Flat-Coated Retriever vs Bisben - Breed Comparison

Flat-Coated Retriever is originated from United Kingdom but Bisben is originated from India. Flat-Coated Retriever may grow 15 cm / 5 inches shorter than Bisben. Flat-Coated Retriever may weigh 19 kg / 41 pounds lesser than Bisben. Flat-Coated Retriever may live 5 years less than Bisben. Both Flat-Coated Retriever and Bisben has almost same litter size. Flat-Coated Retriever requires Moderate maintenance. But Bisben requires Low maintenance

Basic Information

Group:
Sporting dog
Working dog
Origin:
United Kingdom
India
Height Male:
59 - 61 cm
23 - 25 inches
50 - 76 cm
19 - 30 inches
Height Female:
56 - 59 cm
22 - 24 inches
48 - 74 cm
18 - 30 inches
Weight Male:
27 - 36 kg
59 - 80 pounds
18 - 55 kg
39 - 122 pounds
Weight Female:
25 - 32 kg
55 - 71 pounds
16 - 52 kg
35 - 115 pounds
Life Span:
8 - 10 Years
12 - 15 Years
Litter Size:
4 - 8
4 - 10
Size:
Medium dog
Giant dog
Other Names:
Flatcoat, flatt, Flattie Flatte (Sweden)
Bisben Sheepdog, Bisben Shepherd, Himalayan Bisben, Himalayan Bisben Sheepdog, Himalayan Bisben Shepherd, Himalayan Sheepdog, Himalayan Shepherd, Indian Sheepdog, and Indian Shepherd
Colors Available:
liver and yellow (blonde, black
jet black, either solidly or with white markings on the feet and chest. Other commonly seen colors are tan, tricolor, and “wolf-color,” which probably means grey, brown, black, and/or various shades of sable.
Coat:
double, glossy and smooth
long, wiry, coarse, harsh
Shedding:
Constant
Minimal
Temperament:
Affectionate, Energetic, Friendly, Independent, Intelligent, Lively, Loyal, Outgoing
Aggressive, Courageous, Energetic, Independent, Intelligent, Stubborn
Grooming:
Moderate maintenance
Low maintenance
Trainability:
Easy
Easy
Hypoallergenic:
No
No
Kids Friendly:
Yes
No
New Owners Friendly:
Yes
No

History

The Flat-Coated Retriever traces its heritage to 19th century England. A popular gamekeepers’ dog, the actual descendants of the breed are not entirely known. Like so many well-established breeds, there are many lines of thought about the breed line. There is an unverified line of ancestry that includes the St. Johns Water Dog – an extinct breed from North America. Another story has Canadian sailors bringing their Newfoundlands to England and mixing them with Colliers and Setters. This story has more truth to it and it took 20 years to establish the final breed type.

The breed was originally a retriever with two purposes – to retrieve the hunters’ bounty on land and on water.

The Flat-Coated Retriever was then introduced to the United States as a gun dog. By 1873 it was a “stable type” and in 1915 the AKC recognized the breed. After this, their popularity grew quickly until the American public fell in love with the Golden Retriever and the Labrador Retriever. Then the Flat-Coated Retriever’s numbers and popularity fell. The irony was that both the Golden and the Labrador credited the Flat-Coated Retriever as an ancestor. The survival of the breed was questionable following World War Two. They were brought back by a specific breeding program in the 1960’s.

Breeders in the ‘60s made sure they bred for both show dogs and companion animals. The Flat-Coated Retriever survived and is less popular than other retrievers, but he has his fans. The breed is more popular in the United Kingdom than it is in the United States in part because of Best in Show wins at Crufts

There is a lot of mystery surrounding this large herding dog said to come out of the Himalaya Mountains of Asia. The belief is that sheepdogs were crossed with wolves toward the end of the 18th century, but his origin is basically unknown. They are both herding dogs and guard dogs. Others theorize that rather than a wolf, the breed arose from the Mastif family. Still others claim that the Bisben is not a breed at all but rather a “landrace”. A landrace is an animal group that is only found to exist in the local area or is bred locally for a specific reason, while a breed is developed intentionally and from a select purebred with pedigree. The Bisben may be a landrace since it is very popular in India but hardly known anywhere else. What is known is that the Brisben was in existence at the end of the 1700’s and its job was to protect and herd livestock. There are three main theories about the origin of the Bisben. They are, in no particular order:

1. The Bisben was developed by mixing several different Himalayan and Indian Sheepdogs with wolves. The wolf population in the Himalayas and in India live in very close proximity to dogs and people and this population is quite large. These Tibetan and Indian wolves are known to be smaller, more comfortable with people and less aggressive than wolves from other parts of the world.

2. The Bisben was developed by mixing local sheep herding dogs with the Tibetan Mastiff. This gave the breed its protective nature and its large size according to this theory.

3. The Bisben was developed by mixing local dogs with the ones the British, Portuguese and French imported to the India subcontinent.

There is a fourth theory as well and it combines all three of these, supposing that the Bisben is a product of crossing local dogs with wolves, Tibetan Mastiffs and European dogs.

Regardless of their origins, the Bisben grew into one of the most respected animals in the Southern Himalayas. Their assistance to the shepherds of the area was unquestioned and irreplaceable. They were touch enough to herd flocks of goats or sheep across several treacherous and unstable mountain passes. The environment in which these dogs worked when herding is one of the harshest environments on the face of the earth. Temperatures were dangerously cold, altitudes dangerously high and the terrain just plain dangerous. Many deadly large predators live there as well. This included tigers, Asiatic black bears, golden eagles, Himalayan brown bears, snow leopards, fox, dholes, wolves, and small cats. The Bisben had to be able to fight off all of these predators. In addition to these herding and protecting duties, the Bisben was also known throughout the region as an excellent hunting dog. They are capable to this day of hunting large prey such as antelope or deer. They are equally comfortable hunting alone or in a pack. He has grown into one of the most popular hunting dogs in all of India.

The Himalayas, being so rugged and treacherous, were inaccessible to most of India for many centuries and the Brisben was unknown as well. Through the British imperialist expansion across all of the Indian subcontinent, the lowlands people were connected to the highlands and mountain people for the first time. This also meant that the Brisben was no longer unknown. The entire country began to appreciate the dog for its protection and herding of livestock, as well as a companion animal who would protect its owner and family as well. As India continues to grow the popularity of the Brisben grows as well and its numbers increase regularly. The breed, if it is a breed, remains an Indian secret. They have migrated to the countries around India, but their number are small. It is only in India that they are revered and prosper. They are not present in any great numbers in Europe, North America, Japan, or most of Asia.

Whether or not the Bisben becomes a recognized breed depends upon those who own and fancy them. Most Bisbens are bred to only other Bisbens in an effort to purify the breed. However, few dogs have pedigrees and the practice of breeding the Brisben to other breeds and mixed breed to acquire specific characteristics continues to this day. It is unlikely that the Bisben will ever be a purebred dog. It is quite variable in how it looks depending upon what the breeding line of the individual dog actually is. Does it look like a wolf? Does it look like a larger version of a local or European dog? There will always be these questions around the Bisben. Is it a breed or a landrace?

Description

The Flat-Coated Retriever has a straight and strong topline with unique head, strong jaws, a long muzzle and small ears. His eyes are dark brown almonds with a friendly and intelligent expression. He has an arched neck and a moderately long tail. The Flat-Coated Retriever is more of an athlete, lighter and certainly more elegant than any other type or breed of retriever.

As mentioned in the previous section the appearance of the Brisban can vary greatly from one dog to another based on the individual dogs’ ancestry. Breed or landrace, the Brisban breeding line is not very pure. Therefore, appearance can vary greatly from what is described here and there is no standard by which to measure the Brisban. Most are distinctly large animals, being as tall as the European mountain dogs – the Newfoundland or the Bernese Mountain Dog, Swiss Mountain Dog. St. Bernard and Great Pyrenees. Reports are that it is perhaps the largest dog in India. At least it is one of the largest dogs in India. The Bisben is said by some to be a large, bulky, husky dog while others claim it to be tall and athletic, leaner than the Mastiff bred. Again, there is disagreement on the size and shape of the Bisben’s head with some claiming it is massively square like a Mastiff while others say the head is long and like that of a wolf not a Mastiff. The long hair of the Bisben and its confusing heritage may be the cause. They are most often black but might also be found to be tricolor, tan and “wolf-color” or brown, grey, shades of sable and black. No matter how it looks, this is a dog that was designed to work in the harshest conditions known and their physical appearance should make that abundantly clear.

Health Problems

Flat-Coated Retrievers have their share of health concerns from dysplasia to cancer. The breeds problems include:

  1. Hip Dysplasia – not very common
  2. PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy) – can result in blindness
  3. Glaucoma - an eye disease that can result in blindness
  4. Epilepsy – very rare but still seen
  5. Bloat (Gastric Dilatation and volvulus) – fatal if not treated immediately

Cancers

Hemangiosarcoma, Osteosarcoma, Malignant Histiocytosis, and Fibrosarcoma. Studies show that about half of all Flat-Coated Retrievers die of cancer.

Because he is not a purebred and is probably a land range, there have not been a lot of health studies done and written up on the Brisban. It is believed that the Bisben is for all practical purposes a healthy working dog. As long as the breeding practices are not compromised it should remain a healthy line. It is bred for temperament and work not for appearance and showmanship. Some problems that plague large dogs have been noted in the Bisben. These conditions include hip and elbow dysplasia; optical issues such as Entropion, Ectropion and cataracts; ear infections; and Demadex and Demodectic mange. Most of these conditions can be tested for either in DNA or early in a pup’s life and should be tested for by the breeder before a puppy is sold

Caring The Pet

Feeding the puppy

He will be a medium size dog. Feed puppies 3-4 times a day about a 1/8 cup of high-quality food. Feed a puppy food designed for medium size dogs or specifically for retrievers.

Feeding the adult

Feed 2 times a day about !/2 cups of dry food per meal. Do not overfeed. They have a tendency to be obese.

Points for Good Health

Maintain a healthy weight and avoid exercise before and after meals. The good news is dysplasia and epilepsy are rare in the breed.

Games and Exercises

They are very energetic and need good exercise. Long walks and a yard to run in. Remember they are hunting dogs and will chase to retrieve things so don’t let them off leash outside your yard. They will excel at agility, tracking. Rally, obedience, swimming, hunting, and jogging. They make great therapy dogs.

The Bisben is a large working dog that needs a lot of calories if you are keeping him busy. Do not let him get overweight. The Bisben should not be free fed but rather given two controlled portion meals per day.

Health issues

As previously mentioned, the Bison was developed with the harshest of conditions in mind and long hours of hard work. It is a healthy breed that is however prone to any of the issues that any large dog is prone to including dysplasia and mange and well as optical issues.

Exercise and games

The Bisben needs a lot of exercise as the breed is developed for hard work. Walks are essential but if you have more than one dog, pack walks are even better and pack time at the dog park or in a fenced yard is great. The Bison was bred to hunt in packs as well as alone and they love to play in packs. In any respect they need at least an hour of strong exercise daily. If they don’t get enough exercise, they can become aggressive, destructive and fearful. This could result in destructive activity, barking and excess excitability. They are not very happy in the city and thrive in the countryside.

Characteristics

Children friendliness

The Flat-Coated Retriever is great with children. Just be careful they don’t knock over small children in their enthusiasm.

Special talents

They are confident great family dogs. They are “thinking dogs” and need something to work for or they will work for themselves. They can be clowns.

Adaptability

They are adaptable although their size might preclude small locations without yards.

Learning ability

Smart, thinking all the time, they are very trainable. However, they are considered the “Peter Pan” of dogs – they never grow up.

The Bisben was so important to the people of the Indian subcontinent because of her temperament. He is a loyal, productive and courageous worker who took care of her flocks, her family and her pack. They are devoted to their family and if raised with children will care for them as well. He is suspicious of strangers. They are territorial and great watchdogs. They can take on any large challenger if need be to protect what they consider to be theirs. They can be highly dog aggressive and must be socialized as a puppy. Do not mix them with strange, unknown animals as the Bisben might attempt to kill them. If he sees them as his “pack” he will love and protect them, but not if he does not know them. Take as much time as you need to introduce him to a new animal and do not leave them unsupervised. They are not easy to train as they are stubborn, intelligent, want to be dominant and is a problem solver. If he doesn’t want to learn something forget it – he won’t. You can still train them. It just takes time and patience.

Comparison with other breeds

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