Dog Breed Profife Of The Week – The Briard

The Briard

The Briard

Dog Breed Profile Of The Week – The Briard

The Briard are a large-sized dogs weighing between 50 and 100 pounds (22 to 45 kilograms).

A male is 23 to 27 inches at the shoulder; females are smaller at 22 to 25 1/2 inches tall. The body is well-muscled and built for work. The head is long and wide with high-set hanging or cropped ears. Briard generally mature at one to two years, although they reach their full size around six to eight months.

The coat is slightly wavy and at least six inches long. They have long hair on the ears, giving a sail-like appearance when pricked. All uniform colors are allowable except white. These colors include black, gray and various shades of tawny. The coat, which sheds dirt and water, still requires brushing and combing at least once a week for two hours to prevent mats, and more frequently if the Briard has been out in the field.


Briard are active dogs that require a high level of physical activity. Although these dogs are independent in nature, they do not make good kennel dogs and prefer being with their owners. They are highly intelligent and need activities to keep them occupied to prevent destructive behavior such as chewing and digging. They need to be kept in a large fenced-in backyard to prevent them from roaming.

Living With:

Briard consider their owners to be equal companions. Although they can be aggressive toward other dogs, if properly socialized they can learn to co-exist with dogs or cats. Other pets, such as rodents, birds or reptiles, should be kept away.

Given their independent nature, this breed may question or refuse their owner’s commands. They do not respond well to heavy-handed punishment but respect authority. You must first earn a Briard’s respect through consistent obedience training.

This breed is ideal for owners who want a large, intelligent, active dog for herding, hiking and other outdoor activities. They make good watchdogs and good guard dogs. They are mistrustful of strangers. They typically live from 10 to 15 years.


The Briard is an ancient French breed dating back to the 8th century or earlier. The Briard was bred for guarding and herding sheep and other livestock. The dog kept illustrious company including Emperor Charlemagne, Napoleon, and Lafayette. Thomas Jefferson, once a dog hater, was quickly turned into a dog lover when Lafayette sent Briard’s over to the newly formed United States to guard the livestock of the author of the Declaration of Independence.

During World Wars I and II, the French used Briard’s as guard dogs and search-and-rescue dogs. The breed suffered with the deaths of many dogs in both wars. The first litter of Briard’s registered with the American Kennel Club was in 1922.

The Briard excels in herding and guarding livestock and is a member of the herding group. He makes a delightful, active companion.

Please feel free to contact us here at Falls Road Veterinary Hospital with any questions or concerns. (301) 983-8400.



Snow Play Day At Falls Road Veterinary Hospital

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Dog Breed Profile Of The Week – Dachshund



Dog Breed Profile Of The Week – Dachshund


The Dachshund is a long, low dog with short, powerful legs and a long tapering muzzle with very strong jaws and teeth. This breed comes in three coat varieties: smooth, long-haired and wire-haired; and in two sizes: standard and miniature (under 11 lbs.). The high-set ears are pendant, with rounded ends. The muzzle is slightly arched, producing a “Roman nose” effect. The sternum (chest bone) is very prominent with a depression or dimple on either side, providing a powerful front end for underground digging. The front paws may be angled slightly outward. The usual coat colors are solid red, black and tan, chocolate, and wild boar, but brindle, dapple, and piebald are also seen.

Hunting, tracking, watchdog, and performing tricks.


Lively and affectionate. Proud and bold, almost rash. Tenacious. Can be willful and clownish. Curious and mischievous. Very clever. Devoted to his family. Some fanciers feel the long-haired variety is calmer than the other two types. The wire-haired variety is more outgoing and clown-like.


Children: Best with older, considerate children.
Friendliness: Moderately protective.
Trainability: Slightly difficult to train.
Independence: Moderately independent.
Dominance: Moderate.
Other Pets: Generally good with other pets.
Combativeness: Fairly friendly with other dogs.
Noise: Likes to bark.
Indoors: Fairly active indoors.
Owner: Good for novice owners.

Grooming and Physical Needs:

Grooming: Smooth: Very little. Long: Brushing every few days. Wire: Occasional stripping.
Trimming & Stripping: Wire: Occasional stripping.
Coat: Short, feathered or wire.
Shedding: Average.
Exercise: Little.
Jogging: Poor.
Apartments: Good.
Outdoor Space: Does all right without a yard.
Climate: Does well in most climates.
Longevity: Moderately long-lived (12 to 15 years).


Short-legged dogs have been known since Roman times, but the first evidence of Dachshunds is from the 1500s. The breed was specialized to go after den animals, particularly badgers, underground. “Dachshund” comes from “dachs,” meaning badger, and “hund,” meaning dog. The Dachshund is still used as a rabbit and small game hunter today in some countries, and there are AKC field trials for the breed in the United States. It is also used to trail wounded deer. Today’s Dachshund is mostly prized as a companion dog.

Please feel free to contact us here at Falls Road Veterinary Hospital with any questions or concerns. (301) 983-8400.

Keeping Your Pets Safe – Pet Theft Awareness

Keeping Pets Safe

Keeping Pets Safe

Keeping your pet safe – Pet theft awareness

An estimated 2 million pets are stolen each year and only 10% of these pets are returned to their owners.  To protect your pet, it’s important to know what you may not know about pet theft.

Why pets are taken

The two main reasons pets are typically stolen is for monetary gain and for illegal animal fights. When it is a case of monetary gain, someone may steal a pet to then sell it to a third-party. However, in some cases it is done with the intent of returning the pet to its owner. Thieves wait for an owner to post a reward and then call to report the animal found to collect. This, of course, doesn’t mean everyone that finds a lost or stolen pet is a thief. Good Samaritans do still exist!

The second most common reasons pets, especially dogs, are stolen is to use them in illegal animal fights. Some are conditioned to be fighters, while others are sadly and shocking used as bait. While even attending animal fights is a felony in the United States, underground fights still happen. Because of this, it is advisable to be aware of whether or not there have been reports of animal fights in your area.

Keeping your pet safe

To protect your pet, use common sense: never let your dog wander freely, secure your yard with  a type of fencing, never leave your pet unattended, make sure your pet is wearing identification tags, ect. But there are also other ways to keep your dog safe that you might not be at the forefront of your mind. Consider getting your pet microchipped. This is an easy way to identify him if a thief removes his tags. Also, having update date pictures of your pet from different angles may help prove that they pet is in fact yours. Pay special attention and get pictures of any unique markings your pet may have. Finally, some pet insurance plans offer assistance if your pet is lost or stolen and can help you with the cost associated with recovering your pet.


While everyone hopes it will never happen, if your pet is lost or has been stolen, check animal rescue centers regularly and be aware of any lost pet websites or hotlines in your area.

Please feel free to contact us here at Falls Road Veterinary Hospital with any questions or concerns. (301) 983-8400.

How To Make Moving To A New Home Less Stressful For Your Pet

Moving With Pets

Moving With Pets

How To Make Moving To A New Home Less Stressful For Your Pet

Moving to a new home is an exciting, but stressful, time for everyone, including the family pet. Most pets are reasonably adaptable, and your pet will be happy as long as they remain with their family, and their basic needs are met. Here is some basic advice to help you prepare for and ease your pets transition to your new home.

Before moving day

•Know the rules. Investigate your new community’s rules on pet vaccinations, license requirements and leash laws. Some states and communities restrict the number of dogs/cats per household. There may also be a ban on particular dog breeds.

•Visit your vet. Be sure your pets’ shots are current and that they have been treated for any previous problems. If you are moving to a new area of the country, inquire about local parasites against which your pet may need protection. Get a copy of your pets records, and stock up on medications. (Be sure you have enough until you find a new vet.)

•Clean the house. If your new home is one in which a pet had been living previously, be sure to have it thoroughly cleaned before you move in. This way, your dog/cat will not smell the odors of the previous owner’s pet and want to mark this new territory for himself.

•Train your pet. Reinforce obedience commands with your dog. If he has never been trained, or if his skills have slipped from lack of practice, consider signing up for a six-week refresher course to help you both remember basic training.

•Get a crate. If you don’t already own one, purchase a secure crate for your pet so he can be confined while the moving men are packing, and for the journey to your new home. It’s a good idea to practice with the device, so the move is not the first time your pet experiences the crate.

•Keep a routine. Try to maintain your pet’s regular schedule as much as possible as you prepare to move. Dogs, and especially cats, are creatures of habit and can sense stress, so maintaining a routine can help calm your pet.

On moving day

•Carry ID. Be sure to have updated proper identification on your pets at all times. A tag should have your dog’s or cat’s name, your name and a contact phone number. It’s also wise to have current pictures of your pet, along with a written description, to carry with you.

•Consider boarding your pet during the move, or placing him in day care. Moving day can be chaotic, and a home in transition is not a fit environment for an anxious pet.

•Pack his things. If your pet is traveling with you by car to your new home, pack a few of his favorite toys, blankets and snacks for the ride. Be sure your pet is secured safely in his crate or harness, and keep your dog’s leash with you at all times. Keep plenty of water in the car. Be prepared to clean up after your dog at rest stops. Bring plastic bags and kitty litter.

• If you and your pet are traveling by air, keep in mind that most airlines now only accept pets prepared by professional transport companies who are aware of the shipping regulations, the use of approved crates and equipment, and proper filing of paperwork. For more information, visit The Independent Pet and Animal Transport Association International website at

At your new home

•Unpack your pet’s bed, toys, and food and water bowls immediately. Place them in a location similar to where they were located in his previous home.

•Begin boundary training for your dog as soon as possible. Do not let your dog roam freely around the house. Place him on a leash and walk him around the interior of the house, and the perimeter of the new property.

•Let Kitty relax. Place Kitty in a room with as little distraction and activity as possible. Let him rest quietly with his belongings (and perhaps something with your scent on it). Be sure the windows and doors are securely closed.

It takes time, patience and training to give your pet security and confidence. Cats and dogs are territorial animals, and can take several days, or even weeks, to adjust to a new environment. Be prepared for the time it will take for your pet to properly adjust to a new environment.

Please feel free to contact us at Falls Road Veterinary Hospital with any questions or concerns you may have. (301) 983-8400.

How Pets Are Good For Your Health


How Pets Are Good For Your Health

How Pets Are Good For Your Health

How Pets Are Good For Your Health

Dogs may be good at more than fetching sticks and greeting you after a long day at work. As it turns out, simply having them around may lessen your family’s chances of getting the common cold.

Owning a dog may improve the health of children in that household, according to new research from the University of California, San Francisco. In a study of mice, researchers found that the house dust from homes with dogs worked to protect against a common cold strain.

So what’s the big deal about RSV? It’s a virus to which almost everybody has been exposed within the first few years of life. However, it can be severe — and sometimes fatal — in premature and chronically ill infants. It is the leading cause of bronchiolitis, which is an inflammation of the small airways in the lung, as well as pneumonia in children under 1 year of age in the United States, and it is associated with increased risk of developing asthma.

What excited researchers is that this work may help explain why pet ownership has been associated with protection against childhood asthma in the past. Their thought process is as follows: exposure to animals early in life helps “train” the immune system, which plays an integral part in asthma development. In short, there is reason to believe that germs, such as those associated with dogs, may be good for children’s health under certain circumstances.

The study is far from the first to suggest the health benefits of having a canine in the family. The following are six other ways that owning a dog may improve your health and well-being.

Dogs and Cardiovascular Health

Could owning a dog keep your heart healthy? Research has supported a connection between owning a dog and reduced risk of cardiovascular problems, including high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol levels. In addition, a study published in the American Journal of Cardiology found that male dog owners were less likely to die within one year after a heart attack than those who did not own a dog.

Dogs and Anxiety

For people with all forms of anxiety, having a dog may be an important coping mechanism. This is especially true in times of crisis. A study out of the Medical College of Virginia found that for hospitalized patients with mental health issues, therapy with animals significantly reduced anxiety levels more than conventional recreational therapy sessions.

Dogs and Loneliness

Dogs function as important companions and family members, but certain groups may benefit more than others. The elderly, particularly those in residential care facilities, often become socially isolated once separated from immediate family. Researchers in Australia have found that dogs improved the well-being of residents by promoting their capacity to build relationships.

Dogs and Rehabilitation

In the setting of a severe illness or prolonged hospitalization, therapy dogs can be integral in the process of rehabilitation. A review of the literature looking at the function of service dogs proved that dogs can assist people with various disabilities in performing everyday activities, thereby significantly reducing their dependence on others.

Dogs and Activity

Before a dog is introduced into the home, the most commonly asked question is, “Who is going to walk the dog?” Turns out this responsibility may be important for the health of the family as well as the dog. Studies from the American Journal of Public Health and the American Journal of Preventive Medicine have shown that children with dogs spend more time doing moderate to vigorous activity than those without dogs, and adults with dogs walk on average almost twice as much as adults without dogs.

Dogs and Doctors

With all of these specific health benefits, could dogs keep you away from the doctor altogether? A national survey out of Australia found that dog and cat owners made fewer annual doctor visits and generally had significantly lower use of general practitioner services.

Please feel free to contact us here at Falls Road Veterinary Hospital with any questions or concerns. (301) 983-8400.