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Saturday, July 19, 2014

Everything about your Vizsla

Everything about your Vizsla
  The Vizsla, occasionally referred to as the Hungarian Pointer or the Hungarie Vizsla, is a hunting dog originating from Central Europe. Sleek and slim yet muscular in appearance, this dog requires plenty of physical exercise and human affection. Created in Hungary to work as a pointer and retriever, the Vizsla dog breed has an aristocratic bearing. All he really wants, though, is to be loved. He's a super companion for an active family who can provide him with the exercise and attention he craves.
  A breed fit for a queen, Vizslas are commonly associated with being the cleanest and most poised of all breeds. Don't let their majestic good looks fool you — this breed is a hunter by nature and loves to run, romp and chase in the wild. Part retriever and part pointer, this breed needs constant rigorous exercise to remain happy and healthy.

Overview
  If you’re looking for a more exotic variation of the Pointer, the Vizsla is your dog — especially if you intend to spend a lot of time with him, and give him plenty of opportunity to run, hike, walk, and play hard every day. This is an active, people-oriented dog who needs a great deal of exercise to avoid becoming bored and destructive. He also thrives on gentle, consistent training from an early age to develop good habits and avoid bad ones, such as digging. His worst fear: being separated from his family, which means he absolutely can’t live in the yard.
  The Vizsla is a sleek dog with long ears framing his chiseled face, and eyes that match the rich, copper tone of his coat. Aside from shedding a bit, his grooming needs are basic: A weekly brushing, occasional nail trims, and regular cleaning of the ears and brushing of his teeth.
  Smaller in size to the similarly built Weimaraner, female Vizslas weigh between 40 and 55 pounds, while males can reach up to 65 pounds. This makes them a good choice for families who want a dog that’s big, but not too big. And speaking of families, Vizslas tend to be great with children, although they can be untrustworthy around pet cats. If you bring a Vizsla into your home, be prepared to give him the guidance, attention, and love he needs to be a part of your family.

Other Quick Facts
  • The name is pronounced VEEZH-la or VEESH-la.
  • Vizslas need 30 minutes to an hour of vigorous exercise every day, and they excel at brain games, such as puzzle toys.
  • With the exception of the Brittany, the Vizsla is the smallest of the versatile hunting dogs.
  • They are used to hunt rabbits and upland game — pheasant, grouse, partridge, and turkey — as well as to retrieve waterfowl.
  • Vizslas are protective and make excellent watchdogs.
  • Comparable Breeds: Italian Greyhound, Weimaraner

Highlights
  • Vizslas are an active breed and need at least 60 minutes of exercise every day. They enjoy long walks, jogging, and playing fetch, as well as dog sports.
  • Vizslas are low to moderate shedders and need only weekly brushings to keep them free of loose hair. They rarely need baths and don't have a strong doggy odor.
  • Vizslas thrive on human companionship. They'll follow family members from room to room and like to be touching or touched by their people.
  • Vizslas aren't recommended for people who work long hours. Vizslas can suffer from separation anxiety, which can lead to destructive behaviors.
  • Vizslas tend to be chewers. Keep your Vizsla supplied with plenty of chew toys to protect your possessions.
  • Vizslas do best in homes with fenced yards where they can safely run and play.
  • Vizslas should live in the home with the family, not outside. Their coat doesn't protect them from cold temperatures and they can't thrive without human companionship.
  • Although they aren't recommended for homes with young kids, Vizslas are very affectionate with children and can make great companions for older, energetic kids.
  • Training and socialization is a must with this breed. They can be difficult to handle if they aren't properly trained and they can become shy and timid if they're not properly socialized.
  • Vizslas do well with other dogs and will even get along with cats if they're raised with them. However, they're not a good fit for homes that have small pets such as rabbits, gerbils, guinea pigs, or birds.
  • To get a healthy dog, never buy a puppy from a puppy mill, a pet store, or from 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 breeds for sound temperaments.
  • If you're buying a puppy, meet the puppy's parents — they're an indicator of what your pup's future personality might be like. They should be friendly and sociable, not high-strung or overly shy.
History
  Sometimes known as the Hungarian Pointer, the Vizsla probably descends from hunting dogs used by the Magyars, who settled Hungary more than a thousand years ago. The dogs were no doubt used by nobles and warlords to hunt game birds and hares. Eventually, the dogs were developed to both point and retrieve.

  Images of the Vizsla's past can be found in ancient art. A 10th century etching shows a smooth-coated dog accompanying a Magyar huntsman. A chapter on falconry in a 14th century manuscript depicts a Vizsla-shaped dog.

  By the 19th and early 20th century the Vizsla was a distinct breed with excellent scenting powers who worked closely with his handler. During World War I, the talented hunting dog was used to deliver messages.

  The aftermath of World War I, followed by the ravages of World War II, nearly brought an end to the breed, however. Fortunately, the Vizsla managed to survive, and the first members of the breed were imported to the United States in the early 1950s.

  At that time, the breed looked much different than today: they had longer muzzles and a bonier topskull. Some had a houndy appearance, with long ears, and others ranged in color from chocolate brown to almost bleached out. 

  The Vizsla Club of America was formed in 1954 and the American Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1960. Breeders have worked to standardize the distinctive Vizsla appearance and aristocratic bearing that you see today. 
  Today the Vizsla is a beloved companion who can be found performing a multitude of jobs. Some were even working at Ground Zero after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
  The breed is moderately popular, ranking 43rd among the 155 breeds and varieties recognized by the American Kennel Club.



Temperament and Personality
  People adore the Vizsla for his devoted, affectionate nature and infectious enthusiasm for life. He’s lively and gentle, but he’s also fearless and more protective than the average Sporting dog, making him a stellar watchdog. To help him channel some of that boundless energy, he should have access to a large patch of grass where he can safely run off leash every day.
Vizsla puppies are rambunctious, so they should be supervised at all times. Although they love kids, they view them as other puppies, so they can mouth and bite small children, take their toys, and knock them down. The Vizsla learns quickly if he’s properly rewarded with praise, affection, and treats. He’s sensitive and wants to please, so avoid disciplining him with harsh actions or a loud voice.
  Start training your puppy the day you bring him home — he’s capable of soaking up a great deal of information even at seven weeks old. If possible, get him into puppy kindergarten class by the time he is 10 to 12 weeks old, and socialize, socialize, socialize. However, be aware that many puppy training classes require certain vaccines  to be up to date, and many veterinarians recommend limited exposure to other dogs and public places until puppy vaccines  have been completed. In lieu of formal training, you can begin training your puppy at home and socializing him among family and friends until puppy vaccines are completed.
  As hunting dogs, Vizslas mature early and are capable of pointing and retrieving before they are a year old. They are versatile hunters because they not only point, but also retrieve on land and from the water. In the field, they stay close to the hunter and maintain a deliberate pace, using their expert nose to sniff out pheasant, woodcock, and ruffed grouse. Vizslas also have an excellent memory and are noted for their ability to remember and pinpoint the best spots for finding birds.

Health
  The Vizsla, which has a lifespan of 10 to 14 years, may suffer from hypothyroidism, dwarfism, persistent right aortic arch, tricuspid valve dysplasia, and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA). It is also prone to minor health concerns like lymphosarcoma and canine hip dysplasia, or major issues such as epilepsy. To identify some of these issues, a veterinarian may run hip and thyroid tests on the dog. 

Care
  The Vizsla is social in nature and loves human companionship. It needs a soft bed to sleep and rest upon at the end of the day, but beware: a lack of exercise can cause a Vizsla to become restless. And although it can survive outdoors in temperate weather, the Vizsla should be kept inside when it is frigid outside. The occasional combing is enough to free this dog of its dead hair. 

Living Conditions
  The Vizsla is not recommended for apartment life. It is moderately active indoors and does best with at least an average-sized yard.

Exercise
  This is an energetic working dog with enormous stamina. It needs to be taken on daily, long, brisk walks or jogs. It makes a great rollerblading or bike riding companion. In addition, it needs plenty of opportunity to run, preferably off the leash in a safe area. If these dogs are allowed to get bored, and are not walked or jogged daily, they can become destructive and start to display a wide array of behavioral problems.


Grooming
  A Vizsla’s grooming routine is about as easy as it gets. Brush the short, smooth coat weekly with a rubber curry brush or a firm bristle brush to distribute skin oils and keep the coat gleaming. Baths are rarely necessary; four to five times a year is plenty.
  The rest is basic care: Keep his ears clean and dry, and trim the nails as needed, usually every week or two. And brush his teeth with a vet-approved pet toothpaste for good overall health and fresh breath.

Is this breed right for you?
  If you love dogs but hate the potential mess and smells, then the Vizsla is right for you. This self-cleaning pup maintains a groomed look and scent naturally. Couch potatoes beware: This breed must run on a daily basis — a short walk around the block just won't do. This breed makes the perfect running partner, but if you're not into running miles, Vizsla owners must provide ample outdoor space for this high-energy breed.

Did You Know?
  The Vizsla has been quite the social climber: Hungary’s early Magyar hordes first used the striking, copper-colored Vizsla as a hunting dog. As early as the 10th century, the breed became a popular companion dog for the country’s elite barons.


Children and other pets
  The Vizsla is a loving dog who's friendly and tolerant with children, but his exuberance can be overwhelming for kids younger than six years old.
  As with any dog, teach children how to approach and touch dogs, and supervise any interactions between dogs and kids 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.
  Vizslas get along with other dogs and can be friends with cats, especially if they're raised with them. They might be a little too fond of pet birds, if you know what we mean. Nor should they be trusted around small pets such as rabbits, hamsters, or gerbils.

In popular culture
  • Former White House Press Secretary and cohost of The Five, Dana Perino has owned two Vizslas, Henry (deceased) and Jasper.
  • Kubrick the Dog, a 2011 photography book by British fashion photographer and film maker Sean Ellis.
  • Gary Dell'Abate, also known as Baba Booey from The Howard Stern Show has a Vizsla named "Murphy".
  • Major League Baseball pitcher, Mark Buehrle, owns three Vizslas, Drake, Duke and Diesel
  • The Hungarian cartoon Frakk, a macskák réme ("Frakk,the nightmare of cats") centers around a vizsla dog named Frakk.


A dream day in the life of a Vizsla
  Helping human counterparts train for a marathon would be right up this breed's alley. Taking on new trails and reaching new levels of fitness is what this breed lives for. After a long run, an afternoon of playing fetch and basking in the great outdoors would be followed by cozy cuddle time with the family to wrap up a perfect day.




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Everything about your Basenji

Everything about your Basenji
Barkless but not silent, the mischievous Basenji is a con artist of the highest order and will challenge your intelligence and sense of humor.
  Mischievous, smart, lively and by no means silent, the “barkless” Basenji is a hilarious handful.   You must have a sense of humor to live with him. He’s catlike in his cleanliness and independence, and his wrinkled forehead makes him look worried, but what he’s really thinking about is how he can rearrange your home décor.  
  Out of Africa, the Basenji dog breed was originally found in the Congo. He uses both scent and sight to hunt and was originally used to flush small game into a hunter's nets and to control village rodent populations. Clever and endearing, he's a good companion for the person or family who can stay a step ahead of him.

Overview
  The basenji is square-proportioned and high on leg. It is far more slightly built and longer-legged than most other primitive breeds, giving it a good amount of speed and the ability to perform the double-suspension gallop. Its erect ears help it locate prey in thick bush and may act as heat dissipaters. Its short coat also aids in dealing with the hot climate of Africa. 
  Some consider the basenji to have terrier-like mannerisms because it is feisty for a hound. More often it is considered catlike in mannerisms: clever, inquisitive, stubborn, independent and reserved. Its hunting roots are very evident, as it loves to chase and trail. It needs regular mental and physical stimulation, lest it become frustrated and destructive. Basenjis may be barkless, but they are not mute. They do make a sort of yodel, howl and shriek — and occasionally bark, but just one or two "fox barks" at a time.


Breed standards
AKC group: Hound
UKC group: Sighthound and Pariah
Average lifespan: 12-16 years
Coat appearance: Short, fine
Coloration: Chestnut red
Hypoallergenic: Yes
Other identifiers: Medium build; muscular; self-grooming and odorless coat; coiled tail; wrinkled forehead; large pointed ears
Possible alterations: Can also be seen in pure black, tri-color or brindle.
Comparable Breeds: Australian Cattle Dog, Rhodesian Ridgeback
Highlights
  • Basenjis normally do not bark, but they can be very noisy, making sounds that include yodels, whines, and screams.
  • They are hard to train. Basenjis survived for thousand of years by being independent thinkers. They see no need to obey humans. Positive training can work to an extent, but they will pick and choose when to obey.
  • Basenjis have a strong prey drive and cannot be trusted off leash unless in a well-fenced area.
  • Basenjis are escape artists. They will use a chain link fence as a ladder, jump up and climb over a wood fence, or bolt out open doors.
  • Basenjis have a great deal of energy. If not provided with outlets for this they will become destructive or find other ways to burn off energy. Crating is recommended when not supervised.
  • Basenjis consider themselves family. They cannot be left in a yard with food and water. They require a great deal of time and attention.
  • They do not do well in homes with other small pets, as their instinct to chase may take over. If raised with cats they can do well but they're not recommended for homes with hamsters, gerbils, rats, mice, guinea pigs, birds, or ferrets.
  • Basenjis are stubborn, and you could end up with a confused and aggressive Basenji if you try to overcome his stubbornness with force.
  • 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.

History
  This is yet another of those breeds that supposedly dates to the Pharaohs, with no evidence supporting such a claim. The breeds that are said to be depicted on the walls of ancient Egyptian tombs range from Dachshunds to Pharaoh Hounds. Dogs that superficially resembled the modern-day Basenji may certainly have existed for thousands of years, but the breed as we know it today has been around for just a little more than a century.


  What is known is that Europeans found small, shorthaired hunting dogs in the remote forests of Central Africa—the Congo, as it was known then—as well as in Sudan and Zaire. Their job was to find prey and flush it so that it ran into cunningly laid nets.  Edward C. Ash in his book Dogs:Their History and Development, quotes a priest, Father Jerom Merolla da Sorrento, who saw the dogs in the Congo in 1682: "These dogs, notwithstanding their wildness, do little or no damage to the inhabitants. They are red-haired, have small slender bodies and their tails turned upon their backs."
  A pair of Basenjis was brought to Britain in 1895, but the dogs died of distemper in those pre-vaccination days. More were successfully imported to Britain in 1937, but Basenjis sent to the United States that same year all died of distemper, except for one, a male named Bois. Finally, in 1941, another female, Congo, was brought in from Africa. She and Bois produced puppies, and more of the dogs were later imported from Britain and Canada. The Basenji Club of America was formed in 1942, and the American Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1943. Today the Basenji ranks 89th among the breeds registered by the AKC.



Did You Know?
  The first Basenjis were red and white, tricolor (black and tan with white) and black and white. Expeditions to Zaire in 1987 and 1988 introduced 14 dogs with new bloodlines, which brought in a handsome tiger-striped brindle look.





Personality
  The Basenji is a hound. That means he's intelligent and independent, but also affectionate and alert. He's a sighthound, which means that motion catches his eye, and he'll chase whatever he sees that moves — cats, squirrels, rabbits. He's not the kind of dog who will obey commands instantly. He has to think about them and decide if he really wants to do what you've asked.
  Patience and a sense of humor are essential to living with a Basenji. He will chew up or eat whatever's left in his reach, and he's quite capable of putting together a plan to achieve whatever it is he wants, whether that's to get up on the kitchen counter or break into the pantry where the dog biscuits are stored. He can be aloof with strangers, and he shouldn't be trusted around cats or other small animals unless he's been raised with them and you're sure he recognizes them as family members. That recognition won't apply to cats or small animals he sees outdoors, however. They're fair game.
  Basenjis need early socialization and training. Like any dog, they can become timid if they are not properly socialized — exposed to many different people, sights, sounds, and experiences — when they're young. Early socialization helps ensure that your Basenji puppy grows up to be a well-rounded dog. Enrolling your young Basenji in a puppy kindergarten class is a great start. Inviting visitors over regularly, and taking your Basenji to busy parks, stores that allow dogs, and on leisurely strolls to meet neighbors will also help him polish his social skills.
Train him with kindness and consistency, using positive reinforcements that include food rewards and praise. The Basenji who's treated harshly will simply become more stubborn and less willing to do your bidding. Your best bet is to keep training interesting. Basenjis will develop selective hearing if there's something more exciting to pay attention to.

  According to the book The Intelligence of Dogs , they are the second least trainable dog. However, Basenjis are extremely intelligent and respond to training that is consistent and positive with plenty of treats. Basenjis do not respond well to punishment, such as yelling and hitting, which can cause them to utter a warning growl.



Health
  All dogs have the potential to develop genetic health problems, just as all people have the potential to inherit a particular disease. Run, don’t walk, from any breeder who does not offer a health guarantee on puppies, who tells you that the breed is 100 percent healthy and has no known problems, or who tells you that her puppies are isolated from the main part of the household for health reasons.
  Basenjis are generally healthy, but conditions that have been seen in the breed include Fanconi syndrome; immunoproliferative small intestinal disease, a type of inflammatory bowel disease common to Basenjis; pyruvate kinase deficiency leading to hemolytic anemia; autoimmune thyroiditis; certain eye diseases, including persistent pupillary membrane, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) and coloboma; and umbilical hernias. The Basenji Club of America, which is the American Kennel Club parent organization for the breed in the United States, recommends that breeding dogs should be cleared by a veterinary ophthalmologist of coloboma, persistent pupillary membrane and PRA; have a recent negative test for Fanconi syndrome; be tested clear for pyruvate kinase deficiency; and have OFA certification for hips.
  The BCA participates in the Canine Health Information Center Program. For a Basenji to achieve CHIC certification, he must have hip and thyroid evaluations from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA), an eye clearance from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation and a direct gene test for Fanconi syndrome. The eye clearance must be updated annually until the dog is six years old, then every two years.
  Breeders must agree to have all test results, positive or negative, published in the CHIC database. You can check CHIC’s website to see if a breeder’s dogs have these certifications.
Do not purchase a puppy from a breeder who cannot provide you with written documentation that the parents were cleared of health problems that affect the breed. Having the dogs "vet checked" is not a substitute for genetic health testing.
  Careful breeders screen their breeding dogs for genetic disease and breed only the healthiest and best-looking specimens, but sometimes Mother Nature has other ideas and a puppy develops one of these diseases despite good breeding practices. Advances in veterinary medicine mean that in most cases the dogs can still live a good life. If you’re getting a puppy, ask the breeder about the ages of the dogs in her lines and what they died of.
  Remember that after you’ve taken a new puppy into your home, you have the power to protect him from one of the most common health problems: obesity. Keeping a Basenji at an appropriate weight is one of the easiest ways to extend his life. Make the most of your preventive abilities to help ensure a healthier dog for life.

Care
  The Basenji is a hunting dog and needs daily exercise. Some Basenjis do fine with a daily walk, while others require more enthusiastic forms of exercise. Basenjis raised with children often will spend their time wearing each other out.
  The Basenji is not a dog who can be left unattended in the backyard. He's an accomplished escape artist, and an unwatched Basenji will soon become a missing Basenji. If you can provide him with a couple of 30-minute walks or play sessions every day, he's well suited to apartment or condo life. Always keep your Basenji on leash unless you're in a securely fenced area, and don't count on any type of fence to keep him confined. He'll use chain link as a ladder, and a wood fence is a deterrent only if you think to put the smooth side facing the yard where the dog is and then top it with an electric wire.
  Another feline characteristic of the Basenji is his dislike of rain. Expect him to be grumpy if you walk him when it's wet out. The only time he might enjoy getting wet is on a really hot day.

Is this breed right for you?
  City-dwelling owners looking for a quiet and independent sidekick should consider this breed. The Basenji is a loyal breed that will stick beside its human counterpart, yet it thrives on being self-sufficient and holds a mind of its own. Neat freaks will love this self-cleaning, low-shedding and hypoallergenic breed. Due to its aloof nature, a large amount of time during the early years should be dedicated to training and socialization.


Living Conditions
  The Basenji will do okay in an apartment if it gets enough exercise. It is very active indoors and a small yard will do. The Basenji is happiest when it is kept with two or three other Basenjis; they will not fight among themselves.

Exercise
  The Basenji needs vigorous daily exercise. They have a tendency to become fat and lazy unless the owner is consistent about it. This breed needs a long daily walk.

Grooming
  The Basenji has a short, fine, odorless coat that doesn’t shed much. It’s extremely easy to groom, one of the upsides to living with this mischievous dog. A quick brushing with a soft bristle brush, hound mitt, or rubber curry brush will remove any dead hairs and distribute skin oils to keep the coat shiny. The Basenji is also self-cleaning, grooming himself like a cat. He rarely needs a bath.
  The rest is basic care. Trim the nails as needed, usually every week or two. Brush the teeth frequently for good overall health and fresh breath.

Children and other pets
  Basenjis aren't known for being especially fond of children, but with their high energy level, they can be good companions for older children. If they're going to be around kids, it's best if they're raised with them from puppyhood. An adult Basenji who's unfamiliar with children is most suited to a home with children who are mature enough to interact with him properly.
  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 eating or to try to take the dog's food away. No dog should ever be left unsupervised with a child.
  A Basenji shouldn't be trusted around cats or other small animals unless he's been raised with them and you're sure he recognizes them as family members. That recognition won't apply to cats or small animals he sees outdoors, however. They're fair game.

In popular culture
  • The title character of the 1954 novel Good-bye, My Lady, by James H. Street, is a basenji. The book was made into a movie of the same name in 1956, with a cast that included Brandon deWilde, Walter Brennan, and Sidney Poitier.
  • Veronica Anne Starbuck's 2000 novel Heart of the Savannah features a basenji named Savannah. Savannah narrates this story about her adventures as an African-bred dog brought to America. Starbuck also wrote a sequel titled August Magic.
  • Simon Cleveland wrote a novel titled The Basenji Revelation, published by Lulu Press in 2004, in which a government agent suffers amnesia and undergoes a change in personality after inheriting a basenji from his late mother.
  • The true story of a basenji was featured in the episode The Cat Came Back on the radio program This American Life.
  • According to the webcomic Achewood, if Jesus Christ were a dog, he'd be a basenji.
  • Basenjis are featured in an episode of the animated television series The Wild Thornberrys In episode 3.04 "Tyler Tucker, I Presume?". Nigel Thornberry encounters a group of tribesmen along with their Congolese hunting dogs. The series' director, Mark Risley owns several basenjis, and his dogs provided the recorded "voices" for their animated counterparts.
  • An episode of Pound Puppies, "The Pups Who Loved Me", revolves around a basenji secret agent character by the name of Bondo. The dog is drawn with an appropriate likeness, but appears to bark, which is uncharacteristic of the breed.
A dream day-in-the-life:

  A Basenji’s ideal day is marked in ink with its own personal agenda. Depending on the mood, it could spend the day cuddling on your lap, tirelessly playing with toys or simply scoping out potential mayhem on the premises, as long as it’s on its terms. This breed is not a fan of sharing the attention, and a day at the dog park would best be spent playing independently.



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Everything about your Great Dane

Everything about your Great Dane
  Very large but very gentle, this is truly a great dog. Sometimes referred to as the "Apollo of Dogs," the Great Dane was developed in Germany for its graceful appearance, large size, and hunting ability — all important attributes to the landed gentry. These same characteristics have made the breed popular today in America, even appearing in popular culture, such as the Hanna-Barbera cartoon character Scooby-Doo, the newspaper comic character Marmaduke, and Astro in the TV show The Jetsons.
  Great Danes combine robust strength with a refined dignity. In the home and around the yard, you’ll find them uniquely gifted with mental and physical strengths. Truly gentle giants, Great Danes are loving, affectionate and pleasant companions that like nothing better than to hang around the house with the family.

Overview
  The Great Dane was originally bred to hunt wild boar, but he probably wouldn't be very good at it today. The ferociousness necessary to track down such a large, wily animal was eventually bred out of the Great Dane. He's now a gentle soul who generally gets along well with other dogs, animals, and humans.
   However, his size and his power bark will scare the wits out of a burglar. Anyone who owns one of these dogs eventually understands that while you may be used to his awesome size, others usually need a little time to get there.
  The Great Dane was developed from Mastiff-type dogs, but he's more refined than other descendents of this ancient breed. A Great Dane is sleek and elegant. He has an athletic, muscular body. His massive head — and massive is the right word — is long and narrow. He's got a long, graceful neck. His ears can be cropped or left natural. 
  His size can present problems. Eyeballing a dog who weighs what you do makes some folks nervous. His tail can knock over a lot of things, particularly in a small space. And given the opportunity, he's an impressive counter surfer. Luckily, he isn't rambunctious or highly energetic.
  Size notwithstanding, a Great Dane is a sweet, affectionate companion. He loves to play and is gentle with children. He has a peaceful disposition, although he hasn't lost any of the courageousness that helped him hunt wild boar. Although he isn't particularly vocal , he wouldn't hesitate to defend his family.
  Even given his inherent gentleness, it's advisable to teach him good manners and attend obedience training classes when he's young. His sheer size alone could make him impossible to control when he's an adult, and — as with any dog — you never know when he might see something he just has to chase.
  He's eager to please and highly people-oriented, demanding a great deal of attention from those around him. He tends to nudge people with that big old head of his when he wants to be petted. Sometimes you'll meet one with lapdog tendencies who see no reason not to hop onto the sofa and drape themselves on you.
  Surprisingly, the Great Dane typically doesn't eat as much food as you'd think. And while he needs daily exercise, he doesn't need a huge yard to play in. 
Because of his beauty and gentle nature, more and more people are discovering the Great Dane. He currently ranks as the 24th most popular dog breed, according to registrations with the American Kennel Club.
  Just be aware that because of his size, he's got a relatively short life span of around eight years old. That means he takes up a huge space in your heart for a short amount of time.

Highlights
  • The Great Dane is sweet, eager to please, people-oriented, easy to housetrain, and he responds well to training using positive reinforcement.
  • Like many giant dogs, Great Danes are short-lived.
  • Great Danes require a lot of space. Even though they make great housedogs, they need a lot of room just to move around. There's little that they can't reach , and their tails can easily sweep your coffee table clean.
  • Everything costs more when you have a big dog — collars, veterinary care, heartworm preventive, food. In addition, you'll need both a crate and a vehicle that are large enough to hold your Great Dane without crumpling him into a pretzel. And let's face it, you'll scoop up a lot of poop.
  • It takes a while for the bones and joints of large dogs such as Great Danes to stop growing and become stable. Don't allow your Great Dane puppy to jump, and don't take him jogging until he's at least 18 months old; this will reduce stress on the growing bones and joints.
  • The Dane's special giant-breed dietary requirements have to be followed, or else orthopedic issues can develop.
  • Great Danes aren't particularly suited to apartments or small houses, simply because they're so big. They're not jumpers, fortunately, so a six-foot fence will contain them.
  • 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.
  • Comparable Breeds: Boxer, Mastiff
History
   Drawings of dogs who look like Great Danes have been found on Egyptian artifacts dating back to 3000 B.C. and in Babylonian temples that were built around 2000 B.C. There's evidence that similar dogs originated in Tibet, with written reports of such dogs appearing in Chinese literature in 1121 B.C.
   The breed is thought to have been taken into various parts of the world by the Assyrians, who traded their dogs to the Greeks and Romans. The Greeks and Romans then bred these dogs with other breeds. Ancestors of the English Mastiff were probably involved in the breed development, and some folks believe that the Irish Wolfhound or Irish Greyhound also may have played a role.
  Great Danes originally were called Boar Hounds, because boars were what they were bred to hunt. Their ears were cropped to prevent boar tusks from tearing them. In the 16th century, the name of the breed was changed to "English Dogges."
  Late in the 1600s, however, many German nobles began keeping the largest and most handsome of their dogs in their homes, calling them Kammerhunde . These dogs were pampered and wore gilded collars lined with velvet. Talk about a sweet life.
  The name Great Dane arose in the 1700s, when a French naturalist traveled to Denmark and saw a version of the Boar Hound who was slimmer and more like a Greyhound in appearance.   He called this dog Grand Danois, which eventually became Great Danish Dog, with the more massive examples of the breed called Danish Mastiffs. The name stuck, even though Denmark did not develop the breed.
  Most breed historians give credit to German breeders for refining the breed to be the well-balanced, elegant dog we love today. In 1880, breeders and judges held a meeting in Berlin and agreed that since the dogs they were breeding were distinctly different from the English Mastiff, they would give it its own name — German Dog.
  They founded the Deutscher Doggen-Klub of Germany, and many other European countries took up the name as well. The Italians and English-speaking countries didn't accept this name, however.
  Throughout the late 1800s, wealthy German breeders continued to refine the breed. They turned their attention to the dog's temperament, because Great Danes had aggressive, ferocious temperaments due to the fact that they were originally bred to hunt wild boar, a particularly ferocious beast. These breeders tried to produce more gentle animals, and — luckily for us today — they succeeded.
  We don't know when the first Great Danes were brought to the U.S., or even where they came from, but the Great Dane Club of America was formed in 1889. It was the fourth breed club allowed to join the American Kennel Club.


Personality
  A well-bred Dane is one of the best-natured dogs around. He's a gentle, sweet, affectionate pet who loves to play and is relaxed with children. He has a great desire to please, which makes him easy to train.
  The Great Dane wants to be where the family is. He likes people a lot, including strangers and children, and will welcome visitors happily, unless he thinks you need defending. Then he can be fiercely protective.
  Some Danes wish they were lapdogs, and they'll keep trying to get there even if you and your lap mysteriously keep moving.
  Good-natured as they are, Great Danes definitely need early socialization — exposure to many different people, sights, sounds, and experiences — when they're young. Socialization helps ensure that your Great Dane 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.


Is this breed right for you?
  As one of the tallest and largest breeds in the world, it's plain to see the Great Dane needs ample space to stretch its legs; however, due to its calm and lazy disposition, this breed can adapt to smaller dwellings. By nature, this is an athletic breed and daily exercise is required to keep the Great Dane in tip-top health. Great Danes love to be around people and do very well with families of all ages and sizes. Owners with very young children will want to make sure training and socialization is implemented early on as this extra-large breed could be a hazard to small children if not properly trained. This breed is prone to a short lifespan and may suffer from bloat. Owners should be prepared for potential health hazards and vet visits.


Health
  Great Danes, like most giant dogs, have a fairly slow metabolism. This results in less energy and less food consumption per pound of dog than in small breeds. Great Danes have some health problems that are common to large breeds, including bloat (gastric dilatation volvulus(GDV)). The average life span of Great Danes is 6 to 8 years. Like many larger breeds, Great Danes are at particular risk for hip dysplasia.
  Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) and many congenital heart diseases are also commonly found in the Great Dane, leading to its nickname: the Heartbreak breed, in conjunction with its shorter lifespan. Great Danes also may carry the merle gene, which is part of the genetic makeup that creates the harlequin coloring.
   The merle gene is an incomplete dominant, meaning only one copy of the gene is needed to show the merle coloring; two merle genes produce excessive white markings and many health issues such as deafness, blindness, or other debilitating ocular issues. Great Danes can also develop something called "wobblers disease" that can affect their vertebral column. Since these dogs do grow at a rapid rate, the bones in their vertebrae can push up against the spinal cord and cause a little bit of weakness in the legs. This can be treated with surgery or it may straighten itself out.

Care
  Coat care for this breed is minimal. It does, however, need regular exercise, which can be accomplished with a lengthy walk or a fast-paced game. And although the Great Dane looks sturdy, the dog cannot live outdoors. Instead, it is more suited to an equal schedule of indoor and outdoor activities. While indoors, it should be given plenty of space and a soft bed for sleeping.

Living Conditions
  The Great Dane will do okay in an apartment if it is sufficiently exercised. It is relatively inactive indoors and does best with at least a large yard.


Exercise
  Like most dogs, Great Danes require daily walks to maintain their health. However, it is important not to over exercise this breed, particularly when young. Great Dane puppies grow very large, very fast, which puts them at risk of joint and bone problems. Because of a puppy's natural energy, Dane owners often take steps to minimize activity while the dog is still growing.
Given their large size, Great Danes continue to grow (mostly gaining weight) longer than most dogs. Even at one year of age a Great Dane will continue to grow for several more months.

Grooming
 The smooth, shorthaired coat is easy to groom. Comb and brush with a firm bristle brush and dry shampoo when necessary. Bathing this giant is a major chore, so it pays to avoid the need by daily grooming. The nails must be kept trimmed. This breed is an average shedder.


Children and other pets
  A Great Dane loves children and is gentle with them, especially when raised with them from puppyhood. Keep in mind he doesn't have any idea how big he is compared to a small child, and so can accidentally knock them over quite easily.
  As with every breed, you should 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 not to approach any dog while he's eating or sleeping or to try to take the dog's food away.
  Generally speaking, a Great Dane will get along with other pets in the household, but occasionally some can be aggressive with livestock, or they just may not care for the other pets. It's an individual taste: some won't tolerate another animal in the house, while others will snooze with the cats and other dogs.

Popular culture
  • Fang, Hagrid's dog from the Harry Potter series, is a boarhound, another name for Great Danes. Though in the movie, the role was played by a Neapolitan Mastiff.
  • Manchester United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel was nicknamed the "Great Dane".
  • The Great Dane was named the state dog of Pennsylvania in 1965.
  • Scooby-Doo, the famous Hanna-Barbera character, was based on a Great Dane by animation designer Iwao Takamoto. Takamoto based his illustrations on sketches given to him by a Hanna-Barbera employee who bred this dog. Scooby closely resembles a Great Dane, although his tail is longer than the breed's, bearing closer resemblance to a cat's tail.
  • The athletic teams of the University at Albany have been known as the Great Danes since 1965. Damien The Great Dane has been the mascot since that time. In 2003, the school added Lil' D, a smaller Great Dane, to help Damien entertain the crowds.
  • The University of Iowa had Great Danes, Rex I and Rex II, as mascots before the Hawkeye was chosen.
  • Astro, the dog in The Jetsons.
  • Brutus in The Ugly Dachshund, a Great Dane raised by a Dachshund mother.
  • Marmaduke is a newspaper comic strip drawn by Brad Anderson from 1954 to the present day. The strip revolves around the Winslow family and their Great Dane, Marmaduke.
  • Singer, the main but tragic hero of The Guardian, a novel by Nicholas Sparks.
  • Elmer, a Great Dane in Oswald the Lucky Rabbit by Walter Lantz
  • In each film version of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Hound of the Baskervilles, a Great Dane was cast as the cursed hellhound that kills the Baskerville family.
  • Ace the Bat-Hound, from the Batman TV series, was depicted as a Great Dane mix. In the animated series Batman Beyond, Bruce Wayne owns a black Great Dane mix he picked up on the street, also named Ace.
  • Ben, Hōgen, and Genba from Japanese anime and manga, Ginga Nagareboshi Gin and Ginga Densetsu Weed.
  • Just Nuisance who was the only dog to be officially enlisted in the Royal Navy. Done mainly as a morale booster for World War II enlisted troops, Nuisance proved to be a lasting legacy of the small Cape Town suburb of Simons Town.
  • Chestnut: Hero of Central Park revolves around the inventive ways the Great Dane is kept hidden from his new owners.
A dream day in the life of a Great Dane
  Watching a television show marathon on a cloudy Sunday afternoon would make this giant a happy camper. To make the day even better, a nap on your lap would complete a perfect day. This breed does have an athletic built and needs daily exercise. Although he would prefer the couch or bed, he'll be a healthier pooch with daily walks, meaning more time and more years to spend lounging around with you.



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