Posts Tagged ‘dogs’

Irish Wolfhound



The Irish Wolfhound is believed to have originated in the ‘Emerald Isle’ at some point between 600 and 200 BCE. Half wolf and half mongrel, the early examples were probably very wild, like their owners, the old Irish chieftains who lived in the caves of Connemara and kept warm by lighting fires and wearing wolf skins. Whilst the wolfhound is a very large beast indeed (approximately the same height as an average pony but with a slimmer, more graceful build) it is also a ‘gentle giant’ (this is the term dog lovers generally use for large, scary-looking dogs). Due to the dog’s size, plenty of exercise is required. The wolfhound is not a cheap pet to look after because it will eat a lot of food (e.g. an eight ounce steak for dinner, with maybe some sausages and tripe and a half dozen oysters on the side). In the evenings, the wolfhound enjoys Guinness and perhaps some fiddle (violin) music. If you find yourself with a spare wolfhound on your hands please donate it to charity – it is unfair to keep it chained up in a small wooden kennel in a concrete garden with a cone around its head all day as a neighbour of mine once did. Irish Wolfhounds are always born in October, making them Librans (or, if they are born at the end of the month, Scorpios).



Look at this. Doesn’t look much like a dog, does it? Well, it IS a dog. And it is a REAL dog. It is the Komondor.

A traditional Hungarian herding breed crafted from old mops and solid bone, the Komondor has the largest wingspan of any dog known to man and has even been known to snatch up whole lambs with its extraordinarily strong talons. In the 1980s a brand of pipe tobacco was named after the Komondor and went on to become the best-selling pipe tobacco of all time. The Komondor lives mostly in Peru where it has a modest holiday residence in the mountains.

English Bull Terrier

Update: due to the nature of recent comments on this post it has been necessary to temporarily close it to fresh comments. For further information, see: IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROM MARKUS PRETZEL.

The English Bull Terrier was originally bred for fighting bulls but these days they are mostly just for show. The breed has a very muscular build and a strange-looking head and is available in brindle (brown) and white as well as a combination of the two colours. English Bull Terriers like being with people but enjoy attacking other dogs so if you decide to get one you will need to be careful in the park and always keep your dog on a lead. Some owners use muzzles to avoid embarrassing situations.

Because the fear gene is removed during the breeding process these dogs are not afraid of anything; English Bull Terriers are always up for a fight and can be aggressive towards animals much larger than themselves (e.g. bulls). Having said that, in the film Oliver! (based on the novel Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens), Bill Sikes’ loyal English Bull Terrier, Bull’s Eye, eventually deserts his owner after Sikes brutally murders his prostitute girlfriend, Nancy. This shows that, despite its aggressive nature, the English Bull Terrier has a kind heart and will not put up with people who treat others badly.

Some think that the English Bull Terrier will eat anything but this is not true. Generally, it is recommended that you feed them meat and biscuits like most other dogs. English Bull Terriers are always born in the spring – late March or April – meaning they are Arians. They like to drink Budweiser.

The 1963 Disney film The Incredible Journey featured an English Bull Terrier called Bodger who went on a 2000 mile trip with his friends (a Siamese cat and a Labrador Retriever) across the Canadian wilderness in search of Edward, a kind of dog guru. When they couldn’t find Edward, the owner of the three pets picked them up in his station wagon and took them home. Whilst The Incredible Journey is a great movie it is also a little unrealistic: if the trip had been real it would not have lasted very long as the English Bull Terrier would have killed and eaten his companions!

There have been many famous owners of English Bull Terriers but perhaps none more famous than Adolf Hitler.


The Poodle is available in a selection of sizes: Standard, Toy and Miniature. The Standard is the top of the range model and has an IQ that is only bettered by the Border Collie; the smaller varieties tend to struggle with the harder questions.

Whilst it is true that Toy Poodles exist mainly for entertainment purposes, it is important to remember that they are not actual toys: they are living things that must be treated with respect.

Popular colours are white and pink. Often, when the Poodle returns from being cleaned at the Poodle parlour you will find it has been shaved in such a way as to leave prominent balls of fur around its ankles and tail. It may also have had ribbons applied to various areas. Whilst this is generally accepted to be ‘just a bit of fun’ it can prove degrading for male Poodles. Be sure to monitor the situation to ensure it does not get out of hand.

If you decide to buy a Poodle it’s worth trying an authorised dealer first. Don’t be afraid to haggle to get the best deal: there are big discounts to be had in the current economic climate.

When you get your Poodle home make it a nest from old torn newspaper and odds and ends. It will be tired for the first week or so as it acclimatises to its new home and will need plenty of cuddles and meat. Your Poodle may also fancy a biscuit or two: Bourbons and Custard Creams are their favourites but if you only have Malted Milks in your biscuit caddy these will suffice. Put on a nice DVD – something gentle like a Disney animated classic – to cheer up your new Poodle. When it is safely asleep you can relax and think about a suitable name (many owners plump for monikers such as ‘Coco’ or ‘Pepster’).

Once your Poodle has had all its vaccinations there is nothing wrong with taking it to the park for a long walk: the Standard model actually loves this! But the smaller varieties can tire easily and the use of a wheeled platform can help on longer trips. You can make one of these fairly easily using castors and a piece of old wood with a bit of string attached. However if you do choose to use one of these walking aids do please be careful and remember to make sure your Poodle’s feet are adequately secured to the platform with some Sellotape or something similar before setting off.


The Rottweiler, or Rottweil Metzgerhund (Butcher Dog), hails from the German market town of Rottweil on the edge of the Black Forest. A robust, hardy breed of the Molosser-type, the ‘Rottie’ has unfairly gained an unsavoury reputation over the years not only as a result of its popularity amongst thugs but also because of its portrayal as a ‘Devil Dog’ in 70s horror flick The Omen. In reality, however, these dogs are gentle giants; dedicated and loyal, they were prized by the Romans for their herding abilities and later became expertly practised at the art of butchery.

The coat is black, coarse and dense with a tan underside. The head is large and bullish, broad between the ears and perfectly suited to the boater. Fitted with a reliable workhorse engine, the Rottweiler generates a considerable amount of torque and delivers consistent pulling power throughout the rev range making it one of the most suitable breeds for towing. In its native Germany, the breed has been used for both ambulance and police work.

Until the outbreak of World War I, the Rottweiler was usually the first point of contact for hungry travellers seeking Wiener Schnitzel, Bratwurst, Bierwurst and the traditional Schwarzwald delicacy, Curry Wurst. Wearing their characteristic red and white striped aprons, boater hats and lederhosen, the ‘butcher dogs’ were a common sight throughout Bavaria and Swabia, dispensing sausages to hordes of hungry merchants from the carts they pulled behind them.

But the breed was to fall into disrepute following what the records refer to only as a Fleisch-Zwischenfall (literally, a ‘meat incident’) in Flanders, 1917. With the exception of a further, rarely-mentioned indiscretion in the 1940s and a brief appearance in the aforementioned movie The Omen, not much was heard from the Rottweiler until the late 1980s, when the breed was re-launched as a family dog and all-round good egg.

These days, Rottweilers are just dogs, plain and simple, and no longer work as butchers. ‘No more the butcher’s life for me,’ sings the lonely, oft-misunderstood Rottweiler to himself in melancholy moments when he pops out to the back yard to smoke a cigarette and ponder what it’s all about. Luckily, such moments are few and far between as the Rottie has now found new purpose as best friend to the men, women and children of the world. ‘Hooray for the Rottweiler,’ all the people sing, ‘for he is our friend!’ Indeed he is.

Competition Winner Announced!

Dog Breeds of the World is pleased to announce its first competition winner! We would like to thank all those who entered; please keep the entries coming as the competition is ongoing. The prize of a beautiful and original signed picture of the winner’s chosen breed (right) goes to Judith Rachmani of Tel Aviv, who writes:

‘Greetings from sunny Israel. I would like to see the Rottweiler featured – to counter the recent unfair negative publicity about Rottweilers. Let us pay tribute to the Rottweiler’s unfailing courage, loyalty, good nature, eagerness to please and capacity for hard work.’

Thanks, Judith, your picture is on its way. In the meantime, you can read about your chosen breed here.

Well, the Rottweiler certainly proved a popular choice! In no particular order, here are our runners up…

Jennifer Gibbard of Hampshire:

‘I think Rottweilers are a misunderstood breed. Having owned 3 beautiful Rotti’s I think its about time people remember the good things about them – how majestic, strong and loyal they are. I love them!’

Laura Love from Londonderry (great name, Laura):

‘…for the last year my son and I have been volunteering as dog walkers at our local shelter for abandoned dogs and cats. We have come into contact with a number of Rottweilers and have found them to be gentle giants. They adore affection and have been given a bad reputation by people keeping them as status symbols to appear fierce. They are really lovely animals!!!’

and Rachael Hardy of Sheffield:

‘I would love to see the Rottweiler featured, they are a gorgeous dog, loyal, strong and a wonderful companion. Sadly they are a much misunderstood breed due to bad ownership. I have just been lucky enough to adopt my fourth Rottie from a Rottweiler rescue and she is a beautiful, loving natured dog.’

Unfortunately there are no runners-up prizes available at present, but thanks to all contributors for your entries. For more information on Rottweilers, Dog Breeds of the World recommends the Rottweiler Welfare Association.

New Guinea Singing Dog


The New Guinea Singing Dog, or Singer, is native to the harsh tropical wetlands of the Melanesian region and is traditionally associated with the early morning delivery of milk to the homes of local residents, a practice which continues to this day. The people of the towns and villages of New Guinea write messages such as ‘2 pints of red top’ or ‘no milk today please milkie’ and leave them in empty milk bottles on their doorsteps for the Singer to collect. The Singer then delivers milk along with eggs, cream, cheese, butter, yoghurt and juice as requested. The dog has a reddish brown coat but wears an immaculate white uniform with contrasting red piping when going about its business.

A relative of the wild Australian Dingo and curiously fox-like in appearance, the Singer was isolated from other breeds in its native territory for as many as six thousand years. In recent times, no doubt partly due to the rise of the supermarket, populations have dwindled to such an extent that the breed’s conservation status is now classed as ‘vulnerable’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

The Singer usually goes to bed in the late afternoon and rises in the early hours of the morning. It sleeps close to its dairy produce so it can keep an eye on things and make sure nothing is stolen (in the jungle there are no rules and life is tough). Although the breed is short sighted and often needs to wear spectacles it sleeps very lightly and is difficult to deceive.

The New Guinea Singing Dog bonds for life. To attract a mate the Singer goes alone into the forest to sing its unique and beautiful song. In Melanesia, it is said that the sound of the Singer’s voice is so beguiling that even human beings have been enticed! To listen to the sound of a NGSD singing, click here.

The New Guinea Singing Dog is undomesticated and as such makes a challenging pet. It is essentially a wild animal and you will have a job on your hands if you decide to take one into your home. The Singer is a very robust and energetic dog which loves to run and jump and play well into old age. In its homeland people say that one day it will fly away and never return.