Showing posts with label Dog Breeds. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dog Breeds. Show all posts

The Irish Wolfhound

The smaller dog looks like a tiny
stuffed toy beside this Irish Wolfhound.
There are a few dog breeds that are called "wolfhounds", but for our purposes today we are going to zero in on the breed known as the Irish Wolfhound.

The Irish Wolfhound is a huge breed of dog, which based on its size, would be a frightening figure to encounter in a dark alley! Lucky for most, this breed of dog is sweet, gentle, and friendly. They are also very loyal, so if trained as a guard dog, it would appear quite intimidating. The average weight range for an adult male wolfhound is 140-180 lbs, while the female weighs less, usually between 115-140 lbs. This may sound a little on the light side considering the fact that this is one of the tallest dog breeds (many can reach up to 7 feet tall standing on their hind legs, which is taller than your average professional basketball player), but the slender stature of the breed makes it easier for them to run fast and take down their prey without injuring themselves.

Irish Wolfhounds are really fast runners, and in the past they could prey on animals as large as deer or elk. As the breed name suggests, it is almost certain that the wolfhound was bred specifically for hunting and taking down wolves. They are considered part of the sight hound family, which means they rely on sight and sound to hunt, and not so much on their noses.

The Great Dane

The Great Dane: A Gentle Giant
The Great Dane is a giant breed dog, and is on the top ten largest breeds list. A Great Dane has won world's tallest dog in the Guinness Book of World Records on several occasions. The minimum height of a male Great Dane is typically 30 inches from foot to shoulder blades, and around 28 inches for females. The current record holder is 44 inches tall from where his foot touches the floor to the spot between his shoulder blades. He weighs 155 pounds and has to eat 30 pounds of food a day. Now that’s a whole lotta kibble! He is 7 ½ feet tall when he stands on his hind legs. You wouldn't want to get in the way of that dog running, that’s for sure. People love to talk about their giant friends. One Great Dane, the winner of largest dog in 2010, has his own book, called Giant George!

Great Danes are an AKC accepted breed and have been since 1887. Dogs that very closely resemble the breed have been found pictured on Egyptian monuments dating back as far as 3000 BC, so they have been around for a very long time. It has been speculated that the breed was started by cross breeding an English Mastiff and an Irish Wolfhound. Some think that the Greyhound was bred in, also. The breed was given its American name by a French naturalist while he was traveling in Denmark. It was the first time he had seen the giant dogs and he nicknamed them “la grande danois” or Great Dane. The nickname stuck and became the name the breed that America would know them by for all time.

Australian Cattle Dog (AKA Blue Heeler)

australian cattle dog with brahman cattle
Australian Cattle Dogs were bred in Australia
to herd cattle! Who'd have thunk it?
The Australian Cattle Dog (AKA Blue Heeler, Red Heeler, Queensland Heeler) is a medium-sized, short-coated breed from the herding group of canines. They are most often seen with a blue coloring in their fur, which can be mottled or speckled throughout, or red-colored fur, which can also be speckled and is also really, really cool. The blue color can often be very dark, making them look black in those areas, and another color that can be seen is a light cream color. ACD's are very easy to groom, and although they shed once to twice a year, a good brushing and a rare bath is all they need to keep up with their easy grooming. They have a double coat, like some of the other more rough coated breeds, and therefore should not be shaved if owners decide to groom them.

Australian Cattle Dogs can weigh as much as 60+ pounds, and although they are not exactly gigantic, they are very powerful, and highly active. The breed standard for cattle dogs is that they have full, natural, un-docked tail, and ears that are tall and pricked. In the case of the ears, some Australian cattle dogs do have ears that flop over.

Australian Cattle Dogs were bred first in New South Wales, Australia. The breed was made by crossing a dog used by cattle droving dogs that were imported from Northumberland England (called at that time, Northumberland Blue Merle Drovers dogs), with tamed dingos, to make the strong, medium-sized breed we know today. The ACD was bred to be used to move herds of cattle over long distances, and cattle dogs have a natural instinct to nip at the heels to get something where they want it to go. So owners must be careful, as this could include kids, or maybe even their owners, if the dogs are not well trained!

Puli, the Hungarian Water Dog

Puli: A Dog with Dreadlocks!
The Puli (AKA Hungarian Water Dog) is a small to medium-sized breed of dog that is best known for having a "corded" coat. What do we mean by corded? Well, this dog basically grows dreadlocks, and they are curled so tight they are nearly waterproof! As you can imagine, maintaining the Puli coat requires a whole lot of time and effort. Luckily, it doesn't shed much. Pulik (the pluralized form of Puli) can be seen most often in black, because this made them ighly visible among the sheep! However, they also are sometimes gray, white, and cream (and cream with a black mask, which is pretty cool). 

Hailing from Hungary, the Puli breed has existed for at least 2,000 years, and there is anecdotal evidence that they have been around for as long as 6,000 years! Pulik were first used for herding and guarding livestock. They often worked together with a much larger dog breed that had a similar look, called the Komondor (or Mop Dog). The Komondorok (yes, another weird pluralization) would guard the animals at night, while the Pulik took the day shift. If the pack or herd were attacked by a larger beast, such as a bear, the Pulik would alert the Komondorok, and together they would drive off the enemy. Teamwork rocks, even in the dog world!