Tuesday, 31 July 2007

List of Dog breeds (Page 3)


Bandog (also known as Bandogge) is a name derived from early English and refers to a ferocious large type of dog that was bound by a chain until it was released at night in order to guard property. The fact that the modern day Bandog is also large, can be ferocious, and is composed of some Mastiff and some Bulldog, as was the original Bandog, is all that the Bandog of old and the modern Bandog have in common.


Size: Males and females: Height: 66-73cm. Weight: 120-140lbs Drives: Natural guardian ability is required.

Specials characteristic: Companionable with the family, intelligent, loyal and devoted to their master.

Temperament: A fearless adversary to anyone who threatens the Bandog's master or property. Friendly with other animals and dogs. Displays a definite preference for its family, children included, but it is not a dog that gets along very well with a visitor to the home if his master is not at present.

Disposition: The Bandog protects their master against any danger, even to give their own life to protect him.

Body: Much more typical of the compact "Mastiffs" with a structure of a giant APBT, also retains a good deal of the agility passed on to it by the APBT.

Color: Different mixes of colors are acceptable, but most common colors are: yellowish or sandy grey, any brindle color, black, golden fawn, fawn and red. Other colors are allowed too, as is red and black on their noses.

Coat: Short, close and medium fine.

Ears: Cropped or natural.

Neck: Very strong, muscular and robust.

Eyes: Dark preferable, but should bear some relation to coat color.

Faults: Failure to be worked, failure to work successfully, producer of genetic problems in pups, poor immune system, affected by hip and elbow dysplasia. Excessively undershot to avoid difficult to eat and some diseases related to them.


The Basenji is a breed of hunting dog that originates in central Africa. It is considered by some, particularly in North America, to be a member of the sighthound family; most kennel clubs, including the American Kennel Club and the Kennel Club of the United Kingdom classify it as a hound. The Basenji produces an unusual yodel-like sound, due to its unusually shaped larynx. Although Basenjis do not bark per se, they can mimic sounds, and thus are able to mimic barks if raised among barking dogs. In behavior and temperament they have some traits in common with cats.


Tri-colour with brindle points

Tri-colour with brindle points

Basenjis are small, elegant-looking,
short-haired dogs with erect ears, a tightly curled tail, and a graceful neck. Some people consider their appearance similar to that of a miniature deer. A Basenji's forehead is wrinkled, especially when the animal is young. Basenji eyes are typically almond shaped, which gives the dog the appearance of squinting seriously.

Dogs typically weigh 24 pounds (11 kg) and stand 17 inches (43 cm) at the withers- Bitches are 22 pounds (10 kg) and 16 inches (40 cm). They are typically a square breed, which means that they are as long as they are tall. The Basenji is an athletic dog and is deceptively powerful for its size. They have a graceful, confident gait like a trotting horse, and skim the ground in a "double-suspension gallop" when running flat-out at their top speed.

The Basenji is recognized in the following standard colourations: red, black, tricolour (black with tan in the traditional pattern), and brindle (black stripes on a background of red), all with white, by the FCI, KC, AKC and UKC. There are additional variations, such as the "trindle", which is a tricolour with brindle points, and several other colorations exist in the Congo such as liver, shaded reds(sables), "capped" tricolours(creeping tan) and piebald marked dogs.


Like wild canids, Basenjis do not bark. They will, however, give the occasional single "woof." They also chortle, whine, squeal, howl, and make a Basenji-specific noise called a yodel or a baroo. Some Basenji screams, during times of distress such as being locked up, have been compared to the scream of a woman, the crow of a rooster; essentially, their ability runs the gamut of vocalizations. Though they do not bark, they are quite capable of making their voices heard.

Also like wild canids, most Basenjis breed only once a year, usually in the autumn.

A portrait of a basenji pup, showing the breed's characteristically wrinkled forehead.

A portrait of a basenji pup, showing the breed's characteristically wrinkled forehead.

Basenjis are fastidious about their personal grooming, even washing themselves with their paws as cats do. Like cats, most Basenjis have a strong dislike for contact with water, and will go to great lengths to avoid getting wet. On the other hand, they are extremely inquisitive dogs, and can temporarily be completely oblivious to the pouring rain if something piques their interest.

Basenjis are highly intelligent and learn quickly, but they also have a cat-like independence and "self-motivation" which can make them somewhat casual about obedience. A healthy Basenji is a mischievous and good-humored animal, and is not above testing the limits of its environment and owner just for sport. They can be aloof with strangers but form strong bonds with their owners. If not supervised or trained properly, Basenjis can become bored and destructive when left alone. Basenjis are also expert climbers, and have been known to scale chain-link fences as much as eight feet high. Basenjis also have a very strong sense of territory, and they consider their home plus the whole area where they are regularly walked their territory. Because of this, they can be very hostile towards other dogs in those areas. Females are more likely to tend to do this over males.

Quick and fast on their feet, Basenjis love to run and chase, so much so that they are sometimes competitively run in lure courses. There are few creatures a Basenji is likely to encounter (including its owner!) that it does not believe it can outwit or outrun. This, combined with the breed's typically fearless approach to the world, makes it a good idea not to allow a Basenji to run free in an unconfined area or where it may get into trouble.

A clear way to tell if a Basenji feels something is a threat or prey is when it circles around the object/person/animal. Usually this happens with animals in packs, but Basenjis do not have to be in a pack to circle around their prey. When they are circling, usually they are determining how to kill the threat or prey, and they will also do this to humans they are unfamiliar with.


There is apparently only one completed health survey of Basenjis, a 2004 UK Kennel Club survey.


Basenjis in the 2004 UK Kennel Club survey had a median longevity of 13.6 years (sample size of 46 deceased dogs), which is 1-2 years longer than the median longevity of other breeds of similar size. The oldest dog in the survey was 17.5 years. Most common causes of death were old age (30%), urologic (incontinence, Fanconi syndrome, chronic kidney failure 13%), behavior ("unspecified" and aggression 9%), and cancer (9%).


Among 78 live dogs in the 2004 UKC survey, the most common health issues noted by owners were dermatologic and urologic. (Urologic issues in Basenjis can be signs of Fanconi syndrome.)

Fanconi Syndrome

Fanconi syndrome, an inheritable disorder in which the kidneys fail to reabsorb electrolytes and nutrients , is unusually common in Basenjis. Symptoms include excessive drinking, excessive urination, and glucose in the urine, which may lead to a misdiagnosis of diabetes. Fanconi syndrome usually presents between 4 and 8 years of age, but sometimes as early as 3 years or as late as 10 years. Fanconi syndrome is treatable and organ damage is reduced if treatment begins early. Basenji owners are advised to test their dog's urine for glucose once a month beginning at age 3 years. Glucose testing strips designed for human diabetics are inexpensive and available at most pharmacies.

Other Basenji health issues

Basenjis sometimes carry a simple recessive gene which, when homozygous for the defect, causes genetic Hemolytic Anemia[13]. Most Basenjis today are descended from ancestors that have tested clean. When lineage from a fully tested line (set of ancestors) cannot be completely verified, the dog should be tested before breeding. As this is a non-invasive DNA test, a Basenji can be tested for HA at any time.

Basenjis sometimes suffer from hip dysplasia, resulting in loss of mobility and arthritis-like symptoms. All dogs should be tested by either OFA or PennHIP prior to breeding.

Malabsorption, or immunoproliferative enteropathy, is an autoimmune intestinal disease that leads to anorexia, chronic diarrhea, and even death. Special diet can improve the quality of life for afflicted dogs.

The breed can also fall victim to progressive retinal atrophy (a degeneration of the retina causing blindness) and several less serious hereditary eye problems such as coloboma (a hole in the eye structure), and persistent pupillary membrane (tiny threads across the pupil).


Typical Black Bassador

A Bassador is a member of the canine species. More specifically, it is a hybrid of two breeds commonly referred to as the Basset Hound and Labrador -> Bass + ador coming from the combination of the two breeds.

Bassadors can come in multiple shapes and varieties of coat and color.

Typical Combinations

Black Bassadors - Black Labrador mixed with Basset Hound

Yellow Bassadors - Yellow Labrador mixed with Basset Hound

Chocolate Bassadors - Chocolate Labrador mixed with Basset Hound

Other Varieties mis-categorized as Bassadors

'Golden Bassadors - Commonly mistaken for a Bassador, this is a Golden Retriever mixed with a Basset Hound. The actual name for this variety is a Golden Bassetriever. Now since we are describing a mutt, no one should get too bent out of shape as a Labrador is actually a Labrador retriever, but any dog that is pompous enough to have a 'Golden' suffix before its breed title deserves a more grandeur name in mixed circles; hence, the Golden Bassetriever.


These dogs typically come with the short legs characteristic of a Basset Hound and front paws twisted outwards. They usually also inherit floppy ears, but not always as floppy as those of a true Basset Hound. Fur color or coat usually follows that of the Labrador.

Typical Yellow Bassador

Typical Yellow Bassador

Temperament of the Bassador


Very calm


Especially loyal

Pleasant disposition

Emotional sensitivity

Strong hunting instinct

Respond well to praise and positive attention.

Bassadors are an excellent pet for families with children and other pets.

They use a low, murmuring whine to get attention. They howl or bay rather than bark when they want something. They tend to shed hair throughout the year.

Excellent swimmers. Their coat is relatively waterproof, providing more assistance for swimming. The otter-like tail acts as a rudder for changing directions. Their webbed toes make them strong swimmers.

Basset Fauve de Bretagne

The Basset Fauve de Bretagne is a breed of dog in the scent hound family.


Bassets Fauve de Bretagne are short legged dogs, 32 to 38cm in height. They have coarse, dense fur which may require stripping. The hair on the ears is shorter, finer and darker than that on the coat. The ears just reach the end of the nose rather than trailing on the ground and should be pleated. They should have dark eyes and nose and ideally no crook on the front legs. The French standard says these are the shortest backed of all the basset breeds so they generally do not appear as exaggerated as the British Basset.


There is apparently only one completed health survey of Basset Fauve de Bretagnes, a 2004 UK Kennel Club survey with a small sample size. The French Basset Fauve de Bretagne kennel club, Club du Fauve de Bretagne , is currently (as of July 15, 2007) conducting a health survey, but the questionnaire asks owners about all of their dogs collectively (rather than each individual dog) and does not ask about longevity.


Based on a small sample size of 15 deceased dogs, Basset Fauve de Bretagnes in the 2004 UK Kennel Club survey had a median longevity of 10.4 years (maximum 13.9 years), which is a typical median longevity for purebred dogs, but a little low compared to other breeds of similar size. Most common causes of death were road traffic accidents, cancer, heart failure, and kidney failure.


Among 84 live dogs in the 2004 UKC survey, the most common health issues noted by owners were reproductive, aural (otitis media and otitis externa), and ocular (corneal ulcers and cataracts).

Basset Hound

The Basset Hound is a short-legged breed of dog of the hound family. They are scent hounds, bred to hunt by scent. Their sense of smell for tracking is second only to that of the Bloodhound. The name Basset derives from the French word "bas" meaning "low;" "basset" meaning, literally, "rather low." They are very gentle with children.


These dogs are around 33 to 18 cm (13 to 15 inches) in height at the withers. They usually weigh between 50-70lbs. They have smooth, short-haired coats but a rough haired hound is possible. Although any hound color is considered acceptable by breed standards, Bassets are generally tricolor (black, tan, and white), open red and white (red spots on white fur), closed red and white (a solid red color with white feet and tails), and lemon and white. Some Bassets are also classified as gray or blue; however, this color is considered rare and undesirable.

They have long, down ward ears and powerful necks, with much loose skin around their heads that forms wrinkles. Their tails are long and tapering and stand upright with a curve. The tail should also be tipped in white. This is so they are easily seen when hunting/tracking through large brush or weeds. The breed is also known for its hanging skin structure, which causes the face to have a permanently sad look; this, for many people, adds to the breed's charm. The dewlap, seen as the loose, elastic skin around the neck, and the trailing ears, help trap the scent of what they are tracking.

The Basset Hound is a large dog on short legs. They were originally bred by the French to have achondroplasia, known as dwarfism. Their short stature can be deceiving; Bassets are surprisingly long and can reach things on table tops that dogs of similar heights cannot.


The Basset Hound is a very calm and companionable breed. They are an especially loyal breed known for their pleasant disposition and emotional sensitivity. Around strangers, Bassets are friendly and welcome the opportunity to make new friends. For this reason they are an excellent pet for families with children and other pets. In fact, it is recommended that since Bassets are "pack" animals, if the Basset must be left alone on a daily basis during the daytime while the family is away, a second pet in the family will keep a Basset out of "trouble". Bassets hate to be alone.

While Bassets love food and may be less energetic than some breeds, they will exercise regularly if given the chance. Most Bassets enjoy activities that use their natural endurance, like long walks or hikes. They also enjoy tracking games that let them use their powerful nose.

Like other hounds, Basset Hounds are often difficult to obedience train. Many Basset Hounds will obey commands when offered a food reward, but will "forget" the training when a reward is not present. Bassets are notoriously difficult to housebreak. Training and housebreaking are not impossible, however, and can be accomplished with consistency and patience on the part of the owner.

The breed has a strong hunting instinct and will give chase or follow a scent if given the opportunity. They should be trained in recall; failing that, they should be kept on a leash when out on walks.

Bassets might howl or bay rather than bark when they want something or to suggest that they think something is wrong. They also use a low, murmuring whine to get attention, which sounds to many owners as though their Bassets are "talking." This whine is also used by the hound to beg (for food or treats) and varies in volume depending on the nature of the individual hound and length of time it has been begging.


The only recent mortality and morbidity surveys of Basset Hounds are from the UK: a 1999 longevity survey with a small sample size of 10 deceased dogs and a 2004 UK Kennel Club health survey with a larger sample size of 142 deceased dogs and 226 live dogs.


Median longevity of Basset Hounds in the UK is about 11.4 years, which is a typical median longevity for purebred dogs and for breeds similar in size to Basset Hounds. The oldest of the 142 deceased dogs in the 2004 UK Kennel Club survey was 16.7 years. Leading causes of death in the 2004 UK Kennel Club survey were cancer (31%), old age (13%), GDV (=bloat/torsion, 11%), and cardiac (8%).


Among 226 live Basset Hounds in the 2004 UKC survey, the most common health issues noted by owners were dermatologic (e.g., dermatitis), reproductive, musculoskeletal (e.g., arthritis and lameness), and gastrointestinal (e.g. GDV and colitis).

Basset Hounds are also prone to glaucoma, luxating patella, thrombopathia, Von Willebrand disease, hypothyroidism, patellar luxation, hip dysplasia, and elbow dysplasia.

Care Notes

Basset Hound owners should take particular note of the prevalence of GDV (gastric dilatation volvulus, also known as bloat or torsion) in this breed because this emergency condition requires immediate veterinary care if the dog is to survive.

Excessive weight in a long-backed, short-legged dog exacerbates musculoskeletal issues.

Long ears are prone to infection if not cleaned regularly. The pronounced haw of Basset Hound eyes can become dry and irritated.


Training is a touchy topic when dealing with the Basset Hound breed. Gentle and patient training is the most effective form of training. Trainers must be persistent with the breed in order to achieve a well mannered dog. The Basset has the tendency to become stubborn by listening to their nose, rather than their master. Owners need to make the training process lively and entertaining to allow the Basset to learn more efficiently.

Bavarian Mountain Hound

The Bavarian Mountain Hound is a breed of dog from Germany. It is a Scent hound and has been used in Germany since the Middle Ages to trail wounded game.


The Bavarian Mountain Hound's head is strong and elongated. The skull is relatively broad and slightly domed. It has a pronounced stop and a slightly curved nosebridge. The muzzle should be broad with solid jaws, and its lips fully covering mouth. Its nose is black or dark red with wide nostrils. Its ears are high set and medium in length. They are broader at the base and rounded at the tips, hanging heavily against the head. Its body is slightly longer than it is tall and slightly raised at the rump. The neck medium in length, strong, with a slight dewlap. Topline sloping slightly upward from withers to hindquarters. Chest well-developed, long, moderately wide and well let-down with a slight tuck-up. It has a long, fairly straight croup and solid back. While its tail is set on high, medium in length and hanging to the hock, carried level to the ground or hanging down.


Bavarian Mountain Hounds weigh between 20 to 25 kg, males are 47 to 52 cm (18.5 - 20.5 in) high, while females are 44 to 48 cm (17-19 in).

Coat and colour

The coat is short, thick and shiny, lying very flat against the body and moderately harsh. It is finer on the head and ears, harsher and longer on the abdomen, legs and tail. Its coat can come in all shades of black-masked fawn or brindle.


Bavarian Mountain Hounds are calm, quiet, poised and very attached to their masters and family. When hunting, they are hard, single-minded and persistent. Courageous, spirited, fast and agile, they are at ease on a rugged terrain. With a superb nose and powerful hunting instinct. They need a patient, experienced trainer.


The Bavarian Mountain is not suited for city life. It is in regular need of space and exercise and also requires regular brushing. They are not dogs for the casual hunter. Most are owned and utilized by foresters and game wardens.


The Beagle is a medium-sized dog breed. A member of the hound group, it is similar in appearance to the Foxhound but smaller with shorter legs, and longer, softer ears. Beagles are scent hounds developed primarily for tracking hare, rabbit, and other game. They have a keen tracking instinct and an excellent sense of smell, which has seen them employed as detection dogs for prohibited agricultural imports and foodstuffs in quarantine around the world. They are popular as pets because of their size, even temper, and lack of inherited health problems. These characteristics also make them the dog of choice for animal testing.

Although beagle-type dogs have existed for over 2,000 years, the modern breed was developed in Britain around the 1830s from several breeds, including the Talbot Hound, the North Country Beagle, the Southern Hound and possibly the Harrier.

Beagles have been depicted in popular culture since Elizabethan times in literature and paintings, and, latterly in film, television and comic books. Snoopy of the comic strip "Peanuts" has been called the world's most famous Beagle.


The Kennel Club (UK) standard states the Beagle should give the impression of quality without coarseness.

The Kennel Club (UK) standard states the Beagle should give the impression of quality without coarseness.

The general appearance of the Beagle resembles a Foxhound in miniature, but the head is broader and the muzzle shorter, the expression completely different and the legs shorter in proportion to the body.They are generally between 13 and 16 inches (33 and 41 cm) high at the withers and weigh between 18 and 35 lb (8 and 16 kg), with dogs being slightly larger than bitches on average.

They have a smooth, somewhat domed skull with a medium-length, square-cut muzzle and a black (or occasionally liver), gumdrop nose. The jaw is strong and the teeth scissor together with the upper teeth fitting perfectly over the lower teeth and both sets aligned square to the jaw. The eyes are large, hazel or brown, with a mild hound-like pleading look. The large ears are long, soft and low-set, turning towards the cheeks slightly and rounded at the tips. Beagles have a strong, medium-length neck (which is long enough for them to easily bend to the ground to pick up a scent), with little folding in the skin but some evidence of a dewlap; a broad chest narrowing to a tapered abdomen and waist and a short, slightly curved tail tipped with white. The white tip, known as the "stern" or "flag" has been selectively bred for, as it allows the dog to be easily seen when its head is down following a scent. The tail does not curl over the back, but is held upright when the dog is active. The Beagle has a muscular body and a medium-length, smooth, hard coat. The front legs are straight and carried under the body while the rear legs are muscular and well bent at the stifles.


A pair of Polish show Beagles showing a faded tricolour

A pair of Polish show Beagles showing a faded tricolour

Beagles appear in a range of colours. Although the tricolour (white with large black areas and light brown shading) is the most common, Beagles can occur in any hound colour. Tricoloured dogs occur in a number of shades, from the "Classic Tri" with a jet black saddle to the "Faded Tri" where the faint black markings are toned with brown. Some tricoloured dogs have a broken pattern, sometimes referred to as pied. These dogs have mostly white coats with patches of black and brown hair. Two-colour varieties always have a white base colour with areas of the second colour. Tan and white is the most common two-colour variety, but there is a wide range of other colours including lemon, a very light tan; red, a reddish, almost orange, brown; and liver, a darker brown. Liver is not common and is not permitted in some standards; it tends to occur with yellow eyes. Ticked or mottled varieties may be either white or black with different coloured flecks (ticking), such as the blue-mottled or bluetick Beagle, which has spots that appear to be a midnight-blue colour, similar to the colouring of the Bluetick Coonhound. Some tricolour Beagles also have ticking of various colours in their white areas.

Tricolour Beagles are almost always born black and white, with the brownish areas developing later. The brown may take between one and two years to fully develop. Some Beagles gradually change colour during their lives.

Sense of smell

Alongside the Bloodhound, the Beagle has one of the best developed senses of smell of any dog.In the 1950s John Paul Scott and John Fuller began a 13 year study into canine behaviour. As part of this research they tested the scenting abilities of various breeds by putting a mouse in a one acre field and timing how long it took the dogs to find it. The Beagles found it in less than a minute, while Fox Terriers took 15 minutes and Scottish Terriers failed to find it at all. Beagles are better at ground-scenting (following a trail on the ground) than they are at air-scenting, and for this reason they have been excluded from most mountain rescue teams in favour of collies, which use sight in addition to air-scenting and are more biddable. The long ears and large lips of the Beagle probably assist in trapping the scents close to the nose.


Breed varieties

The American Kennel Club and the Canadian Kennel Club recognize two separate varieties of Beagle: the 13-inch for hounds less than 13 inches (33 cm), and the 15-inch for those between 13 and 15 inches (33 and 38 cm). The Kennel Club (UK) and FCI affiliated clubs recognize a single type, with a height of between 13 and 16 inches (33 and 41 cm).

English and American varieties are sometimes mentioned. However, there is no official recognition from any Kennel Club for this distinction. Beagles fitting the American Kennel Club standard—which disallows animals over 15 inches (38 cm)—are smaller on average than those fitting the Kennel Club standard which allows heights up to 16 inches (41 cm).

A Puggle, a fashionable Beagle/Pug cross, shows traits from both breeds.

A Puggle, a fashionable Beagle/Pug cross, shows traits from both breeds.

Pocket Beagles are sometimes advertised for sale but the bloodline for this variety is extinct, and, although the UK Kennel Club originally specified a standard for the Pocket Beagle in 1901, the variety is not now recognised by any Kennel Club. Often, small Beagles are the result of poor breeding or dwarfism.

A strain known as Patch Hounds was developed by Willet Randall and his family from 1896 specifically for their rabbit hunting ability. They trace their bloodline back to Field Champion Patch, but do not necessarily have a patchwork marking.


In the 1850s Stonehenge recommended a cross between a Beagle and a Scottish terrier as a retriever. He found the hybrid to be a good worker, silent and obedient, but it had the drawback that it was small and could barely carry a hare. More recently the trend has been for "designer dogs" and one of the most popular has been the Beagle/Pug cross known as a Puggle. Less excitable than a Beagle and with a lower exercise requirement, these dogs are suited to city dwelling.The American Canine Hybrid Club, a register for hybrid breeds, lists over 20 varieties of Beagle hybrid.


Beagles are happy to rest without being exercised to exhaustion.

Beagles are happy to rest without being exercised to exhaustion.

The Beagle has an even temper and gentle disposition. Described in several breed standards as "merry" they are amiable and not generally aggressive or timid. They enjoy company, and although they may initially be stand-offish with strangers they are easily won over. They make poor guard dogs for this reason, although their tendency to give bark or howl when confronted with the unfamiliar makes them good watch dogs; in a 1985 study conducted by Ben and Lynette Hart the Beagle was given the highest excitability rating along with the Yorkshire Terrier, Cairn Terrier, Miniature Schnauzer, West Highland White Terrier and Fox Terrier.[38][b] Beagles are intelligent, but as a result of being bred for the long chase are single-minded and determined, which can make them hard to train. They are generally obedient but can be difficult to recall once they have picked up a scent and are easily distracted by smells around them. They do not generally feature in obedience trials, for while they are alert, respond well to food reward training and are eager to please, they are easily bored or distracted.

Beagles are excellent with children and this is one of the reasons they have become popular family pets, but they are pack animals, and can be prone to separation anxiety.Not all Beagles will howl, but most will bark when confronted with strange situations, and some will bay (also referred to as "speaking","giving tongue" or "opening") when they catch the scent of potential quarry. They are not demanding with regard to exercise; their inbred stamina means they do not easily tire when exercised, but they also do not need to be worked to exhaustion before they will rest, though regular exercise helps ward off the weight gain to which the breed is prone.


The median longevity of Beagles is about 12.3 years, which is a typical lifespan for a dog of their size.

Weight gain can be a problem in older or sedentary dogs, which in turn can lead to heart and joint problems.

Weight gain can be a problem in older or sedentary dogs, which in turn can lead to heart and joint problems.

Beagles may be prone to epilepsy, but this can be controlled with medication. Hypothyroidism and a number of types of dwarfism occur in Beagles. Two conditions in particular are unique to the breed: Funny Puppy, in which the puppy is slow to develop and eventually develops weak legs, a crooked back and although normally healthy, is prone to range of illnesses; and Chinese Beagle Syndrome in which the eyes are slanted and the outer toes are underdeveloped but otherwise development is as normal.Hip dysplasia, common in Harriers and in some larger breeds, is rarely considered a problem in Beagles.

In rare cases Beagles may develop Immune Mediated Polygenic Arthritis (where the immune system attacks the joints) even at a young age. The symptoms can sometimes be relieved by steroid treatments.

Their long floppy ears can mean that the inner ear does not receive a substantial air flow or that moist air becomes trapped, and this can lead to ear infections. Beagles may also be affected by a range of eye problems. They are prone to "cherry eye", an inflammation of the third eyelid, and sometimes their lashes grow into the eye causing irritation, a condition known as distichiasis; both these conditions can be corrected with surgery. They can suffer with glaucoma, and several types of retinal atrophy. Failure of the nasolacrimal drainage system can cause dry eye or leakage of tears onto the face.

As field dogs they are prone to minor injuries such as cuts and sprains, and, if inactive, obesity is a common problem as they will eat whenever food is available and rely on their owners to regulate their weight. When working or running free they are also likely to pick up parasites such as fleas, ticks, harvest mites and tapeworms, and irritants such as grass seeds can become trapped in their eyes, ears or paws.

Beagles may exhibit a behaviour know as reverse sneezing, in which they sound as if they are choking or gasping for breath, but are actually drawing air in through the mouth and nose. The exact cause of the this behaviour is not known, but it is not harmful to the dog.

Working life


The Caynsham Foot Beagles (c.1885)

The Caynsham Foot Beagles (c.1885)

Beagles were developed primarily for hunting hare. They were seen as ideal hunting companions for the elderly who could follow on horseback without exerting themselves, for young hunters who could keep up with them on ponies, and for the poorer hunters who could not afford to maintain a stable of good hunting horses.Before the advent of the fashion for foxhunting in the 19th century, hunting was an all day event where the enjoyment was derived from the chase rather than the kill. In this setting the tiny Beagle was well matched to the hare, as unlike Harriers they would not quickly finish the hunt, but because of their excellent scent-tracking skills and stamina they were almost guaranteed to eventually catch the hare. The Beagle packs would run closely together ("so close that they might be covered with a sheet") which was useful in a long hunt, as it prevented stray dogs from obscuring the trail. In thick undergrowth they were also preferred to spaniels when hunting pheasant.

With the fashion for faster hunts, the Beagle fell out of favour for chasing hare, but was still employed for rabbit hunting. In Anecdotes of Dogs, Jesse says:

In rabbit-shooting, in gorse and thick cover, nothing can be more cheerful than the beagle; and they have been called rabbit-beagles from this employment, for which they are peculiarly qualified, especially those dogs which are somewhat wire-haired.

The Beagle has been used for rabbit-hunting since the earliest development of the breed.

The Beagle has been used for rabbit-hunting since the earliest development of the breed.

In the United States they appear to have been employed chiefly for hunting rabbits from the earliest imports. Hunting hare with Beagles became popular again in Britain in the mid-19th century and continued until it was made illegal in Scotland by the Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act 2002 and in England and Wales by the Hunting Act 2004. Under this legislation Beagles may still pursue rabbits where they are considered pests. Drag hunting is popular where hunting is no longer permitted or for those owners who do not wish to participate in blood sports but still wish to exercise their dog's innate skills.

The traditional foot pack consists of up to 70 beagles, marshalled by a Huntsman who directs the pack and who is assisted by a variable number of whippers-in. The Master of the Hunt is in overall day-to-day charge of the pack, and may or may not take on the role of Huntsman on the day of the hunt. Beagles may also be employed individually or in a brace (a pair).

As hunting with Beagles was seen as ideal for young people, many of the British public schools traditionally maintained Beagle packs. Protests were lodged against Eton's use of Beagles for hunting as early as 1902 but the pack is still in existence today, and a pack used by Imperial College in Wye, Kent was stolen by the Animal Liberation Front in 2001.School and university packs are still maintained by Eton, Marlborough, Wye, Radley, the Royal Agricultural College and Christ Church, Oxford.

Beagles have been used for hunting a wide range of game including Snowshoe Hare, Cottontail rabbits, game birds, Roe Deer, Red Deer, Bobcat, Coyote, Wild Boar and foxes, and have even been recorded as being used to hunt Stoat.[50][54] In most of these cases, the Beagle is employed as a gun dog, flushing game for hunter's guns.


Beagles have excellent noses; this dog is employed by the US Customs and Border Protection Agency.

Beagles have excellent noses; this dog is employed by the US Customs and Border Protection Agency.

Beagles are used as detection dogs in the Beagle Brigade of the United States Department of Agriculture. These dogs are used to detect food items in luggage being taken into the United States. After trialling several breeds, Beagles were chosen because they are relatively small and unintimidating for people who are uncomfortable around dogs, easy to care for, intelligent and work well for rewards.They are also used for this purpose a number of other countries including by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries in New Zealand, the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service, and in Canada, Japan and the People's Republic of China. Larger breeds are generally used for detection of explosives as this often involves climbing over luggage and on large conveyor belts, work for which the smaller Beagle is not suited.


Beagles are the dog breed most often used in animal testing, due to their size and passive nature. Of the 8,018 dogs used in testing in the UK in 2004, 7,799 were Beagles (97.3%).In the UK, the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 gave special status to primates, equids, cats and dogs and in 2005 the Animal Procedures Committee (set up by the act) ruled that testing on mice was preferable, even though a greater number of individual animals were involved In 2005 Beagles were involved in less than 0.3% of the total experiments on animals in the UK, but of the 7670 experiments performed on dogs 7406 involved Beagles (96.6%) Most dogs are bred specifically for the purpose, by companies such as Harlan. In the UK companies breeding animals for research must be licensed under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act.

Group housed dogs used in safety testing of pharmaceuticals, August 2000

Group housed dogs used in safety testing of pharmaceuticals, August 2000

In the United States where the breeds of dog used are not specified (although Beagles feature heavily in published research papers) the number of tests performed each year on dogs dropped by two-thirds, from 195,157 to 64,932, over the period from 1972 to 2004.In Japan the laws on animal experimentation do not require reporting on the types or number of animals used, and in France the proportion of inspectors to testing facilities means the regulatory environment is essentially one of trust.

Beagles are used in a range of experimental procedures: fundamental biological research, applied human medicine, applied veterinary medicine, and protection of man, animals or the environment. Testing of cosmetic products on animals is banned in the member states of European Community, although France protested the ban and has made efforts to have it lifted.It is permitted in the United States but is not mandatory if safety can be ascertained by other methods, and the test species is not specified by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).When testing toxicity of food additives, food contaminants, and some drugs and chemicals the FDA uses Beagles and mini-pigs as surrogates for direct human testing.

Anti-vivisection groups have reported on abuse of animals inside testing facilities. In 1997 footage secretly filmed by a freelance journalist inside Huntingdon Life Sciences in the UK showed staff punching and screaming at Beagles. Consort Kennels, a UK-based breeder of Beagles for experimentation, closed down in 1997 after pressure from animal rights groups.

Other roles

Their friendly nature and gentleness make Beagles popular as pets.

Their friendly nature and gentleness make Beagles popular as pets.

Although bred for hunting, Beagles are versatile and are nowadays employed for various other roles in detection, therapy, and as family pets. Beagles are used as sniffer dogs for termite detection in Australia, and have been mentioned as possible candidates for drug and explosive detection.Because of their gentle nature and unimposing build, they are also frequently used in pet therapy, visiting the sick and elderly in hospital. In June 2006, a trained Beagle assistance dog was credited with saving the life of its owner after using his mobile phone to dial an emergency number.

In popular culture

For more details on this topic, see Beagle in popular culture.

Beagles have featured across a wide range of media. References to the dog appear before the 19th century in works by such writers as William Shakespeare, John Webster, John Dryden, Thomas Tickell, Henry Fielding and William Cowper, and in Alexander Pope's translation of Homer's Iliad.[c] Beagles appeared in comic strips from the 1950s with the Peanuts character Snoopy (billed as the "the world's most famous Beagle") and Walt Disney's Beagle Boys. They have appeared in numerous films taking central roles in Cats and Dogs and the adaptation of Phyllis Reynolds Naylor's book Shiloh, among others. They have played supporting roles in films including Audition and The Royal Tenenbaums and on television in Star Trek: Enterprise, The Wonder Years, and To the Manor Born among others. Bagel, one of Barry Manilow's two Beagles, appeared on several of his album covers. Former US President Lyndon Baines Johnson had several Beagles, and caused an outcry when he picked up one of them, Him, by the ears during an official greeting on the White House lawn. The ship on which Charles Darwin made his voyage which was to provide the inspiration for Origin of the Species was named HMS Beagle after the breed, and, in turn, lent its name to the ill-fated British Martian lander Beagle 2.


The Beauceron is a herding dog breed from France. It is also known as Berger de Beauce, Bas Rouge or French Shorthaired Shepherd.


This breed stands 61 to 70 cm (24 to 27.5 inches) in height and weighs 30 to 38.5 kg (66 to 85 pounds). Its standard colouring is black and tan, black or harlequin. Other colours, such as the once prevalent tawny, grey or grey/black, are now banned by the breed standard. The coat is short, close and smooth except on legs, tail and flanks, where there is a slight fringe. Beaucerons have double dewclaws.


This muscular breed is described as intelligent, friendly, very calm and protective of children. They are perfect for both inside and outside the house and can be trained for different activities.

Working life

A Beauceron

A Beauceron

A very versatile breed, the Bas Rouge (“Red Stocking”) was once used to herd sheep and protect the animals from wolves. The breed served in both World Wars as messenger dog, supply transport dog, detection of land mines and rescue of the wounded. In addition, the Beauceron has strong herding traits and capability.

Bedlington Terrier

The Bedlington Terrier is a breed of terrier named after the mining town of Bedlington, Northumberland in North East England.


A pair of English working Bedlingtons, of blue and sandy color

A pair of English working Bedlingtons, of blue and sandy color

The Bedlington Terrier is often described as looking like a lamb on a leash, probably because it has non-shedding fur with a wooly texture. These dogs may be blue, sandy, or liver, and can be solid colours or have tan markings. These become paler as the dog grows older.

This breed has a wedge-shaped head with sparkling eyes. Although it looks meek when reclining on the couch, the Bedlington Terrier is argumentative and every inch a terrier when aroused. Its body shape, however, is unusual for a terrier, being somewhat like a Greyhound or Whippet in construction, which enables it to gallop at great speed. However, the front legs are constructed differently from those quick hounds in that the front legs are closer together at the feet than at the elbows. This enables a Bedlington Terrier to turn or pivot quickly when chasing quarry at high speed. At a trot, the Bedlington moves with a 'mincing' gait, picking its feet up in what appears to be a dainty manner.

They are groomed with large patches of fur on their heads and ears. This practice is from when the Bedlington used to hunt rats. The rodents, while trying to squirm away, would try to claw at their ears or head. But with large amounts of fur, they just become entangled in it.


These do-all dogs were able to do almost anything asked of them, if in classic terrier manner. Bedlingtons would have to be able hold its own when pitted in dog fighting contests and was particularly well known to fight to the death when set upon. In addition, it was fast enough to bay a badger or a fox and was a first-rate water dog.

Grooming & exercise needs

Bedlington Terriers don't shed but need weekly combing and professional grooming every 3-4 months to keep their coats (which tend to curl) in good shape. These high-energy dogs need several vigorous walks and aerobic play sessions daily to keep them happy and content. The breed is well suited for agility.

Griffon Bruxellois

The Griffon Bruxellois or Brussels Griffon is a breed of toy dog, named for the city of their origin, Brussels, Belgium. The Griffon Bruxellois may refer to three different breeds, the Griffon Bruxellois, the Griffon Belge and the Petit Brabançon. Identical in standard except for coat and colour differences, in some standards they are considered varieties of the same breed, much like Belgian Sheepdogs.


All three breeds are generally small, with a flat face, prominent chin, and large wide-set eyes that give the Griffon an almost human expression. They are sometimes compared to an Ewok or Wookiee from the movie Star Wars. All three breeds are sturdy toy dogs with thick-set, well-balanced bodies, giving a squared appearance in proportion when viewed from the side. A proper Griffon should be muscular, compact, and well-boned, and should not seem delicate, racy, or overly cobby. The Griffon often feels heavier than it is for such a small size. Because they are judged by weight rather than by shoulder height, proper proportioning is essential to determine whether a dog is too fat, too slim, or too tall for its size.

Weight standards, especially where the upper limit is that might disqualify the dog from the show ring, varies among the breed standards, but the ideal weight is 3.6–4.5 kg (8–10 lb) for both sexes.

The neck is medium length and arched slightly. The chest is deep, and the back is level. The tail is either cropped to one-third its length or is left its natural length in breed standards than allow for that; it should be set high, and when showing, should express the alert, keen demeanor of the breed. Kinked tails are not uncommon in the breed, and are invalid for the show ring unless they can be cropped below the kink to a length acceptable in the breed standard.


The head is the most important characteristic of this breed, and the most well-defined aspect of the breed standard.

The rounded head should be large in proportion to the body, but should not appear to unbalance the dog. Depending on the standard, the forehead is referred to as "rounded" or "domed". In either case, the appearance or the skull should be of a circle (minus the features of the muzzle) rather than an oval, and the forehead should not bulge or protrude.

The ears should be high set but well apart, small, and carried semierect if left uncropped. Cropped ears are preferred in US show rings, but most European countries ban cropping.

The dark, wide-set, black-rimmed eyes are very large and expressive, giving the face its essential human-like qualities. They should be prominent but not bulging.

The nose is broad with wide nostrils, black, and set at the same level as the eyes. There should be a very pronounced stop, and the muzzle between the nose and forehead should not be more than 1.5 cm in length. Many standards prefer the stop to be so strong as to leave no visible distance between the nose and forehead. The nose should angle upwards. The muzzle from nose to chin should not be in line with the face, instead, it should slope towards the skull, giving a turned up or layback look. The broad chin should be undershot and prominent, sweeping up to the lips.

The lips should be black, and close fitting. The top lip is short under the nose, and should not overlap the bottom lip, nor should teeth or tongue be visible. The upper lips should not be pendulous in any way. The teeth should be strong and straight, with none missing or askew. Image:griffon_bruxellois_head.jpg


In the Griffon Bruxellois and the Griffon Belge, the coat is wiry and harsh. It should be dense, short enough not to disrupt the form of the dog over the body, and long enough to distinguish the texture and type from the Petit Brabançon. Furnishings around the face form a fringe around the eyes, cheeks and chin, but should not be allowed to grow into a long, flowing beard. Rather, they accentuate the natural form of the chin and cheeks. The eyebrow, moustache and beard look is essential to the human-like expression sought after in the breed. There may be some furnishings around the legs as well, though shorter than the head.

In the Petit Brabançon, the coat is short, smooth, glossy, and flat, rather like a Pug or Boston Terrier.

Color types

Griffon Bruxellois: Red or reddish-brown; black allowed on muzzle.

Griffon Belge: Black, Black and tan (a black and tan pattern with emphasis on a rich red shade), Black and red (black mixed evenly with reddish-brown hairs). Black and red may have a black face mask.

Petit Brabançon: All colours allowed for the other standards. Until recently, black short may have been a fault, but it is now allowed in all standards. A black mask is expected on the red or reddish brown coat. Grey hair from age is not penalized.


Despite being a Toy dog, the breed is very active.

Despite being a Toy dog, the breed is very active.

The Griffon Bruxellois is known to have a huge heart, and a strong desire to snuggle and be with his or her master. They display a visible air of self-importance. A Griffon should not be shy or aggressive; however, they are very emotionally sensitive. Because of this, they should be socialized carefully at a young age. Griffons should also be alert, inquisitive and interested in their surroundings.

Griffons tend to bond with one human more than others. This, along with their small size, may make them unsuitable as a family pet, especially for a family with very small children. Griffons tend to get along well with other animals in the house, including cats, ferrets, and other dogs. However, they can get into trouble because they have no concept of their own relative size and may attempt to dominate dogs much larger than themselves.

Some say: "Having a Griffon means having a true constant companion. They need their favorite person all the time, and will be very unhappy if left outdoors or alone most of the day. A Griffon Bruxellois will want to follow you about the house, on your errands, and to bed."

Belgian Shepherd Dog (Groenendael)


The Belgian Shepherd Dog (Groenendael) is the most popular variety of the Belgian Shepherd Dog breeds. The Groenendael is recognized by all major kennel clubs. In the United States it is recognized under the name Belgian Shepherd Dog or as the Belgian Sheepdog.

Like all Belgian Shepherds, the Groenendael is a medium-sized, hard-working, square-proportioned breed of dog in the sheepdog family. The Groenendael is recognized by its distinctive black coat.


The Groenendael should be athletic, strong, imposing, rustic, and balanced in appearance. It should look natural, never as though it has been prepared just for the show ring. Its coat should be profuse, but never look as though it would inhibit the dogs working ability in any way. The colour is always black, with small white markings being allowed on the chest. When being shown its handler should never have to force it into position, ideally the handler should not have to touch the dog at all.


The Groenendael should be 62 cm at the withers for males, and 58 cm for females, with an allowance of up to 2 cm below, and 4 cm above. The weight should be approximately 25 - 30 kg for males, and 20 - 25 kg for females.


The groenendael has a long, double coat. The texture should be hard and dense, never woolly, silky, frizzy, fine, or wiry. The undercoat should be thick and profuse. In conformation shows, dogs without an undercoat are heavily penalized.


A Groenendael at 4 months

A Groenendael at 4 months

The Groenendael is (very) intelligent, active, loyal and quietly affectionate. Groenendaels are not a breed for the faint of heart. However for those who have plenty of time, energy, confidence and love, they are wonderful friends. They are dominant dogs by nature, and it is important that they never question their owner's authority in order to be trainable. It is a large, powerful breed so training and socializing is essential and the only way one can live with the breed. Once you have established your dominance they are incredibly loyal and obedient. They are wary of strangers and protective. They love children as long as they are introduced to them at an early age. The Groenendael bonds deeply to its people and cannot live outdoors or in a kennel. It needs to spend time with its family every day and may experience separation anxiety if left alone for long periods of time.


The Groenendael needs a large amount of exercise as a rule. Expect to spend about two hours a day working with it. Exercise should include not only a walk, but also a training session to keep the dog mentally stimulated. These dogs have great "work ethic" and need a job to do, such as obedience, flyball, schutzhund training, dog agility or livestock work in order to be happy. They are a sensitive breed and cannot be trained using harsh training methods, one does not need to use these methods to be dominant, one just has to show their dog that they are a fair, smart leader who the dog can't outwit. They need thorough grooming once a week, however when shedding (which happens once or twice a year) they lose massive amounts of coat and need grooming every day.


Groenendaels are prone to certain genetic diseases such as hip dysplasia (to help acquire a healthy dog, make sure its parents are certified free of hip dysplasia by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals or PennHIP). Elbow dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) and epilepsy have also been reported.

Although hip dysplasia is not unknown in Groenendaels, it has a low incidence of occurrence.

Belgian Shepherd Dog (Laekenois)

The Belgian Shepherd Dog (Laekenois) is a breed of dog, sometimes classified as a variety of the Belgian Shepherd Dog rather than as a separate breed. The Laekenois is not fully recognized in the United States. However, they can be shown in Britain, along with all three of the closely related breeds which share a heritage with the Laekenois: the Tervuren, the Malinois, and the Groenendael, the last being shown in the U.S. as the Belgian Sheepdog.


Like all Belgian Shepherds, the Laekenois is a medium-sized, hard-working, square-proportioned dog in the sheepdog family with sharply triangular ears. The Laekenois is recognized by its woolly brown and white coat, intermixed so as to give a tweedy appearance.

Belgian Shepherd Dog (Malinois)

The Belgian Shepherd Dog (Malinois) (IPA: [ˈmælɪnˌwɑː]) is a breed of dog, sometimes classified as a variety of the Belgian Shepherd Dog rather than as a separate breed. The Malinois is recognized in the United States under the name Belgian Malinois. Its name is the French word for Mechlinian, which is in Dutch either 'Mechels' (from Mechelen) or 'Mechelaar' (one from Mechelen).


Like all Belgian Shepherds, the Malinois is a medium-sized, hard-working, square-proportioned dog in the sheepdog family. The Malinois is recognized by its short brown and yellow coat and its black ears, cheeks, and muzzle.

Coat and color

Due to their history as a working dog (i.e. being bred for function over form) Malinois can vary greatly in appearance. Most Malinois with a fawn coat will have white patches on the paws and chest. Darker Malinois do not generally share this trait. The acceptable colors of pure-bred Malinois are a base color of grey to fawn to mahogany with a black mask and ears, and with some degree of black tipping on the hairs, giving an overlay appearance. The color tends to be lighter with less black agouti or overlay on the dog's underside, breeching, and inside the legs.

The other varieties of Belgian Shepherd are distinguished by their coat & color: the Tervuren is the same color as the Malinois with long hair, the Laekenois is the same color, only it may lack the black mask & ears, and has wirehair, the Groenendael (registered as Belgian Sheepdog by the American Kennel Club) has long hair and is solid black. There are (occasionally and historically) solid black, black-and-tan (as in a Doberman or as in a German Shepherd Dog), or other colored short-haired Belgian Shepherds, but these are not technically Malinois.

A Malinois puppy

A Malinois puppy

If a dog represented as a Malinios is brindle (clear stripes of different colored hair) it is probably a Dutch Shepherd Dog or a mixed breed, although the possibility exists that it is a "throwback" to a common continental shepherd ancestor.


Female Malinois are said to average 25-30 kg (55-65 lb), while males are heavier at 29-34 kg (65-75 lb). Malinois can range from stocky to slender, but are always squarely built.

Working Dog

A Malinois as police dog

A Malinois as police dog

In the United States, Germany and other European countries, the Malinois is bred primarily as a working dog for personal protection, detection, police work, and sport work (schutzhund, French Ring, Mondio Ring).

The dog is also used extensively by Unit Oketz of the Israel Defense Forces. Oketz favors the more slight build of the Malinois to the German Shepherd and Rottweiler, which were employed formerly.


ular than the similar German Shepherd, the Malinois has luckily been spared the negative effects of over breeding in puppy mills. However, like most large breeds hip dysplasia, a genetic disorder, does occur but is not common especially in the working lines. The Malinois has generally been kept as a working dog and is breed for sturdiness, and temperament, thus it is generally a relatively healthy animal.

Belgian Shepherd Dog (Tervuren)

The Tervuren (sometimes spelled Tervueren, IPA pronunciation: [tʌɹˈvʊɹɛn]), is a member of the Belgian Shepherd Dog family of dog breeds. Its classification varies, being classified under some breed standards as a breed in its own right, and in others as one of several acceptable varations of the Belgian. It is usually listed within breed standards under one or other, or a combination, of these names.


In the United States, the AKC recognizes it under the name Belgian Tervuren. In Canada, the Canadian Kennel Club recognizes the Tervuren as a variety of the Belgian Shepherd Dog (prior to 2005, Belgian Shepherd Dogs were called Belgian Sheepdogs).


Like all Belgian Shepherds, the Tervuren is a medium-sized, square-proportioned dog in the sheepdog family. Males stand between 24 and 26 inches, and weigh approximately 65 lb. Females are finer and smaller. It is recognized by its thick double coat, generally mahogany with varying degrees of black overlay, including a black mask. A small patch of white on the chest is permissible, as well as white tips on toes. The Tervuren may also be sable or grey, but this may be penalized in the show ring in some countries according to the standard of the registering body.


A Tervuren in an agility competition

A Tervuren in an agility competition

Tervurens are highly energetic, intelligent dogs who require a job to keep them occupied. This can be herding, obedience, agility, flyball, tracking, or protection work. They are also found working as Search and Rescue (SAR) dogs, finding missing persons and avalanche victims.

As companion animals, Tervurens are loyal and form strong bonds with their family, leading some to be aloof with strangers. They are good watch dogs, being very observant and attentive to the slightest change in their environment. Some can be nervous, depending on breeding and early experiences, so care must be taken to adequately socialize Tervuren puppies to a wide variety of people and situations.

Tervuren at 7 months

Tervuren at 7 months

As with all the Belgian Shepherd Dogs, Tervuerens are not generally recommended to first-time dog owners due to their high maintenance level.

Adult males are distinctly masculine and females are likewise feminine. Their appearance projects alertness and elegance. The breed is known for its loyalty and versatility. Those who own them are completely charmed by their intelligence, trainability, and, perhaps most of all, their sense of humor. They excel in many kinds of activities. Today the breed is still relatively rare in the United States, but it is well-established.


The Tervuren has a thick, double coat similar to the Groenendael. Regular brushing is necessary to remove loose undercoat, but in general, the fur is not prone to matting. A properly textured Tervuren coat is slightly hard, laying flat against the body (unlike, for instance, the Samoyed's off-standing fur). It naturally sheds dirt and debris, but burrs and seeds may stick to the feathering on the legs.

The Tervuren is shown in a natural state, with minimal trimming and cosmetic products. Bathing, brushing, and trimming the fur on the feet with scissors to emphasize their tight, cat-footed shape is the extent of most exhibitors' grooming routines. Products that alter the coloration of the coat are not allowed in the ring.


The Bergamasco is a breed of dog with its origins in the Italian Alps, where it was originally used as a herding dog.


The Bergamasco is a medium size dog, well proportioned and harmonious having a rustic appearance. It is a solidly compact dog with a strong, powerful build that gives it great resistance without taking away any of its agility and speed of movement.

Coat and color

The breed's most distinctive feature is the unusual felted coat which is a normal and healthy characteristic of the breed. Its coat is characterized by three types of hair which is abundant and forms mats or flocks. The mats start from the spine and go down the flanks, growing every year to reach the ground. The color of the coat can be anything from gray or silver gray to coal. This color served as a camouflage when working in the mountains.

Bergamascos are born with short, smooth fur, which slowly develops the characteristic mats as the dog grows. The mats will reach as low as the dog's paws in adulthood.

Berger Blanc Suisse

The Weisser Schweizer Schäferhund, or Berger Blanc Suisse (White Swiss Shepherd), was often considered a mutation of the German Shepherd Dog, until recently when it was finally considered a separate breed after years of campaigning from White Shepherd enthusiasts. Currently, this breed is only recognised by the FCI and the UKC, but more efforts are being made to give the breed worldwide recognition as a separate and distinct breed from the German Shepherd - however, both breeds were distinctly bred specifically for guard work and not for sheep-herding.


An example of a White Shepherd

An example of a White Shepherd

From the AWSA Breed Standard: The White Shepherd is a well developed and balanced animal with the look of intelligence, energy and purpose in life. It should have a regal appearance with secondary sex characteristics being distinctive. The dog should be somewhat longer than tall, with smooth curves rather than sharp angles. Extremes of anything distort type and are to be strongly discouraged. This is a herding dog that must have the agility, freedom of movement and endurance to do the work required of it. When gaiting, the dog should move smoothly, with all parts working in harmony. Overall balance, strength, and firmness of movement is to be given more emphasis than a sidegait showing a flying trot.

The White Shepherd has a weather-resistant double coat. Both a short coat and a long coat are equally acceptable. The coat color is white as defined by the breed’s name and the ideal is pure white. Other coat markings that range from a very pale cream to a light biscuit tan are acceptable, but not preferred. It is important to note that when judging the White Shepherd, temperament, overall quality and movement are to be considered more important than coat color alone.


The White Shepherd has a distinct personality marked by a direct, but not hostile expression of self-confidence. It is poised but when the situation demands, it should be eager and alert, ready to serve in any capacity such as companion, watch dog or service dog. To his inherent aptitude as a guardian of flocks should be an added protectiveness of the person and property of his family. With those he knows well, he should be open and friendly. With strangers, he should be observant and may be somewhat aloof but never apprehensive.

Historical Overview

Recessive White Coat Gene in German Shepherd Dog Breed DNA

German Shepherd Dog breed DNA includes a recessive gene for white coat. The recessive gene for white hair was fixed in the German Shepherd Dog breed DNA by the late 19th and early 20th century German breeding program that extensively used "color coated" dogs that carried a recessive gene for "white coats." Naturally, a significant percentage of German Shepherd puppies born in the early 20th century had white coats. During this early period of breed expansion some breeders viewed white German Shepherds as a natural part of the breed and cherished them, while other early German breeders, who particularly wanted the breed to have a standardize 'wolf-like' appearance, utterly rejected white coats as a "defective" breed trait and sought to prohibit white coats in the governing German Shepherd Dog Club of Germany (Der Verein für Deutsche Schäferhunde, the SV) breed standard.

White Coats vs Wolf-Like Coloration in the Pre-WWII Germany Breed Standard

Through the 1920’s German breeders advocating for a strict wolf-like coloration breed standard constantly increased pressure within the German club to eliminate white dogs from the breeding program. In 1933 the German Shepherd Dog Club of Germany updated their breed standard to officially forbid the breeding and registration of white coat dogs or even dark coat dogs proven to have produced litters with white puppies. The Nazis so extensively employed German Shepherd Dogs in war duties during WWII that the breed was nearly extinguished in Europe war's end. Of the few German Shepherd dogs available for breeding in post WWII East and West Germany, only the dogs thought to have no white coats in their family tree were used for breeding. The German Club has strictly enforced the “no white coats” breed standard restriction to this day.

White Coat Gene and German Shepherd Dog Breed Expansion in the Americas

The white coat recessive gene was pervasive in the expanding German population of dogs before and immediately after WWI when the original German Shepherd Dogs were imported to populate new breeding programs throughout the Americas. By the end of WWII the population of German Shepherds in the Americas had grown both large and healthy out of that population of breeding dogs imported from Germany before the United States entered WWI and immediately after as some U.S. soldiers returned home with the dogs. In contrast to the German club’s actions, one of the key founders of the German Shepherd Dog Club of America, as well as other influential American breeders in the years from 1913 through the WWII era accepted and supported white coat German Shepherds as a natural part of the breed. The white coat recessive gene remained pervasive in the large and growing American population of dogs through WWII and into the 1950's when demand for white coat German Shepherds steadily increased in the family dog market. Even though some influential breeders of the period accepted and even admired white coat German Shepherds some other breeders did not.

White Coats vs Exclusive Wolf-Like Coloration Standard Debate Goes Global After WWII

After WWII a new generation of German Shepherd Dog Club of America, German Shepherd Dog Club of Canada and German Shepherd Dog Club of Australia member breeders active in dog show events increasingly advocated for the adoption the German Shepherd Dog Club of Germany breed standard that strictly forbids white coats. The German Shepherd Dog Club of America and the German Shepherd Dog Club of Canada ultimately adopted the “no white coat” breed standard by the mid-1960’s and then petitioned the American Kennel Club (AKC) and Canadian Kennel Club (CKC) to accept the standard change. The AKC accepted the restrictive German Club breed standard in 1968 and the CKC, after long deliberation with white coat German Shepherd supporters, accepted the standard change in 1998. On January 1, 1994 the Australian National Kennel Council accepted the restrictive “no white coat” breed standard change request made by the German Shepherd Dog Club of Australia.

National Kennel Clubs Individually Accept, Restrict and Reject White Coat German Shepherd Dogs

While the AKC and CKC adopted the "no white coat" breed standard for conformation dog show events, they did not accept the "no white coat" standard change for their German Shepherd Dog breed registry business or other dog show events. As of mid-2007 the AKC and CKC continue to accept white coat German Shepherd Dogs for breed registration, as well as obedience, tracking, herding, and temperament trial show ring competitions. The other principle kennel club in North America, the United Kennel Club, fully recognizes white coat German Shepherd Dogs as part of the German Shepherd Dog breed. The United Kennel Club (UKC) fully accepts white coat German Shepherd Dogs for breed registration, as well as conformation, obedience, tracking, herding, and temperament trial show ring competitions. The Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC) stopped accepting white coat German Shepherd Dogs for their breed registry in 1995 and barred white coat dogs from all ANKC sanctioned dog show event.

White German Shepherd Breed Clubs Emerge Around the Globe

Beginning in the early 1970’s German Shepherd Dog breeders in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Europe, who favored white coat dogs, grouped together to form White German Shepherd breed clubs in their respective countries. Breeders associated with these clubs selective bred white and colored Shepherds, that carry the recessive white gene, to produce white coat German Shepherd puppies. European breeders initially imported North American White German Shepherd dogs, some originally registered as AKC or CKC white coat German Shepherd Dogs, to start their breeding programs. (A few small lines of German Shepherd Dogs carrying the recessive white coat gene did manage to survive WWII in Germany and Holland. Even though these populations of dogs have not enjoyed registration by the German breed club since 1933, they can "unofficially" trace their heritage directly to the original early 20th century German population of German Shepherd Dog lines.)

Pure "White Shepherd" Breed Lines Emerge

In the late 1980’s and early 1990’s a few ‘white’ German Shepherd Dog breeders in Europe and the Americas began to continually pair and repair only white coat male and female dogs over several generations to create a "pure" White Shepherd breed. These American and European “pure” breeders formed their own White Shepherd breed clubs in their respective countries beginning in 1991. Australian breeders did not start to refine their local population of ‘white’ German Shepherd Dogs into a "pure" White Shepherd breed line until 2000.

A New "Berger Blanc Suisse" White Shepherd Breed is Recognized in Europe

In Europe, the Swiss Kennel Club (SKC) recognized the White Swiss Shepherd Dog club (Berger Blanc International or BBI) and began registering its new "pure" White Swiss Shepherd Dog (Berger Blanc Suisse) breed in 1991. The White Swiss Shepherd Dog traces its origin to American AKC registered white coat German Shepherd dogs imported from the Americas to Switzerland in the early 1970's. In 2002 the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) (translation - World Canine Federation) accepted a petition from BBI and SKC to recognize the Berger Blanc Suisse dog as a new international breed. The FCI does not generally acknowledge or register any of the white or colored North American breed lines registered by UKC, AKC or CKC.

Partial Recognition Of A New "White Shepherd" Breed in the Americas

In 1999, the North American UKC fully accepted a "United" White Shepherd breed line developed in the United States by the United White Shepherd breed club. Another breed club in the United States and yet another breed club in Canada each individually developed additional "pure" White Shepherd breed lines in their respective countries. The two breed clubs have each made efforts to gain breed recognition with the AKC and CKC in their respective countries, but neither national kennel club has, as yet, recognize these new White Shepherd breed lines. The UKC, AKC and CKC do not generally acknowledge or register the FCI recognized white or colored breed lines. As of mid-2007, the White Swiss Shepherd Dog (Berger Blanc Suisse) breed has not appeared in the Americas.

White Swiss Shepherd Dog Breed Expands To Australia

The White Swiss Shepherd Dog breed line was recently founded in Australia by the White Swiss Shepherd Dog Club of Australia that first organized in 2000. The Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC) has not yet recognized the newly introduced White Swiss Shepherd Dog Breed for its breed registry and dog show events.

The white vs colored German Shepherd Dog controversy continues to this day.


White Shepherd

White Shepherd

White coated herding dogs of rural Germany were an essential part of the late 19th century breeding program that founded the German Shepherd breed. It is a historical fact that a white herding dog named Greif was the Grandfather of Horand von Grafrath, the dog acknowledged as the foundation of all contemporary German Shepherd Dog bloodlines. “Der Deutsche Schaferhund In Wort Und Bild" ("The German Shepherd Dog in Words and Picture") written by the recognized father of the breed, Rittmeister (Cavalry Captain) Max von Stephanitz, in 1921 included a photo of a White German Shepherd directly descended from Horand.

Rittmeister Max Von Stephanitz December 1864 to April 1936

Rittmeister Max Von Stephanitz December 1864 to April 1936

Information provided in early books on the German Shepherd Dog, such as "The Alsatian WoIf Dog" written by George Horowitz in 1923, as well as "The German Shepherd, Its History, Development and Genetics" written by M. B. Willis in 1977, make mention of white German herding dogs, with upright ears and a general body description that resembles modern German Shepherd Dogs, shown in Europe as early as 1882. From the very these direct ancestors of the German Shepherd Dog forward to the German Shepherds of today, the recessive gene for white colored coats has been carried in the DNA of the breed.

White Shepherd Pup at 5 weeks

White Shepherd Pup at
5 weeks

Shepherding was a common way of life for thousands of years all across Europe, including the countryside that is today called Germany. Over countless centuries shepherds used dogs to herd their sheep throughout the day, and guard them against wolf and bear predators at night. The Roman writer Columella in the 1st century A.D. published a 35-volume essay on agriculture entitled, “The Agricultural Arts” that stated, unequivocally, the dogs that guard the sheep are white in color. Earlier in history, the Roman historian and writer, Marcus Terrentius Varro (116-27 B.C.), described the guardians of the flocks as being invariably white in color. He also writes that, in his opinion, the shepherds preferred white dogs in order to be able to distinguish them from the wolves that usually attacked in the half-light of dawn or dusk.

Many descendants of the ancient shepherd's white dogs were present on 19th century German farms. In addition to the somewhat larger white guard and herding dog varieties, several varieties of medium-sized shepherding dogs were also in use on German farms. These medium-sized shepherd dogs were especially fast and agile and were particularly well suited to moving and guiding sheep herds across the countryside. These medium-sized dogs had coat colors of brown, grey, grizzled and white. For example, the medium-sized Puli was known to have white coats, and the Sharfpudel of Germany was always white. It is, therefore, a fact that the modern German Shepherd Dog presents all of the coat colors of the breed’s founding ancestors, including white.

Across the regional landscape of 19th century German farms, Shepherds bred a wide variety of dogs to herd their sheep with no uniformity of size, color, or shape, except for what was common for their particular region. The only real interest was that herding dogs be physically and mentally sound so they could work tirelessly, competently and faithfully along side the shepherd. This was the landscape seen by Max Von Stephanitz, the recognized father of the modern German Shepherd Dog breed, in the 1880s.

Founding of the Modern German Shepherd Dog Breed in Germany

As a young cavalry officer, Stephanitz’s military duties often required him to travel across the German countryside. It was common for travelers like Stephanitz to board with rural families along the way. At that time most rural German farms had at least a few head of sheep and a herding dog or two to tend them. Stephanitz became fascinated with the German herding dogs and their working capabilities. He admired all the hard working dogs, but observed some dogs had a special look and bearing about them that he especially admired.

Eventually Stephanitz became inspired with the idea that Germany should have a national herding dog that combined the work ethic of the most accomplished herding dogs with that special look and bearing he so admired. Stephanitz envisioned a German shepherding dog who was extremely intelligent, could reason and be a working companion to man. Further, the dog must be quick on his feet and well coordinated, protective, noble in appearance and bearing, trustworthy in character, physically sound in joint and muscle, and be born with an innate desire to please and obey the shepherd master. This is the German Shepherd dog that we know and love today. By 1891 Stephanitz started selecting the best herding dogs from across the German countryside for his breeding program, but Stephanitz was not alone in his passion to develop a national German Shepherding Dog.

The Phylax Society, active primarily between the years 1891-1894, was an organization of German shepherding dog fanciers that in many ways formed the foundations for the German Shepherd Dog Club of Germany. The Phylax Society documented shepherding dogs of varying sizes, types and colors, including white, to have been in all areas of Germany during the late 1800’s.

Like Stephanitz, Phylax Society members were actively engaged in uniting the various sizes, types and colors of German shepherding dogs to produce a standard shepherding dog for Germany. Stephanitz corresponded with Phylax Society members and attended dog shows organized by the Society, thus adding to Stephanitz’s already considerable understanding of bloodlines.

The Phylax Society provides an essential prolog to the modern German Shepherd story, both white and colored. The society ultimately did not long survive because it had no strong central figure to organizing and manage Society affairs. The Phylax Society essentially evolved into the German Shepherd Dog Club of Germany, organized and managed by Stephanitz, as many former Phylax Society members later joined with Stephanitz.

As interest in dog breeding continued to grow in Germany throughout the 1890’s, one of the largest all breed dog shows to date took place in the Rhineland town of Karlesruhe on April 3, 1899. Stephanitz, accompany by his friend Artur Meyer, attended the Karlesruhe Exhibition in his continuing search for shepherding dogs that could be added to his breeding program.

Hektor Linksrhein Purchased by Rittmeister Max Von Stephanitz on April 3, 1899 and Renamed Horand von Grafrath, The First Registered GSD SZ 1

Hektor Linksrhein Purchased by Rittmeister Max Von Stephanitz on April 3, 1899 and Renamed Horand von Grafrath, The First Registered GSD SZ 1

Among the many shepherding dogs brought to the exhibition from a number of different German agricultural areas, Stephanitz saw a truly unique and noble looking shepherd dog name Hektor Linksrhein, born the 1st of January 1895 along with litter brother, Luch von Sparwasser, later registered SZ 155. The breeder of Hektor and Luch was Herr Friedrich Sparwasser of Frankfort. Stephanitz at once recognized Hektor as his ideal German Shepherd Dog that he had been striving to develop in his own ten year long breeding program. He bought Hektor on the spot and renamed the dog Horand von Grafrath.

Luch von Sparwasser, later registered SZ 155

Luch von Sparwasser, later registered SZ 155
1906 German newspaper photograph of White Shepherd progeny of Greif

1906 German newspaper photograph of White Shepherd progeny of Greif

Hektor’s and Luch's maternal grandfather was a white-coated German herding dog named Greif von Sparwasser, whelped in Friedrich Sparwasser's Frankfort kennel in 1879. George Horowitz, renowned English Judge, German Shepherd (Alsatian) columnist, author and historian documents the background of Hektor Linksrhein (a.k.a. Horand von Grafrath) in his 1923 book, “The Alsatian Wolf-Dog.” In his book Horowitz documents that the white-coated herding dog named Greif von Sparwasser, born in 1879, was presented at the 1882 and 1887 Hanover Dog Shows.

Next, at the 1888 Hamburg Dog Show, Greifa, another white-coated herding dog, was presented and a third white-coated shepherd named Greif II was presented at the 1889 Cassel Show. The Master of Hounds of Beyenrode, Baron von Knigge, who acquired Greif from the Frankfurt breeder Friedrich Sparwassar, eventually owned all three of the white-coated herding dogs Greif, Greifa and Greif II. These dogs were described as very alert, well proportioned, erect eared white herding dogs. The modern German Shepherd Dog appearance further developed when Greif von Sparwasser was mated with female Lotta von Sparwasser who then whelped a litter that included a wolf-grey colored female named Lene von Sparwasser, later registered SZ 156. Both Greif and Lotta had the distinctive 'up right' ears that we see in the modern German Shepherd Dog breed, but which was uncommon in shepherding dogs of that time. Lene then passed the genetic coding for 'up right' ears as well as white coats, in her pairing with dog Kastor, to Hektor von Linksrhein (a.k.a. Horand von Grafrath SZ 1) and his litter brother Luch. Friedrich Sparwasser's line of dogs, therefore, contributed very important conformation and behavioral aspects to the modern German Shepherd Dog breed. If Stephanitz can be called the father of the German Shepherd Dog breed, then perhaps Frankfurt breeder Friedrich Sparwasser should also be credited as a grandfather. Concurring information is provided in “The German Shepherd Dog, Its History, Development and Genetics,” written by M. B. Willis, B. Sc.Ph.D.

In Stephanitz's original book "The German Shepherd Dog in Words and Picture," printed in Germany by Anton Kamphe, Jena in 1923, he describes the background of the dog types used to develop the German Shepherd breed.

Stephanitz's original book "The German Shepherd Dog in Words and Picture" - English translated reprint from Hoflin Publishing

Stephanitz's original book "The German Shepherd Dog in Words and Picture" - English translated reprint from Hoflin Publishing

Clearly, among the several dog types used in the breeding program there were two dog types of particular importance to the development of the German Shepherd Dog as we know them today: sheepdogs from the German highland Thuringia region who had erect ears and a general conformation of the modern German Shepherd dog, and sheepdogs from the Wurttemberg region which were heavier, larger-boned and had very bushy tails. Greif, Lotta, Hektor and Luch are noted as having "Thuringian blood." Unfortunately, later revisions of Stephanitz's book eliminated much of Stephanitz's original descriptive commentary on the various dog types used in the late 19th and early 20th centuries to develop the modern German Shepherd Dog breed. Information and photos of Old German Shepherds can be found in the book (in German) "Hirten und Huetehunde" by Karl Hermann Finger, Eugen Ulmer GmbH & Co., published 1988.

Stephanitz writes in his book, "Horand embodied for the enthusiasts of that time the fulfillment of their fondest dreams. He was big for that period, between 24" and 24 1/2", even for the present day a good medium size, with powerful frame, beautiful lines, and a nobly formed head. Clean and sinewy in build, the entire dog was one live wire. His character was on a par with his exterior qualities; marvelous in his obedient fidelity to his master, and above all else, the straightforward nature of a gentleman with a boundless zest for living. Although untrained in puppy hood, nevertheless obedient to the slightest nod when at this master's side; but when left to himself, the maddest rascal, the wildest ruffian and incorrigible provoker of strife. Never idle, always on the go; well disposed to harmless people, but no cringer, mad about children and always in love. What could not have been the accomplishments of such a dog if we, at that time, had only had military or police service training? His faults were the failings of his upbringing, never of his stock. He suffered from a superfluity of unemployed energy, for he was in Heaven when someone was occupied with him and was then the most tractable of dog."

Horand von Grafrath, SZ 1, in foreground and Marie von Grafrath, SZ 2 (formerly Marie v.d. Krone)

Horand von Grafrath, SZ 1, in foreground and Marie von Grafrath, SZ 2 (formerly Marie v.d. Krone)

On April 22, 1899, less than a month after Stephanitz purchased Hektor, who he renamed Horand von Grafrath, Stephanitz founded the German Shepherd Dog Club of Germany or Der Verein für Deutsche Schäferhunde, the SV, as he wrote the first entry into the new SV Stud Book – “Horand von Grafrath, SZ 1.” Thus, Horand (a.k.a. Hektor) was documented as the foundation of the German Shepherd Dog breed. Membership of the SV German Shepherd Dog Club grew quickly and soon many breeders were using Horand’s progeny, as well as Horand’s litter brother Luch and his progeny, to expand the German Shepherd Dog breed population.

The genetic influence of Horand’s maternal grandfather, white-coated Greif, is significant in the breed given Horand was line-bred and inbred with his own offspring in the expansion and refinement of the new breed after 1899. Horand was bred to 35 different bitches, including his own daughters, producing 53 litters, of which, 140 progeny were registered with the SV. Horand’s litter brother Luchs was also widely bred in the same way in the expansion of the modern German Shepherd breed. Further, Horand’s offspring was inbred with Luchs's offspring, which further concentrated the DNA of these dogs. It is a statistical certainty that a large percentage of all of Horand’s and Luchs’s offspring inherited the white genetic factor that was passed to them by white-coated maternal grandfather Greif. The white genetic factor in turn was forwarded on to a percentage of all subsequent generations of the breed. In the first 15 years of pedigreed German Shepherd Dog breeding more than half the registered dogs had litters with white puppies. Many of Horand's grandsons produced white pups including Baron von der Seewies (1913) who became the first white German shepherd registered in the breed book. Of the many genetic traits that became firmly entrenched in the founding breeding program, the white-coat color gene figures prominently, even to this day.

Included Photograph of Berno v.d. Seewiese

Included Photograph of Berno v.d. Seewiese

In Stephanitz's original 776-page book, "The German Shepherd Dog in Words and Picture," he included a photograph of a celebrated White Shepherd, Berno von der Seewiese, who was a direct descendant of Horand von Grafrath, (a.k.a. Hektor) the father of the breed. Berno v.d. Seewiese, born in 1913 was in a direct line down from Horand von Grafrath through Horand’s equally famous, and some said even more handsome, son Hektor von Schwaben. In his 1921 book, Stephanitz wrote, "The coloring of the dog has no significance whatsoever for service" and "Our German Shepherd Dogs have never been bred for color, which for the working dog is a matter of quite secondary consideration. Should any fashion breeder allow himself to pursue such a senseless fad, he might be bitterly disappointed." Clearly, the founder of the breed stressed utility over appearance, however, it must be noted that in other passages in his book Stephanitz also wrote of his preference for dark colored shepherds. Stephanitz writes in his 1925 book, "Albino's, (i.e. animals without color, in other words white dogs with completely colorless skin, pale claws, flesh colored nose and reddish eyes) must be completely excluded from breeding. With dogs, however, who have been bred to white color, where the skin has retained the pigmentation, it is not a sign of paling but of breed. This, however, applies only to other breeds; for shepherd dogs, both smooth and rough haired, white is only allowed for shaggy haired ones as the descendants of the old sheep dogs bred for white."

The prime directive of Stephanitz breeding mandate was that the German Shepherd Dog breed must embody all the qualities of a working herding dog. He maintained that the beauty is in the working abilities of the dog; muscle, bone, joint, proud look and bearing, intelligence, stamina and work ethic were the primary strengths sought in the breed. To ensure this prime directive of breeding was honored Stephanitz created the Koerung, a survey, in which the dogs were thoroughly examined, judged, and deemed fit or unfit for breeding. Coat color considerations did not disqualify a dog from Stephanitz’s German Shepherd breed standard during the first twenty years of the breed club. Dogs known to carry the "white coat factor" were not, for this reason alone, excluded from the SV breed program. This is not to say white-coated puppies were happily received in all breeder's litters, even in these early formative years of the breed when the recessive gene for white coats was so well established and wide spread in the breeding pool. (Schutzhund is the modern version of Stephanitz's breeding assessment survey.)

By 1923 Stephanitz's still growing club membership numbered over 57,000 enthusiasts who grouped into factions of herdsmen, commercial breeders, and show dog devotees. Many commercial and show oriented breeders, who were less passionate about the dog's working characteristics, particularly wanted the breed to have a full wolf appearance. This, in part, is a carry over from the old Phylax Society members who joined with Stephanitz on the founding of his club in 1899. Winfred Strickland writes in her (1988 revised edition) book, “The German Shepherd Today,” that the old Phylax Society, "was based solely on its members common interest in breeding (herding) dogs to resemble wolves, presumably hoping to cash in on their high market value." Another faction opposed to the SV direction, who did not reject white as a breed color, actually broke away and operated under the DSV name until about 1928.

In his 1923 book Stephanitz recognized the esteem many held for the wolf look and wrote that breeders must not to add more “wolf blood" into his dogs because he had already developed the ideal balance of conformation and temperament. Stephanitz also wrote of SV politics in his 1923 book, “The group with the best chance of gaining the upper hand was the one which envisioned turning the breed into a working-type show dog, with at costs, erect ears and, possibly, a wolf-like appearance as well.” Even while expressing the importance of utility over appearance, Stephanitz himself expressed a personal preference for the wolf-like black and tan coloring in his 1916 and later writings. By the late 1920s SV breeders were already beginning to [cull] white-coated puppies from litters and the SV breeding program.

White German Shepherds Adopted Throughout the Americas

Ann Tracy and her White German Shepherds

Ann Tracy and her White German Shepherds

In 1913 the German Shepherd Dog Club of America was established with the registry of Queen of Switzerland (AKC # 115006) and the adoption of Stephanitz’s breed standard. One of the founders of the German Shepherd Dog Club of America and one of the earliest German Shepherd Dog breeders in America was Ann Tracy of New York. Ann Tracy's breeding program, using Stephanitz's colored German Shepherds imported from Germany, produced white-coated Shepherds almost immediately. A litter that whelped on March 27, 1917 in Tracy's kennel contained four white puppies: Stonihurst Edmund, Stonihurst Eric, Stonihurst Eadred and Stonihurst Elf. These four white German Shepherds are believed to be the first white Shepherds bred and born in the United States and are the first to be registered with the American Kennel Cub.

Geraldine Rockefeller Dodge and her German Shepherds

Geraldine Rockefeller Dodge and her German Shepherds

In the early 1920’s, H. N. Hanchett of Minnesota and Geraldine Rockefeller Dodge of New York imported additional German-bred German Shepherd Dogs, including some white-coated dogs, to the United States. Thus, the white-coated German Shepherd Dog had an early and prominent entry in North America. The beauty of these White German Shepherds became increasingly admired throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico in the years after World War I and its numbers increased as popularity of the German Shepherd Dog breed increased.

In 1920 America, just as the Strongheart (registered as Etzel v. Oeringen) and Rin-Tin-Tin silent movies were ready to exploded in popularity, the AKC registered just 2,135 shepherd dogs. From 1921 onward movies and vaudeville stage acts featuring nearly two-dozen German Shepherd stars rapidly grew in popularity. A few white German Shepherds appeared in movies during this period, but they were particular popular for vaudeville acts because their size and white coat made them highly visible on stage. Popularity of the German Shepherd dog on stage and screen quickly translated into explosive demand for German Shepherd puppies across North America. The German Shepherd became the most popular breed in North America as every little boy and girl wanted his or her own Strongheart and Rin-Tin-Tin dog.

By 1926 the annual number of German Shepherds registered with the AKC had increased to 21,596 and that reflects only part of the population increase for the year as not every breeder and new shepherd owner registered their dog with the AKC. The German Shepherd dog remained the most popular breed in North America for several years thereafter. The recessive gene for white coats was common in the American breeding population during this period of breeding frenzy. As with the first two decades of Shepherd breeding in Germany, more than half the litters of this population explosion presented white puppies. The famous dog bloodlines of Strongheart (Oeringen) and Rin-Tin-Tin are also known to have produced black-pigmented white-coated puppies. The Oeringen bloodline was considered one of the better lines in Germany at that time and it supplied the foundation stock for many of the more prestigious kennels in North America.

Paul Strang writes in his 1983 book, "The White German Shepherd Book" that, "During the late forties and early fifties Lloyd C. Brackett's Long Worth Kennels dominated the scene, producing more outstanding shepherds than any kennel in North America. This bloodline combined the best shepherds of the nation... From this line came solid black, Kirk of San Miguel, and many other notable dark color-coated dogs such as Morex or Ilex of Long-Worth, who each carried the white-coat gene. Here again we find the appearance of White Shepherd puppies in these popular lines was common. Many of North America's German Shepherd lines have Long-Worth bloodlines in their pedigrees. In fact, the Long-Worth bloodline is more common in American White Shepherd pedigrees than any other." It is, therefore, clear that well managed breeding programs produced high quality dark color-coated dogs side by side with dark pointed (pigmented) white-coated dogs in the same litters for generations.

White German Shepherds Outlawed in Pre-WWII Germany

According to Kerrin Winter Churchill author of "Passion to Surive", (AKC Gazette, 2002, NAIA 2006), " In the 1930s members of the Nazi party were the "elite" and dominated every aspect of German society, even German Shepherd dog breeding." Many of the elite did not agree with Stephanitz that the breed should embody, first and foremost, the qualities of a working shepherd dog. The predator wolf appearance of the colored German Shepherd Dog increasingly symbolized everything German in the eyes of the Nazi Party and so, partly because Hitler also loved the breed, SV politics became an extension Nazi politics. Adolf Hitler even bred German Shepherds and while he was Chancellor he would exhibit them in shows.

According to Winter Churchill, "Beginning in 1933 with dogs belonging to Jewish breeders, Hitler began seizing entire kennels. The German military made great use of dogs during WWII. Non Jews, who bred working dogs deemed valuable by the Nazis, were given ration cards to feed them. The dogs remained with their breeders, but it was understood that the Nazis could take them at anytime. In his book, “The Complete Boxer”, Milo Denlinger explains 'the Nazis muscled in on the dog fancy, as on so many other things.' In German Shepherds as well as Dobermans and Boxers, the Nazis helped themselves to thousands of dogs. In doing so, they destroyed some of the oldest and most distinguished bloodlines of all three breeds. With the original breeders out of the way, Hitler-appointed officials held private kennel inspections but they weren’t knowledgeable breed people. Hard pressed to evaluate a dog, their decisions were often impulsive. Dogs that didn’t suit Nazi ideals of the moment were shot on sight. This horror has been overlooked for years as the atrocities done to mankind in the name of the Third Reich have overshadowed all else."

Hitler disliked Stephanitz, who would not join the Nazi party, and Nazi breed overseers continuously attempted to banish breed founder and club president Stephanitz from the Dog Club. In her (1988 revised edition) book, “The German Shepherd Today,” Winfred Strickland writes, "There were many SV members who were Nazi and they tried to meddle in the affairs of the SV. They persistently used vile means to cut Stephanitz off from his life's work and when he resisted they threatened him with a concentration camp." After thirty-six years of managing the German Shepherd Dog Club of Germany, he gave up and left the club in 1935. He died one year later on April 22, 1936.

Undesirable Trait?

Undesirable Trait?

By the time the Nazis party took full control of the SV in 1935 white-coated shepherds were, without question, outlawed as undesirable. SV doctrine maintained the white-coat factor caused coat paling across the full range of dark coat colors. In the flawed eugenics science popular at the time, all manner of breed ills were attributed to the white coat "factor" including: deafness, blindness, albinism, mental instability, sterility and degeneration and loss of vigor were associated with and blamed on the white factor influence on. Once these beliefs took root, they flourished, grew and remain to this day. By the mid-1930s white German Shepherds had been banished from all German dog shows and breeders culling all white puppies from litters.

By the end of World War II, thousands upon thousands of German Shepherd Dogs in Germany had been slaughtered, as the military confiscated any dog they could find for military service, regardless of breeding value, in the final years of the war. While the few German Shepherd Dogs that managed to survive World War II almost represent a new start for the breed in Germany, they nonetheless embodied the foundation stock established by Stephanitz's original breeding program. White-coated puppies born in Germany after WWII were not documented and they were immediately culled out of new litters, as is true to this day. Therefore, we do not have a complete record of white-coated German Shepherd Dogs presenting in "standard-color" litters in Germany since 1935. However, sires and bitches that breed litters with one or more whites are documented in the SV Zeitung (magazine) and unregistered, when breeders report such litter presentations. A few White German Shepherd Dogs did managed to survive the Nazis and WWII in Germany and Holland. Descendants of these lucky white-coated dogs that trace their heritage directly to the white GSDs of the early 1900s survive to this day, despite not being allowed registration by the SV.


There are many misconceptions about white-coated German Shepherd Dogs and the gene that expresses their coat color. First and foremost, white German Shepherd Dogs are not albinos. Albinos lack all pigment where white German Shepherd Dogs have brown eyes and black pigment on their noses, around their mouth, on their paw pads, around their eye rims have dark skin and nails.

One In the Same Breed

One In the Same Breed

The white gene is recessive and only expresses coat color. The white gene is not linked to poor health, temperament, color paling in the entire breed, or any other negative trait in breed's genetic make-up. The white coat gene is actually a masking gene that masks the real color and pattern of the dog. A white German Shepherd Dog can carry genes for any color and pattern found in the breed, including, black, black and tan, black and red, black and silver, black and cream, blue, liver, sable, saddled and bi-colored.

White shepherds are unjustly blamed for color dilution or paling for the entire breed because the white gene can mask expression of genetic coding for diluted (pale) colors such as a black and silver, black and cream or liver. German breeders of the 1920's and 1930’s misinterpreted pale offspring of white dogs, masking a pale colored coat, as an undesirable result of a “white” generic trait rather than the actual expression of genetic coding for diluted (pale) colors from the breeding pair. Even today, some German Shepherd Dog breeders identify color paling in the entire breed as one of the primary justifications to “cull” white coated shepherd puppies from new litters. This point has been refuted innumerable times by leading White German Shepherd Dog breeders and modern geneticists using state-of-the-art DNA methods.

White German Shepherd Breed Clubs Founded in North America

Across North America, the full diversity of the German Shepherd Dog gene pool was not impacted by World War II. White German Shepherds were registered and shown at AKC dog shows side-by-side with their colored brothers and sisters across North America from 1917 through WWII and up to 1967.

By the late fifties and early sixties members of the German Shepherd Dog Club of America endorsed the German Club’s mandate for wolf-like coloration and mounted a campaign to make white coats a disqualifying fault in the club's breed standard. By the mid-1960’s the color white was entered as a disqualification in the German Shepherd Dog Club of America (GSDCA) breed conformation standard. The disqualification was then adopted by the American Kennel Club (AKC) and on April 9, 1968, and white coat German Shepherd Dogs were barred from the AKC conformation show ring.

As the “standard-color” German Shepherd Dog Club of America moved to expel white coat members of the breed in the 1960’s, White German Shepherd Dog supporters formed their own clubs to protect the white-coated dog’s interests. In 1964, White German Shepherd Dog supporters in Sacramento, California formed the first White German Shepherd Dog Club to safeguard the white dogs. With the 1968 expulsion of white-coated German Shepherd Dogs from the AKC conformation dog show ring, White German Shepherd Dog supporters across the United States joined with the Sacramento club in 1969 to form the White German Shepherd Dog Club of America.

The White German Shepherd Dog Club of America adopted Stephanitz’s German Shepherd Dog breed standard, scheduled conformation dog shows for white coat dogs and organized efforts to protect the interests of white coat German Shepherd Dogs. In 1977, the White German Shepherd Dog Club of America changed its name to The White German Shepherd Dog Club International, Inc. Through the club’s efforts, the AKC chose to continue to register white coat German Shepherds in their German Shepherd Dog breed registry. The AKC also allowed white coat German Shepherd Dogs to show in AKC’s obedience show rings and compete in AKC tracking, herding, and temperament trial events.

Since 1977 other white Shepherd clubs independently formed in the United States and other countries around the world. In the United States a second organization named The White German Shepherd Dog Club of America (WGSDCA) was founded in January 1997. Like the WGSDCII the WGSDCA sponsors independent conformation dog shows using qualified judges to award championship points and titles to white dogs and colored dogs that carry the white-gene. Both clubs also promote activities including agility, obedience, tracking and various working trials.

Both the WGSDCII and WGSDCA organizations today continue to lobby the German Shepherd Dog Club of America and American Kennel Club for the reunification of white-coated and color-coated members of the breed under one breed standard. The Constitution of both white dog clubs state that the first objective of the Club shall be: to preserve the name and heritage of the white-coated German Shepherd Dog as an integral and inseparable part of the German Shepherd Dog breed. (see charters at WGSDCII and WGSDCA web sites)

The recessive gene for white hair, continues to circulate in the American population of the German Shepherd Dog breed gene pool. While many breeders strongly affiliated with the colored GSD breed clubs do take care to never breed dog pairs that both carry the recessive white gene, many "back yard" breeders do continue to produce litters that include white puppies. Colored coat puppies from mixed white and colored litters, who in some numbers carry the recessive white coat gene, are sold and often used to produce new litters. Further, color-coated sires and bitches that produce white puppies, thus proving they carry the white recessive gene, are used again and again to produce new puppy litters who then carry the white recessive gene forward. White coated puppies, therefore, continue to be reproduced in some numbers, making white the second most common coat color registered in the AKC German Shepherd breed registry. This is why the American Kennel Club continues to register white coat dogs when new white coat German Shepherd owners choose to register their dogs.

In addition to AKC, the other prominent North American Kennel Club, the United Kennel Club (UKC) also registers white coat German Shepherd dogs in its German Shepherd Dog breed registry. The UKC is an all-breed performance-dog registry, registering dogs from all the United States and 25 other international countries. The German Shepherd Dog has always been recognized by the UKC as a breed that includes white coats as well as various colored coats.

The UKC breed standard for the German Shepherd Dog states in part, “the German Shepherd Dog comes in many colors and white. Regardless of coat color, the dog’s nose, lips, and eye rims must have dark pigment.” White-coat German Shepherd Dogs are qualified to compete equally in all 12,000 annually licensed UKC events including conformation shows, tests of herding and working ability, and other performance events in which those dogs can prove their instincts and heritage.

White German Shepherds can show in conformation events in a variety of other clubs too, including the American Rare Breed Association (ARBA), the International All-Breed Canine Association (IABCA), the National Canine Association (NCA), and the Canine Kennel Club (CKC). The WGSDCA awards championship points based on wins in many, but not all, of these clubs.

"Pure" White Shepherd Breed Clubs Are Founded in North America

Even though the UKC fully accepts white-coated German Shepherd Dogs, many original North American supporters of a unified white/colored breed standard have determined the German Shepherd Dog Clubs and Kennel Clubs of America and Canada are on an unalterable path to discredit and eradicate the white-coated German Shepherd Dog. Many white Shepherd supporters had already given up their efforts to promote a unified white/colored breed by 1998 when the German Shepherd Dog Club of Canada finally won its 30-year campaign to have the white-coated dogs expelled from Canadian Kennel Club sanctioned Conformation Dog Shows. (Like the AKC, the CKC continues to register white Shepherds in their German Shepherd Dog breed registry and allow White German Shepherd Dogs to show in AKC’s obedience show rings and compete in AKC tracking, herding, and temperament trial events.) This disenfranchised group of White German Shepherd supporters decided the White Shepherd could find acceptance only through its own separate breed recognition and registration. Their resolve for a separate White Shepherd breed registration has only strengthened as the German Shepherd Dog Clubs of America and Canada have continued pressure on the Kennel Clubs of each country to stop registering white-coat dogs as members of German Shepherds Dog breed.

During the late 1990’s the American White Shepherd Association (AWSA) organized in the United States and the White Shepherd Club of Canada (WSCC) reorganized in Canada to advance the interests of purebred White Shepherds as a separate and distinct breed of working and herding dog. The WSCC first organized in 1971 and for twenty years worked to reunify white and colored dogs under one breed standard. Early in 1995 the WSCC abandoned its unified breed standard efforts and organized to promote the separate White Shepherd breed standard. The U.S. and Canadian clubs then petitioned the AKC and CKC to recognize the white-coated dog as a separate White Shepherd breed, but as of January 2007 neither kennel has approved the petitions. In 1999 the United White Shepherd Club (UWSC) organized as a United Kennel Club affiliate and immediately petitioned for a new UKC White Shepherd breed classification.

The UKC accepted the UWSC‘s petition and created a new and separate White Shepherd breed conformation standard and registry. The UKC now recognizes both the new White Shepherd breed standard as well as the original German Shepherd Dog breed conformation standard where white and colored dogs continue to be considered together as one breed. The UKC’s decision to register White Shepherd Dogs and White German Shepherd Dogs in separate breed registries is an acknowledgement of the two main truths articulated by breed unification and breed separation advocates: The recessive gene for white coats will continue to circulate in the colored German Shepherd Dog breed gene pool and increasing numbers of White Shepherd breeders worldwide are rapidly refining and expanding a distinct breed line of White Shepherd dogs.

Since the early 1990’s White Shepherd breeders affiliated with AWSA, WSCC and UWSC have continually paired and repaired only white-coated German Shepherd Dog sires and bitches for several generations to breed what is today considered a "pure" White Shepherd breed. Using Stephanitz’s original German Shepherd Dog standard, breeders have successfully founded a North American White Shepherd breed that closely resembles Stephanitz’s vision of an ideal Shepherd Dog, similar in conformation to German Shepherd Dog breed progenitor white-coated Greif von Sparwasser and early White German Shepherd Dog Berno v.d. Seewiese depicted in Stephanitz’s 1921 book. (Even so, it is a genetic reality that the DNA coding for German Shepherd Dog colored coats will continue to circulate in the "pure" White Shepherd breed gene pool just white coat genes continue to circulate in the colored German Shepherd Dog breed gene pool.) As with WGSDCII and WGSDCA these clubs also promote and organize conformation dog shows and advocate that associated breeders and owners participate in obedience training and working trials such as are supported by the Kennel Clubs. Schutzhund training is popular among European White Shepherd clubs, but interest in American Schutzhund is now budding among some North American White Shepherd owners.

White Shepherd Breed Clubs Founded in Europe

Notably, the new White Shepherd breed has been readily adopted in many countries around the world. White German Shepherd Dogs and White Shepherd Dogs have become increasingly popular throughout Europe and other parts of the world. Many European breeders have imported North American White Shepherd dogs, some originally registered as AKC or CKC White German Shepherd Dogs, to build their own separate pure White Shepherd breeding programs. Today, European populations of the white dog, along both the White German Shepherd Dog and "separate" White Shepherd breed lines (,but increasingly along the "separate" White Shepherd breed line over successive breeding generations) have grown quite large. It must be noted too that a few small lines of white German Shepherd Dogs (still recognized by that name by the breeders and owners) remain in Germany and Holland that trace their heritage directly to the white German Shepherd Dogs of the early 1900s, even though they have not enjoyed registration by the SV since 1933.

Since June 1991, White Shepherd dogs have been registered as a separate breed with the Swiss Stud Book. Lobo White Burch, born in May 1966 and registered with the American Kennel Club, is considered the progenitor of the White Shepherd breed in Switzerland. Ms. Agathe Burch brought Lobo at the age of four years and imported him to Switzerland from America in 1970. In 1973 Lobo was bred to English registered white German Shepherd Dog, White Lilac Blinkbonny, who had been imported to Switzerland from England. Their offspring were registered with the Swiss Kennel Club (SKC) under Ms. Burch's Shangrila kennel prefix in 1973. The SKC officially recognized the White Shepherd as a separate breed name 1991 due to Ms. Burch's pioneering efforts. Kurt Kron acquired Lobo and continued breeding White Shepherd when Ms. Burch returned to America.

Now, one or more White Shepherd dog breed clubs have organized in Switzerland, Germany, Austria, France, Hungary, Czech Republic, the U.K, Slovenia, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Holland. As of January 2007, White Shepherd clubs in several countries including Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, Germany, France, Cech Rep., Slovakia, and Denmark have associated with a parent club named Berger Blanc International. In the year 2002 Berger Blanc International petitioned the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) (English translation, World Canine Federation) to recognize the White Shepherd as a new and separate breed. The FCI accepted the petition as of 01 January 2003 and now recognizes the White Shepherd breed as the "Berger Blanc Suisse" under as standard number 347. The FCI named the White Shepherd (Berger Blanc) breed 'Suisse' because the Swiss Kennel Club (SKC) was the first to register the breed separately from GSDs.

White Shepherd Breed Clubs Founded in Australia and New Zealand

The White German Shepherd Dog and White Shepherd history in Australia is similar the their histories in Canada. The Australian National Kennel Council list white coats a fault in its German Shepherd Dog breed standard in 1994 and stopped registering white-coated German Shepherd Dogs in 1995. White German Shepherd Dog breed and White Swiss Shepherd Dog breed clubs in Australia include: The White German Shepherd Dog Club of Victoria (WGSDCV) and The White Swiss Shepherd Dog Club of Australia Inc (WSSDCA). The latest group in Australia being United White Shepherds of Australia (UWSA, formed to bridge the divide and bring our white coated dogs under the same banner, utilising a breed standard that best represents our Australian White Shepherds. The White Shepherd Dog Club of New Zealand also protects and promotes the white dog.

Berger Picard

The Berger Picard (pronounced 'Bear-zhay Pee-carr') or Picardy Shepherd is a French breed of dog of the herding group of breeds. These dogs nearly became extinct after both World War I and World War II and still remain a rare breed to this date with only about 3500 dogs in France, around 500 in Germany and less than 100 in the United States. This breed of dog is people-oriented, loyal, and can make a good family pet if properly socialized early in life.

The 2005 American movie Because of Winn-Dixie brought 5 of these dogs over from Europe ("Scott," "Laiko" and "Tasha" performed in the movie). The trainer, Mark Forbes, wanted a dog that resembled the scruffy mutt on the orginal book's cover but needed several that looked alike so that production could continue smoothly, thus he decided on this rare purebred dog from France.

It is this breed's rustic mutt-like appearance that has prevented it from being rapidly popularized and exploited in the United States by the movie release, as has been the fate of other breeds. People are often fooled into thinking "Winn-Dixie" is a mixed breed.

Like any breed of dog, the Picardy Shepherd is not for everyone, and much thought must be devoted to choosing the right dog. As more Picard puppies are slowly being imported to the U.S. from France and other countries, it is important that owners and potential breeders remain responsible; they will determine the fate of this breed in the United States. The Berger Picard Club of America has recently been formed to help promote and protect this breed.


The Berger Picard is a medium-sized, well-muscled dog, slightly longer than tall with a tousled yet elegant appearance. Their ears are naturally erect, high-set and quite wide at the base. Their eyebrows are thick, but do not shield their dark frank eyes. They are known for their smile. Their natural tail normally reaches to the hock and is carried with a slight J-curve at the tip. Their weather-proof coat is harsh and crisp to the touch, not excessively long with a minimal undercoat. Coat colors fall into two colors, fawn and gray with a range of shade variations.

Berger Picard

Berger Picard


Height: 21-25½ in. (53-65 cm.)

Weight: 50-70 lb. (23-32 kg.)


The Berger Picard's attributes include a lively, intelligent personality and a sensitive and assertive disposition that responds quickly to obedience training. By and large Picards are laid back and mellow but they are known for having a stubborn streak and being reserved towards strangers.

Picards are energetic and hard working, alert, loyal and sweet-tempered with children. They are happiest when they have a job to do. They also have a protective nature, making them good guard dogs. However, they are not excessive barkers. Some Picards are notoriously picky eaters, and it may be difficult to decide on a diet that you and the dog agree on.

The breed also has a well developed sense of humor making them an endearing companion, and they continue to be used very effectively as both sheep and cattle herder in their native land and elsewhere.

Like many herding breeds, Picards require human companionship and lots of it. Since they can be demonstrative to their owners and enthusiastic friends towards other animals, formal obedience training and plenty of positive socialization is a must. Athletic, loyal and filled with a desire to work a long day, the breed excels in any "job" as long as enthusiasm and praise is a part of the task.


Berger Picards due to lack of over breeding are a relatively healthy, disease free breed. Hip dysplasia is known, but not common because the dog is not very large. Nevertheless a reputable breeder will have hips and elbows x-rayed and eyes certified for hereditary diseases.

The breed's life expectancy is 13 to 14 years.



Bred to work the fields, Picards are very athletic and revel in exercise. A good deal of exercise is therefore a must for this breed. Otherwise boredom will give way to destructive doggie behavior and rowdy play. They enjoy swimming, running beside a bike, and nice long walks. The Berger Picard makes an excellent jogging companion. The breed's intelligence and sensitivity have made it increasingly popular in dog sports such as agility, Tracking, Schutzhund, Flyball and French Ring Sport.

Living conditions

Despite being more suited for being outdoors, Picards can do surprisingly well in city life provided they are given enough energy-releasing exercise. However, the Picard always tries to stay close to its owner and family, so when given a choice between being alone in a big yard or inside with its master the Picard would rather be with his "shepherd." Inside the house the Picard is usually a very quiet dog, waiting for its time to go out to run, play and sniff around.


The Berger Picard is a low maintenance dog. The rough, tousled coat does not mat or require special care to yield its rustic appearance. Brushing should only be done about once a month. Bathing is rarely done. Their fur should never be trimmed except maybe around the ear edges. They are not profuse shedders and have no "doggie odor".

Bernese Mountain Dog

The Bernese Mountain Dog (also called Berner Sennenhund or Bouvier Bernois) is a versatile breed of farm dog originating in the canton of Berne in Switzerland.


A tri-colored dog of large size, the “Berner” (as they are often called) stands 23 to 27.5 inches (58-70 cm) at the withers; breed standards for this breed normally specify no weight, but the usual range is 65 to 120 pounds. The breed is instantly recognized by its distinctive tri-color pattern: body, neck, legs, head and ears are solid black; cheeks, stockings and thumbprints (or ghost eyes) are rust or tan; toes, chest, muzzle, tail tip and blaze between the eyes white. The pattern is rigid and varies only slightly in the amount of white. A perfectly-marked individual gives the impression of a white “Swiss cross” on the chest, when viewed from the front in sitting position. The eyes are an expressive dark brown and are almond shaped.Male Bernese mountain dogs are normally larger in size than females but both genders are extremely strong.


The Bernese coat is slightly rough in outline, but not at all harsh in texture. The undercoat is fairly dense; the coat is quite dirt and weather resistant. A good brushing every week or two is sufficient to keep it in fine shape, except when the undercoat is being shed; then daily combing is in order for the duration of the moult. Bernese Mountain Dogs shed year-round, and drifts of fur are to be expected.


A close-up

A close-up

Bernese are outdoor dogs at heart, though well-behaved in the house; they need activity and exercise, but do not have a great deal of endurance. They can move with amazing bursts of speed for their size when motivated. If they are sound (no problems with their hips, elbows, or other joints) they enjoy hiking and generally stick close to their people.

The Bernese temperament is a strong point of the breed. Affectionate, loyal, faithful, stable and intelligent but don't forget emotional, Bernese Mountain Dogs make wonderful family pets. The majority of Bernese are very friendly to people, and other dogs. They often get along well with other pets such as cats, horses, etc. They are very trainable provided the owner is patient and consistent in training; Bernese need time to think things through. They do not respond well to harsh treatment, but are very willing to please and work well for praise and treats. The breed is stable in temperament, and is patient and loving.

Bernese Mountain Dogs are quirky, loving dogs, craving love and affection. They love to lean against people or sit on their feet.

The Bernese calm temperament makes them a natural for pulling small carts or wagons, a task they originally performed in Switzerland. With proper training they enjoy giving children rides in a cart or participating in a parade. The Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America offers drafting trials open to all breeds; dogs can earn a NDD (Novice Draft Dog) or an DD (Draft Dog) title. Regional Bernese clubs often offer carting workshops.


The breed’s genetic base is somewhat narrow, so hereditary diseases and inbreeding depression are major issues. Several kinds of cancer (malignant histiocytosis, mast cell tumor, lymphosarcoma, fibrosarcoma, osteosarcoma) commonly affect Berners; hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, osteoarthritis, aortic stenosis plus autoimmune and kidney problems are other major health issues for the breed. Many litters contain stillborn young, a major indicator of inbreeding depression.

Although slow to mature, the Bernese do not live a particularly long time. The Swiss saying, "three years a young dog, three years a good dog and three years an old dog" originally referred not to their longevity, but rather to the tractability and demeanor of the breed through its life stages. Nevertheless, today even nine years may be slightly optimistic as surveys around the world show that the average lifespan of a Bernese is seven years, primarily as a result of the prevalent occurrence of cancers.

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