Small is beautiful

If you are looking for a pal, Japanese Chin is the right choice for you as this is the breed whose sole purpose is to serve as a companion to man.

Japanese Chin is an amazing breed. When they get excited, many will do something called ‘Chin Spins’. This isbreed profile when they whirl around in excitement when they see their pet parents or are getting ready for a game or car ride. Many Chins also inherit the ability to vocalise in almost a human fashion when happy or excited. This is called woo woo’ing, and no written description can do justice to how endearing this is. It sounds like the dog is actually talking to you. Here’s more on this lovely breed.

Stylish and small…

Japanese Chin is a small, well balanced, lively, aristocratic toy dog with a distinctive Oriental expression. Light and stylish in action! The plumed tail is carried over the back, curving to either side. The coat is profuse, silky, soft and straight. The dog’s outline presents a square appearance. They are found in various colours like black and white, red and white, or black and white with tan points (tricolour).

Japanese Chins have a small amount of white showing in the corner of their eyes and this gives them the desired look of astonishment. To look into their eyes is almost like looking at the face of a human.

Cat-like demeanour…

A properly bred Chin is a delightful companion. You will hear many fanciers refer to them as cat-like because of their dignified demeanour, ability to climb to high places, and lack of a ‘doggy smell’. Some Chins may be reserved with strangers, but with those they love and trust, they are an exceedingly loving and amusing companion.

Living with them…

Chins are an easy breed to live with. They can be trained to use a litter box to relieve themselves, and love being around other animals, especially other Chins. They are for the most part a very quiet breed and not yappy or annoying in any way.

While they can do well with mature, well-behaved children, Japanese Chin can be a sensitive breed, so most likely would do better in a home with no small children. If they do live with children, they should be taught to treat the dogs with care and respect to avoid either physical or emotional trauma.

Wash and wear breed…

Japanese Chins are often referred to as a ‘wash and wear’ breed. This is because a Chin with the correct, silky textured coat is very easy to groom whether for the show ring or home. Their coat should be combed or brushed in sections to ensure every strand is attended to so mats are prevented. Special care should be given to the area behind the ears as this is a prime spot for mats or knots to form. Toenails should be clipped regularly, because Chin is a heavily-coated, drop ear breed and their ears must be kept as clean and dry as possible to prevent infection.

Japanese Chins do shed and especially the intact she-dogs can lose a lot of coat after heat cycles and puppies. This is not a breed for someone who does not want fur in the house!

Puppy care…

Puppy care for Japanese Chin is similar to that of any puppy. A quality food, regular vet care, a warm place to sleep, lots of socialising and introduction to new things. It’s almost important to note that as with any toy breed, it is vital that a Japanese Chin puppy is given regular meals to prevent from hypoglycaemic or low blood sugar problem.

Games they play…

Japanese Chins enjoy outdoor time and short walks, but because of their flat nose, it is important they are not over-exerted or taken on strenuous walks, especially in hot or humid weather. They love playing indoors, chasing toys or enjoying tug of war game with their mates. Some Chins have gone on to enjoy wonderful careers in agility and obedience.

Health care…

For the most part, Japanese Chin is a healthy breed without an abundance of hereditary issues. As with many toy breeds, they should be regularly checked for heart health, and special care should be given to protect their large, prominent eyes from injury.

(Scott Toney owns Midwood Japanese Chin kennel in North Carolina. He breeds and shows Japanese Chins).

breed profile

White as snow!

Striking, loyal, intelligent and willing to please… these qualities best describe the White Swiss Shepherd Dogbreed profile (WSSD) who makes excellent companion.

Originally bred as herding, working and draft dog, the White Swiss Shepherd Dogs (WSSDs) have now become companion dogs or protector dogs. WSSD retains many of the wonderful traits of the German Shepherd Dog (GSD), but has a more compliant temperament.

The epitome of power…

WSSDs are powerful, well-muscled, medium-sized dogs with erect ears. They have a moderately long rectangular shape and have a double coat (both shorthair and longhair). Their head is strong and finely chiselled. Their eyes are medium-sized, almond shaped and placed a little obliquely. The colour of the eyes varies from brown to dark-brown and eyelids have black eye-rims. They have a bushy sabre tail, tapering to the tip. These white colour dogs have a height of 60-66 cm for males and 55-61 cm for females. While, the males weigh around 30-40 kg and females weigh around 25-35 kg.

The demeanour…

Lively, without nervousness, attentive and watchful, WSSDs are sometimes slightly aloof towards strangers, but never apprehensive or aggressive. If socialised from a young age, they get on with all other animals and if raised with cats, they get on with them too! They learn quickly and are very willing to please their pet parents. If the WSSD barks, you must know there is something there.

Living with them…

Most people who live with a WSSD feel that their dog is much smarter than they are! They are clever, imaginative, intuitive and eager to please, so much so, they only respond to positive training methods. They need to bond closely to you and your family and they demand to be an active participant in your life.

WSSDs are excellent with children, if they have been raised with children. Their compliant nature makes them more willing than many other breeds to take instruction from children.


They are physically demanding and have lots of drive and stamina. If they are bored or neglected, their frustration is vented by destructive behaviour. If they are loved and educated, their abilities are without limit. If kept in an average garden they should be taken for regular walks or a run. WSSDs love to have fun while doing agility and jumping.

Puppy socialisation…

WSSDs were originally bred for the traits that make a good herding dog. Because they are so attuned to changes in the environment and they are in a constant state of ‘alert’ and may appear nervous and fearful. They were also developed to react to these changes in the environment. So, they have extremely high reactivity to stimulus. This trait makes them very ‘trainable’ and this is one of the reasons that socialisation is vitally important to them. What socialisation means to a GSSD pup is that they need to be taught what ‘normal’ is, because if they do not have a large toolbox of ‘normal situations’, they may go off like firecrackers at every little thing around them and find lots of things to be ‘nervous and fearful’ about. Puppy socialisation in GSSD is the process of exposing the young ones to small doses of all sorts of normal situations they may encounter later in life.

As versatile as GSD

Is GSSD as versatile as GSD? Of course, they are! GSSDs have been proven themselves over and over again as police dog, search and rescue dog, service dog, therapy dog, flyball dog, agility dog, obedience dog, herding dog, carting dog and anything else you can imagine that you would like your dog to do.


Their coat seems to ‘self-clean’, however, they shed twice a year when regular grooming is needed.


WSSDs suffer less genetic disorders than their coloured relatives but Hip & Elbow Dysplasia should be checked out before breeding. Megaesophegous as well as monorchidism has occurred in a few dogs but not many. However, missing teeth is also quite a common genetic fault but definitely not life threatening!

(Stephanie Bridge is a breeder at White Knight Kennels, which is one of the leading kennels in South Africa producing both long and short coat breeds).

Go carting!

Duzi is a White Swiss Shepherd Dog (WSSD) who became the 1st Carting Champion in the world and also the 1st Grand Champion in South Africa. He has also excelled in the breed ring, and is the only dog to have been awarded more than 60 Best of Breeds. In 2009, Duzi won the National Carting event and so being the only WSSD with a National Champion title to his name. Duzi is named Kusa Natl Ch. 2009, Gr.Ch & Ch Cart. Ch White Knight Imperial Duzi cgc PC (Gtg).

breed profile

Belgian Shepherds: huge bundles of energy

Strong, powerful, intelligent and hyperactive – a Belgian Shepherd is an awesome combination of good looks and intelligence. They will follow you like a shadow but yet have a mind of their own. Loving and lovable, this breed will literally keep you on your toes – you can never put on fat if you have a Belgian at home!

The strong persona…

As the name suggests, Belgian Shepherd originated from Belgium and is a member of the Herding Group (FCIbreed profile 1 Group). Belgian Shepherd is a medium sized dog with harmonious proportions, fitting into a square – rustic, dry strong muscle, combines elegance and power. Their height from the ground to top of the withers is equal to its length. They carry their head high and have a rectilinear, dry and well chiseled. Their eyes are medium sized, dark and slightly almond-shaped. They give a direct, intelligent, lively and inquirer looks. While, their ears are triangular, rather small, highly set and carried upright when the dog is attentive.

The height of the male Belgian Shepherd is 62 – 66 cm while that of female is 58 – 62 cm and they weigh around 25-30 kg and 20-25 kg respectively.

There are four varieties of Belgian Shepherd – black, long haired Groenendael (tolerance little white mark at front), long haired fawn or grey with a black mask Tervueren, rough wire fawn coat with black mask Lakenois and short fawn coat with black mask Malinois.

Active and intelligent…

Belgian Shepherds are highly intelligent, sensitive and alert dogs. They have a lively temper and high energy level and so they hate inactivity. They have strong territorial and protective instincts. They have a big, loving heart and need a family to love. Although they can live at home with other dogs and animals, adult males could have a problem with accepting each other.

A lot of Belgians live with children, but children have to be considerate towards them! Any dog, particularly large, active breed shouldn’t be left alone without supervision of adults with small children.

Tips for pet parents

  • Pet parent for Belgian Shepherd is not a master-he is a partner.
  • If you are nervous or impatient, do not bring home a Belgian.
  • If you have to go out and leave your dog alone for few hours, remember to walk your dog before leaving. Give toys and snacks to make it interesting in your absence.
  • Always buy a puppy from reliable breeder. Tell the breeder about your lifestyle and plans connected with dog – he will help you to choose a puppy with right character suitable for your experience and expectations. Keep a contact with your breeder when your puppy is home.
  • Before you’ll decide for Belgian Shepherd, find out as much as you can about the breed, talk with breeders. Think over whether you will be ready to meet the needs of your Belgian every day by next 14-16 years.

Training & socialisation… a must

Quick in reactions and excitable are not easy for inexperienced owners. Since they are distrustful in contact with strangers, they need socialisation from an early age. Belgians need early socialisation to grow up for well-balanced and self-confident dog.

Besides, they need training otherwise they can be nervous or dominant. They do not tolerate violence and pressure in training. Belgians are very smart; you have to be smarter and more resourceful than them. They learn quickly both good and bad things and changing bad habits is not easy! Well trained, they create very strong relationship with their pet parents.

They love to learn and are masters in most of dog sports. Though originally they worked as pastoral dogs guarded sheep, but they now work as police dogs, rescue dogs and even guide-dogs.

Life with Belgians…

Life with Belgians is never boring. Every day, they can surprise you with their crazy antics, so it is important to have a good sense of humour when living with them. They need to live with their human family and like a shadow, follow them everywhere. Isolation makes them unhappy. They are excellent family dogs, but are not suitable for all people. Their temper and energy makes them very demanding, and they need a lot of occupation – not just physical exercises but also mental training. Else Belgians will be frustrated and bored and will find entertainment on his own, usually destroying everything around. Hence, this is a breed for active people, who like to spend time with dogs and train them with positive methods.

Exercise… any time is good time

This is very active breed so every kind of dog activities like flyball, obedience, tracking, defence (especially malinois); trekking will be suitable for them. In fact, it is difficult to define how much time they need for their exercise and emotional needs. After intensive walk, they will take a rest and sleep, but once you give a small signal, they will be ready again to accompany you for more exercises.

Grooming is easy

Despite long hair, grooming is not very time consuming. Brushing regularly and bathing when required – is all it takes to maintain his coat. Frequency of molting depends on sex of the breed. Males lose only undercoat once per year, while females change their coat twice in a year. In this period, dog should be brushed every day to remove dead hair.

Healthy and long lived

Belgians are very healthy and long lived breed; they usually live for 13-16 years. Most common ailments include cut paws and abrasion while the most serious disease is idiopatic epilepsy.

(Iwona Hernas is a fancier, breeder and handler of Belgian Shepherds. She breeds Groenendaels or Belgian Shepherd Dogs under her kennel named Di Trevi in Poland –

The loyal ones!

When we talk about loyal dogs, which breed comes to your mind? Most likely, you are thinking about German Shepherds or GSDs or Alsatians – their loyalty, strength and intelligence are beyond comparison. Here’s more on this popular breed.

The popularity…

According to the statistics of American Kennel Club, GSDs are among the top five popular breeds in the breed profileUnited States.

The unique name…

The breed was named Deutscher Schäferhund, which means “German Shepherd Dog.” The breed was so named due to its original purpose of assisting shepherds in herding and protecting sheep in Germany.

The handsome looks…

GSDs are large-sized dogs with domed forehead, long square-cut muzzle and black nose. Their medium-sized brown eyes give a lively, intelligent and confident look. Their large ears stand erect but are pulled back in movement. They have a double-coat with dense outer coat and a thick undercoat. They are available in a variety of colours like red, brown, tan, black, tan/black and red/black.

The intelligence…

GSDs are considered to be the third most intelligent breed of dog. Studies have indicated that they can learn simple tasks after mere five repetitions and can obey 95 percent of all commands the first time. Hence, they are used as police, guard and search & rescue dogs.

The temperament…

Highly active, this breed loves to learn new things and have a purpose in life. They love human company and are loyal to them. However, if not properly socialised, they can become over-protective of their family and territory.

The popular GSDs…

Some of the blockbuster movies featuring GSDs include K-9 (featuring a real police-dog named Koton), I Am Legend, The Hills Have Eyes and a white German Shepherds named Bolt in the animation movie of the same name.

Greater Swiss Mountain Dog loving all the way!

Happy, jovial and loving – a Greater Swiss Mountain Dog (GSMD) craves attention and human company. But, this is not the breed for everyone as they need a master with strong leadership skills. If you have the skills to handle him, bingo…you have an ideal family pet.

Perhaps the most striking aspect about the GSMDs is their size and beautiful three-colour coat. But, beforebreed profile you bring home a GSMD, think do you have enough time to bring him up, do you have enough place for dog weighing 60 kg and as high as 72 cm, and this shepherd dog be with his herd (family). You should not isolate these dogs from the family as they need to be near human all the time.

Strong and handsome…

GSMDs have a strong and proportional body. Their skull is flat and broad with a slight stop. The backskull and muzzle are approximately equal in length. The muzzle is large, blunt and straight, and most often has a slight rise before the end. His eyes are almond shaped and may vary in colour from hazel to chestnut, medium-sized, and neither deep set nor protruding. His medium-sized ears are set high, triangular in shape, gently rounded at the tip and hang close to the head when relaxed. When alert, the ears are brought forward and raised at the base. His tail is thicker at the base, tapering to a point as it reaches the hocks and is carried down in repose. But, when alert and in movement, the tail may be carried higher and curved slightly upward; it should not curl over the back.

Their topcoat is black, with markings in rich rust and white. Their average height is 60-72 cm and weight is around 59-61 kg.

Intelligent GSMDs…

They are intelligent and familiar. Since they are shepherd dogs, they are close to their guide and territory. They have amazing quality to converge with good people and they can be used in dog therapy. They love to be near humans, they learn easily, but not always get through commands. It happens that they are independent and timorous.

They like children but you should not leave them alone with children. Sometimes GSMD doesn’t realize his size and can unintentionally hurt. They give everyone the incentive to play biting nipping, which is a shepherd dog’s quality. It isn’t aggressive, but it is good when you teach your dog that it is undesirable behaviour.

Life with them…

GSMDs have moderate temperament; they are caring and sociable. They do well in low temperatures. They are friendly to other animals but may sometimes be bolshie and disobedient. They need to be trained, right from puppyhood to be obedient. GSMDs are very intelligent and positive training brings effects quickly. They are really gourmands; they love to eat. So, it is the responsibility of the pet parent to feed him a well-balanced diet in the right quantity.

Puppy care…

During the time of growing, till the age of 18 months, their joints should not be overstrained with strong move or weight. Let the puppy move as much as he wants. Puppy grows very fast till the 5th month and gets heavier, even two kg weekly. They need to be fed with high-protein diet, containing Glucosamine and Chondroitin to make their joints stronger. During the next two years, the dog still grows, not as fast as earlier but systematically and gains muscles till the 4th year. Feed them a high quality, balanced diet, specific to their age and breed. Puppy shouldn’t be made to walk long distances and up and down the stairs.

Grooming care…

They have short coat with undercoat and don’t need special treatment. Brushing during moulting twice a year (spring and autumn) is enough. Use a furminator for brushing undercoat.

Exercise and play…

Adult Great Swiss Mountain Dogs can be trained for agility; you can even give him truck to pull and jog. But they shouldn’t run next to a bicycle as they aren’t sprinters. They like pulling cloth or cord, pursuits, etc. However, they don’t like swimming and retrieving.


GSMD suffers from eyes genetic diseases, epilepsy and just like other giant breed dogs they have problems with dysplasia hip joints, elbow joints and shoulder joints.

In all, a GSMD is an ideal family pet who thrives on love and attention…in fact a small price for the unconditional love and companionship they provide!

(Magdalena Miloszewska-Scislek is a breeder of Greater Swiss Mountain Dog and runs a professional kennel (Caveat Actor, Polska). She also provides a dog hotel to help people while they are travelling or are unable to take care of their dogs.)

Lovable Labs!

One of the most popular dog breeds, Labrador Retrievers not only make excellent companions but are also popular as working and assistance dogs.

Zanjeer, a Labrador, detected arms and ammunitions used in 1993 Mumbai serial blasts while Lucky and Flo sniffed nearly two million pirated counterfeit DVDs in Malaysia. Former US President Bill Clinton had Labradors Buddy and Seamus as part of his family members. Current Russian Prime Minister Vladmir Putin is blessed with a Labrador named Koni. And the beautiful story of an American Labrador in Marley & Me has melted many a heart. What makes the Labrador so popular?

Typically, Labradors are jolly, good-natured dogs, ideal for a family – good with children, playful and protective.

A look back

Originated from Newfoundland in Canada, Labs were popularly used by fishermen in work to pull nets and catch fish that escaped from fishing lines. After crossing with breeds like Setters, Spaniels and other Retrievers, Labradors have sharpened their skills as a true retriever. From this point in the history of the breed’s origin, they have been popularly and affectionately known as ‘Labs’ to perform as an efficient retriever of game, apart from their hunting activities.

Bold n’ beautiful

Strong and muscular dogs with fairly short and straight fur, Labradors have a waterproof coat. They have a broad and strong tail and their webbed toes make them excellent swimmers. The males typically weigh around 29-41 kg while females weigh around 25-32 kg and the height is around 21.5-22.5 inches. They are found in three colours: black, yellow and chocolate.

Lovely disposition

Intelligent, curious, kind, outgoing, trusting and extremely loving – Labradors can easily steal your heart away. Their sense of smell is so strong that they can follow its path of origin. They are fun-loving and love to play ball and other games like frisbee, flyball and agility. They are neither noisy nor territorial.

Love to eat

They have a voracious appetite and so it is the responsibility of the pet parents to see that they do not overeat and get obese.

breed profile

Amazing Akitas!

Large dogs with mesmerising oriental eyes, quiet but intelligent, Akitas form excellent companion animals. An Akita named Hachiko became immortal after he patiently waited at the railway station for his master to return for almost 10 years, oblivious of the fact that his master had died when he was at work. A statue of Hachiko still greets everybody at the Shibuya Station in Japan.

The Akitas are strange dogs… when I bought my first dog; it was like a drug (positive drug!!!). I’m just not able to do without them!! Their personality, the honour that they have in their soul, have me spellbound!!” told Debora enthusiastically.

The gorgeous features…

(Pix courtesy :Tomimopa Kennel, Czech Republic)

(Pix courtesy :Tomimopa Kennel, Czech Republic)

The Akita is a majestic dog who is a beauty to behold. His striking features include the gorgeous big bear like head, the hooded small ears that follow the crest of the neck, the wonderful bone and the stunning full tail that is always large and full, set high, carried over back, full or double curl.

“Everything about them is sensational, right from their beautiful head to their substance and overall balance,” added Dave. “When I see their oriental eyes, so deep and black, I fall in love! Akitas are so elegant in the movement, there’s no other like them!” further added Debora.

The height of males is 26-28 inches while that of females is 24-26 inches. They are available in different colours, ranging from white, brindle or pinto.

The loyalty…

“Akita is a very powerful dog, with high dignity, very proud and serious, quiet but with pure intelligence,” told Debora.

Akitas are loyal companions, besides being fantastic watchdogs. “Akitas on the most part are aloof. This however shouldn’t be confused with a standoff temperament. Akita is a proud dog who likes to be the leader of his pack or family. If you show the Akita leadership and loyalty they will repay this tenfold,” added Dave.

“If trained correctly, the Akita will be good with children. This must be a two-way process though; with the child treating the Akita with both respect and good behaviour. A word of warning must be the Akita will regard the child as one of his pack, so care must be taken when other children are visiting. The Akita will look to protect his pack children against other people or children and he may get confused during normal children’s boisterous nature,” he added further.

“Akitas are very intelligent and can outsmart humans. These dogs really do think and make choices for themselves. Due to their intellect and single-minded nature, they require a lot of patience and most definitely consistency in our approach,” told Panayiotis Tsingos of Shohago Japanese Akita Kennel, Greece.

The basic grooming…

They need to be groomed daily to remove any surplus hair. Thick short coats of Akitas consist of two layers, which normally shed once or twice a year. Once the shedding occurs, it may continue for some weeks, it’s very important to keep brushing them on daily basis.

It should be kept in mind that Akitas don’t need excessive bathing. But in order to prevent any excess hair, give your Akita a bath right after the second week of shedding. Grooming also helps in developing interaction with your pet and it is a daily treat for them.

The exercise needs…

“People sometimes make the mistake of over exercising young Akitas too much; they need to be out and socializing but shouldn’t be over exercised due to them being a slow maturing breed. When they are fully mature, then is the time to start giving full exercise, as they like nothing better than a good walk. A word of caution, though as a rule, Akitas shouldn’t be walked off the lead as they can have very selected hearing and only come back to the handler when they want,” added Dave.

The play time…

“The Akita usually likes playing with a football. They seldom play fetch and retrieve for long as they easily get bored,” told Dave.

Life with Akitas…

“A large dog, they are not suited for inexperienced owners and need kind but firm guidance and training. Also, they are not the easiest dog to train as Akitas are independent thinkers and clever too. But when trained, they are an absolute joy to own,” told Malisa and Craig.

“I live with my several Akitas and it’s a life-time experience!,” added Debora happily.

The health issues…

Some of the hereditary problems include hip dysplasia and eye problems. In Japan, Akita is termed a “national treasure” as an Akita in a home is believed to be a symbol of good health, prosperity and good fortune. “Having had the breed for a long time, and also numerous Akitas throughout that time, it is amazing to see their traits from a five weeks puppy all the way to their older years,” told Dave.

“You can bring home an Akita if you love this breed, not for fashion… and you will be happy and satisfied for all life,” concluded Debora.

(With inputs from Malisa and Craig Moffat from Australia; Dave Chapman of England; Debora of Dei Laghi Tailly Kennel, Italy & Panayiotis Tsingos of Shohago Japanese Akita Kennel, Greece).

breed profile

Truly golden!

A Golden Retriever is one of the most popular breeds. Charming looks, golden locks, friendly disposition, eager-to-please demeanor – a Golden Retriever has everything you can ask for in a family dog.

Amazing Golden Retrievers…

Friendly, kind and well-mannered dogs. They are intelligent and easy to train. Devoted to their pet parents,breed profile they are extremely good with children. A Golden Retriever is the most popular assistance dog, due to their detection and working abilities. They are trained for search and rescue, therapy dogs, hearing dogs, guide dogs for the blind, handicap assistance dogs, drug detection, etc. Their eagerness to learn makes them excel in agility too.

Beautiful and playful…

The golden lustrous coat of the Golden Retriever requires regular grooming. Prevention of matting in his dense undercoat is very important. Bred for retrieving waterfowl, the Golden maintains this trait – he loves a good game of fetch, is a natural swimmer and is happiest when he is actively involved with his family.

Mental and physical stimulation a must…

Be his pack leader and keep him occupied and happy. They can live in an apartment provided they have enough space to exercise indoors as well as outdoors.

Health issues…

They gain weight easily, so do not overfeed them. Get the diet chart prepared from your vet. Other problem may include hip dysplasia, skin allergies and congenital eye defects.

‘Golden’ Pictures

Golden Retrievers find their room in Hollywood. Air Bud (1997) had buddy having the skills of the basketball superstar Michael Jordan. Some of the sequels which enthralled were – Air Bud: Golden Receiver based on American football, Air Bud: World Pup had our Golden’s playing soccer. Not to forget Snow Buddies, Air Buddies and Space Buddies. You can also watch Shadow in Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey (1993).


breed profile

Stunning Shih Tzus!

Amongst so many dog breeds around the world, only a few can compare to the glamorous looks of a Shih Tzu, or his arrogant carriage or his undying love for his pet parent. He is a complete package of beauty, love and pride. Here’s more about these gorgeous K9.

The historical facts…breed profile

The Shih Tzu Kou means “Lion Dog” and they were known as “holy dogs” in Tibet. The first recorded history of this breed traces back to Tibet’s first recorded history in the 7th Century AD . The Shih Tzu gained its name and present form in ancient China and his ancestors are known to have originated in Tibet. In fact, Shih Tzu is a cross between Lhasa Apso from Tibet and Pekingese from China.

Though most of us might think of the Shih Tzu as a toy dog or just a lapdog, the breed actually comes under the Utility Group and the common trait of all dogs in the Utility group is adaptability.

The mesmerising look…

Shih Tzus are long-coated, gorgeous looking, small sized dogs. They are 10 inches tall and weigh no more than eight kg. Their large round eyes are widely spaced, and are almost in level with the nose. Their nose bridge is just about an inch long, and the hair growing on their muzzle grows upwards, resembling a chrysanthemum flower. They have a thick, dense, overflowing coat. They must have a warm, pleasant and friendly facial expression. They are slightly longer than tall. And their balanced gait is also a sight to be seen.

Shih Tzus come in a variety of amazing colours and markings like tricolour, brown and white, black and white, liver and white etc. The eyes and nose are dark, including their eyelids, but a liver coloured nose and a lighter eye is known in liver coloured dogs. And, a dog with symmetrical markings, with a white blaze on the forehead and on the tip of the tail is highly prized. The normal life span of a Shih Tzu is about 13 – 14 years.

The amazing demeanour…

Shih Tzus are very active, lively, independent, gentle and outgoing dogs. They are extremely intelligent and very easily trainable too. Potty training them as puppies is very simple and very quick. They crave for human companionship and hence make excellent pets for both adults and children alike. But sometimes they do have a tendency to get possessive of their pet parent, if that happens to be a single person. When a family is rearing them, they devote equal love and attention to all the members. They are normally indifferent to strangers but do occasionally bark to announce their presence. The Shih Tzu is a quick learner and his adaptability to any situation makes him simply adorable.

The puppy care…

Shih Tzu puppies are full of life and love. They make perfect play-mates. Potty training them as puppies is very simple and very quick. As a puppy , you must ensure that your little Shih Tzu gets a good balanced meal .

The amazing demeanour…

Shih Tzus are very active, lively, independent, gentle and outgoing dogs. They are extremely intelligent and very easily trainable too. Potty training them as puppies is very simple and very quick. They crave for human companionship and hence make excellent pets for both adults and children alike. But sometimes they do have a tendency to get possessive of their pet parent, if that happens to be a single person. When a family is rearing them, they devote equal love and attention to all the members. They are normally indifferent to strangers but do occasionally bark to announce their presence. The Shih Tzu is a quick learner and his adaptability to any situation makes him simply adorable.

The puppy care…

Shih Tzu puppies are full of life and love. They make perfect play-mates. Potty training them as puppies is very simple and very quick. As a puppy , you must ensure that your little Shih Tzu gets a good balanced meal .

Grooming is fun…

The best part of Shih Tzu, of course besides their glamorous looks, is that they hardly shed their coat. Their coat is almost hypoallergenic to people and hence make them excellent indoor pets. They love being made a fuss about and enjoy their grooming sessions.

Just as much as they are fun and enjoyable, they can be a bundle of mischief too. A good grooming session of an adult Shih Tzu in a show condition can take you 2-3 hours and after all the labour and hard work you have put in, he just takes a minute to roll in the mud or in a dirty place and look at you with those mischievous eyes, saying “Can we start the grooming procedure all over again please? I hate to be dirty”. Basically, he loves that undivided attention you shower on him and the bonding he has with you, during the grooming sessions.

Exercise is play…

Being a small dog, their requirement for exercise is very minimal. Just a short walk or simply running around the house or in the garden is more than a sufficient form of exercise for them. They love to play games, whether it is retrieving, or hide and seek or take my toy if you can.

Care for the eyes and teeth…

They do not suffer from any major health issues other than cataract in their eyes and tooth decay. A well-bred Shih Tzu will not have any hereditary problems.

No wonder then that Shih Tzu has become a very popular breed in India due to their gorgeous looks, adaptability and the fact that they have become the ideal apartment size dogs.

(Yashodhara is a proud owner of one of India’s finest and most reputed kennels called “YASHBANS”, which has been responsible for breeding some of the finest Dobermans, German Shepherds and Rottweilers earlier in the country. Today, however, the Kennel specialises only in family oriented and child friendly breeds like the St. Bernards, Golden Retrievers, Siberian Huskies, Miniature Pinschers and the gorgeous Shih Tzus. Her websites are and; She has won coveted awards like the ‘Dog of The Year’, ‘Reserve Dog Of the Year’, ‘Breeder of the Year’, ‘Reserved Puppy of the Year’, etc)

breed profile

Bearded Collies: fun-loving beautiful chaps!

A Beardie is a winsome, funny, loving, sometimes silly, sometimes pouty, adorable, curious, persistent creature, in short, close to humans. Just be prepared to brush long hair, wet beards in your lap, and muddy pawprints in the wrong places at the wrong time…. Otherwise, they’re like peanuts. You can’t stop with just one.

Tailwaggers literally!

breed profile

Reba & Flash | (Pic courtesy: Karron Jodan)

The Bearded Collie is a medium-sized dog with long, shaggy hair. His body is longer than tall, starting with a kissy tongue and ending with a constantly wagging tail. A bright, enquiring expression is a distinctive feature of the breed. As an adult, Beardies may be black (from black to slate), blue (from steel blue to silver), brown (from dark or milk chocolate to gingery red), or fawn (cinnamon to champagne), usually with white markings to a greater or lesser degree.

The life expectancy ranges from 12-14 years on an average. It is not unusual, however, for a Beardie to extend that lifespan. The height of the males is 53-56 cm while that of females is 51-53 cm.

The History

The Bearded Collie, affectionately called the Beardie, was developed in Scotland as a herding dog. He was developed as an independent worker, able to make decisions concerning the welfare and safety of their charges without depending on the shepherd who might be miles away. Flocks in Scotland intermingled freely, yet one Beardie never brought home a wrong sheep during his many years of work. The Beardie is still used as a shepherd’s helpmate in Scotland, and now in the US.

People dogs!

Beardies are usually active, outgoing, bouncy, affectionate creatures. Within the normal range of temperament, they range from low-key, sweet and laid back to rowdy and bold. The breed interacts well with other animals, particularly if raised with them.

They are people-oriented dogs and need to be with their family. If left alone for long period, they are liable to become frustrated and provide their own entertainment — not always one that makes the owner happy. Beardies are vigorous, bouncy dogs, and like to jump up to look you in the eyes or kiss your nose. This fits in well with many families. Because they love people, Beardies make good therapy dogs, comforting, entertaining and snuggling up to patients and residents.

Who’s smarter: you vs. Beardie

Beardies were bred to be independent thinkers. Sometimes they’ll decide what THEY want is better than what you want. For instance, staying in the back yard is more interesting than coming inside. Or playing in a mud puddle is more fun than staying on dry ground. The trick in training them is to convince them it’s something THEY want to do. And that takes an owner that’s smarter than they are — not always easy!

Fun quotient: always high!

“Beardies are fun loving happy dogs who are very affectionate to their pet parents. Their best characteristic perhaps is their beautiful coat and good nature with all people and dogs adds a lot of charm to this beautiful breed. Though they love to swim and run, but they can also be a great lounge lizard.”

– Ann Moy,
Ulara Border Collies & Bearded Collies,
Australia (

A living alarm!

Although they are neither yappy nor continuous barkers, certain things will set off their “alarm” system. They’re great doorbells, announcing all visitors with joy. They bark when excited: when you first rise in the morning, when family returns home or while playing. Like any dog, they may bark when bored.

Puppy care

As puppies, they’re much like two-year-old children. They try out their independence, test their “parents,” and are so cute they’re difficult to correct. This is the time good parents must force down the chuckle, give firm, but gentle discipline and then go in the other room to laugh ‘til they cry.

Caring for the pooch

All dogs need grooming, training, exercise, nutritious food, access to water and shelter, veterinary care and LOVE. If you plan to skip on any of these, please don’t get a Beardie. In fact, please don’t get a dog!

Grooming needs: Some dogs need to have their nails trimmed weekly; others do fine with just once a month clips. Beardies are long-coated dogs, and to keep their charming, winsome appearance, need regular grooming. Groomed properly, they shed minimally. Most of the dead hair will be removed by the comb and brush. The worst shed is when they lose their puppy coat, usually between nine and eighteen months. This lasts for approximately two to three months. During this period, they often lose their cuddly appearance and look scraggly and ragged, losing hair from the top to the bottom, or from the front to the rear.

Start early to introduce your Beardie to his lifetime hair care. Baby Beardies can be groomed in one minute. The idea is to acclimate the pup to be still for longer periods of time until they can spend an hour quietly accepting brushing and combing.

Most owners do a thorough grooming at least once a week. Lay the Beardie on his side and mist with water or anti-tangle spray. Brush the hair up with a bristle or pin brush. Then brush the hair back down a few inches at a time. Any mats that develop can be worked out with anti-tangle spray and your fingers or a mat rake. A comb should go easily through the hair when finished. Ask the breeder for a demonstration on an adult. When mature, Beardies usually require about one-half to one hour for grooming.

Exercise needs: Beardies, like their pet parents, stay physically fit with exercise. This can be accomplished by playing ball, taking brisk walks, free run in a fenced area (with interaction, not alone) or a training session. They also love to jog, swim, wrestle, do tricks, join in football games, play catch or Frisbee.

Health needs: Once the puppy vaccinations are completed, schedule an annual examination with the veterinarian. Be attuned to your Beardie’s body and behavior to note anything unusual that calls for medical treatment. Some Beardies have reactions to monthly heartworm preventative. Because of this, many breeders advise giving a daily pill. Discuss this with your veterinarian. Overall, Beardies are a sturdy breed who enjoys good health but problems like allergies, hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, auto-immune disease and some eye problems, do occur.

A beautiful and joyful breed!There’s nothing better than watching a Beardie at work, whether it be at a dog show, in agility, at a herding trial or just a romp in the park. It is a truly beautiful sight to see a Beardie running in full flight or standing in the wind. Those big eyes can really mesmerize people and always manage to get them a treat or cuddle on the couch.Their ability to make you laugh is one of my favourite things about the breed. They have a good sense of humour and love to play the clown. It’s very difficult to discipline a Beardie when he is proudly showing you his latest hole in the lawn or chewed slipper. I love their beautiful flowing hair and big soft eyes.

If you have a home straight out of a lifestyle magazine and would prefer not to have the occasional splash of mud on a wall or footprint on the couch, then do not get a Bearded Collie. If however you don’t mind going to work with footprints on your pants and a few stray hairs on your jacket, then by all means consider the Bearded Collie as possible breed for you. You won’t be disappointed.

– Jessica Buckley, Stylwise Bearded Collies, Canberra, Australia (

(Inputs–Chris Walkowicz has been showing dogs since 1965 and she is author of various books on dog breeding. She has been chosen to be inducted into the Dog Writers Association of America Hall of Fame. AKC judging was added to Chris’ agenda in 1995–(; Jessica Buckley is the vice president of the Bearded Collie Club of New South Wales for several years–(; Ann Moy owns and trains Border Collies since 1987–(