston Terriers can be prone to luxating patelllas (loose knee caps). Patellar luxation is a condition in which the kneecap (patella) slides out of its normal place. If this occurs in your pet, surgical correction may be needed. If your Boston Terrier has problems with their rear legs it may cause them to lean forward and stand more onto the forelegs. This can cause a curvature of the back called roaching.

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Canine Breed Spotlight: Beagle

Let’s look at the Beagle!

Dog breed group: Hound Dog

Average life span: 12-16 years

History

Dogs that are similar in size and purpose to the modern day Beagle can be traced back to Ancient Greece. The development of the modern breed began in the 19th century in England. There were two lines of Beagles being bred, eventually being absorbed into one bloodline. The name Beagle has an uncertain origin. There are may theories of where the name may have came from. The French words begueule (meaning open throat) or beugler (meaning to bellow), the Old English word beag (meaning small) and the German word begele (meaning to scold) could all be origins of this breed name.

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Temperament

Beagles are happy, gentle and friendly. They don’t tend to be either aggressive or timid, but somewhere in the middle. They are an intelligent breed, but because they were bred to hunt they can be easily distracted by the smells. Early socialization and obedience training (with food rewards!) are the best ways to train your beagle to be well rounded and get them used to many different types of situations.

Is this breed right for you?

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  • They require a lot of exercise, a walk around the block won’t be enough. For this reason they do not do well in apartments, condos or other small living areas.
  • Their coat is easy to care for, however they do shed a lot.
  • They don’t do well left alone for long periods of time. Crate training is important or else they may become destructive when left alone.
  • They can be loud. They will howl and bay when faced with something unfamiliar or upsetting to them.

Health concerns

Both pure-bred and mixed-breed dogs have varying incidences of health problems that may be either influenced by genetics or environmental factors. Here are some health concerns that are more commonly seen in the Beagle.

Epilepsy is common in Beagles, but it is not a health concern specific to the breed. Epilepsy is caused by abnormal electrical activity in the brain causing seizures. This health issue can be controlled with medication and veterinary monitoring.

Cherry Eye can be common in Beagles. This is when the gland in the third eyelid (located in the inside corner of the dog’s eye) comes out of place and bulges. Cherry eye is corrected by a surgery under general anesthetic.

Intervertebral Disc Disease is also common in Beagles. Symptoms can be mild to severe. They might have difficulty walking or appear in pain, or in severe cases they can become be completely paralyzed. The best way to prevent this is to keep your Beagle lean. They are “chow hounds” and love to eat. Over feeding can cause them to become overweight, which can increase their risk of rupturing a disc.

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Canine Breed Spotlight: American Pit Bull Terrier

The American Pit Bull Terrier!

Dog breed group: Terrier dogs, Working dogs

Average life span: 8-15 years

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History

In early 19th century England, the Pit Bull Terrier breeds were developed for bull and bear baiting, however these sports became illegal in 1835, and unfortunately, dog fighting took its place. This led to the dog aggression trait to be bred into this genetic line. However, alongside the aggression, this dog was also bred for an unwillingness to bite humans so their handlers in the fighting ring could pull them apart. This unwillingness to bite humans became the preferred trait for breeding a family friendly dog. Proper present day breeding of the American Pit Bull Terrier will breed for the strong, protective traits,  but also for the gentle and family-friendly personality.

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Canine Breed Spotlight: Pomeranian 

All about the Pomeranian!

Dog breed group: Toy breed

Average lifespan 12-16 years

History

The Pomeranian is descended from the family of Spitz dogs, more specifically the German Spitz. Other breeds in this family include the Samoyed, Alaskan Malamute and the Norwegian Elkhound and American Eskimo, to name a few. These dogs get their name from the province of Pomerania, in Germany. As the popularity of this breed grew, the size of the Pomeranian began to decrease because the smaller dogs were more popular. The size of the modern day Pomeranian is about half the size of the the as their original descendants.

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