Rare Breed Spotlight

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Dylan, Maremma

February 27, 2021

The Maremma Sheepdog (Mare-Emma), also known as Cane de Pastore Maremmano-Abruzzese, is a large, livestock guardian dog who was bred for thousands of years to protect sheep in the Maremma marshlands near Tuscany, Italy. They are descendants of the Tibetan Mastiff and share many attributes with the Kuvasz, Akbash, Tatra, and Great Pyrenees among others. The first official Maremma Sheepdog was registered with the Kennel Club Italiano in 1898. It was first introducted to the US in the early 1970's. They currently can be registered with the Maremma Sheepdog Club of America, New Zealand Kennel Club, and the United Kennel Club in the UK, among a few others.

Hard-working and determined dogs, Maremmas are known to be affectionate, protective, friendly, and intelligent. Generally easy to train, owners should be reminded that they are bred to be independent and can be stubborn. Consistency is key! Early socialization is important as these guys can be a bit aloof with strangers. They are good protectors, without being known as barkers.

These large dogs can weigh up to 100lbs and reach up to 28.5" tall. Maremma's have a dense undercoat and a course outercoat to deflect dirt and water. To maintain their coat, Maremma's require regular brushing to remove dead and loose hairs, it is recommended that they are never shaved. They do well outdoors, but, due to obvious reasons, they do not do well in hot weather. As a working dog, these dogs need mental and physical exercise daily. Long walks are necessary and they need regular opportunities to run free.

A hardy and healthy breed, these guys are prone to some common large breed issues such as hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, bloat and musculoskeletal problems and their average lifespan is 11-13 years.

Meet the Model

Name - Dylan

Sex - Male

Breed Class - Working/Guarding

Birth Date - 09/01/2007

Passed Away - 12/23/ 2019

Favourite Activities - Leisurely walks and snuggling in bed

Dislikes - Bugs and camping

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Silken Windsprite

Phoenix, Silken Windsprite (Long-Haired Whippet)

February 12, 2021

Silken Windsprites are small, Whippet like dogs with long hair.  Though similar to Whippets and previously called Long-Haired Whippets, Windsprites do qualify as a unique breed. These delightful little dogs can grow up to 22" tall and 35lbs. Though not currently recognized by CKC or AKC (Canadian and American Kennel Clubs), they are recognized by the United Kennel Club and the International Windsprite Club serves as registry, breed standard and parent club.

Though there is some confusion about the origin of the Windsprite: genetic recessive gene discovered in Whippets vs Whippets mixed with Sheltie and possibly Borzoi. Regardless, this breed popped up in the United States in the 1970's and became popular in the 1980's. An athletic Sighthound, Windsprites enjoy companionship, dog sports, and their people.

These little go getters will excel in whatever dog sport you decide to participate in including Rally-O, agility, lure coursing, disc dog, obedience, etc. Wanting to have a quiet day? That's ok, these guys are equally calm and relaxed! They do have a very high prey drive and they react strongly to movement. They are highly intelligent and easily trained, do not have a tendency towards barking, and are extremely affectionate. They also have a life-span of 12-15 years.

Meet The Model

Name - Phoenix

Sex - Female

Breed Class -   

Born - 06/01/2019

Education - Disc Dog and Flyball Training

Favourite Activities - Running fast and barking loudly!

Dislikes - Detests wearing clothes and will quickly chew them to bits

Highlights and Achievements - Has qualified for the Updog International Finals at the end of April - Good Luck Phoenix!!

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Canadian Eskimo Dog

Xerox, Canadian Eskimo Dog

February 5, 2021

The Canadian Eskimo Dog (CED)/Canadian Inuit Dog is a unique and truly authentic Canadian dog breed dating back to 2000 BC. These are the original dogs bred and raised by the Canadian Inuit people - Qimmiq (dog). A working dog, these dogs are bred and worked as a sled dog and can pull up to 80kg per dog while covering vast distances of up to 112km! They do well in the cold, dry climate of the Canadian arctic. They were also originally used to assist hunters by finding seal holes in the ice and could hold musk ox and even polar bears at bay.

The population took a nose dive from about 20,000 in the early 1900's to a single breeding male as recognized by the Canadian Kennel Club in 1963. The breed was listed as extinct. Thankfully the breed was rescued by a few passionate people (Canadian Eskimo Dog Research Foundation) who ventured far and wide to locate remote communities and dogs not touched by the RCMP culls of the 60's. To this day there are 300 or less purebred, registered Canadian Eskimo Dogs in existence.

These hardy, powerful dogs are the embodiment of strength and endurance and they need to be worked or exercised for a minimum of 40 minutes per day. They can grow up to 70cm tall and weigh as much as 40kg. They have thick double coats with an insulating undercoat helping them thrive in cold climate conditions. Despite the long hair these dogs do not need to be groomed very often. They can come in any number of colour combinations aside from brindle and merle.

Meet The Model

Name - Xerox

Sex - Male

Breed Class - Working 

Born - 07/09/2016

Education - Rally O, Scent Detection, Obedience

Favourite Activities - Showing off, sledding!

Dislikes - Being away from owner, pushy male dogs, having his feet touched

Highlights and Achievements - Canadian Grand Champion (conformation), #2 CED in Canada in 2019, First ever (and only) CED to earn Novice Sprinter and Chase Ability Titles and half way to next achievement. Currently working towards Trick Dog Novice and Intermediate Titles as well as his Sled/Scooter Titles with the Canadian Eskimo Dog Club of Great Britain.

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Moze, Barbet

January 30, 2021

The Barbet (Bar-Bay) is a medium sized, curly coated breed from France with artwork and scripts dating the breed back to the 14th century. The breed nearly went extinct after the World Wars but those passionate about the breed were able to bring them back. They are ancestors to quite a few of today's breeds including the Griffon, Newfoundland, Bichon, and Poodle. They are still a very rare breed today but are now recognized by both the Canadian and American Kennel Clubs (2020) as part of the Sporting Group.  

A water dog, the Barbet is bred as a hunting dog used to locate, flush, and retrieve birds and is an extremely strong swimmer. Officially named for their distinctive beards (barbe in French), Barbets are nicknamed "Mud Dog" due to their love of swampy, muddy places. Their thick, curly coat is waterproof and helps protect them in cold water. This coat requires regular brushing and bathing. These cuties come in coats of brown, grey, red fawn, pied, sandy, white, chestnut, and black  and can sometimes have white markings. They are hypoallergenic and non shedding.

The Barbet is a medium sized dog and can reach 24.5", 65lbs and has a life expectancy of 12-14 years. Barbets are a relatively healthy breed, but should be tested for hips, elbows, eyes, seizures, and allergies. They have an extremely sweet and sensitive nature, are very intelligent, and are generally friendly, happy and social dogs. They are a little on the higher energy side and generally love water, so be prepared to be active. They even have webbed paws making them incredible swimmers! They are easily trained and are game for activities such as agility, dock diving, and coursing.

Meet the Model

Name - Moze

Sex - Male

Breed Class - Sporting

Born - 04/30/2018

Education - Basic and activity specific training (agility)

Favourite Activities - Toss, hide and seek - scent detection

Dislikes - Swimming, hunting, being groomed, veggies and most fruit

Highlights and Achievements - Fourth placement in Sporting Group at conformation show.

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Portuguese Podengo

Kooza, Portuguese Podengo Medio - Wire-haired

January 22, 2021

The Portuguese Podengo is a hunting dog that originated in Africa in 600 BC arriving in Portugal in the 700's. They were bred to hunt small and large game such as, rabbit, deer, and boar, depending on size.  They excel at hunting individually or as part of a pack. They have a specific, high-pitched bark that helps hunters to locate them and their prey. This bark is called "maticar". The breed comes in three different sizes - Pequeno, Medio, and Grande (small, medium and large - up to 28") and two different hair types - smooth and wire. 

Podengos have great personalities and are funny dogs who are fantastic at entertaining themselves. They are independent, alert, playful, and agile. The two larger sizes are recognized by AKC and 3 other registries (not currently recognized by CKC). They excel at coursing, agility, nose-work, barn hunt, rally and conformation. The medio and pequeno are higher energy than the large - who does enjoy some comfy couch time!  Though they are an intelligent breed, they are not easily trained and will test the unprepared owner. They need a firmer style of training or their curiosity will land them in trouble with their own adventures. They are food motivated, however, and will work for a fun reward!

Regular brushing and bathing is all this breed requires for grooming, more for the wire-haired  than the smooth coat. They are one of the healthiest breeds and can live into their mid- to late -teens. Podengos are also great companion and watch dogs.

Other Resources




Pez, Portuguese Podengo Pequeno - Smooth Coat

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Sirius, Azawakh

January 17, 2021

The Azawakh is a beautiful, independent, loyal and affectionate breed that is recognized by the Canadian Kennel Club, American Kennel Club (Hound Group since 2018) as well as 9 other registries.

This tall, mid-sized dog (23-29” and up to 55kg) originated in Africa (Azawagh Valley) as a hunting dog and has been chasing after speedy rabbits and gazelles for centuries, particularly in the South Sahara and West Africa. As a sprinter, this breed relies keenly on its excellent vision and incredible speed - up to 60km/hr - and they hunt in packs!! This breed is particularly well suited as a companion, guardian, and hunter.

Exercise and proper diet are extremely important for Azawakhs as they tend to gain weigh easily. They are an active breed and regular exercise is very important - at least once daily. They are fantastic running companions and grooming needs are minimal - brush down weekly and bathe when necessary.

Azawakhs are very intelligent and easily trained, however their independent nature requires training to start very early and owners must be diligent. This is a very soft breed and harsh punishment will do more harm than good. This breed (as most) requires positive, reward-based training. High socialization and exposure to varied locations is required with this breed to instil confidence and ensure calm behaviour. Often a one person dog, Azawakhs are fiercely devoted to one person and loves their close family. Can be wary of strangers making them a good protection dog.

No major genetic disorders and life expectancy up to 15 years.

Meet the Model

Name - Sirius

Sex - Male

Born - 07/19/2014

Education - Basic and activity specific training

Favourite Activities - Mushing, agility, skijoring, and snuggles

Highlights and Achievements - CKC Registered, CKC Champion, Field Champion, First Azawakh to course under CKC, First Azawakh to compete in CKC agility and qualify, First Azawakh to win Hound Group under CKC

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