Ear cropping. Some people like it, some hate it. Some people will say it is necessary while others will say it is cruel. Ear cropping is definitely controversial topic and if you are thinking about getting a puppy of a breed that usually has a cropped ears, you might be wondering, why people actually crop the dogs ears. What are the pros and cons of this procedure.
Lets start with briefly explaining what ear cropping actually is. It is a procedure in which part of the external visible ear flap is removed. Sometimes it involves taping as well, which is making the ears pointy. This is typical for example in Dobermans. The cropping is done when the dog is still a very young puppy, typically between the age of 6 – 14 weeks.
Now lets talk about the supposed pros and cons of ear cropping. I will start with the pros and we can go a little back to history to understand to pros. The dog ear can be viewed as a weak spot when the dog has to defend something against a strong predator as the ear can be easily bitten or torn during the fight, which is why many livestock guardian breeds have their ear cropped. Breeds that were used for dog fights have their ears cropped for the same reason. So the number one advantage is, that it makes the dog better for protection and guarding work as there is a lesser chance of damaging the ear.
Some hunting dogs also had their ear cropped in the past and the reason for it was to improve their hearing and sound localization. There is a belief that dogs with cropped ears could hear better, as they could more easily swivel their ears in the direction of sound, especially in comparsion to the dogs with large floppy ears. One of the argument of people supporting this idea is, that there are almost no wild dogs with large floppy ears and that it is not natural for dogs to have floppy ears.
The third and possibly the biggest advantage of ear cropping is belief, that it will reduce ear infections. It is certainly true, that dogs with large floppy ears like Basset Hounds suffer from ear infections more often than dogs with small ears. Ear cropping open up the ear canal and increase airflow into it, which can lead to drier ear and fewer ear infections. But it is debatable how big is the effect of the ear cropping on decreasing the ammount of ear infections.
The last advantage, if you can say it like that, is only cosmetical and it is that it makes the dog look differently. Some people want make their dog look traditional, the same way how they looked in the past. Some people want to make the dog look fierce and some want to make them look natural, similar to wolves. Some breeds even have it written in their breed standard, that the ears should be cropped, which is why people who want their dog on shows must go through this procedure. But as i said, this reason is only cosmetical and i dont think it is a real advantage. But it is probably the number one reason why people crop their dogs ears these days, as there are not that many working dogs, who would really need their ears cropped for working purposes or safety reasons.
Now lets mention the cons of ear cropping. The biggest con probably is, that the ear cropping is unnecessary. Today, when most of the dogs are companion dogs and you can prevent ear infections even in dogs with floppy ears, there is no real reason for ear cropping in most of the dogs.
Especially if the cropping is done traditionally and not surgically with the veterinarian, there are big health risks and the dog can potentionally loose the hearing. Traditional cropping is also extremely painful and stresful for the pup.
When the ear cropping is done surgically by the veterinarian, the risk of health issues and infections is limited to minimum, but still, any surgery are dangerous to some degree and you do not want to put dogs under general anesthesia if not necessary, especially when it comes to cosmetical procedure.
During the surgery, dogs are normally under full anesthesia, so they do not feel any pain, but they most certainly feel pain, or discomfort, after the surgery and after the pain medications wear off. How much pain and how big the pain is, is debated.
Another disadvantage is, that the procedure is not always succesfull. Sure, most of the time, the veterinarian will do a great job, but there is no guarantee. Sometimes one ear can be crooked, sometimes neither of both ears will stand. There is just no guarantee when it comes to surgeries.
And the last disadvantage, and again, i am not sure if this can be really counted as disadvantage, is judgement by people who are strongly against ear cropping. Some people will not like you and they will view you as cruel if you have a dog with cropped ears.
This is a list of pros and cons of ear cropping. What is my opinion about this topic? I personally find ear cropping unnecessary. I am not a big fan of ear cropping or tail docking in dogs, especially in companion dogs where there is no real benefit of doing it.
It is also important to say, that in many countries the ear cropping is outlawed and the number of countries is slightly increasing year by year. So you are not allowed to crop your dogs ears everywhere in the world.
The Sinka Dog is relatively new dog breed native to Hungary and it is a tireless working and herding dog breed.
Lets start with little bit of history and ancestry of the Sinka dog. It is the youngest of all Hungarian dog breeds with its history dating back only few decades, approximately 50 years.
It was developed from various herding dogs that already existed in Hungary. Some of the dogs that played a role in the breeds development are Hungarian herding dogs like Mudi, Puli and Pumi. Especially the Mudi and Kopasz and Német Puli played important role in the creation of Sinka. But it is believed that breeds like Kelpie, German Shepherd or Belgian Shepherd also played a role in the breeds development.
The breeds name – Sinka – comes from hungarian words sima szőrű which can be translated into english as smooth hair. And their smooth hair comes in several possible colors, namely in solid black, brown, wolf grey, white or brindle.
The breed has athletic, streamlined and strong body, typically it has upright erect ears, dark colored eyes with alert expression and long tail. It is medium sized dog breed with height between 45-55 cm, which is 18-21 inch and weight between 18-27 kg, which is 40-60 lbs. Females are naturally slightly smaller than males.
This breed is almost exlusively used for working and herding. There is approximately 800 Sinka dogs and almost all of them are owned by shepherd who use them to managing their herds. They most often herd sheeps and cows. And they have amazing qualities for herding as they are very alert, independent, loyal, brave and they are not afraid of the livestock. They are also extremely endurant and they have very very high energy level. They are just tireless, they can work for all day long without tiring. You can say that this is a workaholic, they definitelly are happiest if they can work a lot.
It is a tough dog breed that is absolutely loyal to its owner. And of course, it does love its owner and family, it is affectionate, playful and loving dog breed, but it is not a dog breed for everyone and it is mostly due to their high energy level. They will not be happy if they would live in small apartments as typical companion pets. They want to live on a large property.
The Sinka can live with other dogs or even with other animals like chicken and other household pets like cats, especially if socialized together from the puppyhood. They typically guard their property and defend it from intruders.
When it comes to grooming and maintenace, it can not be easier than with the Sinka. They can take care of the coat by themselves. The Sinka is extremely clean dog breed, some might say they are almost cat like in this area and they stay very clean bythemselves. Of course, regular brushing from time to time will remove all the dead and loose hair, minimize the shedding and redistribute natural oils all over it. No other grooming is needed. Just like with any other dog breed, you should regularly check their eyes, ears, nails and teeth and clip them or clean them if needed.
There are no studies about the breeds health, but it should be very tough, resilient and healthy dog breed and there are no genetic health issues linked with this breed.
The Caucasian Shepherd and Central Asian Shepherd, also known as Alabai, are two strong livestock guardian breeds with similar appearance and temperament. Today will tell you what are the similarities and differences between the Caucasian and Central Asian Ovcharka.
Both breeds were developed for the same purpose, to be independent, hard working, alert, very brave and decisive livestock guardian dogs.
The Central Asian Ovcharka originated in the area between the Ural, Caspian Sea, Asia Minor, and the Northwest border of China where it naturally developed by adapting to its purpose and to local environement. The breed has very long history, which is thousands of years long and basically, over it developed into the dog we know today by surviving of the fittest.
On the other hand, the Caucasian Ovcharka was developed by deliberate breeding of Soviet cynologist in 1920s from strong livestock guardian dogs found all over the Caucasus mountains, such as Georgian Shepherd.
Over the time, both breeds found another utilization, next to the livestock protection. Both were used for guarding property as well. The Central Asian Shepherd was also very often used for dog fights and the Caucasian Shepherd was used by soviet military and police, for example for patroling borders.
Both breeds have very similar temperament and they are excellent for guarding purposes. They are both extremely strong, brave, territorial, naturally agressive when its needed, but also absolutely loyal to its family. Both breeds have well balanced temperament and they are extremely independent. They have to be. Both breeds are active guards and they will use their power and force to protect the livestock, people or territory.
But there are some differences in their temperament as well. The Caucasian Ovcharka is more lively, more active and explosive, while the Central Asian Shepherd is slightly calmer breed.
Both breeds must be alert with strangers. But they should accept the stranger when they see they are your friends. Both breeds can be good loyal family companions as well. They are typically quite gentle with kids and they truly love their whole family. But they might not be overly affectionate just like some other breeds.
The Caucasian Ovcharka tends to be little bit more affectionate and lets say emotional, some might say charming, than the calmer Central Asian Ovcharka.
Because of their history as military dogs, the Caucasian Ovcharka is also better fit for property guards and as territory protectors, but to be honest, both breeds will be amazing for this purpose.
The Central Asian Ovcharka tends to be more dog agressive, which is most likely due to their history as dog fighting dogs. For a long time these dogs were used in large numbers for this cruel dog sport. The Caucasian Ovcharka might also be dog agressive, but to far lesser extent that Central Asian Ovcharka.
And what about the appearance differences between two dogs? Well, on the first sight, it is the coat. The Caucasian Ovcharka has ancestry in cold and harsh Caucasus mountains, which is why they have longer and denser doublecoat. The Central Asian Ovcharka also has a doublecoat, but it is much shorter.
Both breeds are very very large. The breed standards of both dogs states minimum size requirements for both breeds and they are 64 cm and 45 kg for the Caucasian Ovcharka, which is 100 lbs and 25 inch and minimum size requirements for Central Asian Shepherd are 65 cm and 40 kg, which is 26 inch and 88 lbs. But both breeds can be much much larger than that and it is not uncommon for them to weigh over 100 kgs, which is 220 lbs.
So they have similar size, but in general, the Caucasian Ovcharka is the stockier breed, while the Central Asian has slightly more athletic appearance and it is leggier than Caucasian Shepherd.
Both breeds have similar lifespan around 10 or 11 years, which is pretty normal for dogs of this size and they are both very resilient dogs. They can suffer from some joint and bone problems, which is very typical for all the giant dogs.
It is also important to mention, that the two breeds are more and more similar together, which is due to migration of the native dogs between the adjacent geographic areas. It is very common for these two breeds to mix together.
The Lobito Herreno is a dog with wolf like and rustic appearance. It is a breed of strong constitution with athletic body, wedge shaped head, triangular and erect ears, tail that is set high and relatively small brown eyes.
The coat is pretty smooth and short, but it gets thicker and denser during winter and colder months. Usually the dogs coat is in the typical wolfs like gray color, but it can also be reddish, both with pale mask and light patches around the eyes. There can also be some white or light cream spots in the coat.
And what about the size? Well, on average, the Perro lobo herreno height is between 52-54 cm, which is 21-22 inch and weight between 18-22 kg, which is 40-49 lbs. Females are naturally slightly smaller than males, but the difference is not extremely huge.
Traditionally, these dogs were used to work with livestock animals. To herd them and also to protect them. But over the time, the need for livestock working dogs declined and most Lobito Herreno dogs turned into companion dogs. And they make amazing companions as well!
Even though they look like wolves, they should not have extremely high prey drive and they can be socialized to live with other pets in the family as well. They can also live with other dogs, or with smaller kids in the family, but of course, you should never leave any dog breed with a very young child unsupervised.
The Hierran Wolfdog is described as absolutely loyal, very active and playful, affectionate and curious dog breed. If they are provided with enough daily exercise, which is an absolute must and it can be done with daily longer walks, hikes, jogs, vigorous playtime or fun training sessions, than they are pretty calm and relaxed at home.
They are very friendly with people they know, but are typically suspicious towards strangers. But they should never be agressive without a reason and once they got to know the stranger, they will accept it. They can also be territorial.
As i already said, these dogs are highly energetic. They are also very very intelligent and they love fun traning sessions. They can learn almost all the tricks quickly and easily. Thanks to this, the intelligence, eagerness to please and high energy, they are excellent for various dog sports, like agility.
Overall, these dogs, that once were amazing herders, are today extraordinary companions, especially for active people and families.
The history and ancestry of this breed is rather unknown. There is no documentation about it, but there are two main theories about it. The first one say, that they naturally, over the time, evolved from the dogs already present in the Canary Islands from ancient times.
The other theory is more accepted, and it claims, that the ancestors of Lobito Herreño were brought to the Canarian El Hierro island with Castillian conquistadores at the start of the 15th century. But we will never know the exact history of this breed.
What we know for sure is, that they were further developed into the breed we have today by shepherds of Canary islands. They were living in largest numbers on the island of El Hierro, which is where they got their name.
The Lobito Herreño was most likely never bred for appearance and according to their breed standard, it was bred for its utilization, for its purpose, which was to be the best helper for the Shepherds of El Hierro.
Sadly, over the time, due to a decline in traditional shepherding, there was no longer need for these dogs, which caused a huge decline of this breeds population and they were brought to the verge of extinction. Today, it is estimated, that there are only lower hundreads of pure Perro lobo herreño dogs and it is very very rare breed and they are virtually unknown outside the Canary Islands.
Health and grooming
Generally, the Lobito Herreño is very tough and healthy breed with average lifespan around 13 years. It is very resiliant dog, that is not prone to any specific genetic health issues. Of course, just like all the larger dogs, they can sometimes suffer from joint and bone problems or bloating but it should not be extremely common with this dog. They can also suffer from the typical doggy issues, like some allergies or infections.
The care of Perro Lobo Herreño is quite simple. They can take care of their coat by themselves, but it is recommended to brush the coat in order to minimize the shedding, to remove all the loose and dead hair, to remove dirt from the coat and to redistribute natural oils all over it. No other grooming is required. Just like with any other dog breed, you should regularly check their eyes, ears, nails and teeth and clip them or clean them if needed.
When talking about working dogs from Germany, most people will think about the German Shepherd. But there are many other, different German landraces, traditionally used for working and especially for herding. Those are known as old German herding dogs, and the Kuhhund is one of them.
Kuhhund can be basically translated as a cow dog, which speaks for itself. It is a dog specialized to work with cattle. The other type of old German herding dogs is a Schafhunde, which is a sheepdog, but i will not talk about this type in this video.
The Kuhhund can be further divided into two types. The Westerwälder Kuhhund, which hails from Westerwald mountains and the Siegerländer Kuhhund, which originates from the Siegerland region.
The Kuhhund is very very old dog breed that was never bred for appearance. They were always bred mainly for working abilities and for their purpose. These dogs were used for centuries, at least for 700 years, to herd cows in hard terrain and in any weather. These dogs were already mentioned in writings from 1465. To be good for such a hard job, and herding cows definitely is a very hard job, the Kuhhund had to evolve into very endurant and tough dog which is pretty alert, quick, athletic and agile. It is said that a Kuhhund could manage a herd of cows that range up to 200 individuals.
Their temperament had to be persistent, independent, resilient and loyal. And even the Association of Old German Herding dogs describe the temperament of Kuhhund as precocious, intelligent, assertive, persistent, resilient, undemanding, affectionate and loyal. These dogs are true workers. They love to work. But they are also loving and affectionate family companions, of course they are. They will enjoy company of its owners, kids, or even other dogs or other pets, if socialized together from the puppyhood.
It is also very important to say, that this is rather high energy dog. If they are used for work, than they will satisfy their exercise needs during the work. But what if you have a Kuhhund as a companin pet?
Than you must provide the dog with several daily longer walks, hikes, jogs, swims, vigorous playtime or few fun training sessions. Every day! Without proper exercise, they will become bored, stressed and they might potentionally develop some unwanted behaviour such as destruction.
You can also try some dog sport with these dogs, as that will not only occupy their body but also their mind. These dogs will enjoy most of the typical dog sports and they are known to be very good for agility courses.
As i said earlier, the Kuhhund was bred mainly for its utilization, which is a reason, why the Kuhhund has not unified appearance, size, coat type, color, body type or face type. Every Kuhhund is slightly different.
On average the Kuhhund has a square built with height between 45-55 cm, which is 17-22 inch, relatively short and squat head, long and hairy tail and ears that are most often tilted, but they can be erect or folded as well.
The coat comes in many different structures and colors. Some are very hairy with dense coat, others can have curly coat. The most common color is brown and these dogs can be in any shade of brown, from light to dark. It is not unusual for them to have white spots and patches on their coat, typically on the chest, head, neck or legs. They can be either with or without black mask.
Sadly, even though the breed was quite popular back in the days, it is extremely rare today. It is estimated that there is only few dozens or lower hundreads of pure Kuhhunds in Germany and other few hundreads of Kuhhund crossbreeds. It is listed on the red list as extremely endangered animal. Other problem is, that most of the remaining Kuhhunds are related together, which makes the breeding more problematic. But the Kuhhund has unique characteristics, worth of preventing and that is what the Working Group for the breeding of old german herding dogs is trying to do! To preserve the breed. Lets hope they will be succesful!
Big eyes, human like expression, lively, playful and loyal temperament. That is the Brussels Griffon. But did you know, that it can be separated into three different breeds? The Petit Brabancon, Griffon Belge and Griffon Bruxellois.
The only true difference between the three breeds is their coat type and coloration. You probably noticed, that some Griffs have wiry coat and some smooth coat. The smooth coated type is known as Petit Brabancon and it can be either red, black or black and tan.
The other two breeds – Griffon Belge and Griffon Bruxellois – are wiry and rough coated and the difference between them is only the color. The Griffon Bruxellois is red haired, while the Griffon Belge comes in black or black and tan color.
But even though the only difference between the three breeds is their coat and color, they are recognized separately and they have separated breed standard in FCI – more specifically, they are recognized under breed standards no. 80, 81 and 82.
But for example in America, AKC recognizes all of them just as types of the same breed – the Brussels Griffon.
There is also one adittional difference, which is associated to the coat type and that is a difference in grooming and maintenance. While the smooth haired Petit Brabancon does not need almost any grooming and only brushing from time to time is recommended, the rough haired types 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 main ancestor of this breed is known as „Smousje“ and it was a wiry haired dog similar to todays Dutch Smoushond. The breed did not have smooth coated type, but later in 19th century, different imported toy dogs were crossbred into the breed. Those breeds included Pugs, King Charles Spaniels and some other breeds and that is how the modern Brussels Griffon was created and this crossbreeding is most likely the reason why the Brussels Griffon comes in different coat types.
Interesting fact is, that Brussels Griffons with different coat types can be born in the same litter. So even though you will breed two wiry haired Griffon Belge dogs together, you can have some smooth haired Petit Brabancons in the litter.
The word Griffon typically describes wiry or rough haired dogs from France or Belgium, which is why the smooth coated type is not called as Griffon, but Petit, which means small or tiny. The secondary breed names Brabancon, Belge or Bruxellois are geographical names associated with the breeds home country – Belgium.
In general all the Brussels Griffon types share the similar temperamental characteristics and they are typical loyal velcro dogs that want to be around their owners all the time. It is not a coach potatoe and the Brussels Griffon is very lively, adventurous, courageous and playful dog breed that will be always ready for any kind of outdoor adventure.
It is also very adaptable, affectionate and devoted companion. I can guarantee you, that you would never be bored with a Brussels Griffon. They can also make good partners for kids, dogs or other pets, especially if socialized together from the puppyhood.
When speaking about the appearance of these dogs, next to the coat, the most iconic appearance characteristic is their expressive face, very often described as human or monkey like. They have huge dark eyes, small ears set high on the head and flat brachycaphelic muzzle.
It is a very small dog breed 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.