Maltese

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AKC Group: Toy

The Maltese breed is one of the oldest European toy breeds and, in fact, one of the oldest dog breeds overall. Charles Darwin had traced the breed back to 6000 BC. The exact origins are
unknown, but the common theory is the Maltese was developed on the island of Malta in the Mediterranean Sea. They developed from a Spitz-like dog used for hunting in marshes and wooded areas in Southern Europe. Other people believe the Maltese developed in Asia from the Lhasa Apso, Tibetan Terrier and Spaniel and Pekingese.

Size: 9 to 10 inches high; under 7 pounds.

Color: White

Life span: 12 to 14 years

Health problems: Glaucoma, deafness, thyroid problems, low blood sugar, sensitivity to drugs or chemicals, dental problems, luxating patella, progressive retinal atrophy and entropion.

As a toy breed, the Maltese is a small, dainty dog that have the sweetest expression. The coat is long and straight and silk to the touch. Brush him daily. Clip every few months. Check his eyes and ears often and trim bottom hair.

This popular breed is mild mannered, affectionate and loving. Their intelligence and alertness make training a breeze. The only problem he will probably give you is housebreaking. Crating is most effective in this situation. (If you try pee pads, your Maltese will expect to be able to go on any paper left on the floor.) Energetic and spirited, Maltese love to play. To keep his mind engaged, give him a variety of mentally stimulating toys. They thrive on attention, so if you travel a lot or don’t have time to devote to him, consider another breed. He doesn’t like rough treatment, so gentle children are his favorite. They are polite to strangers and usually don’t present any problems to companion animals. They do not have a problem standing up to a larger breed of dog. By nature, Maltese are standoffish. To combat this, socialize often and early. Always discourage barking.

Belgian Malinois

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AKC Group: Herding

Originally part of a variety of the Belgium Shepherd dog, the Malinois was developed in the city of Malines in the 1900s. The breed quickly became a favorite of the city and the country.

Size: 22 to 26 inches; 55 to 75 pounds

Color: Rich fawn to mahogany. They have black tipped hairs and a black mask and ears.

Life span: 12 to 14 years

Health problems: Skin allergies, eye problems, excessive shyness or aggressiveness. Very rarely seen are hip or elbow dysplasia.

The Belgian Malinois is a high-energy breed that is a favorite among the police and military sets. Often mistaken for a German Shepherd, the Malinois is more elegant and lighter-boned. The Belgian Malinois is well muscled, strong, agile and full of life. They have almond shaped eyes and stiff, ever erect ears that are shaped like an equilateral triangle. The tail has a slight curve. He has a smooth, short-haired coat that is easy to groom. Brush regularly with a firm, bristle brush and bathe only when necessary. (Too much bathing will remove the waterproofness of his coat.) Malinois shed heavily twice a year.

Malinois have a tendency to bond to one or two people intensely. They make an excellent watchdog as they are very protective and territorial. Some Malinois are overly shy from birth and this can be exacerbated by too little socialization. In reality, they need to be socialized starting immediately followed with firm, but loving training. Alert and playful, they love to be with their family doing all your activities. You should tire long before he does. If they’ve been raised with a cat, you’ll probably never have to worry. With other dogs, however, they may be dominant. During their first year, expect him to act out. This is normal and acceptable behavior for puppies, but be sure to nip this in the bud so he doesn’t continue to do it as an adult. As the breed tends to experience several different behavior phases over their first year, and it’s imperative they learn what you consider acceptable behavior for them. Avoid harshness in your voice as much as possible as Malinois are very sensitive to tones and will react accordingly. If your Malinois continues to experience excessive shyness or aggression after puppyhood, as hereditary traits, you will need to seek advice from a professional trainer. Always be firm, reward with praise and employ positive reinforcements. A puppy obedience class will help the both of you immensely. Seriously consider one.

Lowchen

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AKC Group: Non-sporting
The first depiction of a Lowchen dates back to medieval times. Debate still centers on whether they originated from Germany or Italy, though they were a common dog in all of Europe by the 15th century. World War II saw an almost extinction. In fact, the Guinness Book of Records listed the Lowchen as the World’s Rarest Breed of Dog in the 1960s. Concerted breeding efforts have taken them off that list.
Size: 10 to 14 inches high; 10 to 18 pounds
Color: All colors and combinations occur
Life span: 13 to 15 years
Health problems: With such a small population to work from in the 20th century, Lowchen are actually an extremely inbred breed. Thankfully, they don’t tend to experience many health problems. The main problem noted is patellar luxation: a condition in which the kneecap pops out of place. It often occurs in puppyhood and appears as a lameness or pain in a rear leg and is corrected with surgery.
A Lowchen is an active, affectionate, gentle dog that is unafraid to challenge authority nor to fight another dog of the same sex to establish dominance. Meanwhile, the Lowchen is an intelligent, lively, fun dog that is overly exuberant. Outgoing and alert, the Lowchen is an adaptable dog. On the negative side, they can be arrogant or strong willed at times. If you love a lap cat, er, dog, a Lowchen may be for you. They love a welcoming lap. Treat a Lowchen like a baby, be constantly watchful. When an undesirable behavior is exhibited, nip it in the bud immediately. When this is established, eventually all it will take is a stern look or a word you choose to announce your unhappiness. A Lowchen is highly intelligent and eager to please, so training shouldn’t be overly difficult. They love agility and obedience tasks. Early socialization is important to avoid becoming distrustful and snappy. As with most breeds, gentle, fair, firm and consistent training is all it takes. Discourage barking and digging.
This toy breed is related to the Bichon. The Lowchen has a long, silky coat presented in a lion-like cut. The haunches, back legs, front legs (except ankle bracelets) and the 1/3 of the tail closest to the body should be shaved. The rest of the coat is left natural so the dog looks lion like. The head features a short, wide muzzle. The coat should be fluffy and have a mix of thick and fine hairs. This makes their coat neither frizzy nor fly-away. The coat should be neither soft nor harsh. To prevent tangles, comb and brush regularly. Lowchens tend to shed very little, if at all. Dead hair is usually brushed out.

Lhasa Apso

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AKC Group: Non-sporting
The Lhasa Apso is the most popular breed indigenous to Tibet. “Apso” means goat-like. In Tibet, the Lhasa Apso remain a treasured dog of the privileged. They were used as watch dogs in temples and monasteries. In Tibet, you were never able to purchase or sell a dog, a Lhasa Apso was always given as a gift and receiving one was considered a great honor. Developed 800 years ago, their first appearance in the West was in 1901 when an English lady returned home with several.
Size: 9 to 11 inches tall; 12 to 16 pounds
Color: All colors
Life span: 12 to 18 years
Health problems: Luxating patella, entropion, hip dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy, von Willebrand’s Disease, spinal problems, cataracts, allergies, skin problems and bladder stones have all been noted.
The Lhasa Apso is a happy, loyal, gentle dog that is full of spirit and character. When they need to alert you, they will. Though they look super cute and cuddly, a Lhasa Apso can be strong willed, bossy, stubborn, dominant and manipulative or even jealous. They can be difficult to train and housebreak. They do not like to be teased or roughly handled. They don’t like boisterous kids nor strangers, to whom they will be wary and standoffish. Once he knows you, he will be friendly and welcoming. He usually gets along well with other companion animals, depending on his mood at the time. The right owner who provides the right training can turn a Lhasa Apso into a very fine companion indeed. They love their exercise time — but really only require a regular walk and a secured area to play when the mood strikes. Training will require your patience. Firstly, establish a relationship of mutual respect. Admire him for his independence, but consistently enforce the rules. Incorporate food and praise into training to make him more cooperative. A Lhasa Apso is intelligent and is able to learn quickly. Always use positive reinforcements and rewards. Socialize early and extensively; the more he gets used to a puppy, the more well rounded adult dog he will make later. Never force your Lhasa Apso to associate with strangers. Introduce him heartily, but don’t overwhelm. Crate training will help with the difficulty to housebreak. Try very hard to make all training sessions fun and rewarding for him.
A Lhasa Apso is a small but sturdy dog with beautiful dark eyes. They have a long, heavy, straight coat with a hard texture. Below that sweet and innocent expression is quite the stubborn fellow. To keep his coat looking gorgeous, brush him daily. Bathe him once a week and trim his bottom hair as needed. Check his ears frequently to avoid infections. Clip his coat every few months. When properly groomed, a Lhasa Apso should be a low shedder.

Leonberger

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AKC Group: Working
Established in Leonberg, Germany from crossing Newfoundlands, St. Bernards and Great Pyrenees. The object was to develop a dog that looked like a lion. Leonbergers have been owned by numerous royal families. In the 19th century, many Leonbergers were imported to Russia. The World Wars brought the breed close to extinction. After the wars, Germans worked hard to re-establish their numbers. The first Leonberger was brought into the U.S. in 1971.
Size: 25 to 32 inches tall; 120 to 170 pounds
Color: Yellow, sandy, red or reddish brown
Life span: 8 to 9 years
Health problems: Hip dysplasia, eyelid defects, bone diseases, various skeletal diseases or disorders.
The Leonberger is a gentle, even tempered dog. Self-assured and calm, the Leonberger is a playful dog. He is eager to please and loves to learn. He is very friendly with all kids and very calm in any
situation. To train a Leonberger, you must be patient. Never be harsh with this gentle giant. Socialize and train as early as you can, his size will make late training to correct established problems difficult.
This dog is large, muscular and has an obvious double coat. He sports a black face mask. For a giant breed, a Leonberger is surprisingly agile. Leonbergers are a dimorphic breed; this means that males look very masculine, while females look very feminine. Brush his coat weekly. Keep his ears clean and brush his teeth as necessary. Bathe only when needed. The most attention a Leonberger will need is to de-mat behind his ears, the feathering on his legs and his feathered tail. Leonbergers seasonally shed pretty heavily. During these times, brush and comb daily.

Lancashire Heeler

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AKC Group: Foundation Stock Service
When dogs weren’t so in demand to herd cattle, the Lancashire Heeler’s numbers declined so much they almost became extinct. To recreate today’s Lancashire, the remaining Lancashires were bred with the Welsh Corgi and Manchester Terriers. They are nearly identical to the original Lancashire. They have retained their original herding instinct, though they are rarely used for such purposes anymore.
Size: 10 to 12 inches tall; 6 to 13 pounds
Color: Black and tan or liver and tan.
Life span: 12 to 15 years
The Lancashire Heeler is alert and friendly. He’s strong and has strong instincts. He makes an overall pleasant companion, especially for older considerate children. Wary of strangers, he may nip at the heels until you train him not to. Obedience training can be difficult, but they are trainable. Be firm, confident and consistent with him.
The Lancashire Terrier has very short legs. They have wide set, largish ears that should stand erect. Bright eyes are set wide apart. Paws turn out slightly. The hindquarters are well muscled. The coat is seasonally long or short.  In the winter, your Lancashire has a plush coat with a visible mane. In the summer, he looks sleek and glossy. Brush and comb with a firm bristle brush and bathe only when necessary.

Lakeland Terrier

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AKC Group: Terrier
The Lakeland Terrier hails from the Lake region of England and were used as a ratter and fox hunter. The Lakeland Terrier has been selectively crossed bred using the Old English Wirehaired Terrier, the Bedlington Terrier, the Border Collie and Dandie Dinmont Terrier. The Lakeland Terrier has been known as the Fell Terrier, Eltewater Terrier or Patterdale Terrier. The Lakeland Terrier came into fruition in 1921.
Size: Less than 14.5 inches high; 15 to 17 pounds
Color: Solid colors of blue, black, liver, red or wheaten. Wheaten or golden tan with a blue, black, liver or grizzle saddle.
Life span: 12 to 16 years
Health problems: Legg Perthes, elbow dysplasia, lens luxation, cataracts, thyroid problems and von Willebrand’s Disease.
The Lakeland Terrier is an entertaining little dog that is playful and full of energy. This dog has a real love of life. Confident and courageous, he’s curious and inquisitive. They love to dig (sorry
gardeners). They need a lot of physical activity and attention. They tend to bark a lot. Eager to please, the Lakeland Terrier is intelligent and learns quickly. Training isn’t easy as they have an independent and stubborn streak. Try to socialize him early and properly to stem off his love of chasing cats. You may never to be able to trust that a small rodent pet won’t end up becoming your Lakeland’s lunch. With strangers, a Lakeland is polite but wary. With children, he is good when they’re gentle and considerate. To train effectively, be consistent and positive and use socialization as a reward. To avoid his stubborn streak, try to vary training methods and exercises. If house training is difficult, try crate training. Use lots of praise and attention instead of punishments. Leash and lead training should be a priority in his training story since they are natural chasers. Also devote some attention to his possessiveness of food and toys.
The Lakeland has a beard and a wiry, hard coat. He is square looking with small, wide-set eyes and a long muzzle. The Lakeland’s beard needs to be brushed and cleaned daily. Trim bottom hair. Brush weekly and have his coat clipped every few months. When properly groomed, the Lakeland is a low shedder.