Search Results: Competition Dog Obedience

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Competition dog obedience

What is competition dog obedience?

Dog owners learn how to teach their dog to follow basic instructions such as sit, heel, down, come, and stay in obedience training.  The aim of obedience training is to train the dog to be well mannered in the community.

Competition dog obedience takes this training to a competitive level with the aim to win an award.  It is a precision sport where the handler and dog do a series of standard exercises as directed by the judge.  Handlers are not allowed to speak to their dogs other than to give each instruction, for example, ‘heel’, ‘stand’, ‘down’, and ‘stay’, etc.

What Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC) titles can be attained?

There are five classes of attainment, each marked by a title:

Community Companion Dog Class
Novice Class
Utility Class
Utility Dog Excellent Class

Is my dog suitable for competition dog obedience?

There are no breed restrictions for competition dog obedience.

Age restriction: Puppies six months of age or over.

Where can I do competition dog obedience?

Find out more from the ANKC‘s State member bodies:

Dogs ACT

Dogs West

Dogs Queensland

Dogs NT

Dogs NSW

Dogs SA

Dogs Tasmania

Dogs Victoria

German Shepherd Dog

German Shepherd Dog breed profile

Photo: Peter Kunasz/Shutterstock.com

Classification

The German Shepherd Dog is classed as Group 5 (Working dogs) by the Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC).

History

The ‘Deutsche Schäferhund’ or ‘German Shepherd Dog’ originated from herding breeds in Germany in the late 1800’s under the guidance of Captain Max von Stephanitz.

By around 1918 the breed had reached the shores of the UK following the First World War. A breed club was formed in 1919 in the UK and the breed was known as Alsatian Wolf Dog, a name which was to undergo change later due to the connotations that the breed was aligned with the wolf breed. Hence the name was changed to Alsatian.

In Australia, early imports of German Shepherd Dogs known as “German Sheep Dogs” were known to have hit West Australian shores around 1904.  The popularity of the breed peaked during the 1990’s and the German Shepherd Dog became the most popular breed in Australia in terms of registrations of puppies.

From 1928 to 1972 a ban on the importation of German Shepherd Dogs into Australia was in force. This ban was relaxed in 1972 and removed altogether in 1973. Since that time many fine animals have come to this country from all over the world and the standard of the best of breed here is equal to the high standards of the best in Europe.  Today the breed is still one of the most popular dog breeds in Australia in terms of registrations.

In Australia, the German Shepherd Dog has served with the Australian Defence Forces, Federal, State and Territory Police Forces, Australian Protective Service, Australian Quarantine and Inspectorate Service and State Correctional Services. German Shepherd Dogs in Australia have also been used as guide dogs for the blind, utilised in search and rescue work and employed in a host of other applications. The breed is also a popular choice for Pets as Therapy visits.

Physical characteristics of the German Shepherd Dog

The ANKC describes the German Shepherd Dog as medium size, slightly elongated, strong and well muscled, the bones are dry and the overall construction firm.  The German Shepherd Dog is not nimble like the lighter boned Border Collie, rather a tireless worker at its natural gait, the trot.

The length of the body is greater than the height at the withers by about 10 to 17%.  A male dog’s height at withers is 60-65 cm and weight is 30-40 kg. The female dog’s height withers is 55-60 cm and weight is 22-32 kg.

The German Shepherd Dog is bred in two coat varieties: stock coat (normal) and long stock coat, both with an undercoat.  The Stock Coat (normal) should be as dense as possible, straight, harsh and close lying.  The Long Stock Coat (Long Coat) should be long, soft and not close fitting, with feathering on the ears and legs, bushy breeches and bushy tail forming flags below.

The German Shepherd dog appears in black with reddish tan, black/tan, black/gold to light grey markings. All black, grey (commonly known as sables) with dark shadings; black saddle and mask. Unobtrusive small white markings on the chest as well as very light colour on insides of legs permissible but not desirable.

The period between 12 months and 24 months is a transitional period of gradual muscular development filling the skeletal frame. More serious physical and mental training of your young dog can now gradually commence. Most experts agree that the German Shepherd Dog reaches, or should reach, adulthood at two years of age. Further physical and mental development can occur after this with full maturity being attained at about four years of age.

Personality traits of the German Shepherd Dog

German Shepherd Dog breed profile

German Shepherd Dog herding sheep trial. Photo: ChameleonEye/Shutterstock.com

The ANKC says the German Shepherd Dog must be of well-balanced temperament, steady of nerves, self-assured, absolutely at ease (except when provoked) and good-natured as well as attentive and easy to train. He must possess instinctive drive, resilience and self-confidence in order to be suitable as a companion, watchdog, protection, service and herding dog.  Early obedience training using positive methods and socialisation is the only way this breed can realise these goals.

The German Shepherd Dog is known throughout the world for his trainability and affinity for people. These qualities have helped make the German Shepherd Dog one of the most popular breeds of companion dog throughout the world. These attributes combined with the breeds’ well-balanced temperament, physical size, versatility and courage continue to make it the undisputed king of working dogs.  In fact, the breed is almost a canine version of a Swiss army knife.

As with all dog breeds, aggression in a GSD will be the result of poor breeding, cruel handling using punishment and inappropriate or no training and socialisation.

Note: All dogs are individuals. While there is a great difference between dog breeds there is also a difference in temperament within breeds. Temperament is affected by a number of factors, including heredity, training, and socialisation.

Care and Exercise for German Shepherd Dog

Diet – How much your adult dog eats depends on his size, age, build, metabolism, and activity level. The quality of dog food you buy also makes a difference–the better the dog food, the further it will go toward nourishing your dog and increase your dog’s longevity.  Discuss with your veterinarian and a responsible breeder about the best diet that is appropriate for a Border Collie’s life stage from puppy to adult to senior. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times. Overfeeding your German Shepherd Dog and letting him pack on the pounds can cause joint problems, as well as other health conditions.  More on nutrition in dogs from German Shepherd Council of Australia

Grooming – Grooming should also be done weekly, with brushing to remove any dead or loose hairs. If it is a long haired GSD, combing will also be necessary. No trimming is required and bathing should only be done as needed. This is a shedding dog but the more you groom it, the less it will shed.   Ear infections must be cleared up fairly quickly, they can rapidly become chronic. Humid conditions acerbate the condition, so if your dog is prone to these problems, increased care and attention is needed.

Shedding – The German Shepherd Dog sheds year-round, and generally sheds a lot of hair twice a year seasonally, you will need to brush out the winter coat during the change to summer.  If you want a German Shepherd, be prepared for hair pretty much all over the house.

German Shepherd Dog Breed profile

German Shepherd Dog excels at dog sports. Photo: Rolf Klebsattel/Shutterstock.com

Exercise and Games – If you live in the suburbs, you’ll need to engage his mind and strength. The young pup should be exercised with some discretion to avoid long-term damage to still soft and forming joints. As the dog ages, it will require longer walks but must first have the solid bone structure established.

Ongoing training sessions and organised dog sports is a great way provide an outlet for his natural abilities and spend time together. German Shepherds would excel at Obedience, TrackingEnduranceHerding and Schutzhund & Ring sports.  Your dog would love to play tug with you.  German Shepherd Dogs were not originally bred for swimming unlike Golden Retrievers and Labradors but if they have a positive experience as a puppy, they could be trained to like swimming.

Training for German Shepherd Dog

This dog breed thrives on training!  German Shepherds were bred specifically for their trainability, a trait for which they are now famous. In the book The Intelligence of Dogs, author Stanley Coren ranked the breed third for their innate ability to learn to follow instructions, behind Border Collies and Poodles. He found that they had the ability to learn simple tasks after only five repetitions and perform the first instruction given 95% of the time.

While dog training is imperative for the development of an acceptable temperament and socialisation skills, it’s also a stimulating and exciting pastime for this incredibly intelligent dog.

Dog training is a great way to bond with your dog. Start training your puppy early using positive reinforcement dog training methods. Socialisation with gradual introductions to dogs, people, other animals and things is essential.

Health issues

A healthy German Shepherd has a life span of 10-12 years.  This breed is known for a number of health issues including the following:

Bloat is, unfortunately, a relatively common condition seen in the older German Shepherd Dog. Breeds of dogs with deep and narrow chests are far more prone to bloat.

Haemangiosarcoma –  This is the most common intestinal tumour seen in all breeds generally (including cross breeds) and is certainly the most common abdominal tumour of the German Shepherd Dog. All GSD’s over the age of 8-9 years of age should have an abdominal palpation with their annual check up.  More on cancers.

Gastric conditions – GSD’s are a breed prone to a number of chronic gastric conditions. These are a group of conditions/disorders that affect the digestion, absorption of food and/or intestinal stability of the GSD. Many of these conditions probably have an allergic or immunological basis (or trigger).

Anal furunculosis is a chronic disorder that is very debilitating.  The symptoms are ulceration, inflammation and sinus tract formation around the anus. Dogs are found licking the area fairly incessantly.  This condition is almost exclusive to the GSD (95% of all cases), many affected dogs have concurrent intestinal disease (chronic colitis) or other immune related conditions such as deep staph pyoderma. Chronic diarrhea may contribute by increasing soiling of the anal area.

Mammary gland (“breast”) tumours are the most common type of tumour in the unspeyed female dog. Breeds at risk for developing mammary gland tumours include toy and miniature Poodles, Spaniels, and German Shepherds. The average age of dogs at diagnosis is 10-11 years.

Congenital Mega-oesophagus – an inherited disease seen in various breeds including the GSD.

Degenerative Myelitis is a disease that occurs towards the end of the GSD life. This is a devastating condition that
gradually whittles away the mobility and effectiveness of the entire hindquarter. Unfortunately, it occurs usually after the age of breeding, usually 8-9 years and older, a few as early as 5-6 years. The number of physically affected older dogs that are seen would be in the order of around 5% (maximum) of older GSD’s.

Hip Dysplasia: Hip dysplasia is a heritable condition in which the femur doesn’t fit snugly into the pelvic socket of the hip joint.

Elbow Dysplasia: This is a heritable condition common to large-breed dogs. It’s thought to be caused by different growth rates of the three bones that make up the dog’s elbow, causing joint laxity. This can lead to painful lameness.

The German Shepherd Dog Council of Australia, to which all state German Shepherd Dog Councils are affiliated, runs a Breed Survey Scheme to assess the health and temperament of German Shepherd Dogs nationwide, providing breed survey classifications to each dog brought along by its breeder.

Talk to a veterinarian about health issues for this breed.

Note: While good breeders cannot guarantee the health of their pups, they will utilise genetic testing of their breeding stock to reduce the likelihood of inherited disorders in their puppies.

Suitability

The German Shepherd Dog is not for the first time dog owner.  As a pet, this breed will suit active families with older children who can provide lots of companionship and commitment to ongoing training and/or dog sports for mental stimulation and well-being.  The GSD craves human company and should not be left alone outside for long periods of time in a backyard as they will become frustrated, destructive and noisy.  The German Shepherd is happiest living indoors with the family, but with access to a fenced yard, where he can burn off some of his natural energy playing games and training with you.

If you’re thinking of getting this breed for the purpose of being a guard dog, the German Shepherd Dog is not for you.  This breed was originally bred to be working/herding dog, not a guard dog. He’s got a reputation for being a great watchdog — and he is — but the German Shepherd should never be chained or tethered just to stand guard. No dog should!  In most states, it is now against the law to use German Shepherd Dogs for the sole purpose of guarding property.

Never leave a puppy or adult dog alone with your young child! If you are unable to supervise, then separate your pup and child. Crate training your puppy to give him a safe and fun space to be on his own for short periods is recommended.

Adoption in Australia

Working Dog Rescue
German Shepherd Dog Club of Victoria (re-homing)
German Shepherd Dog Association of Western Australia
German Shepherd Dog Club of Queensland

More details on the breed

Australian National Kennel Council
German Shepherd Dog Council of Australia
German Shepherd Dog Club of Victoria (breed information sheet)

Thinking of getting a dog? Download our FREE eGuide: Before you get a dog – 8 essential tips to get it right!

 

Inspiring story of paraplegic Charlene Meade and competition dog agility

Charlene Meade is a paraplegic and dog agility competitor – she’s proof that being in a wheel chair is no barrier to having pets

Charlene Meade

Charlene Meade and her faithful Sheltie Brook

Former Paralympian Charlene Meade is one of the longest living paraplegics from trauma at 84 years old.  Charlene is also a big dog sports enthusiast and has won awards for agility competitions.

Charlene lives independently with her two dogs and one cat. She’s proof that being in a wheel chair is no barrier to looking after pets.

Charlene reveals her tip about getting a dog for people in a wheel chair. Her message is clear, ‘I want people to know you can easily live with a dog in a wheel chair’. Continue Reading →

List of dog sports in Australia

Dog sports in Australia

Dog sports in Australia

Photo: Shutterstock.com

Dog sports are a great way to enjoy the outdoors and bond with your dog.  We have a comprehensive list of available dogs sports in Australia to help you find an activity suitable for your dog.

When the early settlers arrived at what became Australia, they brought with them their ways of using the land to provide sustenance, this included livestock and the dogs they had used to guard and herd this stock. Working dogs quickly became part of the backbone of the developing nation, of which is was said for many years that Australia rode on the sheep’s back.

In the early 1990’s, Australia wide, people who owned dogs not in work but of the herding breeds were keen to demonstrate that their dogs. Some bred for many generations purely for showing or performance activities, were still able to perform the functions for which they were developed in the first place.  (Source: Dogs Victoria)

List of dogs sports in Australia

We have a huge range of dog sports in Australia on offer.  There is something for every dog!  The first step is to check out this list of dog sports.  The next step is to get off the lounge and take Rover to your local dog club and have fun!

Competition dog obedience
Dog Agility
Dances with dogs
Disc Dog
Earth Dog
Endurance
Flyball
Herding
Lure Coursing
Nosework
Rally Obedience (Rally O)
Retrieving and Field Trials
Sledding
Schutzhund & Ring Sports
Tracking
Track and Search
Treiball

The Australian National Kennel Council is the federal organisation representing the interests of its Member Bodies in each of the States and Territories of the Commonwealth of Australia (see below). Its mission is to promote excellence in dog sports in Australia as well as breeding, showing, and other canine related activities.

Find a dog club near you

Contact the ANKC‘s State member bodies:

Dogs ACT

Dogs West

Dogs Queensland

Dogs NT

Dogs NSW

Dogs SA

Dogs Tasmania

Dogs Victoria

 

 

Dances with dogs

What is dances with dogs?

This sport is essentially dancing with a dog.  It has two streams: freestyle and heelwork to music where the dog and handler work as a team.  This sport combines obedience, tricks, and dance with music.  Routines typically involve the dog performing twists & turns, weaving through the handler’s legs, walking backwards, jumping, and moving in sync with the handler.

According to Dogs Victoria both freestyle and heelwork are technically challenging.  They can draw on skills from both obedience and agility to increase the technical merit of a routine. These can be combined with a repertoire of moves varying from leg weaves and spins to reversing around props and walking backwards on hind legs.

Check out this brilliant and entertaining example of dances with dogs/heelwork, Crufts 2017.

What Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC)’s titles can be attained?

Each stream has four separate levels and titles to each level. The levels are starters, novice, intermediate and advanced.

Is my dog suitable for dances with dogs?

There is no restriction on dog breeds.  According to Dogs NSW, the Dances with Dogs workshops are open to anyone who has an interest in dancing with their dog.

Age restriction: the dog must be over 12 months of age on the day of competition.

Where can I do dances with dogs?

Find a dog club near you by contacting ANKC‘s State member bodies…and start practicing your dance moves!

Dogs ACT

Dogs West

Dogs Queensland

Dogs NT

Dogs NSW

Dogs SA

Dogs Tasmania

Dogs Victoria

Dog tracking

What is dog tracking?

In Australia, most tracking dogs and their owners are involved in tracking as a recreational sport.  This sport demonstrates a dog’s natural ability to recognise and follow a scent. The objective is for the dog to find four deliberately “lost” personal items that have been dropped along the track.

In tracking the dog is completely in charge, because only he knows how to use his nose to find and follow the track.

The dog is usually worked on a 10 metre lead, but the length of lead actually used depends on the terrain.  Judges design the track, instruct track layers how to walk the track, prepare charts that accurately depict the track’s design, and approve the items used. The judges also determine the start time for each dog and evaluate.

According to Dogs Victoria, many people who have trained their dogs to compete in obedience or agility trials also train them to track. They then enter tracking trials where they compete for Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC) titles.

What dog tracking titles are available?

Tracking Dog (T.D.) Tracking Dog Excellent (T.D.X.) and Tracking Champion (T.Ch.)

Is my dog suitable for dog tracking?

There is no breed restriction to participate in this sport.  However, your dog will need to be physically capable to walk the distance required in the competition. All types of dogs complete in these trials from toy breeds such as Cavalier King Charles Spaniels to larger gun dogs and working breeds like German Shepherd Dogs and Rottweilers.

A dog must be a minimum of six months of age to enter in a Tracking Trial.

No obedience qualifications are necessary. Dogs Victoria recommends that your dog is trained in tracking before you enter a dog trial so that it is likely to pass Test 1, which involves finding the track layer at the end of a trail of 400 metres with two turns.

Want to take dog tracking sport to the next level?  Find out about Track and Search.

Where can I do dog tracking?

Several dog clubs around Australia regularly conduct tracking trials.  Find a dog club near you by contacting ANKC‘s State member bodies:

Dogs ACT

Dogs West

Dogs Queensland

Dogs NT

Dogs NSW

Dogs SA

Dogs Tasmania

Dogs Victoria

Rally Obedience (Rally O)

What is Rally Obedience?

Known also as Rally-O or Rally, this dog sport was developed for the pet dog owner who is not interested in the precision required for traditional competition dog obedience.  In other words this is the more relaxed version of competition dog obedience.

Handlers are not allowed to speak to their dog other than the instruction in traditional competition dog obedience. Whereas the handlers are allowed to speak to encourage their dogs during the course in rally. However, the handler is not allowed to touch the dog or make physical corrections.

The rally course includes 10 to 20 stations, depending on the level. Scoring is not as rigorous as traditional obedience.

Communication between handler and dog is encouraged and perfect heel position is not required, but there should be a sense of teamwork between the dog and handler.

What Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC) titles can be attained?

Go to the ANKC’s Rules for the Conduct of Rally Obedience Trials for a list of the class titles.

Is my dog suitable for Rally Obedience?

All dogs are eligible to compete in Rally Obedience.  Dogs who participate in Rally are dogs that have been trained and conditioned to compete at Novice level and in the presence of other dogs. (source: ANKC)

Age restriction: Puppies six months of age or over.

Where can I do Rally Obedience?

Find a dog club near you by contacting Australian National Kennel Council‘s State member bodies:

Dogs ACT

Dogs West

Dogs Queensland

Dogs NT

Dogs NSW

Dogs SA

Dogs Tasmania

Dogs Victoria

Miniature Schnauzer

Miniature Schnauzer breed profile

Miniature Schnauzer puppy. Photo: Otsphoto/Shuttertock

Classification

The Miniature Schnauzer is classed as Group 6 (Utility) by the Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC).

History of the Miniature Schnauzer

“The Schnauzers” (pronounced “snout sirs”) reflects the fact that there are actually three breeds: the Standard Schnauzer, the smaller Miniature Schnauzer and the larger Giant Schnauzer.

The Standard is so named because it was the first of the breeds, believed to have originated in the 1400s in the regions of Bavaria and Wurttemberg in southern Germany-central Europe; it was developed from the crossing of German Poodle, Grey Wolf Spitz and Wire Haired Terrier
(German Pinscher), primarily as a ratter, droving and herding breed.  The long-established Schnauzer types of dogs are represented in artworks as early as the late 1400s and in Stuttgart, a statue of “The Nightwatchman and His Dog” dated 1620 depicts an easily identifiable Schnauzer.

From the original “standard size” the Miniature and Giant Schnauzers were developed.  The Miniature Schnauzer was developed to be smaller, more compact size for ratting by combining it with the Affenpinscher and Miniature Poodle. The first recorded Miniature Schnauzer appeared in 1888, and the first exhibition was held in 1899.

The three sizes are still instinctive ratters and excellent watchdogs while being reliable, loyal family pets. In fact, the characteristic very short tails and cropped ears came about to avoid rat bites, which were not only painful but could transfer rabies; in addition, the tails of the Standard and Giant were prone to injuries. The Schnauzer and Giant Schnauzer exhibit a formidable appearance to intruders and the Miniature vociferously warns of strangers.

The Schnauzer was first introduced into Australia in 1934 by Mr A Hordern who imported three Standard Schnauzers. One litter was bred but breeding did not continue.  The Miniature Schnauzer was brought to Australia by Mrs I Rees of Casa Verde Kennels in the 1960s, Eng/Aust Ch Gosmore Wicket Keeper, who sired several champions.

Physical characteristics of the Miniature Schnauzer

Miniature Schnauzer breed profile

Miniature Schnauzer Image: ANKC

The ANKC describes the breed standard as sturdily built, robust, sinewy, nearly square, (length of body equal to height at shoulders). Expression keen and attitude alert. Correct conformation is of more importance than colour or other purely ‘beauty’ points.  It is well balanced, smart, stylish and adaptable.

The coat is harsh, wiry and short enough for smartness with a dense undercoat. The hair is clean on the neck and shoulders, ears and skull. Harsh hair on legs. Furnishings fairly thick but not silky.

The ideal height for the male dog is 36 cms (14 ins) and the female dog is 33 cms (13 ins).

Colours of the Miniature Schnauzer

The colours are:

  • pepper and salt, shades range from dark iron grey to light grey. Hairs banded dark/light/dark. Dark facial mask to harmonise with corresponding coat colour.
  • Pure Black.
  • Black and silver with solid black with silver markings on eyebrows, muzzle, chest, brisket, forelegs below the point of the elbow, inside of hind legs below stifle joint, vent and under the tail.
  • White.

Good pigmentation essential in all colours.

Personality traits of the Miniature Schnauzer

The ANKC describes the temperament as alert, reliable and intelligent. Primarily a companion dog.

The Miniature Schnauzer is generally a well-tempered dog, with high energy levels and an enthusiastic attitude towards people and animals around it. They are feisty dogs, and do not like to be left alone for long periods, and require interaction and company to stay happy.  He is a guard dog with the heart of a lion and will differentiate between your friends and enemies.

All three Schnauzer breeds can be good with children as long as they are positively socialised with kids as puppies.

The Standards and Giants are slow to mature and can, therefore, be quite a handful until normally in their prime at 2-3 years of age, whilst the Miniature will be mature by twelve months of age.

Note: All dogs are individuals. While there is a great difference between dog breeds there is also a difference in temperament within breeds. Temperament is affected by a number of factors, including heredity, training, and socialisation.

Care for the Miniature Schnauzer

Diet – How much your adult dog eats depends on his size, age, build, metabolism, and activity level. The quality of dog food you buy also makes a difference–the better the dog food, the further it will go toward nourishing your dog and increase your dog’s longevity.  Discuss with your veterinarian and a responsible breeder about the best diet that is appropriate for a Miniature Schnauzer’s life stage from puppy to adult to senior. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.

Feeding the dog low- or non-fatty and unsweetened foods may help to avoid health issues associated with high-fat levels.

Grooming – To keep your dog looking great, clipping and grooming a Miniature Schnauzer is recommended every 6 weeks.  In between clips to maintain your dog’s appearance, you need to brush the coat regularly.

Shedding – The Miniature Schnauzer is low shedding.

Exercise and Games – The Miniature Schnauzer is full of energy, and requires daily walks, however, they do not need to be strenuous as the size of the dog means that although it is energetic, it can’t keep going forever and a 30-40 minute walk should be suitable.  This highly trainable breed will enjoy dog sports including agility and competition obedience.  Miniature Schnauzers also participate in earthdog trials and often excel at them.  Teach your Schnauzer tricks — he’s a great tricks dog.

Training for the Miniature Schnauzer

The Miniature Schnauzer is an attentive and clever dog that picks up new tricks and lessons with ease.

While dog training is imperative for the development of an acceptable temperament and socialisation skills for all breeds, it’s also a stimulating and exciting pastime for this incredibly trainable dog breed.

Dog training is a great way to bond with your dog. Start training your puppy early using positive reinforcement dog training methods. Socialisation with gradual introductions to dogs, people, other animals and things is essential.

Miniature Schnauzer health issues

A UK Kennel Club survey puts the median lifespan of Miniature Schnauzers at a little over 12 years. About 20% lived to >15 years.  While generally a healthy breed, Miniature Schnauzers may suffer health problems:

  • Associated with high-fat levels including hyperlipidemia, which may increase the possibility of pancreatitis, though either may form independently. Diabetes, bladder stones and eye problems.
  • Comedone syndrome, a condition that produces pus-filled bumps, usually on their backs, which can be treated with a variety of methods.
  • Miniature Schnauzers should have their ears dried after swimming due to a risk of infection, especially those with uncropped ears; ear examinations should be part of the regular annual checkup.
  • Miniature Schnauzers are also prone to von Willebrand disease, an inherited bleeding disorder that occurs due to qualitative or quantitative deficiency of von Willebrand factor, a multimeric protein that is required for platelet adhesion.

Talk to a veterinarian about health issues for this breed.

Note: While good breeders cannot guarantee the health of their pups, they will utilise genetic testing of their breeding stock to reduce the likelihood of inherited disorders in their puppies.

Suitability of the Miniature Schnauzer as a pet

The Miniature Schnauzer is a suitable dog for families living in apartments and small living spaces.  Because of his size, he can be a good city dog but he needs daily exercise.

It’s short, wiry hair also means it is low shedding, also making it a perfect dog for families with allergies. Furthermore, it’s inquisitive and kind temperament also make it the perfect dog for young children (as long the dog has been positively socialised and interaction is supervised).

Never leave a puppy or adult dog alone with your young child! If you are unable to supervise, then separate your pup and child. Crate training your puppy to give him a safe and fun space to be on his own for short periods is recommended.

Miniature Schnauzer adoption in Australia

Schnauzer Club of NSW (Rescue)

Miniature Schnauzer Club of NSW (Rescue)

Schnauzer Rescue QLD

More details on the Miniature Schnauzer dog breed

Australian National Kennel Council

Schnauzer Club of NSW

Miniature Schnauzer Club of NSW

Thinking of getting a dog? Download our FREE eGuide: Before you get a dog – 8 essential tips to get it right!

American Staffordshire Terrier

American Staffordshire Terrier breed profile

The American Staffordshire Terrier is agile and strong. Photo: Sbolotova/Shutterstock

Classification

The American Staffordshire Terrier also is known as the Amstaff is classed as Group 2 (Terriers) by the Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC).

History

The Bull & Terrier is one of the earliest descendants, bred in Britain from a combination of the Bulldog of the time and either the Black & Tan Terrier or the larger English Terrier. It has even been suggested that the Fox Terrier may have been introduced. This combination produced a powerful and extremely game dog, who because of these traits, was unfortunately exploited as a fighting dog for much of his early history.

Brought to the United States, the breed was preferred by American breeders who increased its weight and gave it a more powerful head.  Now recognized as a separate breed, the American Staffordshire is larger and heavier than his British cousin, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. After dog fighting was banned in the United States in 1900, two strains of these dogs were developed, a show strain and a fighting dog strain. The show strain was labelled the American Staffordshire.

In 1936 The Staffordshire Terrier Club of America was founded and the American Kennel Club officially recognised the Staffordshire Terrier. As years went by the differences between the American version of the Staffordshire Terrier and the British version became very distinct, so in 1972, the American Kennel Club renamed the Staffordshire Terrier to American Staffordshire Terrier and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier with a standard of its own was admitted to the AKC Stud Book.

The American Staffordshire Terrier gained Australian National Kennel Club recognition in 1987.  The Amstaff is quickly gaining popularity in Australia while it has long been established as one of the most popular terrier breeds in the USA and Europe.

Physical characteristics of the American Staffordshire Terrier

The Amstaff is a medium sized, short coated dog that combines agility and grace with great strength for its size. Although muscular and stocky, the Amstaff is very much an athletic dog, able to twist and turn on a dime.

The ANKC says this breed should give the impression of great strength for his size, a well put-together dog, muscular, but agile and graceful. He should be stocky, not long-legged or racy in outline.

Size and weight of the American Staffordshire Terrier

Dogs approx 46-48 cms (18-19 ins) at shoulders.  Bitches approx 43-46 cms (17-18 ins) at shoulders is considered preferable.

Whilst the Breed Standard does not specify weight ranges it does state that height and weight should be in proportion.

Colours of the American Staffordshire Terrier

The American Staffordshire Terrier appears in any colour, solid, parti, or patched is permissible, but all white, more than 80% white, black and tan, and liver not to be encouraged.

Personality traits of the American Staffordshire Terrier

The modern American Staffordshire Terrier is a companion and show dog, rather than a gladiator.

American Staffordshire Terrier breed profile

The American Staffordshire Terrier excels at competition obedience and agility. Photo: Grisha Bruev/Shutterstock

The ANKC describes this breed as ‘keenly alive to his surroundings. His courage is proverbial.’  The Amstaff’s courage is renowned and the breed’s determination and indomitable spirit stem from its terrier ancestry. This very confident, self-assured dog delights in contact with all humans and its reliability with children are all part of its considerable charm.

They do have the tenacity of the terrier.  So, it’s important to gain an understanding of terrier traits and personality.  The American Staffordshire Terrier will make a good watchdog, is boisterous with tremendous stamina.

They are wonderful as working dogs, competitors in conformation, obedience, Schutzhund, agility, and weight pulling competitions to name a few.

As with all dog breeds, aggression in an American Staffordshire Terrier can be the result of poor breeding, cruel handling, and inappropriate training and poor socialisation.

Note: All dogs are individuals. While there is a great difference between dog breeds there is also a difference in temperament within breeds. Temperament is affected by a number of factors, including heredity, training, and socialisation.

Care for the American Staffordshire Terrier

Diet – How much your adult dog eats depends on his size, age, build, metabolism, and activity level. The quality of dog food you buy also makes a difference–the better the dog food, the further it will go toward nourishing your dog and increase your dog’s longevity.  Discuss with your veterinarian and a responsible breeder about the best diet that is appropriate for an American Staffordshire Terrier’s life stage from puppy to adult to senior. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.

Grooming – Their short coat requires little grooming and is easy to keep clean. Brush on a regular basis with a firm bristle brush, and bathe only a few times a year as required. It is also recommended to rub them down with a piece of towelling or chamois as this will make their coat shine.

Shedding – The American Staffordshire Terrier’s short coats shed minimally throughout the year and heavily twice a year as the seasons change.

Exercise and Games – Ensure your American Staffordshire Bull Terrier gets plenty of exercise! Dog sports are a great way to spend time with your dog. The Amstaff is extremely athletic and agile and excels at agility and obedience.  His strong jaws would enjoy a game of tug with you.

Training the American Staffordshire Terrier

The American Staffordshire Terrier is a highly trainable dog breed. This dog breed would thrive with ongoing training. Dog training is a great way to bond with your dog. Start training your puppy early using positive reinforcement dog training methods. Socialisation with gradual introductions to dogs, people, other animals and things is essential.

Health issues in the American Staffordshire Terrier

UK vet clinic data puts the median at 10.7 years for a healthy American Staffordshire Terrier.   This dog breed is known for a number of health issues including the following:

  • Hereditary Cataracts (HC) and L-2-hydroxyglutaric aciduria (L2HGA)—a metabolic disorder resulting in behavioural changes and dementia-like symptoms—both of which are detectable via DNA tests.
  • Distichiasis (commonly known as “double eyelash”) and Persistent Hyperplastic Primary Vitreous (or PHPV)—a condition whereby the blood supply to the ocular lens fails to regress and fibrovascular tissue forms, causing hazy vision—both of which are checked by way of an ocular examination throughout the life of a breeding stud or brood-bitch to minimise the transfer and spread of these conditions.
  • The breed is known to be at a higher risk from mastocytoma (mast cell tumours) than the general population of dogs.

Talk to a veterinarian about health issues for this breed.

Note: While good breeders cannot guarantee the health of their pups, they will utilise genetic testing of their breeding stock to reduce the likelihood of inherited disorders in their puppies.

Suitability of the American Staffordshire Terrier as a pet

They are not always a breed for everyone; can be too much dog for the inexperienced, and are not generally a good choice for first-time dog owners.

The Amstaff has been described as a  loving and loyal family pet.  And a well cared for and properly trained (using positive methods) Amstaff can make an amazing addition to any family.

These dogs demand and thrive on a great deal of attention so be sure you are ready to devote the time required to training and socialising your Amstaff.  This breed has tremendous stamina and therefore not recommended for an inactive owner.

The Amstaff is not a breed that can be left alone for long periods in the backyard. They love to spend lots of time with their human family. If you want a dog that does not come inside, the Amstaff is not for you.

Never leave a puppy or adult dog alone with your young child! If you are unable to supervise, then separate your pup and child. Crate training your puppy to give him a safe and fun space to be on his own for short periods is recommended.

American Staffordshire Terrier adoption in Australia

All Over Staffy Rescue (ACT, NSW, VIC)
QLD Staffy & Amstaff Rescue
Staffy and Bully breed rescue (WA)
Staffords in Need (VIC)

More details on the American Staffordshire Terrier dog breed

Australian National Kennel Council

American Staffordshire Terrier Club of NSW

American Staffordshire Terrier Club of WA

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Golden Retriever

Golden Retriever breed profile

Golden Retrievers love swimming, retrieving and being with you. Photo: Rebecca Ashworth/Shutterstock.com

Classification

The Golden Retriever is classed as Group 3 (Gundogs) by the Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC).

The Golden Retriever is one of six kinds of retrievers. The other Retriever breeds are Labrador Retriever, Flat Coated Retriever Retriever, Curly Coated Retriever, Chesapeake Bay Retriever and Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever.

History

The relentless quest by the British gentry during the 19th century for the perfect hunting dog led to the development of most of today’s retrievers and hunting dogs.  On his Scottish estate, Guisachan, Sir Dudley Marjoribanks, the first Lord Tweedmouth, aspired to create a breed of dog to retrieve waterfowl that was more powerful than previous retrievers whilst retaining their gentle, easily trained nature.

The first recorded Australian Golden Retriever litter was registered on 26th December 1938.

Today, the Golden Retriever’s intelligence coupled with his tolerant easy-to-train nature makes him a popular choice for families, people with disabilities, and owners involved in obedience, tracking, agility and retrieving.

Physical characteristics

The Golden Retriever is a medium to large dog that stands 56-61 centimetres at the shoulder and females are 51-56 centimetres. They weigh around 32 – 37 kg for males and 27 – 32 kg for female dogs.

Golden Retriever breed profile

Photo: Tanner Vines/Unsplash.com

The ANKC describes the Golden Retriever as symmetrical, balanced, active, powerful, level mover; sound with a kindly expression.

Golden Retrievers, like other retriever breeds, are slow to fully mature both physically and mentally.   At one year of age, they will be at full height but their full weight will be another year or two away.  Mentally, Golden Retrievers can remain puppies up to the age of three years.

The ANKC recognised colours are any shade of gold or cream, neither red nor mahogany. A few white hairs on chest only, permissible.

Their coat is flat or wavy with good feathering, dense water-resisting undercoat.

Personality traits

The ANKC says this breed is biddable, intelligent and possessing a natural working ability.  The temperament is kindly, friendly and confident.

This breed is an adaptable, devoted companion with a kindly nature. It is often employed as a therapy assistance/guide dog, service and customs.

Like the popular Labrador Retriever, the Golden Retriever is known for his intelligence and gentle disposition.

Note: All dogs are individuals. While there is a great difference between dog breeds there is also a difference in temperament within breeds. Temperament is affected by a number of factors, including heredity, training, and socialisation.

Care and Exercise

Diet – Golden Retrievers love food and must not be overfed.  Golden Retrievers are susceptible to hip dysplasia, which can be exacerbated by excess weight, so it is important to monitor food intake throughout the life of your dog. Ensure you are providing your dog with a high quality balanced diet based on his size, age, build, metabolism, and activity level. Discuss with your veterinarian and a responsible breeder about the best diet that is appropriate for this breed’s life stage from puppy to adult to senior. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.

Grooming – A good brush at least once a week or at more regular intervals if your dog requires it, should be enough to keep him looking healthy and free of any matted hair.  Grooming is an excellent time to check for skin allergies such as hot spots and whether his toenails need trimming.  Regular grooming will also help to keep the dog’s coat clean.

After swimming in salt water, the coat should be rinsed with fresh water to remove any salt residue.  This will help to avoid any skin irritations.

Begin familiarising your Golden Retriever puppy to being brushed and examined by the vet by gently handling his paws frequently.

Shedding – Golden Retrievers are heavy shedders especially in Spring and Autumn. Daily brushing will get some of the loose hair out of the coat, keeping it from settling on your clothing and all over your house. But if you live with a Golden, you’ll have to get used to dog hair.

Golden Retriever breed profile

Golden Retriever swimming. Photo: Pere Rubi/Shutterstock.com

Exercise and Games – They are strong, active dogs that love retrieving and swimming.  Owning a Golden Retriever can open up a whole new world for family involvement.  Activities such as dog sports – retrieving, obedience, tracking and agility can be very rewarding for both the owner and dog. The level of involvement can range from purely social to serious competition.  They love to retrieve and can spend hours at the park or beach bringing back a tennis ball or a frisbee.

If you don’t provide this dog breed with companionship and an outlet to burn off energy, your dog may turn to undesirable activities like chewing and digging instead.

As they can also be great chewers as puppies, this breed will like soft toys they can carry around in their mouth.  This breed will enjoy regular games of tug with you but never pull the tug toy out of his mouth, wait until he drops the toy then pick it up and start playing again.

Housing – This breed is adaptable to outdoor conditions, but they prefer to live indoors, close to people, most of the time.  If your dog is mostly outside, spend time with him outside even just to be there.

Training

The Golden Retriever is highly trainable.  All dogs need training and this breed thrives on training.  This breed will pick up new skills easily. Start training early using positive reinforcement methods.  A dog that listens to and responds to just a few well-trained instructions can be kept infinitely safer than an untrained dog. And their quality of life is so much better when trained as they’re given more freedoms and taken more places.

Socialisation your puppy with gradual introductions to people, other dogs and other animals is essential.

Dog sports are a great way for you and your Golden Retriever to exercise and spend time together. Activities such as ObedienceRally-O,  Agility, Tracking, and Retrieving and Field trials can be very rewarding for both the owner and dog. The level of involvement can range from purely social to serious competition.

Health issues

The expected average lifespan of a Golden Retriever is approximately 10 – 12 years.

The hereditary defects most commonly associated with Golden Retrievers are Hip dysplasia and Eye Defects.  Hip Dysplasia is an abnormal development of the hip-joint, influenced by hereditary and other factors. The hip-joint is referred to as a ball-and-socket joint, the rounded head of the femur fits into the cup-like acetabulum. Hip dysplasia results in instability of the joint due to alterations of the head of the femur and a shallowness of the acetabulum. The degree of change can vary from slight to so severe that the head of the femur can become totally dislocated. The dog’s movement does not always give an accurate assessment of the degree of hip dysplasia. Dogs with changes of hip dysplasia will develop osteoarthritis later in life.  By keeping your puppy the correct weight, not over exercising, not allowing the puppy under 12 months of age to jump into/onto objects, you will help minimise the chances of your dog sustaining any injuries that could present as Hip Dysplasia.

Elbow dysplasia is the abnormal development of the elbow joint. The term includes a number of specific abnormalities which affect different sites in the joint. These abnormalities are called primary lesions. Primary lesions cause problems by affecting the development of the cartilage in growth plates and the joint surfaces. The primary lesions then start a secondary osteoarthritic process. More on elbow disease in dogs.

Golden Retrievers can suffer from inherited heart disease. The breed’s primary heart problem is Subarterial Aortic Stenosis (SAS).

There are various eye conditions that affect the sight in Goldens such as, Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) and Hereditary Cataracts (HC) and other conditions that don’t affect the sight such as, Multifocal Retinal Dysplasia (MRD) and Post Polar Cataract (PPC). In Australia, Breeders screen there dogs annually for these conditions.

The two most common types of cancer in the Golden Retriever are hemangiosarcoma and lymphoma.

Your careful weekly exam will help you spot potential health problems early.  Knee, hip, eye, and elbow tests should be included in the usual veterinary check-ups.

Talk to a veterinarian about health issues for this breed.

Note: No amount of hereditary defect testing of the puppy’s parents can guarantee 100% you’re your Golden Retriever will be structurally sound.  Responsible breeders will utilise genetic testing of their breeding stock to reduce the likelihood of inherited disorders in their puppies.

Suitability

The Golden Retriever is the classic family companion as they tend to have a calm temperament and easy to train.  Their pleasing personality and natural drive to be a good companion make the Golden Retriever one of Australia’s most popular breed of dogs.  Golden Retrievers need people and best suited for active families.

Over the years, Golden Retrievers have been bred to make excellent companions to owners as retrievers in hunting expeditions, as service dogs for people with sight or physical disabilities, or as sniffer dogs working with the narcotics or search and rescue divisions in police departments.  As a result, Golden Retrievers need to closely interact with their owners and be regularly included in family activities.

They are good watchdogs, but make lousy guard dogs as they love people far too much to be effective.

If you are a clean freak, then perhaps a Golden Retriever is not for you with their shedding.

Never leave a puppy or adult dog alone with your child! If you are unable to supervise, then separate your pup and child. Crate training your puppy to give him a safe and fun space to be on his own for short periods is recommended.

Adoption in Australia

 Golden Rescue (NSW)

 More details on the breed

Australian National Kennel Council
National Golden Retriever Council of Australia

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