Coonhound (Redbone)

AKC Group: Hound

Redbone Coonhounds were bred to hunt raccoons. During the 1800 and 1900s, breeders wanted a faster, more efficient noser than the Foxhound. They crossed those Foxhounds with Bloodhounds, then later with the ancient Irish Hound. Nearly all pedigree lines can be traced back to George F.L. Birdsong. There are two theories behind their name: the red coloring and after a prominent breeder, Peter Redbone.

Size: 21 to 27 inches, 45 to 70 pounds

Color: Solid red

Life span: 11 to 15 years

Health problems: Some lines are prone to hip dysplasia.

Redbone Coonhounds are lean, muscular dogs bred to hunt. They out ran raccoons to the trees and are the fastest of the coonhounds. In addition to raccoons, they do well against bears, cougars and bobcats. Agile and coordinated, a Redbone can cover any type of terrain with ease, from swamps to the mountains. You’d be hard pressed to find a better all-around hunting dog.  A fence is no barrier either: They can jump as high as 5 feet. Their coat is red, dark, coarse and lays close to their body. (They may have a black or white patch.) The heads are broad and flat with a square muzzle, dark brown eyes and thin, low-hanging ears. Muscular legs are straight and the tail is of medium length.

A Redbone is loyal, affectionate, free-spirited and full of energy. They love kids, though they can be too exuberant for small children. With other dogs, they do great. Unfortunately their natural hunting instincts will not make them a friend of non-canine companions. They do drool a lot and can be a nuisance barker. Redbones have a natural dog scent. Generally Redbones are sweet, friendly, enthusiastic and reliable. They make a great family companion and a fierce, aggressive hunter.

Grooming is easy. To bring out their natural gleam, brush occasionally and check his ears often. If he’ll spend his days indoors, housebreak him as a puppy. Redbones do mature slowly, so keep this in mind. It may be hard to teach housebreaking as a puppy, but it will get easier as he ages. Basic obedience is the best place to start with them. Consistency will keep them from getting confused. If you’re planning on using his hunting skills, start this training as a puppy. (This will be an easier task if he’s had basic obedience training.)

Collie

AKC Group: Herding

Originating from the Scottish Highlands, Collies were used as sheepdogs, herding and guarding their master’s flocks. Queen Victoria became enamored with these gorgeous dogs which helped them gain worldwide recognition. The modern Collie was developed in England in the late 1800s. The “English” Collie was smaller with a broad head and a shorter muzzle.

Size: 22 to 25 inches tall; 50 to 75 pounds

Color: Sable and white; tricolor or blue merle

Life span: 14 to 16 years

Health problems: Eye problems such as progressive retinal atrophy, thyroid issues, epilepsy, skin problems or bloat.

Collies are graceful, elegant, attractive dogs with a sturdy build. The Collie coat is long over top of a dense undercoat. A Collie carries himself with grace and dignity. Collies are considered to be the most handsome and elegant of all breeds. Collies are sociable and intelligent, they make one of the best pets a family can have. They are good natured, affectionate and devoted. You can tell how much your Collie loves you by his level of loyalty. Collies typically get along well with everyone. They love to spend the day involved in all family plans and activities. If a situation calls for it, a Collie can sound the alarm. They do not like noise or tension. They fare better in a calm household.

Surprisingly, a Collie only needs to be brushed weekly. (During shedding season, he does require more attention.) Collies are super easy to train. They do need proper training however and require life-long mental stimulation as they can become bored easily. A Collie needs to burn off his excess energy, about 60 to 80 minutes of exercise every day. Their high level of intelligence tells you that he will respond best to praise and positive reinforcements. Feel free to have your children help out with the training process. It’s a wonderful bonding experience and your Collie will relish the attention and can use the change of pace from having just one trainer.

Havana Brown

The burgundy-colored, smooth, glossy coated Havana Brown gleams like a beacon in the light. These medium-sized cats have firm, muscular bodies (and are surprisingly heavy). Havana Browns have a distinctive head shape. They are longer than they are wide. The head narrows to a narrow-ish rounded muzzle. Fanciers liken a Havana Brown head to a corn cob or a light bulb. The muzzle just doesn’t look like an extension of the head. Wide-set oval eyes are green, expressive and alert. The ears are set wide apart and are large and rounded at the tips. Tails are slender and medium in length. Males tip the scales at 8 to 10 pounds, females weigh in between 6 to 8 pounds.

The Havana Brown breed is as old as the Siamese and they come from the same area — Siam (now Thailand). Solid brown cats were the first cats of Siam to be transferred to Britain in the late 1800s. World War II decimated the breed until fanciers took an interest in re-establishing the Havana Brown breed in 1952. They used seal and chocolate-point Siamese, black domestic shorthairs and a limited amount of Russian Blues. In 1970 the breed was named British Havana. (North American Havanas look much different than British Hananas.) North American Havanas can trace their lineage back to a female named Roofspringer Mahogany Quinn.

But where did the Havana name come from? There are two popular stories: the breed was named after the Havana Rabbit (the cats are similar in color and the rabbit is considered the mink of the rabbit family) or that they were named for the color of Cuban cigars. Either (or neither) of these stories could be true, no one knows for sure.

Havana Browns are not too active, nor are they couch potatoes. They provide a wonderful balance between. They are intelligent, affectionate, gentle, agreeable and possess a wonderful adaptive quality. They take any situation in stride. They make excellent family pets and get along well with other cats, children and cat-friendly dogs. Havanas crave human interaction and don’t do well if they’re neglected or left alone for long periods. Closed doors are not allowed — they like to be involved. When your Havana is getting enough of your time, he will be a perpetual purring machine, completely devoted and enthralled with you. (Humans are their favorite toys.) Havanas would rather have your undivided attention at playtime than a room full of catnip mice. To help keep your Havana happy when you’re out working, you’ll need to provide him with a kitty (or canine) companion.

American Cocker Spaniel

AKC Group: Sporting

The American Cocker Spaniel is the result of very selective breeding with English Cocker Spaniels. As a result, the two breeds look very different. American Cocker Spaniels are smaller and showier. The American Cocker Spaniel doesn’t do well as a gun dog, they’re more suited to hunting birds. The American Cocker Spaniel is one of the most popular breeds in the U.S.

Size: 13.5 to 15.5 inches tall; 15 to 30 pounds

Color: Solid black, tan points are allowed and they may have white on their chest or throat. Any other solid color from light cream to dark red. Cocker Spaniels are usually brown with tan points and white is allowed on the chest or neck. Parti-colored Cockers have two or more solid, well broken coat colors.

Life span: 12 to 15 years

Health problems: Progressive retinal atrophy, hip dysplasia, cataracts, autoimmune disorders, skin conditions and epilepsy.

The Cocker Spaniel is a small, pretty, elegant-looking, dignified pooch. They have a silky coat with a medium-length outer coat and a short undercoat. They have long, silky, droopy ears that frame their face. They have small sturdy bodies. An utterly charming dog, a Cocker Spaniel gets along with one and all — kids, other pets and strangers. Sociable and cheerful, they adore playtime. Highly intelligent, a Cocker Spaniel is extremely easy to train. A willing personality, enthusiastic and eager to please, when you throw in his intelligence, your Cocker Spaniel will provide you with hours upon hours of entertainment. Highly affectionate, if you’re looking for devotion, you’ll find it in a Cocker Spaniel. On the negative side, that devotion can veer toward clinginess. Barking may be a problem and, as a small breed initial house-breaking can be difficult.

A Cocker Spaniel should be brushed every few days to keep his coat silky smooth. Every few months, you should invest in a professional clipping. His droopy ears will require frequent checks and/or cleanings.

Ensure the best of your Cocker Spaniel’s personality is on display in his later years by socializing early and to discourage chasing smaller local wildlife. To overcome the house-breaking element (as a puppy), you can use the crate method. Note: Cocker Spaniels are very sensitive to your tone, so if you decide on a different method of house-breaking, resist yelling at him. Punishing him for an accident will get you nowhere fast. With the basic commands, practice, practice, practice — but not for too long in a session and stick to one at a time until he masters it. Cocker Spaniels get overwhelmed with too much too fast. Start with come and sit and move on to stay and lie down. Then the more advanced (roll over, play dead, etc.) Barking should always be discouraged (remember your tone!) Lead and collar training is a good idea too; a Cocker Spaniel is easy to train to heel. A Cocker Spaniel will stand out in a puppy obedience class.