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Whether they’re the same breed or not, all the dogs we as dog walkers in St Albans and Harpenden have different likes, dislikes, traits, characteristics, temperaments and needs. Having said this, when planning to welcome a dog into your home it’s really important to consider their breed and what they were originally bred to do. This way you can consider whether amongst other considerations such as time, vets bills, food costs, etc that you have the knowledge and Golden Retreiverresources to provide suitable outlets for the traits they may exhibit so you are both happy and content! If a dog isn’t provided with suitable stimulation to fulfil it’s innate traits, or had training to manage those traits so their exhibited safely in our busy, human orientated world, your dog is likely to become self-employed and is could exhibit unwelcome behaviours that are destructive and can be dangerous to them or other dogs on lead such as poor recall.dog on grass

Here’s some information about some of the breeds of dogs I researched as part of my ‘canine form and function’ module in my dog walking diploma course:

The St Bernard – a working breed

St Bernard’s are incredible dogs that rescued avalanche victims and lost travellers. You’re going to think of Beethoven the dog but here but their name originates from St Bernard de Menthon’s hospice in the Swiss Alps, where they’ve been kept since the 17th century. Monks used dogs from the mastiff breed and it’s suggested that they were crossed with Bloodhounds to improve their scenting skills. There was a famous Saint Bernard called Barry who saved 40 lives in 12 years (between 1800-1912). Overall Saint Bernard’s rescued over 2000 people in the Alps who would have otherwise died. They have strong and muscular legs and thick coats. Some breeding with Newfoundlands was done so the coat was thicker to cope with the arctic conditions in the Alps. They were also bred to haul carts.

Bedlington Terriers – the terrier group

Bedlington Terrier’s were bred from the Whippet originally. I think they look like little lamb’s! They were bred to hunt hare and rabbits above ground. They have hind legs and an arched flexible back. Some terriers are fearless, persistent and energetic so therefore great for hunting. The name terrier originates from the Latin word ‘terra’ (earth) and relates to dogs hunting vermin such as rats that live above earth. Bedlington Terriers have also be recorded as hunting badgers otters and polecats. Ancestors of the Bedlington include dog fighting stock aswell as Rothbury Terriers used for controlling vermin.

Saluki – a sight hound

Saluki’s were created in the Middle East over 10,000 years ago, for hunting purposes. They were bred to hunt gazelles, hares and foxes. They often worked in teamwork with birds of prey, when the quarry was spotted the saluki’s were unleashed and the saluki pinned down the quarry, without killing it, waiting for the huntsman to dispatch it. They have a powerful hunting drive and will chase anything that looks like prey they are fast runners who love to chase- so watch out for those squirrels! Alot of work may need to go into their recall.  I met a saluki in Heartwood and their ears reminded me of Baby Spice!

Shetland Sheepdog or Sheltie – from the pastoral or ‘herding group’

I did my module project on this breed of dog, I think they have a lovely appearance! Thought to have originated in the 19th Century from the Shetland Isles, off the north coast of Scotland. Their original purpose is thought to be as a farm dog and a herder of sheep. They may have guarded flocks and crofter’s cottages. Originally bred to work alongside owners, Sheltie’s enjoy close companionship and enjoy having a strong bond with their owner which involves strokes and fuss. Their coat is dense – ideal for the rough and stormy weather they experienced and the rocky terrain of the isles.

Their name was changed from Shetland Collie to Shetland Sheepdog as it caused controversy with collie breeders at the time. The breed is thought to be a mix of: the Shetland collie, Greenland’s whale fisherman’s Yakki dog’s and Scandinavian Spitz dogs – which would explain their glamorous coat.

Talking of which, Prospective owners need to be aware of the grooming involved in sharing their life with a Sheltie. Sheltie’s have a double coat – a soft and thick undercoat which keeps them cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Their top coat, has long water repellant hairs lying over the undercoat. Daily grooming is required, brushing is needed behind the soft hair behind the ears, in the armpits and inside the thighs and hair around the legs (the skirt) – as it can mat easily here.

Bloodhounds – a scent hound

The bloodhound is the ancestral form of many of today’s scent hounds. It’s a direct descendent of the ancient St Hubert Hound – it can be traced back to 600 C.E! They originally tracked wounded stags – hence the name bloodhound as they’d track blood. They are social dogs by nature and work well in packs, they are known to have a lot of stamina. When they pursue a scent they produce a deep baying call.

If you need advice training your dog enlist the help of a force free, qualified trainer. If any trainer uses term such as ‘force’, ‘fear’ and ‘submitting’ steer clear!

We provide a dog walker service in St Albans and Harpenden.

Adapted from:

Alderton, David, The Dog Selector , London, Barrons, 2010

Alderton, David, Eyewitness Handbooks – Dogs The visual guide to over 300 dog breeds from around the world, GB, Dorling Kindserley,1993

Bailey, Gwen, Choosing the right dog for you, Great Britain, Octopus Publishing Group, 2014

Dennis Bryan, Dr Kim, The complete dog breed guide, Dorling Kindersley, London

O’Neill, Amanda , What Dog?, UK, Interpet Publishing, 2015


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