Dog breed library - Utility breeds

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AkitaAkitas seldom bark but can make a range of other unusual noises. These are a large, broad and powerful dog but with a well balanced body. The head is triangular when seen from above and the upright ears seem a little too small for it. Their fluffy tail curls up and over their body. They have a very thick but quite short double coat and can come in any colour. The Akita was originally bred in Japan for fighting but has since been steered towards guarding and hunting. After the second world war, some larger versions of the Japanese Akita, favoured by the US troops, were taken back to America and these are what are known as Akitas today. The slightly smaller Akitas, more typical of the original Japanese ones are known as Japanese Akita Inus. They are an excellent guard dog, affectionate, very brave and loyal to their owners. They have a tendency to be aggressive to people outside the family so need firm training. They tend to be intolerant to other animals and other dogs. They need regular mental and physical exercise but not excessive amounts of physical activity. They need a good deal of brushing and will shed heavily at certain times of the year. They should only be bathed when necessary as this removes the coat's natural waterproofing. They can be prone to a number of problems, with hips, thyroid, skin, eyes, immune diseases and knee problems.Boston TerrierThe Boston Terrier may look as if it is ready for a scrap but is actually a well-mannered and trainable little dog. Boston Terriers are small and muscular with very round heads and pricked up ears. Their eyes bulge slightly and their muzzle is short and square. Their short and shiny coat is often black and white but can come in other colours too. They were bred from pit fighting dogs in America which were much larger but they have come a long way from there. They are sociable, intelligent, keen to learn and surprisingly quiet. They are reliable with children, the elderly and strangers. They generally get on well with non-canine pets and can be trained to tolerate other dogs. They are happy with moderate exercise. The short coat is easy to maintain. Their prominent eyes can be prone to injury and other problems. The shape of their muzzle can result in breathing problems and the largeness of the heads means that puppies often have to be born via cesarean section.BulldogThe distinctive British Bulldog, the National Dog of Great Britain, is a lot less scary than it looks. They are a medium-sized, short-legged, muscular dog. Folds hang either side of his massive head with its huge jaw. Their short, glossy coat comes in a range of colours. The original Bulldog was used for bull baiting but has come a long way since then. Bulldogs love human attention, are brave and have a strong guarding instinct and sense of loyalty. They are also very determined. They tend to snore and slobber due to the shape of their muzzles. With the right training they are good with people and excellent with children. They have to be trained not to be combative with animals they don't know. They need regular exercise and tend to be inactive indoors but a fit Bulldog is capable of moving surprisingly quickly in short bursts. Little grooming is needed. They are prone to a number of health problems especially with breathing but also eye, skin, hip and knee problems. They are sensitive to hot and cold and the bitches are prone to difficulties with labour.Canaan DogThe Canaan Dog is the national breed of Israel. They are medium-sized and well-proportioned with a wedge-shaped head and alert, pointed ears. The coat is short but double with the outer coat being harsh. They come in various colours. They were originally bred in Israel to herd and protect sheep but have proved very useful in mine detection with the army since then too. This highly intelligent dog likes to be kept active in body and brain and can excel at obedience and agility. Their natural instinct is to defend and protect, they are naturally wary of strangers although loyal to their families. They often have to be trained to not be aggressive towards other dogs and other animals. They need a lot of physical and mental exercise and can withstand extreme weather conditions. The Canaan Dog's coat is easy to maintain although they shed heavily at certain times of the year. They have little odour and are generally very healthy.Chow ChowThe large, stocky Chow Chow may look like a big teddy bear but is no pushover. They have quite a stiff, short gait because their hind legs are nearly straight. They also have a large head with a ruff behind and a famously blueish-black tongue. Their coat is thick and furry and often red although can come in shades of black and blue. There is a soft smooth-coated variety and a coarser rough-coat. They are one of the oldest of the breeds from China and were used for herding, guarding and pulling carts. They are naturally protective and can be willful so close attention needs to be paid to their training. Loyal to their owner, they need to be trained to accept other people, they may have a tendency to want to be pushy around other animals. They tend to be sedentary indoors so need a good walk outdoors every day. The thick coat needs regular brushing and they moult heavily at certain times. They are prone to an eyelid abnormality called entropion where the eyelid turns inwards. This can usually be corrected with surgery. They can also suffer from hip dysplasia, stomach cancer and ear infections.DalmatianThe striking Dalmatian is a playful companion as long as he has an outlet for his enormous energy. They are large, strong and muscular with a short white coat with distinctive spots. The spots can come in a variety of colours but the preferred colours are black or liver. The puppies are born white and the spots appear later. There is some disagreement about their country of origin although they were certainly popular in the 1800s as a carriage dog: looking distinctive following the carriage and then guarding it when the master was away unoccupied. They have a lot of stamina and energy but are not particularly good at independent thought. As a result, they need clear leadership and something to do. With the right training they can be good with strangers, and other pets but may be a little too excitable for small children. Dalmatians need a lot of opportunity to exercise and may become destructive if not allowed to do so. They shed all year so regular grooming is needed to help to keep that in check. There is quite a high proportion of deafness in this breed. They are also prone to urinary stones and skin allergies.EurasierThe Eurasier is a calm, even-tempered dog that forms a very close bond with their family. They are a medium-sized, balanced spitz style dog that comes in a variety of colours. They have a double coat with a thick undercoat and long outer hairs, although the hair is shorter on the head and front legs. Unusually, their tongue may be pink, blue-black or spotted. The Eurasia is quite a recent breed having been developed in Germany, in the 1960s, to combine the best qualities of the Chow Chow and Wolfspitz and, later, the Samoyed with the intention breeding a companion dog. They are dignified, affectionate, gentle, intelligent, easy to train and very people-oriented. They are watchful of strangers but never aggressive and are vigilant but friendly to other dogs. They need a good amount of exercise and the thick coat needs regular brushing. There are no known health problems.French BulldogThis mini version of the Bulldog loves to play the clown. They are a sturdy, compact little dog with quite a large head and mouth and slightly rounded 'bat' ears that stand straight up. The eyes are prominent too. Their short, smooth coat comes in a wide range of colours including brindle and spotted. They actually originate from England when lacemakers wanted a miniature bulldog as a lapdog but the lacemakers moved to France in the industrial revolution and took their dogs with them where they were renamed. They are easy-going, playful and affectionate. They are game for anything and intelligent but not noisy or demanding. They generally get along well with people and other animals although they do like to catch mice. They are quite active indoors but enjoy a daily walk too. Care needs to be taken in hot weather as they are prone to heatstroke and around water as most of them cannot swim. Little grooming is needed. They are prone to quite a range of problems so vet bills can be high. Typically affected areas are joints, spine, heart and eyes and they often suffer from respiratory problems. Pups are normally delivered via cesarean section.German Spitz (Klein)The German Spitz breed loves to be the centre of attention and will "dance" for it, standing on their hind legs. They have the typical spitz look: thick undercoat with a harsher long top coat, curled tail over their back and a slightly wolf-like face; but their eyes are larger than most spitz breeds and they come in a wider variety of colours. There are two sizes recognised by the kennel club: Klein (small) and Mittel (medium-sized) but they have the same overall shape and character. The medium-sized German Spitz was used as a herding dog but the small variety is more of a companion breed, similar to the Pomeranian. They are a busy and inquisitive dog and are happy to please as long they have firm leadership, they make a good companion for an older person. They love human attention and can be trained to get on well with strangers, children and animals. Although quite active indoors, they enjoy regular daily walks. They need regular brushing to prevent matting but there are no known health problems.German Spitz (Mittel)The German Spitz breed loves to be the centre of attention and will "dance" for it, standing on their hind legs. They have the typical spitz look: thick undercoat with a harsher long top coat, curled tail over their back and a slightly wolf-like face; but their eyes are larger than most spitz breeds and they come in a wider variety of colours. There are two sizes recognised by the kennel club: Klein (small) and Mittel (medium-sized) but they have the same overall shape and character. The medium-sized German Spitz was used as a herding dog but the small variety is more of a companion breed, similar to the Pomeranian. They are a busy and inquisitive dog and are happy to please as long they have firm leadership, they make a good companion for an older person. They love human attention and can be trained to get on well with strangers, children and animals. Although quite active indoors, they enjoy regular daily walks. They need regular brushing to prevent matting but there are no known health problems.Japanese Akita InuThe Japanese Akita Inu is considered a national dog of Japan and one of seven breeds designated as a National Monument. In recent years the Akita and Akita Inu were separated into two distinct breeds. The Akita Inu has a lighter weight body and very specific colouring but they are still a large spitz type with a thick double coat, a plush tail carried over their back, quite a heavy, flat head and small triangular eyes. Used originally as a hunting dog, they have proved useful more recently in the police and armed forces. Although loyal and good natured towards their family, they can also be territorial and stubborn so need firm and careful training. They need to be trained to not show aggression towards strangers and other animals and they need long daily walks. Their coat requires a good deal of brushing and will shed heavily at certain times of the year. They should only be bathed when necessary as this removes the coat's natural waterproofing. They can be prone to a number of problems with hips, thyroid, skin, eyes, immune diseases and knee problems.Japanese Shiba InuWith it's short haired, stiff coat, the Japanese Shiba Inu is a handsome and tidy little dog. They are the smallest of the spitz type breeds from Japan. They have typical spitz proportions with a curled tail and fairly short double coat. The coat tends to be reddish with distinctive white markings especially on the cheeks, sides of muzzle and chest. They were bred to hunt small game and flush out birds, although they have been used to hunt larger game such as deer too. The name Shiba means "small" and "brushwood". They are alert, brave, loving and very trainable. They are also quite clean and quiet. They tend to get on well with children but may be wary around strangers. They are usually trustworthy around dogs and cats but possibly less so around small pets and wildlife. They need plenty of exercise and have great stamina. The stiff, shorthaired coat is easy to groom but it's best not to bath them too often as it removes the natural waterproofing. They are prone to hip dysplasia, slipped kneecap and PRA.Japanese SpitzThe feisty little Japanese Spitz has an attractive personality but they do like the sound of their own voice. They are a small spitz breed with a striking, long, pure white coat that stands out. The whiteness makes the black eyes and nose stand out. The hair on the legs is shorter but has feathering. Their origins are unknown except that they come from Japan. They look very much like a small Samoyed and it has been suggested that they originated from them. They are intelligent, alert and playful. They are active and enjoy sports like agility. They have a tendency to bark unless this is curbed. They are generally sociable to adults, children and other animals. Although active indoors, they need a good daily walk too. The long coat with its thick undercoat needs brushing and combing regularly but there are no known health problems.KeeshondThe Keeshond is friendly and sociable with everyone and keen to tell them so. The Keeshond is a spitz-type dog, a little like a small Samoyed with a long coat that stands out. They are larger than the similar looking Japanese Spitz and tend to come in shades of grey rather than white. It is unknown what they were bred for in their native Holland but when they came to the USA, they were nicknamed the Dutch Barge Dog and worked as a watch dog and guard dog on river boats, barges and farms. They are very trainable and affectionate and can be good at performing. They are good at warning of danger but need to be discouraged from barking too much. They generally get on well with people, are excellent with children and are normally fine with other animals. Although active indoors, they need a good daily walk too but their thick coat makes hot climates difficult for them. The long coat and thick undercoat need regular brushing and they will moult heavily twice a year. They are prone to hip dysplasia, skin problems and heart disease.Korean JindoThe Korean Jindo is an official national treasure of Korea and because of this it is very difficult to export purebreds out of Korea. They are a medium-sized spitz-type breed with a squarish body and a double but short coat that comes in a wide variety of colours. In Korea they were originally used for hunting. They worked independently, returning to the huntsman with the prey. They are intelligent, strong-willed and independent and can be quite territorial but they bond closely with their owner and can be very loyal and obedient. They have a strong protective instinct and prey drive so are wary of strangers and a possible threat to small wildlife. Careful training needs to be undertaken to overcome this. They need plenty of exercise but teaching a very secure recall is necessary because of their prey drive. It is not wise to leave them in a yard as they get bored easily and have amazing abilities to scale walls up to eight feet high. The short coat does not need too much looking after throughout most of the year but it sheds heavily twice a year when daily brushing is a necessity. The only health problem they are known to be prone to is hypothyroidism.Lhasa ApsoNamed after the sacred city of Lhasa in Tibet, the Lhasa Apso was at one time considered a sacred dog. It was believed that when the dog's master died, his soul entered the Lhasa Apso's body. They are a hardy little dog with a body longer than it is high and a tail that curls over the back. They have a dense, double coat which covers the whole body including the head and ears which can come in many colours. The coat could naturally reach the floor but they are often trimmed to make grooming easier. They were bred by Tibetan monks as a guard dog for temples and monasteries. They are friendly, spirited and intelligent. They have a stubborn streak but can make a very good pet, affectionate and loving to friends and family. While they are head strong, they are keen to learn with gentle, positive training methods. They are quite jovial dogs and a bit of a clown. They have excellent hearing and will give plenty of vocal warning of any perceived threat. They are naturally wary of strangers but a well brought up Lhasa Apso can be sociable with strangers, children and other animals. They are an active breed indoors but enjoy a daily walk too and have surprising stamina. Regular brushing and combing keeps the coat matt free but this is easier if they are trimmed. Some health problems have been reported: skin problems, hip dysplasia, kidney problems, eye problems and ulcers but they are generally a very healthy and long-living dog. Diet plays a huge role in some of the skin conditions and regular grooming helps with skin issues.Mexican HairlessThe Mexican Hairless, or Xolo, is one of the oldest known breeds, dating back over 3,000 years. Not only valued as a companion, they were a popular "hot water bottle" on a cold night. Bitterly cold weather called for a "Three Dog Night". There are three sizes: Intermediate, Miniature and Standard and actually two "coat" types which come in a variety of colours. The completely hairless are the more popular but around one in every 5 born has a short, shiny coat. They are a muscular and hardy dog with a broad skull and large upright ears. Their Mexican name means "God-Dog" and the ancient Aztecs and Mayans thought they had healing properties and a special connection to the gods. This meant that they were sometimes sacrificed as an offering or buried with their owners when they died. The smaller Xolos were companions, bed warmers and even eaten as a delicacy. The larger were more for protection. They are extremely loyal and bond quickly and easily. They have been known to climb trees and ride horses to be with their owner. It is important that they are given the opportunity to bond with the whole family or they can become a one person dog. They are very intelligent and athletic and do well at agility and obedience. They are naturally protective of their family so need to be taught to accept strangers and other animals. Young Xolos need a lot of exercise for their body and brain. They do calm down as they mature but they'll always enjoy a daily walk. They tend not to run off as they'd rather be with their owner. Obviously the hairless do not need brushing but a little moisturiser and sun screen in hot weather is a good idea, something mild and hypoallergenic. They are normally a long-lived breed with no known health problems.Miniature SchnauzerThe Miniature Schnauzer was developed by crossing the Schnauzer with the Affenpinscher to create a handy scaled down version suitable for town living. They are a small, sturdy, squarely-proportioned dog. Their head is approximately rectangular-shaped and clipped to give the appearance of a bushy beard, moustache and eyebrows with ears that sit close in the shape of small Vs. Their double coat is wiry with a soft undercoat and comes in black, white, salt / pepper and black / silver. They are German in origin and were used as ratters, although the name Schnauzer comes from the German word "Schnauze", meaning "muzzle". They are a happy little dog, intelligent, loving and playful. They are an alert watchdog but do not bark but have a kind of low howl. They generally enjoy human company and can be trained to get along with other dogs although may be inclined to chase small wildlife. They tend not to be too active indoors but are quite agile and enjoy daily brisk walks or jogs. They need regular brushing and combing and occasional trimming or stripping. They are generally hardy but can be prone to liver disease, kidney stones, diabetes, skin disorders, von Willebrand's disease, cysts and hereditary eye problems.Poodle (Miniature)The lively little Miniature Poodle is a natural performer and has a long history of working in the circus. Poodles come in a variety of sizes: Standard (the largest), Miniature (smaller) and Toy (smallest), although some countries also recognise a Medium-sized which sits between Standard and Miniature. They all have a generally square look, a long, straight muzzle and hanging ears. They do not shed but their curly coat is typically close cut and comes in a variety of solid colours. The coat can be corded but keeping it curly is more popular. The original Standard Poodle was bred in Europe, as a water retrieval dog and the Miniature and Toy poodles have been bred down from that. The smaller types were sometimes used to hunt truffles but they have mainly found favour as performers and companions. They are highly intelligent, alert, active and eager to please. They do well at active sports such as agility and are very good at learning tricks. With the right training they can be stranger, children and dog friendly as long as their cuteness doesn't encourage people to spoil them. They have plenty of energy and greatly enjoy being outside. They love water. Poodles need their long ears checking and their coat clipping regularly. There are a variety of clips, but Miniature and Toy Poodles often just have a "puppy clip" - short all over. They are prone to eye problems, heart disease, diabetes, epilepsy, ear infections and skin allergies.Poodle (Standard)The Standard Poodle is possibly the most elegant of all the poodles. Poodles come in a variety of sizes: Standard (the largest), Miniature (smaller) and Toy (smallest) although some countries also recognise a Medium-sized which sits between Standard and Miniature. They all have a generally square look, a long, straight muzzle and hanging ears. They do not shed but their curly coat is normally close cut and comes in a variety of usually solid colours. The coat can be corded but keeping it curly is more popular. The original Standard Poodle was bred in Europe, as a water retrieval dog and the Miniature and Toy poodles have been bred down from that. The smaller types were sometimes used to hunt truffles but they have mainly found favour as performers and companions. The Standard Poodle is normally a good-natured dog. Like all Poodles, they are highly intelligent and trainable. They also tend to be less busy and calmer around the home than the smaller varieties. Of all the Poodles, they tend to be the most naturally friendly towards, people, children and other dogs. All Poodles need plenty of exercise but the Standard type retains the stamina of a working dog so needs more than the smaller varieties. They particularly love any exercise involving water. The Poodle needs their long ears checking and their coat clipping regularly. There are a variety of clips. Sometimes the rear half of the body is shaved, bracelets are left around the ankles, and pom-poms are left on the tails and hips. Although this looks showy, it stems from the time hair was shaved to help the dog to swim when retrieving game but hair was left in specific areas to protect their joints against cold and reeds. Although generally long lived, Standard Poodles are prone to certain diseases: eye problems, skin allergies, hip dysplasia, ear infections, bloat and Von Willebrand's Disease.Poodle (Toy)The sweet little Toy Poodle is probably the Poodle most suited to town life but has a history of performing tricks in the Circus too. Poodles come in a variety of sizes: Standard (the largest), Miniature (smaller) and Toy (smallest) although some countries also recognise a Medium-sized which sits between Standard and Miniature. They all have a generally square look, a long, straight muzzle and hanging ears. They do not shed but their curly coat is typically close cut and comes in a variety of solid colours. The coat can be corded but keeping it curly is more popular. The original Standard Poodle was bred in Europe, as a water retrieval dog and the Miniature and Toy poodles have been bred down from that. The smaller types were sometimes used to hunt truffles but they have mainly found favour as performers and companions. Like all Poodles, the Toy is highly intelligent and trainable. They are a cheerful, lively little dog. With the right training they can be stranger, children and dog friendly as long as their cuteness doesn't encourage people to spoil them. They are an active dog but will settle indoors as long as given plenty of exercise outside. They love water. The poodle needs their long ears checking and their coat clipping regularly. There are a variety of clips but miniature Poodles often just have a "puppy clip" - short all over. They are prone to eye problems, heart disease, Anemia, diabetes, epilepsy, slipped stifle, ear infections digestive problems and skin allergies.SchipperkeIn Flanders, where the Schipperke used to work on canal boats, the word "schip" means boat and they were frequently nicknamed "Little Captain" or "Little Skipper" because they often belonged to the captain. The name is pronounced 'skip-er-key'. They are a small, fox-like, spitz-type breed with a thick, double coat that has a ruff round the neck and shoulders. They normally come in black but can also come in tan or fawn. They were bred in Flanders by a canal boat captain named Renssens and were used as a guard dog on boats as well as for ratting. They are lively, intelligent, alert and very loyal. They are a good alert dog but do like the sound of their own bark and will howl too. They are very happy on boats. Schipperkes usually get on well with strangers, children and animals. They need regular exercise but are the sort of dog that is active indoors and out. Regular brushing and combing is needed to keep the coat looking good. At certain times of the year the coat "blows" - all the undercoat falls out over a period of days - and for a couple of weeks they look practically naked until the thick coat returns. They are prone to hypothyroidism, epilepsy, hip dysplasia slipped hip sockets, Legg Calves Perthes Disease, eye problems and a recently discovered disease called MPS 111B (Mucopolysaccharidosis).SchnauzerThe Schnauzer or Standard Schnauzer sits between the Miniature and Giant in terms of size but is actually the oldest of the three Schnauzer types. They are a muscular, medium-sized, squarely built dog. Their head is rectangular with long whiskers, beard and eyebrows and their double coat has a wiry outer which comes in black and 'salt and pepper' which looks greyish. They originate from Germany where they were a general purpose farm dog but they have proved their worth in many areas and were used as messenger dogs in World War 1. They are an excellent guard dog, lively and enthusiastic and can be playful and affectionate but they are highly intelligent and not the easiest of dogs to train. They are normally good with children and can be trained to get on with strangers and animals but do have a high prey drive. They need a good deal of regular exercise. Their undercoat needs regular brushing and their outer coat needs trimming regularly. They can be prone to hip dysplasia and tumours.Shar PeiThe Shar Pei is easy to recognise from his deeply wrinkled skin which gives the impression of a rather comical frown. Puppies have the most wrinkles and they gradually become less wrinkled as they age. They are a medium-sized dog with a large head and, like the Chow Chow, have a blueish-black tongue. They come in a wide variety of colours, in fact all Solid colours except white are acceptable. Shading is normal on the coat colours but "Flowered" or "Parti Colour" coat colours are considered faults. There are three coat types: horse-coat, brush-coat and a bear-coat (which is actually a fault in the breed caused by the addition of other breeds). The last of these is not recognised by some kennel clubs. The horse-coat has a very prickly feel whereas the brush coat is smoother. They go back many years to early China where they were used as an all-purpose farm dog although the name Shar Pei just means "sandy coat". They were also occasionally used in dog fighting where the prickly horse-coat was an advantage. They need clear obedience training but are intelligent, playful and affectionate and can form a very good bond with their family. They also make good guard dogs. They are normally good with people and will be with other dogs and children if socialised when young. They need a good deal of daily exercise although care must be taken in hot weather as they are very sensitive to heat. All coat types need regular brushing. They are prone to kidney failure and mast cell tumours. They are also prone to skin problems but this is not caused, as is commonly believed, by having wrinkles but is a hereditary problem. They can suffer from Shar Pei fever (FSF) which can result in renal and liver failure through accumulation of amyloid in those organs (amyloidosis). They can also suffer from entropion, but responsible breeders are working hard to health test their dogs before breeding to ensure the breed is as healthy as possible.Shih TzuAlthough small in stature, the name Shih Tzu actually means "lion dog". They are similar to the Lhasa Apso but with shorter muzzles and a much more outgoing personality. They are a little, sturdy dog with an abundance of hair that comes in all colours. It flows down their hanging ears, in a long beard and moustache over their round, broad head, over their body and from a tail that curls over their back. The hair on their head is often tied back so that you can see their round, dark eyes and short muzzle. Chinese royals kept them as a prized companion dog for hundreds of years and refused to sell or give them away as gifts until the 1930s. They are an alert an busy little dog, gentle, loving, brave, and full of character. They make a good watchdog. They are naturally people, children and animal friendly and make a delightful companion, unless their cuteness encourages their owner to spoil them. They are quite an active dog indoors but enjoy a daily walk outside too. Their long coat needs a good deal of daily brushing and combing. They are prone to slipped stifle and spinal disc disease, ear infections and eye problems and tooth decay. Their short muzzle also makes them prone to respiratory problems. They gain weight easily, too.Tibetan SpanielTibetan Spaniels are often mistaken for Pekingese but as well having as a somewhat more relaxed outlook on life, the Spaniel does not have extra skin around the eyes, has a slightly longer face and their coat is less abundant. They are a small, compact dog with a body slightly longer than it is tall and a domed head. They have a double, silky coat, which is medium length on the body, a mane and a feathery tail which is carried over their back. The coat can come in all colours. They originated about two thousand years ago and were used by monks to turn a prayer wheel and as watchdogs. They are a playful and charming little dog: affectionate and curious, intelligent and trusting and although a good watchdog, they are not overly yappy. They normally get along fine with other animals and children but can be a little wary of strangers. They enjoy a daily opportunity for exercise. Their coat needs regular brushing and combing and comes out in clumps when they moult, once a year. They are prone to breathing problems and heatstroke.Tibetan TerrierThe Tibetan Terrier is not actually in the Terrier group but was given the Terrier name by the first Europeans who encountered it. There is, however, a streak of Terrier wilfulness about them. They are a medium-sized, square looking dog with long hair on their face giving them the look of a beard, moustache and bushy eyebrows. The thick, double coat has a soft, woolly undercoat with a long, straight to wavy, top coat that comes in all colours. They were kept by monks about two thousand years ago as good luck charms and were helpful as watchdogs and herders. The monks refused to sell them but occasionally gave them as gifts. They are a gentle and affectionate dog, intelligent and loyal. They normally get along fine with other animals but may not be suitable for small children and can be a little wary of strangers. They have a lot of stamina and energy and need plenty of exercise. Their coat needs a good deal of brushing and combing and regular bathing. They can also be trimmed. They are prone to PRA and hip dysplasia and can also be sensitive to fleas.