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The Portuguese Mountain Dog, a dog with a strong personality

The Portuguese Mountain Dog or Serra da Estrela Dog is a very old breed from the Iberian Peninsula. It was first and foremost a working animal before becoming the family companion it is today. It is a gentle dog, enthusiastic and good guardian, but needs an experienced master because of its strong personality and imposing build.

Characteristics of the Portuguese Mountain Dog

The Portuguese Mountain Dog, also known as the Serra da Estrela dog, is an imposing animal with harmonious proportions and a rustic, yet elegant style. Females measure between 62 and 65 cm and weigh between 30 and 40 kg, while males measure between 65 and 73 cm and weigh between 40 and 50 kg. This mastiff type is recognizable by its massive, strong and long head with a convex skull and a slightly marked stop, all carried by a strong and short neck with a discreet tie. The dog has a long and developed jaw and wears a dark mask. The eyes are oval shaped, with amber shades and are quite small. They express a look combining intelligence and calm. On their side, the ears are of triangular form, all in smoothness and also of small dimensions. The dog has a short coat, which is very rare, or a long coat. The texture is said to be goat hair and the hair must be dense. The coat is wolf-gray, self-colored (gray, fawn or yellow) or brindle.

History of the Portuguese Mountain Dog

The origins of the Serra da Estrela dog are relatively unclear. However, it is known that it comes from the eponymous mountainous regions on the Iberian Peninsula. It is believed to be a cross between local sheepdogs and Asian molosses. The Portuguese Mountain Dog has always been used to protect farms and herds from vandals and wolves. Its strength has also allowed it to be used as a draught dog. In Portugal, this breed enjoys a high level of popularity and ranks first in terms of registrations in the breeding register. In France, it is less known.

Living conditions and behavior of the Portuguese Mountain Dog

The Portuguese Mountain Dog is a breed that is both docile and very attached to its owners. This doggie is playful with children. Nevertheless, as it has an imposing size, the sessions of games will systematically be carried out under the supervision of an adult. The Portuguese Mountain Dog is best known as a guard dog because of its natural distrust of strangers. It will not hesitate to protect its own at the risk of its life. As for its education, it must be started early and be taken care of by an experienced master, because the Portuguese Mountain Dog tends to be dominant and stubborn although it is a good listener.

Nutrition and main health problems of the Portuguese Mountain Dog

Like all large dogs, the Portuguese Mountain Dog is unfortunately not spared from hip dysplasia. A rigorous follow-up with the veterinarian is necessary to avoid the appearance of the disease.

The Dandie Dinmont Terrier, a short-legged terrier dog

This short-legged terrier is a very tenacious hunting dog that also plays a wonderful role as a companion dog. Sometimes calm, sometimes feisty, one thing is certain: the Dandie Dinmont Terrier knows how to make himself respected despite his small size.

Characteristics of the Dandie Dinmont Terrier

The Dandie Dinmont Terrier is a short-legged terrier that has the silhouette of a basset hound due to its long body and slightly curved back. It is small in size, measuring between 20 and 28 cm at the withers and weighing between 8 and 11 kg. It is easily recognized by its head with a tuft of hair. The skull is wide and tapers down to the eyes. The animal has a bulging forehead, a black nose and a triangular muzzle that highlights round and lively eyes. The eyes are wide apart, have an intense hazel color and are large without being bulging. The ears are set back and drooping. They are also well spread out between them. As for its coat, the Dandie Dinmont Terrier has a rather harsh and rough coat on top and a softer undercoat. The coat is pepper or mustard. The dog has a creamy white or silvery white topcoat.

History of the Dandie Dinmont Terrier breed

The Dandie Dinmont Terrier appeared in Scotland around the 18th century. This breed belonging to the Terrier family was bred by the nomadic people of the Borders region and is believed to be a cross between the Otterhound and the Terriers. The Dandie Dinmont Terrier was very popular in tracking pests, which it pursues into their burrows. Weasels, rabbits, rats and other weasels are among its favorite prey. Small anecdote: this dog owes its name to a famous character in Walter Scott's novel Guy Mannering. The book appeared in 1814 and tells the story of a Dandie called Dinmont who bred dogs resembling the Dandie Dinmont Terrier. Today, the breed is rare and confidential so it is subject to theft.

Living conditions and behavior of the Dandie Dinmont Terrier

The Dandie Dinmont Terrier is a lively, good-natured and relatively independent breed. It is a good family dog, friendly and playful, which makes the happiness of children. It is possible to envisage a cohabitation with other animals, but beware of the fights, because in spite of its small size, this dog is not afraid to measure itself with bigger than him. He needs a firm education from his youngest age, because he tends to make the strong head and to test the limits of his master. The advantage of the Dandie Dinmont Terrier is that it can live in the city or in the country. It is a good watchdog to give the alarm.

Diet and main health problems of the Dandie Dinmont Terrier

The health of the Dandie Dinmont Terrier is to be monitored because of the possible appearance of diseases such as luxation of the kneecap, herniated disc, hip dysplasia or hyperadrenocorticism (Cushing's disease). It is advisable to take out a health insurance policy for dogs that reimburses veterinary expenses.

Uterine cyst in female dogs: causes, symptoms and treatment

Uterine cysts can appear in female dogs, usually not spayed. They require urgent treatment. They can be the cause of a pyometra, which is an accumulation of pus in the uterus. If left untreated, the consequences can be serious. Let's take a look at this inflammation of the uterus in the female dog and take it very seriously.

Uterine cyst at the origin of pyometra: symptoms that should alert

A hormonal disease, the glandulocystic hyperplasia of the uterus, can be deplored in many female dogs. It occurs as a result of the development of several cysts and a thickening of the uterine lining called the endometrium. Complications are serious as the disease progresses, especially if treatment is not started early enough.

Pyometra is an inflammation of the uterus that can in some cases be due to the evolution of glandular cystic hyperplasia. Older and middle-aged unspayed female dogs are more prone to pyometra, but this uterine inflammation can also develop in young female dogs. In this case, it is rather favored by a hormonal treatment that can be administered :
  • either to interrupt a gestation in progress: the female dog receives an injection of estrogens,
  • or to postpone the heat period.
The pyometra appears quite quickly after the end of the treatment.

This uterine inflammation is favored by cysts appearing on the endometrium. They form pockets containing pus. The uterus is then more vulnerable to pathogenic bacteria that are likely to colonize it, especially during periods of heat during which the female loses blood. Note that uterine cysts are not the only cause of pyometra.

The symptoms that should alert the owner are the following:
  • The vulva is swollen,
  • Vulvar discharge is more or less important,
  • The female dog may appear weakened,
  • The males are attracted to the female when she is not in heat.

Pyometra: treatment

It is important not to wait to consult a doctor so that the pathogenic bacteria are completely eliminated. The accumulation of pus in the uterus warrants urgent care. When all the pus is removed, the veterinarian will administer a long-term antibiotic treatment to cure the bacterial infection. But in many cases, the female dog is so weakened that even intensive treatment cannot save her life.

The only effective way to treat a female dog with pyometra is surgery to remove the ovaries and uterus. The hospital stay lasts at least 48 hours. However, it can be prolonged in case of peritonitis or bleeding, which are possible complications.

After an ovariectomy, it is common to notice side effects, such as an increase in appetite, weight gain, slight incontinence in one out of ten females, which manifests itself as urine leakage, and a change in the quality of the coat, which is more visible in long-haired breeds.

Uterine cyst and inflammation: dog breeds most at risk for pyometra

Female dogs that are more frequently susceptible to pyometra belong to the following dog breeds:
  • Golden Retriever,
  • Rottweiler,
  • English Cocker Spaniel,
  • Long-haired Collie,
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.
But this does not mean that other breeds are completely protected against this purulent inflammation of the uterus.

To prevent a uterine cyst from degenerating, it is very important to visit the veterinarian on a regular basis to have the animal checked. At the same time, it is recommended to have your female dog spayed as soon as possible. Sterilization is a surgical procedure that is very frequently performed to preserve the health of your pet. Moreover, it can be covered by mutual health insurance companies for pets.

How to breed a female dog?

For the breeding of pedigree dogs, the conditions should preferably be in writing, agreed upon by the owner of the stallion and the owner of the bitch, stallion and bitch being the appropriate terms for the breeding male and the breeding bitch respectively. In the majority of cases, the interested parties refer to article 2 of the International Breeding Rules, even if in this field of the reproduction of purebred dogs, it is admitted that the owners of the dogs are free to organize the mating of the bitch without formalism, in a consensual way. Let's take stock of the situation and see what precautions should be taken by the two owners and breeders before the mating of the dog and the female dog.

Breeding a female dog: taking the necessary precautions

For both the owner of the bitch and the owner of the male, it is highly recommended to anticipate the event by making sure that all the following points are true.

Advice to the owner of the female dog (reproductive breed)

  • He is not allowed to have his female dog bred by several stallions during the same heat period.
  • Check that the stallion :
    • Is compatible with the origins of the bitch,
    • Is registered in the LOF on a permanent basis if he is French or if he comes from a foreign country that he is registered in a herd book recognized by the FCI (Fédération Cynologique Internationale),
    • Is declared fit for reproduction,
    • Has been screened and found free of any hereditary defect.
  • Make sure that the owner of the breeding dog (stud dog) :
    • Is of legal age,
    • Holds the animal on a regular basis. It may happen that a stallion is co-owned. In this case, the third parties and/or beneficiaries must give their consent,
    • Has the pedigree of the dog, which proves that the stallion has been confirmed.
  • Have proof, before mating, that the stallion is the one agreed upon by the two owners. Note that nothing prohibits the mating by another stallion, provided that the owner of the bitch is informed and has clearly indicated his agreement.

Advice to the owner of the stallion (breeding dog)

  • The owner must read the entire stud certificate before signing it, as it is binding. It is therefore necessary to verify beforehand that all the indications concerning the bitch appear formally as well as the owner's coordinates. Be careful, signing a blank certificate of service is totally prohibited and is liable to disciplinary action.
  • It is strongly recommended to require that the owner of the female dog be constantly present and consequently to refuse any request to take custody of the bitch to be mated, even if only for a short time. This precaution makes it possible to avoid the responsibility of an accidental mating which could be the cause of an affiliation error, which could lead to the payment of high damages if a complaint were lodged by the buyers of the puppies born from this mating.
  • He must take the precaution of signing two copies of the mating certificate, as a photocopy cannot be used as proof in case of need.

Mating between stallion and bitch: informal agreement between owners

Since mating is understood to be the voluntary intervention of the owners of the male and female to allow this biological act to take place and result in a pregnancy, the rules are agreed upon. However, there are not really precise conditions to draw up this type of agreement which is thus completely informal since the French law does not impose anything to the owners of the dogs concerned. The organization of the mating can therefore be freely organized as long as the two owners manage to find a common ground and that this is recorded if possible.

It should be noted that the FCI issues in its article 2 of the International Breeding Rules some recommendations. It is stipulated that the agreement between the owner of the stallion and the owner of the brood mare can be verbal or written, free of charge or for a fee, but that it must clearly define at least the financial conditions related to the mating if it has been decided by both parties. This article advises to put the conditions in writing so that they can be easily invoked if necessary.

It is also important to consider the possibility of an unsuccessful mating leaving an empty pen. It can be agreed that the owner of the stallion will reimburse the amount of money he has received or will grant a second mating (free of charge, of course).

On the other hand, each of the two parties must refer to the International Breeding Regulations (which is however a matter of private international law) specifying the conditions of registration of the litter in the LOF (French Book of Origins) and reminds us that adherence to the regulations of the SCC (Société Centrale Canine) and of the FCI is implicit for the owner of the litter. The latter must complete a declaration of mating, a form that can be downloaded, sign it and have it signed by the owner of the stallion. This is of course if the dog and the female dog do not belong to the same person.

In the case of a mating involving a dog and a female dog whose owners do not reside in the same country, it is agreed that the declarative formalities fall to the owner of the female dog. Thus, if he resides in France, it is up to him to take care of the declaration of the puppies to the LOF, the female dog being able to be visited on the place indicated on the declaration and the certificate of mating. If he lives in another country, the local regulations will apply.

Finally, if artificial insemination is to be performed, all costs involved should be borne by the owner of the female dog, and it is preferable to have this in writing.

How much does it cost to breed a female dog?

Although there is no requirement that a fee be charged for the breeding of a purebred female dog, the owner of the female dog will usually pay a fee to the owner of the breeding male. As stated earlier, it is in the interest of both parties that this condition be clearly stated in the agreement. In fact, a mating is considered to be free of charge if no commitment has been signed by both owners beforehand.

Nothing obliges the breeder of the bitch to give a puppy born from this mating free of charge - as compensation for example - to the other party. Moreover, the other party has no right to the puppies in the litter. However, if such an agreement were to be made, the terms should be drafted in advance. Similarly, domestic law does not require the payment of any sum of money or any type of consideration to the breeder of the stallion since a mating can be decided without compensation of any kind. Similarly, it is not tolerated that the female dog is the subject of a retention as a pledge.

The Spanish Mastiff, rustic and imposing dog

Hardy dog, the Spanish Mastiff is a colossus which attracts the attention by its imposing size. A good pet, he is an efficient guard dog with a dissuasive aspect that protects his family with strength and courage.

Characteristics of the Spanish Mastiff

A large dog, the Spanish Mastiff has a heavy, muscular and powerful body. This mesomorphic and brachycephalic colossus develops a compact bone structure and a resolutely voluminous physique. It measures on average 78 cm if it is a male and 72 cm if it is a female, for a weight going from 60 to 90 kg according to the age and the sex. The Spanish Mastiff is remarkable for its massive and solid head with a broad skull with a sub-convex profile. The stop is not very accentuated while the muzzle is rectangular and decreases when reaching the nose. The Spanish Mastiff has eyes that express nobility, intelligence and gentleness. They are small, dark and almond-shaped. The eyelids seem to be slightly drooping. The ears are small, drooping and end in a point at the tip. The dog has a short, soft and dense coat. The coat can be fawn, white and gray, red, white and yellow or white and black.

History of the Spanish Mastiff breed

The Spanish Mastiff originated in Extremadura, a region in southwestern Spain. It is an ancient breed whose ancestor is said to be the Tibetan Mastiff, which was introduced into Europe thousands of years ago. It is said that the Spanish Mastiff has been used for 4000 years by Spanish shepherds to guard their flocks. For the transhumance, that is to say the migration of the cattle towards grazing areas located at very long distances, they needed a dog able to keep the rhythm and to protect the herds. The Spanish Mastiff was also used as a draft dog and even as a fighting dog. As the activity of shepherding is becoming more and more rare, the perpetuation of the breed is becoming difficult.

Necessary living conditions and behavior of the Spanish Mastiff

The Spanish Mastiff is a very good guard dog. He is bold in front of strangers and pests. Its low, hoarse and deep bark is a deterrent. This breed can also serve as a pet that is calm, gentle and very intelligent. On the other hand, considering its corpulence, it is not a great sportsman. Its build prevents it from moving around too much. Moreover, because of its size, it cannot live in an apartment, but in a large house with a garden. This aspect must also be taken into account if it must integrate families with children, because although it is attentive and posed, this dog can hurt the little ones without its knowledge.

Nutrition and main health problems of the Spanish Mastiff

It is important to take good care of the health of the Spanish Mastiff, which can be affected by joints. Hip dysplasia is a very common disease causing lameness and pain. Osteoarthritis can also affect the animal as it ages. And that's not all. The breed is affected by a parasitic disease called leishmaniasis. Ear infections are also common. Another thing: given the corpulence of the animal which can weigh up to 90 kg, it is imperative to plan a rather high food budget. Its diet must be meticulous to avoid overweight.

The Sealyham Terrier, English breed dog

Once a star in its native country, the Sealyham Terrier is a breed that seduces with its physique and character. Once used as a hunting dog, it is now appreciated as a family companion for its joie de vivre and its balanced and affectionate character. What do we know exactly about this English breed?

Characteristics of the Sealyham Terrier

Behind its small size, the Sealyham Terrier is striking for the impression of power and energy it gives off. This supple and very vigorous dog measures less than 31 cm and weighs 8.2 kg if it is a female and 9 kg if it is a male. It is recognizable by its head with a domed skull with a strong, square jaw and a black nose. Usually, he wears a mustache that gives him a British dandy look. His eyes express vivacity through their round shape and dark color with pigmented lids. However, unpigmented lids are not an eliminatory defect. The ears are medium sized, with rounded tips and fall to the sides to frame the face. The Sealyham Terrier has a muscular neck, thick and more or less long. The beauty of the Sealyham Terrier comes from its long, hard coat. The coat must be uniformly white and single-colored. The standard also tolerates white coats with brown, lemon, blue or badger notes on the ears and head.

History of the Sealyham Terrier breed

The Sealyham Terrier was born during the 19th century in Wales. It owes its creation to the gentleman-farmer John Owen Tucker Edwardes who wanted to develop a breed with predispositions to hunting small game. He then made a cross between white English Terriers, Dandie Dinmont Terriers, Corgis, West Highland White Terriers and Fox Terriers. He selected mainly the white subjects which were easier to distinguish from the game. We can say that the work of the founder of the breed paid off, because the Sealyham Terrier was an extremely popular dog. All the Hollywood stars like Alfred Hitchcock, Cary Grant, Jean Harlow, Elizabeth Taylor and even Princess Margaret were seduced by the charm of this breed. Unfortunately, this breed is threatened with extinction today.

Living requirements and behavior of the Sealyham Terrier

Friendly and sympathetic, the Sealyham Terrier is a dog appreciated for its good character. It is cheerful, lively, loyal, intelligent and has a good sense of humor. However, it does not have a tendency to overflow. Because of its origins as a hunting dog, it is very energetic, which is why it will never give up a walk or a few play sessions. It can perfectly share life with children. Beware, when young, the Sealyham Terrier is very active, but as he gets older, he becomes slightly lazy. It needs a firm education, because it tends to be stubborn. Good candidate for an apartment life, he will also be happy in the countryside.

Diet and main health problems of the Sealyham Terrier

The Sealyham Terrier may suffer from some diseases such as retinal dysplasia or glaucoma. It is also subject to some intestinal tumors. The follow-up of health must then be rigorous to guard against all these diseases. Moreover, as he easily gains weight, which can cause diabetes and joint problems, he needs a very strict diet.