1) Brussels Griffon
The Griffon Belge is one of the three breeds of Brussels Griffon. The other two are Petit Brabancon and Griffon Bruxellois and the only thing that separates them apart is their coat type and coloration. Some clubs, such as FCI, recognizes them as separate breeds, while others, for example the AKC, recognizes them as one breed with three varieties.
So how does the coat of Griffon Belge differs from the coats of other Brussels Griffon? The Griffon Belge is the rough coated type, which is naturally harsh and slightly wavy. It has the same coat type as the Griffon Bruxellois and the only thing that is different is the color. The Griffon Belge is always all black or black and tan. The tan markings are typically situated on the legs, chest, cheeks, chin, below the tails, above eyes and inside the ears.
The coat of Griffon Belge is definitely one of its distinctive appearance traits, but i am sure the first thing you will notice about this breed is its expressive face. Some people describe it as human like, monkey like or baby like. Its most likely thanks to their huge dark eyes that are set well apart. The Belge Griffon also has short muzzle and small ears that are set high on the head. The head is round and quite large in relation to the body.
The Griffon Belge is a small dog with height between 9-12 inches, which is 23-30 cm and weight is usually between 8-13 lbs, which is 3,5-6 kg. Even though very small, this dog is definitely not fragile or delicate. These dogs have quite sturdy and strong body. The size differences between males and females are very small.
The Griffon Belge is not ancient dog breed. Its main ancestor is a dog that lived in large numbers around the city of Brussels and that was known as „Smousje“. This dog was similar to todays Dutch Smoushond. The breed that evolved from the „Smousje“ was known as Griffon d’Ecurie. In 19th century, these dogs were crossed with imported toy dogs, such as King Charles Spaniel and Pug, which is how the modern breed was created.
The Griffon Belge has pretty descriptive name. The word Belge means Belgian and the word Griffon is typically describing French and Belgian dogs that are characterized by rough or wiry hair. So the Griffon Belge can be translated as Belgian Rough haired dog.
Originally, the Brussels Griffons were used as vermin hunters and ratters and indeed, they are very lively, courageous and adventurous, but today, they are almost exclusively kept as companion dogs. They are known as velcro dogs that creates extremely strong bond with its owner and is always by its side. It is definitely not a coach potatoe and they are great suited for families who are looking for playful and lively pet with affectionate, devoted and adaptable personality. They can live with other dogs in the family, especially if socialized together from the puppyhood and they can make good playful partners for kids, but of course, you should never leave any dog breed with a very young child unsupervised.
The two world wars were disastrous for the breed. At the end of the Second world war, the breed was almost non-existent, especially in its home country – Belgium. The breed survived in some other countries in small numbers, particularly in the United Kingdom and especially thanks to the dedicated effort of the English breeders we still have this amazing breed around. Since than, the popularity of Griffon Belge is slowly rising, but it is still considered to be quite rare dog breed. But you can find these dogs all around the world today, especially in Europe and North America
The Griffon Belge does require some grooming, but it is nothing terribly hard. The coat should be brushed weekly in order to keep it mat and tangle free and to remove all the dead hair and dirt. The coat should also be stripped few times a year. Just like with all dog breeds, you should also regularly check the dogs ears, eyes, nails and teeth and clip them or clean them if needed.
The Griffon Belge, just like all the Brussells Griffons, is pretty healthy dog breed and its average lifespan is around 13 or 14 years. Even though it is a brachycaphelic dog with flat muzzle, they do not suffer much from breathing issues or overheating. They might suffer from some eye problems like cataracts or lens luxation, heart problems, allergies or infections, but overall this is usually healthy breed.
The history and origin of Tibetan Mastiff is surrounded by mystery. It is certainly very old, ancient dog breed, that evolved in the vast area of the high Himalayan Mountains and the plains of Central Asia, where it was traditionally used as a guardian of the nomad herders and the guardian of Tibetan monasteries. We do not know what are the ancestors of Tibetan Mastiffs or when they were developed. Some people even believe, that it is one of the oldest dogs in the world and that they are the basic stock from which most modern large working breeds have been developed. For a long time the breed lived in isolation of the high Tibetan mountains, but it was known to the outside world for centuries and we have descriptions of Tibetan Mastiffs by many famous people such as Marco Polo, but it was not until the 19th century, when the first specimen were imported to Europe.
It is important to say, that there is not only one type of Tibetan Mastiff. Over the time these dogs spread across vast area with different climate, elevations and traditions, which is why two purebred Tibetan Mastiffs can look pretty differently. These dogs lived in central Tibet, in Northern Mongolia, Nepal or Western Xianjing, all very different regions. And you can clearly see some differences in the fur, as some dogs have very dense and long mane around their neck, while some Tibetan Mastiffs do not have this famous mane. Sometimes these types are called as lion type and tiger type. In the last few decades a new type of Tibetan Mastiff was created, a so called Chinese Tibetan Mastiff, which is often times viewed as less valuable than the original Tibetan Mastiff. It is due to the fact, that there are suspiciouns about purity of the Chinese Mastiffs, because it is believed that they are often times crossed with other breeds, such as Newfoundland or Chow Chow.
No matter which type, or variety the Tibetan Mastiff is, it should always be naturally good guardian. This is a hard worker with fearless, courageous, brave, territorial and naturally protective temperament. They were specifically bred for this purpose for centuries, so its no wonder that they excell at it. They are especially known to be extremely good nocturnal sentry, keeping predators and intruders at bay, and barking at suspicious sounds throughout the night.
4) Chained dog
The name Tibetan Mastiff is self explaining. It is a large, mastiff type of a dog from Tibetan region, even though i think they would be better fit for mountain dog category than mastiff dog category. The original tibetan name for these dogs is Do Khyi, which literally means chained dog, or dog to tie. It is probably because these dogs used to be chained during the day and let loose at night to guard the property.
5) Adaptable breed
The Tibetan Mastiff is extremely adaptable breed. It can live indoors, but they will without any problems stay all day and all night outdoors. They can also withstand low temperatures without any problems. In the place where the breed was developed, the Tibetan plateau, temperatures normally fall deeply bellow 0°C and the dogs have no problems with it. On the other hand, this region is also known for pretty hot summers, so the dog can adapt to warmer weather as well. But they should always have access to water all day long and they should have some shady spot where they can hide from the sun. Overall, this is truly extremely adaptable dog breed.
6) Living with
Even though quite intimidating, the Tibetan Mastiff is actually pretty sensitive dog breed, that can read our emotions and is attuned to the emotions. They do not like harsh handling and even conflicts between family members. It is definitely extremely loyal dog breed that would protect its family. They are wary of strangers and it can take a while before they accept a complete stranger as a friend. These dogs also do not have high prey drive, so they can live with other pets in the family, especially if socialized together from the puppyhood. These dogs are also very good partners for kids, as they create strong natural bond with them and they consider them as those who need a greater protection. But of course, you should never leave any dog breed with a very young child unsupervised.
Many people are fascinated by the strong body and large size of the Tibetan Mastiff, but it is important to say, that these dogs should not be oversized. The standard say, that the average height for females is 61 cm and for males 66 cm, which is 24 or 26 inch. Today, we can see much larger dogs, especially those from the Chinese bloodline. Those dogs are bred to be overly massive, but it is also causing many health issues such as hip dysplasia. Original Tibetan Mastiff should be large and strong, but also athletic and agile. The size should not be a problem for its utilization → guarding. Overally massive dogs would paradoxically not be as good guardians as classically large Tibetan Mastiffs. The weight is not mentioned in the breed standard, but it is typically somewhere between 40-60 kg, which is 88-133 lbs. Females are naturally slightly smaller than males.
As i already mentioned before, these dogs can withstand cold temperatures without any problems. The main reason is their extremely dense and thick doublecoat. The doublecoat consists of very thick and wooly undercoat and coarse guard hair. The coat should not be wavy or curly. Some individuals have visible thick mane around the neck and shoulders. The coat is normally also thicker at the tail and upper thighs. The coat comes in variety of colors and color combinations. Most commonly you can find Tibetan Mastiffs in black, black and tan, blue-gray, blue-gray and tan, brown, brown and tan, red-gold, red-gold-sable, cream, and cream-sable with white markings.
The Tibetan Mastiff sheds some deal of fur all year long. Depending on the region and climate, they may, or may not shed seasonally. To keep the coat in best possible condition and to minimize the shedding it is recommended to brush Tibetan Mastiff regularly. During the shedding season even daily. Not only that regular brushing will remove any dirt and loose hair from the coat, it will also redistribute natural oils all over it and it will keep the coat mat and tangle free. Just like with any other dog breed, you should also regularly check their eyes, ears, nails and teeth and clip them or clean them if needed.
The health and lifespan of Tibetan Mastiff really depends on the breed line. Some original Tibetan Mastiffs are very healthy dogs that can have average lifespan even around 14 years. On the other hand, for example the Chinese Mastiff can suffer from many serious health issues and the lifespan would be around 9 or 10 years. Just like every single breed, even the Tibetan Mastiff can suffer from some serious health issues, such as hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, entropion, allergies, Cushings disease or cataracts. Especially the hypothyroidism is fairly common in this breed. But overall, the Tibetan Mastiff is rather healthy and hardy breed, especially for a giant dog.
Individual breeds are known for their various temperamental charactersitsics, which are even often times described directly in their official breed standard. But what if the breed has nothing to do with the temperament. According to a new genetic study, the dog breed does not affect the behaviour of the dog. And even though the environment, socialization and training plays enormous role in the dogs development, this sounds like a bold statement.
The genetic study was made on approximately 19 000 dogs of different breeds and backgrounds, so the study was really made on very big sample. The results of the study claims, that even though some traits are more common in certain breeds, only 9% of the dogs temperament is affected by the breed type and the rest is a result of things such as pups environment, socialization, training and, of course, experiences.
I personally am very sceptical about it, because i dont know how you can exactly meassure temperamental traits such as loyalty, affection, playfulnes, friendliness or alertness, so such an exact number as 9% seems little bit wierd to me.
The study basically says that no breed owns any particular trait and that breeds do not have personalities, but individual dogs do. To some extent, this is certainly true, but there must be a reason why certain breeds are over and over used and trained by professional trainers for certain tasks and the reason for it, is mainly the breeds temperament. There must be a reason why Labradors are by far the most used service dogs, but you will not see a blind person led by a Greyhound or Beagle. That would be just impossible and it is due to the inherited breeds temperament.
Of course, not all Labradors will be trainable, gentle and even tempered enough to be good service dogs, but the average breeds temperament gives them the edge over other breeds.
The same goes with the German Shepherds. Even without much training, they will be naturally protective and alert. And the breeds temperament is also a reason why Border Collies rocks in dog shows, they just have the right temperament for it and it would be almost impossible to achieve the same results with, lets say, Dachshunds or Afghan Hounds. Those would have better temperament for other purposes.
And to be fair, the study states, that especially when it comes to modal action patterns and behaviors tied to original breed group functions, like herding or retrieving, the breed can sometimes be a factor in behavioural outcomes.
But the common sense just tells me that even though i agree that the breed does not determine the temperament, it significantly influence the probability of distribution of various temperamental traits.
But it would not be for the first time, when the sciencetific study contradicts the common sense and i am curious if there will be any other studies supporting this one.
I am also curious what is your opinion about this topic? Do you believe that the breed plays important role in the dogs temperament or that the breeds temperament is mostly shaped by environment and experiences?
According to Swedish and Norwegian Kennel Club breed descriptions, the Dunker breeds history started in 19th century, when Captain Wilhelm Conrad Dunker crossed various scent hounds used in Norway back in the days and the Russian Harlequin Hound. The purpose of the breeding was to develop a new proficient hunter, that could easily hunt in rugged Norwegian terrain and that could withstand lower Norwegian temperatures easily. And the breed quickly became relatively popular among Scandinavian hunters.
As you already know, the main utilization of the Dunker is hunting. But to be more specific, they are mainly bred to hunt hare by scent. It is pretty independent hunter, who should easily find hare on its own by sniffing and following the scent. The Dunker truly is very reliable hunter, and it is very passionate and determined hunter. They just love it. They also have great stamina, high prey drive and they can easily adapt to harsh terrain and climate. Overall, this is extremely good dog for hunting in Scandinavia.
3) Norwegian Harehounds
The population of Dunker is not huge and one of the reason is the large variety of different hare hunting dogs in Norway. Not only that there are several imported foreign breeds, you can also find different hare hunting breeds developed in Norway. There are three distinct, although quite similar, hare hunting breeds in Norway and they are the Dunker Hound, Halden Hound and Hygen Hound. If you will be interested in the other two dog breeds, i made separate videos about them and i am giving you links in description.
The Dunker is characterized as an excellent combination of skilled hunter, but also loving and loyal companion dog. These dogs are surprisingly laid back and pretty relaxed and they love attention from their family. They do create very strong bond with its owners, they are very affectionate, they get along with other people, kids or other dogs, especially if socialized together from the puppyhood. Of course, because of their hunting instincts, they are not best suited for families with other small household pets. Dunkers are definitely excellent companion dogs.
The fact that Dunkers are calm and relaxed when they are at home does not mean that they are coach potatoes, not at all. Especially if they are not hunting, they need quite a lot of outdoor exercise to stay healthy and happy. These dogs were bred for endurance on the hunt, which means they will always be ready for any outdoor adventure, long hikes, jogs, walks, just anything. Regular playtime and fun training sessions are also great way how to exercise these dogs not only physically but also mentally.
The Dunker is a medium sized dog breed with athletic body and strong legs. The average height is between 18-22 inch which is 45-56 cm and weight is usually between 11-18 kg, which is 25-39 lbs. Females tend to be slightly smaller than males.
In the second half of the 20th century, the popularity of Dunker decreased a lot. The first significant decrease was a direct consequence of the second world war. The low demand for these dogs made it hard to maintain high quality breeding. Luckily after the war, the interest for hunting dogs, and thus for Dunker as well increased a lot and up to 1970s, their popularity was raising once again. That changed again in 1970s, when many other hunting dogs were imported to Norway, for example the Finnish Harehounds and many others. That caused another decline in the numbers of Dunker. Because the population was quite low, a lot of inbreeding happened, which could potentionally lead to serious damage in the breed. That is why in 1980s it was officially authorized to cross Dunkers with some other breeds in order to remain the breed healthy, which was succesfull. Even today, the breed is not very popular and their population is relatively small, but on the other hand, the Dunker is not on the verge of extinction and the breed remained fairly healthy. You can find this breed almost exclusively in Norway and its neighboring countries.
The Dunkers coat is very dense, straight and hard. On a photo, the coat might look short, but it should never be too short. The coat is very practical for lower Norwegian temperatures. The most desirable coat colors are black or blue marbled with pale fawn and white markings.
Speaking of the coat, it is important to mention the grooming and maintenance as well and it is no hard task with this breed! These dogs do shed quite a lot, which is why regular brushing is definitely recommended to minimize the shedding. Regular brushing will also remove any dirt from the coat and it will redistribute natural oils all over it. No other grooming is required. Just like with other dogs, you should regularly check their eyes, ears, nails and teeth and clip them or clean them if needed.
The Dunker is usually healthy dog breed. Because of their origin, they can posses the merle gene, which is why they can be prone to deafness or blindness, but it is not that common in Dunkers. Other health concerns are the same as with other similar breeds and they include some joint and bone problems like hip dysplasia, allergies or infections. The average lifespan of the Norwegian Hound is somewhere around 13 or 14 years.
1) Pyrenean Mastiff
Lets start the video with one of the LGDs from the Iberian peninsula, the Pyrenean Mastiff. It is one of the friendlier LGDs and it is not that hard to introduce new people and strangers to the Pyrenean Mastiff, especially if socialized with strangers from the puppyhood.
The famous Bulgarian livestock guardian is the Karakachan! In the past, they also found utilization in border patrols, but today, they are almost exclusively used for livestock protection.
Anatolia, or Turkey, is home to some of the largest, strongest and oldest livestock protectors and you will see several of them in this video. The first one is Akbash, who can easily work in harsh mountain ranges or in cold weather regions. It is a very tough dog, that just loves to work!
One of the most unique dog in this list is definitely the Hungarian Komondor. Thanks to the long cords and matted style of hair, it has easily distinguishible appearance. But even though they look slightly differently from most of other LGDs, they posses the same working qualities and make excellent livestock guardians.
5) Cão de Gado Transmontano
Extremely effective protector from Portugal, that is the Cão de Gado Transmontano. For a long time, they were found exlusively in Portugal, but today, some of them were exported to other countries as well and there is a small population in USA as well.
6) Bucovina Shepherd
Large and strong breed with dense double coat from Romanian Carpathain mountains, where they look over large flocks of sheeps, that is the Bucovina Shepherd!
7) Slovak Cuvac
There are 5 very similar white coated European livestock guardians and the first one in this video is the Slovensky Cuvac, an even tempered, faithful, reliable and very strong dog breed.
Many breeds in this video are from Balkans and the Tornjak is no exception. It is a very old breed used for protecting the livestock in the area of todays Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina for centuries.
9) Caucasian Shepherd
Caucasian Shepherd, as the name suggest, has its roots in Caucasus region in countries of Georgie, Armenia, Azerbaijan and in some parts of Russia, such as Dagestan. It is another breed that can easily work in mountanious regions and it can defend the flock against extremely strong predators such as wolves or even bears.
10) Boz Shepherd
The Boz Shepherd is another variant of the Turkish livestock guardians. And just like all of them, it is extremely powerful and large dog capable of defending the livestock against any danger.
11) Gaddi Kutta
The Gaddi Kutta, or Himalayan Sheepdog, is LGD breed from, well, Himalayas and from the regions of Nepal and northern India. They can also work as property guards. It is related to Tibetan Mastiff, which we will talk about little bit later.
One of the oldest of all dogs in this video is definitely the majestic Šarplaninac. They got their name from their place of origin, Šar mountains in Balkans. It is exceptionally good livestock guardian, with calm, loyal, brave, courageous and independent temperament.
13) Sarabi dog
This breed is also known as Persian Mastiff, Iranian Mastiff or Sarabi Mastiff. It originates from the Sarab County in Iran. Just like the Sarplaninac, even this breed is considered to be one of the oldest of all breeds.
14) Rafeiro do Alentejo
The second Portuguese LGD in this video is Rafeiro do Alentejo. It is pretty rare dog breed and they can be mostly find in their home country, Portugal.
15) Spanish Mastiff
Spain also has its own LGDs and Spanish Mastiff is one of them. On the first sight, they might look little bit slower, but dont be fooled by that. These dogs will defend the flock or its owners ferociously without any hesitation if needed.
16) Polish Tatra Sheepdog
The Polish Tatra Sheepdog is extremely similar to the Slovak Cuvac we talked about earlier. It was the most popular LGD in Polish Tatras, but after the second world war they almost become extinct. Luckily, the breed was saved and today, their numbers are increasing once again.
17) Central Asian Shepherd
The Central Asian Shepherd is a highly reactive dog that keeps any predator well away from the herd. This breed is also known as Alabai.
18) Great Pyrenees
Also known as Pyrenean Mountain dog, this breed hails from France and it is definitely one of the best known and most famous of all LGDs. They are more trustful to other people than for example the Turkish LGDs, which makes them perfect choice for working on farms that have regular visitors.
19) Kraški Ovčar
The Kraški Ovčar, or Karst Shepherd, looks like a smaller version of the Caucasian Shepherd and indeed for some time, they were recognized as the same breed, but only different type. Today, they are also popular companion pets.
The second Hungarian LGD is the Kuvasz. It is not only livestock protector, as they were also used for personal protection, as family pets and they were even employed as Royal guard dogs in the past.
21) Romanian Mioritic Shepherd
A very disciplined worker with absolutely devotion to the herd and to its owners, that is another Romanian LGD, the Romanian Mioritic Shepherd.
The most famous of all Turkish livestock guardian breeds is most likely the Kangal. They are known to observe the herd from a vantage point or patrol around it and in any case of danger, they will place themselves between the predator and the herd, which is most often enough to deter the intruder.
23) Saint Miguel Cattle Dog
The protective Portuguese Cão de Fila de São Miguel is not only known for protecting the livestock, but also its home and property and as a catch dog. It is also known as Azores Cattle Dog or Azores Cow Dog.
24) Cão de Castro Laboreiro
And another Portuguese breed in this video! This time the Portuguese Cattle Dog. It is known for a so called mountain color, which is some form of a brindle pattern.
25) Maremma Sheepdog
The Maremmano Abruzzese Sheepdog is the last of the five white coated european livestock protectors. It hails from Italia where they prefer to live outside and are very much a working dog. They are known to have extremely strong bond to both, the livestock and its family.
26) Armenian Gampr
As the name suggest, this LGD is from Armenia. There can be quite big differences in appearance of this breed, as they are mainly bred for purpose and not for appearance. And they are just incredible at their utilization.
27) Kurdish Mastiff
The Kurdish Mastiff, also known as Pejdar dog, is a native landrace breed to Southern Kurdistan and can be found in different places of Turkey, Iran or Iraq. It is very similar to Turkish LGDs.
28) Tibetan Mastiff
The mighty Tibetan Mastiff is also one of the ancient livestock guardians. They are known to deter intruders with their deep loud barking. They will enjoy working in colder areas as they have very thick and dense coat.
29) Greek Shepherd
Most likely related to livestock guardians from other Balkan countries, the Greek Shepherd has the similar loyal, alert, brave and courageous temperament, as well as strong and muscular body. It is just a typical guardian.
30) Karadeniz Shepherd
One of the rarest of all LGDs is definitely the Karadeniz Shepherd, also known as Black Sea Shepherd. It is another variant of Turkish LGDs and it comes from the northern Turkish mountains.