If Your Cat Is Licking You, Consider It an Honor- VyWhy

Last updated on 2021-12-18 13:31:03


Cats don't only lick themselves when grooming, licking is also a sign of affection. When your cat licks you it is its way of showing some love.

Many people assume that cats lick them as a sign of love which isn't really that far off. While it's hard to determine if cats feel complex emotions like love, licking is a sign of affection. Cats usually lick themselves in order to groom. Mother cats will lick their kittens as a part of the grooming process as well. However, cats will also lick each other as a sign of affection. Cats actually lick humans for one of several reasons, but most of them come down to displays of affection.

In the same way that you show affection to your cat by petting it, your cat may attempt to return the favor by licking you. Kittens especially will use licking as a way to ease anxiety the way a human might use hugs. If your feline friend loves to lick you, it probably means it would like some affection in return. Which, honestly, is one of the best parts of owning a cat.

Cats use pheromones to mark their territory. While most people know that cats mark property by urinating on things, they can mark their territory in other ways as well. Licking and head rubs are ways for cats to claim you as part of their property—affectionately. When your cat licks or rubs against you, it is reaffirming that you are important to it and they want all the other cats to know. You may notice that sometimes other cats shy away from you, it's possible they smell that you belong to another cat.

Many people joke that cats think they're humans and given the way some cats behave towards their owners, it's easy to see why. A great example is a cat who will leave dead mice or birds on their owner's doorsteps in an attempt to share a tasty treat. Cats have also been known to present their owners with live animals in an attempt to teach its owner to hunt. It's clear that not only do many cats see their owners as part of the family, they also see them as a bit inept at being cats. Female cats especially will exhibit this sort of parenting or nurturing type of behavior.

When cats lick you, it can mean that they are attempting to teach you to groom yourself. It's a memory your cat had from being licked by its own mother and is a real sign of affection. Cats will also lick each other as a way to calm them down. Cats are very attentive to their owner's moods so you might find your cat is more affectionate when you're stressed or sick. Cats are attempting to calm your anxiety the same way you would pet your cat if they seemed nervous.

A thorough cat licking isn't always the most comfortable experience. This is because cat tongues have backward-facing hooks that are meant to pull and clean their fur the way a comb would. Remember, to your cat being licked feels good, it doesn't know it is hurting you. When a cat licks you it's just trying to show some love. 

A Guide to Caring for Iguanas as Pets

Iguanas are one of the most popular pet lizards. They are native to Central and South America. However, iguanas are a major commitment and need a high level of care. They have strict feeding and housing requirements, can grow quite large, live a …

Iguanas are one of the most popular pet lizards. They are native to Central and South America. However, iguanas are a major commitment and need a high level of care. They have strict feeding and housing requirements, can grow quite large, live a long time, and can be very strong. Additionally, they can also be difficult to tame and might become aggressive if not regularly handled.

Common Names: Iguana, green iguana, American iguana

Scientific Name: Iguana iguana

Adult Size: Up to 20 pounds and up to 7 feet long

Life Expectancy: 10 to 12 years in captivity, though up to 20 years is not uncommon

Pet iguanas will never be truly domesticated animals, and many of them will try to escape their enclosures and even your home. Captive iguanas need to be picked up and held routinely for taming purposes, so they can learn to trust you and be comfortable in their environment. However, this can be a challenge because they often find human contact unnatural and might resist it. So it’s important to handle your iguana with care and patience.

Baby iguanas can move quickly, but adult iguanas often become quite lazy and docile, at least when they don’t feel threatened. When out of their cage, some iguanas might prefer to climb on their owners. They do have sharp claws, so wear protective clothing if your pet iguana likes this activity. Additionally, an iguana can cause real harm with its tail. An adult iguana’s tail is strong enough to break a human bone. While this is relatively rare, iguanas are still powerful creatures. So pay attention to any struggling or aggression when handling them, especially if children or other pets are present.

Iguanas can grow up to 7 feet long when their tail is included in the measurement, and they generally weigh around 20 pounds. This size often surprises people who start with a little baby iguana. Therefore, an aquarium or a small reptile enclosure is a very short-lived home for a young iguana.

Most commercially available cages do not meet an iguana’s space needs. Many iguana owners opt for custom-built enclosures complete with many ramps, shelves, and branches that this tree-dwelling species can climb. An adequate enclosure for a single iguana is around 12 feet long, 6 feet wide, and 8 feet tall. Many people even choose to convert an entire room or a large closet to their iguana’s habitat.

To keep your iguana’s enclosure clean, remove uneaten food, feces, shedded skin, and other visible waste every day. Also, clean the food and water dishes daily. Once a week, move your iguana to a temporary cage to clean its main enclosure. Discard the substrate (the bedding that absorbs waste and odors), and scrub all surfaces and decorations, such as rocks, with a pet-safe cleaner. Wait for everything to dry thoroughly before reassembling the enclosure.

The iguana is a tropical animal. It wants to bask at 95 degrees Fahrenheit, and its habitat shouldn't drop below 75 degrees Fahrenheit. In fact, the iguana needs a temperature around 85 degrees Fahrenheit to properly digest its food. This should be closely monitored, especially if you're adjusting the climate of an entire room for its habitat. You can use heat lamps typically positioned less than a foot away from basking ledges (follow the instructions on your particular light) to achieve an optimal temperature.

A large enclosure means a lot of lighting. Use UVB bulbs designed for reptiles to provide your iguana with appropriate light exposure for 10 to 12 hours per day. This mimics the benefits it would get from natural sunlight, namely promoting vitamin D production. Mercury vapor bulbs can be used for large enclosures or rooms, while compact fluorescent lights or tubes can work for small enclosures. Large branches and shelves in the enclosure will allow your tree-dwelling iguana to climb up and bask in these lights.

Iguanas need at least 70% humidity in their environment. You can increase the humidity of your iguana’s habitat by adding a pool of water to the enclosure or using a mister. It’s generally recommended to mist your iguana two times a day to increase humidity and maintain healthy skin.

A wood substrate, or bedding, is typically fine for iguanas. Because they're a tree-dwelling species, they spend most of their time climbing instead of burrowing in their bedding.

These Are the Bedding and Substrate Options for Your Pet Reptiles

Fresh food is the key to a healthy iguana. Iguanas in the wild are strict herbivores. They avoid eating animal protein, including insects. In fact, diets high in protein can cause health issues, such as kidney failure, in an iguana.

In addition to a quality pelleted commercial diet, provide your iguana with dark leafy greens, some fruit, and a calcium supplement. Plus, iguanas need fresh water available at all times. Follow your veterinarian's instructions on the quantity to feed to maintain a healthy weight for your pet's size.

It’s important to remember that iguanas swallow their food whole without chewing, so everything you offer must be chopped or shredded into tiny pieces. Remove and discard any food that hasn’t been eaten within 24 hours.

Like most pet reptiles, iguanas carry salmonella. This means salmonella is present in the iguana’s digestive tract without causing disease to the animal. But humans can acquire it from touching the iguana or items in its environment.

Follow common-sense hygiene practices when handling iguanas. Wash your hands well before and after spending time with your pet, and avoid touching your face. This should prevent the spread of the disease in most cases. However, if there are young children, seniors, pregnant women, or immunocompromised people in your home, take extra precautions. An iguana might not be the right pet for your family.

A common health issue for iguanas is kidney disease, often due to dehydration. If your iguana is lethargic, has swelling on its body, and is frequently drinking or urinating, get it to a vet immediately. Moreover, iguanas often face metabolic bone disease due to insufficient calcium and vitamin D, which is why a calcium supplement and UVB lighting are so important. Also, many iguanas come down with respiratory diseases from habitats that are too cold.

In terms of behavior, most iguanas can become tame with proper daily handling. They prefer a predictable routine, which makes them feel secure. However, they do have a strong self-defense instinct and will bite, scratch, and whip their tails if they feel threatened.

The Spruce / Cassandra Fountaine 

Iguanas are readily available from pet stores, breeders, and rescue groups. In fact, many end up in rescues when their owners realize they can’t meet the species’ care needs. They’re often available to purchase or adopt for around to .

Don't be fooled by a pet store selling you a small iguana and claiming it will stay that size. These animals grow very quickly. Look for an iguana that is active with clear eyes, healthy skin, and normal feces. Red flags include a low body weight, mucus around the animal’s nose or mouth, bumps or sores on its skin, and lethargy.

Finally, check your local laws or consult with an exotic animal veterinarian to confirm the legality of owning a pet iguana in your area. You also should make sure there’s a vet near you who accepts iguanas as patients.

Are You Interested in Reptiles to Be Kept as Pets?

If you’re interested in similar pets, check out:

Otherwise, check out other types of reptiles and amphibians that can be your new pet.

Lhasa Apso: Dog Breed Characteristics & Care

Where to Adopt or Buy a Lhasa Apso . The Lhasa apso is a fairly popular dog breed, so it's worth checking animal shelters and breed-specific rescue groups for a dog in …

The Lhasa apso is a small non-sporting dog breed from Tibet that has a long, silky coat, which is touted for being low-shedding. Some owners trim the coat short in what’s called a “puppy cut” for easier maintenance. The Lhasa apso’s eyes are typically dark and oval, and its tail curls over its back. Overall, these dogs have a well-balanced build. They are hardy little dogs that tend to be smart and confident but also comical. Their history dates back centuries as a guard dog.

GROUP: Non-sporting

HEIGHT: 10 to 11 inches (male), slightly smaller (female)

WEIGHT: 12 to 18 pounds

COAT: Long, silky

COAT COLOR: Black, black and tan, cream, golden, grizzle, red, red gold, or white with/without white markings, black tips, brindle, sable, black mask with tips, or parti-color

LIFE SPAN: 12 to 15 years

TEMPERAMENT: Alert, affectionate, intelligent 



The Lhasa apso typically has an affectionate personality with its family but can be standoffish with strangers. It also has a vigilant watchdog aspect of its temperament and is a moderate barker.

Affection Level High
Friendliness Medium
Kid-Friendly Medium
Pet-Friendly Medium
Exercise Needs Medium
Playfulness Medium
Energy Level Medium
Trainability Medium
Intelligence High
Tendency to Bark Medium
Amount of Shedding Low

The Lhasa apso originated in Tibet around a thousand years ago and evolved for the harsh climate of the Himalayas. Named for the city of Lhasa, the small canines served as indoor watchdogs in temples and palaces. With their highly developed hearing, they would alert monks and others whether anyone got past the outdoor guard dogs—often Tibetan mastiffs and other large breeds. 

Lhasa apsos long have had a connection with the Dalai Lama. And in fact, the Dalai Lama gave a pair of Lhasas to naturalist and world traveler Suydam Cutting in the early 1900s. These dogs helped to establish the breed in the United States. 

The American Kennel Club first recognized the breed in 1935 as part of the terrier group. But it was later moved to the non-sporting group in 1959.

Ernst Haas / Getty Images

Lhasa apsos require a moderate amount of exercise every day, and consistent training and socialization are a must for a well-adjusted dog. Their grooming needs can be fairly high, depending on the length at which you keep their coat.

Plan on around an hour of daily exercise for a Lhasa apso via walks, romping around in a secure area, playtime, dog sports, and other activities. These dogs often will entertain themselves with toys to burn off some mental and physical energy, but they like being active with their humans as well. Puzzle toys are an especially good option to provide them with a mental challenge.

The Lhasa apso’s coat will grow continuously and thus needs regular trims. For easier upkeep, some owners opt for a puppy cut in which the hair is clipped fairly close to the body. But it’s also common to see Lhasa apsos with a long coat parted down the middle that extends almost to the ground. The short coat should be brushed at least weekly. And the long coat must be brushed daily to prevent tangles and mats. 

Plan to bathe your Lhasa apso roughly every other week, especially if you keep the coat long. Dog-safe conditioner or finishing spray can help to remove tangles. Be sure to brush out and dry the coat well after a bath.

Check your dog’s ears at least weekly for wax buildup, debris, and irritation. And look at its nails at least monthly to see whether they’re due for a trim. In addition, aim to brush its teeth every day.

Lhasa apsos are an intelligent breed. But they are only moderately easy to train due to their sometimes stubborn and strong-willed nature. They prefer interesting and varied, rather than repetitive, training sessions. And positive reinforcement methods, as opposed to harsh corrections, are a must. Aim to start training from an early age to prevent bad habits from forming. And always be consistent with your commands. 

Likewise, start socialization from a young age to help quell the breed’s vigilant nature and wariness of strangers. Expose your dog to different people, other dogs, and various locations to boost its comfort level and adaptability. 

RuthBlack​ / Getty Images

Lhasa apsos are generally a healthy breed, but they are prone to some hereditary health issues, including:

The Spruce / Emilie Dunphy

Your dog should always have access to fresh water. And it should eat a high-quality, nutritionally balanced canine diet. A diet that has a sufficient amount of protein and fat is important to maintain the breed’s thick skin and hair. It’s typical to feed two measured meals per day to ensure you’re not overfeeding. But you should always discuss both the type of diet and the quantity with your vet to make sure you’re meeting your dog’s individual needs.

The Lhasa apso is a fairly popular dog breed, so it's worth checking animal shelters and breed-specific rescue groups for a dog in need of a home. If you're looking for a puppy from a reputable breeder, expect to pay around 0 to


,500 on average, though this can vary widely.

For further information to help you find a Lhasa apso, check out:

10 Best Small Dog Breeds for Limited Space

As with any breed, if you think the Lhasa apso is the right dog for you, be sure to do plenty of research before bringing one home. Talk to Lhasa apso owners, reputable breeders, rescue groups, and veterinarians to learn more.

If you're interested in similar breeds, check out:

There’s a whole world of potential dog breeds out there—with a little research, you can find the right one to bring home!


  • Are Lhasa apsos good family dogs?

    The Lhasa apso can do well in a household with older, respectful children. The breed overall has a moderate tolerance for kids but doesn't tend to put up with mishandling.

  • Are Lhasa apsos aggressive?

    With proper training and socialization, Lhasa apsos do not tend to be aggressive. But they will still likely be watchful for perceived threats and bark when they feel it’s necessary.

  • Are Lhasa apsos good apartment dogs?

    Lhasa apsos can be excellent apartment dogs. They don't need much space to exercise and play thanks to their small size. And they don't tend to bark excessively.

Bull Terrier: Dog Breed Characteristics & Care

The American Kennel Club first recognized the breed in 1885. And there have been several notable bull terriers throughout history. President Theodore Roosevelt owned a bull terrier. And bull terriers have helped to market both Bud Light beer (Spuds MacKenzie) and Target (Bullseye).

The bull terrier is a medium-large terrier dog breed from England that has a short, smooth coat and a unique “egg-shaped” head. Its ears are small and pointed, and its eyes also are small with a triangular shape. Overall, these dogs have a solid, muscular build. They tend to be quite entertaining and energetic companions—goofy and stubborn, at times. They’re often called a “kid in a dog suit.”

GROUP: Terrier

HEIGHT: 21 to 22 inches

WEIGHT: 50 to 70 pounds

COAT: Short, smooth

COAT COLOR: Nearly any color, including white, red, fawn, black, blue, or brindle

LIFE SPAN: 12 to 13 years

TEMPERAMENT: Affectionate, lively, friendly


ORIGIN: England

The bull terrier generally has a friendly and comical personality. It tends to get along with people well but doesn’t always like other dogs. A high energy level and love of playtime also shape the bull terrier’s temperament.

Affection Level High
Friendliness High
Kid-Friendly Medium
Pet-Friendly Low
Exercise Needs High
Playfulness High
Energy Level High
Trainability Medium
Intelligence Medium
Tendency to Bark Medium
Amount of Shedding Medium

Inhumane bloodsports involving animals became popular in Britain around the 13th century. In particular, a sport known as bull-baiting involved a bulldog fighting a tethered bull as people bet on the results. 

Britain banned such bloodsports in the 1800s. But some people took them underground instead. Rather than bull-baiting, which was too conspicuous, they focused on dogfighting. And they wanted more fiery and nimble dogs, so they crossed their bulldogs with various terriers. Several breeds arose from this, including the bull terrier. 

As dogfighting diminished toward the mid-1800s, breeders worked to refine the bull terrier to make it more of a companion dog. They bred for a sweeter temperament and less rugged appearance. It would still take several more decades before the dog acquired its trademark curved head. 

The American Kennel Club first recognized the breed in 1885. And there have been several notable bull terriers throughout history. President Theodore Roosevelt owned a bull terrier. And bull terriers have helped to market both Bud Light beer (Spuds MacKenzie) and Target (Bullseye). 

General Patton's dog, Willie

CORBIS / Getty Images 

Pete, the famous bull terrier from "Our Gang" Bettmann / Getty Images 

Bull terriers should get a fair amount of exercise each day, and they require minimal grooming. It's also important to provide training and socialization starting at a young age.

Provide at least one to two hours of exercise per day for your bull terrier to help burn its high levels of mental and physical energy. Multiple walks per day are ideal, along with jogs, hikes, games of fetch, and other play. Puzzle toys can help to challenge your dog mentally as well. Plus, dog sports, such as agility and tracking, can provide both mental and physical stimulation. 

Always keep your bull terrier on a leash or in a securely fenced area when outside, as not all bull terriers will be friendly if they encounter a strange dog. Likewise, the bull terrier's short coat doesn't offer much protection in cold weather. So limit outdoor exercise sessions in the cold, and consider providing your dog with a coat or sweater.

The extremely short, smooth coat of the bull terrier requires little maintenance. Only basic grooming is necessary. Plan to brush weekly with a soft-bristle brush or grooming mitt to remove loose fur and distribute skin oils. Your dog might have higher periods of shedding, often in the spring and fall, during which you’ll have to brush more frequently to keep up with the loose fur. 

Give your dog a bath every month or so, depending on how dirty it gets. And check its nails monthly as well to see whether they need a trim. Also, look in its ears at least every week for wax buildup, debris, and irritation. And aim to brush its teeth every day.

Proper obedience training and socialization are essential to manage your bull terrier. And it’s important to start them young to prevent bad habits from forming. Bull terriers can be stubborn when it comes to training. Always use positive reinforcement methods. They tend to respond best when training sessions feel like a game rather than work. 

Moreover, aim to socialize your dog with different people and other dogs from a young age to boost its comfort and confidence. Positive experiences can go a long way to ensuring that your bull terrier is well-mannered. But some bull terriers have a difficult time being comfortable around other dogs, especially unfamiliar dogs, largely due to the breed's fighting history. And consequently there is the potential for aggression.

KSnumber1​ / Getty Images  
Michelle Kelley Photography / Getty Images  
tbradford / Getty Images

Bull terriers live generally healthy lives, but they are prone to some hereditary health issues, including: 

Make sure fresh water is always available to your dog. And feed a quality, nutritionally balanced canine diet. In particular, it’s important for bull terriers to receive adequate calcium to support their bone development, especially when they are puppies. It’s common to feed two measured meals per day to prevent overfeeding. But you should always run both the type of diet and the amount by your vet to make sure you’re meeting your dog’s individual needs. 

Bull terriers are a fairly popular dog breed. So be sure to check local animal shelters and rescue groups for a dog in need of a home if you’re looking to acquire a bull terrier. If you want a puppy from a reputable breeder, expect to pay around 0 to ,500, though this can vary widely.

For further information to help you find a bull terrier, check out:

10 Best Energetic Dog Breeds for Active People

Before bringing home a bull terrier, do plenty of research to ensure that the breed is right for your lifestyle. Talk to bull terrier owners, rescue groups, reputable breeders, and veterinarians to learn more.

If you’re interested in similar breeds, check out:

There’s a whole world of potential dog breeds out there—with a little research, you can find the right one to bring home!


  • What were bull terriers bred for?

    Bull terriers can trace their origin back to the 1800s when inhumane dogfighting was popular in Britain. People wanted a powerful dog with a spirited temperament, and crosses between bulldogs and terriers eventually resulted in the bull terrier.

  • Are bull terriers good family dogs?

    With proper training and socialization, bull terriers can be good for families with older children. They are generally playful and affectionate with their family. But they might be too energetic around young kids.

  • Are bull terriers aggressive?

    Bull terriers are typically friendly with people, as long as they have proper training and socialization. But many bull terriers don't tend to like other dogs, especially unfamiliar dogs, which can lead to aggression.

Tosa (Tosa Inu): Dog Breed Characteristics & Care

The Tosa dog, commonly referred to as the Tosa Inu, Tosa Ken, or Japanese Mastiff, is a large mastiff-type breed with short fur that was developed in Japan for dog fighting. Today, the activity is still legal in Japan, and the breed continues to be used for this purpose.

The Tosa dog, commonly referred to as the Tosa Inu, Tosa Ken, or Japanese Mastiff, is a large mastiff-type breed with short fur that was developed in Japan for dog fighting. Today, the activity is still legal in Japan, and the breed continues to be used for this purpose. In most other parts of the world, where dog fighting is banned, the Tosa is a watchdog, guard dog, and companion. 

Tosas can be quietly affectionate with their human families, but they are usually aloof with strangers. Tosas require extensive socialization to help them become accepting of welcome visitors. Due to their history of dog fighting, Tosas can also be aggressive toward other dogs, especially those they don't know. This breed is best suited for experienced owners who are prepared to commit the time and training that Tosas need to live happy, healthy lives.

Group: Molossoid breeds, Mastiff type (FCI) 

Height: 21.5 to 23.5 inches

Weight: 100 to 200 pounds       

Coat: Short, hard, and dense

Coat Color: Red, fawn, apricot, black, or brindle

Life Span: 10 to 12 years

Temperament: Intelligent, courageous, alert, fearless, protective, calm

Hypoallergenic: No

Origin: Japan

Though Tosa Inus are massive, powerful dogs, their temperament is also calm, quiet, and obedient. They are innately watchful and will alert their owners to anything deemed threatening or out of the ordinary. Although a Tosa might react aggressively toward a trespasser or a person threatening their home or family, they are not aggressive toward non-threatening humans. Tosas have gentle and tolerant personalities with children in the family who are taught to interact with the dog respectfully.

If raised together and socialized properly, Tosas might be able to live peacefully with other dogs that are members of the family. Keeping a pair of dogs of the opposite sex (one male and one female) is typically recommended, as they might be more likely to get along. Keeping Tosas with cats or other small pets is generally not advised.

Affection Level Medium
Friendliness Low
Kid-Friendly Medium
Pet-Friendly Low
Exercise Needs Medium
Playfulness Low
Energy Level Medium
Trainability Medium
Intelligence Medium
Tendency to Bark Low
Amount of Shedding Low

Dog fighting as a sport has a long history in Japan. The Tosa was purposefully created to be a larger, stronger, more skilled fighting dog than other breeds. Around the mid-19th century, Europeans introduced some of their prized fighting dogs to Japan. When Japanese dog fanciers saw the dogs' prowess, they began introducing them into lines of fighting dogs in Japan. The breeds used to create the Tosa include another Japanese breed, the Shikoku, as well as Western breeds that had been newly introduced to Japan, including bulldogs, Mastiffs, German pointers, Great Danes, and possibly other breeds. 

The Tosa is not fully recognized by the American Kennel Club. However, it’s part of the AKC’s Foundation Stock Service, which is a stepping stone toward eventual full registration. In North America, the Tosa is recognized by the United Kennel Club. Internationally, the breed is recognized and classified as a molossoid breed by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI). 

acceptfoto/Getty Images

When it comes to exercise and grooming, the Tosa Inu dog is relatively low-maintenance. Training must be consistent, especially in puppyhood, and used in combination with socialization to help your dog acclimate to life at home and in public.

The Tosa is rather athletic for a giant breed. However, exercise requirements fall in the moderate range. The Tosa needs daily exercise and mental stimulation in the form of long walks, hikes, or chasing after a toy or ball in your safely enclosed yard. Due to the breed's tendency toward dog aggression, you should always keep your Tosa secure on a leash when out of the home. 

The Tosa’s coat is simple to care for. Its short, straight, dense fur lies tight to the body and needs no trimming, and it only sheds moderately. Brushing a few times a week can keep this under control. Trim your dog's nails every two weeks and check inside the ears periodically. If they appear dirty, clean them with a pet-safe ear cleaner and cotton balls or gauze squares. If you see redness or inflammation, have your dog examined by a veterinarian.

Although the Tosa is intelligent and wants to please its owner, the breed is self-assured and can be willful. Use firm-but-fair training methods, including positive-reinforcement training and consistently enforcing the rules. Early, frequent socialization in puppyhood is absolutely vital to reduce overprotectiveness. If your dog begins showing signs of aggression early on, seek an expert with experience in behavioral training. Ignoring these signs in puppies can lead to problems later in your dog's life; considering its large size, this can be especially dangerous when combined with aggression.

acceptfoto/Getty Images

Like all purebred dogs, the Tosa may be prone to developing certain genetically linked health conditions. Responsible breeders test their adult Tosas before breeding them to ensure they don’t pass on undesirable health conditions. Below, find common problems that this breed may experience:

  • Elbow and Hip Dysplasia: These conditions are caused by malformations in your dog's joints as it grows. Common in large breeds, dysplasia can require surgery in severe cases to help your dog live comfortably.
  • Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV or Bloat): Like many large, deep-chested breeds, the Tosa may be at higher risk of developing gastric dilatation-volvulus (often called bloat), a life-threatening condition where the stomach fills with air and twists on itself. Veterinarians often recommend bloat prevention through surgery, called prophylactic gastropexy, which tacks the stomach down to keep it from twisting.
  • Allergies: Most dog breeds can experience allergies at some point in their lives. If your Tosa has problems with itching, rashes, or consistent sneezing and coughing, consult your veterinarian to begin appropriate treatment.

Weighing between 100 and 200 pounds, Tosas are massive dogs. They eat a large volume of food, but it’s important to monitor their portions. This is especially important in puppyhood. Giant breeds need slow and steady growth to prevent joint disorders like hip and elbow dysplasia.

Another important factor in the diets of giant-breed dogs is the timing of their meals. Your veterinarian might recommend feeding smaller portions of high-quality dog food several times throughout the day to prevent conditions like bloat, along with avoiding meals before or after exercise.

Excess weight, including canine obesity, can also lead to the development of other health conditions like diabetes. Ask your veterinarian to provide a suitable feeding schedule for your specific dog that considers their age, weight, and activity level.

Before embarking on Tosa ownership, check your country’s laws. Due to its history of dog fighting, owning a Tosa is banned outright or legally restricted in certain countries, including Australia, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Norway, Denmark, and more. Some states, cities, local governments, landlords, and insurance companies also exclude the Tosa. In Japan, the breed is used for dog fighting, but in other parts of the world, the Tosa is bred to be a show dog and companion.

This breed is rare, so finding a Tosa at a shelter or even through breeders can be a challenge. Large-breed rescues and local shelters are a great place to start your search. The price of puppies can range from


,500 to ,000, depending on their pedigree and your region. Be prepared to join a waiting list for a puppy.

The American Kennel Club maintains a list of breeders for all breeds, including those like the Tosa that are not yet fully recognized but are part of the AKC’s Foundation Stock Service. The following are resources for adopting a Tosa through responsible breeders and large-breed rescues:

If you like the Tosa, check out these similar breeds: 

Otherwise, check out other dog breeds to help you find the perfect dog for you and your family. With a little research, you can find your new best friend!


  • Are Tosa Inu Dogs Good Family Dogs?

    Tosas are gentle and calm with the members of their household, and with the right training, they can be suitable family pets. This breed is also known for aggression and must be socialized extensively throughout its life, so it's best suited for experienced owners.

  • Is a Tosa Inu a Mastiff?

    The Tosa Inu closely resembles the mastiff, but it is another breed entirely. Tosas originated in Japan and were created by breeding dogs like mastiffs, Great Danes, bulldogs, and more with other Japanese dogs.

  • How Long Do Tosa Inu Dogs Live?

    Tosa dogs typically live between 10 and 12 years, but in order to raise a healthy dog, it's important to start with a credible breeder. Like all purebreds, the Tosa Inu is prone to certain health problems that may affect its lifespan.

  • Are Tosa Inu Dogs Rare?

    Because of their history of being bred for dog fighting, Tosa Inus are a rare dog breed in many areas. This dog is banned in several countries, but in areas where it is legal to own as a pet, it's best to find Tosas through large-breed rescues and responsible breeders.

English Springer Spaniel: Dog Breed Characteristics & Care

The English springer spaniel is a sturdy and handsome medium-sized sporting dog breed from England with a medium-length coat in a variety of colors. Known for its big and …

The English springer spaniel is a sturdy and handsome medium-sized sporting dog breed from England with a medium-length coat in a variety of colors. Known for its big and expressive saucer eyes, long floppy ears, and feathered features, this spaniel is loving and eager to please. The English springer spaniel's sweet face and personality are cherished by many happy owners.

GROUP: Sporting

HEIGHT: 19 to 20 inches

WEIGHT: 40 to 50 pounds

COAT: Medium-length flat or wavy, glossy topcoat, and a short, profuse, and soft undercoat; ears, legs, and chest often have longer feathering

COAT COLOR: Black or liver with white markings, or the opposite; blue or liver roan are also common; tricolor which includes black, white, and liver or tan markings can sometimes occur

LIFESPAN: 12 to 14 years

TEMPERAMENT: Cheerful, attentive, intelligent, affectionate, alert, active


ORIGIN: England

If you have lots of energy and are looking for a fun and active family member, then the English springer spaniel could fit in well. English springer spaniels are often a popular choice for families with children or other dogs. They're very affectionate and are often referred to as "Velcro dogs" because they always want to be close to their human companions.

Affection Level High
Friendliness High
Kid-Friendly  High
Pet-Friendly  High
Exercise Needs  High
Playfulness  High
Energy Level  High
Trainability High
Intelligence  High
Tendency to Bark  Medium
Amount of Shedding Medium

Dogs similar to the English springer spaniel (ESS) are seen in artwork as far back as the 16th century, but it wasn't until the early 19th century that their specific history can be identified.

Cocker spaniels, and Welsh and English springer spaniels, are all closely related, and in the early days of their history in Britain, they would be born from the same litter and then separated by size and color.

Originally the cocker spaniels were used for hunting woodcock. The larger springers would be used to jump up, or "spring," to flush the gamebirds up into the air for the hunters to then catch with nets and, later, guns.

The first definitive strain of pure English springer spaniels can be traced back to 1812. A wealthy family, called the Bougheys of Shropshire, bred from a spaniel called Mop I, and they continued to be passionate about the breed well into the 1900s.

The English springer spaniel gained recognition from the Kennel Club in the U.K. in 1902, and in 1913 the first ESS were imported to North America.

In 1927 the English Springer Spaniel Field Trial Association (ESSFTA) was established as the parent club for the breed and, from there, their popularity grew quickly.

There are two types of English springer spaniel, although they aren't recognized as separate breeds. The Bench or Show ESS focuses on conformation, and they tend to be slightly larger with a heavier coat and a calmer personality. The working, field-type ESS is smaller, faster, and more athletic, and tends to be busier than their larger relatives.

In 2018, the English springer spaniel was ranked as the 27th most popular breed by the American Kennel Club. Their fun-loving and affectionate personalities have won the hearts of many dog lovers, including Oprah Winfrey, Grace Kelly, and former President George W. Bush.

Because of their intelligence, sensitive nose, and desire to work, they're also often used as scent work dogs for the police and for search and rescue missions.

If you lead a quiet and sedentary lifestyle, then the English springer spaniel wouldn't be the best choice of canine companion. If you're looking for a clever dog that loves to be in the company of humans and other dogs and has bundles of energy to join you on long hikes and adventures, then the English springer spaniel could be a perfect match. They are best suited to a household where someone will be around most of the day, though, as they can be prone to separation anxiety.

A quick leash walk around the block before you head to work isn't enough for this dog, and it could lead to behavioral problems as a result of boredom. An English springer spaniel needs a minimum of 60 minutes a day of spirited exercise.

If you enjoy hiking, running, or cycling, then your ESS will be thrilled to accompany you. They're enthusiastic canicross competitors and often excel in agility, flyball, scent work trials, and other competitive dog sports.

Your spaniel will also appreciate swimming as a form of exercise. It's considered a water-loving dog with a water-repelling coat and webbed feet just made for doggy paddling. But if you're out for a walk, avoid puddles because your ESS will head right towards them for some splash time.

An English springer spaniel won't have extremely intensive grooming requirements. The Bench or Show types may require extra brushing as their coat tends to be heavier.

They're moderate shedders, and a good weekly brush will help to keep loose hairs at bay and the coat in healthy condition. They can get mats around their ears and on their feathering more easily, and you should always pay extra attention to these areas when brushing. These dogs can get by with a bath once every two or three months unless they've been playing in muddy puddles.

Because of their pendulous ears, you should check these regularly to make sure they remain clean, and this is especially true if they enjoy swimming. Dirt and water can get trapped more easily in their low-hanging ears, and this can lead to ear infections if they aren't kept clean and dry.

In addition, check its nails monthly to see whether they need a trim. Aim to brush its teeth daily.

English springer spaniels are smart and pick up on commands quickly. They love to be busy, have a job to do, and are extremely eager to please. This means they respond very well to reward-based training methods.

Clear direction and patience may be needed sometimes, as their enthusiasm can mean they try to take things a little fast and get overexcited. You may have to work on mastering things like jumping up, excitement barking, leash manners (especially around other dogs), and even toilet training, as they can be prone to piddling if they are in a frenzy.

Their hunting background means they may want to chase small furries and care would need to be taken if you have small pets in the same household. You'll likely have to work on getting a rock-solid recall, too.

Nick Ridley / Getty Images
Sjur Martin Kleppan / Getty Images
Dageldog / Getty Images

English springer spaniels are generally considered a healthy and robust breed. Like all breeds, though, they can be prone to certain genetic health conditions.

You can minimize the chances of your puppy developing these conditions by securing them from a reputable breeder that performs appropriate health checks on prospective parents. Some of the conditions it's worth being aware of include:

Hip Dysplasia: This is common in many breeds. A good breeder will perform hip score testing on parents. It involves the abnormal formation of one or both hip joints, and this degenerative condition can lead to mobility issues and pain. Depending on the severity of the case, surgery may be required to improve your dog's quality of life.

Eye Problems: The ESS can be prone to developing certain eye conditions, including Retinal Dysplasia, Entropion, and the more serious, Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA).

Phosphofructokinase (PFK) Deficiency: This is a relatively rare condition and one that is a recessive trait only developed if both parents have it. It can also be tested for by responsible breeders. This relates to a lack of an enzyme that is used to convert glucose into useable energy. It can result in dogs becoming weak and lethargic, and they may suffer from symptoms like muscle cramps and anemia.

As with any dog, you should feed your English springer spaniel a high-quality and properly portion-controlled diet. With particularly active dogs, you may find they need a diet specifically formulated for working or high-energy breeds. This will ensure they're getting enough nutrients and proteins to help them retain a healthy body weight.

If you plan to get an English springer spaniel puppy, the importance of finding a reputable breeder can't be overstated. This will help to ensure that you have a healthy puppy that has received vital early socialization. Expect to pay a quality breeder between


,200 and

,500 for a puppy.

Researching the breeder also means you won't be inadvertently supporting the cruel, unethical, and booming business of puppy farming. Popular breeds like the ESS are particularly prevalent in puppy mills. You can also open up your home to a dog in need and consider adoption. Begin your search for an ESS here:

If you love spaniels but want to consider other types alongside the English springer, you could also consider the following:

There are lots of wonderful dog breeds out there. By doing your research, you'll find one that will be best suited to having a forever home with you.


  • Is an English springer spaniel a good dog for young kids?

    Their natural excitement can mean they could be a bit boisterous for very young children, and you may need to work on encouraging your spaniel to keep all four paws on the floor, and even use management techniques like baby gates when you can't be there to supervise.

  • Is an English springer spaniel a good first dog?

    It's one of the best dogs for first-time dog owners. However, it will follow you everywhere. But if you can handle the devotion, you will love this pup for its gentle, fun, and energetic personality that's also easy to train. This breed also loves snuggling, a plus for new dog owners.

  • Are English springer spaniels aggressive?

    This breed is considered to be one of the least aggressive dogs. Since it was bred to be more of a retrieval breed, it is therefore not considered an aggressive breed.

Fila Brasileiro (Brazilian Mastiff): Characteristics & Care

Courageous, determined, and self-assured, the Fila Brasileiro is docile and devoted when it comes to their human family, including children. It's important for owners to teach their kids how to respectfully interact with this breed. A Fila wants to be right where you are, and the dog will seek you out if it loses track of you. Naturally al…

The Fila Brasileiro (Brazilian Mastiff) is a rare, giant guard dog breed from Brazil with a muscular stature, distinctive thick and loose skin, powerful jaws, and an unusual topline profile along its back. These colossal dogs were developed on farms in Brazil where they were utilized as guard dogs, cattle herders, and to track, chase, catch, and hold large animals like jaguars until the hunter arrived.

Most dog breeds have flat, level toplines. Some breeds like Afghan Hounds and Whippets have arched toplines. In contrast, the Fila Brasileiro’s croup, also called the rump or buttocks, is higher than its withers at the top of the shoulders.

These skilled protectors are not the breed for everyone. The best situation for a Fila is rural living on a substantial property. A Fila will not be happy with city life or even in the suburbs. If you enjoy an active social life and like to invite people over to your home frequently, the Fila is not the breed for you. But with the right owner, the Fila Brasileiro is nearly unmatched for its loyalty and devotion to its human family. In fact, the breed even sparked a saying in Brazil: “Faithful as a Fila.” 

Group: Molossoid breeds, Mastiff type (FCI)

Height: 26 to 30 inches (males); 24 to 28 inches (females)

Weight: 140 to 180 pounds (males); 130 to 160 pounds (females)

Coat: Short, smooth, dense fur

Coat Color: Brindle, fawn, and black; with or without black markings on the face

Life Span: 9 to 11 years

Temperament: Reserved, protective, fearless, active, alert

Hypoallergenic: No

Origin: Brazil

Courageous, determined, and self-assured, the Fila Brasileiro is docile and devoted when it comes to their human family, including children. It's important for owners to teach their kids how to respectfully interact with this breed. A Fila wants to be right where you are, and the dog will seek you out if it loses track of you.

Naturally aloof with strangers, this dog has an extremely protective temperament when it comes to its people and property. Filas have a high prey drive and cannot be trusted with cats and small dogs. They may be able to coexist peacefully with other family dogs if brought up together, but bringing a new dog into the mix once a Fila has been established in the family is not advised.

Affection Level Medium
Friendliness Low
Kid-Friendly Medium
Pet-Friendly Low
Exercise Needs High
Playfulness Medium
Energy Level Medium
Trainability Medium
Intelligence Medium
Tendency to Bark Low
Amount of Shedding Medium

The origin of the Fila Brasileiro is not entirely clear. One theory suggests that breeds in the Fila’s background may include the Mastiff, the Bloodhound, and a type of bulldog that existed in the 1400s. This bulldog breed was much larger and more aggressive than today’s short, docile version.

We do know that the Fila Brasileiro was developed centuries ago in Brazil. The breed's discerning protectiveness made it a prized protector and property guardian. Its strength and bravery allowed it to herd, track, and capture large prey like jaguars. In Portuguese, the word “filar” means “to seize,” and that's exactly what these dogs would do—grip the animal by the neck and pin it down, holding it until the hunter could catch up. 

The Fila Brasileiro is not recognized by any major kennel clubs in North America (the American Kennel Club, Canadian Kennel Club, and the United Kennel Club). It is recognized in Brazil by the Confederação Brasileira de Cinofilia (CBKC), in Puerto Rico by the Federacion Canofila de Puerto Rico (FCPR), and internationally by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI). 

The Fila Brasileiro is a determined hunter of unsurpassed strength and bravery. Getty Images 
According to the Fila breed standard, "one of the most important breed characteristics is the thick, loose skin over the whole body." Getty Images 

Along with its massive size, the Fila Brasileiro comes with some hefty care requirements to stay happy and well-behaved. These dogs need plenty of physical activity and training, but in the grooming department, their short coats are relatively low-maintenance.

The Fila Brasileiro is a giant dog with considerable exercise needs. These athletic, strong canines do best when given at least an hour of activity each day. Filas are energetic, needing both physical exercise and mental stimulation to be content. They are excellent working and farm dogs, and they thrive when they have a job to do. Since they shouldn't be allowed near animals they aren't familiar with, it's best to take this breed for long runs and walks in rural areas. Filas also enjoy chasing toys, using puzzle toys that reward them with treats, and playing games with their owners that challenge their minds.

The Fila Brasileiro has a short, smooth, and low-maintenance coat. This breed sheds moderately year-round, but owners can manage shedding by keeping up with regular brushings a few times each week to remove loose fur. Bathe Filas as needed when their coats become dirty from spending time outside.

Like other breeds, owners should also regularly brush this breed's teeth, trim its nails, and check its ears for any buildup of debris. Clean the ears with ear cleaner specifically made for dogs to prevent infections.

The Fila is powerful and strong-willed, and it needs a handler who can lead with authority and consistency. Although Fila Brasileiros are extremely intelligent and capable of learning complex tasks, they can be headstrong and tricky to train. Basic obedience lessons should begin early when puppies are about eight weeks old.

Proper training methods must be used. There is no forcing a Fila to do anything. Positive, reward-based training can work well, but keep sessions short and avoid too much repetition to prevent losing your Fila’s interest.

Due to the breed's pronounced wariness of strangers, early and intensive socialization is paramount to avoid raising a dog that won’t accept strangers. Even with consistent socialization starting in puppyhood, the Fila will rarely be content to sit back and relax with strangers coming and going. This breed requires an owner with experience handling guardian breeds who can be a firm but fair leader. In the right hands, however, the Fila is exceptionally devoted and a brave protector. 

Small Fila Brasileiro puppies quickly grow into large, powerful adults. Getty Images 
This fawn Fila Brasileiro shows how the loose skin forms jowls beneath the throat. Getty Images 
Filas come in three colors: fawn, brindle (tiger striped) and black. Getty Images 

Like most purebred dogs, the Fila Brasileiro is prone to some genetically inherited health issues. Reputable breeders will test their adult dogs prior to breeding to prevent passing problems down to puppies. Ask your breeder to provide the litter's medical history along with any available test results for genetic conditions.

Common conditions associated with this breed include:

  • Elbow and Hip Dysplasia: Dysplasia is caused by a malformation in your dog's joints as they age. Common in large breeds, this condition may require surgery in severe cases to help your dog live comfortably.
  • Entropion: This condition is characterized by eyelids that roll inward, rubbing against the eye. Treatment is necessary to prevent damage to the eye's surface.
  • Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV or Bloat): Like other large, deep-chested dogs, the Fila is prone to experiencing Bloat. This serious condition can be fatal, and it's caused by a buildup of gases in the stomach that results in it twisting. Your veterinarian may recommend preventative surgery to tack the stomach down.

Filas can weigh more than 100 pounds, so they eat a large volume of food. The more active your Fila is, the more it will need to eat. However, it’s important to avoid overfeeding. Excess weight puts a strain on the body and joints, contributing to health problems like hip and elbow dysplasia, as well as other issues like diabetes.

Feed measured meals to avoid weight gain. Since this breed is prone to Bloat, it's important to feed smaller portions several times per day (at least twice) to prevent your dog from eating too much too quickly. Ask your veterinarian to help you determine a healthy diet plan based on your specific dog's age, weight, and activity level.

Finding a Fila Brasileiro in the United States may prove difficult, as it is an extremely rare dog breed that's not recognized by any major North American kennel clubs. To adopt a similar dog in need of a forever home, reach out to your local shelter and meet breeds like the Fila that can join your family.

Those who are driven to pursue ownership of a Fila might look to breeders in countries other than the United States and Canada. Puppies typically cost between


,000 and ,000 from breeders. Regardless, keep in mind that the Fila Brasileiro is not a good breed choice for the vast majority of dog owners. Breed-specific rescues for other giant guardian breeds like Mastiffs may be able to provide you with information on adopting dogs like the Fila in your region:

If you like the Fila Brasileiro, you might also like these breeds: 

There are plenty of different dog breeds out there, along with similar dogs to the Fila Brasileiro that are better suited for life with most families. With a little research, you can find your perfect match!


  • Is the Fila Brasileiro a Good Family Dog?

    The Fila Brasileiro is very protective of its family, but this dog is not recommended for most owners. It is prone to becoming aggressive with people and other animals without extensive, consistent, and ongoing training and socialization throughout its life.

  • Where Are Fila Brasileiro Banned?

    Outside its home country of Brazil, many countries consider the Fila Brasileiro dangerous, and owning or breeding these dogs is banned. Some of these countries include the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Turkey, Norway, Malta, and parts of Australia.

  • Do Fila Brasileiro Dogs Shed?

    Thanks to their short, smooth coats, Fila Brasileiro dogs only shed moderately and do not require much grooming other than routine baths and standard care for the nails, teeth, and ears.

Doberman Pinscher (Dobie): Dog Breed Characteristics & Care

The Doberman pinscher is a medium-large, deep-chested dog breed with a sleek and sturdy appearance. Dobermans (also called "Dobes" or "Dobies") are fearless, loyal, and highly intelligent. These traits make them ideal police, war, and guard dogs, but they are also outstanding companions. Well-trained Dobermans often do very great with children ...

The Doberman pinscher is a medium-large, deep-chested dog breed with a sleek and sturdy appearance. Dobermans (also called "Dobes" or "Dobies") are fearless, loyal, and highly intelligent. These traits make them ideal police, war, and guard dogs, but they are also outstanding companions.

Well-trained Dobermans often do very great with children and in various social situations, and they can make great therapy dogs. The breed's temperament is generally known to be docile yet protective. The Doberman, which was first bred in Germany, has earned a reputation as a fierce guard dog (which it can certainly be). However, the breed is usually quite gentle and not aggressive by nature.

GROUP: Working

HEIGHT: 24 to 28 inches

WEIGHT: 65 to 100 pounds

COAT: Short and smooth

COAT COLOR: Black, red, blue, or fawn with rust markings (sometimes small patches of white are seen)

LIFE SPAN: 10 to 12 years

TEMPERAMENT: Intelligent, loyal, alert, energetic, attentive


ORIGIN: Germany

While they may have an intimidating appearance, Doberman Pinschers are a loveable, intelligent breed that is well-suited to a variety of different living situations. Dobermans are active and hardworking, and their reputation as guard dogs make them a great choice for families or owners who reside on large plots of land.

Affection Level High
Friendliness Medium
Kid-Friendly Medium
Pet-Friendly Low
Exercise Needs Medium
Playfulness Medium
Energy Level High
Trainability High
Intelligence Medium
Tendency to Bark Low
Amount of Shedding Medium

The Doberman pinscher emerged as a breed in Germany around the turn of the 20th century. Karl Friedrich Louis Dobermann, for whom the breed was named, developed the breed out of the desire for a medium-sized companion and guard dog. In addition to being a tax collector, Dobermann operated the local dog pound and had access to a variety of dogs to use in his breeding program. It is believed that the Doberman originates from breeds such as the Rottweiler, black and tan terrier, German pinscher, and possibly the Greyhound.

The Doberman pinscher has been treasured for its great intelligence, loyalty, and athletic abilities. Over the years, the breed has diligently worked as a war dog and police dog but has also remained a faithful companion to many.

The breed is muscular and athletic, possessing great strength and endurance—so much so that it historically served as the Marine Corps' official dog during World War II. Twenty-five Dobermans who died fighting with troops on Guam are honored on the World War II War Dog Memorial at the National War Dog Cemetery at Naval Base Guam.

Dobermans have traditionally had their tails docked (removed) soon after birth and later, their ears cropped (trimmed surgically in order to make them stand erect). Much controversy has surrounded the practice of ear cropping and tail docking in dogs, including the Doberman. Some countries have actually outlawed these practices, but while they are still permitted in the U.S., many people elect to keep the ears natural on their Dobermans.

Private 'Jan', an enlisted Doberman, being trained at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune during World War Two, North Carolina, circa 1941-1945.  Archive Photos / Getty Images

Though many people think of Dobermans as serious dogs, they can actually be a bit goofy and rambunctious at times, especially as puppies. They will do well with children and enjoy playing together as long as the child is old enough to treat the dog with consideration. Still, they are also easily trained and have the drive to learn alongside their owner.

Most Dobermans have a fairly high energy level and require plenty of exercise in order to stay healthy. Because of their natural athleticism, a few brisk walks or runs every day will help keep a Doberman in tip-top shape. Your yard should be securely fenced, so your Doberman has room to roam and play; however, this breed can get chilled in cold weather, so don't leave him outside all the time. Your dog will want to be part of your family life rather than alone outside.

The Doberman has a short, smooth hair coat that requires very little grooming. You can brush it once a week or give his coat a rub with a wet towel. You don't need to bathe the dog often, just when it gets dirty or develops an odor. If ears are kept natural (not cropped), then extra attention should be placed upon keeping the ears clean. Trim the dog's nails monthly to prevent them from splitting or tearing and brush the teeth at least a couple of times a week to help prevent gum disease and other dental problems.

The Doberman is very smart and learns quite easily. Proper training is absolutely essential for this breed to ensure good behavior. Socialization is equally important so the dog isn't overly fearful or aggressive. It is best to keep the dog on a leash when you go for a walk — Dobies can be aggressive towards other dogs that are not part of their family, and defensive if they think you are under threat. They may not be welcome at a dog park if they exhibit this behavior. As well, many people fear this breed and will be more comfortable around if the dog is on a leash.

JamesBrey​ / Getty Images  

Responsible breeders strive to maintain the highest breed standards as established by kennel clubs like the AKC. Dogs bred by these standards are less likely to inherit health conditions. However, some hereditary health problems can occur in Dobermans. The following are some conditions to be aware of:

  • Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM): A disease that causes the heart muscle to enlarge and not function properly.
  • Von Willebrand's disease: A deficiency of a particular protein that helps blood cells, known as platelets, clot properly.
  • Caudal cervical spondylomyelopathy (also called wobbler syndrome and cervical vertebral instability): A neurological disease that affects the dog's spine near the neck.
  • Gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV): Commonly called bloat or gastric torsion, a condition in which the dog's stomach twists around a short axis.
Illustration: The Spruce / Kelly Miller

Dobermans should be fed two meals each day, with as much as three and a half cups of dry dog food per day. The amount a dog needs will depend on size, activity level, age, and other factors. Having two smaller meals rather than one large meal can help prevent gas and bloating. This can become a medical emergency if the stomach twists to cut off the blood supply.

Be sure to monitor the dog's weight, as obesity can reduce your dog's lifespan and contribute to the risk of other health conditions. Discuss your dog's nutritional needs with your veterinarian to get recommendations specific for your pet.

Doberman Pinschers can be found through breeders or via adoption throughout the U.S. Any breeders you inquire with should be able to answer any questions you have regarding the pedigree, health, and history of the litter and its parents. Ideally, you should meet one or both parents to have a better idea of your future pet’s personality, size, and temperament. You can expect to pay between


,000 and ,500 to secure a Doberman Pinscher puppy from a breeder.

If you’re looking for a Doberman, consider checking with local or regional rescue groups. You can also inquire through the below organizations:

  • The Doberman Pinscher Club of America is a great place to start your search for a pup. Their breeder referral list includes breeders from all over the U.S. and notes the type of services offered (puppies, studs, information referral, and health testing). The DPCA also provides a rescue directory.
20 Popular Medium-Size Dog Breeds

If you think the Doberman Pinscher is the right dog breed for you, be sure to do plenty of research before adopting one. Talk to other Doberman owners, reputable breeders, and rescue groups to learn more.

If you are interested in similar dog breeds, look into these to compare the pros and cons:

There is a wide variety of dog breeds out there. With a little research, you can find the right one to bring home.


  • Are Doberman Pinschers aggressive?

    No—While Doberman Pinschers have a reputation for being guard dogs, they are not innately aggressive and are considered good family dogs.

  • Are Doberman Pinschers good apartment dogs?

    Doberman Pinchers will thrive in a home where they can spend time outdoors and burn off energy. In most cases, this means an apartment will not be the best environment for them. Additionally, they are rather large dogs and will take up a lot of space in a small home.

  • Are Doberman Pinschers rare?

    While Doberman Pinschers aren't as ubiquitous as breeds like Golden Retrievers or Labs, they still ranked #18 on the AKC's Most Popular Dog Breeds list for 2020.

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