AKC Group: Working

Boxers originated from Germany and the now-extinct breed Bullenbeisser which used to take down, deer, wild boar and bears. Boxers were often found as guard dogs or wartime couriers.

Size: 21 to 25 inches, 55 to 70 pounds

Color: The under color should be tan or brindle with white markings.

Life span: 9 to 11 years

Health problems: Bloat, colitis, cancer, respiratory problems, thyroid problems, heart problems. Due to their short muzzles, guard against strenuous exercise or he may have respiratory troubles. His short coat leaves him open to sun or heat stroke.

Boxers are square-shaped dogs with strong, athletic limbs and carry themselves with dignity and grace. You’ll most likely be able to tell what he’s feeling by looking at his expression. If his ears have been cropped, a Boxer will have erect ears. They have a blunt muzzle, a short, sleek coat and distinctive drooping jowls.

A Boxer is friendly, playful and craves affection — don’t worry he’ll give it back to you. If you want a people loving dog full of spunk, get thineself a Boxer. He will calm as he ages, so be prepared. He will remain loyal and playful, so fear not. Some Boxers are stubborn and extra animated. All of them are protective by nature. They get along well with children of all ages and will play for hours. Just remember, Boxers are a large breed of dog to have around youngsters. If your Boxer has been properly socialized, he can get along with other companion animals. (Some may be aggressive to other dogs of the same sex.) Boxers may be wary of strangers or pretty welcoming — it depends on their individual personalities.

Highly intelligent with a touch of stubbornness, training is challenging at times. Whether you’re an experienced or novice dog owner, you need confidence and assertiveness to be successful in training him. Training should begin the day you bring him home. As the age — and grow — their natural headstrong nature kicks in even before they’re out of puppyhood! Punishment will get you nowhere with this breed; consistency, positive reinforcement, treating and praise is all you need. When considering getting a Boxer, check out the personality of his parents. If he’s hyperactive by nature, you can’t train that out of him. You’ll have to resort to exhausting him to get him to focus. (How can you then turn around and try to train an exhausted dog? Exactly. Impossible!) Crating will work as long as you find one large enough for him to stand and turn around in. Boxers want to please, but you’ll need to show them why it’s good to follow the commands. Aggressiveness isn’t an issue, mostly Boxers are enthusiastic and overly anxious.

His sleek, tight coat requires very little attention. Brush him occasionally to remove the dead hair. During shedding season, you may need to brush more. Keep an eye on his nails.

Bouvier des Flandres

AKC Group: Herding

The Bouvier was first noted in Belgium during the 1600s. In the Flanders area, these dogs were used on large farms or cattle ranches to herd the cattle. Their name translates to “cowherd of Flanders.” They were likely a cross of mastiffs, spaniels and sheepdogs. Today, Bouviers are most often found in the show ring or a rescue or assistance dog. They are very rarely kept as pets (which is too bad, they are said to make an excellent pet).

Size: 22 to 28 inches, 60 to 90 pounds

Color: All black, black to salt & pepper, fawn, grey or brindle. May have a small patch of white on their chest.

Life span: 10 to 12 years

Health problems: Entropion (the eyelid rolls inward toward the eye), torsion or bloat, thyroid problems, larynx problems, cancer, cataracts, glaucoma or hip dysplasia.

The Bouvier des Flandres is a large, powerful dog with a gentle personality that has a wonderful joie de vivre. Athletic and strong, they are capable of living in a small space (as long as they get adequate time outdoors). Their coat is coarse and thick with a soft undercoat. Unfortunately to keep your Bouvier looking gorgeous, that double coat requires effort, yet a Bouvier isn’t a heavy shedder. Yes, that is a beard under his chin.

Bouviers are a study in opposites. They are bold, yet steady, spirited yet aloof, serious yet playful, moody but affectionate. (If Bouviers were human, they’d all be born under the sign of Gemini.) A Bouvier is calm and agile but lazy if given an opportunity. The Bouvier is intelligent and needs plenty of mental and physical stimulation to keep him occupied. Naturally protective, he’ll be your watchdog. If the occasion calls for it, a Bouvier knows how to be assertive.

They get along with children and other pets as long as they’re raised together. With other dogs, they may be aggressive. He won’t bite or nip, he’ll use his size to intimidate. As a herder, he’ll revert back to his natural instincts, so be prepared. They know their own mind, so be prepared for that as well.

To get the best out of your Bouvier, you’ll need to establish a bond and get him to see that you’re the boss. Be positive and consistent from the beginning with him. If he turns affectionate and obedient, you’re on the right track — and it means he’s ready to learn. Bouviers are naturally clean so house training should be a snap. A Bouvier does just as well off leash as on. Their large size means a Bouvier doesn’t mature until age 2 or 3. Obedience and early socialization are good first steps in his training repertoire. Otherwise, training should be smooth sailing. Bouviers are quick, easy learners and, like an elephant, they never forget.

Grooming-wise, it’s not so easy. Brushing and combing should be done twice a week. His beard should be brushed daily (for hygienic reasons). Scissoring and clipping are required to keep the coat in tiptop shape. If your Bouvier is shedding lightly, you’re grooming him properly. Check his nails, teeth and ears regularly.

Do Dogs Experience Guilt?

This is an argument that has long raged on. Owners say, of course a dog feels guilty — look at him! but experts disagree –vehemently; your dog is simply reacting to you.

Dogs experience many emotions (it’s a proven fact), all the major ones like love, happiness and fear. Secondary emotions like pride, jealousy or guilt — not so much. The reason, experts claim, is these secondary emotions require a level of self-awareness that dogs just don’t have.

Many experts have performed many tests to determine whether dogs experience guilt. The tests usually go like this: An owner leaves the room after telling the dog not to eat a treat. While gone, the tester gives the dog a treat. The owner comes back into the room. The tester will say either that the dog ate the treat or didn’t and may not necessarily correspond to whether the dog actually ate it. Nevertheless, the dogs most exhibit “guilty” looks when the owner scolds them, but not necessarily when the owner was told they ate it when they really didn’t. Therefore, experts conclude that the guilty look is merely a response to the owner (and the owner’s tones and behavior) than to committing a forbidden act itself. Experts feel the guilty look really means, “Don’t punish me for whatever you think I did.”

Why do dogs act guilty if they don’t feel it? It’s a learned association. When you get mad, your dog learns very quickly that if he tucks his tail in and lowers his head, you’ll stop yelling or stop being/sounding/acting angry. (For the rest of us not involved in the situation, when you see a dog looking guilty, you just want to hug him and say “aww.” Look cute and he’ll soon be loved again.)

Boston Terrier

AKC Group: Non-sporting

In 1870 a man named Robert C. Hooper purchased a dog that was a cross between an English Bulldog and an English Terrier. This dog known as a Hooper’s Judge was bred with a smaller female. The resulting offspring was bred with French Bulldogs. These dogs were the basis of the Boston Terrier breed.

The Boston Terrier was the first American breed to be recognized by the American Kennel Club. Boston Terriers are not true terriers at all.

Size: 15 to 17 inches, 10 to 25 pounds

Color: Black and white, brown & white, brindle & white, rarely seen in red & white.

Life span: 13 to 15 years

Health problems: Luxating patella, epilepsy, heart problems, deafness, allergies, thyroid problems, seizures, skin or eye infections, sensitivity to certain chemicals or medications. His short coat makes him susceptible to sunstroke. His short muzzle leaves him vulnerable to respiratory problems if he’s over-exercised.

Boston Terriers are small, athletically built dogs that have short muzzles, erect ears and dark eyes. Their wallowing eyes give them a “worried” expression. Deep down, though, they’re happy and loyal dogs. Boston Terriers have sleek, short coats.

Gentle, affectionate and sociable, if human, a Boston Terrier would be the perfect gentleman. These traits have allowed the Boston Terrier to become one of the most popular dog breeds in the U.S. He is eager, ready to please and an extremely loyal pet. He craves your attention and the more you give, the more you’ll get back from him. This dog is definitely a lover, not a fighter.

Your Boston Terrier will get along with all your children and all other household companion pets. A completely trusting breed, Boston Terriers even like strangers. This may not always be a good thing; he may go off with a stranger! At times, a Boston Terrier can be stubborn, spirited (the bad kind) and independent (code for extra-stubborn). Males can be territorial if they aren’t socialized properly in puppyhood.

Training should be a breeze. They love to learn and catch on quickly. Just be careful that you don’t speak harshly, Boston Terriers are sensitive to tones. Treating and praise should be all you need, they love both! Be sure that you give him enough attention at all times because this is a breed that craves human contact. If they aren’t getting enough, they suffer. Most importantly, have fun when training. Keep your sessions short or he’ll get bored. An occasional brushing with a bristle brush will remove dead hair. Washing with a damp cloth will keep his coat glossy. Check the eyes and skin regularly for signs of infections and trim the nails as needed. Bathing should be done only when necessary.


AKC Group: Hound

Borzoi were first thought to have been brought to Russian nobility from Arabia in the 17th century. Nobility bred them to have the long hair that they now sport. They were used to hunt wolf — hence, their other common name: the Russian Wolfhound. The breed quickly spread through Europe, but always remained a favorite with the aristocracy.

Size: 26 to 28 inches tall, 60 to 110 pounds

Color: They are most often white, tan or gray, but can come in almost any color. Often they have a mixed colored coat.

Life span: 10 to 13 years

Health problems: Retinopathy, cataracts, bone cancer, heart defects, bloat and chemical or medicinal allergies. Also look out for PRA (progressive retinal atrophy).

The Borzoi is similar to the Greyhound in size and structure. If you have a lot of room for a Borzoi and you’re looking for an absolute stunner, this may be the dog for you. Borzoi are graceful, dignified and well-mannered. Affectionate yet independent, he is a quiet dog indoors. Outside, he comes alive: he’s fast, active and needs plenty of exercise. His yard should be secured or he may take off. Noble and regal, he’s best around older children (his size makes him inappropriate for small children) and other large dogs (with smaller animals, he tends to chase them and who wants to be chased all the time?)

Borzoi have long, thin, narrow heads and an arched muzzle. The tail is long, curved and hangs low against their backside. The coat around the neck is very thick and ruffled. Dark, oblong shaped eyes complete their exotic look. Brushing should be done twice a week, but during shedding season, once a day. Dry shampoo the coat and trim the hair between the toes as needed.

Proper socialization for a Borzoi is essential. Without it, they will either become too aggressive or too shy. They typically tend to be reserved around strangers. Don’t tease a Borzoi or needlessly startle him, they’ll resort to aggressiveness. A Borzoi tends to get bored easily. As a hound, a Borzoi tends to be difficult to train. Positive training methods that build a trust is the only way to accomplish successful training. If you seek outside help to train him, find a professional that doesn’t rely on discipline.

Border Terrier

AKC Group: Terrier

Border Terriers originated from the region of the boundary between England and Scotland. Predatory foxes and vermin-like rats and mice are not a farmer’s friend. Farmers turned to a small but gutsy dog that rose to the challenge. They were also brought along on foxhunts because the Border Terrier’s longer legs allowed him to keep pace with the horses.

Size: 13 to 16 inches; 11 to 16 pounds

Color: Red, wheaten, grizzle and tan or blue and tan. A small white patch on the chest may occur. Puppies are often born with white toe tips that disappear with age.

Life span: 15 years

Health problems: Legg Perthes (a spontaneous disintegration and collapse of the femur), cataracts, luxating patella, thyroid problems, seizures, heart murmurs, autoimmune problems, allergies, hip dysplasia and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA).

The Border Terrier’s shaggy coat is due to a double coat of coarse, wiry hair. Their teddy bear face, soft eyes, black button nose, their intelligent and charming personality makes this a breed that’s hard not to love. They have short, tapered tails. Though they are a small breed of dog, they are sturdy.

Alert, enthusiastic, energetic and determined, this is a dog that will keep you on your toes. When his energy is spent, he’s easygoing and laidback. Ever curious, make sure your yard has an adequate fence he can’t squeeze through or dig under.

Border Terriers get along well with children and other dogs. They can learn to love a cat if raised together from his puppyhood. If your children have small rodents, your Border Terrier may try to hunt them, so beware. Strangers usually don’t bother them, but they do bark.

Your Border Terrier will need to be brushed on a weekly basis and clipped every few months. Bathe him only when it’s absolutely necessary. They don’t tend to shed much when groomed regularly.

A Border Terrier is eager to please and if you give him time and attention, he’ll learn just about anything you want. Have no fear, this terrier will retain the behaviors that you want, though he may try to push the limits to see what he can get away with. A good obedience class in his early days can curb that habit nicely. A Border Terrier is a great breed to use as a therapy dog or service animal. They’re often seen on TV or in movies because they have the amazing ability to not be distracted by lights, equipment and the activity on the set.


Border Collie

AKC Group: Herding

Border Collies originated from the British Isles. This very old breed dates back to 1570.

Size: 17 to 22 inches, 27 to 45 pounds

Color: Usually black and white, can be chocolate and white, red and white, blue and white (referred to as slate), lilac and white, sable and white, tri-color, saddle patterned, blue merle, red merle or sable merle.

Life span: 12 to 15 years

Health problems: Deafness, seizures, allergies, epilepsy, cataracts, osteochandritis dissecans (OCD, a disease that affects the cartilage in various joints), progressive retinal atrophy (PRA, an inherited disease of the retina that causes the rod cells to die) and hip dysplasia.

The herding instinct is so strong in Border Collies that he may always try to herd everything, from children, other family members, companion pets, local wildlife. Highly intelligent, the Border Collie is quick to learn and one of the most trainable breeds of dog. They also have the stamina and determination to stick with it until they master a task. Border Collies have personality to spare: loyal, dedicated, faithful and affectionate, a Border Collie is a pleasure to live with. If you live on a farm or a large property, a Border Collie will be your friend for life. This is not a dog that does well chained up. They require a lot of mental and physical exercise time to release the abundance of energy they contain. Without enough stimulation, a Border Collie will become hyperactive. Due to this fact and their natural herding skills, Border Collies do better with older children. They get along great with other animals, but are naturally wary of strangers.

A Border Collie coat is either short or long and feathered. The short-coated Border Collie is easier to groom. A weekly brushing will suffice. The long-haired Border Collie needs to be brushed daily. Most days of the year, a Border Collie is a medium shedder. He will twice yearly enter a heavy shedding period. During these periods, he will need to be brushed more often.

Though Border Collies are easily trainable and supremely intelligent, a novice owner may find training difficult. This is due to the fact that a Border Collie can manipulate the trainer into doing what they want. Border Collies do this because they’re trying to anticipate what you want them to do by being two steps ahead of you. Highly sensitive, if your training techniques are too harsh for them, they will shut down. A successful trainer is firm, consistent and able to control the sound during training. They love to learn tricks! Border Collies love to show off.