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March: The Great Dane

History of the breed: Germany is credited with refining the breed, although it was seen in various parts of Europe in the 1700’s.   Great Dane enthusiasts will tell you that there are 2 types of Danes, Danes that were bred to be estate Guard Dogs, and Danes that were bred to be hunting dogs.

A Dane that is meant to guard large estates has the job of being an imposing presence on the property. The Dane’s ears traditionally are cropped to give them an alert look, but at Westgate Pet Clinic we love the natural long ear. Because Danes were bred to relax around their owner’s property, they can make very good house dogs, even in apartments. They tend to sleep throughout the day, thus earning them the nickname, the “Gentle Giant”.

Danes were also bred to be used as boar hunters. Some Dane’s show more of this predatory drive and will sometimes tackle and pin smaller dogs. It is very important that your Dane be well trained and obedient because of its large size.free great dane 2Great Dane Dog by Karen Arnold

Health Concerns: As with many large breed dogs, Danes tend to have a shorter life expectancy. Problems known to arise in this breed are:

February- The Exotic Shorthair

History of the Breedexotic shorthair free

Exotic Shorthair cats are a cross between an American or British Shorthair and a Persian.  They were originally created in the early 1960’s and formally recognized by the Cat Fancier’s Association in 1967.

The Exotic Shorthair cat has been nicknamed, the “lazy man’s Persian”.  The reason being is that the Exotic Shorthair has the temperament and conformation of a Persian, but because their coat is short and dense, instead of long and prone to matting, there is a lot less upkeep. 

Exotic Shorthairs tend to be gentle, calm, and playful.  They will follow you around the house and then cuddle in your lap when you settle in.

December- The Standard Poodle

History of the Breed:  poodle free


The Standard Poodle originated in Germany and was first used a water retrieving dog.  The fancy haircut that we typically associate with poodles was actually meant to be functional, not stylish.  The fur is cut short to facilitate movement through the water, but left longer over joints and areas of the body that are meant to stay warmer.  


Poodles tend to be good natured and intelligent dogs.  They especially make great pets for owners that are interested in obedience and agility traiing.  


Health Concerns:


Addison's Disease


Hip Dysplasia

Ear Infections


July: The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

CavalierHistory of the Breed

Chances are you've seen old, English tapestries and paintings that feature the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.  This is because for centuries, the Cavalier has been a companion to artistrocratic families.  Although they have been used successfully as a sporting dog, they were primarily a house pet for the wealthy.  

Dogs that were bred to be companions typically have a very congenial nature, and the Cavalier is no exception.  This highly affectionate breed makes a fabulous family dog.  Cavaliers are active and sporting and love the companionship of a busy, loving household. They tend to consider strangers as friends, so usually do not make good guard dogs.  If you have small children and are looking to add a dog into the mix, the Cavalier would be a wonderful choice.

Health concerns

January: The Shih Tzu

shih tzu freeShih Tzu Dog by Karen Arnold History of the Breed

The name "Shih Tzu" comes from the Chinese word for "lion dog" because this dog was bred to resemble lions that were depicted in ancient Chinese art

DNA analysis proves that the Shih Tzu is in that group of "ancient breeds" that arose in China around the time of 800BC.  Other ancient breeds include the Pug, Pekingese and Lhasa Apso. 

In fact, the Shih Tzu is sometimes confused with the Lhasa Apso in appearance.  But be aware that the temperament of these to dogs is very different.  Shih Tzu were bred to be companions and Lhasa Apso were bred to be guard dogs.  Thus, the Shih Tzu tends to be friendy and playful, the Lhasa Apso tends to be more aloof and wary of strangers.

Shih Tzu come in a variety of colors and color pattern.  They can be recognized by their short snout and legs, dropped ears and large dark eyes.  They have hair instead of fur, which means that their hair is silky and grows continuously.  This means that they do not shed very much, but they also need regular grooming and trimming.  Most Shih Tzu owners will have their dogs groomed every 4-8 weeks.

Our Mission:

We provide the quality care our clients expect and their pets deserve, by relying on the expertise and
compassion of each team member.


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Westgate Pet Clinic
4345 France Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55410
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