Miniature Australian Shepherd

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AKC Group: Herding

The Miniature Australian Shepherd came to fruition in California during the late 1960s. They were used to herd small livestock like sheep and goats, though they do have the determination to herd larger stock. Their loveable nature ensured that they had a place inside the home too. They became quite popular with the equestrian set by accompanying them to shows.

Size: 13 to 18 inches high; 20 to 40 pounds

Color: Solid black, red/liver; red/liver, blue merle. May have white markings on the face, chest and legs.

Life span: 13 to 15 years

Health problems: Progressive retinal atrophy, cataracts, microphthalmia, hip dysplasia, degenerative myelopathy.

The Miniature American Shepherd is a small herding dog. Highly intelligent and biddable, the breed is often trained for dog sports such as herding, agility, obedience, disc dog and flyball. They are easy to train, enthusiastic and persistent (especially when herding) dogs that make a lovely companion whether you live in the city or country. This is such a loyal little dog. I hope your children like to be herded. The Miniature Australian Shepherd is neither shy nor aggressive. He is a herder. Have I mentioned that? It’s super important because he’s super great at it. It’s okay, though, it’s natural and totally normal. They’re herders; they love to herd. Got that? 😉

The Miniature Australian Shepherd may not realize that he’s a small dog. His body should suggest strength. They sport natural bobtails or they will have a docked tail that won’t exceed three inches. The coat is medium in length and may be straight or curly with moderate feathering on the back of the legs. Both sexes sport a moderate mane, though it may be more pronounced on males.

Mastiff

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AKC Group: Working

The Mastiff descended from the now extinct Pugnaces Britanniae. “Mastiff” comes from the Anglo-Saxon word “masty” meaning “powerful.” It is recognized as the oldest breed of English dog. It is believed to have been brought to Britain in the 6th century BC. They were used for the blood sports of bull, bear and lion baiting as well as dog fighting. There is evidence to say that the Mastiff was brought to the New World via the Mayflower, though actual documentation begins in the late 1800s. In 1835, the UK passed the Cruelty to Animals Act that prohibited the baiting of animals and the popularity of the Mastiff began to wane.

Size: 27.5 to 30 inches tall; 175 to 200 pounds

Color: Fawn, apricot or brindle

Life span: 10 to 12 years

Health problems: Luxating patella, strokes, epilepsy, spinal problems, eye problems, thyroid disorders, osteochrondritis dissecans, hypertrophic osteodystrophy, hip or elbow dysplasia, heart defects, bloat, kidney problems, and sensitivity to drugs and chemicals. During the sticky summer months, Mastiffs can suffer from heatstroke.

The Mastiff is a giant dog, with a muscular and powerful build. An alert and keen looking dog, they look menacing without even having to move. The coat of the Mastiff is close fitting, short, and sleek. They may have black markings around and/or between the eyes. Small ears fold down toward the sides of his head. An occasional brushing and wipe down with a damp cloth is all the grooming requirements your Mastiff needs. A Mastiff sheds constantly but lightly.

A dignified, courageous, and loyal dog, a Mastiff has a pleasant nature and a high level of intelligence. Due to his size, he makes an effective deterrent/watchdog. Despite their look, the Mastiff has a even temper and docile nature (unless they’ve been raised not to). Early socialization and confident, assertive training are required. A Mastiff is not a difficult dog to train. If you spend frequent time away from home, a Mastiff is not the dog for you; they thrive on companionship and affection. A Mastiff is not an overly active dog; he does best with a moderate amount of exercise. They don’t bark that much. Unfortunately, they are too large for apartment dwelling. They need a safe, secure yard in which to play and exercise. They should do great with children and animals (though they may try to dominate) that they’ve been raised with. If you’re doing a great job with him, your Mastiff should be friendly and welcoming to guests. If he isn’t, you’ve done something wrong.

Selkirk Rex

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Known as the “Cat in Sheep’s Clothing,” Selkirk Rexes feel like lambs wool. Selkirk Rex are caused by a dominant curly-coated gene. At 6 months of age, they lose these curls to grow a sparse, straight coat during their adolescence. At 2 years of age, when they reach maturation, a thick, soft coat of curls reappear.

A naturally occurring gene, the first curly cat derived from a housecat, found in a Montana shelter in 1987. Named Miss DePesto (“Pest”) of NoFace, she was bred to a black Persian, Photofinish of Deekay. This produced a litter pf six kittens, three with curly coats and three with straight. Yes, there are curly and straight-coated Selkirk Rex as well as short- and long-haired varieties. It’s easy to tell if you’re going to have a true curly Selkirk Rex by their whiskers. Curly kittens have curled whiskers too. So why the name Selkirk Rex? The breeder responsible named the breed Selkirk after her stepfather. (This makes the Selkirk Rex the only breed to be named after a person.)

Selkirk Rex cats are patient and loving. He is completely used to being touched; everyone he meets just has to run their fingers through that gorgeous so so soft coat. Expect to laugh a lot; Selkirk Rex are known to be big clowns. Playful and laidback, he’s extremely smart too. He will learn how to get into drawers and to open doors. When it’s time for a chat, you’ll hear a quiet, gentle small voice. When he feels neglected (which shouldn’t normally be too often), he will let you know. Meanwhile, he doesn’t like to be left alone for too long (though they aren’t overly demanding), so provide him with a buddy if you have an active lifestyle. Don’t worry, this is a cat that gets along well with everyone.

A big cat, the Selkirk Rex comes in all colors and patterns and developed from the British and Exotic Shorthairs. These big boned cats have round heads atop semi-cobby, muscular bodies. They weigh between 6 to 16 pounds.

Maremma Sheepdog

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AKC Group: Non-Specific

The Maremma hails from Italy and has been traced back 2000 years. Both the Maremma and Abruzzo areas of Italy take credit for the breed and at one time the dogs were thought to be separate breeds. Bred to guard, they continue in this role. The breed is rare outside of Italy. (Though they are gaining favor in Australia. A population of penguins were dwindling due to foxes and other dogs. The people have tried various methods of protecting the birds to no avail. A farmer suggested using a Maremma puppy to protect the penguins. Successful, more Maremmas have been invited to Australia to help the effort.)

Size: 23 to 30 inches tall; 65 to 100 pounds

Color: White; some may have ivory, yellow or orange markings around the head and ears.

Life span: 12 to 15 years

Health problems: Only hip dysplasia or eye diseases have been noted infrequently.

The majestic-looking Maremma have large, sturdy frames covered by rough, thick and slightly wavy coats. The broad, triangular head has a slightly tapered muzzle, almond shaped eyes and hanging V-shaped ears. Their all weather coat needs regular, thorough combing and brushing to remove dead and loose hairs.

Used for guarding, the Maremma is a defender of their people and property. (Thankfully they are slow to anger, so they shouldn’t appear aggressive.) One trait that you may never like — unless you’re going to put him to work — is he always questions commands and usually ends up doing what he thinks is best. (When you put him to work, his natural instincts take over and he just seems to know what to do.) Not demonstrative, he does bond very deeply with his family. Think of a Maremma as a giant cat and then you’ll be able to understand his personality a lot better! Due to the difficulty of keeping him happy inside the home as a pet, a Maremma is not recommended at all as a pet.

Manchester Terrier

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AKC Group: Terrier

The Manchester district of England was a noted center for two “poor men’s sports,” rat killing and rabbit coursing. A fancier by the name of John Hulme, with the idea of producing a dog that
could be used at both contests, mated a Whippet female with a celebrated rat-killing dog, a crossbred terrier dark brown in color.

Size: 15 to 16 inches high; 12 to 22 pounds. (The toy Manchester cannot exceed 12 pounds, while the Standard size cannot exceed 22 pounds.)

Color: Black and tan

Life span: 15 to 16 years

Sleek but sturdy, friendly but discerning, neither aggressive nor shy, and usually agreeable with kids and other dogs. Most terriers were created for country life, but Manchesters began as
urbanites with city folk that wanted a compact pet with big-dog style. A Manchester is easily recognized by his close fitting coat of mahogany and jet black. Their heads are long and wedge-shaped with tan spots above the eyes. Machesters are fast runners. Manchesters do well with kids and other companion animals. Training should be a breeze. The Manchester is a spirited, bright and loyal dog that does possess that independent terrier streak. Brush him weekly andbathe when necessary.

Scottish Fold

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The first Scottish Fold feline was found by Scottish shepherd William Ross on his neighbor’s farm in the Tayside Region in 1961. He asked about the cat’s heritage and learned that the cat, Susie, was born to a straight-eared mom and an unknown father. Enamored, they scored a folded-ear offspring of Susie that they named Snooks. They immediately began exploring how to create this “lop-eared” breed. They bred Snooks to British shorthairs and other local barn cats. Unfortunately, creating a Scottish Fold isn’t guaranteed, for every kitten has a 50/50 chance. At least one parent must possess the necessary folded ear gene. All kittens are born with straight ears. If they curl, it starts at 3 to 4 weeks of age.

Do not worry, these felines do not have hearing problems because of the fold. They do require help (on a biweekly basis) to help keep their ears clean though.

Some of the fun poses Scottish Fold find themselves in include the Prairie Dog (when something catches their interest, the cats stand up like a Prarie Dog) and the Buddha Sit (they stretch out their legs and put their paws on their belly).

The Scottish Fold is a round cat. A round head, round eyes, bodies and whisker pads. Take a picture and just draw circles on every body part for proof. Roly-poly, they even seem to exhibit a permanent Cheshire-Cat grin. Those eyes by the way are soulful and oversized. This has earned them the nickname “Owl in a Cat Suit.” The Scottish Fold comes in all colors and patterns.

A Scottish Fold is an extremely devoted companion that tends to bond to just one person at a time. However, they love to cuddle, so even if you aren’t his number one, he’ll still love to snuggle (just maybe not as much). An extremely laidback feline, they love all kids, dogs and other felines. They tend not to care about traveling (road trip!). When they run out of energy, don’t panic if they simply flop over. They love hard, can play hard, so they must sleep hard.

More reasons to fall in love? A Scottish Fold tend to eat with their paws. They have soft, sweet, mild-mannered, soft-spoken, intelligent, adaptable, sweet tempered personalities. They can easily be taught to fetch. One word of warning: They also easily learn to open cabinet doors — so lock up health hazards and/or valuables.

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.