Category Archives: Breed Index

Bassett Hound – interview with an owner

Bassett Hound: if it’s character you want, look no further!

Janet has given me a wonderful insight into what it is really like to own a Bassett Hound, having had four of them over 30 years.  She says that:

“We wanted a characterful dog and one possessed of a fairly gentle and laid-back nature. We also wanted a ‘largish’ dog but had limited space at the time. Bassets are medium to large sized dogs on short legs which seemed to us a good compromise.”

Bassett Hound
Aren’t I beautiful

Lola, who is Janet’s current Bassett Hound is described as pretty laid back, loves company and is very happy to travel in the car anywhere. If she needs to come to work, she’ll happily do so. She also likes plenty of exercise, which is particularly important to Janet. She even goes running with Janet from time to time!

There’s no rush

Bassets do things at their own speed and in their own time. There’s absolutely no point trying to hurry them along. If you try, they will slow up even more! In Janet’s experience, this is typical of the breed.  Lola, has a huge character with a bigger heart. She is fiercely independent, funny, gentle and loving.

Bassett Hound
Butter wouldn’t melt

Part of the pack

Janet feels that Bassett Hounds definitely prefer a home with other dogs, as they love being part of a pack.  That pack mentality not only means they don’t like being left alone.  However, they can get the upper hand if they aren’t shown their place. You need to count yourself as a pack member too and make sure they don’t try to boss you around! We would say not a dog for novice owners.

“You need oodles of patience and tolerance. Plan for the worst whilst hoping for the best. (Damage limitation!)”

Bassett Hound
So laid back

Character or challenge?

The features of Bassett Hounds which make them so lovable as characters can also make them a bit of a challenge, if we are being honest.  They are described as unbiddable (therefore can be unreliable off lead) stubborn, totally untrustworthy around food, (not to mention sofas and beds).  They are prone to laziness if given half a chance, notoriously hard to house train.  Bassetts can carry a bit of a ‘houndy’ smell around with them.

With regards to training, Janet says:

“I should probably do more training than I do but I at least try to reinforce basic commands on a daily basis. Classes are tricky as Bassets are often disruptive and get asked to leave!”

Lola has plenty of exercise; she has around 90 minutes in the morning off lead and two shorter walks later in the day.  Having walked with Janet and Lola this morning, I can report that she is more than capable of keeping up with the collies and me going at a brisk pace.  She was completely unimpressed when we got back to the car after an hour!

Bassett Hound
Those eyes!

In future, Janet feels she would like to have a puppy, having always had rescues.  She says that if you haven’t raised a dog from a puppy it can be hard to deal with the ‘issues’ they invariably arrive with.  However, it is also very true that watching a dog flourish when they’ve had a rotten start is very satisfying (and a real testament to Janet’s patience!)  I have talked about the benefits or otherwise of having a rescue dog – Rescue or Breeder?

Ask for help?

I hope you have enjoyed my insight into owning a Bassett Hound?  Please comment and share your views and experiences?  What breed would you like to know about?  Or do you have a breed of dog and would like to share your views on living with your dog?  Please CONTACT ME to let me know?

You are very welcome to CONTACT ME to ask for my advice?  I can help you with a variety of issues and problems around getting a dog and suggestions for tackling training issues.  Go to the What Dog? page for more information on my new service.

Remember..

Please CONTACT ME if you want to know more about me and my dogs?  And feel free to COMMENT if you want to tell me what you think.  If you want to know more, why not FOLLOW ME?  Then you will receive an email when there is a new post.

NB: If you read my posts in an email, you may be missing out on the lovely pictures!  Please click through to my website to see the post in all its glory?

Terriers – Interview with an owner

Terriers – are they really so terrible?

I know lots of people with a wide variety of terriers and they always strike me as being such characters!  I have also stood watching terriers doing agility on many occasions.  They are super fast and agile, but also quite likely to run off into the next ring.  Or into the scorer’s tent, looking for biscuits!  Cheeky and determined are two adjectives that spring to mind.  But what’s it really like to own them?  Clare has kindly given me lots information about them.

The first dog that became a full time responsibility for me was Timber, a working Lakeland terrier, who was 12 years old when I met him.  He had been a hunt dog, worked all his life, but had become a bit old for most work other than ratting. His owner became ill and Timber was passed round a few temporary owners and eventually came to us (narrowly avoiding being shot!)  When I met him Timber had the appeal of a well worn teddy bear.  He was a companion and van dog, accompanying Roger all over the place.”

terriers
Timber and the cat

Clare says that Timber initially lived outside and they were told he was not house trained. They were also told that he would kill cats and they had 5 at the time!  However, after some patience on Clare’s part, he was able to live happily in the house alongside the cats.

More terriers

After a while Clare and Roger planned to get a second dog and were able to choose from a litter sired by Timber to a Patterdale terrier.  They had planned to keep a boy, but ended up with two girls!  Plenty of people told them that two terrier bitches, who were littermates, would be untrainable.  (I tend to agree, on the whole, see my post on Littermates).  Clare was undaunted:

“I booked puppy classes, and Roger came with me and the 2 puppies to classes.  We loved it so much we continued with classes for years, introducing them to scent work, gun dog work, flyball, obedience and agility.  I have also done some heel work to music with Styx. Eventually I spent most time at agility with them both, starting at grade 1. Now Styx is grade 4 and Twiggy is grade 6.

terriers
Litter sisters (Styx photobombing Twiggy)

Clare had her two girls DNA profiled as they looked so different.  She found the mix was about a quarter each of wire Fox Terrier probably the origin of the curls), Border Terrier, Parson Russell Terrier and Sealyham Terrier.  Go to the KC website to see descriptions of all the different Terriers.

Puppy time

Clare wanted another terrier, but waited until Timber died – he lived until he was 22 years old!  Having originally hoped to breed from one of her girls, she then found it was too late for them, so started contacting breeders.

Eventually a breeder got in touch to say that one of their pups needed rehoming.  She was four and a half months old.  She had been homed with two working adults, plus two young children and an older terrier of 11 who had been used to being the only dog. The puppy was very lively and the older dog didn’t want to play.   Clare went to see her:

The puppy launched herself at me as soon as she saw me and had masses of energy, constantly jumping at me or her owner. I can see that might not be suitable in some homes.  However I wanted her to join in the agility that the others did, so bags of energy and enthusiasm for jumping suited me down to the ground.”  

terriers
Clare and Tilly

Bringing in a new family member

Clare wasn’t sure if she would get on with a puppy she hadn’t had ‘from the start’, but of course Timber had come to them in middle age, so it was fine.  Clare says:

I have been very careful introducing Tilly to Twiggy and Styx bearing in mind she didn’t get on with the older terrier in her previous home. Indeed, they have both put her in her place, because they don’t want to play and have got aggravated by Tilly biting their legs to entice them to play.”

Fortunately, Tilly has also had other young dogs to play with and Clare worked hard on socialising her (lots of visits to the pub!)  She has taken Tilly to classes and agility shows, preparing her for competition in the future.  Clare says “She isn’t old enough to compete yet, but is a joy to teach and quick to learn.”

Old dogs can learn new tricks

Clare has no regrets about taking on Timber when he was 12, and thinks we shouldn’t worry about trying to retrain an older dog.  Young dogs may learn quicker, but that doesn’t mean an older dog won’t learn new things.  In fact Clare has taught one of Timber’s daughters agility, starting when she was 8 years old (now 11).  She has competed at KC shows, her best result being a clear agility round.

Trouble with terriers

 Clare says that terriers can be noisy and can fight if there is more than one (although this is especially the case with littermates).  She likes the fact that they will bark to warn that someone is nearby, but says if you live close to your neighbours it might become a problem.

Terriers are also escape artists!  They are small dogs, who are intelligent and persistent, so it can be harder to make a garden terrier proof.   However, they are loyal and can generally be trained to have a good recall.

A bonus feature is that they are small, portable dogs, who can easily travel around with you.  On balance I would say they Clare adores her terriers – and they adore her!  Thanks Clare, for sharing your experiences.

terriers
Clare and her terriers

Ask for help?

I hope you have enjoyed my insight into owning Terriers?  Please comment and share your views and experiences?  What breed would you like to know about?  Or do you have a breed of dog and would like to share your views on living with your dog?  Please CONTACT ME to let me know?

You are very welcome to CONTACT ME to ask for my advice?  I can help you with a variety of issues and problems around getting a dog and suggestions for tackling training issues.  Go to the What Dog? page for more information on my new service.

Remember..

Please CONTACT ME if you want to know more about me and my dogs?  And feel free to COMMENT if you want to tell me what you think.  If you want to know more, why not FOLLOW ME?  Then you will receive an email when there is a new post.

NB: If you read my posts in an email, you may be missing out on the lovely pictures!  Please click through to my website to see the post in all its glory?

Australian Shepherd – Interview with an owner

Australian Shepherd – the owner’s view

Gemma said that she did a great deal of research before getting her first dog.  She also went to a responsible breeder, who bred her puppies with loving care and attention.  Gemma therefore followed the two key pieces of advice given by dog owners in my survey results Go Gemma!

Australian ShepherdArcher is a two year-old Australian Shepherd.   Before getting him, Gemma decided that she wanted an active, fun-loving dog who was going to cope with the lifestyle she has, with plenty of hiking and long cycle rides.  She said that Australian Shepherds are described as being good at running with bikes.  She knew that like Border Collies, they would be intelligent and easy to train.

Home Circumstances – plan ahead

Before looking at actual puppies, Gemma made sure that she had the right home circumstances to look after a dog.  She checked that she was going to be able to take her dog to work.  She walks him to work and then he has a special run, with shelter and space, so that he is safe and happy.

Gemma has put in a great deal of effort to ensure that Archer is well-trained and well behaved around people, so that her work are happy for him to be there.  He is a lovely boy and a real credit to her.

Australian ShepherdChoosing the puppy

Interestingly, Gemma said that she had wanted a girl rather than a boy.  She also said she had always wanted a merle, which is the most common colour of Australian Shepherd dogs.  She waited until a breeder had a bitch available for her, but then saw Archer and fell in love with him!

Personally, I think Gemma made a great choice there.  I have said before that I think boy dogs are easier to have on their own than girls, as they are more sociable with other dogs.   However, that is particularly true for Border Collies, less so for other breeds.

Australian ShepherdBreed Characteristics

What is the difference between the Australian Shepherd and the Border Collie?  Well the Aussie is generally broader and ‘squarer’ than the BC.  They usually have ‘tipped’ rather than ‘pricked’ ears (although BCs can have all sorts of ears!)  Aussies typically have merle or tricolour coats, which are normally thick and curly, whereas a BC’s coat might be straight.

One significant difference between the Aussie and the BC is that they have historically been docked, although this is fortunately no longer the case in the UK.  There is also a ‘bobtail’ type, where they are born with no tail.  This is part of the recognised Australian Shepherd breed standard.

Australian ShepherdChallenges of the breed

Australian Shepherd dogs, just like Border Collies, are very demanding!  They need exercise and stimulation, either training or other play activities.

Gemma mentioned that Aussies are described as being typically attached to one person in particular.  She feels that Archer loves her and her partner equally, with another friend also accepted into his pack.  My observation is that Archer is extremely well bonded to Gemma and that he may become quite guarding of her around other dogs, which needs careful handling.

Speaking to an agility friend, she observed that Aussies can be inclined towards stubbornness.  This in comparison with Border Collies, who are anxious to please, to the point of being needy and clingy.  You pays your money and takes your choice!

Many thanks to Gemma and Archer for their help.

Australian Shepherd

Ask for help?

I hope you have enjoyed my insight into the Australian Shepherd breed?  Please comment and share your views and experiences?

You are very welcome to CONTACT ME to ask for my advice?  I can help you with a variety of issues and problems around getting a dog and suggestions for tackling training issues.  Go to the What Dog? page for more information on my new service.

What breed would you like to know about?  Or do you have a breed of dog and would like to share your views on living with your dog?  Please CONTACT ME to let me know?

Remember..

Please CONTACT ME if you want to know more about me and my dogs?  And feel free to COMMENT if you want to tell me what you think.  If you want to know more, why not FOLLOW ME?  Then you will receive an email when there is a new post.

NB: If you read my posts in an email, you may be missing out on the lovely pictures!  Please click through to my website to see the post in all its glory?