The history of Portuguese Sheepdog is surrounded by mystery and there are several theories how these dogs originated. What we know for sure is, that these dogs come from Portugal from the region of Alentejo and Serra de Aires. The most popular theory suggest, that the main ancestor of Portuguese Sheepdog is Briard, brought to Portugal in the beginning of the 20th century by Count de Castro Guimaraes to herd his flock. He later crossbred his Briards with local herding dogs, so they can better withstand the Portuguese weather and that is how the first Portuguese Sheepdogs originated. Another popular theory suggest, that the Portuguese Sheepdog was developed from other herding breeds used in its home region, such as Pyrenean Shepherd or Catalan Sheepdog
The main purpose of Portuguese Sheepdog always was herding and they have great qualities for this purpose, because these dogs are alert, very intelligent, but also independent problem solvers, they are very lively, agile and quick, devoted and loyal to its shepherd, but also to its livestock. Throughout the history, these dogs were and still are sucesfully used for herding all kinds of animals, such as sheep, goats, horses, pigs or cows.
The Portuguese Sheepdog is extremely rare breed and it is very hard to find them outside Portugal. In the past, in 1970s, the breed become extremely rare and some believe that the breed was on the verge of extinction. In the end of 1970s group of breeders and owners banded together to bring back the breed and luckily the breed was saved from extinction, but it remained rare to these days.
Today, the Portuguese Sheepdog is not only used as herding dog, but also as a great family companion. These dogs make good fit for outdoor lovers, because they are always ready for any outdoor adventure. It can be long walks, hikes or jogs, it does not matter for them. These dogs are known for their always happy nature, lively and playful temperament and great loyalty. On the other hand, they are naturally suspicious towards strangers, but they should never be agressive without a reason. These dogs need quite a lot of exercise to stay healthy and happy and without enough exercise, they can develop some unwanted behaviour such as excessive barking.
5) Dog sports
Speaking of the exercise, it does not always need to be done by walking or jogging, because the Portuguese Sheepdog is a great adept for various dog sports. Of course, they can compete in herding trials, but also in agility, flyball, obedience, tracking or showmanship.
The Portuguese Sheepdog has a very descriptive name, it is a sheepdog from Portugal. Their spanish name cão da Serra de Aires literally means dog of Serra de Aires, which is a mountain near Montforte in the Alentejo region. The Portuguese Sheepdog also has one cute nickname, which is cão macaco, or Monkey dog, due to its physical appearance, but also thanks to its playful and inquisitive monkeyish nature.
This is medium sized and athletic dog with average height between 40-55 cm, which is 15-21 inch and weight is usually between 17-27 kg, which is 37-60 pounds. Females are naturally slightly smaller than males.
The first thing you will definitely notice about this breed is its long coat. It is a single coat with no undercoat and it has goat like texture. The coat can be either slightly wavy or straight. The coat is very distinctive on the dogs face, where it creates long beard, mustaches and eyebrows. Typical coat colours include yellow, chestnut, grey, fawn, wolf grey and black with tan marks. White hairs may be mixed in with the coat, but there should be no large white patches.
Speaking of the coat, it is important to mention the grooming and maintenance as well. It is important to regularly check the coat for tangles and either work through them with your fingers or use a comb. You should regularly brush their coat, but do not overbrush it, because it can damage the coat texture and the dog would loose its unique look. Just like with any other breed, you should regularly check the dogs ears, eyes, nails and teeth and clip them or clean them if needed.
There is not enough scientific studies about the breeds health, but it should usually be a healthy breed with average lifespan around 13 years. Just like any other breed in the world, even the Portuguese Sheepdog may suffer from some health issues, such as hip dysplasia, patellar luxation and it is said, that the breed is prone to ehrlichiosis transmitted by ticks.
The first ancestor of the Hungarian herding dogs came to the area of today Hungary with migrating Magyars and with their livestock from the area of Ural – Altay around the year 800. The breed that later evolved from this ancient herding dog is known as Puli, which was in 17th and 18th century most likely crossed with German Spitz, French Briard and possibly some other terrier dogs and the result of this crossbreeding was the Pumi. It is important to say, that the Pumi is not a result of planned breeding, but it evolved spontaneously by natural breeding.
2) Separate breed
The Pumi breed is first mentioned by its name in 1815, but it was not viewed as a separate breed, but rather as a regional variant of Puli. It was not until 1921, when the breed was officially recognized as a distinct breed, when Emil Raitsitz wrote a breed standard for Pumi and separated the Pumi and Puli breed. BTW, there is also third, closely related Hungarian sheepdog, which is named Mudi, which was separated from the Puli and Pumi in 1930s.
The main utilization of this breed is herding and they are still used for this purpose to this day. Very often they worked in company of large Hungarian livestock protector dogs like Komondor or Kuvasz, who were protecting the flock, and the Pumi would herd it. And they are naturally good at it, they are alert, quick, agile, endurant, very intelligent, but also independent. They also like to bark and sometimes they nip the livestock. All of these are very important traits for a succesfull herding dog. Sometimes, the Pumi might try to herd kids or other animals as well, but this is vastly influenced by early socialization.
Of course, the Pumi is not only a great herder, but also very good companion dog. It is well suited for active families, who will provide them with plenty of exercise and outdoor walks. But if they have enough exercise, than the Pumi is absolutely loving, loyal and affectionate dog breed who is very fun to be around. With proper socialization they can live with other dogs or pets in the family and they are good playful partners for older kids as well. Overall, this is excellent active family pet.
Thanks to the playful and positive nature of this breed, Hungarians sometimes nickname this dog as „the clown“, which also fits perfectly for the dogs tufted ears. And indeed, Pumi stays playful and active well into their late adulthood. Another name how this dog is sometimes named is Hungarian herding terrier, which is mostly thanks to the terrier like alertness, speed and terrier like body. And interesting fact is, that the plural form of Pumi is not Pumis, but Pumik.
The Pumi is squared, athletic dog breed with long head, semi erect ears, black nose and dark eyes, with average height between 40-45 cm, which is 16-18 inch and weight is usually between 10-13 kg, which is 22-29 lbs. Females are naturally slightly smaller than males.
One of the most distinctive feature of Pumi is definitely its unique wavy or curly coat. The coat is actually a combination of wavy and curly hair forming curls all over the body. It is a doublecoat which provides good protection against harsh weather. The Pumi can have various colors but must always be of one solid colour. Most commonly the Pumi is born black, but as it grows, it changes the color into grey. The adult Pumik can also be white, fawn or black, rarely brown or mottled.
Great fact is, that the Pumi is almost non shedding breed. They can shed a little, but its definitely nothing terrible. Thanks to that, they can be good fit for people suffering from allergies, as there is a chance that they will not trigger the allergy. But it is important to say, that there is no such thing as 100% hypoallergenic dog, as they always produce some dander and salive and you should always spend some time with the breed before getting it so you are sure it will not trigger the allergies.
Speaking of the coat and shedding, it is important to mention the maintenance as well and luckily, it is not terribly hard. The hair requires a relatively low maintenance, grooming by raking or combing about every two to three weeks, which will eliminate any tangling and matting. Just like with all dogs, you should also regularly check their eyes, ears, nails and teeth and clip them or clean them if needed.
The Pumi is usually pretty healthy dog breed with average lifespan around 13 or 14 years, which is quite good. Just like all the breeds, even the Pumi may suffer from some health issues, such as hip dysplasia, patellar luxation, lens luxation, different allergies or degenerative myelopathy.
The Norfolk Terrier can trace its history to the area in the East England known as East Anglia to the mid 1800s. We are not sure, what is the exact ancestry of this breed, but it is believed that Glen of Imaals, Dandie Dinmonts and Cairn Terriers, alongside with the Irish Terrier and local small red terriers played role in the breeds development. Throughout the history, this breed was known under some other names, like Cantab Terrier, Trumpington Terrier or in the USA as a Jones Terrier.
2) Norfolk and Norwich
For a long time, the Norfolk and Norwich Terriers were viewed as a single breed. The first breed standard for them was written in 1932 and it included two varieties – pricked and dropped ear type. Later, in 1964, the breed was separated into two different breeds. The pricked eared variety continued to be called as Norwich Terrier, while the dropeed ear type was from no one known as the Norfolk Terrier.
Even though the Norfolk Terrier looks like cuddly teddy bear, it is a lively hunter with true terrier spirit. Thanks to their low and short legged body, they were great for hunting foxes and badgers, but they were also used as great ratters. These dogs have great characteristics for hunting, they are brave, intelligent, but also independent, agile and lively, curious and they have higher prey drive and great senses. All these traits makes them very good at hunting.
The Norfolk Terrier is not only a great hunter, but also affectionate and sociable companion dog. These dogs are pack animals and their pack is their family. These dogs are softer than majority of other terriers, which is why they are also great fit for living with kids and they typically do not have problems with other dogs in the family as well. Of course, other smaller household pets might be problematic, due to the Norfolk Terriers higher prey drive, but this can be vastly influenced by early socialization. Overall, this is amazing affectionate and loving family pet.
Even though quite active, the Norfolk Terrier is also very adaptable breed, which means that they will need daily exercise to stay healthy and happy, but they will adapt to its owners and they will enjoy almost any exercise with them. It can be longer walks, hikes, good playtime or fun training sessions. Majority of Norfolk Terriers also like water and they enjoy swimming. It is important to regularly exercise your dog, otherwise, they may develop some unwanted behaviour, like digging or excessive barking.
The Norfolk Terrier is one of the smallest of all terriers and it has short legs and compact and strong body. The average height is between 23-25 cm, which is 9-10 inch and weight is usually around 5 kg, which is 11 pounds. There are no extreme size differences between males and females.
The official FCI breed standard describes the Norfolk Terriers coat as hardy, wiry, straight and lying close to the body. The coat should be longer and rougher on neck and shoulders. On the other hand, the hair on head and ears are shorter and smoother. You can find this breed in all shades of red, wheaten, black and tan, or grizzle
Just like majority of terriers, even the Norfolk Terrier likes to bark, which can actually makes them good watchdogs, as they will most likely alert you when they will hear or see something suspicious around your home. But of course, due to their small size, they were never used for actual protection and guarding.
This is doublecoated dog and just like all the doublecoated dog, they do shed some deal of fur all year long. They do shed more heavily twice a year. Because of that, regular brushing and combing is very beneficial for the coat and it will reduce the shedding. It is also recommended to hand strip the coat approximatelly twice a year. It is better to hand stripping the coat, rather than clipping it. Just like with any other breed, you should regularly check the dogs ears, eyes, nails and teeth and clip them or clean them if needed.
The Norfolk Terrier is generally healthy and hardy breed with a lifespan between 13-15 years. Of course, just like any other dog breed, they may suffer from some health issues, which might include mitral valve disease, cataracts, patellar luxation or hip dysplasia.
The first mention of the German Spitz comes from German literature from 1400s, but the breed is most likely much older than that. It is believed, that this breed evolved from Nordic Spitzes, which were also ancestors of dogs like Finnish and Swedish Lapphunds and that spread throughout the Northern Europe with Vikings. Than the German Spitz most likely developed in the area of Pomerania, which is located on the borders of today Poland and Germany on the shore of Baltic Sea.
2) Two sizes
There are different breed standards for this breed and they provide different information about the breeds size. Most often, the breed is divided in to two size categories, the Klein, or small German Spitz with height between 23-29 cm, which is 9-12 inch and Mittel or Medium German Spitz with height between 30-38 cm, which is 12-15 inch. The FCI also recognizes the Giant Spitz with height between 40-55 cm, which is 15-22 inch.
Today, the German Spitz is most often kept as a companion and family pet, but throughout its history, these dogs were most often kept on farms where their duties were protecting and herding. And these dogs actually makes very good watchdogs or guards, because they are naturally alert and they have protective instict. But, they should never be agressive without a reason. These dogs also traveled with fishermans on boats, where they were guarding the goods and in the 18th century, these dogs were also popular among nobility and for example English King George I kept several German Spitzes.
As i mentioned earlier, today, these dogs are most often kept as family pets, and they do make excellent playful, lively and loyal companions! German Spitzes are definitely very fun to be around. These dogs are also quite smart, but they also can be little bit independent, which can make the training little bit challenging, but they are definitely capable of learning all the basic obedience commands easily. Even though reserved and alert towards strangers, these dogs truly love its whole family, including kids, but of course, the kid should be old enough to know how to treat dogs gently.
The German Spitz has all the typical Spitz characteristics and you can tell on the first sight, that this is a true Spitz! The appearance characteristics include thick and dense coat, fox like head, tail, that curls over the body, small, triangular and erect ears and dark eyes, which gives the dog smart and alert expression.
The first thing you will most likely notice about this breed is its beautiful fluffy coat. It is a dense double coat consisting of soft woolly undercoat and long harsh textured perfectly straight top coat covering the whole body. The coat is even thicker around the neck and forequarters. These dogs come in many different colors, most common would be white, black, brown, orange and grey, but they can be in almost any color.
The German Spitz is quite vocal dog breed and it is important to be prepared for it. They just like to bark and thanks to that, they are good watchdogs, as you can be sure they will alert you when they will hear or see something suspicious. In the past, they also got a nickname Mistbeller, or dung-hill barker, for their tendencies to sit somewhere high like a hill and keep watch and bark if needed.
8) Prey drive
The German Spitz is a hunter at heart and majority of them have higher prey drive, which is why they are not the best partners for smaller household pets, as they just might to chase them. Of course, this is vastly influenced by early socialization. Because they like chasing things a lot, they just love different games with their people, where they can chase different toys.
The coat of German Spitz is very abundant, but it does not require as much grooming as you might think. A quick brush couple times a week accompanied with a proper brush once a week should be enough to keep the coat in great condition. Of course, these dogs do shed and regular brushing will not only keep the coat clean and tangle free, but it will also minimize the shedding, but it is impossible to stop it. Just like with all dogs, you should also regularly check the dogs ears, eyes, nails and teeth and clean them or clip them if needed.
This is generally pretty healthy dog breed with average lifespan between 13-15 years. The lifespan depends a lot on the size of your German Spitz and as usual, smaller dogs live little bit longer than larger dogs. Of course, they may suffer from some health issues, just like any other breed in the world and those might include epilepsy, patellar luxation, collapsing trachea or progressive retinal atrophy.
The Karelian Bear Dog is a very old breed and it is believed that they evolved from the Komi dog and that came west from the Ural mountains with migrating Komi people or Zyrian people. Later, the breed spread into the area of Lake Ladoga, where the basic stock of Karelian Bear Dog originated and where they were succesfully used for hunting large game.
2) Almost extinct
The selective breeding of this breed started in 1936, but only shortly after that, Second World War and Winter War started which almost decimated the breed. Many dogs were killed and many many other were released into the wild. The breeding started once again in 1945, when 43 pure Karelian Bear dogs were found and gathered and that were used for new breeding. All the Karelian Bear dogs we have today can trace their history to these dogs from 1945. Luckily the breed survived and today it is quite common in Finland where it is regarded as national treasure.
Even today, these dogs are working as hunters in Finland and they are amazing at it! Their fearless and courageous personality combined with quick reflexes, great athleticisim, independence and good problem solving ability make them very popular for hunting large game such as small black bears, wild boar or moose. These dogs are also known for its amazing sharp sense of smell, sense of orientation, persistance and confidence, all important traits for succesfull hunter.
When the Karelian Bear Dog is not hunting, it creates a loyal companion for its owner and family. These dogs are able to stand by his owner’s side in any situation. It is not overly affectionate dog, just like some other breeds, but it definitely love its owners. These dogs are naturally alert and reserved with strangers, but they should never be agressive without a reason. It is not a dog for everyone, the Karelian Bear dog definitely needs experienced owner who will properly, firmly and patiently train them and socialize them from the puppyhood. Some individuals can also be extremely territorial, which is why they can make very good protectors and guard dogs as well.
The Karelian Bear Dog is a powerful, muscular and sturdy dog breed, but it is not a heavy dog, they are also very athletic and agile and they are little bit longer than tall. The average height is between 49-60 cm, which is 19-24 inch and weight is usually between 20-30 kg, which is 44-66 pounds. The females are naturally slightly smaller than males.
These dogs are used for hunting outdoors in cold Finland for long hours, so it is only logical, that they have very practical thick doublecoat, which fits perfectly for this purpose. The breed has a coat of straight, stiff guard hairs and a fine, soft, thick undercoat and the color is black and white with clearly-defined markings. Sometimes, the coat can have slight shade of brown as well.
Not many dogs we have these days are capable of surviving on their own in wild nature, but if there are some, than the Karelian Bear Dog is most likely one of them. They still possess the ability to survive in the wild without human intervention and if they would not be socialized with people during their life, they can easily become feral dogs.
8) Bear control
Thanks to the breeds experiences with bears, they were used for one interesting purpose in the USA and Japan, where they have been used for bear control. To be more specific in the American Yosemite and Glacier national parks and in Karuizawa, Japan, where they reduced the number of bear incidents from 255 in 2006 to four in 2017.
The all weather coat of Karelian bear dog is not hard for grooming and maintenance. It is a very very dense doublecoat which sheds some deal all year long and if you want to minimize the shedding, than regular brushing is essential, but it is impossible to stop the shedding. No other grooming is necessary. Just like with all dogs, you should regularly check the dogs ears, eyes, nails and teeth and clip them or clean them if needed.
One of the reasons why these dogs are quite popular in Finland and some other Scandinavian countries is their exceptional health and longetivity. Of course, they still may suffer from some health issues, which may include hip dysplasia or eye problems, but none of those are extremely common with this breed. The lifespan is around 13 years, which is quite good for dog of this size.