The most serious issue facing dog owners today is that of breed-specific legislation, or laws targeting one or more specific breeds. Breed-specific legislation originated with Pit Bulls. Pit Bulls— American Pit Bull Terriers or other breeds, or simply mixed Pit Bull—type dogs—have often been owned by uncaring or ignorant owners. They have been badly bred, badly trained, and involved in incidents in which another dog or person was bitten, mauled, or even killed. Such attacks are horrible and require serious action; the reaction, however, has unfortunately been a knee-jerk one: "Let's make those dogs illegal!" rather than looking at the individual problem that has caused the attack or taking into consideration the number of wonderful Pit Bulls not causing trouble in any given community.
Because of breed-specific legislation, Pit Bulls today (and those breeds related to Pitties or that bear a superficial resemblance to them) are illegal in many localities, including Denver, Colorado, and Ontario, Canada, as well as many places in between.
Breed-specific legislation has quickly moved to outlaw other breeds. Rottweilers, German Shepherds, Doberman Pinschers, and Akitas were quickly targeted, primarily because of the breeds' reputations and heritages as working guard dogs. Belgium has banned not only Pit Bulls, but also American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, and Bull Terriers, as well as Rottweilers, Rhodesian Ridgebacks, and Akitas.
This type of legislation has even moved into private business. Many insurance companies will not cover renters or homeowners who have specific breeds of dogs. Some landlords will not allow tenants to own some breeds.
Obviously, breed-specific legislation is not fair. This type of law punishes a group of dogs when the blame should be put upon the individual dog and owner. Not all dogs of a given breed are dangerous. However, an irresponsible dog owner can make just about any dog dangerous, given the situation. Legislation should target dogs and dog owners, not breeds.
Dog owners—all dog owners, not just the owners of banned breeds—should pay attention to local and state legislation targeting dogs. Let your representatives know that you do not agree with breed specific legislation and that you are a voter! The AKC has also been very active in combating breed-specific legislation.
ffenpinschers are one of the oldest toy breeds. In the 1600s in Germany, these little dogs were used as mousers and ratters on farms or in food businesses. Their name means monkey dog in German.
An alert, sturdy little terrier standing 9.5 to 11.5 inches tall and weighing 8 to 10 pounds, he is known by his cute, monkeylike face. With a round head, short muzzle, round and dark expressive eyes, and erect ears (natural or cropped), the Affenpinscher has a distinct look. The rough coat is about an inch long. There is slightly longer hair on the face to emphasize his features. The coat can be black, gray, silver, red, or black and tan. The tail may be docked or natural.
Grooming the Affenpinscher takes some skill. Show dogs must be hand-stripped. If you would like to do this, talk to your dog's breeder for guidance. Most pet dogs are groomed with scissors and clippers by a professional groomer.
This breed is playful and full of energy—very terrierlike. A brisk walk morning and evening plus a playtime (or two or three) in between will keep most Affenpinschers happy. They also enjoy games and canine sports; trick training is always fun, as the breed is a natural showoff!
Housetraining these dogs can be a challenge, but with patience and consistency it can be accomplished. The Affenpinscher Club of America recommends that these dogs attend puppy training classes for socialization, basic obedience training, and, if you should need it, help with the housetrain-ing. The training should be structured yet fun; keep in mind that Affenpinschers may cooperate with training or they may not. They do have a quirky sense of humor!
Affenpinschers are funny little dogs and do best with active people. The breed is fine with children as long as they treat him with respect. The breed is also good with other pets, although most Affenpinschers need to learn not to chase the family cat. Health concerns include hip and knee problems, and they can have breathing problems during hot, humid weather.
Breed in Brief
Registries: AKC, UKC, CKC Occupation: Ratter, companion Size: 9.5 to 11.5 in tall; 8 to 10 lbs
Longevity: 14 to 16 years Exercise: Active dog Training: Easy; hard to focus Grooming: Hand-stripping or professional groomer
he Afghan Hound originated in the wilds of Afghanistan. When Westerners first saw the breed in the 1800s, they found a fast, sure-footed sighthound who would chase and bring down hare or deer and would corner predators, such as wolves and jackals.
The Afghan has a regal appearance, standing 25 to 27 inches tall and weighing between 50 and 60 pounds, with females smaller than males. The head is held high, and the eyes are dark and almond-shaped. The ears are long. The body is that of a runner with long legs, a strong back, and a deep chest. The tail is long and has a curve at the end. The coat is long and silky and may be of any color.
The coat requires daily combing and brushing to maintain it without tangles. The Afghan Club of America recommends bathing adult Afghans once a week. Bathing and blow drying the coat and brushing and combing it as it dries requires two to three hours. Many pet owners choose to keep the coat significantly shorter for ease of care.
The Afghan enjoys a chance to stretch his legs at least once each day. The Afghan should always run in a fenced yard because if he is off leash and happens to flush a rabbit, he will be gone in a heartbeat. Afghans also appreciate comfort and will enjoy a snuggle on the sofa once the exercise is over.
Training the Afghan can be a challenge. Bred to work independently, he prefers his own agenda to someone else's and can have quite a stubborn streak. In the house, young Afghans are known to be destructive chewers if given too much freedom and not allowed enough exercise. With the right motivation, the Afghan can learn to enjoy training and to go along with household rules. Training should be structured yet fun.
This is a fun breed for people who understand it. Afghans are good with children if raised or well-socialized with them. Bred as hunting dogs, they are not good with small pets. Health concerns include hip dysplasia and eye and heart problems.
Breed in Brief
Registries: AKC, UKC, CKC Occupation: Hunter, companion Size: 25 to 27 in tall; 50 to 60 lbs
Longevity: 10 to 12 years Exercise: Daily run Training: Challenge Grooming: Difficult
Afghan Hound 115
ost breeds have spe-' cialties, but Airedale Terriers have a broad range of skills. They can hunt birds, retrieve downed birds, and track and tree mammals, both large and small. Airedales were also the first breed used as police dogs in both Great Britain and Germany, and in wartime, served as guards and messengers. They were prized by both law enforcement and military because they retained their training well and would work through harsh conditions and discomfort.
The breed was developed in Aire, England, probably from the English Terrier. Some experts feel the Otterhound was crossed with the English Terrier to help create a waterproof coat and to add to the first breed's hunting abilities. After the mid-1800s, the breed was known as the Working Terrier, Waterside Terrier, and Bingley Terrier.
Male Airedales stand about 23 inches tall at the shoulder, with females slightly shorter. Both males and females are well-muscled and sturdy, with an athletic appearance. The black and tan coat is wiry with a slight wavy texture. Airedales stand tall, on straight front legs, with their heads held high. The ears are V-shaped, folded at the side of the head, and alert. The eyes are dark and expressive, with an alert, intelligent expression. The tail is carried high.
The Airedale's coat requires daily brushing and combing to keep it clean and free of debris. The coat grows continually, and a visit to a professional groomer every six to eight weeks is necessary to keep the coat looking as it should. Airedales competing in conformation dog shows are hand-stripped
(rather than having the hair cut with clippers). If you wish to show your dog, ask your dog's breeder to show you how to do this type of grooming.
Athletic, active dogs, Airedales need vigorous daily exercise. A casual walk morning and evening is nowhere near enough for a young, healthy Airedale. Instead, these dogs need a brisk jog or run alongside a bicycle, a twenty-minute game of tennis ball fetch, or a workout on the agility course (or all of the above) every day.
Airedales are intelligent dogs and retain what they have learned quite well. Puppies should attend puppy kindergarten classes to begin their training. The socialization in these classes is also important. Airedales can be hardheaded when they get bored, and very stubborn if the training is not fair. You must figure out what motivates your dog, and keep one step ahead during the training process. Keep the training fair and structured and lots of fun, and the Airedale will always be looking for more to do.
The Airedale today is a strong, active, and very physical dog. The breed retains its hunting instincts, so a gopher or squirrel in the yard could cause great excitement. They have excelled in many sports, including obedience, agility, tracking, search and rescue, and carting. Many are still used for hunting. As hunters, Airedales should not be trusted with small pets, and interactions with the family cat should be supervised. Although Airedales can be great family dogs, they are rambunctious and must learn to behave around small children. The primary health concerns include hip dysplasia and hypothyroidism.
Breed in Brief
Registries: AKC, CKC, UKC Occupation: Hunter, police and military dog Size: 23 in tall; 50 lbs Longevity: 11 to 13 years Exercise: Vigorous daily exercise Training: Easy; retains what is learned well Grooming: Difficult
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(Medium Coat and Long Coat)
he white Akbash Dog is from Turkey and claims both sight-hounds and Mastiffs as ancestors. The breed was imported into the U.S. in the late 1970s as a livestock guardian, and by 1986, had established itself as one of the most successful livestock guardian breeds, protecting livestock from predators, including coyotes and bears.
The Akbash Dog stands 27 to 32 inches tall and weighs 75 to 140 pounds. It is white with a double coat. The undercoat is dense and soft. The outer coat comes in two lengths: either a medium coat that lies flat or a long coat that has a distinct ruff and profuse feathering. The Akbash Dog should show features of both the sighthound, with his long legs and deep chest, and the Mastiff, with his broad head, height, and weight.
Grooming the Akbash is not difficult; the breed is not prone to matting. However, the coat sheds a little all the time and heavily in the spring and fall. Daily brushing can reduce the hair in the house.
The Akbash is a calm dog in the house but is an athletic breed. Walks alone are not enough; a daily run is necessary to use up excess energy. Although puppies and young Akbash like to play, this is a serious breed; adult Akbash usually forego games.
Early and continuing socialization is very important, especially for those kept as family pets. Bred to be protective and wary, the Akbash does not like strangers. Training can be challenging because as a livestock guardian, he is supposed to think for himself. With motivation, the Akbash can be trained, but he will question each command and respond as he wishes.
This is a loyal breed, one that would give his life for his family, but he can be a difficult dog for a first-time dog owner. Because he can be opinionated and pushy, he's best with kids over 8 to 10 years of age. Bred to ward off predators, the Akbash can be dog-aggressive. Health concerns are few but include cardiomyopathy and hip dysplasia.
Breed in Brief
Registries: Akbash Dogs
International, UKC Occupation: Livestock guardian Size: 27 to 32 in tall; 75 to
140 lbs Longevity: 9 to 10 years Exercise: Daily run Training: Challenge Grooming: Easy kita
/ he Akita was bred as a versatile hunting dog in Japan and, over the years, has assumed a place of honor in the hearts of the Japanese people. When a child is born, the parents are often given a small statue of an Akita as a symbol of happiness, health, and longevity.
The Akita stands 24 to 28 inches tall and weighs between 65 and 115 pounds, with females smaller than males. The head is broad, with a deep muzzle, upright ears, and small, dark eyes. The body is longer than the dog is tall at the shoulder, the chest is deep, and the tail is large, full, and carried over the back with a curl. The coat is double, with the undercoat soft and dense. The outer coat is straight and stands out from the body. Colors include white, pinto, or brindle.
During most of the year, the Akita can be brushed twice a week. During spring and fall when shedding is heaviest, daily brushing is needed. Akitas do not have a doggy odor and are catlike in their ability to help keep themselves clean.
Akitas are not an overly active breed. A couple of long walks each day plus a quick jog alongside a bicycle will satisfy the needs of most. Puppies can be bouncy, silly, and like to play games, but adult Akitas can be quite serious.
Akitas have strong guardian instincts. To grow up confident and well-adjusted, they must meet a variety of people early in life. Training is also important; the Akita is a powerful dog who could take advantage of his owner. Training should be firm, yet fair and fun.
Akitas can be a difficult dog for a first-time dog owner. Loyal and devoted to a fault, they can also be stubborn and dominant. Although good with children who respect them, they are intolerant of teasing. They are not always good with visiting children or rough kid's play; it may be misinterpreted as something harmful. As hunters, they are not good with small pets. Health concerns include hip and elbow dysplasia, knee and eye problems, and cancer.
Breed in Brief
Registries: AKC, UKC, CKC Occupation: Hunter, guardian Size: 24 to 28 in tall; 65 to
115 lbs Longevity: 9 to 11 years Exercise: Active puppies;
calm adults Training: Difficult; can be stubborn Grooming: Lots of brushing
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