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BBS Breed Spotlight: The Newfoundland

The Newfoundland is a gentle and loving dog with a history rooted in hard work as well as search and rescue. While the breed isn’t commonly seen working the jobs of yesteryear due to modern changes, demand for this breed’s companionship hasn’t diminished. With it’s giant bear-like appearance and stoic demeanor, there is no confusion about the Newfoundland’s great personality —  only how to pronounce his name!

Origins

Some believe the European predecessor of the Newfoundland made its way to the island with the Vikings around 1000 AD. This breed, known as the Viking Bear Dog, was crossbred with the native nomadic Indian dogs. Around 1610, when colonization of Newfoundland and Labrador began, the development of the Newfoundland as a breed was changed forever. Fisherman and tradesman brought their European dogs to the island and mixed them with the local breed.

Fishing was and still is a huge part of life in Newfoundland. Outfitted with webbed feet and a heavy, oily coat, the Newfoundland is perfectly equipped for the rigors of hard work in extreme northern climates. Used for everything from hauling wood to pulling nets through the icy North Atlantic waters, the Newfoundland was in high demand as a working breed. At home in the water and on land, the Newfoundland is a brave water rescue dog.

A Working Breed

During the 1600s larger European breeds like Mastiffs and Pyrenees were introduced by fishermen from the Old World. Gradually, the Viking/Indian mix was transformed into a larger, stockier and heavier coated dog. This is the Newfoundland we all know and love today. read more…

BBS Breed Spotlight: Bull Terrier

Known for their uniquely shaped head and small triangular eyes, the Bull Terrier holds a very unique place in the world of dogs. With a proud and almost intimidating stance, many people mistake this happy dog’s protective demeanor as an overtly aggressive attitude. Despite appearances, the Bull Terrier is a tremendously playful and people-oriented breed well suited for family life.

A breed which defies all expectations, BestBullySticks is excited to put the Bull Terrier in this week’s Breed Spotlight!

Origins

The product of Bulldogs and a mix of terrier breeds, the unfortunate circumstances for this dog’s rise has luckily been left behind. During a time when dog fighting was far less frowned upon by Western societies, breeds like the Bull Terrier were high demand. By the 1830s, the “sport” of dog fighting in England was centered around two breeds — the bulldog and the terrier. The unsavory practitioners of dog fighting mixed these breeds in an attempt to create a tougher and more agile dog.

However, as luck would have it the Bull Terrier wasn’t the champion fighter they were looking for. Instead, this breed found its fate in the hands of an English breeder by the name of James Hinks.

By 1860, the breed — with its all white coat — became known as the “White Cavalier” whose demand became strictly fashion over function. Hinks’ involvement with the breed was instrumental to creating the family oriented dog we know today.

The Bull Terrier would become a trendy fashion symbol for the wealthy and encouraged Hinks to introduce more variety into the breed’s coat by crossing them with brindle Staffordshires. Sure enough, popularity soared and by 1885, the Bull Terrier had hopped the pond and made its way into the American Kennel Club!

While the physical appearance of this breed hasn’t changed much over the years, the aggressive attitudes have been completely bred out of the Bull Terrier. Even still, competitive at heart and scrappy by nature, the breed still retains its rough and tumble personality. read more…

BBS Breed Spotlight: Doberman Pinscher

Instantly recognizable by it’s proud stance and watchful gaze, the Doberman Pinscher is a remarkably intelligent and loyal breed. Often stereotyped as ferocious and aggressive, this even-tempered breed defies all expectations earning it’s place place as a favorite among owners today.

Originally bred for protection and commonly used in working roles, the Doberman has proved itself a loving and loyal family companion as well. Find out more about the Doberman Pinscher on this week’s BestBullySticks Breed Spotlight.

Origins

Hailing from the German town of Apolda, the first Doberman Pinschers were bred by Louis Dobermann in the late 19th century. First presented in a 1876 dog show, the Doberman hastily caught the attention of dog enthusiasts and earned American Kennel Club (AKC) recognition by 1908. Legend states Dobermann himself, a tax collector and manager of the local dog pound, sought protection from bandits and thieves during collections. Seeking a balance between strength, loyalty, intelligence and ferocity, Dobermann utilized his easy access to a wide variety of dogs to develop this new breed.

Produced by crossing existing stocks of the old shorthaired shepherd, German Pinschers, Rottweilers, and Beaucerons, Dobermann kept the best qualities of each breed producing an easily trainable guard dog ready and willing to please and protect at a moments notice.

Appearance

The unique appearance of the Doberman Pinscher makes it easily identifiable — notably cropped ears and a docked tail — and rarely confused with other breeds. There are only two specific color genes for the Doberman, black and red. However, a “dilution gene” sometimes comes into play adding blue and fawn colored coats to the mix. If this gene is carried, blue and fawn coats are produced from black and red coats respectively. Medium in size with a square muscular build, the Doberman stands between 24–28 in (61 – 71 cm) tall and weighs 66 – 88 lbs.

This renowned and unique appearance has undoubtedly helped popularize the breed. However, the Doberman’s proud stance and intimidating build has also contributed to misleading stereotypes about reckless aggression and unpredictability. Admittedly, the breed’s history has a lot to do with these these misconceptions — however, things couldn’t be further from the truth. read more…

BBS Breed Spotlight: Pumi

Pumi Color VariationsWith its cheerful demeanor, curly coat and dedication to the job at hand, the Pumi has undoubtedly earned its reputation as a hardworking and loving companion. Whimsical and outspoken, this breed originated in the late 17th or early 18th century though a combination of Eastern and Western European crossbre
eding. BestBullySticks is excited to share the history of the Pumi on this week’s Breed Spotlight.

The Pumi was heralded as the herding breed of Hungary during the late 18th century and has maintained this stature ever since. Through a unique combination of size, character, agility and a penchant for pleasing their owners, the breed rapidly grew in regional popularity. Despite the continued successes of the breed as a working dog, the Pumi is still relatively unknown outside of Hungary.

Hailing from the vast rolling farmlands of the Puszta — an area in east Hungary known for its expansive grasslands — the Pumi arose from a regional need for a better shepherd’s companion. The Pumi primarily owes its lineage to a breed that was, already common in Hungary — the Puli. However, unlike the Pumi’s “dreadlocked” ancestor, it’s hair does not grow into long hanging curls. Cross-breeding with newly introduced breeds of the late 17th century helped to eliminate the coat’s length yet retained the curls. read more…

BBS Breed Spotlight: Catahoula Leopard Dog

Catahoula Leopard Dog

Truly one of the first “American” breeds, the Catahoula Leopard Dog is the combined result of New and Old World dog breeding. The rise of the Catahoula Leopard Dog not only marked an important point in history, it presently represents the state of Louisiana for it’s historical importance to the region. Find out more about the Catahoula Leopard Dog below on this week’s BestBullySticks Breed Spotlight.

The Catahoula Leopard Dog — or more commonly the Catahoula Cur — got it’s unique name from Catahoula Lake in North Central Louisiana. Choctaw Indian in origin, Catahoula means “sacred lake.” Recognized by the American Kennel Club as a herding dog, this breed holds a special place in American culture as it’s rise coincides with some of the earliest cultural exchanges between American Indians and European settlers in the 1500’s.

The earliest known records documenting the origins of the Catahoula Cur date back to 1539. Hernando de Soto, a Spanish conquistador, was the first to describe the Catahoula Cur’s New World ancestors. This ancient breed accompanied early North American settlers from Asia and evolved into the American Indian Dog. This native breed was only half of the Catahoula Cur equation, though. Hernando de Soto’s expeditionary crew had crossed the Atlantic with dogs of their own. Similar in description to Bloodhounds, Mastiffs and Greyhounds, these European breeds were crossbred with the indigenous American Indian Dog giving rise to the Catahoula Cur.

De Soto’s hand in shaping the history of the Catahoula Cur would also be seen in the years to come. The journey inland into unknown territory, which cut through the south, demanded emergency food reserves. De Soto’s solution was to bring Caribbean pigs along for the ride. However, when de Soto’s expedition broke down in northern Louisiana near present day Catahoula, the pigs became too large of a burden on the group and many were released into the wild.

When settlers were moving into the American heartland two hundred years later they encountered the wild pigs let loose by de Soto’s group generations earlier. These “pineywood rooters” proved a nuisance for settlers. Relatively common in the region already, the Catahoula Cur— or Catahoula Hog Dog as it was soon to be known— was used to dispatch the invasive wild pigs. A superb hunting dog able to scale trees, the Catahoula Cur even came to win the favor of former president and renowned huntsman Theodore Roosevelt.

The Catahoula Cur also excelled at herding. The Catahoula Cur herds through constant antagonization and intimidation as opposed to the normal boundary patrol methods seen in most herding breeds. This is the result of their assertive nature and shouldn’t be confused with aggression. Even-tempered and intelligent, the Catahoula Cur is firmly dedicated in it’s protection of the pack making them an extremely loyal and family-oriented breed. However as with other herding breeds, there may be difficulties with smaller children.

While loyal and intelligent, this breed is fiercely independent and wastes no time attempting to establish dominance. Many owners have stated their Catahoulas believe they own them. As a result, this breed requires a firm and confident owner, able to lead by example and with respect. Treats certainly don’t hurt either! BestBullySticks offers many all-natural dog treats such as Bravo! All-Beef Hot Dog Training Treats to help build good habits.

With a medium to large build, Catahoula Curs often grow to 20–26 inches (51–61 cm) and weigh between 55–80 lbs (16–37 kg). A physically active breed, they require at least one hour of exercise daily. However, they are not a high energy breed like Weimaraners or Border Collies. Even still, boredom and a lack of exercise will almost certainly contribute to an increase in destructive and obnoxious behavior. Toys like the ChompChamps Duke Rope are perfect for keeping dogs of all types entertained!

Chomp Champs - Duke Rope ToyThe Catahoula’s coat varies greatly with yellow, brindle, black merle, red merle and red the most common. However, the most striking feature of the Catahoula Cur are their eyes. Akin to cracked glass or brightly colored marbles, it is the Catahoula’s intense gaze that sets this breed apart. Heterochromia (different colored eyes) is also a common among Catahoula Curs. This, in combination with their extremely varied coats, makes the breed’s appearance extremely diverse.

Deafness is recognized as one of the breed’s largest shortcomings. A predominantly white coated Catahoula has an 80% chance of being born with bilateral deafness or unilateral hearing. Thankfully there are organizations dedicated to the rescue of deaf dogs helping to prevent unnecessary euthanization.

All things considered, the Catahoula Cur is a great dog for experienced owners. Their gorgeous coats and penetrating eyes give them a unique appearance unlike any other breed. The Catahoula Cur is without a doubt a breed like no other.

Are you a Catahoula Cur owner yourself? Share your experience with this fascinating breed on Facebook and Twitter. Also, be sure to follow BestBullySticks to receive the latest news on products and specials!

BBS Breed Spotlight: Kerry Blue Terrier

Kerry Blue TerrierAn interesting breed, the Kerry Blue Terrier has a truly unique appearance matched only by its incredible history. Find out more about this fascinating breed on this week’s BestBullySticks Breed Spotlight.

According to Irish folklore, the story goes a little something like this:

One stormy evening a lone canine swam ashore. Leaving his owner’s wrecked ship behind, he braved the rough coastal seas and soon found himself on the plush grass of County Kerry, Ireland. Covered in a handsome coat of curly slate-gray fur, he set out across Ireland mating with all the Wheaten Terriers he encountered.

While the verdict is still out on the validity of this legend, we do know for certain that the Kerry Blue Terrier is from County Kerry, a lush and mountainous coastal region of southwestern Ireland. Able to trace their lineage to the Portuguese Water Dog, Kerry Blues are very at home in the water as legend would suggest. A working dog by nature, this energetic and fun-loving breed has a playful sense of humor and is eager to please at a moments notice.

Originally used by Irish farmers as a retriever for hunting, the Kerry Blue Terrier was an all-purpose working dog of the peasantry class. Loyal and obedient, the Kerry Blue found numerous roles in and around farms fitting of it’s breed characteristics. From tracking and hunting vermin to herding sheep and cattle, this versatile breed would eventually become the layman’s Irish Wolfhound.

The first breed to be registered with the Irish Kennel Club, the Kerry Blue Terrier was the breed responsible for the foundation of the organization in 1922. read more…

BBS Breed Spotlight: Akita

A dog breed with a rich history and personality, the Akita is treasured by an entire nation and the families it’s a part of. Find out more about this Japanese dog breed on the BestBullySticks Breed Spotlight.

History & Background: Originating from the island of Honshu in the region of Akita in Japan, the Akita Inu has lived a relatively unchanged life from its ancestors. In fact, the Akita is one of seven dog breeds considered a “Natural Monument.” In Japan, the Akita (natively pronounced AH-ki-ta instead of the Western version of a-KEE-ta) has been used in various capacities including police, military and guard dogs. This breed is also known for being a great hunting dog because of its “soft” mouth and ability to hunt in inclement weather.

Akitas were first brought to the US by Helen Keller in 1937 when the Japanese government gave Keller an Akita as a gift. This dog’s name was Kamikaze-go but sadly died shortly after Keller brought the dog back to the states. The dog’s brother was given as a gift in the next year and was named Kenzan-go. After WWII, many US Soldiers brought Akitas back to the states. Today, the original Japanese Akita and the American Akita are thought to be two separate breeds.

Height: Males: 26 to 28 inches; Females: 24 to 26 inches

Weight: Males: 100 to 145 pounds; Females: 80 to 120 pounds read more…

BBS Breed Spotlight: Harrier

The Harrier is sort of like the middle sibling to the English Foxhound and the Beagle, but only in size. This breed has unique hunting abilities and temperament making it a wonderful and distinct breed. Read more about the Harrier in the BBS Breed Spotlight below!

History & Background: The Harrier has a cloudy ancestry, but more than likely this dog was developed from its close cousins, the English Foxhound. Since Colonial times, the Harrier has been a hunting dog for hare, thus it’s name, and fox as well. Slower than the Foxhound, hunters liked this dog because Harriers ran at a pace that was easy to keep up with, which is called a “drag” hunt. To this day English and Irish hunters still use Harriers to hunt. This dog was recognized by the AKC in 1885.

Height: 40 to 60 pounds

Weight: 19 to 21 inches

Coat: Hard in texture and short in length, the Harrier’s overall coat is dense and glossy. The exception is the dog’s ears where the fur is finer and softer. The underside of the tail has a slight fan of hair.

Color: Not seen as important by breed standards, the Harrier can be shown in any color. Eye color is hazel in darker dogs and lighter in lighter colored dogs. Nose is black. read more…

Breed Spotlight: Neapolitan Mastiff

The Neapolitan Mastiff is truly a dog that looks out of place and time no matter the setting. This Italian breed is straight out of the history books as its ancestors can be traced back to ancient times.  Learn more about the Neapolitan Mastiff in the BestBullySticks Breed Spotlight!

History & Background: The Neapolitan Mastiff has ancient origins by way of its ancestor, the molosser-type dog, which was known to live around 3000 B.C. and originated out of Asia. Alexander the Great helped in developing the mastiff type and eventually the dog made its way to Italy during Roman Conquest. Molosser-type dogs were used as war dogs as well as in circus combats where they would fight lions, tigers and men. Mastiff is derived from the Latin word “masssivus” meaning “massive.” The Italians also call this dog the Mastino Napoletano. Over the centuries, this dog was bred to be a guard dog for Italian homesteads and earned the description “big dog of the little man.” Some even say the dog was bred to look alarming enough that their appearance alone would deter intruders.

During WWII the number of Neapolitan Mastiffs diminished greatly but by 1948 a group of dedicated Italians had built up the breed and qualified the Neo’s characteristics into a breed standard. In 2004, the AKC recognized the Neapolitan Mastiff.

Height: Males 26 to 31 inches; Females 24 to 29 inches

Weight: Males 150 pounds; Females 110 pounds read more…

BBS Breed Spotlight: Brussels Griffon

When you think “toy breed” what do you think? Pampered pups? Petite and dainty? High maintenance? While all these things may be true for some toy breeds, they’re not true for all; especially the Brussels Griffon. BestBullySticks.com thinks you’ll be impressed with this highly affectionate, intelligent and unique looking pup. Read on to learn more about the Brussels Griffon in the BBS Breed Spotlight!

History & Background: Hailing from Brussels, Belgium the Brussels Griffon’s ancestors were used as stable workers to keep rodent populations down. This Affenpinscher-like dog was later bred with the Pug, King Charles Spaniel and Ruby Spaniels to produce two distinct varieties of dogs—smooth and rough coated. This dog is also called the Griffon Bruxellois. Gradually the Brussels Griffon became a regular member of the family. There are old folk tales and songs telling of “bearded dogs” which refer to the spirited Brussels Griffon. Through WWI and WWII the Griffon largely decreased in numbers yet was brought back from the brink of extinction by dedicated UK enthusiasts. To this day the Brussels Griffon is a rare dog yet in the past decades has enjoyed a little more popularity in the United States. This is due to Griffons appearance in the movies and TV shows such as As Good as It Gets, Gosford Park, Sweet November, Spin City, and First Wives Club. The general interest in toy breed dogs has also heightened the interest toward the Brussels Griffon.

Height: 7 to 8 inches

Weight: 8 to 10 pounds

Coat: The rough coated Brussels Griffon has dense, wiry and hard fur. The coat shouldn’t be overly long and should have no silky hair. The head is covered with slightly longer hair, especially around the eyes, nose, cheeks and chin. This gives the Griffon a fringe. The smooth coated variety has short, straight and glossy hair with no wiry fur. These dog are referred to as Brabancon.

Color: Griffons only come in 4 colors/color combinations.

  1. Red: This color combination is a reddish brown and can feature black at the whiskers and/or chin.
  2. Beige: Black and red/brown mixture make up the beige coloring, which can also show a black mask and whiskers.
  3. Black & Tan: This combination is black with consistent red/brown markings under the chin, on the legs, above the eyes and around ear edges and vent.
  4. Black

Appearance: Small, but sturdy, the Brussels Griffon is a square and short dog with strong bones and a proud head. Large, black eyes and small, erect ears give this dog an alert expression. The Griffon has a domed head and short nose. Straight and well-muscled legs hold this dog’s thick body. Griffons have level backs and deep ribs. This dog’s tail is high and is usually docked.

Temperament: The Brussels Griffon has lots of personality. This cheerful, highly affectionate dog is naturally curious, spunky and very intelligent. These dogs are highly sensitive and should be socialized early but carefully. Griffons usually bond with one person more than others.

Health & Grooming: Griffons usually live 10 to 15 years and are generally healthy. Some health issues this breed may experience can be eye and respiratory problems, heat sensitivity and difficulty whelping.

The rough-coated variety of the Brussels Griffon will require more maintenance than dogs with smooth coats. Griffons shed little hair to none at all.

Product Suggestions: For a rare dog, try a well-known favorite—the 6 inch standard bully stick. A perfect daily dental dog chew for your toy-sized, this half-foot of free-range, grass-fed beef will have your Brussels Griffon hooked!

For a great dog toy, check out the Pet Qwerks Small Jingle X-Tire Ball dog toy. It’s made out of rugged tire that’s easy for dogs to pick up and fetch. The jingle bell hidden inside the tire will keep your pet enthralled for hours!

Do you know or own a Brussels Griffon? Tell us your Griffon story in the comments section below!

Curious about a dog breed? Check out our full list of Breed Spotlights to learn about some amazing dog breeds!

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