The English Bulldog: A Proper Gentleman

Background

Although the English bulldog was initially bred for fighting, the breed has since been reborn into a lifestyle of gentility. As you can guess from their name, bulldogs were originally used in the sport of bullfighting. These brave dogs would bite onto the bull’s nose in order to provoke the bull. Many physical features of today’s bulldog were developed during selective breeding for bullfighting: the bulldog’s low-slung body made it easy for the dog to crawl out of reach of an angry bull’s horns, while its distinctive underbite allowed it to latch onto a bull’s nose, and its own scrunched nostrils were still able to inhale and exhale while pressed against the bull. After bullfighting was outlawed for its inhumanity, English bulldogs were repurposed for dogfighting – which was considered a “more humane” form of entertainment at the time. After dogfighting was also outlawed in 1835, the bulldog breed’s ferocity was eliminated through selective breeding, acclimating the dogs to a life of love and leisure. The pets we adore today have very little in common, temperamentally, with their ancestors.

Shapes and Sizes

These dogs are heavy and powerful. Males typically weigh about 55 lbs, while females average a little lighter at around 51 lbs. Their short, smooth, and glossy coat requires very minimal care and comes in a variety of colors and blends, including brindle, solid white, red, fawn, and piebald. A bulldog’s wrinkled skin can harbor skin infections, so be sure to use a damp cloth to clean out your pet’s skin folds on a regular basis.

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Axle Klysen as a puppy, sporting his Carthage Bulldogs jersey!

Personality Traits

Bulldogs’ tranquil and outgoing personalities make them exceptionally compatible with children. This breed’s courage is perhaps the only personality trait the dogs have retained from their bullfighting days, and it only serves to make them more lovable. They also have a tendency to be a little obstinate, which can sometimes be quite comical. According to the American Kennel Club, the bulldog is the 4th most popular dog breed in the United States.

Health Issues

Their short, squished snouts make it difficult for bulldogs to cool off, so this breed is especially sensitive to both excessive exercise and heat. Don’t think that these dogs can get away without any exercise, though! Bulldogs still need their regular walks. Just be watchful, because these dogs can be susceptible to heat stroke, especially when they get overheated or overexcited. Bulldogs are also known to occasionally suffer from respiratory issues if the folds of their palates sag enough to block their airways. Additionally, if you’re thinking of breeding your bulldog, keep in mind that these dogs often require a C-Section for successful delivery – the puppies’ heads are so large that they have difficulty fitting through the birth canal.

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Another picture of Axle Klysen, reminding everyone that rest is a necessity, especially for bulldogs!

Fun Facts

  • If you didn’t already know, bulldogs are a favorite as a mascot for athletic teams. (Go Dawgs!) Many claim the most famous bulldog mascot is the live one belonging to the University of Georgia, affectionately called “Uga.
  • Quite a few celebrities own bulldogs! The list includes Leonardo DiCaprio, Reese Witherspoon, Zac Efron, David Beckham and Martha Stewart, to name a few.
  • When the breed originated, bulldogs were prized for their facial wrinkles, which strategically helped prevent blood from trickling into their eyes while wrestling with a bull.
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Ay, Chihuahua(s)!

Background

Chihuahuas have appeared in the canine limelight several times in the past decade, with the beloved pooches starring in Disney’s Beverly Hills Chihuahua films. The films’ recurring theme of “We are tiny, but we are mighty” hearkens back to the breed’s origination in ancient times. Although there is a bit of controversy over the exact origin of this breed, most sources agree that Chihuahuas were originally viewed as sacred animals in Mexico and other South American countries. In fact, a Mexican Indian legend says Chihuahuas were once “important religious objects.” According to one source, Chihuahuas’ souls were thought to travel for eternity, bearing their masters’ sins along with them. The breed was officially discovered in Mexico in 1850. Since then, their role in society has shifted from objects of religious reverence to tiny, lovable household companions.

Shapes and Sizes

With both males and females measuring just 5 inches long and weighing 2-4 lbs on average, Chihuahuas are officially the smallest dogs in the world. Their endearingly large ears and “apple-dome-shaped” heads are two of the breed’s most distinctive features. The breed can have either a smooth or long coat, both of which require minimal grooming. Coat colors range from sand white to blue, with multiple combinations.

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Pumpkin and Charlie, two members of the Animal Medical Center family, pose for a Halloween glamour shot.

Personality Traits

The American Kennel Club describes Chihuahuas as “intelligent, graceful, charming and sassy.” In 2015, Chihuahuas were ranked the 29th most popular dog breed. Although Chihuahuas can be perceived as hyper and do require some daily exercise, their size ultimately makes them best suited as indoor pets.

Health Issues

Chihuahuas typically have minimal health problems. That being said, there is always a possibility that some health issues will arise over a dog’s lifetime. For Chihuahuas, some of the most prevalent issues are dental disease, hypoglycemia (most common in younger dogs) and patellar luxation, which essentially causes the kneecaps to slip out of place. Chihuahuas normally live 14-18 years, which is one of the longest life expectancies for canines.

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Two more adorable Animal Medical Center chihuahua pups.

Fun Facts

  • In terms of a brain to body size ratio, the Chihuahua is thought to have one of the largest brains of all dog breeds.
  • Both of the dogs who starred in Beverly Hills Chihuahua — Angel, who played Chloe, and Rusco, who played Papi — were originally rescue dogs.
  • Chihuahuas are named after the Mexican state of Chihuahua, where they are thought to have originated.

Miniature Schnauzers: What’s Behind the Mustache?

Background

There’s quite a bit of history behind the schnauzer breed’s ‘stache, as it turns out. Miniature schnauzers are often considered more passive than their fellow terriers, but the early ancestors of the breed were required to be a tad aggressive. Schnauzers originated in Germany as farm dogs that kept rats from scurrying into food supplies, and their facial hair was an important defense against any rodents they encountered. After World War II, miniature schnauzers’ popularity rapidly increased in the U.S. Today, the miniature schnauzer has left its barn days behind and transitioned to the more passive, yet equally rewarding role of family companion.

Shapes and Sizes

This breed’s wiry coat makes weekly combing a necessity. Clipping, or styling, the coat is recommended, as it smoothens the wiry texture. Both male and female miniature schnauzers are typically 12-14 inches tall, weighing between 11-18 lbs. Cousins of the miniature schnauzer include the less common standard-sized schnauzer, which can average 25-40 lbs., and the giant-sized schnauzer, which can weigh up to 85 or 90 lbs. The American Kennel Club only officially recognizes black, black and silver, and salt and pepper as the three variations of coat colors for the miniature schnauzer, but some white and wheaten coat variations also exist.

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Scotty and Dawn Robin’s miniature schnauzer, Ava, is an example of the black and silver coloring.

Personality Traits

Miniature schnauzers are typically more submissive than most other terrier breeds. They are also considered very intelligent, and they are eager to please their owners by mastering a new trick. With their lovable, extroverted personality, miniature schnauzers get along well with children and other dog breeds. These dogs are known to love to bark, so training is often necessary to teach them to keep their barking to a minimum.

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Beau Vanover demonstrating a miniature schnauzer’s more mischievous side.


Health Issues

With a typical long lifespan of 12-14 years, miniature schnauzers have relatively few health problems commonly occurring among the breed. That said, many do seem to experience eye problems, like cataracts or retinal dysplasia, which occurs when the retinal tissues do not form correctly. They can also sometimes contract mycobacterium avium infection, a bacterial infection related to tuberculosis. Most miniature schnauzers have sensitive stomachs, so owners should avoid table food and only feed their pets high-quality dog food. Like any canine, this breed requires some form of exercise – whether that’s a walk on a leash or a jaunt through a pasture – to maintain its overall fitness and happiness.

Fun Facts

  • The word ‘schnauzer’ comes from the German word for ‘snout’ or ‘small beard,’ referring to the breed’s distinguishing mustache.
  • Rapper 50 Cent owns a miniature schnauzer – and her name is Oprah.
  • The scruffy, yet lovable character of Tramp, from Disney’s 1955 animated classic Lady and the Tramp, is speculated to be some sort of schnauzer mix.

Enjoy some more photos of Jax and Beau Vanover below!

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Boxers: The Gentle ‘Tough Guys’

Background

Known for their rambunctious but patient personalities, boxers originated in Germany. During World War I, they were used to carry messages and extra materials. They also served as attack and guard dogs. At the end of World War II, American soldiers returned home with boxers in tow, and the breed quickly rose in popularity in the United States.

A photo of a boxer during the war. Photo from Pinterest.

Shapes and Sizes

Boxers are medium-sized dogs with a square, solid frame. Males typically weigh about 70 lbs, and females tend to weight about 60 lbs. They have short coats that require minimal grooming. Their coat colors include a range of fawn and brindle, with and without white markings.

Personality Traits

Boxers are devoted, intelligent and athletic. They are exceptionally protective of their loved ones, which is part of the reason they’re widely recognized as excellent guard dogs. Boxers are the 10th most popular dog breed in the United States, according to the American Kennel Club.

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Jayme Quick’s boxer demonstrates how the gentle the breed is with young children.

Health Issues

Full of energy, boxers require exercise on a near daily basis to stay happy and healthy. These dogs live relatively long, healthy lives, averaging 10-12 years.

Boxers can occasionally suffer from digestive issues. They are also prone to experiencing hip dysplasia, which causes the hip joint to be loose in its socket, as well as hypothyroidism, in which the thyroid gland does not produce enough of the hormone controlling metabolism.

Boxers with white markings can sometimes develop sunburns, which can potentially lead to skin cancer. Remember to rub sunscreen on their white markings before spending time outdoors!

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Jayme Quick’s boxer getting his exercise, bounding through the snow.

Fun Facts

  • A boxer holds a Guinness World Record for having the longest tongue on record for a canine. The boxer, Brandy, had a tongue measuring 17 inches long.
  • Boxers are descended from a now-extinct German hunting breed called Bullenbeissers.
  • White boxers are often more prone to being born deaf.

Photos courtesy of Jayme Quick.

 

Dynamic Dalmatians

Background

With their iconic spots and loyal personalities, Dalmatians have been beloved by dog-lovers for a long time. Disney’s classic animated 1961 film, “One Hundred and One Dalmatians,” and its subsequent 1996 live-action remake only added to the breed’s popularity.

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An image of Pongo, Perdita and their pups from the 1961 animated Disney film, “One Hundred and One Dalmatians.”

Today’s Dalmatians were named for their original region of Dalmatia, which is located on the Adriatic Sea in southeastern Europe. As the breed evolved, it filled a variety of needed roles, including shepherding dogs, hunting dogs and coach dogs, who ran beside horse-drawn fire wagons. Dalmatians have also been regarded as excellent circus performers!

Shapes and Sizes

Typically ranging from 50-60 lbs, Dalmatians are considered medium-sized dogs. Although Disney movies only depict the dogs as black and white, the breed can also have liver-colored spots. Their coats are short and dense, requiring little grooming, but it is recommended that they be brushed often.

Personality Traits

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Client Madi Snow’s Dalmatian, Mr. Charles Higbee, displaying his playful nature.

Dalmatians are normally described as intelligent, playful and sensitive. However, they can be a little standoffish when first meeting new strangers and other dogs, so it is important that the dogs are often socialized with other dogs and people, especially at a young age. With their lovable nature, it is easy to give these dogs the high amount of interaction they require!

Health Issues

Exercise is essential to a Dalmatian’s happiness and health. Filled with energy, this breed requires long walks or runs on a daily basis. In general, they are healthy dogs who typically live for 12-14 years.

The breed does tend to experience several medical conditions, with deafness being one of the most notable. According to the Dalmatian Club of America, about 8% of Dalmatians are completely deaf, and about 22% of the breed hear in only one ear. Other medical conditions the breed is prone to experiencing include hip dysplasia, which causes the hip joint to be loose in its socket, and hypothyroidism, in which the thyroid gland does not produce enough of the hormone controlling metabolism.

Fun Facts

  • Dalmatian puppies are born without spots. Spots tend to appear around 10-14 days after birth.
  • In the 19th century, Dalmatians were considered ‘sophisticated pets’ for those belonging to the upper class.
  • Dalmatians are famous for being “Firehouse mascots.”
  • As featured in the pictures above, client Madi Snow owns her own charming Dalmatian. She even started a Facebook page dedicated to Mr. Charles Higbee’s daily escapades – be sure to check it out!

 

Photos courtesy of Madi Snow.