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Best Dog Foods for Basenjis—Ratings and Reviews

Basenjis originated as African hunting dogs. They have a short coat, deal with heat well, and dislike the cold. They are independent and can be a bit stubborn, but they love to be around their people. They are a medium sized breed that grow up to weigh between 20 and 25 pounds.

Basenjis have a few unique health concerns that come from their genetic makeup. This breed is prone to a kidney disorder that affects how your dog processes protein and sugar. They are also prone to a malabsorption disease that is similar to a food allergy. This is akin to IBS in humans.

Basenjis sometimes have hypothyroidism, which is when the thyroid isn’t producing enough hormones. Symptoms of this include, dry, patchy fur, lethargy, or mental dullness. They are susceptible to a few genetic eye conditions including retinal atrophy, which causes progressive blindness. Like many other breeds, Basenjis are also likely to experience hip dysplasia, which is when the leg bone doesn’t have a proper fit with the hip joint. These conditions sound serious, but with proper care, there is a good chance that your Basenji will not encounter these diseases.

Dangers of Improper Feeding

Two Basenji Barkless dogs

Because Basenjis can have digestive problems, it’s important to find a dog food that is easy on their stomach. The wrong ingredients can cause pain and irregular bowel movements that can be unpleasant to deal with. One of the most common allergens in dogs is grains. Many pet owners avoid grains like corn, soy, and wheat because it is believed that they cause allergic reactions in dogs. There are lots of different grain free formulas on the market that use carbs that are easier to digest like rice and potatoes. There are also dog foods that have simple ingredients lists to avoid allergic reactions. If you find that your dog can’t digest these formulas, it should be easy to figure out what the problem food is.

Fats are an important part of your Basenji’s diet that should not be overlooked. Animal fats are good for dogs and necessary in certain amounts. Along with animal fats, other healthy fats are necessary. These keep your dog’s skin moisturized and makes their coat glossy. A diet without fats can make your dog’s skin dry and itchy. Omega fatty acids are great for dogs and help with lots of bodily functions. One of the best sources for Omega fatty acids is fish and fish oils. It can also be found in flaxseeds. Omega fatty acids may also help with itchiness related to environmental allergies.

If your dog has a sensitive stomach, it’s especially important not to feed them table scraps. The food we prepare for ourselves has extra fats and seasonings that may not settle with your dog’s stomach. Along with the possibility that it may make your dog ill, table scraps can lead to weight gain and obesity. While chubby pups can look cute, extra fat puts a lot of strain on their skeletal system and organs. Extra weight can make exercise difficult, which could lead to more weight gain. Feeding your dog table scraps also promotes annoying begging, which can be difficult to stop, particularly with this stubborn breed.

Benefits of a Proper Diet

Certain nutrients may help support a healthy thyroid in dogs with symptoms of hypothyroidism. Some of these symptoms include lethargy, mental dullness, loss of fur, and dry skin. Also, weight change unrelated to diet and exercise can be another sign of hypothyroidism. Studies have shown that kelp, with its high levels of iodine, can improve thyroid function. Look for dog foods that contain kelp or dried kelp to get those good nutrients. Foods that contain a good mix of fruits and vegetables are more likely to include kelp than the foods that don’t have produce. If you’re having a hard time finding dog food with thyroid-healthy ingredients, there are supplements on the market that can be added to your dog’s diet.

In general, fruits and vegetables make a difference in your Basenji’s health. Virtually all dog foods contain added vitamins and minerals in supplement form to comply with market standards. However, dog foods with fruits and vegetables deliver the nutrients your dog needs in a form that is easily absorbed into the body. Produce also provides lower calorie energy, while keeping your dog full. Fruits and veggies also add fiber and antioxidants. Antioxidants found in orange produce, like carrots and sweet potatoes, are good for the eyes and may slow the progression of vision loss. This breed is prone to eye disorders, so staving off vision loss for a few extra years may improve your dog’s quality of life.

The right diet may also help prevent kidney problems. Most importantly, there should always be fresh water available for your Basenji to drink to help flush out toxins. Your dog’s source of protein is also important for kidney health. Try to find the best sources of protein for your dog, like whole meats or eggs. Avoid animal by-products, as these tend to be the lowest quality protein sources. Some veterinarians even think that lower protein diets may benefit your dog’s kidneys. It’s best to check with your vet before switching to a low-protein diet because dogs are meat-eaters and protein is important to their muscle development and weight stability.

Top Basenji Dog Food Reviews:

Nature’s Variety Instinct Grain Free

Your dog will love the crunchy kibble mixed with the freeze-dried meaty shreds in this dog food. The kibble uses chicken, chicken meal, and eggs for its major protein sources. Chicken meal is good for dogs because it contains glucosamine and chondroitin, which supports joint health. The dried meat is composed of turkey, chicken, and turkey liver. For carbohydrates, there is chickpeas, peas, and tapioca. This grain free formula is easier on your dog’s stomach than corn, wheat, or soy. Salmon oil adds healthy oils to the food to keep skin moisturized and protected. There are also fruits and vegetables in this formula in varying amounts. It includes apples, carrots, cranberries, butternut squash, kelp, broccoli, and blueberries. Along with the vitamin and mineral supplements, these fruits and vegetables add nutrition and flavor to this food.

• Contains dried meat that your dog will love
• Contains real produce
• Has kelp for thyroid health

• Could have larger quantities of fruits and vegetables

Eukanuba Premium Performance Dog Food

This is a good option for hunting dogs with no food allergies. For an affordable price, this formula has a higher protein and fat content for your working Basenji. For its protein source, it uses chicken, chicken meal, fish meal, and egg. Chicken meal is good for their hip joints and fish meal provides healthy Omega 3 fatty acids. For carbohydrates, this formula uses corn, brewers rice, and whole grain sorghum. Corn isn’t necessarily a bad source of energy, but it can cause problems with dogs that have allergies. This food also contains added fiber for regular bowel movements. Unfortunately, this dog food doesn’t contain produce or probiotics.

• Plenty of protein and fat for your working dog
• Affordable
• Contains glucosamine and chondroitin

• Could have better carb sources
• No produce or probiotics

Addiction Pet Foods Salmon Bleu

Addiction Pet Foods is based in New Zealand and makes a grain free formula with simple ingredients. This food uses salmon meal as its meat source. Some dogs have problems digesting chicken, so it may help with some tummy troubles. Instead of grains, it uses potatoes, tapioca, and peas for its energy source. These carbohydrates digest easily, but don’t provide a ton of long lasting energy. This food also has a good amount of dried kelp, which can help with your dog’s thyroid function. It also has dried cranberries, blueberries, and spinach. These fruits and vegetables are often considered to be “super foods” because they are packed with antioxidants. There aren’t many ingredients in this food, but that may be better for your dog’s sensitive digestive system.

• Good source of protein
• Grain free
• Contains kelp for thyroid health

• Could use more whole grains
• No probiotics for digestion

Natural Balance L.I.D Sweet Potato and Venison

This food has a short ingredients list made especially for dogs with allergies. It may be a good option for Basenjis with kidney problems because it contains less protein than other premium brands. For protein, it uses whole venison. Venison is a good meat for dogs because has iron that Basenjis need to build red blood cells. For carbohydrates, it primarily uses sweet potatoes. Not only are sweet potatoes a source of energy, but they also contain vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. There is also potato protein, starch, and pea protein in this formula. Canola oil and flaxseed add fat and Omega fatty acids to the mix. Beyond these ingredients, there isn’t much other than the basic blend of vitamins and minerals. It doesn’t have a lot of fiber or probiotics, but the carbs are easy to digest. This company doesn’t use artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives, so that may eliminate some stomach problems.

• Easy to digest carbs
• Short ingredients list
• Low protein for dogs with kidney problems

• Low protein for otherwise healthy dogs

Rachael Ray Nutrish Just 6

This is another food with a limited ingredients list for Basenjis with digestion issues. This one uses lamb meal for its protein source. Lamb is generally easy to digest for most dogs. Brown rice and white rice mix quick and long lasting energy to keep your dog energized all day. Beet pulp is added to provide fiber for regular bowel movements. Chicken fat adds necessary fat for absorbing fat soluble vitamins. Besides these ingredients, there is nothing else but vitamin and mineral supplements. This food also contains glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health. Unfortunately, this food does not contain a great source of Omega fatty acids like in fish. Your dog should be able to digest this food easily, but if there are allergic reactions, it’s a great way to find the culprit.

• Limited ingredients list
• Easy to digest

• Low in protein

Additional Basenji Dietary Supplements:

Herbsmith Microflora Plus Capsules for Pet Digestion

Basenjis are known for digestive problems, so they may need a little extra help breaking down food. This supplement contains a mix of prebiotics, probiotics, digestive enzymes, and herbs that aid digestion. They come in capsules filled with powder. These can be opened and sprinkled on your dog’s food for easy delivery. These can help with irregular bowel movements and the supplements may work in as little as a week.

Ocu-Glo Rx

These supplements claim to work at the cellular level to improve and protect eye health in dogs. These are meant for dogs that are prone to cataracts and degenerative eye disease. It primarily contains antioxidants that prevent and reverse eye damage. Because it is believed that these eye conditions occur due to oxidation, antioxidants fight the free radicals in the body. It may not cure eye disease, but it may keep your dog from becoming blind.

Healthy Breeds Multivitamins

While your dog’s food contains most of the vitamins and minerals they need, if your Basenji has malabsorption issues, they may need another source of nutrition. These multivitamins are soft and flavored, so dogs will take them without issue. They contain Vitamin A for eye health, Vitamin E for skin protection, and B vitamins for energy. These contain all of the vitamins and minerals your dog needs to be healthy.


  • How much do Basenjis eat?

They are medium sized dogs, so they only need about a cup of food a day. Add more or less depending on their weight, activity levels, and age.

  • How often should I feed my Basenji?

Feed your dog twice a day to keep energy levels up.

  • When is the best time to feed my Basenji?

Feed your dog once in the morning and once in the evening.

  • Can I feed my Basenji “People Food”?

For this breed, it’s especially important not to feed your dog table scraps. Not only does it cause weight gain, but it can irritate your dog’s stomach.

  • How can I tell if my Basenji is overweight?

There should be a clear waistline between the ribs and the hips. You should be able to feel your Basenji’s ribs, but not feel them.

  • How can I tell if my Basenji has digestion problems?

It may be unpleasant, but take a look at your dog’s bowel movements. If they are loose or have an especially bad odor, they may have food allergies.

Basenjis make great family pets. They are loving and intelligent dogs. Because the breed is prone to food allergies and intolerances, it’s important to know what ingredients are in your dog’s food. Grain free formulas work well with most dogs and there are plenty of these foods on the market. Digestion aids like fiber and probiotics may be necessary if limited ingredient diets aren’t enough. Foods with fruits and vegetables are good for this breed because they have a good mix of nutrients that work together for maximum absorption.

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Best Dog Foods for Alaskan Malamutes – Reviews and Ratings

These big, fluffy dogs are independent and intelligent. They were originally bred to work as sled dogs in the Arctic. They do well in homes with no other dogs, because they have a tendency to fight for alpha status. They can be stubborn, so they are best suited for experienced dog owners who know how to train them. To protect them from the cold, they have a thick coat that may require some extra care. There are a few health issues that affect this breed. Cataracts and a condition called “day blindness” can show up at a relatively early age. Like other big dogs, hip dysplasia is common in Alaskan Malamutes. This occurs when the femur doesn’t fit into the hip joint properly and can cause pain and lameness. They are also at risk for hypothyroidism. This condition may need to be treated with medication, but a healthy lifestyle may keep symptoms at bay. A good diet may help prevent, or lessen symptoms of many different health risks.

Dangers of an Improper Diet

zuri - alaskan malamute - Submitted by miranda

Problems with hip dysplasia commonly arise when the dog injures himself by jumping or falling, or when the bones grow too quickly. Large breeds like Alaskan Malamutes need special nutrition as young pups, so their bones don’t outgrow their joints. Lots of puppy formulas are packed with calories to fuel young bodies and help them grow, but this breed doesn’t necessarily need it. If your puppy is growing very rapidly, take a look at the nutrients in your dog food. There might be too many calories or too much calcium for your big dog. Dog foods for large or giant breeds are specially formulated to curb excessive growth because they limit certain nutrients. It’s also a good idea to keep your dog away from dangerous activities like jumping down from high furniture because it puts them at a greater risk for hip injuries.

Extra weight may also aggravate your Alaskan Malamute’s joints. Excessive weight gain is generally caused by not feeding your dog the proper amount of food, lack of exercise, and feeding your dog table scraps. Your dog food bag should have a feeding chart so you can feed your dog the calories they need according to their weight. If your dog does not finish her meal within twenty minutes or so, you should take their leftovers to prevent them from grazing later. Also, adjust their food intake depending on how much exercise they get. They are energetic dogs, but you might notice that they may not expend as much energy during the summer because their body and fur makes them too hot for extensive exercise. If this is the case with your dog, you may want to cut down on their food. Also, avoid feeding your dog table scraps. Not only will it cause them to gain weight, but “people food” is often made with extra oils and flavors that may not be good for your dog.

Along with keeping an eye on your dog’s weight, it is also important to notice any symptoms of food allergies. If your dog has frequent stomach discomfort or diarrhea, they may be allergic to one or several ingredients in their dog food. Corn, wheat, and soy are thought to be common allergens in dogs and are found in many dog foods. There are also special dog foods for dogs with allergies that contain very few ingredients, so there’s a good chance that the allergen is cut out.

Benefits of a Proper Diet

There are certain nutrients that can make your dog healthy and happy. Glucosamine and chondroitin are ingredients found in chicken cartilage and in supplement form that are great for your dog’s joints. All joints go through some natural wear and tear, and these substances can help improve the condition of your dog’s cartilage and connective tissues. These ingredients are found in lots of dog foods for large breeds, but can also be purchased as an extra supplement. Owners report that their dogs are no longer in pain and can move much better after including glucosamine and chondroitin in their diet.

Hypothyroidism is common in Alaskan Malamutes and while it can’t be completely avoided, there may be natural remedies for it. Of course, check with your vet if your dog has hypothyroidism, because medication may be necessary. It is believed that kelp, which is rich in iodine, can help with thyroid function in dogs. Look for kelp in your dog food because it may improve symptoms. Along with treatment, fish oils or Vitamin E may help relieve dry skin—a symptom of this disease.

Probiotics are special types of bacteria that help with your dog’s digestion. These bacteria help break down foods that are difficult to digest. This can help reduce the amount of gas your dog produces and can make bowel movements more regular. There is also research that suggests that probiotics can strengthen your dog’s immune response, protecting them from illness and inflammatory immune responses in the body. Along with fiber, probiotics can make digestion easy and pain free.

Dog Food Reviews for Malamutes:

Nutro Wholesome Essentials Large Breed

This dog food is joint healthy because it contains chicken meal, which is a good source of glucosamine and chondroitin. For protein, it uses whole chicken and chicken meal. For carbohydrates, it has brown rice, brewers rice, and oatmeal. This is a good mix of simple carbs and complex carbs for immediate and long lasting energy. These carbohydrates are easy for dogs to digest, so there shouldn’t be any stomach upset. It uses chicken fat, sunflower oil, and soybean oil to keep your dog’s skin healthy and help them absorb fat soluble vitamins. Besides these ingredients, this food has all of the necessary vitamins and minerals that dogs need. This formula is fairly simple and should agree with your dog’s system well. Unfortunately, this food doesn’t contain any fish oil or probiotics.


  • Good for joint health
  • Carbs are easy to digest
  • Contains whole grains


  • Does not contain fish oils
  • No probiotics

Diamond Naturals Large Breed Lamb and Rice

This food is grain free and has a short list of ingredients for dogs with allergies. It uses lamb meal as the sole meat source. For carbohydrates, it uses rice, barley, and millet. This is a blend of simple and complex carbs and should keep your dog energized and satiated between meals. This food uses chicken fat for its major source of fat. It doesn’t have fish oil, but it contains flaxseed, which is a good source of Omega fatty acids. Omega fatty acids are good for the skin and coat. Something this food does well is include supplemental glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health. This formula also contains supplemental fiber for regular bowel movements.


  • Supplements for joint health
  • Simple and complex carbs are easy to digest
  • Short list of ingredients good for dogs with allergies


  • No fruits or vegetables
  • Does not include fish oils

Now Fresh Grain Free

Now Fresh Grain Free formula uses varied sources of protein. It has whole turkey, eggs, salmon, and duck. Fish is a great meat for dogs because it contains both protein and healthy levels of fat. Fish oil is beneficial for dogs because the Omega fatty acid support overall health. For carbohydrates, it uses potatoes, peas, and tapioca. These aren’t spectacular carbs because they digest pretty quickly, but they’re easy on the stomach. This dog food also contains fruits and vegetables, which are great for dogs because they have the right nutrients for your dog’s overall health. This food has carrots, pumpkin, bananas, blueberries, cranberries, pomegranate, spinach, and other fruits and veggies that are packed with antioxidants. It also includes glucosamine in supplement form and plenty of probiotics.


  • Contains healthy oils
  • Uses plenty of fruits and vegetables
  • Good for digestion and joint health


  • Expensive

Rachael Ray Nutrish Zero Grain

Celebrity chef Rachael Ray now makes foods for your dog to enjoy. This formula does not contain corn, wheat, or soy, for dogs with sensitive stomachs. This particular recipe contains several different types of whole fish and fish meals. Fish is a good protein source and provides healthy fats. For carbohydrates, it uses sweet potatoes, potatoes, tapioca, and dried peas. Sweet potatoes are good for dogs because they provide energy and lots of vitamins. This food also contains added fiber, vitamins, Omega fatty acids, and poultry fat. This food is especially good for Alaskan Malamutes because they have a lot of thick fur that needs extra moisture. Fatty acids found in fish keep skin moisturized and make the coat sleek and shiny.


  • Good for skin and coat
  • Grain free for sensitive stomachs


  • Could use more whole grains

Blackwood Large Breed Adult Formula

At 24% protein, this dog food has just about the right amount of protein for your big dog. It uses whitefish meal and duck meal as its protein source. These are good meals for dogs because it contains healthy fats. It also uses good carbohydrates to keep your dog energized all day. It contains oatmeal, brown rice, barley, and sorghum. These also contain fiber and take more time to digest than simple carbs. For joint health, it contains chicken cartilage, a good source of glucosamine and chondroitin. Fruits and vegetables like carrots, celery, beets, lettuce, pumpkin, apple, kelp, cranberries, and blueberries provide vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Kelp may minimize symptoms of hypothyroidism.


  • Contains good fats and oils
  • Contains kelp for hypothyroidism
  • Good source of complex carbohydrates


  • No probiotics

Additional Dietary Supplements for Malamutes

Dr. Carol’s Complete Dog Eye Essentials

This supplement was created by a veterinarian to help combat eye problems. It contains a long list of extracts from fruits, vegetables, and herbs. This antioxidant formula works to fight off free radicals that cause aging. This supplement claims to work for different parts of the eye, like the lens, retina, and cornea. Alaskan Malamute are prone to cataracts, so this supplement may slow the progress of the cataracts.

Only Natural Pet Canine Thyroid Wellness

If your dog shows symptoms like dry, patchy fur and lethargy, they may have hypothyroidism. While this may need prescription medicine, there are supplements available that provide a natural remedy. This supplement contains human-grade herbs that may help the thyroid’s function. It has ingredients like bladderwrack, L-tyrosine, stinging nettle root, licorice, and magnesium. This may be a more affordable way to treat your dog’s underactive thyroid if prescription medicine isn’t absolutely necessary.

Cloud Star Dynamo Skin and Coat Functional Treats

These treats are so tasty that your dog will never know that you’re giving him supplements that are good for skin and coat. This supplement uses real salmon meat, flaxseed, avocados, and fish oil to deliver healthy fats to your dog’s body. It also contains antioxidant-rich produce like carrots, apples, spinach, cherries, sweet potatoes, and cranberries. Vitamin E supplement is also added to protect the skin and keep it soft. These are important for dogs like Alaskan Malamutes because they have so much fur to take care of.


  • How much do Alaskan Malamutes eat?

You should feed your Alaskan Malamute four to five cups of food a day. Use your dog’s current weight with the dog food’s chart to figure out an exact amount.

  • How often should I feed my Alaskan Malamute?

One meal should be sufficient, but if your dog loses energy during the day, you can switch to two feedings a day.

  • When is the best time to feed my Alaskan Malamute?

Feed your dog in the morning, and again in the evening if necessary.

  • Can I feed my Alaskan Malamute “People Food”?

Avoid feeding your dog scraps between meals because it can lead to weight gain.

  • How can I tell if my Alaskan Malamute is overweight?

Your dog should have a clear waistline where it meets the hips. If your dog has more of a hot-dog shape, they may be overweight.

  • I can’t tell if my Alaskan Malamute has a lot of hair or if it’s fat. How can I tell the difference?

A tip for examining your dog’s body is to feel along the rib-cage after a bath. When wet, the fur will lay flat, giving you a better look at your dog’s frame.

Alaskan Malamutes are big, furry dogs with a lot of personality. Feed your big dog a diet with plenty of protein, healthy fats, and whole grains. Fruits and vegetables provide energy and nutrients that will keep your dog youthful. Glucosamine and chondroitin are great for joint health and can be found in foods that contain chicken meal. With the right nutrients, your Alaskan Malamute will live a long and healthy life.

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Best Dog Food For Shelties

Sheltie Dog Food Reviews and Ratings

Shelties, or Shetland Sheepdogs, are a small breed of dog originally bred for herding in the Shetland Islands. Shelties are high energy, active dogs who require a nutrient dense, high-protein diet.  Most Shelties are fed between ¾ and 2 cups of dry food per day, however this can vary depending on the needs of your dog.

Breeders recommend Sheltie owners feed their pooches three meals a day for the first three months to support their growing bodies. This should then be changed to two meals a day and revisited after the Sheltie pup turns six months. Some Shelties may change to one meal per day, whereas others will stay at two. This all depends entirely on the different needs of your pooch and should be revisited regularly to ensure your Sheltie is getting the right amount of food they need.

Sheltie Dog Food Reviews

Top Rated BrandsReviews

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Nutro Natural Choice

Nutro Natural Choice is a premium, natural, grain-free dog food. Rated as an above-average dry dog food product by DogFoodAdvisor, Nutro Natural Choice is a protein rich dog food that contains a modest amount of meat. Nutro Natural Choice is filled with vitamins and minerals that help support your Sheltie’s health and well-being. Nutro Natural Choice comes in a wide variety of flavors to suit the taste buds of your dog and also provide a puppy and senior range.

  • Contains oatmeal which is a soluble fiber used to ease digestion.

  • Antioxidants support your Sheltie’s immune system and vitality.

  • There are no probiotics included within this product. Sheltie owners would have to provide additional dietary supplements for this.

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Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Dog Food

Wellness Complete Health is a highly recommended, high-quality dog food perfect for the needs of your Sheltie. Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Dog Food promotes every day health by providing a balanced diet of nutrient-rich, wholesome foods. Wellness Complete Health supports a healthy body mass, improves digestion, and promotes healthier bones and joints.

  • Smaller kibble size promotes chewing and slower digestion.

  • Wellness Complete Health is an above-average dry dog food.

  • The product contains a higher percentage of carbohydrates than proteins.

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Eagle Pack Natural Dry Dog Food

Made with 100% all natural ingredients, Eagle Pack Natural Dry Dog Food provides your Sheltie with premium, high-protein food. Eagle Pack’s dog food formula promotes a healthy, balanced diet and offers the right balance of proteins, fats and carbohydrates to meet your pooch’s dietary needs. Antioxidants, omega fatty acids and glucosamine all support a healthy immune system and coat.

  • No corn, wheat, meat by-products, artificial colors, flavors or preservatives are used in this product.

  • Eagle Pack is rated an above-average dog food product.

  • Contains brewers years which can sometimes heighten any existing allergy problems.

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Canidae Life Stages Dry Dog Food

Canidae Life Stages Dry Dog Food promises to support your pooch through each stage of their life, from puppyhood right up to the senior stages. This grain-free and gluten-free dry dog food is a fantastic source of probiotics for healthy digestion and antioxidants for a healthy immune system. With higher levels of omega than any other chicken flavoured dog food product, your Sheltie will have a healthy skin and coat without the need of supplements. DoogfoodAdvisor rate Canidae an above-average dog food product.

  • Contains high-levels of glucosamine and chondroitin to support healthy bones and joints.

  • Contains Omega 6 and Omega 3 for beautiful skin and coat.

  • Canidae contains below-average protein when compared to other brands available.

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Evo Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Evo Grain-Free Dry Dog Food is an easily digestible, energy-dense dog food that will keep your Sheltie active all day long. High in protein and low in carbohydrates, Evo Grain-Free Dry Dog Food is fortified with vitamins and minerals to support your Sheltie’s immune system. Evo Grain-Free contains an above-average level of protein when compared to other dog food.

  • Easily digestible and contains natural ingredients.

  • DogFoodAdvisor rate Evo 5 out of 5 stars.

  • Tomatoes are listed as an ingredient; tomatoes in high doses can be toxic to your dog.

Dangers of miss-feeding

Every dog breed has their own individual dietary requirements that support their size, nutritional needs and any genetic conditions. Getting this wrong, or miss-feeding, can not only harm your pooch but can worsen conditions, behaviors, and cause sickness. You can recognize a good brand of dog food by the ingredients listed on the packet. It is generally recommended that foods containing corn, wheat, soy or any artificial preservatives should be avoided at all times. Your Sheltie will not receive the nutrition they need from these ingredients.

Shelties can quickly become overweight if not fed properly. It is recommended that Sheltie owners regularly assess their pooch’s weight and adjust their food portions accordingly. How often you feed your Sheltie will depend on their size, age, weight and lifestyle, with most owners only feeding their Sheltie once or twice a day. A little food goes a long way as they burn energy throughout the day and getting this wrong could see excessive weight gain in a short amount of time. Excessive weight gain can increase the risk of illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer. These illnesses can shorten the life expectancy of your beloved Sheltie and can cause further complications to their health and activity.

Shelties have a much higher risk of developing a bladder cancer known as Transitional Cell Carcinoma compared to other breeds. Maintaining a healthy weight and actively supporting your Sheltie’s immune system can dramatically reduce this risk, keeping your pooch healthy and active for longer. The immune system needs a balanced, nutritious diet in order to work properly. Providing your Sheltie with lots of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants is an excellent way of supporting the immune system. Vitamins A, C and E are important ingredients found in most dog foods that work to support your Sheltie’s immune system. Failing to do this can seriously increase the risk of bladder cancer and shorten the life of your pooch.

Benefits of a proper diet

Sheltie owners look for meat (or meat-by-products) as the first ingredient that should be listed on any dog food product. Meat provides lots of much need protein for your healthy, active Sheltie and matches your pooch’s specific nutritional requirements. Meat listed within the top five ingredients is recommended as a high quality product for your pooch as they are generally considered a higher-quality food.  Your Sheltie will need a balanced diet of proteins, carbohydrates, fatty acids, vitamins and minerals. Providing your Sheltie with a proper, balanced diet will keep them healthy and active for as long as possible, promote a healthy immune system and can reduce any health conditions that your Sheltie may have.

The food you feed your pooch can improve and reduce some of the illnesses that Shelties are prone to. One of these illnesses is hypothyroidism, a condition that effects how your Sheltie’s metabolism regulates. This insufficiency of the thyroid gland can cause problems such as dry skin, thin coats, excessive weight gain and an intolerance to cold. Following a strict schedule and being careful not to overfeed your Sheltie can reduce weight gain and there are specific ingredients and supplements that can also be given to support hypothyroidism. Making sure your Sheltie has lots of omega fatty acids in their dry dog food is an excellent way of supporting a healthier skin and coat. For foods without this vital ingredient, there are plenty of omega supplements available for your Sheltie that can improve their thinning coat and dry skin. Vitamins and minerals promote a healthy, working immune system that can fight off germs and viruses, especially those caused by colder weather. Through feeding your Sheltie a proper diet, or the correct supplements, it is possible to control hypothyroidism so that it does not limit your Sheltie in any way.

Additional Dietary Supplements for Shelties:


Pro-Sense Daily Multivitamin Chewable Tablets

Vitamins are an important way of preventing illnesses and promoting your Sheltie’s healthy development. Pro-Sense Daily Multivitamin Chewable Tablets are a veterinarian recommended source of vitamins and minerals that are vital to supporting your Sheltie’s immune system. With 90 tablets providing three months of supplements, Pro-Sense reduces the risk of illness, keeps fleas away and improves vitality. Puppy and senior options are also available.

Pro-Sense Skin and Coat Liquid


Suitable for all dogs, Pro-Sense Liquid is a proven daily supplement that supports a healthier coat and skin, reduces shedding and provides a silkier, shinier coat. The liquid formula makes this supplement an easy part of your Sheltie’s routine and can be easily fed orally or mixed with food. Pro-Sense Skin and Coat Liquid is rich in the fatty omega acids that are essential for your Sheltie’s skin and coat. When used alongside regular grooming, Pro-Sense Skin and Coat Liquid can reduce shedding and also provide vital antioxidants.

Trophy Prozyme Powder for Pets


Trophy Prozyme Powder for Pets is an all-natural enzyme supplement that supports your Sheltie’s skin and coat, increases energy levels, reduces shedding and gas, and promotes a healthy weight mass. This enzyme powder is an essential plant supplement that supports the digestion of fats, proteins, fibers and carbohydrates. Providing your Sheltie with greater nutrition, Trophy Prozyme Powder can be given to puppies, adults and seniors. The enzyme powder particular supports senior dogs who have a naturally lower enzyme level.

Cleo Boosta Chews All-in-one Complete Vitamins and Minerals


Cleo Boosta Chews is an all-in-one vitamins and minerals supplement suitable for small to medium sized dog breeds. The veterinarian tested chewable supplement tablets are proven to support your Sheltie’s overall general health, stamina and energy levels. The antioxidants and omega fatty acids included in these vitamins and mineral tablets improve skin and coat conditions, promote good digestion, lower cholesterol, and boosts liver functions. Cleo Boosta Chews are a recommended daily supplement for keeping your Sheltie happy, healthy and active for longer and uses a special formula making it suitable for dogs with allergies and sensitives.  This product comes with approximately 200 little tablets and it is recommended that you give your Sheltie 1 per day as a treat.


  1. How much do Shelties Eat?
    Shelties actually eat very little and should be fed either once or twice a day.
  2. How many calories should I feed my Sheltie?
    This will depend on the activity, health and age of your Sheltie but is usually around 635 calories.
  3. How often should I feed my Sheltie?
    Shelties can be fed between one and two times a day depending on their needs.
  4. How can I tell if my Sheltie is the right weight?
    If your Sheltie is the correct weight, then you should be able to feel your Sheltie’s ribs quite easily when running your hands along their side. Ribs that are very prominent often mean that your dog is underweight, whilst ribs that are much harder to feel usually mean your dog is overweight. You should adjust their food portions accordingly and speak to your vet.
  5. When is the best time to feed my Sheltie?
    This depends on how many times you feed your Sheltie. If it is twice per day, then morning and night are the recommended times. Mid-day is the best time for Shelties who are fed once a day.
  6. How many dog treats should I give my Sheltie?
    You can give your Sheltie one treat a day, but you will need to take this into account of their daily food intake. A healthier alternative is to give your Sheltie baby carrots as they make an excellent, nutritious treat.
  7. Should I feed my Sheltie dry or wet food?
    Owners often prepare to feed their Sheltie’s dry food. You can also home-cook your Sheltie’s food with high-protein meals such as fish, poultry and other meats mixed with rice and vegetables.
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Irish Terrier Dog Breed Information

General Information:

Height: 18 inches
Weight: 25-27 pounds
Life Span: 12-15 years
Coloring: Solid color golden red, red, red-wheaten or wheaten. While white on the chest is allowed, it is not ideal.
Area of Origin: Ireland
Similar Breeds: Airedale Terrier, Bedlington Terrier, Cairn Terrier, Kerry Blue Terrier.

History and Origin:

The Irish Terrier is noted as one of, if not the oldest breed of terrier in the world. These dogs were bred for the unpredictable and often inhospitable weather of Ireland prior to modern conveniences. These dogs were bred by the common people to help dispatch the rodents that were multiplying at alarming rates destroying food stores and carrying disease as they spread from town to town. These dogs, while effective and vicious when dispatching rodents, were also bred to be gentle with their families and are often noted for their gentle nature with children.

The Irish Terrier has not changed excessively from their forefathers and are still boisterous, hardy and fond of children. These dogs also have retained their dislike of rodents and other small animals and in a rural environment an owner would be hard pressed to find any sign of rodents anywhere on their property.

The breed itself was first recorded by name in England in 1875 and officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1881.

Personality and Temperament:

The Irish Terrier is a loyal, alert and uncompromising protector of their family. They do not tolerate rodents or other potential threats anywhere near their people and will defend their home with their lives. These dogs are highly sought after not only for their personality but for their appearance as well as they are a very strong, majestic dog that holds an air of importance about them.

These dogs, when properly socialized, are amazing dogs for families with children of all ages. These dogs are very gentle and have an incredible amount of patience when dealing with small, rowdy children. It is important that, like all dogs, children are not left unattended with dogs as accidents can happen.

While these dogs are good with other larger dogs with proper socialization, smaller dogs, cats and especially rodents such as guinea pigs, hamsters and rats are often seen as vermin and this can often cause the Irish Terrier to view these animals as prey. While small dogs and cats can often cohabitate with an Irish Terrier after careful introduction, the Irish Terrier should never be trusted around rodents or rabbits as this dog was bred for their extermination and instinct will often take over.

These dogs have made wonderful dogs for tasks where their independence, intelligence and steady nature are required. This includes guarding, hunting, vermin removal and even police work as both a service dog as well as for narcotics detection.

Overall, the Irish Terrier is a terrier. They can be stubborn, aloof and aggressive towards rodents yet to their family they are a loyal and sturdy companion and protector. These dogs should not be purchased by families who are timid or afraid to be the leader of the house as this dog can and will assume a dominant role if there is no leader present which can cause many issues.

Exercise & Training:

While the Irish Terrier is not a large dog, their exercise requirements are quite significant. Like most terriers, the Irish Terrier is a very active dog both in and out of the house and while they can live in an apartment, a house with a large back yard is prefered.

These dogs require two long walks/runs a day and also require time playing off leash in a safe, contained area to allow them to fully stretch their legs and run. If their family has children, these dogs will happily play with them for hours on end with fetch and other games.

One thing to keep in mind with these dogs is that they do like to chase down small animals so training them to come when called without question is very important. Squirrels, mice, groundhogs and other small, furry animals will all be very large temptations for these dogs and it is important to know that the dog will come when called so that they do not cause grievous harm to these animals.

These dogs, while stubborn, are very trainable and very intelligent. Once you have assumed the role as the leader, these dogs will put forth tremendous effort to complete all jobs to the best of their ability. This stubbornness also has a positive aspect, however, as these dogs remain loyal when on guard duty and can not be fooled by prospective thieves.

When working with the Irish Terrier, it is important to remember to be firm yet gentle. This dog will take a mile if they are permitted an inch and therefore it is important to remain consistent and firm. These dogs do have the potential, in the wrong hands, to become quite dangerous and aggressive. If they are not properly exercised, trained and socialized these dogs can be quite a handful and should not be taken on by first-time dog owners without a qualified trainer to work with them. This aggression may not become apparent through the usual channels such as biting of their families or other animals, these dogs are often still loyal to their family regardless of aggression issues.

Aggression will often manifest itself in destruction of property, barking excessively and possibly even guarding “their space” such as your couch or your bed. As no owner wants to live like that, it is important to make sure that your personality is right for this breed and talking to Irish Terrier breeders can certainly help with that as once they get to know you, they will be able to either match you with a dog to fit your personality or tell you that the Irish Terrier may not be the correct breed choice.


The Irish Terrier is a very low maintenance dog as far as grooming goes. With a short, wiry coat that is resistant to water these dogs only require minimal grooming. This consists of a brief weekly brushing and bathing only when they are dirty.

Bathing these dogs is detrimental to the waterproof qualities of their coats as is cutting their hair. Grooming these dogs is accomplished by stripping the dog one to two times a year. This can be done either by hand or by a special knife that does not cut the hair. When stripping the Irish Terrier’s coat, all the top coat can be removed although this should be left to an experienced groomer as if this is done incorrectly it may cause pain to your dog.

The dog’s nails should be trimmed every 4-6 weeks and teeth brushed at least weekly to maintain good dental health.

Many Irish Terriers need their ears trained for them to be carried in the characteristic style of the breed. This is because not all dogs have the proper amount of cartilage in the ears to maintain the ears in the upright and forward position. This can be accomplished during the puppy’s early life while they are between 5 and 13 weeks. There are many different ways this is accomplished and most breeders will have their own preferred methods.

Health and Wellness:

Overall the Irish Terrier is a robust and healthy breed. While they are an overall healthy dog, there are a few issues that one must be aware of prior to purchasing an Irish Terrier puppy.

The issues most commonly seen in this breed are:

  • Central Core Myopathy
    • This is caused by a gene mutation and is a hereditary condition. This is usually only seen in male Irish Terriers and can cause stiffness and weakness which can be quite debilitating. There is no treatment and once the dog has been afflicted by this condition it is often recommended to keep the dog comfortable until there is a quality of life issue.
  • Hyperkeratosis
    • This is a condition where the dog’s paw pads are covered in corns and this is very painful for the dogs. This has been greatly reduced with the use of DNA testing and responsible breeding and breeders should show that their dogs have all been tested for this prior to breeding.
  • Urolithiasis
    • This is a condition that affects quite a few Irish Terriers causing them to develop Cystine stones. These stones are incredibly painful and can be prevented by dietary supplements which can be monitored by your veterinarian.

The overall health of this dog is largely thanks to the collaboration of ethical breeders. The Irish Terrier was not always as healthy as its current incarnation. At one point, not so long ago, the Irish Terrier was plagued with several ailments which, due to this collaboration and DNA testing, has brought this breed back to a long-lived, healthy dog proving that when breeders work together to better the breed that they are fully capable of accomplishing this task.

Interesting Facts About the Irish Terrier

  1. The Irish Terrier is one of the oldest terrier breeds known to exist today.
  2. Fiercely loyal to their family, the well-socialized Irish Terrier is wonderful with children of all ages and is a versatile family member and companion.
  3. Always willing to give their all, the Irish Terrier is full of energy and requires plenty of hard exercise daily.
  4. These dogs are surprisingly healthy with very few ailments proving that selective ethical breeding can and will improve the dogs the breeders have fallen in love with.
  5. While no dog is truly hypoallergenic or non-shedding, the Irish Terrier’s minimal shedding makes them generally well tolerated by allergy sufferers.

Organizations Dedicated to the Irish Terrier

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Old English Sheepdog Dog Breed Information

General Information:

Height: 21+ inches
Weight: 60-75 pounds
Life Span: 12-13 years
Coloring: Blue, Blue Merle, Gray or Grizzle with or without white markings. Brown or Fawn is not to be permitted.
Area of Origin: England
Similar Breeds: Bearded Collie, Briard, Lowchen, and Puli.

History and Origin:

The Old English Sheepdog truly is one of the older herding dogs. Originally shown in England back in the 1870s, this dog was already well-established and at home across England in the fields doing what they were bred for: tending sheep. These dogs were bred to have a long coat that would protect them from the elements whether wet and cold or hot and humid; these dogs were well adapted.

Once these dogs made their debut in the show ring, the Old English Sheepdog started making its name known in the show circuits as well as in pet homes. These newfound enthusiasts fell in love with the dog’s unique coat and saw plenty of potential to shape and groom these dogs to their hearts content. These dogs finally crossed the seas to the United States in the early 1880s and were equally adored there as they were back in the United Kingdom.

The breed itself was first recorded by name in England in 1873 and officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1905.

Personality and Temperament:

The Old English Sheepdog is an active, loyal companion who loves to play and be with their family. These dogs may be somewhat slow to train yet this is not due to a lack of intelligence, rather due to the dog testing their owner as these dogs will not blindly follow anyone.

This breed is first and foremost a herding dog, and sometimes this includes children, and careful attention should be given to ensure the dog displays no sign of this. These dogs are fiercely protective of their family and will not allow harm to fall on any member, particularly the smallest members as these dogs often are very fond of children.

This breed also considers other animals including dogs, cats and whatever other animals you have as a part of their family and will be highly protective of these members as well. However, just like with children, careful attention to avoid the dog herding other animals should be given.

These dogs are well suited to a variety of tasks. Tasks such as agility, flyball, Schutzhund, tracking and, of course, herding are all areas this dog can excel in. They also offer a good way for an owner to get out and active with their dogs. This activity is particularly important with the Old English Sheepdog as they are prone to being satisfied spending their days laying on the couch rather than exerting energy to go for walks.

Overall, the Old English Sheepdog is a herding dog with a tendency of being lazy. The American Kennel Club does make a point of mentioning that these dogs should not display any signs of aggression, nervousness or shyness. This mention is very important as these dogs if improperly socialized or poorly trained and bred can be quite aggressive and this should be avoided at all costs.

Exercise & Training:

While the Old English Sheepdog is a large, shaggy dog, as long as they receive adequate exercise and stimulation these dogs can do well in a suburban to an urban environment. As these dogs love being with their people, it is important that these dogs not be left outside unattended for extended periods of time.

A daily walk in both the morning and evening for at least 45 minutes is required. It is important that these dogs be permitted to run off-leash at least twice a week to allow them to burn off energy.

As these are a larger, heavier dog, it is important to start an exercise program slowly to prevent joint issues that may seem minor when they are young yet will plague the dog as they age. It is also important to avoid overfeeding these dogs as they do love food and are just as happy to sleep a good portion of the day.

As the Old English Sheepdog is very independent and intelligent, they will require consistent and firm training as they often will want to do their own thing. With their stubborn attitudes, this training is needed to ensure a well-behaved dog that will listen to their family and not try to rule over them.

These dogs are very happy to spend much of their day laying around and to prevent that they should be kept active. Due to this, it is important to keep your dog active, and there are plenty of activities and jobs this dog can excel at. Herding is one of the areas where this dog will excel as their name would suggest. This takes many years of specialized training, and if it is something you are interested in as a hobby there are often clubs that can be joined even if you live in the city. Other areas this dog can thrive are agility, retrieval and as a watchdog.

Even though, the Old English Sheepdog can make an intimidating watchdog this should be approached with caution. Due to this dog’s stubborn streak, if they are not carefully trained in this area and their aggression controlled they can be very difficult to control.


The Old English Sheepdog’s characteristic and instantly recognizable long, fluffy coat requires a fair amount of care. Many pet dogs are shaved to reduce the amount of work required and to keep their coats clean and tidy.

It is important to brush them thoroughly at least every other day to prevent matting. If the undercoat is allowed to get matted, it will often need shaving to prevent further matting, skin issues and possible parasites.

Like most dogs, bathing your Old English Sheepdog should not be done more than every 3-4 months unless they get very dirty. Their nails should be trimmed once a month and their teeth cared for at least once a week to prevent dental disease.

Many owners choose to shave their Old English Sheepdog, and while this is effective in cutting grooming sessions down from an hour or more to 10-15 minutes, it also changes the overall appearance of the dog. Shaving can also cut down on the amount these dogs shed, and they do shed a lot. To keep the dog’s shape when shaved, they will need to be trimmed every 2-3 months as the dog’s hair grows up to an inch a month.

As these dogs do require a fair amount of grooming, it is important to get them accustomed to this while they are still very young. They should be introduced to a groomer’s table by the time they are 3-4 months old. They should then be introduced to the different brushes, sounds of clippers and the idea of standing still and permitting the groomer to touch them anywhere.

Health and Wellness:

Overall, the Old English Sheepdog has been carefully bred to prevent major hereditary issues. There are a few issues that are inevitable with any dog, and one of the main causes of medical issues for this dog are when the coat is not properly cared for.

The British Veterinary Association requires dogs to be tested for Cerebellar Degeneration, Hip Dysplasia, and Progressive Retinal Atrophy to be tested for prior to breeding.

The issues most commonly seen in this breed are:

  • Hip Dysplasia
    • A genetic condition where the dog’s hip joint is shaped incorrectly causing painful rubbing and tearing of the surrounding tissue. This is usually treated with medication, physiotherapy, massage therapy and diet for mild cases. Severe cases may require surgery to either fix or replace the affected joint. This can be tested for by the parents.
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy
    • A genetic condition that causes the dog to slowly lose their vision until they eventually go blind. There is no treatment; however, there is a simple DNA test that can be taken by the parents prior to breeding to prevent the likelihood of this being passed on to any offspring.
  • Cerebellar Degeneration
    • This is a hereditary disease that will present itself between 6 months and four years of age. Dogs with this condition will lose muscle co-ordination and the ability to balance. The first sign is usually a broader than normal stance where the dog’s legs will be splayed out, and they will often step on their own feet or trip. There are DNA tests available for this condition and dogs who test positively should not be bred.
  • Multi-Drug Resistance
    • Dogs with Multi-Drug Reactivity are sensitive to certain drugs that are generally well accepted by other dogs. Drugs such as analgesics (Butorphanol), pre-anesthetics (Acepromazine), dewormers (Ivermectin) and antidiarrheal (Loperamide) medications are all poorly tolerated by these dogs and can cause severe symptoms including death.
  • Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia
    • A genetic disorder that causes issues with the respiratory and reproductive tracts of dogs. Often displaying first as a persistent cold this can progress to deafness and infertility issues later in life. This is another disease that can be screened by DNA testing prior to breeding.

It is important to know the health of the dog’s lineage to ensure there are no hereditary diseases. Ask the breeder to see the results of the tests for their hips, eyes and other known testable diseases.

Interesting Facts About the Old English Sheepdog

  1. There are many theories on the origin of the Old English Sheepdog, but all conclude with a noble herding dog that can stay out with their sheep at all times protecting them fiercely from anything that threatens them.
  2. While the Old English Sheepdog can be considered lazy in some ways, they are quick to respond when their herd or family is threatened.
  3. Providing the Old English Sheepdog with an outlet such as agility is a great way to both exercise and bond with your dog while having fun.
  4. While trimming an Old English Sheepdog will save many hours of grooming, it comes at the expense of the dog’s classic appearance.
  5. The Old English Sheepdog has been portrayed in many films throughout the year in instantly lovable roles such as Ambrosius from Labyrinth, Nana from Peter Pan, and Max in The Little Mermaid.

Organizations Dedicated to the Old English Sheepdog

Breeds Similar to Old English Sheepdog Dogs:

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Boykin Spaniel Dog Breed Information

General Information:

Height: 14-18 inches
Weight: 25-40 pounds
Life Span: 14-16 years
Coloring: Solid brown, dark chocolate or liver. While some white on the chest and toes is allowed, no other white is permitted.
Area of Origin: United States
Similar Breeds: American Cocker Spaniel, English Cocker Spaniel, Irish Water Spaniel, and Springer Spaniel.

History and Origin:

The Boykin Spaniel was originally developed by hunters for hunters. Through carefully planned breedings to bring out the very best out of the selected dogs and then selective additions to bloodline, the Boykin Spaniel emerged in the early 1900s in South Carolina. These cross breedings were not looking for merely the best breeds to cross with, but individual dogs as a result honing the traits that appeared in the resulting litters to the standard that exists today.

Spreading from South Carolina, the Boykin Spaniel is now found throughout the United States and the world. These dogs are well known for their birding abilities and are happiest when they can be out with their people, finding and retrieving their quarry as their soft mouths are ideal for retrieving even the most delicate bird.

The breed itself was first recognized in England in 1985 and officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 2009.

Personality and Temperament:

The Boykin Spaniel is a loyal companion who is very willing to please. At home in either a home or work environment, this dog thrives on human affection. While they are quiet and placid, these dogs will quickly alert their family should something be amiss.

These dogs, even from working lines, make wonderful family dogs as they are calm and affectionate with children of all ages. These dogs are very gentle with their little wards and will happily play with them tirelessly. For these loving and loyal dogs, it is very uncharacteristic of them to show any sign of aggression or nervousness.

Even though these dogs are hunting dogs, they do well with other animals, other dogs in particular. They are very social and enjoy playing with large and small dogs alike making a dog park a wonderful place for them to burn off extra energy.

These dogs excel at any task they are faced with. From the traditional hunting and bird retrieval to agility, flyball and even dog diving, these dogs are incredibly intelligent and live to please.

Overall, the Boykin Spaniel is a loving dog that is suited to any family situation, any sport and all around a wonderful dog to own. It is very apparent why these dogs are overbred, and thus health issues are making themselves known which is very unfortunate as these dogs have the potential of being one of the best all-around dogs out there.

Exercise & Training:

These dogs are very energetic and have a high energy level both indoors and outdoors. This energy level makes them unsuitable for apartment living unless their owner is home all the time and willing to take them out 2-3 times a day for at least 45 minutes each time.

The Boykin Spaniel loves to run, swim and be active in any way possible. This means that they do require considerable exercise. This can be achieved through a modest jog in the morning and the evening, allowing the dog to play at a dog park, hiking or hunting. These dogs have amazing stamina and can actively retrieve for the entire hunting day on a daily basis.

One issue with these dogs is that some are prone to Exercise Induced Collapse as well as hip dysplasia. This ailment should be a non-issue for well-bred dogs whose parents were responsibly tested and selected. However with the number of breeders who insist on breeding multiple litters per year and rely more on quantity over quality, this is something to keep in mind. Exercise should be carefully monitored when they are puppies. If signs of either disease are noted, a visit to the vet is warranted as is contacting the puppy’s breeder to inform them that their line is displaying these symptoms. Responsible breeders want nothing more than the proper care and handling of their dogs and will want to know this information.

Depending on what your intended purpose for the dog is to be will determine the type of training these dogs should endure. For hunting dogs, there should be no games of tug or chase as these will teach the dogs bad habits. Habits that, for most dogs, are benign yet for a spaniel these habits will affect their working style and obedience. For pets, these dogs can be trained in much the same manner as any other breed of dog. This training should always include the standard “sit,” “stay,” and “come.” These dogs are incredibly intelligent and will excel at any sport they are involved in while maintaining their position as a beloved family member.

These dogs are natural retrievers with incredibly soft mouths, and this is commonly seen in puppies as young as 10-14 weeks carefully picking up either a decoy or actual bird and retrieving for their human companions. Their instincts are very ingrained, and while they are retrievers, they are fine with other animals and dogs as long as they are properly socialized.


While these dogs look quite similar to a Cocker Spaniel, thankfully their grooming requirements are not nearly as extensive. Working dogs should be trimmed to prevent excessive tangling and burrs. Some hunters suggest lightly oiling the coat to ensure nothing sticks to their long feathering. This oiling, while preventing snags and unwanted hitchhiking foliage, also allows the dog to retain their natural hair length and keep their unique appearance.

These dogs, regardless of whether they are trimmed or not, should be brushed on a daily basis to ensure that matting is discouraged. With their longer wavy outer coat, a longer brush is desired, and a slicker brush works wonderfully to separate the over and undercoats. This type of brush will also pull the dead hairs up and out of the very fine undercoat to keep the dog looking neat and tidy as well as preventing excessive shedding.

Bathing these dogs should only be done when necessary. The natural oils in their coat help shed water and should the dog be shampooed this removes the protective oils making the dog more susceptible to rain and temperature variants.

Health and Wellness:

With newfound popularity comes unethical breeders who care more for quantity over quality. This unethical breeding in turn increases the chances for major health issues and, unfortunately, the Boykin Spaniel is no stranger to this quality degradation. With over a third of Boykin Spaniels being born with hip dysplasia, it is imperative that potential owners ensure that both the sire and dam have undergone all necessary tests for hips, eyes and other genetic issues.

The issues most commonly seen in this breed are:

  • Hip Dysplasia
    • A genetic condition where the dog’s hip joint is shaped incorrectly causing painful rubbing and tearing of the surrounding tissue. This condition is usually treated with medication, physiotherapy, massage therapy and diet for mild cases. Severe cases may require surgery to either fix or replace the affected joint. This disease can be prevented by testing the parents prior to breeding.
  • Patella Luxation
    • A genetic issue with the knee that causes the knee to pop out of place. It may be as simple as an occasional issue or severe enough to prevent the dog from ever walking properly even with surgery
  • Cushings Disease
    • A condition where the adrenal glands overproduce cortisol. It can cause varied symptoms but hair loss, increased appetite, increased water consumption, and urination is common. Diagnosis is difficult as there is no single test for Cushing’s
  • Pulmonic Stenosis
    • A category of congenital heart issues found in dogs that can cause susceptibility to murmurs and congestive heart failure due to obstruction in the dog’s heart valves. Once a blockage is found, surgery is required and the dog will be required to live the rest of their life quietly away from strenuous exercise, children or stress. Prognosis for dogs with a severe blockage is never good.
  • Exercise Induced Collapse
    • A condition that usually only affects working animals. This causes muscle weakness, coordination issues, and possible full collapse. This reaction can happen after or during a period of exercise or excitement, even one as brief as 5 minutes. While this excludes these dogs from field work, they are often still suitable as a pet and can live their life out in a quiet home. Hiking, swimming and running should be limited, if not eliminated, from their exercise regime. As this is a genetic issue, careful screening through DNA testing can reduce, if not eliminate the potential for this disease in potential litters. Anti-seizure medication may be able to help with this although the side effects of these medications can cause other complications and, as a result, are often not a suggested course of treatment.

These dogs, as long as they are from reputable stock are relatively long-lived, and they are incredibly hardy. While they have a long life, senior ailments in this breed are, on a whole, uncommon. This longevity is a pleasant surprise for many owners as they can enjoy the dog’s whole life with them in good to reasonable health.

As mentioned above, incidences of hip dysplasia are incredibly high in this breed and precautions must be taken. In addition to hips, the Boykin Spaniel has the highest incidence of the gene that causes Exercise Induced Collapse. This high incident of genetic issues has led the Boykin Spaniel Society and the Boykin Spaniel Club and Breeders Association of America to create a Code of Ethics, which enforce genetic testing. This testing includes checking for genetic eye issues, heart issues, hip dysplasia and many other hereditary issues. This testing is also is upheld by the AKC in conjunction with the Canine Health Information Center. For a breeder to be a member in good standing of the CHIC, the dogs must be tested and kept in a public database. This database shows the unedited results of tests for the dog’s eye health, patellar luxation and hip dysplasia. While not mandatory, it is heavily suggested that other tests such as those looking for elbow dysplasia are carried out and publicly posted as well.

Interesting Facts About the Boykin Spaniel

  1. The Boykin Spaniel looks similar to a Cocker Spaniel although is heavier, more sturdy and is favored in a field environment due to their work ethics and desire to please.
  2. Boykin Spaniels are very social dogs and should not be considered as an outdoor dog as they should be indoors with their family.
  3. While only requiring modest exercise for a Spaniel, these dogs will happily keep up with whatever activities you have planned.
  4. With extremely high prevalence of hip dysplasia and Exercise Induced Collapse, it is very important to know the genetics of any potential puppy’s parentage.
  5. This breed is known for being South Carolina’s state dog and was featured on the 1988 South Carolina Duck Stamp designed by Jim Killen.

Organizations Dedicated to the Boykin Spaniel

Breeds Similar to Boykin Spaniel Dogs:

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Afghan Hound Dog Breed Information

General Information:

Height:    24–29 inches
Weight:  45–60 pounds
Life Span:   11-13 years
Coloring: The Afghan Hound can be any color as long as the only markings are white and there is a black facial mask.
Area of Origin: Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, and Iraq.
Similar Breeds:   Borzoi, Saluki, Irish Wolfhound, Taigan, Barakzay, Kurram Valley Hound, Persian Greyhound, Scottish Deerhound and Khalag Tazi

History and Origin:

Of all the dog breeds, the hounds are considered to be some of the oldest and the Afghan Hound might be one of the oldest hounds. Some claim the hieroglyphics of Egypt portray the sight hounds of which the Afghan is considered one of the oldest.

The Afghan Hound developed its characteristic thick silk coat in the winters and mountains of Afghanistan. Locally the Afghan Hound was known as the Tazu Spay or Sag-e Tazi. Other names for this breed include African Hound, Galanday Hound, Kabul Hound, Shalgar Hound, Baluchi Hound, Barutzy Hound and Balkh Hound.

In the midst of this speculation regarding the origination of the breed, genetic testing places them on the line closest to the wolf of all canine breeds. This means the Afghan is a descendent of the oldest of all types of canines. The dogs came to Great Britain in the 1920’s and were bred with a variety of longhaired sighthounds from Afghanistan and the surrounding cultures.

Even though the ancestry of the Afghan Hound is not verifiable and there is much speculation surrounding their origins, it is apparent that this breed is closely related to other breeds such as the Tasy breed of Russian near the Caspian Sea, the Barakzay and Kurram Valley Hound from the Kurram Valley, and the Taigan breed found in the Tian Shan mountain region on the boarder of Afghanistan and China.

There appears to be up to 13 different kinds of sighthounds in Afghanistan – considered the landrace of dogs. Once these dogs left Afghanistan and spread to Europe, they became a very important piece of the early dog shows and The (UK) Kennel Club.

In the 1800s many sighthounds were brought to England by armed forces coming back from British India. At that time British India also included Persia (Iran) and Afghanistan. Some were even called Persian Greyhounds.

In 1907 British Armed Forces Captain Bariff brought a sighthound called ZARDIN to England. Zardin quickly became the standard of the breed and inspired the first written standard for the breed in 1912. Following the World Wars one strain of longhaired sighthound was made from two – Mrs. Mary Amps’ kennel dogs in Kabul and Major and Mrs. G. Bell-Murray and Miss Jean C. Manson strainfrom Baluchistan.

Most of the United States Afghan Hounds came from the Ghazni line in England. Then Afghans from the US were exported to Australia in 1934. In 1939 the French formed the French breed club called FALAPA. The new standard written in 1948 for the Afghan Houndbreed everywhere in the world is still in use today.

Because the Afghan Hound is so spectacularly beautiful, they are sought after around the world as both show dogs and pets. Every English speaking kennel club in the world now recognizes the Afghan. In 1928 and 1938 an Afghan Hound won Best in Show at the Crufts dog show in England. In 1945 an Afghan was on the cover of Life Magazine and by the 1970’s they were the most popular dog in Australia. An Afghan Hound won Best in Show at the 1996 World Dog Show. The breed won Best in Show at the prestigious Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in both 1957 and 1983.

Before it became a show dog and pet, the Afghan Hound was a hunting dog going after large prey in the mountains and the deserts of Afghanistan. The Afghan can run like the wind and his heavy coat kept him warm. They could corner and hold large leopards until the hunters arrived and they could hunt independently without any commands from humans. They are no longer used for hunting but are great at the sport of lure coursing. Devotees of the breed began the American Sighthound Field Association in 1972. Competitions are held regularly.

Personality and Temperament:

The Afghan Hound is considered to be dignified and aloof, clownish and happy, intelligent and able to think on its own. This beautiful dog has a temperament to match its flowing locks. As a sighthound the Afghan has a very strong prey drive, good reasoning skills and is highly competitive dog trials such as agility and lure chasing.

The breed is intelligent and independent. An Afghan puppy will appear affectionate, cute, and appealing like all puppies. Don’t count on this being your Afghan’s personality. As they grow and mature, they will become more aloof and independent. They will always be affectionate with their families but will act in many ways more like felines than canines.

Those who love the breed will tell you how faithful and loving they are. Others will tell you how independent they are. But with their high prey drive, heavy full coats and need to run, the Afghan is not for everyone. They tend to be a one-person or one-home dog. They are not likely to greet guests at the door or even be interested in them.

Because the Afghan is so independent and because of his larger size, it is believe they are more suited to be a companion animal for adults rather than children. The Afghan might even mistake small children for prey and attempt to chase them. This does not mean that a family with children should never have an Afghan Hound. Just be sure the fit between your family and your Afghan Hound is the right one.

The independent Afghan would rather be with other Afghan Hounds than with people. They tolerate others and can even be nice to children and other pets in the family but try not to expose them to very small pets that will appear as prey to them.

Exercise & Training:

The breed is a loyal and affectionate dog; a dignified, spirited and courageous dog yet they can seem very aloof. They will be very social if they are trained and socialized early in life. They are suspicious of anyone they do not know but they are never aggressive or hostile.

They need leadership but they need gentle leadership. They need a gentle pack leader even if that is a child. The Afghan Hound needs firm but gentle training. They need clear, concise instructions and consistency in their training. Housebreaking can be a challenge as well for this high strung breed, especially if they do acknowledge you as their leader.

They need consistency and both mental and physical stimulation in order to stay on an emotional even keel. They have a reputation for being slow and difficult to train if they are not on an even keel. Yet they are highly intelligent and it is their sense of independence that can cause problems if they sense they do not have a strong alpha human.

On the physical side, the breed needs serious exercise every day. This might be a long walk, a jog or training for a competition such as agility and lure chasing. While walking your Afghan Hound you must be the alpha and it must be clear to the dog that you are the alpha human.

If your Afghan is going to be out by himself you will need a secure, high fence that he cannot jump over. If he gets out you will not be able to catch him as he can outrun a stallion.


As a native of the mountainous, high altitude regions of Afghanistan and Iran, the Afghan Hound has a long, fine hair like that found on most animals native to these type of climates. Because of this they need grooming on a routine basis.

Don’t get an Afghan Hound unless you are capable of grooming her or can afford to pay for a professional groomer for him. They need bathed at least weekly followed by brushing. Don’t brush their coats while they are dry as you will damage the fine hair which tangles easily. Grooming is tedious and time consuming.

The Afghan Hound needs its teeth brushed daily or at least 3 times per week and trim their nails at least once a month preferably twice. With good grooming you will be able to keep an eye on the health and welfare of your dog.

Health and Wellness:

The average lifespan of the Afghan Hound is around 12-14 years. According to a survey conducted by the UK Kennel Club in 2004, the most common cause of death among Afghan Hounds is cancer with old age, coming in second. 31% die from cancer, 20% from old age, 10.5% from cardiac and 5% urology.

Afghan Hounds have a low tolerance for pain and react adversely to the slightest. This is not a stoic dog. Rather they are quite whiny for the slightest reason. The major health issues that the breed is susceptible to include hip dysplasia, cancer, arthritic conditions and and allergies, as it is with all of the sighthounds.

There are a few rare conditions that are specific to the breed. They have a tendency toward chylothorax, which is a rare condition that the thoracic ducks to leak, filling up the dog’s chest cavity. When purchasing a puppy make sure you buy from reputable breeder who does genetic testing for these issues.

The organizations you should see certifications from are Auburn University for thrombopathis, The Orthopedic Arthritis Foundation for dysplasia, hypothyroidism and von Willebrands. The Afghan Hound also is prone to allergies, and juvenile cataracts. Therefore you might also ask to see records from The Canine Eye Registration Foundation.

Your Afghan might also get cold depending on where you live and you might want to provide them with a coat if they are out in the snow very much.

Interesting Facts About the Afghan Hound

  1. The Afghan Hound is a sensitive and high strung breed. They don’t respond well to roughness and intense training. They respond well to gentle demands.
  2. The Afghan Hound has the distinction of being the first breed of dog to be cloned. In 2005 a Korean scientist cloned an Afghan Hound named Snuppy.
  3. The Afghan Hound is featured in many artistic endeavors including music videos, films, and television. They have appeared in an M83 video as well as pictures such as Balto, Krypto the Superdog, Lady and the Tramp II, 101 Dalmatians and 102 Dalmatians. They have been in commercials and ads.
  4. One of the first Afghan Hounds in the United States was brought here by Zeppo Marx of the famous Marx Brothers.

Organizations Dedicated to the Afghan Hound


The Afghan Hound may be one of if not these oldest of all dogs on earth. Hyrocliphics show dogs looking very much like the Sight Dogs. The Afghan Hound is no longer used for hunting but is a standout in the show ring and athletic competitons. The breed has won Best in Show at the World Dog Show, Crufts and Westminster.

They are good companion animals in the right households. Their prey drive is still extremely high and they should not live with small animals and even small children. They are intelligent, dignified and loving companions. They are one of the smartest breeds and need both mental and physical exercise. They excel at lure chasing and agility as long as they know who the leader is.

In general they are beautiful and intense dogs that make great companions for the right people.

Breeds Similar to Afghan Hound Dogs:

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Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Dog Breed Information

General Information:

Height: 17–21 in
Weight: 30-50 lbs
Life Span: 10 – 14 y
Coloring:   Varying shades of red or orange
Area of Origin: Canada
Similar Breeds: Golden Retriever, Flat Coated Retriever, Labrador Retriever, Curly Coated Retriever, Chesapeake Bay Retriever and The Kooikerhondje (Kooiker for short), Schipperke, Broholmer, and the Smoushound.

History and Origin:

The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is a medium sized dog breed that like most retrievers was bred for the hunt. The Toller is distinctive in color, intelligent, full of energy and alert to ducks in its environment. They are called tolling retrievers because they had the ability to bring the prey – waterfowl- into the range of the hunter. They originating in Nova Scotia, Canada as their name implies and they both tolled and retrieved.

Other names that the Toller went by include Little River Duck Dog, Tolling Retriever, Little Red Duck Dog and Yarnouth Toller. The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever uses play and subterfuge to attract prey for the human hunter. They retrieve balls, toys or sticks while running along the waterline while tracking ducks offshore. Once the ducks are in the hunters range the waterproof coated dog will retrieve the injured or dead ducks.

The ducks are attracted because the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever has fox like characteristics and appearances. It attracts the ducks interest with its activity and the white on its coat. That water repellent coat is well suited to retrieving in the cold waters of Nova Scotia.

There is no official record of the Toller’s development but most breeders think they came from the Red Decoy Dog that came to Canada with European settlers. There were breed crosses with several types of hunting and working dogs such as setters and spaniels, collies and retrievers.

The Tollers were first known as the Little River Duck Dog in Yarmouth County while others called them the Yarmouth Toller. They have now been bred true for generations. Developed in Yarmouth County, Little River Harbour, the Toller traces its beginnings to the early 19th century. It shares many of its traits with other breeds such as the Kooikerhondle.

The breed was admitted to the Canadian Kennel Club in 1945 and in 1955 was declared the Provincial Dog of Nova Scotia. Two Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers won multiple breed Best in Show and in 2001 entered into the American Kennel Club Miscellaneous Class and then into the Sporting Group in 2003.

We previously mentioned that often the Toller is mistaken for a small Golden; however the Toller is a much more active breed, athletic, compact, powerful and balanced. They are moderate in build, medium boned with deep chests. They are red and any shade of red is acceptable. They are not brown nor are they buff. They will have some white markings on the tail, feet, blaze and chest. Those participating in confirmation may be all red with no white.

The red coat is usually straight with a soft wave and soft with an undercoat that is very dense. They are soft and the muzzle hair is fine. The do shed their undercoat seasonally. The first Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Club in the United States was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 2003.

Personality and Temperament:

The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is a high energy, intelligent, affectionate and outgoing dog. They are very good with children with a reputation for patience. There might be a few dogs in the breed that are reserved but they are not generally shy. They were bred to be working dogs and they need a job to stay happy.

They are truly hunters but can be fine companion and family dogs as well. You just need to provide them with some sort of a job. They excel at agility, fly ball and other sporting events. Obedience is also a strong suit for them. One of their best jobs is as a search and rescue dog.

The Toller is not a barker but rather a singer. They have a high pitched voice and howl more than they bark. This sound is known as the “Toller Scream”. The Toller screams when excited. The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is a great companion and family dog as they as endlessly devoted to their human family and very easy to train. Their love of children only adds to their benefits as family dogs. They are clever, work hard and are happy when hunting.

Exercise & Training:

They do need physical activity every day or they become destructive. They also should not be left alone for long or they will react the same way. Luring or tolling is part of their playful personality. It is not something they learn it is a trait they are bred with. The young Toller does need to practice but they do not need to learn. They need to play and develop a close relationship with their people. They need an owner who displays authority over them.

As previously mentioned they excel at obedience and sporting events because they are so easily trained. High intelligent and playful, they learn quickly and confidently. They love to play ball or retrieve anything you throw for them. As good as they are with children and as good a family or companion dog as they are, they still need an owner who they know if definitely the alpha of the pack. Just because their personality if happy and somewhat laid back does not mean that they will not try to dominate the pack of a less then assertive owner.


The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever has a dense double coat. The coat is various shades of red or dark orange. It is never brown or tan, but can be a deep rust color with white marking on the face, tail, chest and feet. The double coat is water repellent and sheds seasonally. However they do not shed as badly as many of the other double coated breeds.

They need to be combed and brushed on a regular if not daily basis. Use a firm brush with bristles and make sure you get to the undercoat. Don’t bath them very often but you can use dry shampoos. If you shampoo them too often you can destroy their natural oils that are the basis of their water repellent properties.

Health and Wellness:

The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is a pretty healthy breed. There are some genetic disorders as there are with every breed. According to the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever of Finland the most serious of these for the Toller are eye issues, immune related rheumatic disease, hip dysplasia and meningitis/arthritis.

The eye issues center around PRA or Progressive Retinal Atrophy which about 7% of all Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers suffer from. This PRA causes the degeneration and death of the retina cells resulting in night blindness followed by complete blindness.

There are thyroid issues associated with the breed in the United States more than elsewhere. These are also autoimmune issues with thyroiditis. This issue can cause as many as 1-6 Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers to have skin, weight and hair issues, muscle weakness, infertility and cold intolerance.

About 1% of Tollers worldwide suffer from Addison’s Disease. This is ten times higher than the general population of dogs. A Toller with Addison’s is lethargic, weak, with excessive urination and need for water. They are probably somewhat weak, vomit often, have little appetite, diarrhea and are very very lethargic. They might even shiver uncontrollably.

Another health issue that the Toller faces is Aseptic Meningitis. This disease seems to be increasing in this breed recently. Neck pain, lethargy and fever are the common symptoms, found in over 2% of the Norwegian members of the breed.

There is a form of cleft palate that exclusively affects the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever. There are also multiple forms of Addison’s affecting the Tollers. Testing is available for almost all of these conditions. Recent surveys in Canada show that only 7.5 % of all Tollers have any of these conditions or other forms of poor health. The overwhelming majority of the breed are healthy and hardy. Cancer is responsible for the most deaths at 25% and aging at 9%.

The popularity of the breed is increasing and yet there currently is a limited gene pool and an increase in health issues. The increases in health issues as the population increases seem focused on progressive retinal atrophy, thyroid issues and autoimmune problems.

Interesting Facts About the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

  1. The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever lures the ducks closer and closer to the hunter. This activity is known as “tolling” and is responsible for the breed name.
  2. According to Canadian legends the first “Toller” was actually a red fox. The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever causes ducks to react to it due to its red color and its resemblance to the red fox.
  3. The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever does not bark. Instead they produce a loud whining, shrill bark. This is called the Toller Scream and the dogs produce this noise when confronted with anything threatening or excited. Both being happy and sad will both result in this call.
  4. There are many Dutch breeds that resemble the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever. The Kooikerhondie is the best known of these breeds but the Kooiker, their nickname, is the one most closely resembling the Toller. It is a smaller dog with the same coat but much more white than the Toller. It uses the same tolling behavior to run ducks into traps so they can be banded.
  5. The Schipperke is another Dutch breed that is small, black and tailless. There are two other Dutch breeds closely related to the Toller and they are the Broholmer which is a mastiff and a shaggy dog called the Smoushound.
  6. Unlike other retrievers – Labradors and Goldens in particular – the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is not as quick to embrace every human that comes into their space. The Toller is not shy, aggressive or unfriendly just reserved by retriever standards.

Five Reasons NOT to Get a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

  1. This breeds motor is constantly going. This is an extremely high energy dog. Check into this and known your own energy limits before you get a Toller.
  2. Heavy shedding and water issues. The Toller loves water, loves to swim and blows their coat annually.
  3. Frantic work drive and will retrieve forever and do not know when to stop. You have to be the leader.
  4. Give them an inch and they take a mile. Extremely smart they will step into any power vacuum. They will step right into it. You have to be a loving and firm leader for this breed to respect you.
  5. It cannot be overstressed how smart and cunning this breed is. Give them the training they need to stay in line even if they are bored. Basic obedience training is an absolute must. They need a job. They need to be occupied. Enter them in every athletic event there is – agility, fly ball, rally, barn chase and hunting events. Without a job the motor that is constantly running will drive its owner crazy and the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever will be more than you can handle.

Despite these reasons for not getting a Toller, the humans who live happily with this breed would not trade them for any other. They are loyal, loving, calm and gentle when they have the right environment, training and jobs.

Organizations Dedicated to the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

Breeds Similar to Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Dogs:

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Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Breed Information

General Information:

Height: 23” – 28.5”
Weight: 110 -154 pounds
Life Span: 8-11 years
Coloring: TRI-Black, Tan and White or Black, rust and white
Area of Origin: Swiss Alps
Similar Breeds: Bernese Mountain Dog, Appenzeller, Entlebucher Mountain Dog, Boxers, Bullmastiffs, Doberman Pinschers, Great Danes, Great Pyrenees, Komondors, Kuvaszes , Mastiffs, St. Bernard and the Rottweiler.

History and Origin:

The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is believed to have been developed from the mating of various indigenous Mastiffs in the Swiss Alps. The Mastiffs were brought to the Alps by outside settlers. The breed traveled from the height of popularity in Switzerland to the low of almost becoming extinct by the end of the 19th century. The reason for the decline in the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog was that their role as herder and protector of livestock was taken over by other large ‘mountain dogs’.

Early in the 1900’s it was discovered that the breed had not died out and the Swiss made the effort to ensure that they did not. The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is a heavy boned, large dog with surprising agility for its size and strength. The breed can still do the work of herding and protecting that they were designed for. They are usually black with white and rust colors on their coat. They are a calm, social, and dignified breed that really loves to be with their people and apart of the family unit.

There are actually 4 types of Swiss Mountain Dogs and the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is considered to be the oldest and the largest of these. In fact though, the origins of the breed are not entirely known. What is known is that in the 1500’s the peoples of the remote valleys surrounded by the Swiss Alps created various breeds of dogs by cross breeding all the indigenous dogs in the area.

It is believed that the four Swiss Mountain Dog or Sennenhund breeds actually came from a large Mastiff dog called the Molosser. These dogs were brought to the Alps by the Romans while building the Roman Empire. Many don’t believe this theory, but rather believe that in 1100 BC a very large breed of dogs was brought to Spain by the Phoenicians. These dogs migrated to the east and were prominent in the development of many mountain dog breeds including the Sennenhund breeds, Dogue de Bordeaux, Great Pyrenees and the Spanish Mastiff.

Another theory about the breed is that there was a large indigenous breed in central Europe as humans began to grow crops and domesticate animals. Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs were created when native farm dogs bred with large Mastiff-types that the settlers brought to Europe and specifically to Switzerland. Farmers, merchants and herdsman took advantage of the skills and talents of these large mountain dogs. Their jobs included drawing heavy carts, moving and protecting the herds. They also served as guard dogs and family pets.

As time passed more and more selective breeding led to certain breeds performing certain functions, the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog became a drafting and dover herding the farm livestock. They are a strong multi-purpose dog that could pull carts, herd livestock, protect the animals and the human family. The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog was so good at this they became known as “the poor man’s horse”. However by the time of World War I, the breed was on its way to extinction as other dogs and machines took over their jobs.

Then in 1908, Franz Schertenlieb took two short-haired Bernese Mountain Dogs to meet Professor Albert Heim. He claimed the Bernese was representative of the vanishing Swiss mountain dog. Heim was an expert in the Sennenhunds and single handedly worked to reestablish these breeds. In 1909 he succeeded in getting the dogs recognized by the Swiss Kennel Club. All four of the Sennenhund breeds were saved from extinction by the efforts of Schertenlieb.

In 1912 the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog breed club was formed. Before 1913 there was very little documented about any of these four dogs. The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is documented by Dr. Heim alone. Heim believed that the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog was the most popular among the mountain peoples of Switzerland during the late 1800’s.

There are some who dispute this saying if it were true the breed would not have been nearly extinct some thirty years later. This leaves the origins and the history of the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog up for grabs. No one is really sure how the breed got to where they were in the early 1900’s when Heim came to their rescue.

There was a dog in Germany known as the butcher dog or Metzgerhund. Many believe these are ancestors to the Sennenhunde as they served as draft dogs, guard dogs, and herder/drovers, The description of these dogs as having rough, short coats in brown, yellow or black with white and brown, fits the early descriptions of the Sennenhunde as well. Both Heim and Schertenleib chose the best looking of all these dogs, the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog to begin its development as a pure breed. St this point in their history the breed was rougher and stockier than they are today. The coloring of these original dogs was off as well with a yellow mixed in with the black.

The 20th century has seen a time of great growth among the mountain dogs even as they grew slowly. The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is still rare in both Switzerland and the United States. They were used as draft dogs by Switzerland yet there were only 350 to 400 dogs in existence. It took until 1968 for the first GSMD to be imported to the United States. The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog of America Club was formed in 1983 and held its first National Specialty (GSMDCA). At that time there were 257 registered Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs and it was not until 1995 that the American Kennel Club granted the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog full recognition as members of the Working Group.

These Swiss breeds included the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, The Bernese Mountain Dog, Appenzell Cattle Dog and the Entlebuch Cattle Dog. These four breeds of dogs share the same marking and color. They were all used as herding, guarding and drafting dogs. It is believed that the GSMD was influential in the development of the St. Bernard.

As the oldest of the Swiss breeds, the GSMD is also the largest and shares the same markings and colors as the others. The Bernese Mountain Dog is closest in looks and size to the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog. The Bernese is the only Sennenhund with a long coat and the male is 25-27inches tall compared with the Swissy at 26-28.5 inches tall. The Swiss Mountain Dog usually outweighs the Bernese by 10-15 pounds.

The Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs take longer to mature than other breeds doing so in 2-3 years instead of 1.5-2 years.

Personality and Temperament:

The personality and temperament of the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is what makes him such a joy to be around. They are happy and enthusiastic dogs that love children and people in general. They are a calm yet active breed, a dignified canine.

They need to be with their people and are not happy if you leave them in a crate or in the yard. They need human companionship and affection. Because of this they are eager to please and the greatest reward you can give a Greater Swill Mountain Dog is physical affection.

Even though they are working dogs they are not as aloof or self-contained as many other breeds of mountain dogs and herding dogs. They are self-confident, intelligent and learn quickly. They are great with kids and other dogs or other pets, even though they can be stubborn. They are good watchdogs but they will quickly accept anyone you accept into your house or pack.

Their watching consists of barking when they perceive that something is not right. Yet they are protective and loyal. The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is incredibly observant and they notice the details in their world and when something is out of place, they will bark an alarm. They will then stand their ground and appear incredibly intimidating to whoever they see as the threat, whether it be another dog, a wild animal or a person.

Exercise & Training:

Being a larger breed the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog won’t have the energy of a Jack Russell Terrier but they will need at least moderate exercise. Walk them daily and for at least an hour if possible. Use this as training time in that you need to teach him to heal so he learns that the person is his leader and he is not the leader. Don’t overheat him.

As he is intelligent and quick to learn he is also stubborn and determined to do things his way. They have issues around housebreaking and some Swissies will take a few weeks while others might take up to 6 months. You will also want to teach them not to chase cars and animals, nor to eat anything they see.

They are after all working dogs and need to have a job.


The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog needs to be brushed at least once or twice every week. They have a double coat with the inner coat being the same length as the outer coat. They do shed or blow their undercoat seasonally and during this time more grooming and brushing is needed.

Nails need to be clipped and ears need cleaned every 40-8week. Flush any foreign matter out of the ears. You will only have to bath your Greater Swiss Mountain Dog every few months or even just a couple times a year. When you do bath your GSMW you will need to do so twice. First is a normal bath with your basic shampoos in order to remove any normal dirt. After your dog is clean and depending on the time of year you might have to wash him again – when shedding use a shedding shampoo such as SimpleShed Shampoo.

You might also need a comb, brush and undercoat rake for deshedding your GSMW.

Health and Wellness:

The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is a fairly healthy breed. They have many less health issues than other breeds of a similar size, but they do have some issues. These issues include distichiasis and entropion of the eye, urinary incontinence, epilepsy, licking behavior, bloat, dysplasia/degenerative joint disease, spleen tumors, Osteochondrosis, and hip dysplasia.

The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is part of a group of large working dogs that are susceptible to bloat. Bloat is the number one cause of death among the GSMD breed. These dogs have deep chests and if they eat too much food or water too quickly, or exercise too much after eating or undergo a lot of stress, bloat can quickly occur. Bloat displays with a distended abdomen, lethargy, depression and excessive salivating. Bloat will shut down the supply or blood to the heart and block up the esophagus. The dog can then goes into shock and die quickly.

Females can have urinary incontinence while sleeping. This is obviously not a life threatening condition. About 20% of the female GRMDs are susceptible to this. This is also the cause of many Urinary Tract Infections as well.

Another potentially very serious health issue is Idiopathic Epilepsy with no cause that can be found and frequent seizures. Some cases of this are very serious and some are not. It can show up between the ages of 12 months and 5 years.

Interesting Facts About the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog

  1. Other names used for the Swiss Mountain Dogs include the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, Grosser Schweizer Sennenhund, Swiss Cattle Dog, Sennenhund, and Great Swiss Cattle Dog.
  2. The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog has held a variety of jobs including as a guard or watchdog, herding dog. They notice all the details in their surroundings and if they sense anything unusual they will alert their people.

Organizations Dedicated to the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog

Breeds Similar to Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Dogs:

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