COMMON: GOLDEN RETRIEVER
If you have friends or family with dogs, you’re almost certain to know at least one that has a Golden Retriever. Goldens are very loyal dogs and are gentle enough to be around everyone in the family. It is characteristics like these that help make Goldens the fourth most popular dog breed in the United States.
But did you know Golden Retrievers are also really smart? In fact, their intelligence and eager-to-please attitude makes training golden retrievers an incredibly rewarding task. Because of these traits, they make excellent service dogs. You’ll often find Goldens being used as therapy dogs, guide dogs for the blind, hearing dogs for the deaf, hunting dogs, search and rescue dogs, and illegal drug detectors. That’s a lot of jobs!
Goldens usually grow to be pretty large, usually 60-80 pounds and up to 24 inches tall. But don’t let their size intimidate you; these lovable creatures are patient and easily trainable. They’re also excellent swimmers, which is one of the reasons they were bred in the first place.
Originally from Scotland in the mid-18th century, Goldens were bred to retrieve game from both land and water. As gun technology advanced, more birds were drowning before hunters could reach them. Because of this, a need was created for a dog that could quickly retrieve the bird and bring it to the hunter without damaging it. Breeders accomplished this by crossing the Flat-Coated Retriever with the now extinct Tweed Water Spaniel, and eventually mixing in Irish Setter. The result was what we now know as the modern Golden Retriever.
Golden Retrievers are all around great dogs, and an excellent choice for both family pets and work dogs. Whether they’re around small children, adults, or other animals, Golden Retrievers will bring happiness and love to all.
RARE: PORTUGUESE WATER DOG
If you think the name Portuguese Water Dog sounds familiar, it’s probably because the breed has gained attention over the past four years. Why you might ask? It’s the breed of dog the Obama family has in the White House. The “First Dog”, Bo, was given to the Obama family shortly after President Obama took office.
Portuguese Water Dogs are a fairly rare breed, and are most known for being hypoallergenic. The breed doesn’t shed its hair, and it will keep growing indefinitely if not kept short. Because of this, it’s very important for owners to frequently groom their dogs. A good brush of their coat is necessary every other day, and trimming their hair is required about every two months. Failing to keep a Portuguese Water Dog’s hair in good condition can lead to skin irritation and other problems.
The breed is loyal, lively, and (as the name suggests) water-loving. They are very affectionate, spirited, and usually get along well with small children and other animals. While they are extremely intelligent dogs, they will take advantage if they feel they are stronger-minded than their owners. However, if the owner knows how to properly handle a canine, Portuguese Water Dogs are not difficult to train.
Standing 20 inches and weighing in between 40-55 pounds, Portuguese Water Dogs are categorized as medium-sized dogs. They need a good amount of physical and mental exercise, and would love nothing more than to chase after a ball thrown into water.
Portuguese Water Dogs make great family pets, but their lack of popularity can make it difficult to find a breeder. This also means they are rather expensive when you do find one, but they will fill your life with energy and joy for years to come.