Gentle Giants!

chubby baby

THE DISTINGUISHED QUOTE CORNER: Adorable Baby Boy in Suit on Cellphone

“The dog was created specially for children. He is the god of frolic.” ~ Henry Ward Beecher

“There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face.” ~ Ben Williams

“My friend, my partner, my defender, my dog.” ~Author unknown

If your dog doesn’t like someone, you probably shouldn’t either.  Love Me. Love my dog. To err is human, to forgive, canine. I’m dead in dog years. A dog is nothing but a ‘furry person.’  ~ From ‘Just Dog Stuff,’ by Deb Grogan.

“A dog says “I love you” with his tail.” Author unknown.

Our heartbeat, forever-faithful- companion, best friend, our “babies,” our family,  bodyguard and guardian, our joy, great love and better than a movie night’s entertainment…OUR BELOVED DOGS!

In this blog, I want to share how much dogs bring an abundance of love, felicity and beauty to our lives.  I can’t even imagine life without our Grantham now…He brings more love and joy to our hearts, lives and home than I ever imagined possible. We even have him on our  “Who are the five people you would take with you on a deserted island?” list. (That only leaves room for three more humans! )  🙂 As you may  have guessed by now,  my husband and I are both connoisseurs of canines. (Hey that sounds like a great name for a  fan club.) 🙂

Our first dog was Patch, a black Lab – Springer Spaniel mix that we got at eight weeks old and he was with us for ten wondrous years… He was not “my hearts dream-dog,” but the ‘hearts dream part’ usually happens after we bring them into our homes and get to know them…You know what I mean?  🙂 He was loving, forgiving, humorous, stubborn and he stole our hearts…My husbands first, then mine. The ten years he was with us , I could not imagine loving a dog more than him…let alone getting another dog…but when he died , we knew inside, we had too much love in our hearts to not bring another one into our home.


Can you guess in this Christmas photo of my husband, Patch and I, what my dream dog was? An English Sheep dog…. (I was very hopeful.) 🙂 Little did I know there was a breed of dog that I would even love more than the Sheepdog out there in this world, that I had never even heard of!)


Within months after Patch died, we welcomed our new dog into our home and hearts…The breeder said we were buying a Chesapeake Bay retriever, AKA a “Chessie,’ mix…All I knew was when we walked into that country home in Maryland and Graham and I laid eyes upon each other, it was love at first sight. He was 2 months old and THE CUTEST PUPPY I had ever seen.


(Grantham in our home in Alexandria VA. shortly after we  brought him to live with us.)

It was not until Grantham, (Graham for short,)  began his first ‘growing spurt’  that we found out what breed he REALLY WAS… (He in no-way resembled a Chessie mix.)  I tried to call the breeder but her phone was disconnected, so we began researching… Graham was a Briard, part of the Sheepdog family…and it was a good thing we found out exactly what his origin was as the way you train and raise a Briard is totally different that how we raised Patch.

Graham has been with us through every thing imaginable and truly is what they call the Briard breed, “A heart wrapped in fur.”  He is the love of our lives… funny, winsome, loving, protective, loyal, obedient and so adorable and cuddly, I just want to pinch his cheeks… (He doesn’t like that when I do it though) 🙂

He just turned twelve years old and I pray all the time that we have many more years with him as he truly is “our baby.”  (They become that you know? )



In this blog, I want to share with you a few breeds that I read up on that have sweet, loving temperaments and though  they are all large dogs, (like Graham,)  they really are ‘little kids’ at heart!  Yes, these are all “gentle giant,” breeds…  ENJOY!


The first dog I want to introduce you to is the Bouvier des Flanders, and can be easily mistaken for a black bear in the woods! 🙂  He is so cuddly yet very handsome.

The Bouvier is a herding dog originating in Flanders. They were bread originally as a work dog, having both the strength and temperament to herd sheep and cattle, and help the farmers with their work load.

This dog, besides being gorgeous, is rational, gentle, loyal, protective, a great family pet, sophisticated, smart and accountable. Owners say that the Bouvier is an obedient dog, very calm and gentle, an excellent guard dog , fearless and easy to train.

Bouvier’s need to be trained and socialized at an early age and if not kept active, do tend to get bored. (I would hate for this breed to get bored at my house.)  🙂 Thank goodness for Doggy-parks and long-brisk walks!


Breed number two…this one is quite a sight to see…(also a new breed of dog to me), the Bergamasco.


Okay, I admit…The hair on this dog scares me, 🙂 but he sure is adorable isn’t he? A Bergamasco  is “yours just as much as you are theirs.” They are also a herding dog and will herd you around the house 24/7. (Graham does it to us all the time.) It is part of their nature… (It is a charming trait, and after 12 years, we are use to it and still know how to be ‘the boss’, even though at times, it gets challenging!) 🙂

This breed is patient, vigilant, determined and very intelligent. They adore children… They love human companionship but are wary of newcomers and will bark at them  like crazy, until they have become friends. They have a NEED to communicate their love to you within your relationship with one another. ( That is a wonderful trait.)  They like direct communication through eye contact.  They are not the most obedient dog but love to think and resolve problems. It is your intimate personal relationship with this breed that will cause them to be obedient , as they desire to please you. I have never see  one of these in Delaware, or any state I have lived in for that matter…They are unique and a challenge to bathe. (I can only imagine. 🙂  It is  recommended that you give them sponge baths in between their full baths…it makes it easier. 🙂 Beautiful dog!


If you are looking for a camping, hiking and fishing buddy, this next dog is for you! The Newfoundland, otherwise known as a ‘Newphie.’


I have met this sweet, gentle breed and have to say, it is a dog we would love to have … The ‘Newphie’ is extremely intelligent, genial, and able to discern the slightest emotions from humans and other animals alike. Their large body creates a slow, kind of lazy disposition… so taking those long hikes, (in the cooler weather ) would be great!

The AKC standard reports that ‘the sweetness of temperament is the hallmark of the Newfoundland.  I believe it …They are lovers of people, want to be included in every family activity, adore the outdoors, especially cold weather and the white fluffy snow. (You will see them pulling the kids in their sleigh in the winter.)  They are great with children as they love to snuggle and (get this,) they even allow the little ones to jump up on their  backs… (Maybe they are part pony?)  🙂 They are a great babysitter and you don’t have to pay them a dime!

‘Newphies’  need to be trained young and  they respond best to praise and treats…do not be harsh with this dog or you will get nowhere.  They need a few daily walks and would love to go to the doggy park. (We started taking Graham to the Doggy-park when he was young, to socialize him and it worked great!) Pets Mart is another wonderful place to socialize your dog and introduce them to all types of breeds. This dog is definitely on our list! Absolutely breathtaking!

Breed number four is the Hollywood star, bouncy and full of energy English Sheepdog!

J-4I-79 J-5I-78

Yes, ever since I was a little girl and a loyal fan of “Please don’t eat the Daisies,” (and their camera loving sheepdog, Lad,)  I have dreamed of one day owning an English Sheepdog. My husband would always tell me; “One day, when we have a really big house and yard, you can have your sheepdog…” (Little did he know Graham would be as big! ) 🙂

This beautiful breed is very protective, has strong herding instincts, (their family is their flock,)  playful, adaptable, bubbly, smart, loving and very social. They are another dog that would be a great walking, hiking or camping buddy… They do not like to be alone, are a challenge to train but you have to be firm with this dog. They also need about an hour of exercise a day.

When my husband and I were visiting family in California, we went to Dana Point Harbor to have lunch by the water. As we were leaving, a couple with an English Sheepdog were sitting on the patio enjoying a cup of coffee. We walked over to meet “Oscar” and he was so loving, full of peace and so cute, I could hardly stand it…(I wanted one of those that day as well! 🙂


This next dog is known specifically as “The Gentle Giant.”    The very regal and handsome St. Bernard.


When I read about this breed, I was quite taken aback and have a new respect and admiration for this dog. The St. Bernard is most famous for their rescue abilities. In the Swiss Alps, the St. Bernard dogs that lived at The Saint Bernard de Menthon Hospice, were responsible for saving 2,000 humans who were trapped in Avalanches. They would go out in twos for the rescue… one dog would stay and lay with  the injured person, (to keep them warm,) and the other would go back home to the Hospice to get help. (That is so touching.)

They are a very sociable dog, lovable and do need training at an early age, which is no easy task as they can be stubborn, willful, and independent.   As puppies, they are quite clumsy but as they  grow up, they become docile and love to take afternoon naps. They are a ‘companion’ dog…a breed that adores children and being a part of the family. They favor the cold weather and snow, and like the ‘Newphie’, they also can be seen pulling the kids in their magical sleighs in the wintry weather. (That would make a great Christmas card photo.) 🙂 They need two walks a day and a place to run a few days a week.

We almost got a St. Bernard puppy at a rescue adoption but when we went back to get him, he was already taken. I think Graham would have loved him as large breeds are drawn to other big dogs .


Lastly, (and of course our favorite breed of all)…The Briard, A French herding dog. (And boy, can they herd YOU.) 🙂

I-68I-67I-66chester Briard, snow

I have only seen two other Briards, (in person,) and that was in Alexandria Virginia. It is not a dog that you normally see, thus being the reason  why so many people stop my husband and I when we are out with Graham and ask,”What kid of dog is that? (Besides the fact that he is so cute.) 🙂 I definitely feel Graham belongs under the gentle giant category as he is just that… Tender, light hearted and mellow in spirit, but has a Brobdingnagian and grand, sturdy build. I have to laugh… We had a  narrow home in Virginia, (as a lot of the homes in the Alexandria and DC area are built that way.) As Graham began growing, and we finally knew what breed he really was, we were a little nervous as if you knew me, you would know I love stuff and no table is bare. 🙂 Well, truth be told, Graham got huge and  a lot of things got knocked off tables and walls as he would saunter through the rooms and wag his ever-loving  tail… but… I did not care one bit as I loved him so much!

The Briard breed is loving, totally devoted, loyal, faithful, fun loving, smart, intuitive to every single emotion happening around him, loves people but is very protective of those he feels are his “flock.”  They are playful, love to be a a part of the family, enjoy chasing squirrels, deer, bunnies, birds and groundhogs… they just love to play! They can be very willful and stubborn and do need training and socialization at an early age…Their training , much like some of the other gentle giants is only successful with praise and treats…they do not like the words “bad dog” one bit and will retreat from you with hurt feelings if you use that term in your training process…(they are very sensitive.)  🙂   They adore the snow and cold weather and do not like the word bath either! 🙂

The Briards acute  hearing is one of their gifts. During the Napoleonic wars, when the battles had ended and the officers needed to begin the rescue mission of the soldiers who were still alive, they would send the Briards out amongst the injured. The dogs would pass by every soldier that had died, yet all those who were still breathing, they would stop and wait for someone to bring help. This breed would search with their hearing as well as strong, emotional intuitions and instincts.  They are an exceedingly intelligent breed and capable of learning up to 200 words.  For my husband and I, this breed is our number one pick and recommendation if you are looking for a  loving addition to your family …They truly are a “heart wrapped in fur.”



All of these dog breeds can be bought through breeders and of course, rescued …I have inclosed an E-mail address that helps place these dogs (and many others) in loving homes, that I hope is helpful to you if you are interested. Here is their website, and the info is under Puppies for sale, Dogs for sale, Dog Breeders, Breeder’s listings. They also have a rescue sign in on their site.

I also want to enclose the name of the artist who does beautiful artwork…I bought my husband her piece called “just Dog stuff” for his office and it has the cutest quotes about canines on it and is a striking piece of wall decor. Her name is Deb Grogin and she has pictures of her work online … just type in Deb Grogan on the internet/Google.

I hope you enjoyed this blog as much as I did…if we did have that “big home in the country,” I would go out and get one of each! (Graham would not know what to do with himself! 🙂

PHOTOGRAPHS: In placing your computer mouse upon any of the graphics or photos, it will display where the picture originated from.