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Sally Anne Thompson, Animal Photography
The medium-size Eurasier, created in Germany, has the characteristics of a spitz breed: a wedge-shaped head, prick ears, a thick double coat that can be almost any color.
Originally called the Wolf Chow, the dogs were recognized in 1973 by the Federation Cynologique Internationale and given the name Eurasier to symbolize their combined European and Asian heritage.
The Eurasier is a relative newcomer to the dog world. Created in Germany only 50 years ago, he is the product of crosses between the Wolf Spitz, a Nordic-type breed found in Germany, the Chow Chow, and, later, the Samoyed. The resulting puppies bred true, meaning they could reproduce themselves, and a new breed was born and recognized by the German Kennel Club and the Federation Cynologique Internationale (although not yet by the American Kennel Club). The name was chosen to signify the breed’s European and Asian background.
The Eurasier is devoted to his family but takes a while to warm up to anyone else. He’s usually not aggressive towards strangers, but he doesn’t like them to pet him. If you want a dog that loves everyone at first sight, don’t choose a Eurasier.
When they are part of his family, the Eurasier is tolerant of children and other pets. He’s an excellent watchdog, alert but not noisy. Early and frequent socialization will help you bring out the best in your Eurasier.
The Eurasier has a low activity level and can live happily in any home, including an apartment or condo. One or two brief walks daily will satisfy his exercise needs.
This is an intelligent dog that is willing to learn. He responds well to clicker training and positive reinforcement techniques such as play, praise, and food rewards. Keep training sessions short and fun so the Eurasier doesn’t get bored.
The Eurasier has a lot of coat, but he’s easy to groom. Brush him once or twice a week to remove dead hair. He’ll shed heavily twice a year, for about three weeks, and during that time you’ll want to brush him more often to keep the loose hair under control. The only other grooming he needs is regular nail trimming, ear cleaning, and dental hygiene.
The people-loving Eurasier needs to live in the house with his family.
The Eurasier was developed in the '60s to be a gentle family dog and protector. German breeder Julius Wipfel began by crossing Chow Chows with Wolfspitzes (which in some countries are considered the same breed as the Keeshond). One Samoyed male also contributed to the new breed’s bloodlines. Originally called the Wolf Chow, the dogs were recognized in 1973 by the Federation Cynologique Internationale and given the name Eurasier to symbolize their combined European and Asian heritage.
The dogs are popular in Germany and Switzerland but are still little known in the United States. The breed was recognized by the United Kennel Club in 1996 under the name Eurasian. The UKC categorizes it as a Northern breed, the FCI consider it a Spitz or Primitive type.
The self-assured and calm Eurasier wants nothing more than to be close to his family. He is a watchful and alert protector who is reserved but usually not aggressive toward strangers. He does best in a family where someone is home during the day. The Eurasier will enjoy going places with you, but he’s not especially fond of meeting people he doesn’t know. If you like to chat up strangers at the dog park and show off your friendly dog, he’s probably not the best choice. This is a dog who takes his time deciding whether he likes someone.
Within his family, the Eurasier gets along very well with children and other pets, especially if he is raised with them. Toward other dogs, he is not generally aggressive.
This breed’s activity level is adaptable. He enjoys daily walks but isn’t excessively active. The Eurasier is good at any dog sport that involves working closely with his people, including agility, obedience, and rally.
The three Cs work well with him: be calm, confident and consistent.
Start training your puppy the day you bring him home. Even at eight weeks old, he is capable of soaking up everything you can teach him. Don’t wait until he is 6 months old to begin training or you will have a more headstrong dog to deal with. If possible, get him into puppy kindergarten class by the time he is 10 to 12 weeks old, and socialize, socialize, socialize. However, be aware that many puppy training classes require certain vaccines (like kennel cough) to be up to date, and many veterinarians recommend limited exposure to other dogs and public places until puppy vaccines (including rabies, distemper and parvovirus) have been completed. In lieu of formal training, you can begin training your puppy at home and socializing him among family and friends until puppy vaccines are completed.
Talk to the breeder, describe exactly what you’re looking for in a dog, and ask for assistance in selecting a puppy. Breeders see the puppies daily and can make uncannily accurate recommendations once they know your lifestyle and personality. Whatever you want from a Eurasier, look for one whose parents have nice personalities and who has been well socialized from early puppyhood.
All dogs have the potential to develop genetic health problems, just as all people have the potential to inherit disease. Run from any breeder who does not offer a health guarantee on puppies, who tells you that the breed has no known problems, or who keeps puppies isolated from the main part of the household for health reasons. A reputable breeder will be honest and open about health problems in the breed and the incidence with which they occur.
In the Eurasier, health problems that can occur are hip and elbow dysplasia, a knee problem called patellar luxation, autoimmune thyroiditis, and an eye problem called distichiasis (abnormal eyelash growth that may result in eyelash(es) that rub against and irritate the cornea).
Not all of these conditions are detectable in a growing puppy, and it is impossible to predict whether an animal will be free of these maladies, which is why you must find a reputable breeder who is committed to breeding the healthiest animals possible. They should be able to produce independent certification that the parents of the dog (and grandparents, etc.) have been screened for common defects and deemed healthy for breeding. That’s where health registries come in.
Ask the breeder to show evidence that both of a puppy’s parents have hip scores of Excellent, Good, or Fair from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals or a PennHIP score, an OFA patella (knee) evaluation, and certification from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation that the eyes are healthy.
Don't fall for a bad breeder's lies. If the breeder tells you tests aren't necessary because they've never had problems in her lines, the dogs have been "vet checked," or offers any other excuses for skimping on the genetic testing of their dogs, walk away immediately.
Careful breeders screen their breeding dogs for genetic disease and breed only the healthiest and best-looking specimens, but sometimes Mother Nature has other ideas. A puppy may develop one of these diseases despite good breeding practices. Advances in veterinary medicine mean that in most cases the dogs can still live a good life. If you’re getting a puppy, ask the breeder about the ages of the dogs in her lines and what are the most common causes of death.
Remember that after you’ve taken a new puppy into your home, you have the power to protect him from one of the most common health problems: obesity. Keeping a Eurasier at an appropriate weight is one of the easiest ways to extend his life. Make the most of your preventive abilities to help ensure a healthier dog for life.
The Eurasier has a double coat with medium-length hair on the body and longer feathering on the back of the legs and the tail. The hair on the neck is slightly thicker than on the rest of the body, but not so much that the dog has a mane.
It sounds like the Eurasier requires a lot of grooming, but his coat is pretty easy to care for with brushing once or twice a week. If he has been in a wooded or brushy area, remove any twigs or other debris that might have gotten caught in his fur, and check for ticks or other parasites. Check his eyes for any discharge and wipe them clean. A bath is rarely necessary.
Like all double-coated dogs, Eurasiers shed. Once or twice a year they go through a heavy shed that lasts for about three weeks. To keep the hair under control during this time, brush the dog daily, give him warm baths and blow dry him thoroughly to help remove the loose hair (but keep the heat setting on low to prevent burns).
The rest is basic care. Trim the nails as needed, usually every week or two. Brush the teeth frequently with a vet-approved pet toothpaste for good overall health and fresh breath.
Whether you want to go with a breeder or get your dog from a shelter or rescue, here are some things to keep in mind.
Finding a quality breeder is the key to finding the right puppy. A good breeder will match you with the right puppy, and will have done all the health certifications necessary to screen out as many problems as possible. He or she is more interested in placing pups in the right homes than making big bucks.
Reputable breeders will welcome your questions about temperament, health clearances, and what the dogs are like to live with. They will come right back at you with questions of their own about what you’re looking for in a dog and what kind of life you plan to provide. A good breeder can tell you about the history of the breed, explain why one puppy is considered pet quality while another is not, and discuss what health problems affect the breed and the steps were taken to avoid them. A breeder should want to be a resource for you throughout your dog’s life.
Look for more information about the Eurasier and start your search for a good breeder at the website of the United States Eurasier Club. Choose a breeder who has agreed to abide by the USEC’s code of ethics, which prohibits the sale of puppies to or through pet stores and calls for the breeder to take back any dog she has bred at any time in the dog’s life if the owner can’t keep him.
Avoid breeders who only seem interested in how quickly they can unload a puppy on you and whether your credit card will clear. Breeders who offer puppies at one price “with papers” and at a lower price “without papers” are unethical. You should also bear in mind that buying a puppy from websites that offer to ship your dog to you immediately can be a risky venture, as it leaves you no recourse if what you get isn’t exactly what you expected. Put at least as much effort into researching your puppy as you would into choosing a new car or expensive appliance. It will save you money in the long run.
Lots of reputable breeders have websites, so how can you tell who’s good and who’s not? Red flags include over availability, multiple litters on the premises, a choice of any puppy, and the ability to pay online with a credit card. Those things are convenient, but they are almost never associated with reputable breeders.
Whether you’re planning to get your new best friend from a breeder, a pet store, or another source, don’t forget that old adage “let the buyer beware”. Disreputable breeders and facilities that deal with puppy mills can be hard to distinguish from reliable operations. There’s no 100% guaranteed way to make sure you’ll never purchase a sick puppy, but researching the breed (so you know what to expect), checking out the facility (to identify unhealthy conditions or sick animals), and asking the right questions can reduce the chances of heading into a disastrous situation. And don’t forget to ask your veterinarian, who can often refer you to a reputable breeder, breed rescue organization, or other reliable source for healthy puppies.
The cost of a Eurasier puppy varies depending on the breeder’s locale, whether the pup is male or female, what titles his parents have, and whether he is best suited for the show ring or a pet home. The puppy you buy should have been raised in a clean home environment, from parents with health clearances to prove that they are good specimens of the breed. Puppies should be temperament tested, vetted, dewormed, and socialized to give them a healthy, confident start in life.
Before you decide to buy a puppy, consider whether an adult Eurasier might better suit your needs and lifestyle. Puppies are loads of fun, but they require a lot of time and effort before they grow up to become the dog of your dreams. An adult may already have some training and will probably be less active, destructive and demanding than a puppy. With an adult, you know more about what you’re getting in terms of personality and health and you can find adults through breeders or shelters. If you are interested in acquiring an older dog through breeders, ask them about purchasing a retired show dog or if they know of an adult dog who needs a new home. If you want to adopt a dog, read the advice below on how to do that.
There are many great options available if you want to adopt a dog from an animal shelter or breed rescue organization. Here is how to get started.
1. Use the Web
Sites like Petfinder.com can have you searching for a Eurasier in your area in no time flat. The site allows you to be very specific in your requests (housetraining status, for example) or very general (all the Eurasiers available on Petfinder across the country). AnimalShelter can help you find animal rescue groups in your area. Also some local newspapers have “pets looking for homes” sections you can review.
Social media is another great way to find a dog. Post on your Facebook page that you are looking for a specific breed so that your entire community can be your eyes and ears.
2. Reach Out to Local Experts
Start talking with all the pet pros in your area about your desire for a Eurasier. That includes vets, dog walkers, and groomers. When someone has to make the tough decision to give up a dog, that person will often ask her own trusted network for recommendations.
3. Talk to Breed Rescue
Most people who love Eurasiers love all Eurasiers. That’s why breed clubs have rescue organizations devoted to taking care of homeless dogs. The United States Eurasier Club’s Rescue Network can help you find a dog that may be the perfect companion for your family. You can also search online for other Eurasier rescues in your area.
The great thing about breed rescue groups is that they tend to be very upfront about any health conditions the dogs may have and are a valuable resource for advice. They also often offer fostering opportunities so, with training, you could bring a Eurasier home with you to see what the experience is like.
4. Key Questions to Ask
You now know the things to discuss with a breeder, but there are also questions you should discuss with shelter or rescue group staff or volunteers before you bring home a dog. These include:
What is his energy level?
How is he around other animals?
How does he respond to shelter workers, visitors and children?
What is his personality like?
What is his age?
Is he housetrained?
Has he ever bitten or hurt anyone that they know of?
Are there any known health issues?
Wherever you acquire your Eurasier, make sure you have a good contract with the seller, shelter or rescue group that spells out responsibilities on both sides. Petfinder offers an Adopters Bill of Rights that helps you understand what you can consider normal and appropriate when you get a dog from a shelter. In states with “puppy lemon laws,” be sure you and the person you get the dog from both understand your rights and recourses.
Puppy or adult, take your Eurasier to your veterinarian soon after adoption. Your veterinarian will be able to spot problems, and will work with you to set up a preventive regimen that will help you avoid many health issues.
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