MEET THE BIEWER TERRIER
Credit: Vanessa Venditello of VeeVee Biewers & the Canadian Kennel Club
Charming, whimsical, and intelligent
The Biewer Terrier’s heritage is a much-discussed topic. In Germany, the birth of a blue, white, and gold puppy in 1984 marked the beginning of what is now known as the Biewer Terrier. In 2003, the breed was introduced into the United States. In 2007, during an in-depth genetic study of dogs imported into the U.S., scientists reported that all the dogs’ blood samples had clustered together, as is characteristic of purebred results, and determined that the breed was derived from the influence of 3 or more other breeds. And so began the process that would establish the Biewer Terrier as a purebred dog, the first time in history that a dog has been confirmed as a breed of its own using the tools science has to offer.
The breed is incredibly devoted. Their purpose is to love and be loved. Vanessa Venditello of Alberta is one of the few Canadians that truly know this intelligent new breed’s charm. I knew I had to interview her to learn more about this charming Toy breed.
How long have you had Biewer Terriers?
I started hearing about this beautiful breed from other fanciers around 2014. I joined the Biewer Terrier Club of America (AKC Parent Club) to gain more information about the breed and liaised with their founders about breed recognition. I acquired my first Biewer Terriers in 2018. I imported one dog, GiGi, from South Africa. An applicant for recognition of a new breed in Canada must own a dog from a country whose national registry has (a) a reciprocal agreement with CKC and (b) already fully recognized the breed. So, in essence, GiGi was fundamental to the Biewer Terrier becoming a CKC Listed Breed.
How long have you bred Biewer Terriers?
My mom was a Yorkshire Terrier breeder, and I have been breeding Yorkies since 2010. GiGi whelped a litter of Biewer Terriers in May of 2020, producing four beautiful puppies. My pick pup from that litter whelped her first litter in December 2022.
What initially drew you to the Biewer Terrier?
I was intrigued by the Biewer Terrier’s stunning colouring and charming personality, and as I further researched the breed, I became increasingly smitten by this unique, tri-coloured toy terrier. I founded the Biewer Terrier Club of Canada in 2018, and we have developed a little slogan, “Meet the Biewer ~ Everything You Want in a Toy Breed”, because this really is an amazing and versatile little breed that checks so many boxes for dog owners.
Describe the Biewer Terrier’s personality.
The Biewer Terrier is sometimes described as whimsical because they are very playful and fun-loving. Their purpose is “to love and be loved”, and they are very devoted companions to their human family. They are equally happy to cozy up with you on the couch or play a vigorous game of fetch.
How much exercise do they require?
Like many toy-sized dogs, Biewer Terriers can fulfil their exercise requirements by daily living and playing within the household. That being said, they absolutely love the great outdoors and all that it offers. They can go for hikes with proper conditioning and compete in lots of sports.
Can they live in an apartment?
Biewer Terriers are perfect for apartment living because, as mentioned earlier, they can meet the daily requirements for exercise within the household. They also can be easily trained to use puppy pads for their potty needs. Although every dog is different, they are not barkers by nature.
Tell me about the coat and grooming requirements. Is shedding excessive?
If a Biewer Terrier is kept in a flowing drop coat, they must be brushed and combed every day or two to prevent tangles and mats. Because they have hair rather than fur, they shed very little, and a weekly bath is recommended.
Appropriate nail maintenance; shaving the paw pads, tips of the ears, and private area; and trimming their feet are the only other grooming tasks necessary, and all of these can be easily performed by owners. Some pet owners prefer to keep Biewer Terriers in a shorter “puppy cut” instead of frequent brushing and combing, but even then, they often keep the Biewer Terrier’s signature waterfall ponytail.
Any health issues?
The Biewer Terrier is a relatively young breed and, on the whole, is a very hearty breed with very few known health issues at this time. Being a smaller breed, it does suffer from some dental issues, such as retained baby teeth and tartar build-up. A sensitive gastrointestinal system has been noted, making a quality diet imperative.
How long do they usually live?
The average life expectancy for a Biewer Terrier is 16 years.
Which dog sports are they involved in?
The Biewer Terrier is hearty and athletic. They exhibit confidence in Conformation, but also excel in many companion and performance sports. One of my female Biewer Terriers was the first dog to earn a CKC Championship title, and a male that I co-own was the first male to do so. I have also played in Agility with several of my Biewer Terriers, which they really excel in and enjoy. A friend of mine trials extensively with her Biewer Terrier in Rally Obedience, and that dog has achieved her CKC Rally Master (RM) title. That same dog was the first Biewer Terrier in the world to earn a Trick Dog Champion (TDCH) title, so they really are smart and versatile little dogs.
Are Biewer Terriers easy to keep with other dogs?
Because of their lovely personality and temperament, Biewer Terriers quickly make friends with both people and animals. They enjoy playing with dogs of all sizes, but because of their diminutive size, supervision around large dogs is very important to avoid injury.
How are they with children?
Biewer Terriers are wonderful with children and love to play with them. They are also loving companions to children and make great therapy dogs. That being said, it is important to supervise very young children and/or children who are not experienced with dogs, as these dogs are very tiny and can be injured unintentionally.
Who makes an ideal Biewer Terrier owner?
In my opinion, an ideal owner is someone who wants a fun and loving companion but also understands how to protect the safety of toy dogs and the grooming needs of a drop-coated dog. Although the breed is esthetically beautiful, an ideal owner capitalizes on their intelligence and athleticism by taking them to classes and events.
An ideal owner understands that this is a very social dog that loves to be around people and does not like to be alone for extremely long periods. And an ideal owner knows that they deserve a dog of sound conformation, health, and temperament. But they really need to do their homework and know the breed standard when searching for their new companion, as, unfortunately, there are a lot of unethical breeders out there breeding subpar dogs with horrible structure, in undesirable “exotic” colours, and of “teacup” size, etc.
Anything you would like everyone to know about Biewer Terriers?
Something I haven’t mentioned yet is that people who enjoy travel find the Biewer Terrier to be a very portable and wonderful travel companion.
People also should be aware that once you have had a Biewer Terrier you can never live without one or two…or more!
The Biewer Terrier might be the breed for you if you:
Like a playful and loving companion.
Like a non-shedding dog.
Cannot have a large dog due to limited space.
Understand how to keep toy-sized dogs safe.
Enjoy conformation, companion, and performance events.
The Biewer Terrier might not be the breed for you if you:
Don’t want to spend the time on coat maintenance.
Have inexperienced children and/or large dogs who could potentially injure a toy-sized dog.
Like to frequent dog parks with uncontrolled large dogs.
Don’t want to speak to strangers. (People WILL stop and ask about this unique dog.)
Don’t want to constantly explain how the breed is pronounced. (It is “beaver” like the small animal.)
Thank you so much to Vanessa Venditello of VeeVee Biewer Terriers. If you are interested in a Biewer Terrier, Vanessa can be contacted by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org