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

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Everything about your Borzoi

Everything about your Borzoi
  Borzoi dog breed was developed in Russia as coursing and hunting dogs. These hounds were hunted in teams of three to go after rabbit, fox, and wolves. They later became popular as a companion for royalty across continental Europe.
  The undisputed glamour queens and kings of the sighthound world, these cousins of the Greyhound are tall, curvy and elegant. Their distinctive heads and flowing coats are featured in art and fashion photography, and they've been the favored pets of the aristocracy and royalty for even longer.

Overview
  With his tall, lean body, long, narrow head, and silky coat, the Borzoi is the picture of refinement and elegance. Borzois carry themselves proudly, and it's easy to envision them lounging in the palaces of Russian Tsars or swiftly running down a wolf in the Russian countryside. But before you bring a Borzoi to your palace, you need to decide if a Borzoi is right for you.
  Despite his relaxed attitude and regal appearance, the Borzoi is not simply a beautiful showpiece for your home. This giant breed, whose height ranges from 28 to 32 inches, has a mind of his own and a desire for human companionship. He's not the best choice for people who are away from home for long hours every day. His luxurious double coat, which kept him warm during brutal Russian winters, sheds heavily. His size is also a consideration for people with small children. The Borzoi is gentle, but puppies are enthusiastic and may accidentally knock over a toddler in play.
  No longer a royal hunting companion, today the Borzoi's most important job is that of family friend. With his sweet, gentle demeanor, it's a job at which he excels.

Highlights
  • Borzoi are sighthounds and will chase anything that moves. They should never be allowed to run loose unless in a secure area.
  • Borzoi can be sensitive to drugs, especially anesthetics, due to their lack of body fat. Make sure your vet is aware of this. The drug Ropum (Xylazine) should never be used for a Borzoi. Also, avoid exercising them on lawns that have been recently treated with fertilizer, insecticides, herbicides, or other chemicals.
  • Borzoi can be fussy eaters.
  • Borzoi can be prone to bloat. Feed frequent small meals and prevent heavy exercise after eating.
  • Borzoi can be nervous around children and should be introduced to them at a young age if they will be in frequent contact with them.
  • Borzoi bark infrequently and do not have strong guarding instincts. They make poor watchdogs as they cannot be relied upon to raise the alarm when an intruder is sighted.
  • They can live successfully with cats and small animals if introduced to them at an early age. Some Borzoi only follow the "no chase" rule indoors and cannot resist the instinct to chase a running cat if outdoors.
  • The Borzoi is not a common breed, so it may take some searching to find a breeder who has puppies. Be patient.
  • To get a healthy dog, never buy a puppy from an irresponsible breeder, puppy mill, or pet store. 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 that they have sound temperaments.
Other Quick Facts
  • The Borzoi is a sighthound, bred to chase running prey.
  • The graceful, elegant Borzoi was a favorite subject of artists during the Art Deco era.
  • The Borzoi’s long, silky coat can be any color or combination of colors.
  • The Borzoi is a giant breed.
Breed standards
AKC group: Hound
UKC group: Sighthound
Average lifespan: 7 - 10 years
Average size: 60 - 105 pounds
Coat appearance: Long, silky, flat
Coloration: Golden, black, white, red, brindle, cream
Hypoallergenic: No
Possible alterations: Long, narrow head; slightly slanted, dark eyes; small ears close to the head; large, black nose; arched back, straight legs and long, curved tail
Possible alterations: Coat can be slightly wavy with many color variations, including black markings
Comparable Breeds: Afghan Hound, Greyhound



History
  The Borzoi originated centuries ago in Czarist Russia, where they were bred by aristocrats as coursing sighthounds. The Borzoi’s predecessors are thought to have come from Egypt and include the long-coated, smooth-faced Russian Bearhound, the coursing hounds of the Tatars, the Owtchar, a tall Russian sheepdog and other ancient sighthound breeds. Whatever the mix, by 1260 the sport of hare coursing was documented in connection with the Court of the Grand Duke of Novgorod. The first Borzoi standard was written in 1650 and apparently did not differ much from the standard today. According to the American Kennel Club, “from the time of Ivan the Terrible in the mid-1500s to the abolition of serfdom in 1861, hunting with Borzoi was the national sport of the aristocracy.”
Sarah Bernhardt, depicted with borzoi,
by Georges Clairin, French painter
  During this period, great rural estates with hundreds of serfs and thousands of acres were devoted to breeding, training and hunting with the Borzoi. The breed was pampered and promoted by Russian royalty on a grand scale unparalleled in the development of any other breed. Guests, horses, dogs, tents, kitchens and carriages came by special trains to attend ceremonial “hunts.” More than a hundred Borzoi in matched pairs or trios, with additional foxhound packs and riders on horseback, made up the primary hunting party, with “beaters” on foot to flush out the game - usually a wolf. The Borzoi would pursue the wolf, and the horsemen would pursue the Borzoi, until the dogs captured, pinned and held their quarry. Typically, the huntsmen would leap off their horses, grab, gag and bind the wolf, and then either kill it or set it free. These extravagant affairs involved elaborate attire, feasting and festivity.
  Several Borzoi were sent as gifts to Princess Alexandra of Britain in 1842, and the breed was exhibited at the first Crufts World Dog Show in 1891. In 1863, the Imperial Association was formed to protect and promote the old-style Borzoi. Many present-day American bloodlines are traceable to the dogs of breeders who were members of this club. Most notable among these were the Grand Duke Nicholas, uncle to the Czar and field marshal of the Russian armies, and Artem Boldareff, a wealthy Russian aristocrat. The first Borzoi to come to America was allegedly brought from England in 1889 by a fancier of the breed living in Pennsylvania. The first American to travel to Russia and directly import Borzois was C. Steadman Hanks, the Massachusetts founder of the Seacroft Kennels in the 1890s. In 1903, Joseph B. Thomas of Valley Farm Kennels made several trips to Russia to obtain specimens of the breed that played a key role in the development of American Borzoi pedigrees, including dogs from the Perchino Kennels owned by the Grand Duke Nicholas and from the Woronzova Kennels owned by Artem Boldareff.
Wolf hunting with borzois (1904), Efim A. Tikhmenev.
  The Borzoi Club of America was formed in November of 1903, then called the “Russian Wolfhound Club of America.” The breed standard was approved at a meeting held during the Westminster Kennel Club dog show in February of 1904, and the breed club was elected to membership in the American Kennel Club in May of that year. The official breed standard was formally adopted in 1905 and is essentially the same today, with minor revisions made in 1940 and 1972. The breed’s name was changed from Russian Wolfhound to Borzoi in 1936, and the parent club’s name was changed to the Borzoi Club of America that same year.
  Today, this breed is largely unchanged from its Russian ancestors in both appearance and ability. Borzois are still used by farmers in the Western United States to ward off coyotes. They excel in AKC lure coursing competitions and in the conformation ring. Above all, Borzois are graceful, glamorous, gentle and devoted companions.

Personality
  The gentle-spirited Borzoi personality ranges from serious and stately to clownish. As a companion, the Borzoi is quiet, sensible, and intelligent. He prefers not to be left alone for long periods. His reaction to strangers ranges from aloof to friendly. In general, he's trusting of people and not shy. The Borzoi's easygoing nature doesn't necessarily mean he's easy to train, however. He's an independent thinker and can be stubborn. Last but not least, it's important to the Borzoi to know that he's loved, cared for, and will never be put in harm's way.
  Temperament is affected by a number of factors, including heredity, training, and socialization. Puppies with nice temperaments are curious and playful, willing to approach people and be held by them. Choose the middle-of-the-road puppy, not the one who's beating up his littermates or the one who's hiding in the corner. Always meet at least one of the parents — usually the mother is the one who's available — to ensure that they have nice temperaments that you're comfortable with. Meeting siblings or other relatives of the parents is also helpful for evaluating what a puppy will be like when he grows up.
  Like every dog, Borzoi need early socialization — exposure to many different people, sights, sounds, and experiences — when they're young. Socialization helps ensure that your Borzoi puppy grows up to be a well-rounded dog. Enrolling him in a puppy kindergarten class is a great start. Inviting visitors over regularly, and taking him to busy parks, stores that allow dogs, and on leisurely strolls to meet neighbors will also help him polish his social skills.

Health
  With an average lifespan of 10 to 12 years, the Borzoi dog breed is prone to major health concerns such as gastric torsion, and minor problems like cardiomyopathy and hypothyroidism. The Borzoi reacts adversely barbiturate anesthesia. To identify some of these issues, your veterinarian may run thyroid and cardiac tests on this breed of dog.

Exercise
  To maintain their fitness these dogs need plenty of exercise, including a long daily walk and regular opportunities to run off the leash, however in some countries it is forbidden to allow all the dogs in this fleet-footed hunting category off the leash. The Borzoi make excellent jogging companions and usually enjoy running alongside a bicycle but beware, a Borzoi is quite likely to shoot off after any prey it catches sight of. If this happens you will need to react very quickly.

Care
  Functioning best as house dogs, with easy access to a yard, Borzoi can reside outdoors in cold weather, provided a warm shelter and soft bedding are offered. The male Borzoi has a fuller coat than the female, and requires combing or brushing two or three times a week. There are times when the dog sheds a great deal. This breed of dog does well when given a chance to exercise every day with a long walk and a sprint in an enclosed area.

Grooming Needs
  Borzoi should be brushed weekly to keep the coat healthy, manageable and mat-free. Groomers recommend using a pin brush on this breed, as wire slicker brushes can damage the coat. They shed lightly throughout the year and heavy during the change of seasons, so more brushing may be required in the Spring and Fall months. Borzoi are clean dogs whose coats naturally deflect dirt and only require baths on an as-needed basis.
  Regular ear and teeth cleanings will keep harmful bacteria from building up in the ear canal and mouth leading to infections or bad breath. Nails need to be trimmed once or twice a month.

Is this breed right for you?
  Best for homes with larger yards, this breed is a loyal member of the family. Affectionate to both familiar people and strangers, the Borzoi would make a great pet for someone who has a lot of company. Good with children but not prone to roughhousing, this pet is best suited for families with teens or without children. Likely to hunt and chase smaller animals, this is not a good breed to pair with a cat. Quiet but large, he would do OK with apartment life if exercised regularly.

Children And Other Pets
  The Borzoi can be too large for a household with small children, especially toddlers. They're giant dogs and can easily knock over a child by accident. Nor are they especially tolerant of toddlers poking and prodding them. They're best suited to homes with older children who understand how to interact with dogs.
  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 never to approach any dog while he's sleeping or eating or to try to take the dog's food away. No dog should ever be left unsupervised with a child.
  Generally, Borzoi aren't aggressive toward other dogs, although in an uncontrolled situation their sighthound heritage may take over, especially if small dogs are running around. Some can be aggressive toward dogs of the same sex. With training, young Borzoi can learn not to chase or snap at smaller household pets, including cats. That training may only hold indoors, however. Cats outdoors — even your own cat — may be viewed as fair game.

Did You Know?
  The Borzoi was bred in Russia to course wolves and other game across open fields and, if necessary, to capture and hold it until the arrival of the huntsman. Leo Tolstoy’s novel “War and Peace” has a scene describing such a hunt.

A dream day in the life of a Borzoi
  Waking up slowly, the Borzoi will quietly sneak downstairs for his daily feeding. After checking out the home, he'll go outside for a run and trail any possible animals in the yard. Once he knows the coast is clear, he'll be ready for a nap in the sun. When his owner gets home, the Borzoi will be patiently waiting for his daily run. After dinner, he'll snooze next to his master.

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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Everything about your Irish Wolfhound

Everything about your Irish Wolfhound
  Known as the tallest of dog breeds, Irish Wolfhounds are truly gentle giants. This breed is famous for being easy going, soft natured, calm, sensitive, sweet, and patient. A relatively good watch dog that can provide some protection, the Irish Wolfhound is excellent with children, strangers, pets, and other dogs.
  Friendly and loving to its owners, the Irish Wolfhound is intelligent, which makes it an easy dog to train. It needs regular exercise so it can stretch those long legs. If you’ve been toying with the idea of bringing an Irish Wolfhound into your home, read on to find out more.

Overview
  Royal and popular in Ireland, the Irish Wolfhound gained much fame when showing off its ability to fight off wild animals in arena sports. With an ability to hunt elk and wolves, the breed gained a high honor in the hunting world. Given as gifts of stature in the days of the Greeks, this gentle giant is seen as a kind-natured breed with a large body and heart.

Highlights
  • Irish Wolfhounds are not recommended for apartment living. Although they have relatively low activity levels inside, they need room to stretch out and aren't built for negotiating stairs.
  • Irish Wolfhounds require at least 40 minutes of daily exercise and do best in a home with a large fenced yard.
  • Irish Wolfhounds need a fenced yard to keep them from chasing prey away from their yards. They should not be kept in a yard with underground electronic fencing. The desire to chase is too strong to be overcome by the threat of a momentary shock.
  • The Irish Wolfhound is a gentle dog who usually gets along well with everyone. With early socialization and training, he'll be gracious toward other dogs and forbearing of indoor cats. He'll view outdoor cats and other animals as fair game.
  • If you are looking for a long-lived breed, the Irish Wolfhound is not for you. He lives roughly 6 to 8 years and his giant size predisposes him to many health problems.
  • Irish Wolfhounds do not make good guard dogs although their size can be a deterrent to a would-be intruder.
  • The Irish Wolfhound is an average shedder and only needs to be brushed on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. You'll need to strip the longer portions of his coat if you want to keep him looking like the Irish Wolfhounds that compete in the conformation ring.
  • Irish Wolfhounds should be walked on leash to prevent them from chasing animals or other moving objects, such as radio-controlled cars.
  • The Irish Wolfhound is not a pony and should not be ridden by children, no matter how small. His joints aren't built for the strain. Nor is he built for pulling a cart or other vehicle.
  • Irish Wolfhounds thrive when they are with their owners. They are not outdoor dogs, although they enjoy playing outside.
  • To get a healthy dog, never buy a puppy from an irresponsible breeder, puppy mill, or pet store. 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 that they have sound temperaments.
Other Quick Facts
  • When you look at an Irish Wolfhound, you’ll see a dog of great size and commanding appearance with dark eyes, small ears, and a rough coat that can be gray, brindle, red, black, white or fawn.
  • Over the centuries, the Irish Wolfhound has been known as the Big Dog of Ireland, Greyhound of Ireland, and Great Hound of Ireland.
  • Comparable Breeds: Borzoi, Scottish Deerhound

History
  In 391 CE, all Rome marveled at seven giant dogs from Ireland presented as a contribution to the city’s shows and games by consul Quintus Aurelius Symmachus. The consul’s thank-you note to his brother, who had procured the dogs, is thought to be the first written mention of what was to be called the Irish Wolfhound.
  Over the centuries, the enormous Irish hounds populated a number of royal courts, including those of England’s Edward III, Henry VIII, and Elizabeth I, as well as France's Henry IV. The dogs were also presented as royal gifts to the courts of Sweden, Denmark, and Spain.
  Unfortunately for the Wolfhounds, they did their job a little too well. By the 18th century, their numbers had decreased. They were no longer needed because they had hunted Britain and Ireland’s wolves to extinction. The Earl of Chesterfield complained in 1750 that, despite a two-year search, he had been unable to obtain any of the dogs because the breed had become so rare. Twenty years later, author Oliver Goldsmith wrote that the dogs were kept only as curiosities in the houses of gentlemen and noted “He is extremely beautiful and majestic in appearance, being the greatest of the dog kind to be seen in the world.”
  The great dogs might have faded into the history books had it not been for the efforts of Captain George Graham. In 1862, he managed to obtain some of the few remaining Wolfhounds and crossed them with Scottish Deerhounds, the Tibetan Borzoi, a Pyrenean wolfhound, and a Great Dane. It took 23 years to restore the breed.
  The American Kennel Club recognized the Irish Wolfhound in 1897. The breed ranks 79th among the dogs registered by the AKC, a respectable showing for a giant dog.

Personality

  Irish wolfhounds have a heart as big as the rest of them. They are gentle, noble, sensitive and easygoing. Despite the fact that they can run at great speed, most of their actions around the house are in decidedly slow motion, and they are definitely not snap-to-it obedience prospects. They will eventually mind you, just at their own pace!

  Just under the surface of their gentle exterior does lie the nature of a coursing hunter, so Irish wolfhound owners must be vigilant when outdoors. Like all sighthounds, Irish wolfhounds love to chase animals that are running away from them, and they can take their time responding to your calls to come back. Yet Irish wolfhounds are generally model citizens with other dogs, pets and children. Their great size is usually enough to scare away intruders; this is fortunate, as most Irish wolfhounds are pacifists and not great protection dogs.

Health Problems
  Just like all dog breeds, the Irish Wolfhound can suffer from health problems. Some health issues that are common to this breed are bone cancer, cardiomyopathy, hip dysplasia, Von Willebrands, PRA and bloat .
  To keep your Irish Wolfhound healthy, make sure to take your dog out for regular exercise and visit the veterinarian when needed.

Care
  When it comes to the dog’s care, its coat requires to be combed or brushed two times in a week and at times it is a good idea to trim its stray hair. Dead hair needs to be stripped twice a year. The hound loves stretching its legs and long walks, thus daily exercise is a must. Indoors the dog requires a lot of good space to stretch its body on a soft surface. Lying frequently on hard areas can cause the development of calluses.

Living Conditions
  The Irish Wolfhound is not recommended for apartment life. It is relatively inactive indoors and will do best with at least a large yard. This is a giant breed that needs some space. It may not fit well in a small or compact car.It needs to be part of the family and would be very unhappy in a kennel. Being a sighthound, it will chase and so need a secure, fenced area for exercise.

Training
  Training an Irish Wolfhound is quite easy, since this breed is intelligent and loves to please. Start training as early as possible, as you will find a puppy easier to handle. Start your training with leash control. The Irish Wolfhound likes to pull on the leash, so you need to teach your dog that this behavior is unacceptable. Leash training is especially important because as your dog grows bigger, it will have no problems dragging you along on its leash.
  The best way to train an Irish Wolfhound is to be consistent and patient. When your dog follows a command, reward it with a treat, and when it does something wrong, firmly but positively correct the behavior.
  Because the Irish Wolfhound is smart, it will quickly understand what is expected. You should continue to work with your dog, even when it starts to mature. As well, be sure to socialize your Irish Wolfhound with other dogs and people so that it does not become frightened.

Exercise
  This is one large dog and it needs a large area to play and exercise in. You’ll need to take your Irish Wolfhound out for a walk or run at least twice a day. You can incorporate your dog’s exercise routine into your workout routine if you like to ride a bike, run or rollerblade. This is where leash training comes in handy, so be sure to start this training from the time your dog is a puppy.

Grooming
  The Wolfhound has a rough coat that is especially wiry and long over the eyes and beneath the jaw. Extensive grooming is done to give the dog a perfect appearance in the show ring, but for a pet owner the coat is easy to maintain. There's just a lot of dog to groom.
  Brush or comb the shaggy, wiry coat once or twice a week to remove dead hair and prevent or remove any mats or tangles. The double coat sheds moderate amounts year-round but doesn’t go through a heavy annual or biannual shed. A bath is rarely necessary.
  The rest is basic care. Trim the nails as needed, usually every week or two. Brush the teeth frequently with a vet-approved pet toothpaste for good overall health and fresh breath.

Children And Other Pets
  Irish Wolfhounds are gentle with children, but simply because of their large size they can accidentally knock toddlers down and scare or injure them. They're best suited to homes with older children. Irish Wolfhounds are not ponies, and children cannot ride them. Your Wolfhound can be injured if children try to ride him.
  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 never to approach any dog while he's sleeping or eating or to try to take the dog's food away. No dog should ever be left unsupervised with a child.
  With early socialization and training, your Irish Wolfhound should get along well with other dogs. He may chase small animals such as cats unless brought up with them and taught not to. It's vital to properly introduce him to other animals in the household and supervise their interactions. He'll consider outdoor cats and other small animals fair game.

Is this breed right for you?
  A large and loving breed, he does well with both children and other animals. Mostly inactive indoors, this dog is not suited for apartment life based on his size. In need of a large yard and living space, he does best when part of the family. A devoted and friendly pet, he has a sincere sense of loyalty to his owners. More likely to say hello to a stranger than to ward him off, most people are scared of him based on his size. A smart pup, he'll love you unconditionally until his short life ends.

Did You Know?
  Welsh folklore tells the story of Gelert, a brave Wolfhound who protected his master’s son when a wolf broke into the house. When the father returns, he sees the dog with blood on his mouth and kills him in a rage. He then finds the baby, safe, next to the body of the dead wolf. A village named Beddgelert (Gelert’s Grave) commemorates the story.

A dream day in the life of an Irish Wolfhound
Waking up to sniff out the home, the Irish Wolfhound will lazily greet you awake with a swipe of his tongue. Going downstairs to check on the rest of the family, he may take a snooze again before breakfast. After a good meal, he'll run outside for a bit to sniff out the yard for any new smells. After a nap in the sun, he'll head back inside to hang out with the family. Watching the house while his owner is away at work, the Irish Wolfhound will only ask for a good petting before going to bed with you.

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Friday, August 7, 2015

Big Dog Breeds

Big Dog Breeds
  Bigger is not always better, but it is always impressive. There are many large dog breeds, each with different care and training needs. Most large dog breeds were bred for a purpose or function. Some breeds were meant to be hunters, others guard dogs. 
People have been intrigued by giant-size dogs for millennia, keeping them to guard family, flocks and property and to hunt big game. They have also relied on four-legged giants to perform tasks that required size and strength, such as pulling carts with heavy loads. Giant dog breeds can look very intimidating, but most are surprised to find out these dogs are just gentle giants wanting to snuggle.  
  Giant breeds often possess tender, loving temperaments, but before you get one, remember to factor in the costs associated with keeping a large dog breed. In terms of food, veterinary bills and space, the costs can be gigantic. 

Great Dane
  Oh, baby! A Great Dane is truly a great dog breed . The Great Dane combines, in its regal appearance, dignity, strength and elegance with great size and a powerful, well-formed, smoothly muscled body. It is one of the giant working breeds, but is unique in that its general conformation must be so well balanced that it never appears clumsy, and shall move with a long reach and powerful drive. It is always a unit -- the Apollo of dogs.  Apollo is the Greek god of the sun, the brightest fixture in the sky. The Great Dane certainly holds stature in the dog world; but though he looks terribly imposing, in reality he's one of the best-natured dogs around. For all of his size, a Great Dane is a sweet, affectionate pet. He loves to play and is gentle with children. A Great Dane must be spirited, courageous, never timid; always friendly and dependable.   This physical and mental combination is the characteristic which gives the Great Dane the majesty possessed by no other breed. 


Mastiff
  If you've ever seen a mastiff, you'll agree that there is one word that can properly size up its appearance: powerful. No kidding, this dog is huge — not as tall as a Great Dane but probably twice as thick at between 2 and 3 feet tall with a weight of between 130 and 220 pounds. The Mastiff is a large, massive, symmetrical dog with a well-knit frame. The impression is one of grandeur and dignity. Dogs are more massive throughout. Bitches should not be faulted for being somewhat smaller in all dimensions while maintaining a proportionally powerful structure. A good evaluation considers positive qualities of type and soundness with equal weight.
  Fittingly, these dogs make excellent guard dogs. Though the mastiff seems beast-like, it is surprisingly affectionate, gentle and extremely loyal. Their devotion to their owners and patience with children have secured their popularity for years, though they must be properly socialized to get along well with children and other pets, and it's best if you don't have them around very small children or adults who are frail as they can easily knock them over, causing serious injuries. Their life span is generally between 6 and 10 years, but some have lived as long as 18 years.

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.
  The massive, solid Neapolitan Mastiff is an imposing hulk of a dog, and it's meant to be. A writer during the days of the Roman Empire described the ideal guard dog for the house as visible during daylight hours and able to fade into the shadows at night to attack without being seen. He called for a head so massive that it seems to be the most important part of the body. The description fits the Neapolitan, whose ancestors may have first been brought to Italy from Greece, where they were much esteemed. The Romans found all sorts of jobs for these mighty dogs. Not only were they employed as guardians of the home, they were also used for hunting, as war dogs and as contestants in Roman Circus events. The breed continued to exist in the Naples area, though it was largely ignored for several centuries. A few fanciers undertook the reconstruction of the breed after World War II and it has steadily attracted a following. Neapolitan Mastiffs may tip the scales at more than 150 pounds, and stand as high as 31 inches. This is a powerful, dominant breed that requires early and ongoing socialization and training. Not the dog for a first-time owner. Choose an experienced, knowledgeable breeder with care.

Bullmastiff
  The Bullmastiff dog breed is a firm and fearless family guardian. While standoffish toward strangers he's got a soft spot for his loved ones. He has a short, easy-care coat, but he is a drooler.
  Developed in England as the gamekeeper's night dog, the Bullmastiff represents a cross between the Mastiff and the Bulldog. The breed's job was to warn the gamekeeper of poachers and, if necessary, throw and hold the intruder but not harm it. The breed is powerful and compact; males stand up to 27 inches at the shoulder and may weigh up to 130 pounds. The coat is short and dense in red, fawn or brindle, all with a black face mask. The coat sheds little, and a good weekly rubdown keeps it gleaming and free of dead hair. The Bullmastiff makes a loyal family pet and a superb guard dog. These dogs have been known to do well as apartment dwellers but are really house and garden types.

Newfoundland

  The Newfoundland is a large, strong dog breed from — wait for it — Newfoundland. He was originally used as a working dog to pull nets for fishermen and haul wood from the forest. He is a capable and hardworking dog, well suited to work on land or water. He is a strong swimmer and equally strong "pack horse." Sweet-natured and responsive, he makes a wonderful family companion as well.
  The Newfie is a robust, family-loving dog, equally at home in the water and on land. This large, strong, active dog is capable of heavy work, yet the breed's gentleness, even temper and devotion make the Newf an ideal companion for child or adult. In Newfoundland, this dog was originally used as a working dog to pull nets for the fishermen and to haul logs from the forest for the lumbermen. Elsewhere, the Newf did heavy labor of many kinds, powering the blacksmith's bellow and the turner's lathe. The oily nature of its double coat, which effectively keeps the Newf from getting wet to the skin, its webbed feet, its deep, broad chest and well-sprung ribs make it a natural swimmer. The Newfoundland has true instinct for life-saving and is renowned in this role. Average height for males is 28 inches at the shoulder, weight about 150 pounds; females 2 inches and 30 pounds less. The long coat is flat, dense and water resistant, and sheds twice each year'in spring and fall. Acceptable coat colors include black, brown, gray, and white and black. Regular grooming is necessary to remove dead hair and keep the coat shiny and tangle-free. The Newfie is friendly, easygoing, and loves the outdoors. It's most comfortable in a large home where it will receive daily exercise and lots of time with the family.

  Like the English Mastiff further up this list, the Dogue de Bordeaux is one of the oldest breeds in Europe.  Although it has a forbidding look, the Dogue's desire for affection is intense. It's somewhat leery of strangers and may be aggressive toward strange dogs, but it gets along well with children and makes a loving family pet with a calm, tranquil disposition.
  The Dogue de Bordeaux's origin is not known, but it's likely that the Mastiff and Bulldog each played a part in its development. The breed was once used as a fighting dog, challenging bulls, bears and other dogs. The Dogue is powerful and massive, but surprisingly athletic and quick. A large, expressive head characterizes this breed. As with most dogs that were once bred for fighting, the Dogue de Bordeaux has a powerful jaw. This breed is built low to the ground, but is well balanced. The standard calls for males to weigh at least 100 pounds and stand 24 to 27 inches at the shoulder; bitches are slightly smaller. Dogues come in several colors, but dark auburn is preferred. The short coat requires only a weekly brushing. By far the most distinctive feature about the French Mastiff is their gigantic heads, sporting the largest heads of any canine species. They are extremely energetic dogs, requiring many walks throughout the day and a lot of food to replenish their energies.

  The Bernese Mountain Dog is a striking. tri-colored, large dog. He is sturdy and balanced. He is intelligent, strong and agile enough to do the draft and droving work for which he was used in the mountainous regions of his origin. Male dogs appear masculine, while bitches are distinctly feminine. 
  The Bernese Mountain Dog is an extremely versatile working dog from the farmlands of Switzerland. He was developed to herd cattle, pull carts, and be a watchdog and loyal companion. He is one of four types of Swiss Mountain Dogs, and the only one with long hair. The Bernese Mountain Dog comes from the canton of Bern, hence his name.  Regarded by many as the most beautiful of the four breeds of Swiss Mountain Dogs, the Bernese is the only one with a long coat. Its ancestry traces to mastiff-type dogs of Roman times, which crossbred with local herding dogs to produce offspring smaller in stature but just as trustworthy and devoted. The mountain dogs herded livestock and were used as cart dogs to transport goods and produce to market. A large dog measuring up to 27.5 inches at the shoulder, the Bernese has a medium-long, glossy black coat with distinctive markings in reddish brown and white. Vigorous weekly brushing keeps the coat looking trim. This breed likes lots of exercise and is often seen pulling carts in parades. The Bernese is most comfortable in a large home with a yard and thrives in cold weather. This faithful family companion is an excellent watchdog.


  Ancient Italian breed medium-large size Molossus Dog. Sturdy, with a strong skeleton. Muscular and athletic, it moves with considerable ease and elegance. It has always been a property watchdog and hunter of difficult game such as the wild boar.

  The noble Cane Corso's predecessors were big game hunters that showed power, courage and agility, and later proved their skills as drovers and guardians of livestock, property and family on Italian farms. The modern Cane Corso is a stable, protective dog with a strong sense of territory that is loyal and submissive to its family, but suspicious and aloof with strangers. The breed can be highly dominant toward people and other dogs, but plenty of early socialization and obedience training softens these aggressive tendencies. When properly socialized, the Cane Corso is gentle and protective with children. The Cane Corso craves regular affection, attention and interaction with its family. This athletic breed thrives in a house or apartment, provided its high daily exercise needs are met. Jogging, bike riding and long walks are ideal. A Cane Corso male should measure a minimum of 25 to 27.5 inches at the withers; females, 23.5 to 26 inches. The ears may be cropped or uncropped. The tail may be docked; for natural tails, the tip should reach the hock but not below. The short, harsh coat requires minimal weekly grooming. Acceptable colors are black, lighter and darker shades of gray, lighter and darker shades of fawn, and red. Brindling is allowed on all of these colors. Solid fawn and red, including lighter and darker shades, have a black or gray mask. The mask does not go beyond the eyes. There may be a white patch on the chest, throat, chin, backs of the pasterns, and on the toes.

  This still primitive dog breed was developed centuries ago in Tibet. Originally used as guard dogs for livestock and property, Tibetan Mastiffs can still be found performing that role, but they also enjoy life as a family companion and show dog.
  Noble and impressive: a large, but not a giant breed. An athletic and substantial dog, of solemn but kindly appearance. The Tibetan Mastiff stands well up on the pasterns, with strong, tight, cat feet, giving an alert appearance. The body is slightly longer than tall. The hallmarks of the breed are the head and the tail. The head is broad and impressive, with substantial back skull, the eyes deep-set and almond shaped, slightly slanted, the muzzle broad and well-padded, giving a square appearance. The typical expression of the breed is one of watchfulness. The tail and britches are well feathered and the tail is carried over the back in a single curl falling over the loin, balancing the head. The coat and heavy mane is thick, with coarse guard hair and a wooly undercoat.

 Despite the negative attention received due to its portrayal as a mean dog in television and film, the rottweiler remains a highly popular breed.
  Here's why: Historically a herding dog, the rottweiler's natural obedience makes it adaptable to several roles — just as capable of being a guard dog as assisting as a service dog. Extremely intelligent and good-natured, the rottweiler is naturally attentive and very loyal to its family.
  That said, rotties are best in homes with older kids who know how to interact with dogs. Since they are herding dogs, small children can easily get knocked over when the pup tries to herd them with leans and nudges.
  These dogs are stout, generally around 2-feet tall but weighing as much as 130 pounds, and live between 8 and 11 years.
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