or how to do, make or repair just about anything!
Click on any picture for a bigger version. Use your browser's "back" button to return to this page. Click here to print this page without advertising.
For many centuries dogs have been man’s companion and faithful servant. The dog is the only animal that has been able to adapt to and specialize in a variety of tasks to make himself useful to man.
Before getting a dog consider:
What sort of dog should I get?
Pure bred or mongrel?
To help you decide which would be the right dog for you in your circumstances look under Small dogs, Medium dogs, Large dogs or Giant dogs for a short description and characteristics of the breed as well as contact details of breeders and/or breed clubs.
Once you have decided on the breed of dog you want, get to know as much as you can about them. Ask KUSA for a breed standard. Speak to breeders and owners to find out about the dog you have decided on. A dog show is an excellent place to see good specimens and to speak to owners. At least once a year there is a major dog show in most of the larger towns and cities. Again you can get the information about shows from KUSA.
Having decided on a breeder, and with your new knowledge of the breed, study the mother (and if at all possible, the father as well). How well do they measure up to the breed standard, not only in conformation but also in temperament?
How are the puppies housed and cared for? Is their room and/or whelping box clean? Are the puppies clean and do they look healthy?
From a reputable breeder try to buy the last puppy in the litter. If the breeder is any good he will keep the best puppy till last in case he cannot sell the whole litter and is forced to keep the last puppy. He does not want to own an inferior dog. He is therefore going to try to sell the puppies which do not quite conform to his standard for the dogs first.
Before bringing puppy home:
Bringing puppy home:
From a good breeder, with your puppy you should get an inoculation certificate, a diet sheet and a quantity of the food he is used to as well as a bottle of water. Use the food and water to accustom his tummy to the water and food he is going to get from you by mixing the supplied water and food with your water and food, the first day 75% old food and water and 25% new food and water. The next day 50/50 and the third day 25/75. Thereafter he should be used to his new food and water.
Consider that the pup has just left the security of his nest and the company of his mother, brothers and sisters. He may be nervous of his new surroundings, so let him explore on his own and do not hassle him. Even though you may feel that he is never going to get out from beneath the sofa he will eventually. Speak gently to him and let him get used to your voice.
A few basic things that every dog should learn:
If you bought your puppy from a breeder you would have received a diet sheet with the puppy. Follow this diet sheet.
When puppy is fully grown he can go onto your choice of commercial dog food which is available either wet, in cans, or dry. Smaller dogs often prefer canned food as this is easier for them to handle although many dog food manufacturers these days make food especially formulated for small, medium, large and giant dogs.
While most commercial dog foods are sufficient to maintain your dog in good condition it is sometimes nice for them to get something extra. People can survive on water but it is nice to have some wine occasionally. Table scraps added to your dog's food sometimes or some dog meat or mince from your butcher (who may let you have some sawdust from his meat saw) will make their meals more interesting and will not harm them. From time to time you could also add small quantities of a different dry dog food to their normal ration to make things a bit more interesting.
To maintain a dog's correct weight it is a good idea to let him fast one day per week, but always on the same day. Give only water on this day. This will clear the alimentary canal, food will be better metabolized and excreta will be smaller, Should your dog be over or under weight, this diet will ensure that your dog will attain its correct weight. Start this procedure at about 1 year of age by slowly reducing the amount of food on the particular day over a few weeks. He will soon learn that he does not eat on that day.
Your dog should have his own place to sleep. If he is allowed in the house he must have his own little place to settle. If he will be an “outside” dog he must have a proper kennel and a place to sleep. Even dogs that normally sleep in the house must at times spend days in the garden and proper facilities for protection from wind and weather must be provided. See: Dog kennel.
It is illegal to travel with a dog in a car unless he is properly constrained. Small dogs may not sit on the driver’s lap or be draped around the driver’s neck or on the backrest of the driver’s seat. Travelling boxes are available from reputable pet shops and pet supply shops which make it safe and comfortable for your dog to travel. If you have very large dogs there is a car seat cover available that hooks over the headrests of the front seats and the backrest of the backseat forming a comfortable and safe hammock for your dog which will not only protect your seats but also prevent the dog from falling between the front and rear seats and getting stuck there.
When travelling a long distance be sure to stop regularly, and to take food and water with you. Many garages along the highways provide food and water for dogs but if your dog has a delicate tummy the foreign food and specially the water may cause tummy upsets.
Should you be moving to or from Natal and other rabies areas make sure that your dog’s rabies inoculations are up to date and not younger than two months. Take the inoculation certificate with you.
Make sure that the vehicle your dog travels in is well ventilated. Cars can get very hot inside and dogs can easily overheat. Never allow your dog to travel with its head out of an open window. A vacuum created by oncoming traffic could seriously damage its neck muscles or flying debris could be blown into its eyes.
Never travel with the dog loose on the back of an open LDV. It is easy for the dog to jump or fall off the bakkie while it is moving and be seriously hurt or even killed. It could also cause a serious accident. If it is inevitable that the dog has to be transported on a bakkie make sure that it is secured to the vehicle in such a way that it cannot jump over the sides. Never use a check chain (choke chain) to secure a dog to a moving vehicle. Dogs do not have enough sense to move forward when they are scared or excited by something and have come to the full extent of their lead and collar. They will simply keep on pulling to be rid of the constraint and so choke themselves to death. If at all possible let someone sit on the back of the bakkie with the dog.
It may be exciting for people to move to a new place and meet new friends but for your dog it may be a very traumatic experience.
Their new environment can either be very exciting or daunting to them. Moving dogs from a farm to a townhouse or vice versa could create difficulties. Make sure that the new premises you are moving to are “dogproof” so that your dogs do not decide to return to their old home on their own.
Show them around the new premises. Allow them to explore various parts of the garden and house and be with them as much as possible. It may take them several days or sometimes weeks to settle into the new place, so be patient.
When relocating overseas consider:
If you cannot afford or are not allowed to take your dog overseas or, for that matter move it with you locally, you will have to re-home your dog. Most breed clubs have rescue schemes in place and even those who do not will be happy to help you find a new owner for your dog. Failing this, contact the nearest animal welfare agency branch for help.
Under no circumstances reply to advertisements in newspapers along the lines of “free dogs wanted for good homes” or even think about placing an advertisement for a “good home wanted”! A lot of these dogs land up with dog brokers who export the dogs to be used for security in countries like Malawi.
Master, this is Thy Servant. He is rising eight weeks old.
Dogs common in South Africa
American Cocker Spaniel
American Staffordshire Terrier
Australian Cattle Dog
Belgian Shepherd Dog - Groenendael
Belgian Shepherd Dog Laekenoise
Belgian Shepherd Dog Malinois
Belgian Shepherd Dog Tervueren
Bouvier des Flandres
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Collie, rough and smooth
Fox Terrier Smooth
Fox Terrier Wire
German Shepherd Dog
German Short-haired Pointer
Kerry Blue Terrier
King Charles Spaniel
Old English Sheepdog
Pyrenean Mountain Dog
Staffordshire Bull Terrier
West Highland White Terrier
White Swiss Shepherd Dog