Breed of the Week: Gordon Setter

gordon setter

Our super loveable featured breed this week is the calm and graceful Gordon Setter. These gorgeous dogs are part of the setter family (alongside the Irish setter and English setter). They are large, alert dogs ready to take on any task, but also have a silly side!

 

Black and tan setter-type dogs are recorded in Scotland as far back as the 16th century and it is widely believe that these were the ancestors to the Gordon Setter we know today. The breed became more popular in the late 17th century and were mostly kept and bred at the Gordon Castle near River Sprey. The breeder of these dogs had the goal in mind of a sturdy hunting dog, able to do accurate ‘air-scenting’ for game birds. Although these dogs were not the fastest hunting companions, they were amazingly accurate (would not give many false ‘alerts’ to the hunter) and had great stamina to continue hunting through the day with very little rest.

 

With their amazing stamina and scent work abilities, it’s no wonder the Gordon Setter Breed can often be found competing in field trials. As their ancestors would generally work with only one hunter all the time, this has translated to the breed being a bit standoffish with strangers today. As well, the Gordon Setter needs a lot of socialization with other dogs and animals. The Gordon Setter get jealous very easily so it is important for them to learn how to nicely share toys and affection with other dogs. The Gordon Setter has a lot of love to give and can also be prone to separation anxiety so be sure to find ways to keep him busy and active all day, and to practise entering and leaving the home calmly to not promote separation anxiety.

 

The Gordon Setter is a very intelligent dog and once they have bonded to an owner, they are very trainable. But if the Gordon Setter doesn’t know the person well who is giving commands, he is likely to just ignore them. They take loyalty very seriously! The Gordon Setter can get along great with kids when they have been socialized and the kids are respectful, homes with very young children are not suitable for Gordon Setters as these dogs have a tendency to jump on people and be a bit rambunctious. Gordon Setters generally prefer to be the only dog in the home as they can sometimes get jealous of their owner giving affection to anything that isn’t them!

 

The Gordon Setter has a black and tan coat that is naturally long and feathery. This breed can also (very rarely) come in other colour variations such as red or buff, but these colour variations are not ineligible for showing (although they still make wonderful family pets!). Their fine hair should be brushed and combed 2-3 times a week to keep out tangles. The hair on the feet should be trimmed once every couple of months, depending on your personal preference. Many groomers recommend you bathe a Gordon Setter once every 2 weeks. As bathing too often can easily dry out the skin, you may decide to bathe less frequently, or use a very sensitive shampoo formulated for frequent dog bathing.

 

These loving companion dogs are still to this day dominating field trials and out alongside their owners on the hunt. Although a bit standoffish with strangers and new dogs, they are truly one of the most loyal dogs you will find.

Healthiest Dog Breeds: Part 2

dog with veggies

This week we are continuing our look at some of the healthiest dog breeds. So far, we’ve looked at the Australian Cattle Dog, Border Collie and Havanese. All of these dog breeds have relatively low health concerns and a higher than average lifespan. Today we are looking at three more fantastic and healthier than average dog breeds!

 

German Pinscher

The courageous and proud German Pinscher is one of the healthiest dog breeds. Considering they are on the larger side, it’s a delightful surprise to find out this breed actually has a very low risk of hip dysplasia (a common problem for many large breed dogs). They have an average lifespan of 14 years old and the only health concern that is a common problem for this breed are cataracts which (depending on the exact cause) can be detected early and treated or managed. This is a pretty active breed so to ensure they get to a healthy 14 years old or more, be sure to give them a proper nutrient-rich diet and plenty of exercise.

 

Miniature Schnauzer

This wonderful breed puts the confidence and hardiness of a big dog into a little fluffy package. An intelligent and energetic breed, the miniature schnauzer definitely makes our list for the top healthiest dog breeds. The have a very high average lifespan of about 13-15 years old, and not uncommon to live even longer! With proper care and health management, these dogs often live their entire lives without any major health problems. As with many dogs, one problem to watch out for is hip dysplasia. With proper care and preventing measures, this problem is usually not an issue for the dog. Discuss the best ways to prevent hip dysplasia with your vet as he may give specific recommendations for your dog, but the most effective way is to keep your dog active with daily walks, runs, swims, etc. But avoid exercises that put a lot of pressure on your dogs joints such as jumping or going up and down lots of stairs.

English Springer Spaniel

If you are an outdoorsy person, you’d definitely get along great with the last healthiest dog breed on our list. The bold and energetic English Springer Spaniel has an expected lifespan of 10-14 years. They love running outside all day with their family, and all that exercise and fresh air definitely helps to maintain their excellent health. This breed is prone to a few health problems that should be tested for and treated by a vet to ensure a healthy pup! Some health concerns for the English Springer Spaniel are retinal dysplasia, hip dysplasia and progressive retinal atrophy (which can eventually lead to blindness). Although there is no cure for progressive retinal atrophy, after consulting with your vet, you may be able to give your dog antioxidant supplements to reduce the severity and slow down the rate of degeneration in the retina.

 

It is always a good idea to research breeds before considering a new dog, and one of the biggest concerns when looking at a breed are the health concerns and average lifespan. As you can see with the dog breeds we’ve discussed, the most important consideration to keeping your dog healthy is to provide proper nutrition, exercise, and of course, love!

Healthiest Dog Breeds: Part 1

dog doctor

When looking to get a new dog or puppy, one of the biggest concerns of many future pet parents, are the common health problems of the breed. Even when considering a mixed breed dog, it is important to be knowledgeable and aware of possible future health issues with each breed that make up your mutt. This week we will be listing some of our favourite dog breeds that are well-known for their lack of health issues, also taking into consideration a long life span and great quality of life.

 

Australian Cattle Dog

The Australian Cattle dog belongs to the herding dog group. A medium-sized dog weighing about 30-35lbs when full grown. This energetic dog loves the outdoors and running around with his doggy friends all day. This is a very ‘sturdy’ breed that has no problem running into thick forests or jumping into lakes and getting dirty. They have an average life span of 13 years, and with proper exercise and nutrition, often live well beyond that number. You may be surprised to find just how active these dogs remain even into their later years. Your 8 year old Australian Cattle Dog will likely still be running around just like he did as a puppy!

 

Border Collie

Another super healthy dog also belonging to the herding dog group, the Border Collie! They are very active dogs that need a lot of daily exercise to help keep them healthy and happy. They have an average lifespan of 12-14 years and a few minor health problems that may occur in their later years such as hypothyroidism and Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA). With proper care, many Border Collies live into their senior years without any major health problems. Many Border Collie breeders have taken special care and many years to help ensure their puppies are as healthy as possible. Most of the small health issues that can occur in Border Collies can be tested for as a puppy and prevented or controlled before they become adult dogs.

 

Havanese

The smallest breed on our list today, the cute and cuddly Havanese! This breed has an average lifespan of 12-14 years and have very few health problems. Typical health concerns for Havanese are deafness and elbow dysplasia, these problems usually only occur in older Havanese although some puppies may be born deaf. Unlike our breeds listed above, the Havanese only needs short daily walks. But make sure he does get those daily walks! Dogs who are overweight are more likely to develop elbow dysplasia with that extra weight they are carrying around. Also remember to feed your Havanese high-quality dog food that doesn’t contain too much protein as that can also lead to canine elbow dysplasia.

 

These wonderful dog breeds  are known for their health and high quality of life and with proper exercise and nutrition, you are sure to give your dog the best years he can possibly have!

Breed of the Week: Tibetan Spaniel

tibetan spaniel

Our confident, pint-sized breed this week is the adventurous Tibetan Spaniel. These furry little guys share their ancestors with Pekingese, Pug and the Japanese Chin. They are intelligent and very trainable dogs suitable to confident owners.

 

The Tibetan Spaniel breed originated in the Himalayan mountains of Tibet, approximately 2,000 years ago. They were used mostly as companion dogs for the Monks, but were also keen watchdogs. The Tibetan Spaniel would sit for hours on top of a hill near the monastery, and alert the monks by barking if they saw anyone coming.

 

Although with their history you may expect the Tibetan Spaniel to be somewhat of a guard dog, in reality they are all bark and (typically) no bite. They make great watch dogs and will do lots of barking to alert you, but a well-balanced Tibetan Spaniel should never show any signs of aggression even to strangers. Typically, these dogs are pretty aloof around new people, they really light up when their owners are around. They are very loyal dogs that love to spend time with the people they’ve bonded to. Much like cats, they quite enjoy looking out the window for hours at a time, just watching people walking by. Just be sure they don’t lie by the window all day! These little guys need daily walks just like any other dog. They don’t require a lot of exercise, but still need to be active every day for their physical and mental well-being.

 

With their flat faces, the Tibetan Spaniel is known as a brachycephalic breed. So be sure that they don’t over exert themselves or are out too long in hot weather as their short muzzles can make it difficult to breath under these conditions.

 

The Tibetan Spaniel is a very intelligent and confident breed and can sometimes be a little stubborn. They are also extremely sensitive and intuitive to their owner’s mood. With all of this in mind, their training sessions should be done with a lot of patience and consistency. Avoid using any harsh training methods with this breed. The best method for training a Tibetan Spaniel is to first spend quality time together and really strengthen your bond, this will make training sessions much more enjoyable and productive!

 

To maintain the natural beauty of the Tibetan Spaniel, the owner should never trim the dog’s hair, other than the feet. Brushing should be done weekly as well as combing out the finer hair on their face. Depending on your particular Tibetan Spaniel, if they have large facial wrinkles, ensure to keep these clean by wiping them out with a pet safe wet wipe.

 

These compact little companions make great additions to almost any family. With their small size, they are suitable for city living. Using gentle and consistent training, the Tibetan Spaniel can grow to be a well-mannered watchdog and family member.

Benefits of Daily Walks with your Dog

dog holding leash

We all know how important it is for our dog’s physical and mental well-being to get their daily walks, but did you know the wonderful benefits that we receive from those walks? Here are some of our favourite added benefits to going for a nice walk with your pooch!

 

Quality Bonding Time

Dogs enjoy walking and exploring new areas with their ‘pack’ or family as this is one of the ways they bond. Even when visiting places they’ve been to just a few days ago, they will still be able to sniff around and get their daily news of what’s been going on and who’s been walking by. To get the most out of your bonding time with your dog, make sure you are fully involved with the walk and paying attention to your dog (not texting a friend or checking emails). To make it more interactive, try asking your dog to sit before crossing any roads, or make a game of it and have him ‘give paw’ when you see a red car drive by. These little interactions will help translate to your dog that you are excited to be involved in this walk with him.

 

Better Training Sessions

If you’ve worked with or seen a dog trainer in action, then you’ve probably seen that a tired dog is much easier to train than a restless one. Many dog trainers will ask for the dog to come to the session after his walk, or include a long walk at the beginning of the training session to let out any excess energy. The walk will also help your dog breathe in that fresh air and release similar endorphins in their brains that humans get when walking, resulting in a calmer dog.

 

Weight Loss Motivation

Waking up to a dog pulling blankets off of you, ready for their walk, can be great motivation to get up off your tush and get moving! If you are looking for a weight loss buddy, dogs can be a great motivator. Once you get into the habit of an hour long daily walk with your dog, it will get easier and easier for your body to get through that hour. And as the weight comes off and it gets easier to move, you can start taking your dog for hikes or bike rides! This will not only help keep your waistline in check, but also prevent your dog from becoming lazy and overweight.

 

It not only benefits your dog to go for a daily walk, it also benefits us humans! Take your pooch out for a walk today and you’ll both reap the wonderful benefits!

Breed of the Week: Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

wirehaired pointing griffon

Looking for a loveable and smart companion dog? Look no further than the amazing Wirehaired Pointing Griffon! They are true family dogs with a gentle spirit, and when it’s time for a family hike, they are right there with you. This dog can certainly keep up with the best of them, but unlike some other high energy dogs, the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon enjoys a lazy day too!

 

Although some may debate that the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon breed dates back to the mid 1500’s, the Pointing Griffon that we know and love today actually was developed in the late 1800’s. Similar dogs were around in the Netherlands at that time, creating the confusing on how old this breed really is. The breed was created by an avid hunter and sportsman to have a companion type dog that could work as a gun dog as well as have good speed, stamina and accuracy in retrieving game from the water. This explains why the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon is such a well-rounded dog and up for anything!

 

The Wirehaired Pointing Griffon has a rough, wiry double-coat. This coat helps protect them from all kinds of weather and makes them very sturdy dogs. Their coat also adds to their famous scruffy look. The Pointing Griffon sheds year round as well as going through 2-3 heavier shedding cycles a year (depending on the dog). They require regular brushing, about 2 times a week. They will also need to visit the groomer for hair clipping every 6-8 weeks or so (depending on your personal preference for the dog’s hair length). The Wirehaired Pointing Griffon is not a suitable dog for pristine homes with white carpets. The Pointing Griffon loves to play and get dirty, if there is a mud puddle outside, you bet your Pointing Griffon has already been in it! These dogs are famous for their eagerness to run through bush and thick forests, resulting in dirt, grass and burrs always in their fur.

 

This breed is fantastic for families. They thrive on doing daily activities with their humans. The Wirehaired Pointing Griffon is a very trainable dog that is eager to please his owners. This makes them a suitable dog for novice dog owners, as long as their exercise needs are met. They do enjoy cuddling on the couch from time to time, but too many lazy days will make an unhappy dog. Look to invest at least 2 hours a day of exercise with your Pointing Griffon.

 

The wonderful Wirehaired Pointing Griffon is the epitome of a well-rounded dog. Perfect for families and easy to train, it’s no wonder this dog has such a great reputation. This dog is happiest when he gets to spend the day being involved in his owner’s life. As long as you don’t mind a bit of a dirty dog from time to time, the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon is a lovely companion dog.

Making New Doggy Friends

dog friends

Are you looking for a new best friend for your pup? Has he been looking a little bored or lonely lately? Well, if you aren’t looking to add another dog to your family, a great solution is to find new playmates for your pup! We’ve put together our favourite tips on making new doggy friends.

 

Neutral Territory

One of the great things about going to the dog park, is that very rarely will you find dog’s being protective of the dog park itself. When you bring another dog into your home, your dog may feel he needs to protect the home and instead of trying to be friends, he may worry that his home is being threatened by this visitor. Having dogs meet on ‘neutral ground’ takes away those feelings of having to protect or guard the area and makes it much easier for dogs to play together and bond.

 

Similar Minds

When looking for a new best friend for Spot, you may find that your dog often gravitates to playing with certain breeds or certain sizes of dogs. This is not to say that opposites don’t sometimes attract in the dog world; but your border collie may not be having fun playing chase with a pug if the pug can’t keep up! Often times this is most true with highly active breeds such as border collies or dalmatians. They enjoy chasing and being chased….and going really really fast! So if their doggy buddy can’t keep up, you may need to look around for other high energy play times to really tire your dog out and help him get the most out of playtime.

 

Positivity

It can be very beneficial to use positive association when trying to help your dog bond with a new friend. Giving affection or praise after your dog had a long play session with his new buddy, will really enforce the thought of ‘I had a lot of fun today with that new dog and my owner was happy with me! Good things happen when I play with that dog!???. Be careful though to not create any jealousy between the dogs. If they are in the middle of interacting with each other, it may not be the best time to offer a treat as this could cause jealousy in the other dog and he may react aggressively, creating a negative experience. If you are unsure about creating positive associations for your dog, it is best to consult a certified dog behaviourist for advice.

 

With these helpful tips your pooch is sure to become a social butterfly!

Breed of the Week: German Shepherd- Best in Show!

german shepherd

The results are in! The winner of this year’s Westminster Dog Show is the German Shepherd! It’s no wonder this great breed took home the big title. Let’s take a closer look at what makes the German Shepherd such a stand out breed!

 

The German Shepherd breed was developed in Germany in the late 1800’s. They belong to the herding group as their original purpose was to guard and herd sheep. The original German Shepherd was very different looking to the Shepherd we know and love today. German Shepherds before World War II typically rough coats and short tails. By cross-breeding various sheep dog breeds in Germany, the German Shepherd was created with the intent to have a dog to guard sheep with very high stamina so they were able to herd sheep for longer periods of time (compared to the other sheep dogs at that time).

 

Being a working dog, German Shepherds should only go to suitable families or individuals that have active lifestyles and plan to train and be around their dog for a lot of the day. German Shepherds absolutely love spending time with their owners, so they would do great with an individual who can bring their dog to work. Being bred for high stamina, it can sometimes take a lot to tucker out these dogs, so be sure to switch it up and not let your Shepherd get bored! Go to the dog park one day, a hike the next, etc. It is also very important to give your German Shepherd mentally stimulating activities or problem-solving games as they are a fairly intelligent breed and are happiest when both their body and mind are tired.

 

The German Shepherd does require a lot of brushing to ensure his coat stays healthy and to help keep the fur off your couch! They have a thick double coat that sheds year round, a slicker brush is recommended for the German Shepherd to really get through that thick fur. Be sure to talk to your groomer before using the slicker brush, if used incorrectly it can scratch your dog’s skin. German Shepherds generally come in the black and tan colouring that you are probably most familiar seeing; but they can also come in many other colours such as all black, all white, or black and red.

 

The German Shepherd can get along great with young kids as well as other pets. Depending on their training and early socialization, most German Shepherds will get along with everyone and only a little standoffish with strangers. They do have protective instincts so they will act if they feel they or their family are being threatened.

 

The wonderful German Shepherd is one of the most recognisable breeds in the world. They can be a great family pet to an active family. Just as any dog breed, they need training and proper early socialization. The German Shepherd also requires lots of brushing (about 3-4 times a week). If you aren’t phased by all that brushing and are looking for a loving companion, the German Shepherd may be right for you!

Dog Safety Tips for Kids

kid walking great dane

Teaching young kids how to act around dogs is very important in today’s dog-filled society. Whether it’s your family pooch or an unfamiliar dog walking down the street, you want to be sure that your child knows how to properly behave around a dog and how to be respectful towards both the canine and the owner. We’ve complied some helpful tips for teaching your kids their doggy manners and staying safe!

 

Always Ask Before Approaching/ Petting a Dog

One of the most important safety tips is to always ask the owner before approaching or trying to pet the dog. Kids will often get so excited to see a new cute dog that they want to run up to it and start petting him! Unfortunately, this can often cause the dog to be surprised/overwhelmed and may react in a negative way such as biting. Try this exercise, take your child to a popular dog walking area, and show your child by example how to ask the owner first before petting and then calmly pet the dog. With enough practise, this will become the child’s natural response when they see a dog in the future. If you want to go a step further, you can teach your kids the colour codes that some dogs will wear to indicate various meanings (ex., red means ‘Caution! Do not touch’, green means ‘I am friendly!’)

 

Too Many Kisses!

Dogs and humans show affection in different ways. This is an important piece of information for kids to understand. At an early age, kids learn to show affection by hugging their friends and family; so it only makes sense that they would want to show the same affection to the new cute dog they just met! Unfortunately, dogs don’t typically show affection by hugs or kisses, and often times when a face or head is very close to their head, the dog becomes uncomfortable and will try to bite. It should be fully explained and emphasized to kids that the dog does not like hugs or kisses, but he really likes being gently pet!

 

Don’t Bother a Busy Dog!

 

Have you ever encountered a dog with a new toy that just wouldn’t let go of it no matter what? No problem for many adults, but that can seem really scary to a young kid, and if the dog really loves what he’s chewing on, he may become aggressive to protect it. For this reason, it is crucial that kids learn to not approach a dog who is eating, drinking or chewing on something. Especially with new dogs, you don’t know if that dog is familiar with kids, or if the dog has any possessive tendencies that could turn aggressive.

 

It is important to always monitor your kids interactions with dogs to ensure they are safe and being respectful to the animal. To ensure your child grows up to be confident and polite around dogs, it’s always a good idea to re-educate yourself by speaking with dog trainers, watching youtube videos of dog behaviour, or even speaking with a knowledgeable dog owner. By becoming more confident around dogs yourself, your kids will follow your lead to have a happy life with canines!