Archive for July, 2011

Fun Facts About Dog Breeds

July 31, 2011
Rottweiler Dog Breed

The Rottweiler Dog Breed is from Rottweil

If you’re like me, you love to learn about dogs.  There are hundreds, if not thousands, of dog breeds all over the world.  Each has their own interesting history, descriptions, personalities, etc.  Here are some interesting facts which I have found on AKC dog breeds:

  • The Saint Bernard dog breed is named from the St. Bernard Hospice which was a stopping place in the Swiss Alps for people traveling between Switzerland and Italy.
  • In the 1870’s, the Rhodesian Ridgeback dog breed was used to hunt lions in Rhodesia.
  • The Norwegian Elkhound dog breed was the companion hunting dog of Vikings.
  • The most common way that the Poodle dog breed’s hair is cut today is based on the cut given to their working dog ancestors – cut short on the body to help the Poodle dog breed swim and left long on the ears, feet, and tail to keep sensitive parts of the body from being exposed to the cold water.
  • While mostly descended from ancient dog breeds of spaniel, the Clumber Spaniel dog breed may also have ancestry from the Basset Hound and St. Bernard.
  • The Cairn Terrier dog breed is named from the word “cairn”.  A cairn is a heap of stones set up as a marker, tombstone, or monument.  The Cairn Terrier dog breed would help to hunt the vermin living within or taking refuge in these cairns.
  • The Dogo Argentino dog breed was bred in South America to hunt jaguar.
  • The Saluki dog breed, the oldest of dog breeds, was mummified after death along with the pharaohs of Egypt.
  • The Rottweiler takes its name from a German township called Rottweil.
  • The Affenpinscher dog breed is a German dog breed.  Affen means “monkey” and pinscher is the German word for a dog breed that has his ears and tail cropped/docked.

Do you have a dog with an interesting history?  Please share!

This information was found in various sources including dog breed books by Barron’s.  Visit our Dog Lover’s Book Store to find more great dog breed books.

Information on the Samoyed Dog Breed – The “Smiling Dog”

July 29, 2011
Samoyed Dog Breed

Samoyed Dog Breed

The Samoyed dog breed has a very interesting history. Originally from the primitive Samoyed people in northwestern Siberia, the Samoyed dog breed found his way into modern history by helping explorers in the North and South Poles, as being the pets of the ill-fated Czar Nicholas II, the last Emperor of Russia, pets to Queen Alexandra of England, and rescue from a zoo in Sidney, Australia by the Kilburn-Scott family of England. Most Samoyed dog breeds today descended from the dogs who survived the explorations of the North and South Poles. One of the most well-known expeditions was led by Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen whose Samoyed dog Etah was the first animal to reach the South Pole, followed, of course, by the first man to reach the South Pole.

Samoyeds in the South Pole Expedition, December 14, 1911

Samoyeds in the South Pole Expedition, December 14, 1911, Courtesy of the National Library of Australia

The Samoyed peoples primarily used the Samoyed dog breed to herd and guard elk. However, the Samoyed was also used for hunting and sled pulling. The Samoyed dog breed was a valued member of the Samoyed people’s family. The modern explorers who considered using the Samoyed dog breed due to its more amiable nature than the Husky or Malamute had a difficult time obtaining the Samoyed dog breeds because their owners were unwilling to part with them.

The Samoyed dog breed was came to America through the Grand Duke Nicholas of Russia, who was the brother of the Czar. The Samoyed dog breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1906.

The Samoyed dog breed is a Spitz-type breed. All Spitz-type dog breeds descended from the arctic regions of the world. Like most Spitz dog breeds, the Samoyed dog breed has the short triangular ears and long tail that curls over the back. He also has a thick double-coat which consists of the wooly undercoat and the straight harsh outer coat which stands out from his body. The long hair is more prominent on his tail and around the ruff of his neck.

The Samoyed dog breed is distinguished from his light-colored coat. His coat is white in color, white and biscuit, all biscuit, or all cream. He stands about 19 to 23.5 inches tall and weighs between 35 and 65 pounds. The hindquarters of a Samoyed dog breed are very strong. His chest is moderately deep and his legs are moderately long. He has a wedge-shaped skull, dark eyes and a black nose.

Another distinguishing feature of the Samoyed dog breed is his “smile”. Known as the “smiling dog”, the Samoyed dog breed’s look goes along with his happy personality. He gets along well with every member of the family, including children. He is good with other pets and good with other people outside the family. Although he is not an aggressive dog, he can make a good watchdog.

Like other Spitz-type dog breeds, the Samoyed dog breed can be somewhat independent and stubborn. But this can be easily overcome with proper positively reinforced training and emphasis on his eager-to-please nature.

The Samoyed dog breed is playful but relatively calm indoors. He needs regular exercise such as long walks, jobs, or brisk play sessions. Without proper exercise, the Samoyed may have a tendency to develop behavior problems such as chewing. The Samoyed dog breed also needs regular brushing. His thick coat needs to be brushed 2 to 3 times per day, or daily during shedding season.

As with most large breed dogs, the Samoyed dog breed can develop hip dysplasia. And like most deep-chested dogs, the Samoyed dog breed is prone to gastric torsion. The chances of purchasing a Samoyed dog breed that develops hip dysplasia can be reduced by purchasing from a reputable breeder. A reputable breeder will most likely be a member of the Samoyed Club of America, Inc. They will also most likely have already done the testing for hip dysplasia on both parents of the puppies.

If you would like a dog who will do well with every member of your family, the Samoyed dog breed may be for you. Be prepared for a dog who needs lots of daily exercise and grooming. Consider adopting a Samoyed dog breed from a rescue group or purchasing one from a reputable breeder.

The information that we found on the Samoyed dog breed came from a variety of sources including Barron’s “Samoyeds, A Complete Pet Owner’s Manual”, “The New Encyclopedia of the Dog” by Dr. Bruce Fogle, and Barron’s “The Dog Breed Bible”. For these and other great books on the Samoyed dog breed, visit our Amazon Dog Lover’s Book Store.

Samoyed Dog Breed Figurine

Samoyed Dog Breed Figurine

Book Review – Chicken Soup for the Soul – What I Learned From the Dog

July 26, 2011

Chicken Soup for the Soul: What I Learned from the Dog: 101 Stories about Life, Love and Lessons

Chicken Soup for the Soul is full of short stories shared by people all over the country.  Chicken Soup for the Soul – What I Learned From the Dog is full of stories about dogs.  There are over one-hundred shared such stories and each more moving than the last.

Several of the short stories I read stand out.  One of the first stories in Chicken Soup for the Soul – What I Learned From the Dog was about a dog who reminds me of Sephi.  The dog pretty much keeps to himself most of the time.  He doesn’t care to be petted and doesn’t do the happy greet that many dogs do when the owner’s come home.  That is very much like my Sephi.  And what did these owners of this dog learn?  The same thing that I learned – like people, every dog is different and can be loved for their own special qualities.

I also read a story in Chicken Soup for the Soul – What I Learned From the Dog about a little girl who was walking by herself after dark.  On the way, some men in a car tried to entice her to get in with them.  Out of the blue, a big dog comes along and walks the girl the rest of the way home.  The men left and the little girl was safe.  That little girl never saw the dog again.  Was he heaven sent?

Some stories in Chicken Soup for the Soul – What I Learned From the Dog did not start out so well.  A woman inherits a dog from her mother who just passed away.  The dog is big hassle and the woman considers giving her away.  But something happened over time.  It turns out the dog was having just as much trouble coping with the death of his owner as the daughter was coping with the death of her mother.  They bonded through mutual grief and built a loving relationship.

My favorite story in Chicken Soup for the Soul – What I Learned From the Dog is the story about the homeless man.  He is at the lowest point in his life and contemplates suicide.  The only thing that saved him is the thought of leaving his two little Shih-Tzu dogs behind to fend for themselves.  All though this Shih-Tzus did not pull him out of the river, they saved his life nonetheless.

Dogs can teach us many things.  The stories which stood out the most show how dogs teach unconditional love, patience, forgiveness, discipline, positive outlook, and the joy of giving.  Reading Chicken Soup for the Soul – What I Learned From the Dog made me think of my own dogs, both present and past.  There is no doubt that dogs do something special for us.

Pet Product Review – Cool-It Pet Bandanas

July 23, 2011
Sephi & Maya Wearing Pink Cool-It Pet Bandana

Sephi & Maya Wearing Pink Cool-It Pet Bandana

It’s a hot summer.  My dogs are mostly indoors but we like to go out once in a while and enjoy the sunshine.  Since dog’s don’t sweat, there are only two ways they can keep cool.  The first way is panting.  But when even the air they breathe is hot, panting can only do so much.  The other way is to keep their body cool.  That can be done by taking time out in the shade, giving them fresh cool water to drink, getting them wet or letting them swim in some cool water, or by putting on something cool like the Cool-It Pet Bandana.

When I saw the Cool-It Pet Bandana, I just had to get one for each of my dogs.  When we want to go out the park, I first put the Cool-It Pet Bandana in the freezer.  When they are nice and cool, I put them around the dogs’ necks and off we go to the park.  Obviously, Sephi and Maya still get hot, but the coolness of the Cool-It Pet Bandana keeps their blood cool.  They didn’t have to pant as hard and enjoyed the outdoors for a little longer than they would have otherwise.

Even though the Cool-It Pet Bandana just ties around the neck, its coolness goes a lot further.  As you may know, there is a big vein in the neck.  The Cool-It Pet Bandana cools the blood in that main artery and the cool blood is carried throughout the body.

Although the Cool-It Pet Bandana will help your dog enjoy longer fun in the sun, the Cool-It Pet Bandana may not be enough in extreme heat or extreme exertion in the heat.  Don’t leave your dog in the hot car and watch your dog for signs of heat exhaustion.

Outward Hound Cool-it Bandana - MEDIUM

New Harry and Lola Book – Harry and Lola in Scotland

July 20, 2011

Harry and Lola in Scotland

If you are a fan of Harry and Lola, you will love the new book, Harry and Lola in Scotland.  In this book, Harry and Lola, two Aberdeen Scottish Terriers, magically visit their ancestral homeland.  In Scotland, they have quite an adventure.

Harry and Lola first visit a Scottish castle near Aberdeen called Dunnottar Castle.  At this castle, they meet a black Scottish Terrier named Mac Duff.  Visiting the castle is fun and educational, but the adventure really begins when Harry and Lola meet a dragon.

Find out what happens by reading Harry and Lola in Scotland.  The book can be purchased at http://www.harryandlola.org/, Amazon.com, or other bookstores.  All proceeds from the book go to Aberdeen Scottish Terrier Rescue.

Summer Danger – High Rise Syndrome

July 17, 2011

If you are like me and want to save money on electricity, you are probably keeping some windows and doors open this summer.  And if your dogs are like mine, they love to stick their noses out and catch the scents and see the sites.  But if you live more than one story off the ground, there is a danger to keeping your windows open.

Every year at this time of year, thousands of pets fall out of an open window.  It happens so often that veterinarians have termed High Rise Syndrome.  According to the ASPCA, “Falls can result in shattered jaws, punctured lungs, broken limbs and pelvises—and even death.”

To prevent your pet from falling out of an open window, be sure that your windows are securely screened.  For more information on this pet risk, visit the ASPCA.org.

Dogs of the World – The Danish Farm Dog

July 14, 2011

 

Danish Farm Dog

Danish Farm Dog

The Danish Farm Dog is an all-purpose farm dog in Denmark and Sweden.  He helps to control vermin like rats and herding.  He is also a good natured family dog.

The Danish Farm Dog looks a bit like a Jack Russell or Fox Terrier.  He weighs about 25 pounds and stands about 15 inches tall.  His tail is long or naturally bobbed.  He has folded ears set high on the sides of his head and a moderately long muzzle.  The chest of a Danish Farm Dog moderately deep and he has strong hindquarters.  The Danish Farm Dog has a short smooth coat which requires little brushing.  His coloring is generally white with brown, white with red, white with black, or tri-color.  While he resembles a Fox Terrier, his personality is a little less terrier-like and there are other subtle differences in body and head-shape.

The Danish Farm dog requires lots of exercise and mental stimulation.  He is a lively and intelligent dog who does well indoors or out.  He is good with children and other dogs, but may not do well with smaller rodent-like pets such as hamsters.

We learned about the Danish Farm Dog from The New Encyclopedia of the Dog by Bruce Fogle.  To learn more about this dog breed and other dog breeds from the US and around the world, you can purchase this book at our Amazon.com affiliate store called Dog Lover’s Book Store.

Information on the German Shepherd Dog Breed

July 8, 2011
The German Shepherd Dog Breed

The German Shepherd Dog Breed

The German Shepherd dog breed was bred from a number of sheep herding dogs in Germany.  In 1899, Rittmeister Max Emil Friedrich von Stephanitz acquired a dog and set about developing a standard for the perfect German dog breed.  This ideal dog breed would not only be a skillful sheepherder, but a proficient guard dog as well.  As a result of Max von Stephanitz’s efforts, the German Shepherd dog breed today is a versatile dog excelling at not just sheepherding and guarding, but as a police dog, guide dog, search and rescue dog, and as a drug or explosive detection dog.

The German Shepherd dog breed is not only highly intelligent, but he also has a biddable and devoted personality which makes him very easy to train.  He is wary of strangers and protective of his home and family.  German Shepherd dog breed is generally not aggressive unless trained to be so.  He is good with children and with proper socialization, can be good with other pets.

The German Shepherd dog breed can be a determined working dog.  As a working dog, his energy level is between moderate and high.  He needs a long walk or jog daily to stay fit.  Games of fetch and/or agility are good for him too.  The German Shepherd dog breed also has a need for high mental stimulation.  Without mental stimulation, the German Shepherd dog breed can have destructive behavior problems such as chewing.  Engage in the German Shepherd dog breed’s need for mental activities by training to fetch a frisbee, find a favorite toy, dog tricks, agility training, or any other fun dog games or activities.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) standard of the German Shepherd dog breed requires that he have a harsh straight medium length coat.  However, the hair around his head, legs, and paws are short.  His double coat needs brushing 1-2 times per week, more often during shedding season.  The German Shepherd dog breed should be black and tan, solid black, solid gray, black and gray, or brown and gray.  Around the world, the German Shepherd dog breed can also be white, sable, cream, or a variety of other colors.  He can also have longer or shorter hair.  These traits, however, may not be accepted by the AKC.

The German Shepherd dog breed stands about 22-26 inches tall and weighs about 75-95 pounds.  He has a sloping back and a bushy tail hanging low at a slight curve.  His body is longer than he is tall.  And he should walk gracefully in a “floating” gait.  The German Shepherd dog breed has tall moderately pointed hears which stand erect.  He has almond-shaped eyes which should reflect his alertness and intelligence.  His head should be mostly flat and only slightly rounded or arched.  And his muzzle should be long and his jaws strong.

The sloping back is a popular trait with the German Shepherd dog breed.  Dog breeders have attempted to accentuate this trait, oftentimes to the detriment of the breed.  Due to unscrupulous and overly extensive breeding, the German Shepherd dog breed is prone to a number of hereditary genetic health issues.  The excessive breeding of the sloping back trait tends to cause more risk of bone disorders such as hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and panosteitis.  The German Shepherd dog breed is also prone to a neural disorder called degenerative myelopathy where he loses coordination and strength in his back legs.  Other health issues include blood disorders such as von Willebrand’s disease, skin issues such as dermatitis and perianal fistulas, and eye issues such as pannus and cataracts.  As a large dog breed, the German Shepherd dog breed is also susceptible to gastric torsion.  And he also has a genetic likelihood of developing hemangioscarcoma which is where a malignant tumor develops in the lining of the blood vessels.

Because of the number of potential health problems in the German Shepherd dog breed, it is very important that extensive research is done on the breeders before purchasing.  A good breeder will be willing to show proof of the number of tests done on either the puppies or both parents.  A good breeder will also most likely be a member of the German Shepherd Dog Breed Club of America.  All the things which make a good breeder will also most likely make the purchase of a German Shepherd dog breed more expensive.  Be wary of anyone selling puppies at a low price and of anyone who does not want you to see the home or facility where they keep the dogs.  Other options besides purchasing a German Shepherd dog breed is to adopt one from the shelter or from a German Shepherd rescue group.  Rescue groups sometimes have excellently bred dogs who just didn’t quite make the cut to be a good police or guide dog.

The German Shepherd dog breed has a lot of quality characteristics which make him a perfect family or working dog.  If raised properly and with sufficient socialization, he will have few, if any, negative personality traits.  However, as great as this dog’s personality is, be aware of the potential health problems if he is not purchased from a reputable breeder.  For information on how to care for and train a German Shepherd, and for more history information on the German Shepherd, check out “German Shepherd Dog – Barron’s Complete Pet Owner’s Manual“.


(The German Shepherd Dog Breed Figurine)

Pet Product Review – Kyjen Puzzle Dog Toys

July 5, 2011

Kyjen ky-hdasquirl-lrg LARGE SIZE - Kyjen Hide-A-Squirrel

This has been my most favorite pet product review yet.  Maya loves the Kyjen Puzzle Dog Toys!  So what are puzzle dog toys?  Puzzle dog toys are dog toys where the dog has to figure out how to get the “goodies” inside.  Goodies can be treats or (in the case of the plush Kyjen Puzzle Dog Toys) squeaky toys.

Fun Kyjen Puzzle Dog Toys include the Hide-a-Squirrel, Hide-a-Bee, Snakes in the Grass, and the I-Qube.  The Hide-a-Squirrel is a plush tree stump with little squeaky plush squirrels inside.  Likewise, the Hide-a-Bee is a plush bee hive with little squeaky plush bees inside.  The fun is for your dog to figure out how to get the plush squeaky toys out of the tree stump or hive.

Some dogs need mental stimulation as well as exercise or they get bored and do something destructive like dig or chew.  The Kyjen Puzzle Dog Toys are great for these types of dogs.  Well, actually, they are great for almost any dog with two exceptions.

The Kyjen Puzzle Dog Toys may not be good for dogs who like to “kill” their toys by taking out all the stuffing.  Maya is like this so I have to supervise her when she plays with them.  I take them away from her the moment she chews a hole in them so that she can’t take out and accidentally swallow the cotton filling or the squeaky.

The other exception would be dogs who just have no interest in trying to figure out toys.  Sephi likes squeaky toys but she has no interest in trying to figure out how to get them out of the plush container – even if puzzle dog toys have food in it.

If your dog likes squeaky toys and likes to solve puzzles, then Kyjen Puzzle Dog Toys might be for him.  If he has a tendency to “kill” his squeaky toys, no worries.  The Kyjen Puzzle Dog Toys also sells replacement squeaky toys.

4th of July Safety for Your Dog

July 2, 2011
4th of July Safety for Your Dog

4th of July Safety for Your Dog

People love fireworks.  The colorful lights exploding in the night sky dazzles our eyes.  The explosion excites us as we thank God that we live in the United States of America.  But despite how much we love fireworks, most dogs do not like them at all.

Every year after the 4th of July the shelters get a higher volume of lost dogs.  Lost dog posters can be seen in the park and the neighborhoods.  Some dogs escape their yard as they try to run in fright from the terrible noise of the fireworks.  Many other dogs were at the park with their owners at the fireworks when they got away.  Some dogs might eventually find their way home thanks to a kind stranger or animal control, but others may never make it back.

When you go to watch fireworks this year, be sure to leave your dog safe and secure at home.  If possible, keep them in a secure area inside the house.  A dog in the back yard may jump or dig out in order to escape the noise.  Or if he is on a chain he may break the it, slip out of his collar, or hurt himself trying to break out of it.  If your dog is crate trained, keep him inside the house and inside his crate.  If he is not crate trained, keep him in a quiet room.  If possible, keep him in a room with no accessible windows – such as the bathroom.

You can also help your dog by turning on some familiar noise such as the radio or television.  And even if your dog is indoors, make sure he is wearing his collar or tags.  A desperate dog just might be able to find a way out. I have heard of dogs breaking out of windows, going through air ducts, and even managing to open an unlocked door. Tags will help to bring them home. If you find a dog this year, contact the local animal shelter and humane society. Post in the classified ads of your local newspaper. Post online too. Craig’s list is a popular place to post online. Leave fliers at local neighborhood centers and notify local residents.

If you don’t want your pet to be left out of the festivities, take your pet to the park for the 4th of July picnic.  But please leave take him home before the fireworks! Enjoy the Independence Day celebration and come home to a safe and happy pet.


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