Category : Dog Breeds

Lakeland Terrier

A relative of the Bedlington and Fox Terriers, the Lakeland Terrier was originally used for fox hunting. Playful and quick, the Lakeland Terrier makes a great companion for active and fun-loving owners. It could easily spend all day outdoors, exploring and playing, if it has a nice, indoor home to retreat to and rest at the end of the day.

Physical Characteristics

The small, square-proportioned, short-backed Lakeland Terrier has a sturdy build resembling a workman. Its deep and narrow body allows the Lakeland Terrier to squeeze itself through narrow passages after the quarry, and its long legs enable it to run fast and travel through the tough shale terrain of the mountain countryside, where the Lakeland Terrier originated. The ground covering and smooth gait of the dog has good drive and reach.

This terrier’s double coat is comprised of a hard and wiry outer coat, which comes in a variety of colors including blue, black, liver, red, and wheaten, and a soft undercoat. Its expression, meanwhile, ranges from happy to intense or playful, perfectly reflecting its mood.

Personality and Temperament

Although reserved with strangers, the Lakeland Terrier may act overtly aggressive towards small animals and other dogs. This stubborn, independent, and clever breed can become mischievous at times, too. Therefore, the sensitive Lakeland Terrier requires a patient trainer and one that incorporates playful games.


The Lakeland Terrier’s wire coat requires combing once or twice a week. Shaping and scissoring should be done about four times a year. Stripping is good for show dogs, while clipping suits pets. Clipping also helps in softening the coat and lightens the color.

A moderate leash-led walk or an energetic game in the yard is all this active dog needs to satisfy its exercise requirements. But when given a chance, it loves to wander around, investigate, and hunt. And although the dog enjoys spending its day in the yard, it should be given plenty of time to rest indoors at night.


The Lakeland Terrier, which has an average lifespan of 12 to 16 years, is prone to minor health concerns such as lens luxation and distichiasis, and major health issues like Legg-Perthes disease and von Willebrand’s Disease (vWD). A thorough eye exam is recommended for the Lakeland Terrier.

History and Background

Farmers of the Lake District in the United Kingdom were the first to keep Lakeland Terriers, using them as well as packs of hounds to hunt foxes. The Lakeland Terrier was also successfully at chasing and exterminating vermin and otter. Despite the lack of documentation for the breed, it is believed the Lakeland Terrier shares a similar ancestry with the Bedlington, Fox, and Border Terriers.

Originally referred to as Elterwater, Patterdale, and Fell Terrier, it was formally recognized as the Lakeland Terrier in 1921. The American Kennel Club would later register the breed in 1934. Today it is considered an important dog show competitor and a fun-loving pet.


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The Maltese is a toy dog breed that’s best known for their luxurious, floor-length white coats and playful personalities. These dogs originated on the Mediterranean island of Malta and have been loyal companions for centuries, with references to the breed found in Ancient Greek and Roman literature. Weighing an average of 7 hearty pounds, these tiny yet fearless dogs are highly adaptable and make charming and devoted companions.

Caring for a Maltese

Maltese have minimal health issues but require regular maintenance because of their long, silky, white coat. Their big, dark eyes and nose make these playful and moderate energy dogs irresistible. Despite their small size they have big, willful personalities and generally respond positively to reward-based training.

Maltese Health Issues

Most Maltese will live well into the double digits, with a typical lifespan of 12-15 years. They are a generally healthy breed with few health concerns. But there are a few inherited conditions that pet parents need to be aware of for health management.

Luxating Patella

Maltese can develop luxating patellas, an inherited condition where one or both of the kneecaps pop in and out of place. Although patellar luxation is not generally considered a painful condition, it may cause the dog to favor one leg and can predispose them to other knee injuries (such as a cranial cruciate ligament tear) and arthritis. Depending on the severity of the luxating patella, surgery may be recommended to prevent further injury and improve your Maltese’s quality of life.  

Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA)

Responsible Maltese breeders will screen their puppies for heart abnormalities such as patent ductus arteriosus. PDA is an inherited condition where the ductus arteriosus, the normal opening between the two major blood vessels in the heart that closes shortly after birth, does not close. This condition causes blood to flow improperly and forces the left side of the heart to work harder. This leads to eventual failure of that chamber.

Depending on the size of the opening, dogs may show minimal symptoms to severe signs of heart failure such as:

Difficulty breathing

Exercise intolerance

Stunted growth

Surgery is typically the best option to close the defect and when done prior to heart failure, dogs generally have an excellent prognosis. Some dogs that have already developed heart failure at the time of surgery may require medications afterward. 

Liver Shunts

Maltese puppies should also be screened for congenital liver issues such as shunts. Liver shunts are abnormal veins that bypass the liver, preventing the normal filtration of toxins, wastes, and medications from the blood before returning it back to the body. Dogs with liver shunts may have stunted growth and neurologic signs such as disorientation or seizures. Liver shunts can be screened with a blood test and are often managed with a diet change and medication, though sometimes surgery is required.

Dental Disease

Like all other toy breeds, Maltese require regular at-home dental care as well as routine dental cleanings to prevent periodontal disease. 

What To Feed a Maltese

Selecting the best diet for a Maltese is often based on the needs of the individual dog. While it’s always important to choose a diet with high-quality ingredients, it’s best to discuss diet with your veterinarian, as they can make a recommendation based on your dog’s specific medical history. Maltese dogs can be prone to obesity, so avoid overfeeding your pup so they can maintain a healthy weight. 

How To Feed a Maltese

Due to their tiny size, young Maltese puppies can be susceptible to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) if they don’t eat enough food throughout the day. This can be avoided by feeding small meals three to four times a day until they are around 4 months of age. At this age, their more developed bodies are better suited to regulate glucose levels and they can transition to two (or three, if desired) meals a day. Adult Maltese typically do well with two meals a day, in the morning and evening. 

How Much Should You Feed a Maltese

Always follow the feeding guide provided by the specific food to ensure that your dog is receiving the appropriate essential daily nutrients. For a Maltese, based on an average weight of approximately 6-8 pounds, this will range from about 1/4 to 1/2 cups of dry food daily, divided into two meals. 

Nutritional Tips for a Maltese

For Maltese dogs that have luxating patella, it can be beneficial to supplement them with glucosamine and chondroitin to help keep their joints healthy. Additionally, omega-3 supplements can aid in protecting joint health and keep their skin and coat lush and soft. 

Behavior and Training Tips for the Maltese

Maltese Personality and Temperament

Maltese do well with some daily activity but don’t require vigorous exercise to maintain their physical or mental health. They can be somewhat stubborn, but with positive training methods Maltese dogs can do very well with activities such as agility.

Maltese are very affectionate with their family, but their tiny size makes interactions with young or boisterous children something they might try to avoid. A family with older children who understand how to interact with a dog may be better suited for them, and interactions between children and dogs should always be supervised.

Like many other toy breeds, Maltese tend to compensate their tiny stature with a big bark. They can be vocal, especially when they feel they are protecting their people or home. 

Maltese Behavior

Maltese are very attached to their families, and they show this with their tiny but mighty protective nature. This can also cause them to experience some anxiety when separated from their people, which can manifest in unwanted behaviors such as vocalization. 

Maltese Training

Maltese are an intelligent breed, and their stubborn side can make training difficult. Potty training Maltese puppies can be challenging, but consistency paired with positive reinforcement will yield the best results.

Despite their lavish appearance, Maltese dogs are an athletic breed and can thrive in sports such as obedience or agility. While Maltese have an abundance of energy, daily walks or playtime with their family are usually enough to keep them happy and healthy. 

Fun Activities for a Maltese


Indoor/outdoor playing 



Maltese Grooming Guide

Maltese are known for their long, silky white coat, which requires daily care to prevent mats and tangles. Their fur should be brushed or combed daily, and regular bathing will keep their skin and coat healthy and clean. Maltese tend to be low-shedding dogs and are often suitable for people with dog allergies. 

Skin Care

Skin care for the Maltese can vary depending on the individual’s needs. However, this breed does not typically have sensitive skin. Regular brushing and bathing to maintain their coat is the best way to keep their skin healthy as well. 

Coat Care

The Maltese’s long coat is prone to matting, which can cause skin infections if not cared for properly. Daily brushing is required to prevent their fur from matting or tangling. When bathing a Maltese, it’s important to thoroughly rinse and then dry the hair to prevent skin irritation or infection from the shampoo and moisture.  

Eye Care

Their white coat can predispose the Maltese to more prevalent tear staining, but routine cleaning with a soft, damp cloth will help keep this to a minimum. Excessive staining could be a sign of other underlying conditions (such as allergies or plugged tear ducts) and should be discussed with a veterinarian. 

Ear Care

Routine cleaning with a veterinary-approved ear cleaner is vital in maintaining healthy ear canals. This should also be done any time a Maltese is in water, such as after swimming or bathing.

Considerations for Pet Parents

The silky, white coat of Maltese dogs is often a major draw for new pet owners, but this breed will do best in a home that is able to provide daily maintenance of their coat. They need to be brushed every day—including after routine baths.

While they are high-energy dogs, Maltese don’t require a lot of exercise to expend that energy, which can make them well-suited for busier families. Their tiny stature makes the rambunctious nature of young children somewhat intimidating for the Maltese, but they’ll fit right in with families that have older kids.

Maltese FAQs

Is a Maltese a good family dog?

Maltese are very affectionate and loving toward their families. They do well with children who know how to interact properly with small animals, but may be best suited for a family with older kids who are always gentle. 

Are Maltese smart dogs?

Maltese have been human companions for centuries—and are therefore adept in training their humans to get what they want. This intelligence can be perceived as stubbornness, but Maltese dogs respond very well to consistency and positive training methods. 

Is a Maltese hypoallergenic?

“Hypoallergenic” dogs are actually a myth, as all dogs produce allergens from their coat, dander, urine, and saliva. But because of their low-shedding coat, a Maltese can be a good fit for some people who experience dog allergies. Before bringing home a Maltese puppy, spend time with the breed first to see how your allergies react.

How long does a Maltese live?

The typical Maltese lifespan is 12-15 years.

How much does a Maltese cost?

Depending on the breeder’s experience and the puppy’s pedigree, the cost of a Maltese puppy can range from $600-$2,000. 

Are Maltese quiet dogs?

Maltese are known to be moderate barkers, and they can be quite vocal in showing their displeasure about something. 

Featured Image: iStock/enviromantic

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Teresa Kho-Pelfrey, DVM


Dr. Teresa Kho-Pelfrey graduated from Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine in 2015 and completed her clinical year at Purdue…

Clumber Spaniel

The Clumber Spaniel is one of the original nine breeds registered by the American Kennel Club. Long and low, it’s not as fast as other sporting dogs, but will work all day, trotting along in a slow, rolling gait. Dignified and pensive, but possessing great enthusiasm, the Clumber Spaniel also has a beautiful white coat.

Physical Characteristics

The Clumber Spaniel has a rectangular proportioned body, which is a bit long in proportion to its height. Due to its short legs, it tends to roll a bit while walking, but its pace remains easy-going. The Clumber Spaniel also has strong hindquarters and a solid bone structure, with a deep-chested body.

Its white coat, meanwhile, is soft, straight, dense, flat, and weather-proof, which enables the dog to work in harsh and rough conditions. Its bushy eyebrows and soft expression give the dog a pleasing appearance.

Personality and Temperament

The Clumber Spaniel is hunter by nature, forgoing all other activities other than the hunt. Playful and cheerful nearly all the time, the Clumber Spaniel has proven to be a great family pet, behaving gently indoors if given proper care. Because of its love of outdoor walks, however, the breed is not always suitable for city living.


The dense, flat coat of a Clumber Spaniel requires combing at least two to three times a week. Additionally, regular bathing is essential to keeping its coat clean and neat.

Its exercise requirements, meanwhile, consist of daily outdoor walks or long, energetic games. Be aware that some Clumber Spaniels may snore occasionally or drool.


The Clumber Spaniel, which has an average lifespan of 10 to 12 years, is susceptible to intervertebral disc disease (IVDD), a major health concern. Besides this particular disease, some of the other minor health problems that the breed is prone to are otitis externa, ectropion, and entropion, as well as seizures. To identify some of these issues, a veterinarian may recommend elbow, eye, and hip exams early on.

History and Background

The Clumber Spaniel is a breed that has a keen hunting capability. It is, however, not as popular as other spaniel breeds. The origin of the Clumber Spaniel dates back to as early as the latter part of the 16th century, eventually receiving its name during the period of the French Revolution of 1789. Legend holds that during the time of the revolution, the Duc de Noailles of France moved his kennel of spaniels to England for sanctuary, housing them at the Duke of Newcastle kennels at Clumber Park (thus the breed’s name) in Nottinghamshire.

One of the distinctive characteristics is that these dogs are compact in shape and size. Because of this, some suggest the low-bodied Basset Hound and the old, heavy-headed Alpine Spaniel may have been responsible for the evolution of the Clumber Spaniel.

Clumbers were first shown in England in the mid-19th century. Instantly, the English nobility became attracted to the breed, often due to its great hunting ability. Although the breed appears to have entered the United States near the end of the 17th century, the first Clumber was not registered until the late 19th century, before the American Kennel Club itself was founded. Today, the Clumber Spaniel is considered a wonderful show dog and an excellent hunter.

American Foxhound

The American Foxhound is a dog breed brought over from England in the mid-17th century originally for the purpose of fox hunting. It is an ideal choice for those who live in rural areas or on large farms. There are now four main types of the breed: field trail hounds, fox hunting hound, “trail” hounds, and pack hounds.

Physical Characteristics

Agile and swift, the American Foxhound is slightly bonier and taller than its cousin, the English Foxhound. Its hard coat, which can be found in any color, including black, brown, white, tan, red and cream, is medium in length. Its expression, meanwhile, is gentle and pleading. The dog also has a musical voice when it is trailing and hunts with ease on rough terrain because of its body type.

Personality and Temperament

The tolerant, gentle, and friendly American Foxhound can be reserved, especially around strangers. And though not considered a traditional house pet, the American Foxhound is well behaved indoors, getting along with other household dogs or pets. A natural born hunter, it will also dash on the trail of a scent, sometimes even without receiving a command.


The American Foxhound’s coat is very easy to maintain, just the occasional brushing to clear the dead hair. It loves the outdoors and may prefer to live outside, provided there is warm bedding and shelter. Its daily exercise requirements can be met with a jog or long leash-led walk.

The American Foxhound is a highly sociable dog and should, therefore, have regular human interaction. The breed is not well suited for the city life.


The American Foxhound, with a lifespan of 11 to 13 years, is not especially prone to major or minor health problems. This particularly breed, however, may suffer from thrombopathy occasionally; to identify this condition early, a veterinarian may run blood tests on the dog.

History and Background

Some evidence indicates hounds were first brought to America in 1650, when the Englishman Robert Brooke sailed to the Crown Colony of America with his pack of hunting dogs. These hounds would later become the basis of several strains of American Hounds. In the mid-to-late 1700s, hounds from France and England were brought in to further develop the breed. By then, the breed had gained much recognition, especially amongst the upper class and politicians; even President George Washington was known to have an American Foxhound.

The American Foxhound’s popularity was mainly due to its ability to hunt and chase down foxes and deer. Hunters in the southern United States — especially in parts of Tennessee, Maryland, Virginia, and the mountainous regions of Kentucky — sought to develop specific strains of the breed according to their needs; these included the Walker, Trigg, Hudspeth, Goodman, July, and Calhoun hounds. The new varieties were used not only as show or running hounds, but also as pack or competitive field trial hounds.

The American Foxhound is said to be among the earliest breeds that were registered under the American Kennel Club (AKC). Interestingly enough, many Foxhounds used by hunters today are not registered under the AKC, but rather with specialty Foxhound studbooks, the most important one being the International Foxhunter’s Studbook.

Old English Sheepdog

There’s more to the Old English Sheepdog (OES) than meets the eye. For starters, the breed originated around 200 years ago, which means these fluffy dogs aren’t particularly old compared to ancient canine breeds. And while the OES likely hails from the west of England, the Old English Sheepdog Club of America (OESCA) says the breed’s ancestry could include dogs from Scotland and even Russia. Finally, the Old English Sheepdog’s original duties weren’t limited to sheep: These woolly work dogs were employed to move both sheep and cattle from the farm to the local market. 

But when it comes to their appearance and demeanor, the OES is largely as advertised. With a body like a panda covered in shag carpet—and a head reminiscent of the Truffula tree from Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax—the dogs are as jolly and playful as they look. Just don’t let the Old English Sheepdog’s size (60–100 pounds) fool you into thinking the breed is content to laze the day away. These gentle giants were bred to work and need plenty of mental and physical exercise to stay healthy and happy. 

Caring for an Old English Sheepdog

The OESCA describes the breed as a “hardy, intelligent herding dog” with a “happy, rough-and-tumble disposition.” Though they were bred to work, Old English Sheepdogs make excellent family companions and can thrive indoors with daily opportunities to stretch their mind and body. While they are loving to family members of all ages, the breed may need time to warm up to people and other animals they don’t know.

The Old English Sheepdog’s incredible shaggy coat is a source of both allure and hesitation for potential pet parents. The OESCA says grooming needn’t be a deterrent, but you do need to set aside a minimum of three or four hours a week to keep their fur free from debris and matting.  

Old English Sheepdog Health Issues

The Old English Sheepdog is a generally healthy breed with a life span of 10–12 years. Still, the breed is predisposed to some health problems, which is why it’s so important to find a responsible breeder who screens for the following conditions:

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia occurs when the hip joint doesn’t develop properly, resulting in a looseness that leads to degenerative joint disease (osteoarthritis). 

Common signs include:


Reluctance to get up or jump

Shifting of weight to front legs

Loss of muscle mass in back legs

Hip pain

Mild cases can be managed with interventions like physical therapy and anti-inflammatory medications. In more advanced cases, surgery may be necessary. 

Progressive Retinal Atrophy 

Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) is an umbrella term for a family of eye disorders in which the rods and cones of the retina either don’t develop properly in puppies (early-onset PRA) or begin deteriorating in adulthood (late-onset PRA). 

Signs of the disease include:

Reluctance to enter dark spaces

Clumsiness (especially in dark spaces)

Dilated pupils that constrict slowly in response to light

Eyes that are more reflective in the dark


There is no cure for PRA, and the condition eventually leads to blindness.

Autoimmune Thyroiditis  

Autoimmune thyroiditis causes a dog’s immune system to create inflammation that damages healthy thyroid tissue. It’s the most common cause of canine primary hypothyroidism, meaning the thyroid gland isn’t able to make enough thyroxine, the hormone that controls metabolism. 

Signs include:

Weight gain 


Hair loss (usually along the trunk, base of the tail, chest, nose bridge)

Dull, dry coat

Cold intolerance

Skin darkening

Recurrent skin and ear infections

Dogs with autoimmune thyroiditis are typically given a synthetic hormone (as an oral tablet) for the rest of their life.

Exercise-Induced Collapse  

Exercise-induced collapse (EIC) is a nervous system disorder that can cause dogs to collapse with excitement or stress in response to continuous intense exercise, particularly in warm weather. Affected dogs tend to experience weakness in their back legs first, and they may continue to walk or run while dragging their rear limbs, but symptoms can vary in severity.

EIC episodes aren’t painful, and dogs are typically back to normal after resting for 5–25 minutes. Treatment involves avoiding known and potential trigger activities. Because this condition is hereditary, responsible breeders should screen their pups for this condition before breeding.

Dilated Cardiomyopathy 

Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is a disease in which the heart muscle becomes larger and stretches out. This weakens the muscle’s ability to contract and pump oxygenated blood to the dog’s body. 

The signs of the disease are caused by either a lack of oxygen-rich blood in the body or fluid backup in the lungs. They include:

Rapid breathing


Blue gums or tongue

Wet coughing

Labored breathing

Exercise intolerance


Decreased appetite

Swollen belly

Fainting or collapse

There isn’t a cure for DCM, but the disease is typically managed with medications that decrease the heart’s workload, improve the heart’s efficiency, and remove fluid from the lungs. 

Congenital Deafness 

Most cases of deafness in dogs are hereditary and congenital (meaning present at birth) and are associated with white pigmentation. One or both ears can be affected. Though the condition is permanent, with some adjustments and training, dogs with hearing loss can live a happy, healthy life. 

Cerebellar Abiotrophy

Cerebellar abiotrophy (CA) is a condition in which the cells of the cerebellum (the part of the brain that regulates control and coordination of voluntary movement) develop normally before birth but then deteriorate over time. 

There is no treatment for CA. In Old English Sheepdogs, signs tend to appear in young or mature adults and include:

Poor balance

Wide stance

Stiff or high-stepping walk

Inability to climb stairs or stand without help

Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia

Cilia are hairlike structures that line various body organs, including the upper and lower respiratory tracts, auditory tubes, spinal canal, and brain ventricles, where they help move cells or surrounding fluids and also serve as a filter. But in dogs with primary ciliary dyskinesia, ciliary movement is uncoordinated or even completely absent. 

This can lead to:

Wet, productive coughing during exercise

Nasal discharge

Fast breathing and shortness of breath

Chronic sneezing and coughing that may produce mucous and pus

Infertility in males

The disease is typically managed with lifestyle modifications, oxygen therapy, and antibiotics when needed. 

Multidrug Sensitivity

Dogs affected by multidrug resistance 1 (MDR1) drug sensitivity are at risk of serious and even life-threatening complications after receiving specific doses of certain medications. The condition is caused by a genetic variant that allows drugs and toxins to build up and even cross into the brain. 

Signs of drug toxicity related to MDR1 drug sensitivity include:



Uncoordinated movement





There isn’t a cure for the condition, but it can be managed by avoiding certain medications and decreasing doses. 

What To Feed an Old English Sheepdog

No two Old English Sheepdogs are the same, so you’ll need to partner with your veterinarian to develop a feeding plan that’s nutritionally complete and balanced for your pup’s age, size, and health history. 

How To Feed an Old English Sheepdog

Most adult dogs should eat two meals a day: once in the morning and again in the evening. Because Old English Sheepdog puppies have a higher metabolism than adult dogs, it’s generally best to add a midday feeding, for a total of three meals. 

How Much Should You Feed an Old English Sheepdog?

Look at the nutrition label on your dog’s food bag. It should include a recommended daily feeding guide that will give you a general idea of how much to feed your OES based on their weight.

For a more accurate amount, ask your veterinarian. They will tailor their recommendation not only to your dog’s weight, but also to body condition score, lifestyle, and health needs.  

Nutritional Tips for Old English Sheepdogs

If your OES is eating a complete and balanced diet of dog food approved by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), they shouldn’t need anything extra. However, nutritional supplements and even prescription diets are sometimes used to treat certain health conditions. Talk to your veterinarian before adding anything new to your dog’s diet. 

Behavior and Training Tips for Old English Sheepdogs

All dogs benefit from early socialization and training, but these investments can be especially important for large working dogs. Old English Sheepdogs have the size, energy, and power to cause unintentional harm without proper direction, such as knocking people down when jumping up to say hi.

Old English Sheepdog Personality and Temperament

The Old English Sheepdog is an intelligent, affectionate, fun-loving family dog who can be a gentle, playful companion for people of all ages—though their size means that proper precautions should be taken around small kids.

Bred to work, Old English Sheepdogs have a moderate energy level and need daily physical and mental enrichment. With their background in herding and protecting livestock, they can be wary of other animals and may need time to warm up to new people.

Old English Sheepdog Behavior

Old English Sheepdogs were bred to work alongside people, and they’d still like to be by their humans’ sides. Without proper companionship and opportunities to use their brain and body, the breed can become bored, which can lead to behavior issues like excessive barking and chewing. 

Old English Sheepdog Training

All dogs go through a critical development period from birth to around 16 weeks. During this time, they learn how to interact with humans and other animals. Talk to your breeder about how to approach socialization, as this can have repercussions in adulthood.

Old English Sheepdogs are intelligent pupils and are typically eager to please their humans. Because of their large size, obedience training is an important part of keeping your dog and your family members (especially the youngest ones) safe.

Consistent positive training that uses rewards instead of punishment is the best approach for these affable dogs. The training process is also a great way to provide Old English Sheepdogs with mental and physical exercise. 

Fun Activities for Old English Sheepdogs

Long walks



Obedience training

Skills training

Agility training

Food puzzles

Old English Sheepdog Grooming Guide

The Old English Sheepdog’s coat is perhaps the breed’s most attention-grabbing feature. It might also be the feature that demands the most attention from the pet parent. All that fluff requires a weekly commitment to regular brushing and care, but both you and your pup will benefit from the one-on-one time. 

Skin Care

Good coat care is the key to good skin care. Moisture, dirt, fecal matter, and other debris such as burrs can get stuck against the skin thanks to the Sheepdog’s thick coat. Cuts and other skin issues can also easily go unnoticed.

Regular grooming can help keep skin clean and free from irritation and can give you an opportunity to check for scrapes and bumps. 

Coat Care 

Old English Sheepdogs have a double coat, and you should be prepared to spend three to four hours every week thoroughly brushing it out. Regular trims at the groomer can help make this task easier, but it will still be a time commitment. Without weekly brushing, the fur can easily become dirty and matted, which is unpleasant for both you and your dog. 

Eye Care 

Old English Sheepdogs’ characteristic peek-a-boo appearance is adorable, but what’s easy on your eyes may not be easy on your pet’s. In addition to obscuring vision, their facial fur can trap things like twigs and leaves next to their eyes.

Check their eyes daily for potential problems, especially after outside play. You can also trim the hair around their eyes or even tie it into a sporty bun. 

Ear Care

Avoid letting the fur under the ears become matted (as this can support bacterial and fungal growth) and check your dog’s ears for irritants like burrs after outdoor play. If you notice your dog’s ears are red or hot to the touch, or if they smell bad and seem to be bothering your pup, contact your veterinarian.

Considerations for Pet Parents

The OESCA has put together a list of needs (and potential annoyances) you should be prepared for before bringing home an Old English Sheepdog. If you can answer the questions below with a hearty “Yes!” you might be ready for an OES:

Do I have space for a dog of this size in my home? (Remember, they can weigh up to 100 pounds as adults and do best as inside dogs. Consider how you will transport them to and from the vet, as well.)

Can I devote three to four hours a week to brushing their coat?

Do I have the time to provide my dog with mental and physical exercise every day? And can I give them the daily companionship they need? (Old English Sheepdogs don’t do well when they’re alone for long periods.) 

Am I OK with having long, white fur on my clothes and furniture? With having wet, muddy paws and fur in my home on rainy or snowy days? With dripping whiskers after my dog drinks water? With some drooling?

Am I financially prepared to provide veterinary care, food, grooming, etc.? (Keep in mind that some of these things cost more for big dogs. For example, big dogs eat more food, and their medications are often more expensive.)

Can I provide my dog with the love and attention they need for their lifetime? (Old English sheepdogs can live 10–12 years or more.)

Old English Sheepdog FAQs

Is an Old English Sheepdog a good family dog?

Old English Sheepdogs look sweet, gentle, and fun because they are sweet, gentle, and fun. They do best in families who can provide plenty of attention and daily mental and physical activities. And while they can be loving companions to people of all ages, size matters. Interactions with small children should be closely monitored to avoid their being unintentionally harmed. 

Do Old English Sheepdogs shed?

Despite boasting some of the most luscious locks in the animal kingdom, Old English Sheepdogs are surprisingly average when it comes to shedding. Still, the hair will end up on your clothes and furniture, and the hair they do lose will be extra long. 

Do Old English Sheepdogs bark a lot?

Old English Sheepdogs aren’t particularly vocal, but they may alert you if people or other animals are approaching your house. Training can help keep barking at a minimum. 

How much do Old English Sheepdogs cost?

A purebred Old English Sheepdog puppy will likely cost $1,000–$3,000. It’s very important to find a breeder who is committed to the health of their dogs over profit.

The OESCA maintains a list of breeders who are club members in good standing and have signed the club’s Code of Ethics. If you would like to add an older dog to your family, try contacting an Old English Sheepdog rescue facility. 

Featured Image: iStock/chendongshan

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Sarah Mouton Dowdy

Sarah Mouton Dowdy has been writing about animal health since 2016, the same year she and her husband not-so-coincidentally adopted…

Silky Terrier

Originally a cross between the Yorkshire and Australian Terriers, the Silky Terrier was eventually recognized as a separate breed. It is a friendly and joyful lapdog with a beautiful blue and tan coat.

Physical Characteristics

The Silky Terrier’s refined body, which is long compared to its height, enables the dog to have a light-footed and free gait. Originally bred to terminate small rodents, this miniature variety of a working terrier retains the features required for a vermin hunter. Its expression is keen, while its blue and tan coat is silky, straight, and glossy, countering the body instead of falling to the ground.

Personality and Temperament

The clever Silky Terrier can be mischievous and has a tendency to bark excessively. It is unlike any other soft lapdog: feisty, curious, playful and bold. Because of this, some Silky Terriers are known to be scrappy towards other pets or dogs.


Even though this terrier is hardy, it is not suited for outdoor living. The Silky Terrier is also an active breed, requiring more exercise than the average toy terrier. Its exercise requirements can be met with vigorous indoor or outdoor games, or a moderate on-leash walk; however, it prefers an opportunity to roam and explore on its own (just make sure it is done in a secure area). Its coat, meanwhile, requires combing or brushing on alternate days.


The Silky Terrier, which has a lifespan of about 11 to 14 years, may suffer from minor problems like patellar luxation and Legg-Perthes disease. Diabetes, epilepsy, allergies, tracheal collapse, and Cushing’s disease may sometimes be seen in this breed as well. To identify some of these issues, a veterinarian may run knee and elbow exams on the dog.

History and Background

The ancestor of the Silky Terrier, developed in Australia in the late 19th century, was the Yorkshire Terrier. Early on the Silky Terrier had an attractive tan and steel blue coloration, which was crossed with blue and tan Australian Terriers to enhance its color of the coat while retaining its robust form.

The dogs that stemmed from these crosses were originally referred to as Australian Terriers or Yorkshire Terriers. Some breeders, however, thought they initiated the development of a different breed altogether and displayed these dogs as Silky Terriers. But by interbreeding the Silky Terriers, a true breeding strain developed. As two disparate areas in Australia were chosen for the breed’s development, different breed standards were set in 1906, and again in 1909 and 1926.

The most popular name for the breed in Australia was Sydney Silky Terrier, but in 1955 it was altered to the Australian Silky Terrier. In the same year, the Sidney Silky Terrier Club of America held its first meeting, later changing its club name to the Silky Terrier Club of America. It was not until 1959 that the American Kennel Club recognized the breed. Today, it is considered a joyful yet mischievous lapdog.


Rottweilers are a large dog breed with broad heads, strong jaws, and wide-set eyes. They are working dogs that have been a recognized breed in the United States since 1931.

Purebred Rottweilers have a limited coat coloration that should be composed of a black base with mahogany, rust, or tan accents. Many Rottweilers appear to have a “bobtail,” which is rarely a natural occurrence. Most “bobtail” Rottweilers have had their tails surgically docked.

Rottweilers are 22-27 inches tall and weigh 80-135 pounds. They are at risk of becoming obese and may develop diseases such as arthritis if they become obese. With proper care, Rottweilers  live 9-12 years on average.

Caring for a Rottweiler

Caring for a Rottweiler requires knowledge about their health problems, grooming needs, and dietary, exercise, and mental health care requirements.

Rottweilers are loyal, protective, and slow-maturing dogs. Due to their genetic predisposition, they need exercise for at least 60 minutes a day. They are intelligent and therefore easily bored, so they must have regular stimulating activities to prevent unwanted behavior.

They have great teeth and are strong chewers, so dental maintenance is less intensive compared to other breeds.

Because they are prone to having many health problems, routine veterinary exams are important for keeping Rottweilers healthy.

Rottweiler Health Issues

Rottweilers are generally healthy dogs but have a few issues to look out for.


The Rottweiler breed is prone to obesity, so pet parents need to be diligent about their dog’s mealtime and food portion size. Rottweilers need to consume 1,600-2,300 calories a day. Amounts vary for pets that are not spayed or neutered, have increased or decreased amounts of exercise, or are pregnant or nursing.

Your veterinarian can help you determine the best weight management plan for your dog. This includes monitoring their diet and exercise routines as well as their treat intake, and ensuring they do not eat table scraps or another pet’s food.

Canine Hip or Elbow Dysplasia

Rottweilers are known to suffer from canine elbow dysplasia (CED) and canine hip dysplasia (CHD). These conditions affect the joints in the hips and elbows and can cause instability and pain. Both conditions can also lead to arthritis if not properly treated.

Hip and elbow dysplasia are difficult to manage. Surgical correction may be appropriate in some cases, and lifelong physical therapy and joint supplements are recommended. Keeping your dog’s body at a healthy weight is necessary to avoid further damaging diseased joints.

Cranial Cruciate Ligament Rupture

A dog’s cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) is similar to a human’s anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). Due to their large size and high energy levels, Rottweilers commonly rupture their CCLs—just like humans tear their ACLs.

This injury is best treated with orthopedic surgery, followed by lifelong joint supplement administration and physical therapy.

You can reduce your Rottweiler’s risk of a CCL rupture by avoiding high-impact activities such as lurching and knee-twisting movements during play, maintaining a healthy weight, and engaging in low-impact exercise on a regular basis.


Osteosarcoma is a painful, metastatic, and aggressive bone cancer that Rottweilers are predisposed to.

If you see any signs of pain or lameness in your Rottweiler, take them to your veterinarian for an evaluation as soon as possible.

Osteosarcoma is usually easily diagnosed through a physical exam and radiography. It can be treated effectively if it is diagnosed at a very early stage.

Gastric Dilatation Volvulus

Rottweilers are also predisposed to gastric dilation volvulus (GDV)—a severe case of bloat—because of their deep chests and relatively narrow abdomens. GDV occurs when the stomach bloats with gas or food material. Its swelling allows it to rotate, blocking flow of material into or out of the stomach.

The stomach will continue to swell as more gas and digestive fluids are produced, and there is a significantly decreased blood supply to the stomach during this process. GDV is fatal if not treated immediately.

A preventative surgical procedure, called a gastropexy, is often recommended by veterinarians to pet parents of at-risk breeds. If this procedure is not performed, always monitor your dog for abdominal swelling, non-productive vomiting, or prolonged difficulty to find a comfortable position.


Entropion is a common eyelid condition in which the eyelids curl inward and the eyelashes point toward and rub against the cornea.

Unless this condition is surgically treated, it causes constant eye irritation and excessive tearing.

Entropion also increases risk for corneal ulceration and eye infections.

Subaortic Stenosis

Heart murmurs are abnormalities that a veterinarian may find during the routine physical exam of a Rottweiler. This condition may be caused by subaortic stenosis (SAS), which can lead to sudden death, especially in undiagnosed, untreated puppies.

If a veterinarian diagnoses your dog with any cardiac abnormalities, consult with a veterinary cardiologist as soon as possible. Some cardiac diseases can be managed with lifelong administration of oral medications.

What to Feed a Rottweiler

Feed your Rottweiler a food that matches their life stage. A puppy should be fed a puppy food, an adult dog should be fed an adult dog food, and a senior dog should be fed a senior dog food.

Choose a dog food that is approved by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). Some pet food companies have even developed diets specifically for Rottweilers, and these are generally appropriate. Your veterinarian can help you choose the best food option for your dog.

Grain-free diets are not recommended, as they increase the risk of developing heart disease, which Rottweilers are predisposed to.

How to Feed a Rottweiler

Rottweiler puppies should be fed at least 4 times a day because their blood glucose levels are far less stable than adults. They also require calories sufficient for growth and metabolism maintenance. Feeding a puppy diet is recommended until 12 months of age.

Adult Rottweilers can be fed one or two times a day. Since Rottweilers are prone to obesity, many pet parents use kibble from their dog’s food as treats. Kibble also counts toward their total daily meals to help maintain a healthy weight.

When they are 5 to 7 years old, Rottweilers should be fed a diet formulated for senior dogs. Senior diets are generally lower in calories per serving, contain omega fatty acids and joint supplements, and have easily digestible proteins.

How Much to Feed a Rottweiler

Appropriate caloric intake is important to keeping your Rottweiler at a healthy weight.

A rule of thumb is that Rottweilers should be fed 1,600-2,300 calories a day. This may vary for pets that have not been spayed or neutered, have increased or decreased amounts of exercise, or are pregnant or nursing.

A veterinarian will assess a Rottweiler’s body condition and can provide an individualized caloric intake recommendation.

Nutritional Tips for Rottweilers

It is important to consult a veterinarian regarding the best dietary supplements. Highly recommended supplements for Rottweilers include:

Omega-3, -6, and -9 fatty acid supplements, which support joints, coat, and cardiac function.

Joint supplements containing glucosamine, chondroitin, and methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), which help prevent arthritis.


Behavior and Training Tips for Rottweilers

Rottweiler Personality and Temperament

Rottweilers are gentle, fearless, and sometimes stubborn. They are fun to interact with, due to their eagerness to please humans.

They are very intelligent and trainable dogs. This intelligence means that boredom can lead to unwanted behaviors, so providing mental stimulation is important for a Rottweiler.

Early socialization and positive reinforcement are also recommended—especially when they are puppies. Positive interactions with strangers will help prevent or reduce separation anxiety, fear, and aggression.

Rottweiler Behavior

Rottweilers have very strong protective instincts, which is why they are commonly used as guard dogs.

However, that territorial personality can lead to barking habits and aggression toward strangers. It’s important to make sure that signs of possessiveness, aggression, and anxiety are addressed immediately.

Roughhouse play should be avoided with Rottweilers, especially when they are puppies, as it can cause them to become mouthy. They must be trained to have appropriate bite inhibition.

If there is concern that a Rottweiler may be a bite risk, professional intervention with a qualified dog trainer or behaviorist is advised as early as possible.

Rottweiler Training

Rottweilers learn new commands very quickly, which makes them excellent service or police dogs. Positive reinforcement is the recommended training method for these dogs, as it provides consistent and long-lasting behavioral memory.

Other training methods include negative reinforcement, positive punishment, and negative punishment. There are situations when these methods may be useful, but they should only be used under the guidance of a qualified dog trainer or behaviorist.

Kennel training can also be helpful for Rottweilers. Providing a safe space for your dog to spend alone time in and rest helps them feel more secure in their home. Kennels can also help with managing potty training and preventing unwanted behaviors like destructive chewing and excessive barking.

Fun Activities for Rottweilers

Fun activities that you can enjoy with your Rottweiler include:




Dock Diving



Obedience training

Rottweiler Grooming Guide

The grooming routine for a Rottweiler is fairly low maintenance, but they do shed quite a bit. So weekly grooming is recommended.

Tooth brushing at least three times weekly is required for maintenance of good oral health. Dental cleanings using anesthesia and under the care of a veterinarian are recommended annually after Rottweilers reach the age of 2 or 3.

Skin Care

A Rottweiler’s skin tends to be quite healthy, so it’s best to not bathe them more than once every two to four weeks, except for medical purposes.

Coat Care

Rottweilers have a medium-length coat that sheds a lot. This means that daily to weekly brushing might be necessary to help manage their coat health and control the amount of dog hair around your home.

Eye Care

Rottweilers do not require any specialized eye care unless they have been diagnosed with entropion eyelids. When doing your weekly brushing, check their eyes for excessive tearing or blinking, discharge, and irritation.

Ear Care

Regular ear cleaning is not advised unless it is recommended by a veterinarian for medical purposes.

Considerations for Pet Parents

If you choose to bring a Rottweiler into your life, consider several important factors:

Rottweilers are gentle creatures that can develop aggressive and territorial behaviors if not properly socialized or trained as puppies. They also require a lot of daily exercise, human interaction, and mental stimulation.

Rottweilers can have several serious health problems that may need lifelong management. Complying with your vet’s recommendations is imperative to keep these dogs healthy and happy.

US state and local governments enforce breed-specific legislation (BSL) that limits ownership of Rottweilers within certain municipalities. So be sure to check that Rottweilers are allowed not just in your state and community, but in your neighborhood and building.

Rottweiler FAQs

Is a Rottweiler a good family dog?

Rottweilers make great family dogs, but need to be trained from an early age to prevent mouthiness or aggressive behavior.

Are Rottweilers smart dogs?

Yes, Rottweilers are extremely intelligent.

What were Rottweilers bred for?

Rottweilers were initially bred to be herding dogs in Germany. Eventually the need for Rottweilers as herding dogs diminished, and they became working dogs.

They are used as guide dogs for sight-impaired people and also provide services to people with other disabilities. Rottweilers are also used as family dogs, personal guard dogs, police dogs, and search-and-rescue dogs.


American College of Veterinary Surgeons. Small Animal Topics: Canine Hip Dysplasia. 2022.

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Heather Newett, MPH, DVM


Heather is a practicing small animal veterinarian in Denver, CO. In her free time she enjoys hiking, horseback riding, and traveling to new…

Norwegian Elkhound

Many dogs are great companions by nature, but the Norwegian Elkhound has been walking side by side with humans since the age of the Vikings, according to the Norwegian Elkhound Association of America (NEAA).

The fluffy, medium-size breed has perky ears and an attitude to match. Commonly called Elkies, today these ancient hunting dogs may not be seeking out moose and elk, but they still have the energy and loyalty that made them exceptional canine companions. 

At about 19–20 inches tall and weighing between 45–57 pounds, the bulk of these pups is made of thick gray, black, and silver fur. This makes Elkies happiest in cold weather and cooler climates, where they can spend lots of time outside with their humans.

Caring for a Norwegian Elkhound

Elkies are known to be friendly, sweet dogs that love attention and cuddles from their human companions. This temperament makes them great around children of all ages, though all interactions between kids and dogs need to be supervised.

The Norwegian Elkhound’s high energy and playful nature also make them ready for adventure. One hour of exercise a day is recommended for this breed, whether that’s running in a fenced yard; going on long walks; or hikes, swimming, or hunting alongside their humans. They need mental stimulation as much as they need physical exercise, as a bored Elkie can become destructive and noisy.

But keep in mind: While Elkies are sweet and cuddly dogs at home, the NEAA says they have an undeniable independent streak. This part of their personality might make them a little difficult to train, though they’re smart dogs. Be consistent and use positive reinforcement methods when training your Norwegian Elkhound.

Norwegian Elkhound Health Issues

Norwegian Elkhound dogs have an average life span of 12­–15 years, typical for a medium-size dog. They are generally very healthy but, like all dogs, they have a few health conditions pet parents should be aware of and monitor for. 

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)

While it won’t cause your pup any pain, Norwegian Elkhounds are known to develop progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), a genetic condition that eventually causes blindness. The first sign of this condition is night blindness, or noticing that your dog cannot see well or bumps into things more frequently at night.

When you welcome your Elkhound puppy into your home, bring them to the vet to have their eyes checked for signs of the disease. If you work with a breeder, they should screen your Elkhound pup and the parent dogs for this inherited condition as well. 

There is no cure or treatment for PRA, but blind dogs can live long and happy lives with proper care.

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia affects many dog breeds, including Norwegian Elkhounds. This happens when there is a malformation of the ball and socket joint of the hip causing the bones to grind against each other. This leads to pain, osteoarthritis, and decreased mobility.

While the condition may present more in older dogs, this congenital condition may be seen even in Norwegian Elkhound puppies. If you notice your dog limping, having trouble standing, or bunny-hopping, talk to your vet.

Sebaceous Cysts

Underneath all their fur, Norwegian Elkhounds can be prone to sebaceous cysts. You may feel a pea to walnut-size lump under their skin, and sometimes they can burst. If you feel something suspicious, bring your Elkie to the vet to have them checked out. Often these cysts will go away on their own, but if the cyst is painful and causing an infection, it will be surgically removed


Though it can be hard to detect under their two-ply coats, Norwegian Elkhounds gain weight easily. Obesity in dogs can cause a slew of other health problems and prevent your Elkie from living their fullest, healthiest life.

Talk to your vet about your dog’s ideal weight and body condition score, and how you can help your Elkhound pup if they’re getting a little too chunky.

Fanconi Syndrome

Perhaps the most worrisome health problem to watch for in your Norwegian Elkhound is Fanconi syndrome, a congenital disease that affects the kidneys and, if untreated, is fatal.

But Fanconi Syndrome, if caught early, can be treatable with medications, food management, and lots of water. Symptoms can appear in Elkies from 1–7 years old, and can initially include excessive urination and thirst, followed by weight loss; muscle loss and pain; lethargy; and loss of appetite. 

What To Feed a Norwegian Elkhound

Norwegian Elkhounds are food-driven, which means they are far from picky eaters. But this also means they tend to gain weight easily. The typical healthy Norwegian Elkhound size shouldn’t surpass 60 pounds.

Talk to your vet about the best food to feed your dog. You should choose a food that’s approved by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) to make sure your Elkhound is getting a well-balanced and nutritious diet. 

How To Feed a Norwegian Elkhound

Adult Elkies should be fed twice a day, once in the morning and once at night. Norwegian Elkhound puppies need to eat more frequently—about three or four times throughout the day. If your hungry pup eats too quickly, introduce a slow feeder bowl to stop them from scarfing.

It’s best to not free-feed your Norwegian Elkhound, as this can lead to overeating and unhealthy weight gain.

How Much Should You Feed a Norwegian Elkhound?

While your AAFCO-approved dog food bag will have guidelines on how much to feed your dog based on their weight, talking to your vet is the best way to determine proper portions. They can give you a better estimate based on your Elkie’s health and lifestyle.

Nutritional Tips for Norwegian Elkhounds

As long as you’re feeding your pup a nutritious, AAFCO-approved dog food, they shouldn’t need supplements unless your vet recommends them.

Behavior and Training Tips for Norwegian Elkhounds

Norwegian Elkhound Personality and Temperament

Norwegian Elkhounds are natural working dogs, bred to hunt alongside human companions for thousands of years. This makes them great pets that are always down for spending time outside, but it also means they have an independent streak.

Norwegian Elkhound Behavior

While socializing your Norwegian Elkhound puppy is key, these dogs are friendly, happy, and love being by the side of their people and other dogs. They can also be great playmates for children who know how to interact with animals.

That said, Elkies were bred for thousands of years to be hunters. This means they can dart off after smaller animals like rabbits, squirrels, and even cats. Always keep this dog inside a secure, fenced area or on a leash when they’re outside. Otherwise, they might follow their nose and get into trouble.

While socializing your Norwegian Elkhound puppy is key, these dogs are friendly, happy, and love being by the side of their people and other dogs.

Norwegian Elkhound Training

The Elkie’s independence means training them can take a little longer than other, more eager-to-please breeds. But it’s far from impossible.

Always use positive reinforcement when training your Norwegian Elkhound (or any dog, for that matter). Keep sessions short, consistent, and fun—and offer them lots of yummy treats when they follow your cues.

Fun Activities for Norwegian Elkhounds

Long walks


Agility training

Dock diving


Herding trials

Norwegian Elkhound Grooming Guide

Norwegian Elkhounds are known for their gorgeous double coat that helped keep them warm during Viking hunting expeditions. But that fluffy coat comes with a lot of grooming needs.

Coat Care

The Norwegian Elkhound’s thick, coarse coat is double layered to handle cold climates. This means families with Elkies are in for a lot of shedding—as in silver tumbleweeds. If you can’t brush his back for 2–5 minutes every day, this may not be the breed for you. Schedule a professional deshedding session with a local groomer during spring and fall, when the fur flies even more than normal.

The good news about the Norwegian Elkhound’s coat is that it’s basically weatherproof, protecting your dog against harsh cold, wind, snow, and rain. This makes the Elkie well-equipped for the colder months but prone to overheating in the summer. Keep your dog cool with a swim, air conditioning, and plenty of shade and water to drink when temperatures climb.

Skin Care

While their coat is high-maintenance, Norwegian Elkhounds typically have healthy skin and only need to be bathed a handful of times a year. Make sure you can’t feel any cysts under their skin, though, and talk to your vet if you notice changes in your dog’s health.

Eye Care

Because Norwegian Elkhounds are predisposed to PRA, it’s important to have their eyes checked at the vet regularly. Monitor their eyes at home for any changes, too, such as cloudiness or having trouble seeing at night.

Ear Care

Elkies have what are called “prick ears,” which stand up and expose the ear canal. This ear shape is less prone to infections than floppy ears, but pet parents should still monitor their Norwegian Elkhound’s ears for redness, debris, or odor.

Considerations for Pet Parents 

Bringing home a Norwegian Elkhound puppy means you’re in for a lively, loyal companion. But you also need to dedicate time to keeping your dog mentally stimulated, well-exercised, and well-groomed to help them thrive.

Make sure your Elkhound pup gets at least 60 minutes of outdoor exercise every day. If you live in a hot climate, this might be difficult, as this thick-coated breed is prone to overheating.

Norwegian Elkhound FAQs

Is a Norwegian Elkhound a good family dog?

When socialized properly as puppies and trained early, Norwegian Elkhounds make wonderful family dogs. They live well around adults as well as children.

Are Norwegian Elkhounds rare?

The Norwegian Elkhound is a relatively rare breed, including in Scandinavia where they originated. 

How big are Norwegian Elkhounds?

Male Norwegian Elkhounds are about 20 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh 50–60 pounds. Females are slightly smaller, about 19 inches tall and 40–55 pounds. 

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Jamie Frevele

Jamie Frevele is a writer who has worked for Marvel, WWE, and more. She is now writing her own stories, so you can follow that journey on…


The Bergamasco, with its large matted coat, may seem rather imposing. However, it is a quiet and eager-to-please companion. Intelligent as it is versatile, the breed was developed from Asian sheepdogs brought to the Italian Alps.

Physical Characteristics

The Bergamasco is a muscular yet compact herding dog with a large head and long tail that curves slightly upward at the end. The Bergamasco’s feature characteristic, however, is its shaggy coat. In fact, some would argue that it is the shaggiest dog in the world.

Its coat is made up of three kinds of hair, which combine to form dense, flat, felt-like mats that cover the dog’s body and legs. These mats of hair will continue to grow over the course of the dog’s life, only reaching the ground after approximately five years. The Bergamasco’s hair is typically colored gray, black, or gradiations of gray (including merle). It can also be found in solid white, though this is considered unacceptable according to breed standards.

Many people who are allergic to other dogs find that they are not bothered by the Bergamasco’s coat.

Personality and Temperament

Though stubborn, the Bergamasco is a very intelligent dog. It has a strong protective instinct but is not aggressive without cause.


Contrary to what many think, the Bergamasco’s coat is not too difficult to maintain. For the first year, the dog will have a soft puppy coat. The coat will gradually become coarser and fuzzy “wool” will begin to appear. Around the age of one, the coat must be “ripped” into mats. This process can take a few hours, but once it is done, it is done for life. A weekly checkup to make sure the mats have not grown back together is all that is required for the next months. After that, the mats will become dense enough that few things will get caught in them.

Bathing is not required more than 1-3 times a year. Though, as the coat gets longer it does take longer to dry. Fortunately, there is no brushing required.


The Bergamasco has an average lifespan of 13 to 15 years. It is considered a healthy breed with no specific genetic illnesses.

History and Background

The Bergamasco’s Asian sheepdog ancestors are believed to have been brought to the mountains near Milan from the Middle East by Phoenician traders before the rise of the Roman Empire. There they worked closely with their shepherds and developed into an independent herding dog. While the Bergamasco took its lead from the shepherd, it learned to identify problems and accomplish goals in whichever way seemed best, which was a challenge in the mountain valleys. It was in this way that the Bergamasco developed its high level of intelligence and its desire to work closely with its master.

The Bergamasco was in danger of becoming extinct when World War II drove down the need for wool, and thus shepherds and their dogs found themselves with lack of employment. Dr. Maria Andreoli, an Italian breeder, is credited with saving the breed in the early 1960s. Thanks to her careful breeding and founding of the dell’Albera kennel, a reliable bloodline was re-established. Although it remains rare when compared to other breeds, the Bergamasco standard has been upheld by a number of enthusiasts in the United Kingdom, Sweden, Finland, United States, Canada and other countries.

Swedish Vallhund

Originally bred as a herding dog, the Swedish Vallhund is a very alert and active small breed. With a friendly and obedient personality, this dog breed is an ideal addition as a family pet.

Physical Characteristics

Sometimes referred to as a big dog in a little body, the Swedish Vallhund weighs anywhere from 23 to 35 pounds at the height of 12 to 14 inches. This small dog is known for its double coat and “harness” markings with a wedge-shaped head and pricked ears. The coat color of the Swedish Vallhund ranges from shades of grey to red with combinations of the colors.

Personality and Temperament

The Swedish Vallhund is a very energetic and active dog breed that is never vicious or shy. This breed is known to be very friendly and eager to please, making a good companion and family dog.


Because of its very active personality, the Swedish Vallhund requires daily exercise and entertainment. The medium-length coat requires little grooming, just regular dog bathing.


The Swedish Vallhund lives an average lifespan of 12 to 15 years. The health issue most associated with this dog breed is progressive retinal atrophy, a genetic disease that causes blindness in both eyes.

History and Background

According to Swedish records, the Vallhund was brought over to the country at the time of the Vikings over 1,000 years ago, when they were known as the “Vikinarnas hund” or “Viking Dog.” The similarity between this dog breed and the Corgi are most likely because either the Swedish Vallhund was taken to Wales, or the Corgi was brought to Sweden. Historians believe that the Vallhund is the older of the two breeds.

When it was introduced in Sweden, the Swedish Vallhund was bred as a cattle-herding dog on farms and ranches. However, in 1942, this dog breed was near extinction until a man by the name of Bjorn von Rosen stepped in. As a man with experience saving other Swedish breeds, Rosen remembered this dog from his childhood and made it his mission to revive the Vallhund breed.

Just a year later, the breed was recognized by the Swedish Kennel Club. Over the years to follow, the Swedish Vallhund was introduced in other countries, and made its way to the United States in 1983.