Breeder’s comments

1. Bulldog

The Bulldog, with his distinctive, wrinkled face, is known for snoring, drooling and passing gas. Although his sturdy body and natural facial features might be perceived as aggressive, this dog is the opposite. He is sweet and friendly, and his face lights up with a smile when he is happy, while his tongue might be hanging out to the side.

The look

The Bulldog is quite distinguishable from the American Bulldog, who is bigger, and from the smaller French Bulldog, who has erect ears. He has a short snout, his body is low-slung, and he is heavy-set with a large head. So often described as clumsy, he doesn’t care, as long as he can be a part of the family. Be aware that this dog drools and snuffles. His coat is easy to take care of, but you need to clean his face and take care of his wrinkles, as well as clean his ears regularly.

Personality

Bulldogs might appear fierce and disinterested, but they are actually easy-going and affectionate dogs. They have loveable personalities and are able to adapt to different environments. These dogs need an owner with patience when it comes to training. Obedience and socialisation classes are important for them.

Health issues

This breed doesn’t have high exercise requirements, as his energy levels are low, but it is necessary to take him for walks to keep him fit and healthy, and prevent him from becoming overweight. Bear in mind that he doesn’t do well in hot weather, so walks should be early in the morning and late afternoon. Also, make sure that he has access to cool places to rest.

2. Rottweiler

The Rottweiler is a big dog with a broad chest and is all muscle, but he will quickly crawl into your heart with his loving nature. Although he is loyal and devoted to his family, he should be continuously socialised, and supervised near children.

The look

This dog has a distinctive coal black coat with tan markings. He is slightly longer than he is tall, and his huge head completes his impressive looks. The Rottie’s size can be intimidating, and it should be, as this dog is all power. But his beautiful smile quickly makes up for his daunting looks.

Personality

Combined with his fierce looks, the Rottweiler is a confident, courageous, intelligent and fearless dog. Temperaments can differ within the breed, and each dog should be treated as an individual. This dog needs to be trained from an early age.

Background

Coming from Germany, this ancient breed was developed to work and to guard. This should be kept in mind, and his power and energy should never be underestimated.

Health issues

The parents of the puppies should be tested for hip dysplasia, heart conditions and eye diseases, as this breed might suffer from these conditions. Another health issue that can be linked to this breed is cancer. Therefore, it is very important that the Rottweiler gets a health check at least once a year, or twice a year when he is a senior dog.

What the breeders say

We spoke to Susan Mocke of Camelwest Rottweilers to find out more about the breed.

Why do you think this breed is so popular?

The Rottweiler is a handsome dog – well balanced and well proportioned. It is even fair to say that for the size of a Rottweiler, he is a very healthy breed. But the necessary health checks must be done. The Rottweiler’s lifespan is far greater than other dogs of his size, and he is a most intelligent and obedient dog, capable of learning a multitude of tasks.

The Rottweiler is trustworthy and confident, befitting his stature and his proud German upbringing. He is as popular as a family pet as he is for tracking. The breed accepts each member of the family and can be protective.

The Rottweiler has a natural affinity toward children, but both child and dog must be raised to respect each other. The Rottweiler is, of course, much more than a handsome dog. His true mettle goes much deeper, and as any devoted Rottweiler owner will tell you, the beauty of this breed begins with the dog’s heart.

 What makes this breed special?

Adaptability Because of the Rottweiler’s relatively moderate activity level, he can fit into a variety of lifestyles and living accommodations that many other smaller, but much more active, breeds cannot. In other words, the adult Rottweiler may enjoy five acres of fenced property, but he can live quite well in a small home if the owner is active and committed to walking their dog.

Trainability One of the great beauties of this breed is his willingness and ability to learn.

Quiet, calm nature The Rottweiler is not a loud or barky dog.

 What is the most important factor potential pet owners should consider before getting this breed?

You need to take the temperaments of the puppy’s parents into consideration, as well as their health (see ‘Health issues’). The Rottweiler brings with him responsibility for training and care. He is not a toy that you can stash in a corner when you get bored of him. You have to do your homework before you get this dog.

If you choose a popular breed like the Rottweiler, you are spoilt for choice – you may face the problem that there are so many puppies on sale, who have been bred for profit’s sake only. Therefore, it is important to do your research and visit a number of breeders before you decide where you want to get a puppy from.

I recommend that you look for a Rottweiler puppy with registration documents from the Kennel Union of Southern Africa (KUSA) – with these, you know that the parents’ health tests have been done and are in place.

3. Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Personality

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is all muscle, tough and courageous, with heaps of tenacity. He was originally used for fighting, but today the Staffie is much kinder, and especially good with children. He still has a strong protective instinct, and is an intelligent dog who thrives on companionship.

The Staffie will do anything and almost everything with you to get your love and attention. He can be impulsive and headstrong and, therefore, needs to be socialised from an early age. Positive reinforcement training and patience are important with this dog.

Stamina

He has heaps of stamina and will enjoy outdoor activities with you, including jogging, hiking and dog sports. He has high energy levels and needs adequate exercise daily. He doesn’t need much space, but gardens should be fenced to keep him inside.

The look

The Staffie is not a tall dog, but there are loads of dog within his stocky body. He has the typical Terrier muscled body, with a broad head and the cutest Terrier cheeks – melting your heart when he smiles. You’ll find the Staffie in many colours, including red, fawn, black, blue or any shade of brindle with white.

Grooming

This breed is easy when it comes to grooming. He has a short, smooth coat. An occasional bath with a weekly brush, and there you go – a happy dog.

Health

There are some health issues related to the breed, and it is extremely important to find a reputable breeder. Some of the conditions noted include elbow and hip dysplasia, eye anomalies, such as juvenile cataracts and posterior polar subcapsular cataracts, and skin allergies. Discuss the possible health issues with the breeder and find out if there have been any screening tests done.

Reputable breeders will assist where they can and will be willing to give advice freely. They will know the puppies’ temperaments and can help you to choose one who will be ideal for you.

 

4. Labrador Retriever

Personality

The Labrador Retriever is a loving, friendly dog and is a favourite family dog. He gets along with just about everybody, and is great with children and other pets. This dog has loads of patience and is an all-round happy dog, but it is important to teach children from a young age to respect all dogs.

Water baby

Don’t be surprised if your Labrador takes a dip in the swimming pool or fishpond – even in the middle of winter! He just loves water so much. Therefore, it is important to have a fence around the pool to ensure that he can only get to the water while supervised, for his own safety.

Exercise

The Labrador is a high-energy dog and needs exercise to get rid of his excess energy. He does well in agility, obedience and, as can be expected, retrieving. A game of fetch is totally up this dog’s alley. Keep his mind stimulated with various games and adventures, otherwise he might become bored and destructive.

The look

The Labrador is a strong, athletic dog with kind eyes. When the Lab is happy, you can see it in his eyes and his smile. His coat can be black, yellow or chocolate.

Grooming

His coat is short, straight and dense, and he has a weatherproof undercoat that is easy to maintain. A brush two or three times a week will be sufficient, but additional brushing will help when he sheds.

Health

Generally, expect a healthy dog. Ask the breeder if the parents have been screened for heart disorders, elbow and hip dysplasia, eye conditions and muscle weakness.

 

5. Golden Retriever

Personality

The Golden Retriever is loyal and really good with children. He is a real pleaser and highly intelligent, making him a great family and service dog. His charming personality and trainability add to the traits that make him a favourite breed. The Golden is also great with strangers and is not a barker.

Water baby

This breed was developed when a yellow Wavy-coated Retriever was mated to a Tweed Water Spaniel in the last century. It is no surprise, then, that the Golden Retriever loves water and may take a dip in the swimming pool, so it is best to secure the pool and only allow him to swim under supervision.

Exercise

The Golden needs exercise on a daily basis. He excels in most of the dog sports and enjoys outdoor activities, especially activities that involve swimming, and a game of fetch is also one of his favourites. Avoid strenuous exercise at an early age while his bones and ligaments are still growing.

The look

The Golden Retriever is self-confident, has a beautiful, feathery coat that can be any shade of gold or cream, and has a kind facial expression. The Golden and Labrador Retriever look similar, but the Golden Retriever’s coat is slightly longer, among other differences.

Grooming

This dog’s waterproof double coat can be either flat or wavy, with feathering on the back of his legs, on the abdomen, neck and tail. Brush him at least three times a week.

Health

Although the Golden Retriever is generally a healthy dog, it is still necessary to check his ears regularly for infections, and to brush his teeth daily. Ask the breeder whether the breeding pair was screened for elbow and hip dysplasia, heart diseases and eye conditions.

 

6. French Bulldog

The look

The French Bulldog’s trademark is most probably his bat-like ears, which are round and large. Other than that, he resembles a smaller version of a Bulldog. His wrinkled and extremely short face adds to his sturdy charm.

Personality

Often described as a real clown, the French Bulldog likes to be the centre of attention. He is deeply affectionate and quite dependable, and his wonderful character makes him a great family companion. Overall, he is an easy and well-mannered dog, who loves to play.

He doesn’t bark much, but is alert and can be territorial. He isn’t as noisy as other snub-nosed breeds, but does snort when he is excited, and he snores when he sleeps. The Frenchie is ideal for single people and families alike, and can live in townhouses or flats.

Exercise

The French Bulldog is not a very active breed, but still needs a short daily walk to keep him fit. Early socialisation and training would be to his advantage to help build his confidence. This dog is prone to obesity, so be mindful of how much he eats daily.

Grooming

While his coat only needs occasional brushing, the folds on his face need regular cleaning. Other than that, he is pretty much a wash-and-go type of dog.

Health issues

The French Bulldog cannot swim, so should never be left alone near a pool or tub. Due to his flat face, he tends to suffer from breathing problems, especially when it is hot or humid. Other issues to look out for in this breed are skin allergies and autoimmune skin disorders, and eye problems, such as cherry eye, juvenile cataracts or entropion – a medical condition in which the eyelid (usually the lower lid) folds inward.

 

7. Bull Terrier

With his egg-shaped head and small eyes, the Bull Terrier is a very recognisable and equally popular breed. With responsible owners, he makes a lovely family companion.

Misunderstood

Sadly, the Bull Terrier is a breed that often elicits fear in people, due to the misconception that he is an aggressive dog who is keen on fighting. This couldn’t be further from the truth, as these days the Bully is known for his love of people and even children. A well-bred Bull Terrier should have an even temperament, displaying a good-natured character.

Training

Bull Terrier owners also need to take responsibility for ensuring that they raise well-balanced dogs. This starts with early socialisation at a reputable puppy school, which will go a long way in helping the Bull Terrier get along with everyone who crosses his path. It is highly recommended that training continues throughout the dog’s life. Training always needs to be a positive experience for the dog.

Personality

Bull Terriers can be stubborn, but they are highly motivated by food and toys. Always be patient when training your dog. Further training with a qualified trainer will help you manage potential issues, such as problems with basic manners and house rules, jumping up on guests, nipping and grabbing while playing, and much more.

The Bully’s clownish and fun personality is truly delightful. He can be a bit on the clumsy side, so put expensive items out of his reach. If you want to get a Bull Terrier, it is best that someone is at home during the day to keep him company. He loves his family and makes a great playmate for children, provided that children are taught how to treat their dog with respect.

Chewer

If you are considering one of these dogs as a family member, be warned – they love chewing! Be sure to provide your Bully with plenty of hardy chew toys. Keep everything that you don’t want to get chewed on safely packed away. He might still get hold of and swallow foreign items, which could cause obstruction in the intestines, so if you notice any symptoms and suspect that he could’ve swallowed something, take him to the vet.

Health issues

Ask the breeder if the parents of the puppy have been screened for kidney and heart problems, and the puppy’s hearing should be tested.

 

8. Miniature Schnauzer

Personality

The Miniature Schnauzer is a smart dog with a good sense of humour, who is keen to learn new things. He is also sociable, makes a great family companion and won’t mind other pets in the home.

Child’s playmate

This dog thrives on close companionship with his people, and enjoys interactive play in the garden. He can be a bit protective, but early socialisation will help him to relax in this regard. These qualities, combined with his endearing approach to life, make him a good candidate to be a dog with children in the house.

The look

The Miniature Schnauzer can be identified by his unique eyebrows and moustache. He has small, almost oval eyes and small, V-shaped ears. Coat colours can be pepper and salt, pure black or black and silver.

Grooming

This dog’s wiry topcoat and soft undercoat need a weekly brush, while the longer furnishing on his face and legs should be kept free of knots. A professional grooming session every six to eight weeks is ideal to keep him looking great.

Older ‘cousins’

The Miniature Schnauzer has two cousins, who share most of his temperament – the Standard and Giant Schnauzer. The Standard Schnauzer is the oldest of the three breeds, and the Miniature Schnauzer is the youngest. Although the Miniature looks like a replica of the Giant Schnauzer, the Miniature Schnauzer was developed from crosses between the Affenpinscher and other miniature pinschers of the time.

Health

Although the Miniature Schnauzer is generally a healthy dog, watch out for urinary stones, liver shunts, hyperlipidaemia (high levels of fat in the blood) and pancreatitis.

 

9. Pomeranian

Looking at a Pomeranian, you cannot help but say, “Ah, cute.” It is easy to see why this dog is number nine on the Kennel Union of Southern Africa’s (KUSA) list of most popular dog breeds. The typical features of the Pomeranian are his stand-off double coat, the tail that is high-set and turned over the back, and the profuse covering of long, spreading hair. His head and nose have a foxy outline – in short, he is a bundle of ‘fluff’.

The Pomeranian belongs to the Toy group of dogs. Dogs in this group are known as companion breeds who thrive on human affection and attention. Some Toy dogs are more energetic than others, and enjoy interactive exercise with their people.

The Pom is a compact, active dog with an alert, fox-like expression. He is intelligent and enjoys pleasing his owner.

Temperament

In his heart, the Pomeranian is a mighty tiger. He is bold, courageous, inquisitive, loyal and dedicated to his owner. He has a keen nature to guard and protect his territory. This little extrovert is wary of strangers, but overall fearless, and will take on dogs far larger than himself. Due to his intuitive nature, he is quick to sense the mood of his owner and will stay close if he senses that you are unhappy. He is a playful, happy-go-lucky companion.

Lifestyle

This breed easily adapts to smaller accommodations and is super alert. They adapt well to being ‘the only dog at home’, because they love personalised attention. However, owners should also be aware that Poms can develop separation anxiety if they are constantly with their owners and not allowed time on their own. Prevent separation anxiety by allowing your puppy some ‘alone’ time every day, right from the beginning. Be sure to give him a safe toy or something safe to chew on to prevent him becoming bored or destructive. That being said, your Pom needs company and, like with all dogs, should not be left on his own at home for long periods of time.

Poms are accepting of a canine companion, provided he isn’t too rough. Pomeranians need to be introduced to a strange dog with caution.

Daily care

A beautiful coat is the Pomeranian’s pride and joy, and it needs regular grooming. It needs to be brushed properly once a week, and a little more when he sheds his coat. He has a double coat – a soft undercoat and a harsh outer coat – and usually sheds in summer. To keep his coat in mint condition, feed him the best-quality food you can afford.

Pomeranians don’t always lose their milk teeth. These will then need to be removed by a veterinarian. Dental care is essential, so get your new puppy used to having his teeth cleaned regularly.

Health

In general, the Pomeranian is healthy and long-lived. One condition that does occur in the breed is luxating patella (trick knee), which is common in smaller breeds. Alopecia X, a condition that causes a dog to lose his hair, can also be found in this breed.

The Pomeranian wants love and attention, and you will be rewarded with an intelligent dog who is intuitively attentive and always alert. Nothing happens without the Pom knowing about it, and he will let you know as well.

 

10. Beagle

Personality

The Beagle is a fun dog to have around, with a lovely temperament, and he is usually friendly towards everyone. He is intelligent and independent, and wants to be close to his family. You can make him your jogging partner, as he has lots of stamina. He does very well in dog sports, too.

This breed is great with children and other pets. He should very much be part of the family and, ideally, shouldn’t be left alone, as he may become destructive if he gets bored.

Since he was originally bred for hunting purposes, the Beagle is curious, has a strong sense of smell, and gets distracted easily. Therefore, it is important to keep him on a lead when going for walks. Also, ensure that the yard is properly fenced!

The look

Those soft, round, hazel or brown eyes and adorable hound ears will most probably steal your heart. The Beagle is quite stocky and muscular. The popular colours are white, tan and black, but any recognised hound colour is acceptable, except liver.

Grooming

You won’t spend hours grooming the Beagle, as he has a short coat. Brushing him twice a week will help to keep any shedding under control. An occasional bath will do him good, and remember to clean his ears and brush his teeth with a doggy toothbrush and doggy toothpaste.

Health

There are a few health issues sometimes found in Beagles, so discuss these with the breeder. Ask whether the puppy has been screened for epilepsy, hip dysplasia, eye disorders, hypothyroidism and luxating patella (a dislocated kneecap).

Background

The Beagle originated in Great Britain and his ancestry can be traced back over many centuries. These dogs were bred to hunt game birds, rabbits and hares, so it is no wonder that their olfactory sense has been developed so well. They are probably descendants of the Harrier, Talbot Hound and English Foxhound.

What the breeders say

We spoke to Dirk Tijssen from Ekara Beagles and Candice Theron from Voxcreek Beagles to find out what we should know about the breed.

 Why do you think this breed is so popular?
Dirk
What is there not to like? Beagles are the ideal pets for any active family. The soft, yet distinct features, and the fact that Beagles have starred in various TV programmes and movies, definitely contributed to their popularity.

Candice Beagles are very good-looking dogs, and I believe their looks often get people to fall in love with the breed before doing research on them. They are medium-sized, which also means they fit into loads of different lifestyles, and being an active breed, they enjoy the energy kids can bring to a family.

What makes this breed special?
Dirk
Just about everything about the Beagle is special! They are bursting with energy, eager to please, extremely devoted to whatever they like doing, they are highly intelligent, slightly stubborn at times, loving cuddle-buddies, super companions for the whole family, from the youngest to the oldest, and always ready for a game. And those ears… those fabulous ears…

Candice Their ability to have you completely wrapped around their paws. Their eyes talk to you and it’s usually all about food.

 What is the most important factor potential pet owners should consider before getting this dog?
Dirk
Beagles are real busy-bodies. Since they were originally bred as hunting dogs, they will need a lot of mental stimulation to keep them occupied. They need, and demand, space and attention – preferably lots of it. A secure garden is an absolute must. Training is definitely necessary and, when done correctly, not as difficult as some people make it seem. Beagles are eager to please, and with consistent, constructive and positive training, anything can be achieved.

Candice New potential owners really need to do their research on this breed. I highly encourage folk to go and meet the breed and ask breeders all the questions they need to. Beagles are not for everyone, as they are a busy breed that constantly need mental stimulation. They are social, family house dogs who cannot be left alone in the yard to their own devices. They can be destructive, and owners need to be patient with them.

In short, sum up the character of this dog.
Dirk
When bred correctly, Beagles absolutely live up to what the breed standard requires: A merry hound, amiable and alert, showing no aggression or timidity.

Candice A happy-go-lucky, merry and confident hunting Hound. Driven by food and their need to sniff it out.

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