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By PAMELA STACE

Katerina, or Kate, our cover dog, shares her name with Shakespeare’s famous heroine Katerina from “The Taming of the Shrew.” It seems that both Kates share a number of qualities including stubbornness, intelligence, independence, loyalty and devotion.

Like Shakespeare’s Kate, Lakelands, “Lakies” or “Laplanders” do what they want to do and can be quite bold! The cover dog’s owner Nora Clark says that her girl is friendly and well-behaved but likes things her way! The “Little Tank,” as Nora calls her, loves to be out in the snow but refuses to wear a coat. She loves to play, but can get a bit rough.

History has It

The Lakeland terrier originated in Cumberland, England’s Lake District, sometime in the 19th Century. This makes it one of the oldest of the terrier breeds. As sturdy little dogs with a dense, wiry double coat, they were originally bred to work independently from humans, hunting vermin over rocky terrain. Farmers also used Lakies together with hounds to keep foxes away from their sheep during lambing season. These dogs were bred to be tough, athletic and ready to take on anything big or small that got in their way. Coming from lake country, they adore water. The Lakeland is related to the now-extinct Old English black and tan terrier, the Bedlington terrier, the Dandie Dinmont terrier and the border collie. The Lakeland terrier was recognized by the AKC in 1934 and in 2018 was ranked 138 among registered breeds.

Life at Home

Lakies can do well anywhere, but they do best with a thoughtful and understanding owner. Highly energetic, sneaky and with a mind that never stops, they not only enjoy having a daily job to do, but MUST have one. Because they are very headstrong, Lakies need early socialization and training in order to effectively channel their natural eagerness, curiosity and intelligence. They are perfectly capable of finding their own fun around the house and can get into trouble there. So it is best for their owners to find ways to keep them busy! They love people and make especially great lap dogs! Lakies can take a long time to housetrain, but with patience and persistence they will get there! They may be overly protective of their humans or aggressive around other dogs. They are very intuitive and can really tune into the health issues and moods of their owners. Lakies are good watchdogs, but it is important that they be discouraged from being too barky. They are considered non-shedding, and they are a good choice for people who are allergic to dogs. Cover dog Kate lives with cats, but Nora warned that she would not recommend this breed for those who own kittens or rodents. They do well with children who can respect their personal space.

Keeping Things Active

The Lakeland terrier loves learning, but because they are fiercely independent, they can be a challenge to train for obedience. Lakies do very well, however, in agility, conformation, tracking, rally, and especially earthdog trials, where small dogs such as terriers show off their hunting talents within constructed underground tunnels. They love navigating these courses that are similar to the narrow rocky caves of their homeland. They are becoming increasingly popular as therapy dogs.

Health of Their Own

Lakelands are generally very healthy but can suffer from genetic eye problems such as cataracts, glaucoma and lens luxation. They may also experience a blood clotting disorder called von Willebrand’s disease.

Sense of Humor Required

Lakeland terriers are impish, happy, confident and comical. Their clownish antics will make you smile and sometimes make you laugh out loud! They love being the center of attention and are more than happy to assume the role of the star when you are out walking! So owners, be prepared to let your Lakie strut their stuff.

Links: The United States Lakeland Terrier Club is the AKC parent club that supports the preservation and enhancement of the breed, as well as supervising rescue and adoption activities and encouraging sportsmanlike behavior at performance competitions. www.usltc.org

Stats: Homeland: Northern England Lake District. Original Job: Being a farm dog—hunting vermin and repelling foxes. Size: 13.5–14.5 inches, 17 lbs. Coat Colors: Colors include blue, black, liver, and red. If saddle marked, the saddle may be blue, black or liver. Grooming: Regular brushing, nail trimming and teeth brushing. For showing, meticulous hand stripping is required. Non-show dogs may be hand stripped, clipped, or allowed to have longer, shaggier coats. Exercise: Daily exercise needed. Lifespan: 12-15 years.

By PAMELA STACE

They look like miniature Collies, but the Shetland Sheepdog or Sheltie is a completely separate breed developed to herd sheep, poultry and ponies in the rugged terrain of the Shetland Islands between Scotland and Norway. Like Shetland Ponies and Shetland Sheep, these dogs were bred to be compact so that they would eat less and therefore be easier for farmers to keep in a location where food was not always in abundant supply.

History

The origins of the Shetland Sheepdog are somewhat unclear, but it is believed that the foundation of the breed was a Northern Spitz-type herding dog brought from Scandinavia as early as the 10th century. It is thought that these dogs were subsequently crossed with Pomeranians, King Charles Spaniels and other indigenous dogs of the islands. Later, rough-coated Collies were added to the mix for the sake of breed uniformity. Shelties were also known as Liliputian Collies, Toonie (farm) Dogs and Fairy Dogs. In the 19th century, Shetland Islanders began selling Sheltie puppies to tourists, and Shelties became known to the rest of Great Britain. Recognized by the AKC in 1911, almost all Shelties in the U.S. today are descended from dogs brought here between World War I and World War II. In the 1970s, the Sheltie became enormously popular and has remained that way. In 2017, the Shetland Sheepdog ranked 24 out of 194 AKC breeds.

What Makes a Sheltie a Sheltie

The Sheltie is a smart, agile and sturdy dog with a pointy, expressive, fox-like face. They have a harsh and straight outer coat that repels dirt and water, and a dense undercoat which makes them well-suited for life in a harsh climate. Like all herding dogs, a Sheltie wants a job to do. They are eager to please and like to be busy, or they may become depressed. They are vocal and energetic and are sometimes prone to excessive barking, but they respond well to gentle, consistent training. Shelties are sensitive and affectionate and tune themselves into the family dynamic. They want to be with their humans and are often protective of them. They are good watchdogs. Debra Krajec, the owner of three Shelties, told me how 15-month-old Toby often barks and reacts to strangers as if to protect her on their walks. And Marlene Sadrow Carew, the owner of our cover dog, 5-year-old Merlot, mentioned how Merlot will bark to keep her son’s cat away from the dinner table.

A Multi-Talented Little Dog

Shelties enjoy many dog sports and other canine activities. They excel at agility, rally, lure coursing, conformation, herding trials, and especially obedience. They learn tricks easily. Their intelligence and sensitivity also makes them perfect therapy and service dogs. Merlot is extremely popular as a therapy dog in Florida, where she is in high demand at hospitals, assisted living centers and hospices. This past fall, Marlene and Merlot received a request to visit Panama City after Hurricane Michael’s devastating destruction. Marlene wheeled Merlot in a stroller, where she could easily be seen and interact with the survivors there.

Health Issues

Shelties are generally very healthy, but rarely, some health issues may occur. These include thyroid, liver, and kidney trouble, Collie eye anomaly, hip dysplasia, and epilepsy.

Home Environment

Shelties are highly adaptable and can thrive in either a rural or urban setting. Being with the people they love is what is most important to them! They are good with kids and other pets, although sometimes this becomes problematic when they can’t stop herding them!

A Mutual Devotion

Maybe because Shelties are so loyal sweet and playful, Sheltie owners are just as devoted to their dogs as their dogs are to them! Marlene takes Merlot, her “little princess,” with her wherever she goes. “She’s my therapy, and I’m her therapy,” she says.

Right from the start, Debra knew that this was her breed. “When I see Shelties, I just melt,” she says.

Links

The Wisconsin Sheltie Rescue was established in 1995. It is an all-volunteer group that exists to educate the public about the breed, and find homes for Shelties in need. www.wisheltierescue.com

The American Shetland Sheepdog Association (ASSA) is the AKC parent club for Shelties. americanshetlandsheepdogassociation.org

Stats

Homeland: Shetland Islands between Norway & Scotland.

Original Job: Being a farm dog & herding sheep, poultry & ponies.

Size: 13-16 inches, 15-25 lbs.

Coat Colors: Sable, black & blue merle with varying amounts of white or tan coloring.

Grooming: Regular brushing, nail trimming, & teeth brushing. Occasional bathing. Heavy seasonal shedding of the undercoat.

Exercise: Moderate exercise with an occasional good romp.

Lifespan: 12-13 years.

By PAMELA STACE

The “Grey Ghost,” “The Dog with the Human Brain,” and “The Shadow Dog” are words that have been used to describe the strikingly handsome and versatile Weimaraner. Because of their almost super-canine physical and mental abilities such as great intelligence, good eyesight, an excellent sense of smell, and extreme agility, Weimaraners need persistent, early training and a structured lifestyle. They are strong-willed and can be stubborn. Fortunately, they do have a cooperative spirit and can be trained to work together with their owners. They are loving and loyal and will never leave your side—unless of course you send them out on an “assignment.”

History

The Weimaraner was developed in early 19th century Weimar, Germany, by Duke Karl August. As a keen sportsman, the duke wanted to create the perfect hunting dog. Therefore, Bloodhounds were crossed with German and French field dogs, and perhaps Greyhounds and Great Danes. The result was a sturdy, athletic and intelligent dog capable of hunting both game birds, and fur-bearing animals such as foxes and hares.

The AKC recognized the Weimaraner in 1943, and some American GIs brought them back home from Germany after WWII. It was not until the 1950s however that the American Weimaraner population really took off. Both President Dwight Eisenhower and Grace Kelly were enthusiastic Weim owners.

“A Tired Weimaraner is a Happy Weimaraner”

Weimaraners need both physical and mental activity to fulfill them. They are not the best dog for apartment living because they really do need room to move and can, in fact, sprint at 35mph. Weims also need their minds to be focused on non-destructive behaviors. Without these two parameters, they will definitely take things into their own paws, finding their own fun. So leave them unsupervised at your own risk! For reasons of safety in the field, Weimaraners are asked to utilize their intelligence and loyalty by both thinking independently and following our human commands. Again, early training is very important.

Life at Home

Weimaraners are Velcro dogs. Not only must they be near us, they need to be touching us constantly to be truly happy. They are prone to separation anxiety, but that can be managed. Weims are also nosy and don’t want to miss out on anything that is going on around them.

Weimaraners are not unfriendly but can be somewhat aloof with strangers. They bark and are good watchdogs. My friend, former Weimaraner owner Marylou Mader, told me, “These are not aggressive dogs, but when it comes to intruders and protecting their family, a Weimaraner will let them in but will not let them out.”

Because Weimaraners were bred to hunt fur-bearing animals, having them around cats might not be a great idea. Weimaraner and cat interactions must be supervised and managed very carefully. They are good were kids, but where very young children are involved discretion is advised.

Health Issues

Weimaraners are general healthy but do suffer from some health issues. Among them are hip dysplasia, bloat and panosteitis. Because they are predisposed to vaccine reactions, a specific vaccine protocol is necessary, with timing being extremely important.

Weimaraner Activities Today

Today, Weimaraners participate in obedience, agility, field work, conformation, search and rescue, and cuddling.

Is a Weimaraner for You?

If you are looking for a little piece of history (or arguably art history) in a loving, sociable, handsome, and energetic dog, the Weimaraner just might be for you. Although Weims are not for inexperienced dog owners, if you do a little homework, know your challenges and prepare to follow through, a Weimaraner could be your kind of Vselcro!

Weimaraners in Art

Since the early 1970s, artist and photographer William Wegman has been photographing his beloved Weimaraners, sometimes in costume, always intriguingly posed and often appearing to be performing everyday human activities. Other celebrities who have owned and loved Weims include Dick Clark and Robin Gibb.

Homeland: Germany

Original Job: Hunting fur-bearing animals & game birds, Pointing & Retrieving

Size: Males 25-27inches, 70-80 lbs. Females 23-25 inches, 55-77 lbs.

Coat Colors: Light silver grey, tan taupe, dark grey

Eye Colors: Blue, “bird of prey” or “lizard” (beer color)

Grooming: Minimal, but they shed a lot

Exercise: Good runs & long walks

Lifespan: 10-13 years