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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.

Great Dane

AKC Group: Working
A similar-looking dog to the Great Dane has been found on Greek coins that date back to the year 36 B.C. They were the dogs of royalty and highly prized. These dogs were heavier, larger and less refined than the modern Great Dane. Today’s Great Dane was developed in Germany and likely a cross between Mastiffs from the Asiatic people and Irish Wolfhounds. They were bred to be dogs of war and to hunt large game and were valued for their strength, obedience and ability to work independently. They caught the eye of English hunters and became known as the German Boarhound(they were first used by the English to hunt wild boar). Eventually they became known as the Great Dane, but how or why that new name came about has been lost.
Size: 25 to 30 inches; 100 to 200 pounds.
Color: Brindle; black-masked fawn; blue; black; harlequin (white with irregular black patches); mantle (black with white collar, muzzle, chest and tail tip).
Life span: 6 to 8 years.
Health problems: Deafness, heart problems, bloat, hip dysplasia, cataracts, bone cancer, hypertrophic osteodystrophy (HOD). Take care with your Great Dane in extreme temperatures, they are a breed that is sensitive to extreme heat and cold.
This giant dog has a patient and gentle personality. Sweet natured to the core, a Great Dane makes a fantastic family pet. These dogs are attentive and devoted to their families. They can have a tendency to be bossy or stubborn, so a family with previous canine experience is ideal. A Great Dane requires plenty of attention and devotion back to him; he does not do well with someone with precious little time to commit. A young Great Dane can be boisterous and destructive and requires much supervision. They require plenty of exercise and (due to their size) plenty of space to roam around in. He makes a fine companion for children, especially for those he grows with. In regards to other companions, he may do well or he may not. Early socialization can help with this. Likewise, his reaction to strangers is the same based on innate personality. A Great Dane is a sensitive dog but this may come across as aloofness.
The Great Dane is the tallest breed of all canines. They are well muscled and athletic. Their expression of nobility and dignity remains constant. The coat of the Great Dane is short, dense and sleek. Brush him occasionally to keep it sleek. When he sheds seasonally, he may require more help. Start his training as young as you can. He should be relatively easy to train. (Trying to train an older Great Dane will make you both want to pull your hair out; so give him the best foundation as a pup.) Obedience training is the best place to start with him. Always train him with calm and positive methods. Great Danes are extremely sensitive and quickly become attuned to your emotions and your level of approval or disapproval. If he does something wrong, a sharp “no!” and lack of attention for a short period is all that’s required to let him know he’s done wrong. When roaming the neighborhood or in a park, a Great Dane should always be on a leash. Not because they’re aggressive, but for their sheer size. A Great Dane is huge and a frightening sight to some. A Great Dane also requires a lot of socialization to other dogs and non-canine companions to learn the social rules. At times you may find that your Great Dane is trying to be dominant (especially if you’re inconsistent), you will probably need to enlist professional help. Never allow any bad habit to form with a Great Dane; you may never be able to it once established. They should also be discouraged from jumping on people. It’s much safer for everyone if you can teach him to sit first when meeting someone new.

Giant Schnauzer

AKC Group: Working

Originating from Munich, the Giant Schnauzer is the largest member of the Schnauzer breed. They were used to drive cattle, or to herd and guard sheep. They are still used by the police and military to guard to this day. The Giant Schnauzer is believed to be crossed with Bouviers, Great Danes and Shepherd breeds. “Schnauze” is German for beard.

Size: 23 to 26 inches high; 60 to 100 pounds

Color: Solid black or salt and pepper

Life span: 12 to 15 years

Health problems: Glaucoma, heart problems, epilepsy, progressive retinal atrophy, hip dysplasia, osteochondritis dissecans (OCD), allergies or skin problems.

The Giant Schnauzer is a spirited, lively dog with plenty of stamina. They are loyal and protective, courageous and eager. Some Giant Schnauzers may have a more laidback streak. Intelligent and high energy, you’ll need to give him enough physical and mental stimulation. The Giant Schnauzer learns quickly, but may be a little too determined making training difficult — but not impossible. Though he may outsize them, Giant Schnauzers get along with kids. They accept other playmates, but may too domineering or aggressive with a same sex canine. Generally a people dog, a stranger will probably beg to differ.

The Giant Schnauzer coat is hard and wiry. They sport a cute beard, wise expression and a sturdy build. Grooming requires much attention, so be prepared before you bring this puppy home. He will need frequent regular brushings. His beard should be cleaned daily, his bottom hair should be kept trim; both for hygenic reasons. He’ll also need frequent clipping (about every few months) to avoid looking straggly.

The Giant Schnauzer is easily trainable, though his personality requires consistent and firm training. They require lots of socialization to avoid domineering others. Also take care to avoid him developing food and/or object aggression. This can be easily done by petting him as he eats or plays. They love to learn new skills, so feel free to give him a vast education. It’s especially common for them to bond to one family member. All family members should actively train and feed them. They may still favor one member, but you’re doing all you can and that’s all you can ask for. Begging should be strictly discouraged because once he’s full grown, stealing off your dinner plate will be easy. Crating while you’re away and he’s alone may keep him out of trouble. If you’re afraid of boredom, give him a toy or a peanut butter kong. He’ll be happy until you come home.


AKC Group: Foundation Stock Service

Eurasiers come from Germany. Julius Wipfel, Charlotte Baldamus (and a small group of enthusiasts) wanted to combine the best qualities of the Chow Chow and the Wolfspitz. Initially known as the Wolf Chow, after the Samoyed was introduced into the breeding mix, the breed was renamed Eurasier to emphasize that these dogs originate from European and Asian breeds.

Size: 15 to 25 inches tall; 40 to 70 pounds

Color: Fawn; red; wolf-gray; solid black or black and tan.

Life span: 11 to 13 years

Health problems: Inbreeding was an initial problem, which is why Samoyeds were added into the breeding pool. Problems from inbreeding that are continually watched for (and trying to be obliterated) are hemolytic anemia (an abnormal breakdown of red blood cells) and progressive retinal atrophy. Hip dysplasia is seen occasionally.

Eurasiers (or Eurasians) are medium-sized, Spitz-type dogs with prick ears. They have thick undercoats over a medium-long, loosely-lying outer coat. The hair on their muzzle, face, ears and legs is short. The tail and back of the front and hind legs feathers due to the long hair. The neck hair should be longer than their body hair, but should not appear mane-like. Eurasiers can have a pink, blue-black or spotted tongue.

The Eurasier is a calm, quiet, friendly, even-tempered companion. He is affectionate and loyal to his family, yet reserved and shy with strangers (but not aggressive or timid). Socialize to other people (and dogs) early on. The Eurasier is intelligent and a quick learner. Eurasiers excel at agility activities. Playful, they’ll get along great with kids. Eurasiers usually only bark when something or someone is unfamiliar.

Eurasiers do not respond to ruthless or harsh discipline. Softly reprimand, be firm, fair and consistent. Try to vary training sessions, Eurasiers can become bored when training is repetitive. If he’s stubborn, try to be firmer, he may think that you’re too meek or passive. Eurasiers respond well to training, they do love it. Brush him regularly, but not excessively.


Doberman Pinscher


AKC Group: Working

Created from German Pinschers, Rottweilers, Beauceron, Pinschers, Greyhounds, English Greyhounds and German Shepherds. German tax collector, Louis Doberman wanted a watchdog that looked like a miniature Pinscher. After Doberman’s death in 1894, this new breed was given his name.

Size: 24 to 28 inches tall; 65 to 90 pounds

Color: Black, red, blue or fawn. All colors have tan markings.

Life span: 10 to 12 years

Health problems: Cancer, bloat, thyroid problems, liver problems, spinal problems.

The Doberman is a powerful, athletic dog that possess great agility, stamina and endurance. These handsome fellas have a close fitting, smooth, short coat. Their ears may be cropped to stand erect, otherwise they will hang down. Despite their reputation, Dobermans are devoted, adoring dogs with plenty of love to give. They are an intelligent, creative quick learner that possess an even temperament. In fact, a Doberman is one of the most intelligent and fastest learning breeds of dog. A Doberman excels at obedience training assuming the training is positive and includes treats and/or praise. They can be stubborn, so he’ll need to know you’re the boss. They do not take kindly to teasing and rough treatment. Dobermans require much physical and mental stimulation so he won’t become bored or restless which will lead to numerous behavioral issues. If you raise your children alongside a Doberman puppy, they’ll be the best of friends. If not, be mindful of your Doberman’s size. Other pets won’t pose a problem, but he may be bossy and dominant and even chase them. (This can be rectified by early socialization as a puppy.) He is reserved with strangers (socialization can help here too). The reason to never be rough or punitive, a Doberman is naturally fearless and protective and will not back down and fight if he’s provoked. His effectiveness as a watchdog and his fearlessness have created the Doberman’s reputation. Make no mistake: a Doberman makes a loving, wonderful pet as long as he is socialized properly as a puppy and trained positively.

With a naturally sleek coat, all you have to do is brush him occasionally. You’ll spend more time sponging him with a damp cloth than you will with a brush. They do shed seasonally so you’ll need to ramp up grooming sessions during these times. A Doberman is not a dog for the meek of heart — or the inexperienced. Their personality is dominant due to their size and strength. They are naturally assertive and, contrary to popular belief, they only become aggressive when trained to be aggressive (and this cannot be said or stressed enough). If you’re afraid or not assertive enough yourself, a Doberman is happy to stay the “alpha” in your relationship.

Early socialization to new people, situations and other animals are imperative. They love activity, don’t be afraid to give them plenty of opportunities to wear themselves out. Whatever you can dish out, they can take it. Training should include all members of the family. All training sessions should include ONLY positive reinforcements. If you end up having any issues training him, you aren’t being assertive enough. If you aren’t being aggressive with your Doberman, THERE IS NO REASON to fear him. When a Doberman is trained with positivity and respect, there is almost no better family dog. They want to be with you and they want to show you their love. A Doberman — again, contrary to popular belief — is not the best dog to live his life outside in your yard away from the human loving interaction he craves.


AKC Group: Hound

Artifacts from ancient Egypt depict a dog with short legs. That German breed of dog hunted badger. In German, “dachs” means “badger,” while “hund” means “hound.” The early ancestor of the modern Dachshund was a mix of German, French and English hounds and terriers. The name “Dachshund” first appeared in the 1700s. Over time, the dachshund was bred to be smaller. In fact, today there is even a miniature version of the breed.

Size: Miniature is 5 to 6 inches high and 11 pounds or smaller. The standard dachshund is 8 to 9 inches tall and over 11 pounds, with 16 to 32 pounds being normal.

Color: Solid red, sable or cream; black and tan, chocolate and tan, wild boar and tan, gray and tan or fawn and tan; brindle; single dapple (a lighter coat set against a darker background) or double dapple (single dapple coloring that also incorporates white).

Life span: 12 to 14 years

Health problems: Cataracts, diabetes, epilepsy, spinal problems, luxating patella, progressive retinal atrophy, elbow dysplasia or obesity.

Also known as the “sausage dog,” Dachshunds have low, elongated bodies. A Dachshund is a muscular, sturdy built dog that have sweet and eager expressions. There are three varieties of Dachshund — the long-haired, the short-haired and the wire-haired. The short-haired (also referred to as smooth-haired) Dachshund has a short, dense, smooth coat. The long-haired variety has a soft, long, slightly wavy coat. The wire-haired Dachshund has a harsh, short, wiry coat.

The Dachshund is a lively, sweet, loyal dog that makes a wonderfully devoted companion for the right person. The right person is someone who has the right amount of time for a Dachshund; they need love, attention and companionship. It’s worth it, though. If you give it, you’ll get it back. A Dachshund is an adaptable, intelligent, sociable dog. He is a fast learner, eager to please, but can be possessive of his toys and food (and space). Dachshunds tend to get along better with older (gentle) children. Dachshunds make great friends for other Dachshunds and require early socialization to get along with other pets. With strangers, a Dachshund’s innate personality (and coat variety) will determine the outcome — some Dachshunds are fine while others are reserved. The long-haired Dachshunds appear to be the most gentle and friendly of the three. Dachshunds love to dig, so provide him with another option of you value your landscaping. A Dachshund is a sensitive dog. Don’t tease and taunt and don’t handle them roughly. If you have boisterous youngsters, you’ll need to teach them how to gently play with your Dachshund.

Your smooth-haired Dachshund is the easiest to care for while the long- or wire-haired require more attention. These two need brushing twice a week. Occasionally, they will need to be trimmed and clipped. Dachshunds need a firm, consistent trainer that can move them beyond their stubbornness. Early socialization is vital to help them overcome their natural aloofness. Try to diminish their affinity for excessive barking and discourage jumping up on people. To housebreak, crate training works great with a Dachshund.



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.