Nobody knows exactly how many dogs there are in the world. Yet, one thing is for certain – the number keeps increasing. In the United States, more than 80 million dogs live as pets. In the European Union, the total dog population has gone up by six million in only a couple of years. Because dogs make our daily lives so much better, it is possible that soon there will be as many dogs as there are humans.
The Golden Retriever is one the most popular pets around the world. People love these large yellow dogs because they are children's best friends. They are good-natured and love playing.
The name "'Retriever" was given to them because they were good at retrieving shot games (animals that people hunt like birds or ducks) undamaged while hunting.
These dogs simply love water – take them for a swim and see how much they enjoy it.
Because they are so friendly to everyone, they should not be relied on for guarding. Yet, the Golden Retriever is commonly employed as a guide dog for the blind. They have recently been labeled as therapy dogs – spending time with them helps those who are ill or recovering from trauma.
Poodles are grouped in three different categories based on their size. Standard poodles are the largest, and they can be up to 24 inches (60cm) tall. Miniature poodles are between 11 and 14 inches (28-35 cm) tall, whereas the smallest ones, called Toy poodles, are usually around 10 inches (25 cm). Their elegant hair requires professional grooming every few weeks.
Due to their smaller size and long curly hair, they are not taken for hunters or guards. Still, the poodle is the second most intelligent dog breed of all, ranking just behind the Border Collie.
They frequently win dog competitions in all different disciplines. Being so clever, poodles love to learn and train, so they should not be left alone and bored.
The place of their origin is still disputed. Some say they came from Germany, but others believe their French name Caniche (from cane meaning female duck in French) means they were trained for duck hunting in France.
The spaniel is an old dog breed, mentioned for the first time in the 14th century French books. The name "cocker" was added much later when these dogs were trained to hunt woodcock birds in the United Kingdom, and later in the United States, too.
Today, their small size, long ears and cute faces lead many people to believe they could only ever be companion dogs. Yet, they are still very capable of bird hunting.
Cocker spaniels love their humans and always want to make them happy. This breed became really popular when the "Lady and the Tramp" Disney movie came out in 1955. It is a story about Lady, a house pet Cocker, and Tramp, a stray dog, who fell in love and had many puppies.
The Shih Tzu is a toy dog breed, weighing merely 10-19 pounds. Their bodies are covered with long fur, which is often braided or decorated for shows.
It is believed that the Shih Tzu is one of the most ancient breeds, having first appeared in China and Tibet. In Chinese, their name means "lion dog", or "little lion". However, the Shih Tzu has nothing to do with lions, except maybe for the mane around its head.
Giving the Shih Tzu proper care includes having them stay in air-conditioned rooms over the summer because they can often have breathing problems. Don't be surprised if you hear your Shih Tzu snore like a human – that's quite normal for them.
The Boxer is a medium-sized dog developed from the now extinct Bullenbeisser in the 19th century Germany. Of course, these dogs were never used for boxing, but only for hunting.
One of the possible reasons they are called Boxers is because it has been noticed that, while playing, they like to stand on their back legs and pretend to be "boxing" with their front paws.
They are large and quite strong, but they aren't really outdoors dogs. They have very flat faces and short noses, which makes them feel uncomfortable when the weather is too warm or cold.
Even though they can be hostile to other dogs, Boxers are actually very cheerful and get excited very easily. They will make sure to show you that with lots of jumping whenever they are greeting you.
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