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ModernHomeTheater.com Lifestyle & Design
Man & Woman's Best Friend: Guide to Canines

Whippet - “The loyal couch potato” - Dogs that can keep up with you on a the most rigorous of hikes and then chill out in your state-of-the-art home theater, whippets are intelligent, gentle and grow very attached to their owners. Although they may be somewhat shy at first, whippets are friendly to visitors and are very good with children. They are not a lazy breed, but are content to spend much of the day sleeping on the couch and will most likely end up sleeping in your bed with you. Medium-sized dogs with short hair, they do not shed much and usually weigh 25-45 pounds. Their name really did come from the term, “whip it!”

Vizsla - “The eager running buddy” (VEESH-la) - If you can’t survive without a daily run, energetic and loving Vizslas need lots and lots of exercise and would be more than happy to tag along. Highly trainable and eager to please, Vizslas are good companion dogs but remain puppy-like for longer than the average canine. Medium-sized hunting dogs with short hair, Vizslas have stunning copper color with matching eyes and grow to 45-55 pounds as adults.

Newfoundland - “The lovable oaf” - Patient, sweet and loving, the Newfoundland is a gentle giant that becomes very attached to its family. Great with children and similar to Labradors in personality and fondness for water, Newfoundlands require regular exercise but are relatively inactive inside. Messy drinkers and heavy shedders, Newfoundlands grow to be 100-150 pounds. Because of their heavy coats, “Newfies” tend to do better in cooler climates.

Miniature Schnauzer - “The Life of the Party” - Energetic and playful, miniature schnauzers are intelligent family pets that act like big dogs in small dogs’ bodies. They love to “talk” and are quite social, making their happy presence known to all. Miniature schnauzers are active indoors, but daily walks are recommended. Shedding very little hair, they are good candidates for families with allergies and only weigh 10-15 pounds as adults.

French Bulldog - “The class clown” - Who needs the latest romantic comedy on DVD for a laugh? Curious and comical, French bulldogs love to put on a show for all and adore constant companionship. They would be very happy to go to work with you and entertain everyone they meet. Very friendly and a fairly active breed inside, regular daily walks are still necessary. Frenchies are average shedders with short hair and weigh 22-28 pounds.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel - “The Miniature Golden Retriever” - Fun-loving, playful and loyal, Cavaliers are fantastic companion dogs. They are excellent with children and enjoy being around their family. Short walks will keep them in shape and happy. Their long hair requires regular grooming. Cavaliers weigh 10-18 pounds as adults, making them easy to take on vacations or out on errands.

Portuguese Water Dog - “The Jock” - As their name implies, Portuguese water dogs love to swim. Independent and intelligent, these dogs require consistent training by owners, as they can exhibit a stubborn streak and enjoy playing games with their family. Very sociable and confident with other dogs and strangers, Portuguese water dogs have short, wavy coats that are virtually hypo-allergenic and require frequent grooming. Athletic, medium-size dogs, they grow to 35-55 pounds in adulthood.

Bernese Mountain Dog - “The Giant Foot Warmer” - Bernese mountain dogs love to sit on their owners’ feet, literally, and crave love and attention from their family. “Berners” are known as “leaners” and are great family dogs. They have long hair that needs regular grooming due to their heavy shedding and they will grow to 80-110 pounds as adults. Berners require regular exercise and have a shorter lifespan than many larger dogs. Their average longevity is seven years, vs. 10-11 years for other large dogs.

Australian Shepherd - “The Mind Reader” - Medium-sized herding dogs that are exceptionally intelligent and active, Aussies are very quick to learn and eager to please. Affectionate with family members of all ages, Aussies are known to herd children and other pets. They need lots of exercise due to their energy level and they excel at agility, Frisbee and other dog sports. They are very in tune with their owners’ emotions and are good guard dogs. Aussies grow to be 35-60 pounds as adults, need regular grooming and are average shedders.

Tibetan Spaniel - “The Lookout” - Tibetan Spaniels, a very rare breed, are actually not spaniels but “little lions” that were prized for keeping watch over Tibetan monasteries. They love to perch on couches and generally only bark to warn of strangers. They are assertive, independent, highly intelligent and become very attached to their family. “Tibbies” only grow to about 15 pounds as adults and have medium-length coats that require regular brushing.

Best of all Breeds - Rescue Dogs - Adopting a rescued dog is one of the best ways to add a furry member to your family. Almost every breed club has a rescue group and there are many organizations that rescue dogs of all shapes and sizes from shelters across the nation. The possibilities are endless.

Most who adopt rescue dogs feel that their new companion is even more appreciative of the new home, since it is infinitely better than where they came from. Rescues are checked for health, social ability and general needs, so you will be somewhat familiar with the dog you adopt. Rescue organizations usually perform home visits and in-person interviews before allowing you to meet a candidate. For a small donation, you could make a huge impact in a dog’s life and walk away with a best friend.

Tips for Actually Buying a Dog
Are you ready to get a dog? A purebred puppy can cost $1,000 to $2,500, depending on the individual animal’s lineage and popularity of the breed. Selecting a purebred puppy usually provides more knowledge about the dog’s family health history and parents’ temperaments, but like humans, there are never any guarantees and all dogs have their own personalities.

Make sure you check out the breeder very carefully, see where the dogs are kept, ask lots of questions and meet at least one if not both parents. Reputable breeders who follow the American Kennel Club (AKC) breeding guidelines will be glad to answer questions and will have plenty of queries for you as well. Some even require home visits to ensure your home is dog-friendly. Avoid puppy mills and pet stores at the mall like the black plague.

There are plenty of additional resources on the Web to help in the selection of a breed and, finally, a puppy. The more education you gather, the better your choice will be for the long and happy commitment of having a dog. Although the film Best in Show gives a fairly accurate, although satirical, view of dog shows, don’t be afraid to go to one near you to speak with breeders and meet dogs that are of interest to you. Nothing beats in-depth, in-person information and many breeders are willing to spend quite a bit of time with you, teaching you about their favorite breeds and letting you meet the most polished-up puppies on the planet.

Do not make the commitment to own a dog if you do not plan to train it yourself. While some puppies come somewhat trained, you can undo whatever they have learned pretty quickly with bad habits at home. Proper obedience training takes time and energy, but the payoff is well worth it. A pet that doesn’t jump on guests or sneak your steak off the dinner table is much more fun to be around. Getting a dog behaviorist (yes, I live in L.A.) isn’t as crazy an idea as it seems, because they teach you how to deal with dog behavior issues to help you become a better owner. A few sessions are all it takes. Remember, there is more to it than what you learn from Cesar Milian.

Additional Resources
Beware puppy scams. Read this story from the AKC to help address issues before the bite you on the back side.

Here is a list of very good questions to ask of a breeder before you actually say “yes” to your next best buddy.

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