1 BOUVIER des FLANDRES
In the early 20th century, the working class in Belgium needed a dog that would be used by butchers, cattle owners, and farmers to work for them. During the First World War, the Bouvier des Flandres (meaning “cowherd from Flanders”) was used as a rescue and message-carrier dog. Somehow during this time, this breed was almost vanishing when in 1923, it was recreated. Before the 20th century, this breed had three variants—Briard, Roeselare (or Moerman) and Paret. It is a multi-talented breed—tracking, carting, competitive obedience, agility, police and military work, guardian, search and rescue, guide for the blind and watchdog. It is known by many nicknames—Vuilbaard (dirty beard), Toucheur de Boeuf (cattle driver), and Koehond (cow dog). The Dutch bloodlines are more heavier and larger.
With a height of 23 to 28 inches (females measure 22 to 27 inches) and weight of 75 to 110 pounds (females weigh 60 to 80 pounds), the powerful, rugged-looking and large, the Bouvier des Flandres’ head in proportion with the body, gives a square look. The length of the flat head is more than its width. With a parallel skull, the broad, strong and slightly-tapered muzzle is wide (between the ears). The eyebrows are bushy and the nose is black. With black eye rims, the oval-shaped eyes are dark brown. The cropped or natural triangular ears are set high.The front legs are straight and the powerful back legs are well-muscled. The feet are round and nice. The excess hair inside the ears and between the feet pads need to be trimmed often to give a clean look. The usually-docked tail is set high. It has a weather resistant double coat—the outer coat is harsh and rough, and the dense undercoat is soft and fine. Thick beard and bushy eyebrows give a distinct look to this breed. The colors of the coat are blonde, salt and pepper, gray, black, brindle or fawn. Small white star on the chest can be seen in some. It requires brushing on a regular basis and dry shampoo or bathing only when necessary. Thrice a year, it needs to be trimmed. If you groom your dog very well, it may shed little or no hair.
With an intimidating look (actually not so), obedient, responsible, fearless, enthusiastic, even tempered, gentle, pleasant natured and protective, the Bouvier des Flandres takes about 2 to 3 years to mature in body and mind. It is a good family dog and famous for loyalty. It is also an excellent watchdog and guard. It learns commands quite fast; so it not difficult to train but the training has to be consistent and well-balanced. While training, make it aware that you are the leader. With excellent training, it will overcome its over-protectiveness and dominance (these come naturally to this breed). It is reserved with strangers, shy and suspicious—it needs a good socialization training to overcome these traits. It must be kept away from your non-canine pets. It should be fed little meals twice or thrice a day.
With a lifespan of 10 to 12 years, the Bouvier des Flandres is prone to cataracts, hip dysplasia and passing gas. Its pain tolerance level is very high.
The German ancestors of the Boxer were Barenbeiszer and Bullenbeiszer (this breed is now extinct), the two German mastiff type dogs. Later, the Boxer was bred from Bullenbeiszer and the Old English Bulldog. Earlier, this breed was used for cart pulling, dog fighting, catching and pinning bison and wild boars (for the hunters), bull baiting, and as cattle dogs. Then, it gained popularity as circus and theater dogs. It is a multi-talented dog—guard, police and military work, search and rescue, watch dog and competitive obedience. There are two breeds—the muscular German Boxer with bigger heads and the American Boxers.
With a height of 22 to 25 inches (females are an inch shorter) and weight of 60 to 70 pounds (females are about 7 to 8 pounds lesser), the Boxer has broad, short skulls). The muzzle is square, blunt and short. The large, black nose has open nostrils, and the eyes are dark brown. The jaws are very strong. The strong and muscular neck is round. The cropped or natural ears are set high. Both the front and back legs are well muscled, with the front leg parallel and straight. The usually docked tail is set high. The close-fitting, shorthaired and smooth coat comes in different colors—tan, mahogany, fawn, brindle, and black with white markings. It is to be bathed only when necessary (too much of bathing would remove its skins’ natural oils) and brushed with a firm bristle brush. It is an average shedder.
High-spirited, playful, clownish, happy, energetic, quick and eager to learn, highly intelligent, curious and excellent watchdog, the Boxer is good where competitive obedience is concerned. It is also very athletic and stays like this till the old age. Affectionate and loyal, it bonds with the family members very closely. In particular, it gets along very well with the children. It is very protective of the home, its owner and the other members of the family. Heaven help the intruder who is not aware of a Boxer in the home! If you can impart good socialization training and bring it up well, then it is an ideal pet. If you want to pet a Boxer, you must be or need to be a dominant owner. It needs to take you seriously; otherwise, it could be demanding, sneaky, hard to control and boisterous. Non-canines should not be allowed to move freely when it is around as it would feel tempted and may harm them. The owner should keep a strict check in this matter. When it jumps up, it uses its front paws in such a manner that it looks as if it is boxing! It is in the habit of pawing (with its front paws) in a cat-like and playful way—the owner, or its food bowl, or its precious toys. It needs mental and physical exercise, long walks and runs on a daily basis. Give its special dog food as small meals twice or thrice a day. Do not overfeed as it is prone to excessive flatulence.
With a life expectancy of 11 to 14 years, the Boxer is prone to epilepsy, deafness, arthritis, hip dysplasia, heart problems, knee and back issues, thyroid, cancer and mast cell tumors.
Originating in France, the Briard belongs from a family of large herding dogs. This breed was used in such a limitless manner by the French army (as a messenger, searching the wounded, picking up trails, detecting mines, carrying ammunition and food to the front lines) that after the First World War, it nearly got extinct. Soon, it was revived through selective breeding and used as herder and flock guardian. Its temperament seemed to have softened also. In 1928, the American Kennel Club recognized this breed.
With a height of 24 to 27 inches and weight of 75 pounds, the Briard is powerful, athletic and large. The long head is large and rectangular. It has a straight topline. The muzzle is wide with long beard and mustache.With dark pigmentation along the rims, the eyes are large, set wide apart, and black-brown or brown in color. The hair covering the eyes cascades to the body. The cropped or natural ears are set high. The ears are to be cleaned often and excessive hair should be removed. With open nostrils, the nose is square shaped and black. The tail is low cut and well-feathered, forming a “J” at the end. The large feet are round and compact with the hind feet having double dewclaws.Excessive hair between the feet pads needs to be removed. It has double coat—the tight and fine undercoat is all over the body, and the coarse, hard and dry outer coat lies flat and has a natural fall in little wavy and long locks. The coat color can be any but not white. Its common coat colors are shades of gray, shades of tawny, and black. The length of the adult coat is 6 or more inches that gives it a bushy look—eyebrows, mustache and shaggy long beard. It should be groomed often, failing which the coat becomes matted.
A working dog, the Briardhas exceptional hearing ability and a mind of its own, is alert and watchful, fearless, intelligent, strongly protective and gentle. It is always eager and willing to please. Other than the family, it is not interested in any other person. It also excels in obedience and early training (with firm hand and patience) in socialization can make it get along with children and other dogs in the home. It should also be taught not to nip at people’s heels. The owner should be consistent, confident and stern. Affection can be shown to it it only when it is in a submissive state and calm. Like most of the dogs, it should not be left alone for a long time. It should be taken out regularly for mental and physical exercise, and on long walks and runs (alongside a bicycle would be better). It loves to swim and is a good jogging companion. Instead, it should heel behind or beside the owner.
With a life expectancy of 10 to 12 years, the Beauceron is prone to hip dysplasia, cataracts, stomach torsion and bloat. Otherwise, it is generally hardy and healthy.
Named after the French province of Brittany, the Brittany may be a cross between some French dogs and Orange and White Setters (or English Setters). It looks similar to the Welsh Springer Spaniel. This breed is popular as bird hunters. In 1896, it was first shown in France and it was approved by the American Kennel Club in 1934. Earlier, it was called Brittany Spaniel. Later, the AKC dropped the Spaniel and called it simply Brittany. It is used to hunt partridge, hare and woodcock. Presently, it has gained popularity as a companion dog.
Measuring 17 to 21 inches in height (females are 18 to 20 inches) and 35 to 40 pounds in weight (females are 30 to 40 pounds), the Brittany is a medium sized leggy dog. The length of the body and its long legs are of the same height at the shoulders. The wedge-shaped head is rounded and medium sized. There is a mild sloping of the stop and a medium muzzle. Depending on the colors of the coat, the nose with wide nostrils can be tan, fawn, deep pink and shades of brown and the eyes can be shades of amber and hazel, and dark brown. The ears, lying flat and close to the head, are triangular and set high. With well-arched toes and thick pads, the feet are small. The docked or naturally short tail is set high. Its dense, wavy or flat coat is lightly feathered. The coat color can be five—black tricolor, orange and white, liver tricolor, black and white, and liver and white. With some ticking, the pattern is either roam or clear. Dry shampoo or bathe only when necessary. Being a light shedder, regular brushing is required.
Always eager to please, obedient, easy to handle, good natured, gentle, loving, intelligent, affectionate, independent, alert, free thinker, untiring, easy to care for and very energetic, the Brittany is an enthusiastic hunter by instinct and therefore, loves to roam about. Where this breed is concerned, the owner has to be very active to handle it properly. Basically trained for hunting, training in socialization is also necessary from an early age. The owner should set some specific rules for it to follow. Regular mental and physical exercise is a must if the owner does not want a nervous, timid, stable and hyperactive dog in hand. It should be taken out for long walks and jogs. The owner should not allow the dog to lead while walking. It should always be behind or heel beside. It can be good with children provided it is more or less raised with them. It is excellent is retrieving anything from water. It is okay with any terrain—plains, hills or woods. Even it is resistant to damp and cold conditions. Little meals should be given twice or thrice a day. Do not try to feed it only once a day. Also, avoid overfeeding.
With a lifespan of about 12 to 15 years, the Brittany is prone to seizures, breast cancer and hip dysplasia in its lifetime.
5 BRUSSELS GRIFFON
Named after the city of Brussels in Belgium, the Brussels Griffon (or Griffon Bruxellois) is a breed of toy dog. It was first shown in 1880 at the Brussels Exhibition. With an appealing character, it has now become a popular companion dog. In the 17th century, it was used to get rid of stable vermin by the cab drivers. Its modern form might have stemmed down from Belgian Street dog, Yorkshire Terrier, Affenpinscher, Irish Terrier and English Toy Spaniel. It is not available easily in plenty—it is a rare breed. It is nicknamed “monkey face” because its facial expression is almost human!
Measuring 7 to 8 inches in height and 6 to 12 pounds in weight, the Brussels Griffon’s head is large with a deep stop and a forehead that is domed. The muzzle is short. With long, black eyelashes, the wide set eyes are black. Equally black is the very short nose. Left natural (carried semi-erect) or cropped (stand up at a point), the ears are set high. The boned legs are medium and straight. The high-set tail is docked. The coat comes as two types—either it is rough, wiry and dense, or tight, glossy, straight and short. The colors of the coat can be black and tan, that is, black with reddish brown markings above the eyes, around the vent, ear edges, under the chin and legs; belge, that is, reddish brown and black with whiskers and black mask; black; and reddish brown (with little black on the chin and whiskers). As it sheds little or no hair, the glossy coat is easy to groom. Where the rough coat is concerned, it requires a lot of care. The coat also needs to be clipped occasionally.
Charming, lively, curious, affectionate, cheerful and intelligent, the Brussels Griffon loves anyone and everyone—other dogs, cats, children and adults. Not only an excellent companion dog, it can be a watchdog also. Funny part is that it wants to be treated as a “human” and not as a dog! When not allowed to take over home, it shows behavioral problems, such as separation anxiety, guarding, barking obsessively, demanding and willfulness, biting and snapping. Then, it should not be trusted with anyone—the owner needs to deal with the situation firmly. For the problems not to recur again, the owner has to set up certain dos and don’ts for the dog to follow. Regular physical and mental exercise in correct manner and right amount, and walks is a must if you don’t want your dog to end up being moody, sensitive and high-strung. It is a good dog indoor. It should be fed in small amount twice a day. It is recommended not to overfeed it, especially by children who loves to give the dog a bite or two of the food they have.
With a lifespan of about 12 to 15 years, the Brussels Griffon is very sensitive to heat. It is also prone to respiratory and eye problems, and slipped stifle.