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Showing posts with label Italian breed. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Italian breed. Show all posts

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Everything about your Lagotto Romagnolo

Everything about your Lagotto Romagnolo
  If you’re thinking Italian sports car, think again. This curly-coated dog is an Italian truffle hunter who is generally smart, energetic and fun-loving. The medium-sized Lagotto requires regular trims at home or by a professional groomer.

  The appearance of the Lagotto can vary, and generally have floppy ears, and large round eyes in any shade color ranging from golden to a dark brown. Their water friendly coat is very thick and curly. Solid colors include off-white, golden, or brown. They can also be found white with brown or orange patches or roan. It is a medium to large sized dog that is hypoallergenic, which also means it almost never sheds. A Lagotto often displays white markings that grow out in adult status.
  The Lagotto is made to work. They generally have sharp senses, though their eyesight is more sensitive to motion than detail. They are very loyal and loving, making them the perfect family companion. Some are easy to train, and many get along with other animals quite easily if they're socialized as puppies.  Some Lagotti are excellent swimmers, but some will only paddle. Some will retrieve from lakes, streams and other bodies of water without hesitation. They are lovable family pets and tend to like attention. Lagotti love to dig; many owners give them a sandbox, or have a designated place to allow them satisfy their digging urges. They also love to play seeking games and have very active, and clever minds.

Quick Facts
  • A Lagotto’s coat can be off-white, white with brown or orange patches, brown roan, various shades of solid brown, with or without white, or orange, with or without white. Some dogs have a brown mask or tan markings.
  • The Lagotto is the only dog specifically bred to hunt truffles.
  • Dogs resembling Lagotti appear in paintings dating to the 15th century.    
Breed standards
AKC group: Sporting
UKC group: Gun Dog
Average lifespan: 14 to 16 years
Average size: 24 to 35 pounds
Coat appearance: Long and Water-Repellent
Coloration: Solid colors including: off-white, golden or brown
Hypoallergenic: Yes
Best Suited For: Families with children, active singles, houses with yards, farms and rural areas
Temperament: Loyal, loving, active, eager to please
Comparable Breeds: Portuguese Water Dog, Poodle

  It's thought the Lagotto Romagnolo has been around for centuries having been bred in Italy as a water dog and retriever. The breed has been well-documented throughout history with paintings depicting similar looking, handsome dogs dating as far back as the 1400's. As such, the Lagotto is considered to be one of the most ancient breeds with many other more recent water dog breeds being descendants of the Lagotto.
  The origins of the breed can be narrowed down to the lowlands and marshlands of Comacchio and Ravenna where they were highly prized retrievers and gundogs throughout the ages. Today, the Lagotto remains popular in their native Italy both as working dogs and family pets thanks to their charming looks and loyal, affectionate natures.
  The Lagotto Romagnolo was recognised as a breed in its own right by the Italian Kennel Club in 1991 and their popularity elsewhere in the world has led to more breeders producing good examples of the Lagotto in many countries which includes here in the UK. However, very few puppies are bred and registered with The Kennel Club every year which means that anyone who wants to share their home with a Lagotto would need to register their interest with breeders and agree to being put on a waiting list.

  Althougth the Lagotto is first and foremost a working dog, they do make wonderful family pets as long as they are given the right amount of daily exercise and mental stimulation to keep them busy and happy both physically and mentally. They are known to be exceptionally good natured around children and love nothing more than to be part of a family.
  They are best suited to people who lead active, outdoor lives and who would like to have an energetic, intelligent canine companion at their side. They are not the best choice for first time owners because they need to be handled and trained by people who are familiar with this type of dog’s specific needs. The Lagotto does boast having quite a high prey drive having extremely good hearing as well as a very keen sense of smell. They can also spot their prey in the distance which means that when they are being trained, particular attention has to be paid to the "recall" command right from the word go.
  They love being in and around water which means care has to be taken as to where and when they are allowed to run off their leads just in case a dog decides to jump in any of the more dangerous water courses. They also love to dig which can become a problem if dogs are allowed to roam around a garden which often sees a Lagotto happily digging up flower beds and lawns.
  Lagottos form very strong bonds with their owners and as such they like to be with them and are never happy when left to their own devices for any length of time which could see a dog developing some unwanted and destructive behaviours as a way of relieving their stress. They often suffer separation anxiety when they are left alone for long periods of time.

Health Problems
  Lagottos are a generally healthy breed and do not suffer from any major hereditary health issues. Some breeding lines are known to have problems with hip dysplasia and epilepsy.

  As with any other breed, Lagottos need to be groomed on a regular basis to make sure their coats and skin are kept in top condition. They also need to be given regular daily exercise to ensure they remain fit and healthy. On top of this, dogs need to be fed good quality food that meets all their nutritional needs throughout their lives.

Living Conditions
  Thanks to its small size, the Lagotto would do fine in an apartment if properly exercised. Where you live doesn’t matter, as long as you can walk the dog and keep it active, at least 3-4 times a day. If you do have a yard, and like your flowers…well, then you have to fence in your flowers. In the Lagotto’s nature lies a desire to dig. It loves to dig big holes and then stick its head in the hole. These dogs can dig a big hole in matter of seconds!

  The Lagotto is an intelligent dog and one that thrives on being around people loving nothing more than to please. As such, in the right hands and environment, they are easy to train and thoroughly enjoy the one-to-one attention they are given during a training session.
It's important to teach puppies the "basics" as soon as they arrive home and to start their training in earnest once they have had all their jabs. Socialising puppies early in their lives helps them grow up to be more outgoing, confident characters and enrolling them into puppy classes is the best way to get their training off to a good start in a safe and controlled environment.
  The key to successfully training a Lagotto is to make their training sessions as interesting and as diverse as possible and to indulge their natural retrieving instincts rather than to try and curb them. Younger dogs find it hard to stay focussed if there is too much repetition in a training session and the same can be said if the session lasts for too long. As such, shorter more interesting training sessions are much better than longer and more repetitive ones.

Exercise Requirements
  Lagottos are born to work hard and require rigorous, daily exercise. They make excellent hiking and jogging partners. Lagottos also love to swim and often take to the water naturally given the opportunity. It is also important to remember that as a working breed, Lagottos require a “meaningful” and mentally stimulating task that they can engage in each day to live happy and fulfilled lives. This can be something as simple as a game of fetch or a session of hide and seek.

  There are conflicting ideas on how to groom this breed. Some say they should be brushed regularly and others believe their coat should be allowed to grow to a naturally fluffy coat.   The lagotti coat gets matted easily, and the mats should be carefully pulled apart without tearing the coat. It is recommended that the coat be cut down at least once every year.
If the coat is kept trimmed to approximately 1.5 inches all over the body and slightly longer on the head, it will be easier to maintain. Hair on the ears should be trimmed around the edges to the leather. If the ears show irritation or buildup of dirt and earwax, the hairs from the ear canal should be gently plucked out regularly. Some coats matt more easily than others. If left untended, Lagotti hair will grow to cover the eyes, meaning the hair around their eyes should be clipped periodically to ensure that they can see.

Children and Other Pets
  The Lagotto Romagnolo forms very strong bonds with their families and this includes the children in a household. They thrive in a family environment and thoroughly enjoy being involved in everything that goes on around them. They are very gentle and good natured around children although any interaction between toddlers and a dog should always be well supervised by an adult to make sure playtime does not end up getting too boisterous.
  When well socialised from a young enough age, the Lagotto generally gets on with other dogs they meet and if they have grown up with a family cat in the home, they usually get on well together. However, if a Lagotto meets any other cats, they would think nothing of chasing them off. As with other breeds, it's best to be careful when they are around smaller animals and pets just to be on the safe side.

Is the Lagotto Romagnolo the Right Breed for you?
High Maintenance: Grooming should be performed often to keep the dog's coat in good shape. Occasional trimming or stripping needed.
Minimal Shedding: Recommended for owners who do not want to deal with hair in their cars and homes.
Easy Training: The Lagotto Romagnolo is known to listen to commands and obey its owner. Expect fewer repetitions when training this breed.
Very Active: It will need daily exercise to maintain its shape. Committed and active owners will enjoy performing fitness activities with this breed.
Good with Kids: This is a suitable breed for kids and is known to be playful, energetic, and affectionate around them.

Did You Know?
  True to his truffle-hunting heritage, the Lagotto loves to dig. Be prepared to have him “help” you with your landscaping efforts.
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Thursday, November 9, 2017

Everything about your Spinone Italiano

Everything about your Spinone Italiano
  Gentle and docile, this ancient all-purpose hunting breed can be good with kids and other dogs. The Spinone Italiano is affectionate, devoted and has a sense of humor. He can rock as a family dog or jogging companion. The downside: a wet beard in your lap after he drinks.
  We’re not talking an Italian dessert here. The Italian Spinone is a pointing breed with versatile hunting skills and a calm, easygoing temperament. He works slowly and methodically and is noted for his wiry, bramble-repelling “spino” coat, from which he takes his name. This is a large dog, weighing 60 to 85 pounds.

  Also known as the Spinone, Italian Spinone or Italian Griffon, the Spinone Italiano looks more like a tired old man than the rugged pointer that it is. Bred in Italy as a specialist hunting dog, the Spinone is as intelligent as it is strong and has almost human-like eyes which lend to its gentle and almost pensive appearance.
  Spinones are strong boned and solidly built with powerful muscles which allow it to navigate almost any terrain. Its body is covered in a thick, wiry coat which enables it to tolerate a wide range of environments. These characteristics make the Spinone Italiano an ideal hunting dog, a purpose which the breed is still used for today. The Spinone is also a highly versatile breed and can be used in showing, agility, obedience and therapy work.
  Spinones are a very gentle and devoted breed of dog and live to please their owners. They are highly affectionate and get along extremely well with children and other pets. Their temperament is also fairly easier going that other hunting breeds.

Other Quick Facts
  • The Spinone is a muscular dog with a squarish body, solid and powerful. He has a unique profile with a long head; yellowish-brown or darker eyes depending on his coat color; a bulbous and spongy looking nose with large, open nostrils; triangular ears that hang down; and a gentle, intelligent expression. His docked tail is carried horizontally or down, flicking from side to side  while he works.
  • The Spinone’s skin is protected by a dense, wiry, weather-resistant coat. The same coat protects his face, with stiff hair forming eyebrows, a mustache and beard to help prevent lacerations from briars and bushes. The coat comes in solid white, white and orange, orange roan, with or without orange markings, white with brown markings, and brown roan, with or without brown markings. The brown color should be a chestnut shade, described as “monk’s habit.”
  • This breed likes to jump and dig, so he needs a securely fenced yard with an area he can call his own.
Breed standards
AKC group: Sporting
UKC group: Gun Dog Breeds
Average lifespan:  10 to 12 years
Average size: 61 to 85 pounds
Coat appearance: Dense, Thick, and Wire
Coloration: Acceptable variants  are solid white, white with orange markings, orange roan with or without orange markings, white with brown markings, and brown roan with or without brown markings. 
Hypoallergenic: No
Best Suited For: Families with children, active singles, houses with yards, hunters
Temperament: Gentle, docile, loyal, friendly
Comparable Breeds: German Wirehaired Pointer

  The breed is believed to have been developed in the Piedmont region of Italy. As the Spinone is a very ancient breed , it is not known exactly what the origins of the breed are; there are many different theories. Some of these claim that the Spinone could have originated in Italy, France, Spain, Russia, Greece, or Celtic Ireland.
  Some people familiar with the history of the breed claim that the Spinone descended from the now-extinct Spanish Pointer, whilst others claim that it was the ancient Russian Setter that is responsible for the breed we know today. An even more popular theory is that Greek traders brought coarse-haired setters to Italy during the height of the Roman empire, where the dogs were then crossed with various others and the modern Spinone eventually emerged.
In his Camera degli Sposi (15th century),
Andrea Mantegna depicts a Spinone,
 Rubino, as a symbol of loyalty. 
  The French claim that the Spinone has descended from crosses of several French pointing breeds, whilst the Italians believe the Spinone is the ancestor of the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon, the German Wirehaired Pointer, and the Pudelpointer. Any one of these claims could be true; perhaps several of them are correct.
  During the Second World War, the Spinone became close to extinct. Both the war and the fact that Italian hunters had begun using other breeds  in the hunt, whereas before it was primarily the Spinone. Many breeders had to resort to crossing the Spinone with other wire-haired breeds, such as the Boulet, Wirehaired Pointing Griffon and German Wirehaired Pointer.
  The breed was not officially known as "Spinone" until the early 19th century. Before then, some areas knew the breed as the "Spinoso". The breed may have been named after an Italian thorn bush, the spino, which was a favorite hiding place for small game because for larger animals it was practically impenetrable. Only thick-skinned, coarse-haired animals could fight through the branches unharmed to locate the game. The Spinone was the breed most capable of doing so, and, perhaps, therefore the name was formed.
  Today the Bracco Italiano is the most popular hunting dog in Italy, although the Spinone is still common. The Bracco is a racier, higher energy dog, while the Spinone excels at hunting close or in dense cover, and in retrieving from water.
  The Duchess of Northumberland has a spinone, called Fuzzy.

  As puppies, Spinone Italianos are rowdy, rambunctious and full of energy. As adults, they mature into quiet, dignified companions who generally make themselves seen and not heard. They are reserved around strangers, but come to life in the outdoors. Spinones are sturdy hunting companions and make excellent hiking and jogging buddies. They get alone well with children, when raised alongside the little ones and don't mind other family dogs. For families who have experience with dogs and love the outdoors, Spinone Italianos make excellent pets.

  The Spinone Italiano, which has an average lifespan of 12 to 14 years, is susceptible to major health concerns such as canine hip dysplasia (CHD), and minor issues like otitis externa, ectropion, cerebellar ataxia, and gastric torsion. Allergies and elbow dysplasia may also be seen on occasion in these dogs. Routine hip exams are recommended as the dogs grow older.

  Brushing and combing the Italiano is important, and occasional hand-stripping helps to clear the feet and face of dirt. The breed is adaptable to both temperate and cold weather. Regular exercise in the form of running or long hours of walking is essential for the Italiano breed. It also loves to spend time with its human family.

Living Conditions
  Content within a fenced yard, this large dog is nevertheless capable of jumping very high. The occasional one is a tunneler. Talk to breeders about secure fencing.

  For experienced trainers, Spinones are fairly easy to train. They are not dominant or overbearing, but can be quite stubborn. Novice trainers may grow frustrated or be inclined to resort to harsh treatment or discipline – which is the wrong approach to training this breed. Spinones need strong, consistent leadership but should never be punished or physically corrected, as this will cause them to shut down and become even more resistant to training and boundaries.
  Spinones are reserved dogs who need extensive socialization as puppies to help them come out of their shells. If not properly introduced to new people, new situations and other animals, a Spinone can be very difficult to live with. When properly socialized, he may still be cautious around strangers, but will always be polite and dignified.

Activity Requirements
  Spinone Italianos need a lot of vigorous exercise to remain healthy, happy and even-tempered. They are built for hunting and can withstand harsh terrain, hours in the sun and sopping wet conditions. Couch potatoes should not consider this breed, as they are much better suited for hunters and people who enjoy the outdoors. In the hunting field Spinones are versatile, tracking pointing and retrieving on land and water. When not hunting,   Spinones enjoy walking, jogging and long hikes.
 Spinones are far to large and need too much exercise to be cooped up in an apartment.   These are country dogs who need plenty of room to run, roam, romp and whenever possible, to swim.

  The Spinone has a dense, wiry coat that resists weather and protects him from brush and debris. As he has no undercoat, he needs only occasional brushing and hand stripping to remove dead hair. For stripping your Spinone’s coat, you can use either a stripping knife  or your bare hands. Your breeder can show you proper technique, and how to tell how much hair needs to be stripped. Because of his harsh coat, he will only need a bath if he gets into something really gross.
  You may want to keep a hand towel close by when your Spinone gets a drink, because afterward his beard will drip water all over the place.
  Keep your Spinone’s ears clean and dry, and trim his nails and brush his teeth regularly with a vet-approved pet toothpaste. Good dental hygiene promotes general health and will also give your Spinone good breath. Start grooming him at an early age so he becomes used to the process and accepts it willingly.

Is the Spinone Italiano the Right Breed for you?
Low Maintenance: Infrequent grooming is required to maintain upkeep. Occasional trimming or stripping needed.
Minimal Shedding: Recommended for owners who do not want to deal with hair in their cars and homes.
Moderately Easy Training: The Spinone Italiano is average when it comes to training. Results will come gradually.
Fairly Active: It will need regular exercise to maintain its fitness. Trips to the dog park are a great idea.
Good with Kids: This is a suitable breed for kids and is known to be playful, energetic, and affectionate around them.

Did You Know?
  The Spinone is a versatile Italian pointing breed with stamina and patience. He excels at hunting on any terrain, including being an excellent retriever, but given enough exercise can be perfectly happy as a companion dog.

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Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Everything about your Volpino Italiano

Everything about your Volpino Italiano
  Similar in size and appearance to the Pomeranian, the Volpino Italiano is a much rarer breed. Developed in ancient Italy, this dog breed was loved by royalty and peasants alike as it is very friendly and energetic.
  This small Spitz breed has charmed Italian royalty and peasants alike since at least the 15th century, if not earlier. He has the characteristic double coat, prick ears, wedge-shaped head and upturned tail of the Nordic breeds. While he tends to love people and is often playful and alert, be aware: He can be a barker.

  The Volpino Italiano is Italy’s contribution to the Spitz, or Nordic, family of dogs. Although he’s rarely seen in the United States, if you do spot one, he will most likely be adorned in white fur . His coat may also come in fawn, red, black or champagne, but those colors are uncommon.
  Generally alert and intelligent, the Volpino tends to be a good watchdog, barking to alert you of the presence of people on your property. He can be wary of strangers, sharply registering his alarm when he encounters new people or dogs on walks. Even so, this snowball of cuteness will draw the admiration of people wanting to get to know him.
  If you are looking for a small but generally active dog that can potentially excel at dog sports such as agility, nose work and rally, this typical ball of energy is one to consider.

Quick Facts
  • The Volpino is often mistaken for a Pomeranian or Miniature American Eskimo, but he is a distinct breed. Differences can be seen in the head shape and size, with Volpinos being slightly larger than Poms.
  • The Volpino is a rare breed with only 3,000 or so in the world. Most are found in Italy, but other countries where they’ve made their homes include the Scandinavian nations, Great Britain, the United States and Canada.
  • Queen Victoria is said to have brought home a pair of Volpinos from Florence, Italy, in 1888, but she contributed to the breed’s misidentification by referring to them as toy Pomeranians.
Breed standards
FCI group: European Spitz #195
UKC group: Northern Breed
Average lifespan: 14 to 16 years
Average size: 9 to 14 pounds
Coat appearance: Thick, long, dense and fluffy
Coloration: white, black, tan and red colours
Hypoallergenic: No

  Volpino Italiano, being a direct descendant of the Spitz breed of dogs, has been in existence for more than 5000 years, as revealed from records. In fact, several paintings and artifacts of the 1500s, depict a similar breed having erect ears and white, curled tails. Being a favorite among the ladies, its popularity in the Italian royalty persisted for over centuries. Queen Victoria had many Volpinos in her possession which she had brought on her visit to Italy, White Turi, Bipo, Lena and Linda being some of them.
  Though small in size, it was used as a guard dog assigned with the task of alerting the bigger breeds at the sight of an intruder. In spite of its long and eventful history, it became popular outside of Italy, not before the 1880s. It obtained recognition from the FCI in 1903, but was on the verge of extinction in the second half of the 20th century, with only five Volpino Italiano registered in the year 1965. Several initiatives were taken for its revival in 1984 by Enrico Franceschetti as well as the Italian National Kennel Club (ENCI).
At present, they are still categorized as a rare breed with only 4000 dogs present in total. Though they are majorly concentrated in Italy, their breeding has been taking place at present in 15 countries including Brazil, Russia, Holland, Denmark, Ireland, Sweden, Greece, Hungary, U.K., U.S.A, Holland, Finland, and Canada.

  The Volpino makes a good watchdog, and some can even be used as gun-dogs (bird dogs) if trained properly. They will make extremely active, affectionate pets.
These energetic, lively and active dogs have a loyal and affectionate nature, bonding well with the members of their house, thus emerging as a good family dog.
In spite of its closeness to its family, it is not too clingy and can move around independently.   However, it longs for the affection and attention of its loved ones.
If their watching ability is channelized in a proper way, they can make for good watch and even gun dogs.
  They mingle well with kids, especially those who can handle them in a matured and tactful way.
  The perfect Volpino puppy doesn’t spring fully formed from the whelping box. He’s a product of his background and breeding. Look for a puppy whose parents have nice personalities and who has been well socialized from an early age.

  The basic well being and health of the Volpino Italiano breed are far better than with most dogs. However they are not immune to genetic and other diseases.
  As of mid-2013, the greatest threat facing this race is the genetic mutation of the eye lens called primary lens luxation (PLL). This is an extremely painful disease that manifests itself when the zonal cords holding the lens in place weaken and break at a genetically pre-determined time (usually about 4 to 8 years old). Once the zonal cords break, the lens begins to move into the interior of the eye increasing the pressure in the eye and causing the animal great pain. Because of the expense in removing the lens or the eyes, the animal is usually euthanized.

  The long and dense coat of this breed will need regular brushing to keep it in tiptop condition and maintain its beautiful appearance.
  The Volpino Italiano is pleasingly independent in nature but with its intelligence and human oriented nature, it is generally easy to train. Harsh training methods will not suit this breed and it should be trained in a firm yet gentle manner.
  Because of the long and bushy coat, this dog breed requires weekly coat brushing and regular bathing. The Volpino Italiano requires a small amount of daily exercise.

  Volpino Italiano is easily trainable. Because they are very active, they can easily learn new tricks. Too much time should not be given to them because if they sense they can control you they will easily take advantage of it. The negative aspect of their intelligence is that they can be manipulative and very hard to control later. In the process of training him, you need a lot of positive reinforcement and you will definitely succeed. They should not be trained as watchdogs since they inherit the trait but unlike other breeds, they do not show any aggressiveness in their character.

Activity Requirements 
  Since the dog is active, he requires a lot of time to exercise and to play. Additionally, they are problem solvers so if they do not find enough activity they can be very destructive. They must be kept busy always. They are recommended to be kept in homes with fenced compounds with much room to run about. If you keep the dog in an apartment, he will become bored and stressed hence the best families to keep them are the ones staying in a compound.

Behavioral Traits 
  He tends to bark a lot especially when left alone. To some neighbors are not comfortable with noise, the barking can annoy them and they will not cope up with high-peached dogs produced by these breeds of dogs. The training can help them to stop barking at command but the desire to start barking cannot be removed out them. Because they love company, separation can really affect them.

  The Volpino has a double coat — a soft, dense undercoat and a topcoat of rough, protective guard hairs. A ruff around the neck and a furry tail add to his beauty.
  The Volpino sheds, so brush him once or twice a week, with plenty of petting in between, to remove dead hair and help keep it off your clothing and furniture.
  You may also want to trim the hair on the feet between the pads and toes to give the dog a neat appearance. Of course, it’s important to keep the eyes and ears clean, too.
How often you bathe a Volpino depends on personal preference. If he spends a lot of time on your furniture, you can bathe him weekly if you use a mild veterinary shampoo or you can give him a bath only as needed. Be sure you comb out any mats or tangles before bathing him.
  The rest is basic care. Trim the nails every couple of weeks or as needed. Brush the teeth often — with a vet-approved pet toothpaste — for good overall health and fresh breath.

Is the Volpino Italiano the Right Breed for you?
Moderate Maintenance: Regular grooming is required to keep its fur in good shape.
Moderate Shedding: Routine brushing will help. Be prepared to vacuum often!
Good with Kids: This is a suitable breed for kids and is known to be playful, energetic, and affectionate around them.

Did You Know?
  The Volpino takes his name from the Latin word “vulpes,” meaning fox, a reference to the breed’s foxy appearance.
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Monday, September 25, 2017

Everything about your Bergamasco Shepherd

Everything about your Bergamasco Shepherd
  The Bergamasco Shepherd, also known as the Bergamasco Sheepdog and the Cane da Pastore Bergamasco, is a large herding dog with incredibly long eyelashes. Here is what you need to know about these shaggy pooches.

  Patient and quiet, this ancient Italian sheepherder is protective and makes an excellent watchdog. He is not aggressive, but is alert and watches strangers keenly. His work ethic is second to none.
  The Bergamasco is gentle with his family, and, in the absence of a flock, his primary job is to protect them. He is alert, always ready to bark an alarm or to step in and protect if he feels it’s necessary. These are great qualities, but it’s essential to teach him from puppyhood when it’s okay to exercise his protective nature and when to let you take charge. Early socialization and training are a necessary part of his upbringing to prevent him from becoming overly suspicious or fearful of anything new or different.
  If you want a dog that will always obey you without question, the Bergamasco is probably not the right choice. He will respond to kind, firm, consistent training, but he can be independent and self-sufficient.
  The Bergamasco will accept strangers once he has been introduced to them. If raised together, he gets along well with other pets.
  While you might think of him as an outdoor dog, nothing could be farther from the truth. Bergamascos are devoted to their people. They should have access to a securely fenced yard, but when the family is home, the Bergamasco should be with them.

Other Quick Facts
  • When you look at a Bergamasco, you will see a muscular dog with a large head whose slightly rectangular body is covered in a thickly matted coat made up of three types of hair. The hair on the head hangs over his large oval brown eyes, and he has a calm, attentive expression. His thick tail hangs down, curving slightly upward at the end.
  • The Bergamasco’s coat comes in shades of gray and, rarely, solid black.
Breed standards
AKC group: Herding Group
UKC group: Pastoral
Average lifespan: 13-15 years
Average size: 55 to 85 pounds
Coat appearance: Dense, Fine, Harsh and Rough, Long, and Water-Repellent
Coloration: This breed comes in all shades of silver, black and gray, including merle.
Hypoallergenic: Yes
Comparable Breeds: Polish Lowland Sheepdog, Puli

  The Bergamasco is an ancient sheep herding dog breed with roots in the Middle East. Sheep and goats were first domesticated thousands of years ago near the Zagros Mountains, which straddle the present Iraq-Iran border. Herding dogs with long, thick coats worked alongside their masters to help move, guard and tend to those flocks. Eventually, some of these nomadic people moved west in search of greener pastures, settling in the foothills of the northern Italian Alps, near Milan, bringing their flocks and dogs with them. Probably the shaggiest breed in the world, the Bergamasco’s dense, disorderly coat protected it from the chilly alpine weather, and its natural herding and guarding instincts made it extremely valuable. 
  Bergamascos were – and are - courageous and fiercely protective of their flocks, working closely with their shepherds but requiring little direction from them. With just one person, a few dogs and hundreds of sheep, nomadic shepherds needed their dogs to be independent thinkers and the Bergamasco was perfect for the job. It undoubtedly contributed to several other shaggy European working breeds, such as the Bouvier, Briard and Polish Lowland Sheepdog.

  Bergamascos are smart, strong but docile dogs that have a deep desire to please their people, but are not submissive animals. They are independent thinkers and usually act more as partners than subordinates within a family unit. Bergamascos share their time and attention equally with all family members, treating each of them as individuals rather than bonding tightly to only one. They are extremely loyal and protective of their owners, affectionate with family and friends and suspicious of strangers. Bergamascos have a reputation for being dominant around unfamiliar dogs. Owners who respect and return the Bergamasco’s intelligence, loyalty and affection will have a rare, steadfast companion.

  As a relatively rare breed, the Bergamasco has not received the same genetic scrutiny as some others, making information about its health somewhat limited. Because this is a very old breed that hasn’t changed much over centuries, it is generally very healthy. Bergamascos reportedly are not prone to any specific disorders or diseases, major or minor.
  Their typical life expectancy is 12 to 15 years. Because of its dramatic dense coat, this breed does not thrive in hot or humid climates. Cutting or shaving the Bergamasco’s shaggy locks can cause irritation and predispose it to skin infections.

  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.

Living Conditions
  The Bergamasco Sheepdog is best suited for seasonal to cold climates. Given its dense coat which provides protection from the elements of the climate, it is not uncommon to find the Bergamasco spending its nights sleeping outdoors. The Bergamasco Sheepdog would not do well in apartment living, rather a house with a yard to provide for daily exercise.

  These are bright, obedient dogs that bond deeply with their owners and want to please. However, they won’t follow orders blindly. A Bergamasco wants to know why it is being asked to do something. Once it figures that out, it usually will happily comply, on its own terms. Bergamascos respond best to firm, consistent, patient training using positive reinforcement and rewards rather than harsh corrections. They are quickly learners and have a terrific work ethic.

Activity Level
  Bergamascos are fairly large dogs that require regular exercise in order to maintain health, happiness and an even temperament. They like having a job to do and love stretching their legs outside. Most enjoy playing fetch and participating in other outdoor activities, such as Frisbee. They perform well in athletic competitions, such as herding, agility and obedience. While these are not overly rambunctious dogs, long daily walks are always a good idea. Bergamascos are not suited for apartment living. They need plenty of room to romp and do best in rural settings with large, securely fenced yards.

  The Bergamasco’s coat is unusual in having three different types of hair in it  that weld together and felt into mats. After five or six years, the coat reaches the ground. Some of the hair acts like the visor on a baseball cap to protect his eyes from the sun, but he can see past it. That coat helps protect the Bergamasco against everything from wolf bites to mosquitoes. Most people with dog allergies do not react to the Bergamasco's coat, but some who are allergic to wool or lanolin do react.
  Caring for the Bergamasco’s coat is not necessarily difficult, but it does call for some specific approaches. Ask the breeder to show you how to care for the coat. Trim the hair around the mouth and clean the dog’s face after meals to help reduce the odor.
  A common misconception is that the coat should not be brushed, but once the coat is formed, nothing will change it. Brushing is necessary to remove dirt.
  The Bergamasco can have as many baths as other dogs, but shampoo is not recommended because it dissolves natural oils in the coat.
  The rest is basic care. Trim the nails as needed, usually every few weeks. Keep the ears clean and dry to prevent bacterial and yeast infections. Brush the teeth frequently with a vet-approved pet toothpaste for overall health and fresh breath.

Is the Bergamasco right for you?
  If you love spending time outside, enjoy working with an intelligent dog, want a low-maintenance grooming routine and have experience with herding breeds, then the Bergamasco could be the perfect dog breed for you.
Low Maintenance: Infrequent grooming is required to maintain upkeep. No trimming or stripping needed.
Minimal Shedding: Recommended for owners who do not want to deal with hair in their cars and homes.
Difficult Training: The Bergamasco isn't deal for a first time dog owner. Patience and perseverance are required to adequately train it.
Fairly Active: It will need regular exercise to maintain its fitness. Trips to the dog park are a great idea.
Good with Kids: This is a suitable breed for kids and is known to be playful, energetic, and affectionate around them.

Did You Know?
  The Bergamasco’s matted coat is meant to protect him from bad weather and the predators he might have to drive off in defense of his flock.

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Everything about your Bracco Italiano

Everything about your Bracco Italiano
  Also known as the Italian Pointer, the Bracco Italiano is proud, athletic gun dog. With their strong muscles and long ears, it is easy to see why these dogs are the pride of Italy. Though this breed was originally developed for hunting, their gentle temperament makes them excellent family pets as well. Their droopy lips, soft eyes and loving nature makes them a great pet for any family.

  In his homeland of Italy, the Bracco (plural is Bracchi) is primarily a hunting dog, but people are starting to discover that this attractive dog with the noble appearance and pleasant  personality is also an excellent companion and show dog.
 The Bracco-or Italian Pointer- should be athletic and powerful in appearance, most resembling a cross between a German Shorthaired Pointer and a Bloodhound, although it is nothing like them in character. It has pendulous upper lips and long ears that create a serious expression. It should be "almost square", meaning that its height at the withers should be almost the same as the length of its body. It should not however be actually square as this would render its famous rear driving push off and front/rear extension to be compromised, thus losing much of its powerful grace. The tail can be docked, mostly due to the strong possibility of injury in rough/dense terrain when hunting, however there has been a sea-change in Italy, with some now working the breed with full tail.

Other Quick Facts
  • The Bracco’s short, shiny coat can be solid white; white with orange or dark amber; white with chestnut and may have roan (freckled) markings.
  • The Bracco often moves with an interesting extended trot.
  • In the field, the Bracco is often a versatile and efficient hunter with a strong ability to air scent; that is, he works with his nose in the air, following scents carried on air currents.
Breed standards
AKC group: Hound

UKC group: Gun dogs
Average lifespan: 10 to 12 years
Average size: 55 to 88 pounds
Coat appearance: Dense, Glossy, Hard, Short, Short-Haired, Silky, and Soft
Coloration: Bianco-Arancio - White-Orange and Roano-Marrone - Roano-Brown, chestnut, or amber coloured patches on the face, ears, base of tail, and body
Hypoallergenic: No
Best Suited For: houses with yards, singles, families with children, active singles, hunters
Temperament: Gentle, loving, obedient, intelligent
Comparable Breeds: English Pointer, Spinone Italiano

  The Bracco Italiano can be found in paintings as early as the 4th and 5th centuries BC and frescoes of dogs resembling the modern Bracco date to 14th-century Renaissance Italy. The white-and-orange Bracco is believed to have originated in the Piedmont, while the roan-and-brown dogs may have come from Lombardy. The Piedmont dogs, hunting in mountainous terrain, were lighter and smaller than the Lombard dogs, which were bred for working in marshy lowland areas.
  Both types were popular hunting dogs and were bred by noble families such as the Medici and Gonzaga. Their original job was to drive game into nets or flush birds or other prey for falconers. Later, when hunters began using firearms, the dogs were used to point and retrieve game. Often given as gifts to noble and royal gentlemen in France and Spain, these dogs may have been the ancestors of European pointing breeds.
  By the early 20th century, though, the Bracco population had dwindled. Fortunately, an organization called Societa Amitori Bracco Italiano and an Italian breeder named Ferdinando Delor de Ferrabouc revived the breed, partially by uniting the two types to increase genetic diversity. The standard for the breed was released in 1949, and the Federation Cynologique Internationale accepted the breed in 1956. Today it’s not unusual to see the Bracco at Italian events for hunting and working dogs.
  The United Kennel Club recognized the breed in 2006. The Bracco Italiano Club of America was organized the next year and hopes to help the breed achieve full American Kennel Club recognition. The AKC added the breed to its Foundation Stock Service — a first step toward AKC recognition — in 2001, and the Bracco has been allowed to compete in AKC performance and companion events since 2010.

  Braccos are very much a people-loving dog and thrive on human companionship, having a strong need to be close to their people. They are a particularly good family dog, and many have a strong love of children. They get along well with other dogs and pets, if trained to do so - it is, afterall, a hunting breed - and must be taught what to chase and what not to. They are very willing to please as long as they have decided that your idea is better than theirs. Obedience training is a must for a Bracco, and the more is asked of them, the better they do. Harsh reprimands do not work with this breed unless the reprimand is a fair one - and harshness must occasionally be used with some dogs to remind them who is actually in charge. Although not an aggressive breed, many Braccos will alert if there is a reason, and some will bark or growl if there's a good reason.
  The breed loves to hunt, and they excel at it - in fact, a non-hunting Bracco is not a happy Bracco, and will act out in various other ways. Hunting without a gun is an area in which the Bracco can excel and this can be a great opportunity for training the dog to connect with the owner. They are an active breed, but require more mental exercise than physical exercise to keep them happy. A Bracco owner can teach games like hide-and-seek which fits into the breed's original and current usage, and keeps them mentally active.

  The Bracco Italiano is generally a healthy breed but, like all dogs, they are prone to developing certain minor health conditions. Some of the most common health problems seen in this breed include hip dysplasia, entropion, umbilical hernias and ear mites. The Bracco Italiano is also sensitive to anesthesia, particularly to the drug Domitor.

  The Bracco Italiano is a highly intelligent breed which is one of the many features that makes it a great hunting dog. Not only does this dog have great hunting instincts, but he is naturally eager to please. The best training methods for this dog are gentle but consistent – the gentle nature of this dog may make him stop trying if he is treated with harshness or cruelty. For the best results, use positive reinforcement training and start obedience training from a young age.
  Many fans of the breed will argue that a Bracco Italiano that is not trained to hunt will not be a happy dog. Not only is this the activity the breed was meant for, but the dogs truly enjoy the activity. Even if you choose not to train your dog for hunting, you should provide him with plenty of mental exercise in addition to physical exercise to keep him sharp.

Exercise Requirements
  As a hunting breed, the Bracco Italiano likes to be fairly active but they can do well in an apartment or house without a yard if given adequate exercise. A nice 30-minute walk once a day will be adequate for this breed, though he will gladly accept more exercise. The Bracco Italiano has a unique gait that you may see if you give him a chance to run – he starts out at a slow trot with long strides but is capable of a fast gallops. When hunting, the Bracco Italiano reduces his speed the closer he gets to his quarry, coming to a near crawl and ending in a non-moving “point”.

  The Bracco’s coat is short, dense and shiny. The hair on the head, ears and front of the legs and feet usually has a finer texture.
  Spend a few minutes once or twice a week brushing the coat with a hound glove to keep it shiny and clean and remove dead hair.
  Bathe the dog as needed. He might not need a full bath very often, but you may want to clean the ends of his ears regularly. They often get wet when the dog drinks and may pick up dirt when he’s outdoors.
  These dogs can be droolers, although they don’t produce as much spit as a Mastiff or Saint Bernard. Keep a hand towel nearby to wipe your dog’s mouth after he eats or drinks.
  Check his ears weekly to make sure they don’t smell or look red or dirty, which could indicate an ear infection. Clean them only if they look dirty.
  The rest is basic care. Trim the nails every week or two or as needed. Brush the teeth often — with a vet-approved pet toothpaste — for good overall health and fresh breath.

Did You Know?
  In Italian, the plural of Bracco is Bracchi.

Is the Bracco Italiano the Right Breed for you?
Low Maintenance: Infrequent grooming is required to maintain upkeep.
Constant Shedding: Routine brushing will help. Be prepared to vacuum often!
Moderately Easy Training: The Bracco Italiano is average when it comes to training. Results will come gradually.
Not Good for New Owners: This breed is best for those who have previous experience with dog ownership.

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Monday, March 7, 2016

Everything about your Neapolitan Mastiff

Everything about your Neapolitan Mastiff
  The Neapolitan Mastiff is a heavy-boned, massive, awe inspiring dog bred for use as a guard and defender of owner and property. He is characterized by loose skin, over his entire body, abundant, hanging wrinkles and folds on the head and a voluminous dewlap. The essence of the Neapolitan is his bestial appearance, astounding head and imposing size and attitude. Due to his massive structure, his characteristic movement is rolling and lumbering, not elegant or showy.

  With its massive size made even more imposing by its abundant loose skin and dewlap, the Neapolitan Mastiff may have the most alarming appearance of any dog, and some say this look was purposefully bred in order to scare away intruders without the dog having to act. However, when forced to act, the Neo can spring into action with surprising speed. Its massive muscular body can knock down almost any intruder. Its huge head with short, powerful jaws and large teeth can crush or hold an opponent. The skin is tough and hanging, adding to the imposing impression of size as well as formidable expression. 
  The Neapolitan Mastiff was bred for centuries to guard its family. As such, it is incredibly loyal and devoted to its family, watchful and suspicious of strangers, and tolerant of acquaintances. It is a stay-at-home-type dog. Although it is loving toward children, its sheer size can make accidents possible. It may not get along well with other dogs, especially domineering-type dogs. Because of its size, it should be carefully socialized at an early age.

  • Neapolitan Mastiffs do best in homes with a yard they can patrol. They are calm indoors however and can do fine in an apartment or condo big enough to accommodate their sprawl.
  • Neos are generally clumsy dogs who have trouble navigating more than a few stairs, especially as puppies.
  • The Neapolitan Mastiff is an average shedder and requires weekly brushing, plus close attention to cleaning his skin wrinkles and folds.
  • He's an excellent deterrent to intruders, but rarely aggressive without cause. Socialize him early and often so that he learns how to behave around other people and animals.
  • Neapolitan Mastiffs can be lazy and will become obese if he doesn't get much exercise. Make sure your dog maintains a healthy weight to avoid diseases that can significantly reduce his life span.
  • The Neapolitan Mastiff is not recommended for a timid or first-time owner. This breed needs a confident trainer who is consistent and firm but also loving. The Neo is strong-willed and will test whether you really mean what you say.
  • Neapolitan Mastiffs have a fearsome appearance and a deep bark, both of which are usually more than enough to deter even the most foolhardy criminals.
  • Neapolitan Mastiffs have a number of what some consider offensive habits: slobbering, drooling, wheezing, grunting, snorting, and flatulence.
  • This affectionate dog is not aware of his size and will happily cuddle up to you or on you. 
  • Neapolitan Mastiffs love the outdoors, but they also love being with their family. They should live indoors with their people, not alone in the backyard.
  • Young Neapolitan Mastiffs are rowdy, but it's important for their orthopedic development to prevent a lot of jumping or stair climbing until they reach physical maturity.
  • Neapolitan Mastiffs can be destructive if bored. Give them regular exercise, social interaction, and training to keep life interesting.
  • Neapolitan Mastiffs are good with older children, but can be too large for a toddler. They can knock over or step on small children without meaning to hurt them.
  • Never buy a Neapolitan Mastiff from a puppy mill, a pet store, or a breeder who doesn't provide health clearances or guarantees. Look for a reputable breeder who tests her breeding dogs to make sure they're free of genetic diseases that they might pass onto the puppies and who breeds for sound temperaments.
Other Quick Facts
  • Everything about the Neo is massive. His face is deeply wrinkled and his body is covered in loose skin with a coat that is gray, black, mahogany or tawny, giving him the appearance of a scowling executive in an ill-fitting suit. He walks with a rolling, lumbering gait.
  • Many of the Neo’s unique traits — the wrinkles, loose skin, massive bone and lumbering gait — are the result of generations of selective breeding in the Neapolitan countrywide with little to no influence from other breeds. The result is an assortment of recessive genes, which can make breeding this dog successfully a challenge.
Breed standards
AKC group: Working
UKC group: Guardian
Average lifespan: 8 to 10 years
Average size: 110 - 154 pounds
Coat appearance: Short, smooth and glossy
Coloration: black, gray, mahogany, tawny, or tan brindle
Hypoallergenic: No
Comparable Breeds: Bullmastiff, Mastiff

  The Neapolitan Mastiff’s roots go deep into Italian soil. He descends from Roman war dogs who, already big, were crossed with giant British mastiffs after the Roman invasion of Britain. The powerful dogs with their seriously protective nature were turned to new careers as estate and farm guardians after their masters had finished conquering the known world.   For 2,000 years, they were “the big dog of the little man,” but wars and industrialization nearly brought an end to them.  After World War II, however, Italian dog lovers made a concerted effort to save the breed. They were exhibited at a dog show in Naples in 1946, and a breed standard was written by Piero Scanziani in 1948. The Federation Cynologique Internationale recognized the breed in 1949, and the breed standard was rewritten in 1971 to be more precise.
  By the early 1970s, the dogs were known in other European countries as well as in the United States. The American Kennel Club recognized the breed in 2004. It ranks 113 th among the dogs registered by the AKC.

  Steady and solid as an oak tree, the Neo is a guardian rather than an attack dog. He's always alert and aware, even if it looks like he's relaxing.
If you aren't home, they simply won't let anyone onto your property. And really, who's going to argue with them?
  When you welcome someone, though, your Neo will accept that person as well, although he'll probably remain aloof. This isn't a "hail fellow, well met" kind of dog.
  The Neo is affectionate toward his family, but he's also strong-willed — and big enough to have his own way. Begin training early, be firm and consistent, and use positive reinforcement techniques, such as praise and food rewards.
  As with every dog, Neapolitan Mastiffs need early socialization or exposure to many different people, sights, sounds, and experiences. Socialization helps ensure that your Neo puppy grows up to be a well-rounded dog.

  The average life span of the Neapolitan Mastiff is 8 to 10 years. Breed health concerns may include entropion, ectropion, cranial cruciate ligament rupture , eversion of the cartilage of the nictitating membrane, cataracts, vaginal hyperplasia, hypothyroidism, hip dysplasia, panosteitis, prolapse of the gland of the third eyelid  and halitosis . This breed is especially sensitive to halothane gas anesthesia; owners should discuss this with their veterinarian and suggest that isoflurane be used if their Neapolitan Mastiff needs to be put under general anesthesia. This breed does not tolerate hot weather well.

Exercise Requirements
  The Neapolitan Mastiff doesn’t require a ton of exercise. With a fenced yard, his patrolling duties will give him all of the exercise he needs. Brisk walks early in the morning or late in the evening will be beneficial as Neos can overheat in extreme temperatures.
  Although this breed makes a great companion for families with older kids, he is not the type of dog that will be out playing fetch or Frisbee. Neapolitan Mastiffs prefer lounging on the couch or sleeping in the bed with their families to doing anything athletic.

  Even though the dog does not need a great deal of physical exercise, it requires plenty of space to live. One cannot expect the giant Neapolitan Mastiff to force itself into small living quarters. The breed is fond of the outdoors but does not do well in warm weather.
  Just like other giant breeds, its veterinary, boarding, and food bills can be quite high. Obsessive house cleaners should also think twice before getting such a dog, as the breed often makes messes with its food and drink, and tends to drool.

Living Conditions
 The Neo will do okay in an apartment if it is sufficiently exercised. It is relatively inactive indoors and a small yard will do. Take extra caution in warm weather to provide shade, water and a cool place to lie.

  The Neapolitan Mastiff can be a stubborn dog. He needs a trainer who is confident and assertive. The Neo does not respond to aggressive training methods. Only positive techniques should be used and treats such as cookies or tidbits of meat are welcomed for a job well done. Obedience classes are beneficial as the Neo will become more socialized with other people and animals, which is necessary for this protective breed.

  The Neapolitan Mastiff has a short, dense coat with oily skin that has something of a musky odor. You may want to bathe your Neo regularly to keep the scent at bay. Brush or comb him daily to remove dead hair and keep the skin and coat healthy. Wipe out his wrinkles often with a damp cloth and dry them thoroughly to prevent skin fold infections.
   The rest is basic care. Trim the nails as needed, usually once every few weeks. Brush the teeth frequently with a vet-approved pet toothpaste for good overall health and fresh breath. Check the ears weekly for dirt, redness or a bad odor that can indicate an infection. If the ears look dirty, wipe them out with a cotton ball dampened with a gentle, pH-balanced ear cleaner recommended by your veterinarian.

Children And Other Pets
  The Neo is suitable for families with older children, but he can be too big and clumsy to spend much time around toddlers. While he'll never intentionally hurt them, he can easily knock them over or step on them.
  Make it a rule that children are never to run and scream in a Neo's presence. The noise and activity can excite him, and he's simply too big to be allowed to chase children or play roughly with them.
  He may also feel the need to protect "his" children from other kids, especially if they're wrestling or otherwise appear to be fighting. Always supervise play so that he knows you're in charge.
  Always teach children how to approach and touch dogs, and always supervise any interactions between dogs and young children to prevent any biting or ear or tail pulling on the part of either party.
  Teach your child to never approach any dog while he's sleeping or eating or try to take the dog's food away. No dog, no matter how good-natured, should ever be left unsupervised with a child.
  The Neo is not fond of dogs he doesn't know, although he can learn to get along with those he's raised with. He can also get along with cats if he's raised with them.

Did You Know?
  The Neapolitan Mastiff is sensitive to heat. Don’t leave him outdoors in hot weather unless he has access to plenty of shade and cool, fresh water. Limit exercise to cool mornings and evenings.

In the media
  • Alan from the film Babe: Pig in the City.
  • Fang from the Harry Potter films .
  • Pansy from the Burke series of novels by Andrew Vachss.
  • Sweetie from Robert K. Tanenbaum's Butch Karp novels.
  • A Neapolitan was featured in the movie American Gangster as a domestic pet belonging to an Italian Mafia Boss Dominic Cattano.
  • A Neapolitan Mastiff appears in a scene in the movie DragonHeart.
  • A Neapolitan Mastiff appears in a scene in the movie "Belly".

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