The UKC recognises two sizes of American Eskimo dog; the miniature and the standard, whereas the AKC recognises three sizes; the toy, the miniature and the standard. The toy stands 23-30 cm tall at the withers; the miniature is 33-38cm tall and the standard is 39-48 cm tall under AKC standards.
The Eskie is generally white, but may be white with biscuit cream. He has brown eyes and a black nose and black lips. The Eskie has the typical appearance of a spitz breed, with a thick double coat, a characteristic head and face, and a curled tail with long hair carried high and over the back. The ears are small, triangular and erect, set on a wedge shaped head with a tapering muzzle that is about the same length as the skull. The body is only slightly longer than it is tall, and there is a thick ruff of hair around the neck and chest, especially in males. Hair is somewhat shorter on the face and head, and the front of the legs, but is longer on the body and the upper and backs of the legs, while the tail has a profuse covering of hair. The undercoat is dense and soft, while the longer outer coat is straight and stands out from the body.
The American Eskimo dog (or “Eskie” as he is affectionately known) has developed in the USA from European spitz breeds that were common in communities of German immigrants to the US in the mid- to late- nineteenth century. Breeds that contributed to the development of the Eskie are thought to include the white German spitz, as well as the white Pomeranian, the white keeshond and the white Volpino Italiano (or Italian spitz). White was very much the favoured colour of these dogs in the US, and they became known as the American spitz.
The first American Eskimo dogs to be registered with the American United Kennel Club (UKC) in 1913 were from a kennel of supposed German spitz dogs with the kennel name “American Eskimo”, owned by Mr and Mrs F. M. Hall. The dogs were registered under the name American Eskimo dog, and for many years afterwards individual dogs were registered based on their appearance. It is believed that the name was favoured over American spitz due to widespread anti-German feeling around the time of World War One. While these dogs are not related to the Eskimo culture at all, the name also pays homage to the ancestry of Nordic breeds that the American Eskimo dog, as a spitz breed, descends from.
The American Eskie became famous in the US in the 1930s as a circus performer. Eskie puppies were often sold to adoring fans at the end of circus performances, and an American Eskimo dog is reported to have been the first to walk the high wire. The American Eskimo dog standard was first set in 1958 by the UKC and the National American Eskimo Dog Association was formed in 1969, at which time the studbook was closed. The American Kennel Club (AKC) recognised the breed in 1995; however the only other country to recognise the Eskie is Canada. American Eskie owners wanting to compete in other countries register their dogs as the (very similar) German spitz in order to do so. Breeding between the American Eskimo dog and German spitz does occur in order to maintain genetic diversity, although the two are separate breeds.
The American Eskimo dog is very intelligent and is a lively, active dog. He is loyal and eager to please, making him easy to train. The Eskie bonds strongly with his family, and is a playful and happy member of the family who loves to play with children and has plenty of energy. Due to his origins as a working dog, he can have a bit of a stubborn streak, and he also makes a good watchdog, and can be quite vocal. The Eskie can take up to two years to outgrow his puppy behaviour and reach full maturity.
He can be wary of strangers initially, and requires early and ongoing socialisation to avoid behaviour problems with strange people and animals. He can get along with other dogs and cats if brought up with them, but does not tend to do well with other pets (such as birds, rabbits, reptiles etc). Eskies, like other dogs, do not respond well to harsh discipline, and may react to such by becoming withdrawn and distrustful. Due to his naturally high intelligence the Eskie requires lots of stimulation, and needs to live inside with his family. He does not do well if left alone for long periods, and quickly becomes bored, which may lead to destructive behaviour.
The American Eskimo dog is quite an active dog when indoors, and will do best with at least a small, secure yard. Regardless he will require daily exercise in the form of a walk and a play where he can run and interact mentally with his owner. He does very well at a number of dog sports such as agility and flyball, and needs to be kept occupied mentally.
The Eskie requires a reasonable amount of grooming, with a good brush and comb at least twice a week. Daily grooming will be required when he is shedding, which occurs twice a year. He does not require much bathing, and this can irritate his skin, which is naturally quite dry. He should only be bathed when required if he has gotten particularly dirty. Most mud and dirt can be brushed out once dry.
Although he is suited to cold climates, he can live in warm weather as well. It is never recommended to shave an Eskie, as his coat helps protect him from all types of weather.
With a range of sizes available, there is an Eskie to suit just about everyone who have the time to spend with him. He will suit singles, couples and families as long as he is not left alone for long periods and has his needs met in regards to exercise, socialisation and training.
The Boxer is a well built, squarish, muscular dog with a somewhat short, blocky head that is perfectly proportioned to the body. The muzzle is somewhat blocky and short, and should be in proportion to the skull, with a mild underbite. Originally Boxers had docked tails and cropped ears - note that unnecessary cosmetic surgery such as these are now banned in Australia, as well as many other parts of the world. The ears are set relatively high, fall forward and sit close to the side of the head. The tail extends from the line of the back and curves gently upwards, and is usually carried slightly low. The coat is short and shiny, and comes in two basic colours; fawn/red and brindled. White markings are also possible, and when these are excessive the Boxer is termed “white”. Boxers do not have the genes do be solid black, but can have a black mask, and black mixed with tan (i.e. brindle).
The Boxer is a large breed, with females standing 53 - 60 cm tall and weighing 25 - 27 kg, and males standing 57 - 63 cm tall and weighing 30 - 32 kg.
The Boxer originated in Germany in the late 19th century, and is thought to descend from the Bullenbeisser (\"bull biter\") breed, a mastiff type dog, and Old English Bulldogs brought in from Britain, both now extinct breeds. Bull biting, or bull baiting (using dogs to attack live bulls at market) used to be a common practice, as it was believed that it tenderised meat. Early Boxers were also used for hunting and fighting, and tail docking and ear cropping was done to prevent opponents in the field having something to hang onto. The Boxer has a strong jaw and powerful bite, in line with its original purpose of hanging on to large prey. Boxers were first shown in the Munich area in 1895, but became popular in other parts of the world following World War II. Most breed clubs list them as utility or working dogs, although today they are generally used as companion and show dogs. They also make good guard dogs.
The Boxer is loving and faithful to his family, and can be very playful and fun-loving. He is intelligent and energetic, and has great strength. The Boxer can have a reputation for being headstrong, and can be wary of strangers. This attribute can make him a good guard dog, but in social settings it is important that he has received good training and socialisation since puppyhood. Boxers respond much better to positive training methods and can perform extremely well in intelligence and athletic trials if trained in the correct manner. The Boxer requires companionship, and although he is usually patient with smaller dogs and puppies other pets may pose problems, especially smaller animals that he can chase, such as chickens or ducks.
The Boxer requires excellent training and good socialisation, and plenty of interactive exercise with his owner. The Boxer can become highly strung if his daily exercise needs are not met, and he is always keen to work or play. He has a low maintenance coat that requires a weekly brush to remove shed hair, and the occasional bath when he gets dirty.
The Boxer gets along well with children, being affectionate and good natured. He is suited to singles, couples, families and older people, and while a good sized and well fenced yard would be best, he will do well with less room so long as his exercise needs are met. Because he does best with company, he is well suited to any household where he can live indoors with his \"pack\".
The American Staffordshire terrier, also known as the Am Staff here in Australia and in many other parts of the world, is a stocky, muscular, powerful looking dog possessing great courage and strength for his size. The head is broad and powerful, with a short to medium length muzzle and very strong jaw. The ears are set high on the head and are either pricked, or half dropped. The tail is narrow and naturally of medium length. The coat is short, dense and smooth. The Am Staff comes in a variety of colours, including red, fawn, black, blue or brindle, and any may be combined with white.
The Am Staff is generally of larger bone structure, head size and weight than the closely related American Pit Bull terrier, with males standing 45 – 48 cm tall and females standing 43 – 46 cm tall at the shoulder. The weight is generally 25 – 30 kg, and should be in proportion to the height.
The ancestors of the Am Staff were the “bull and terrier” breeds of 19th century England. The old English bulldogs (now extinct) were used to fight bulls and bears for sport before the 19th century. These dogs were not bred to be pets, but for “gameness”, when pitted against a bear or bull for strength and skill, as well as courage. Bull baiting was also thought to tenderise the meat of bulls brought to market. In 1835 this practice was outlawed, as the UK began to recognise and introduce animal welfare laws. Clandestine dog fighting (pit fighting) then took place for decades and the pluckiness or “gameness” of the fighting dog was still highly prized. A dog that stopped fighting in the pit was reviled. Various terrier breeds were introduced to give the old bull baiting dogs more agility and stamina. These were known as “bull and terrier” dogs, and were the early “proto-Staffords”. Going on to become the Staffordshire bull terrier in England, around 1870 some of these bull and terrier dogs were brought to the USA, and bred not only for pit fighting, but to work on the ranches of farmers. Dogs used to work on farms tended to be slightly larger and heavier, and their temperament also was modified to suit their lifestyle as a human companion and working partner. Today they are recognised as a separate breed to the American Pit Bull terrier by most Kennel Clubs, although an AKC registered Am Staff can be co-registered with the UKC as an American Pit Bull terrier, as the two breeds are considered to be the same breed by the UKC.
The Am Staff is a friendly and loyal dog with his family, is loyal and affectionate with adults and children. He is a very trustworthy dog, and enjoys having a job to do. He is also very protective of his family, and will become aggressive if he feels they are threatened. If provoked, the Am Staff is a relentless fighter, well able to finish an enemy.
The Am Staff can be aggressive towards other dogs, and requires early and ongoing socialisation. He can also be stubborn if he does not want to do something, and requires a firm and consistent owner who can offer him the correct leadership and training he needs.
The Am Staff needs daily exercise; otherwise he may become unruly and destructive. He needs to be part of the family, and - as a working dog - does best if he feels he has a job to do. A well secured yard is essential, as many people are intimidated by the appearance of the Am Staff, and a roaming dog can cause problems for you and for him. Good training and socialisation are essential from a young age. The Am Staff’s short coat is easy to groom, and a weekly brush and rub down with a damp towel will keep his coat in top condition.
The Am Staff is not a dog for the elderly or infirm. He is a very active dog indoors, but can do okay without a yard if exercised sufficiently. An experienced and active owner would suit this breed best. You must be prepared for lots of training and active time with your Am Staff.
The Bernese mountain dog is a large breed with a striking tri-coloured appearance. He is strong and sturdily built. The body is slightly longer than it is tall. The skull is broad and flat on top, with a well defined stop and a strong muzzle. The expression is intelligent and gentle, with dark, slightly oval eyes and high-set, medium sized triangular ears that hang close to the head.
The legs are straight and strong, and the back is broad and firm. The chest is deep and there is a strong loin. The tail is bushy and is generally carried low, reaching at least to the hock. The coat is thick, moderately long and straight or slightly wavy. The base colour is black with markings of white and a rich rust. There is a white blaze and muzzle band, and white on the chest that often forms an inverted cross. The tip of the tail is white, as are the feet. There is rust over the eyes, on the cheeks, on each side of the chest, on all legs and under the tail.
The male Berner stands 64 - 70 cm tall at the withers, while the female stands 58 - 66 cm tall. Weight is in proportion to height, and is generally 35 - 55 kg for males and 35 - 45 kg for females.
The Bernese mountain dog (which is affectionately known as the Bernese or Berner for short by enthusiasts of the breed) is one of four Sennerhund. Sennerhund is German for mountain dog, and the name comes from the name for Swiss alpine farmers (the \"Senn\" or \"Senner\") and the word for dog (\"hund\"). The Berner Sennerhund, or Bernese mountain dog, was named for the canton of Berne where he was developed. The other Sennerhund are the Appenzeller, the Entlebucher and the Greater Swiss mountain dog. The Bernese is distinguished by his longer coat.
Fossilised remains of dogs from 3000BC have been found in Switzerland, and these are similar in size and build to Bernese mountain dogs. It is thought that Romans brought mastiff-type dogs with them to the region, which may then have been bred with dogs native to the area. This probably resulted in the ancestor of the Sennerhunds.
The Bernese mountain dog was developed as a farm dog, guarding the homestead and livestock on the farms of the Durrbach region south of Berne. These farms were smaller than what we think of in Australia or the US today, and would grow a mixture of grains as well as keep between 5-15 cows. There may also have been a smaller number of goats or sheep. The Bernese mountain dogs would help move the cows on the farm, and would act as a general watchdog to let the farmer know of any intruders on the farm. He was also used as a cart dog to help take milk or cheese to factories or market. Two dogs would pull a small milk cart for farmers who could not afford a horse and cart.
With the industrial revolution and the arrival of motorised vehicles the Berner almost disappered. Enthusiasts of the breed revived his numbers early in the 20th century, and the breed was officially established in Switzerland in 1907. The Bernese mountain dog became a sought after companion dog and show dog, and was exported to other countries including the USA, where the AKC recognised the breed in 1937.
The Berner is a self-confident, good natured dog. Given his history as a working dog, he may be somewhat aloof with strangers, but he should never be shy. Early and ongoing socialisation is important in preventing this.
The Bernese mountain dog is generally good with children, and very affectionate. He is usually patient and tolerates well children climbing over him. He is also generally good with other pets. The Berner is a winter dog who enjoys romping in the snow. He does not like hot or humid weather.
The Berner does not reach maturity until he is 2 -3 years old, and retains puppy-like behaviour for longer than most smaller breeds. Puppies can be rambunctious and may chase and nip. They like to chew things and are prone to eating things they shouldn\'t, which can result in emergency surgery if you are not careful.
The Berner is a companion dog, bred to live with his farmer and his family. He does not do well left alone in the back yard, but needs to live indoors with the family. However he is a dog that needs exercise and loves the outdoors life. He enjoys hiking with his owner, but remember he does not have a great deal of endurance. He does not make a good jogging partner! A reasonably large and well fenced yard is required for the Berner, who in most cases will not do well cooped up in an apartment.
Heat or high humidity can easily cause heat stress in the Berner, and should not be exercised in the heat of the day. Ensure that he can rest in the cool of the home, or that he has plenty of shade and water if he must be outdoors. Many Berners will dig a hole to try to reach cool earth to lie in when there is hot weather. A wading pool is generally appreciated by the Berner, and many will lie in waist deep water to cool off in the heat of the day.
The Bernese mountain dog has a thick coat and requires a reasonably high level of attention to his coat. Grooming is required at least twice weekly, and daily when he is shedding. His ears should also be checked and cleaned weekly.
The Berner would suit active singles, couples and families who have plenty of time to be outdoors playing, hiking or doing other activities with their Berner.
The Border collie can vary in appearance more than most breeds, as it is bred to be a working dog. It is a medium sized dog with a moderate amount of double coat that may be slick, or slightly longer and lush. The Border collie can come in many colours, although black and white is the most common. Other colours can include black or red tri-colour, sable and white, red (chocolate) and white, as well as the less commonly seen red or blue merles, brindle, lilac, and Australian red/gold. Single colour coats may also be seen (e.g. black). Eye colour may be deep brown to blue, and occasionally eyes of different colour are seen (often in Merles). Ears are also variable, and may be fully erect, partially erect or fully dropped.
Most working Border collie associations consider appearance to be unimportant to the breed, and identify a working Border collie by its attitude and ability. Border collies are renowned sheep dogs, and it is this ability that they are assessed on. In contrast over the last few decades, breed clubs have begun to show Border collies based on appearance alone, and these conformation show dogs are required to conform much more closely to specific breed club standards. Certainly some friction does exist between the two different types of organisations in some parts of the world.
The Border collie is thought to have originated in the border region between Scotland and England, and the word collie seems to originate from lowland Scots dialects. It is descended from landrace collies of the region, which were numerous, and was selected to be able to work the harsh countryside and climate, and to be able to effectively herd flocks of sheep in a manner that would not disturb or distress them. “Old Hemp” was a tricolour dog born in 1893, and was famous as having a favourable working style that sheep responded well to, and was widely used as a stud dog. His style became the Border collie style, and today all pure Border collies can trace an ancestral line back to Old Hemp.
Border collies are considered one of the most intelligent dog breeds, and to this day retain a primary role as a working stock dog. They are becoming popular pets as well, and true to their working ancestry they make demanding, energetic pets that require a lot of exercise and mental stimulation. They tend to retain their strong herding instincts, and as such are not suitable for families with small children, cats or other small dogs. They need to do a job, and can be destructive and neurotic if they become bored.
Above all the Border collie needs an abundance of exercise, both physical and mental. Generally activities such as agility, sheepdog trials, tracking, flyball and obedience are well suited to meet the needs of the Border collie. A secure yard is required, as the breed can be prone to chase moving objects, including cars. Due to their double coat they require a good brush a couple of times a week up to daily during seasonal shedding times.
Young active singles or couples, or families with older children and plenty of time for training and exercise activities. Obviously do well as working dogs, and on larger blocks or rural properties with room to move.