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.

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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.

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.

Russian Blue

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The Russian Blue has a short, dense inner coat with an outer coat to protect it. This dense coat evolved naturally as the breed evolved in the arctic tundra. Their is only one true coat
color as their name suggests. The Russian Blue has long guard hairs with clear tips that refract light.
Their shimmery coat covers a small- to medium-sized body. A wedge-shaped head has high cheekbones. This gives the breed a pleasing expression and an almost perma-smile. All Russian Blues have green eyes.
The Russian Blue is not an overly needy cat, but they do need someone to love. Once they decide you’re their “one,” they are completely devoted to you and even respond to your moods. One
unique aspect of their personality is they are pretty quiet. They only speak (quite softly) when they need to. They also take a while to warm up to strangers. This has earned the breed the nickname “Most Shy.”
Another thing Russian Blues love is playtime. You can teach them pretty much any trick you can teach a dog. They adore fetch. They will probably tire of the game long after you will. Russian Blues are timid, quiet, gentle, attentive, adoring cats.

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.