Category: dog breeds

Dog Breeds 101: Maltese

Dog Breeds 101 - Maltese
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Meet the Snow White of the dog kingdom – the Maltese. With long, silky hair as white as snow, a pair of round eyes as black as ebony, and a button nose that adds to the breed’s overall cuteness score, the Maltese certainly can compete for the title of the “fairest of them all.”

The Maltese has a history of being the favorite pet of noble and royal ladies for over 28 centuries! [1] This dog has captured the hearts of Queen Elizabeth I, Mary Queen of Scots, and Queen Victoria. For this reason, they have enjoyed comfortable lives inside palaces and other mansions. The Maltese is an ancient toy dog, with a history that dates back to the era of early civilizations. Almost all forms of art such as pots, paintings, and poems have depicted this breed of dog, and although the Maltese has never been encased in a glass coffin like Snow White, special tombs were erected for them by the Greeks. The Egyptians brought their adoration for the Maltese to another level by believing they had powers to cure the ill.

The Maltese is well recognized by its silky, immaculate-white hair that hangs over the dog’s sides and eventually falls all the way to the ground. When they walk, they resemble a small white fluffy cloud floating over the ground. Such hair requires a lot of visits to the groomer and daily combing. The Maltese weighs around 5 to 7 pounds and stands 7 to 12 inches tall.

Very spirited and bubbly, the Maltese can make friends with everyone including children. [2] But do not let this ball of fur fool you, they can stand their ground against dogs twice their size if need be. Unfortunately, this can also be a concern. Being bold can be impressive, but being completely unaware of your actual size is a different matter. Other dogs ten times the size of a Maltese might just be tempted and accept the tiny dog’s challenge. The result could be traumatic and the owner should keep a close eye on their dog.

There seems to be nothing that can diminish the Maltese’s curiosity or subdue their seemingly endless energy for that matter. They love to frolic outdoors and run in the backyard. Because of its adorable people-oriented nature and cute facial expressions, sometimes it becomes difficult not to spoil these dogs. However, doing so will not necessarily benefit this dog. Also, remember that when adopting a Maltese it is important to find a reputable breeder and avoid “backyard breeders.” [3]



[2] Nancy Furstinger, Maltese (ABDO, 2010), p. 8.

[3] Joe Fulda and Betsy Sikora Siino, Maltese: Everything about Purchase, Care, Nutrition, Behavior, and Training (Barron’s Educational Series, 2006), p. 26.

Dog Breeds 101: Beagle

The Beagle is a world-famous dog breed that has won the favor of countless households. It’s very easy to imagine what a Beagle looks like. Just imagine a miniature shorthaired Foxhound with shorter legs, longer ears and a compact squarely built body, and you’ll certainly picture a Beagle. Both of these dogs were bred at the same time and for the same reason; however, the Beagle is not a mini-Foxhound. [1]

There is much contention as to where the word “beagle” is derived from, but most consider the breed’s name to come from the French term “be’geule” or “begueule.” It means “gape throat” in reference to the dog’s distinctive howls when chasing game. [2] But that is just at the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the Beagle’s vocalization ability. Their vocal cords are so remarkable that this breed can produce three different sounds. The first is its regular bark or growl, the second one is a baying howl for when it’s out on the trail, and lastly, the half-baying howl. The third one is used to alert the huntsman that his dog has spotted the game and is working to hunt it down – or just to show its boredom or to simply wake the whole neighborhood before the sun has risen!

Beagles are Scent Hounds. What does this tell you? Simple: that you may have a very hard time trying to hide this dog’s treats. The Beagle has a powerful nose equipped with about 220 million scent receptors (we humans only have 5 million of these “smell detectors”). It is no wonder that these canines are so adored by authorities in international airports and US Customs! However, this incredibly powerful nose can occasionally become problematic. Once your Beagle picks up an interesting smell, that’s that – even if it means crossing streets or going into your neighborhood’s yard uninvited! Hence, a fenced backyard is a good idea and because these pooches are natural wanderers, identification tags are also a good idea. Check out this Beagle training page.

Overall, the Beagle can make a loving and sweet pet. This dog’s friendly wagging tail and charming, upbeat personality makes it difficult to dislike this dog. Plus, they make excellent dogs for kids because they are unbelievably tolerant and cheerful.

Dog Breeds 101 - Beagle
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[1] Dan Rice, The Beagle Handbook (Barron’s Educational Series, 2000), p. 7.

[2] Kristine Kraeuter, Training Your Beagle (Barron’s Educational Series, 2001), p.6:

Dog Breeds 101: Boxer

The Boxer is a special breed of dog that looks fierce and tough but is actually extremely kind and adorable. Boxers are originally from Germany and are medium-sized and short-haired. This dog’s strong jaws were originally bred in order for being able to cling on to fleeing game. The Boxer’s job was to keep the game from getting away until the hunter arrived to kill the animal. [1] It is for this reason that Boxers have very muscular bodies. They are fairly-priced and noted for their obedience, tenacity, and strength. [2]

Provided that this dog gets adequate exercise, it can live happily in an apartment. They can also get along with the whole family, including kids and other pets. Despite their size, they consider themselves to be lap dogs and will want to be near you as much as possible. They are referred to as the “Peter Pan” of dog breeds because of their playfulness and boundless energy. They are also graceful, exuberant, and high-spirited.

Boxers are known to be fearless, intelligent, and friendly. They are famous for their love, devotion and loyalty. However, using harsh or abusive training methods may cause them to become stubborn, willful, and headstrong. Although they can be slightly weary of strangers, they will never hurt them unless they sense their family is in immediate danger. [3]

What’s even more surprising about this dog is its behavior. When they are excited, they do the “kidney dance,” where they twist their bodies to form a curved shape that resembles a kidney bean. [4]

It is important to note that because this dog has a short coat, they get cold easily during winter. Furthermore, their smushed noses and undershot jaws make them prone to overheating in the extreme heat. [5]

In addition to being lap dogs, Boxers can be stellar watch dogs. In fact, with their strength and courage, they perform a variety of functions in the military and police forces. In addition to their impressive guarding instincts, Boxers are also renowned for their search-and-rescue abilities. They are known for their excellence in schutzhund (German for “protection dog” – a dog sport), agility and obedience.

Research shows that the Boxer can live up to 14 years. Like other canine breeds, they need sufficient exercise, human interaction, and activity in order to remain healthy and happy. In 2012, the American Kennel Club named the Boxer as the seventh most popular breed of dog in the US.

Dog Breeds 101 - Boxer
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[1] Boxers (Barron’s Educational Series, 2000), p. 6. (affiliate link)




[5] Karla Spitzer, The Everything Boxer Book: A Complete Guide to Raising, Training, And Caring for Your Boxer (Everything Books, 2006), p. 12. (affiliate link)