Breed of the Week: Vizsla

vizsla

This week we are highlighting a Hungarian sporting dog with endless energy! The Vizsla (pronounced VEE-zh-lah) is a gentle companion, ready to go on any adventure with his owner!

 

The Vizsla is a lean, short-haired dog originating from Hungary in the 1800’s. Some Vizsla enthusiasts believe that the breed was actually created in the 9th century, it is more likely that this isn’t factual, there were many working breeds similar to the Vizsla around that time which is what creates the confusion on how old this breed is. There are several theories as to who are the ancestors of the Vizsla, the popular belief is that the Vizsla was created from the greyhound and Transylvanian hound dog. Also adding to the confusion of this breeds history is that ‘Vizsla’ in Hungarian means ‘Pointer’. So some references to the Vizsla from the 1800’s are actually referring to completely different pointer type dogs.

 

The way humans worked with dogs during the 1800’s was changing in that it was becoming less and less common to have one dog for locating game, another dog to hunt it, another dog to retrieve it. People were looking for efficient dogs that could do all of these tasks and for a wide variety of game (instead of just one or two kinds). Thus, the Vizsla was bred for these tasks, and did them all phenomenally. To add to the Vizsla’s already impressive resume, hunters were wanting this super dog to also be a great companion for the home. The Vizsla really was created with all of these amazing uses and desired traits in mind. At the same time that the Vizsla was becoming popular, Germany had begun creating breeds with the same traits in mind, such as the German long-haired pointer and the Weimeraner. Many Vizsla owners will tell you that the Vizsla is still the most affectionate of all the pointer type breeds to this day.

 

The Vizsla does not require much grooming at all. Regular nail clipping, making sure his teeth and ears stay clean is all you really need to take care of. The Vizsla does not shed too much, just small hairs that can be easily picked up with a roller brush.

 

The Vizsla is a highly active dog and would do better with a large backyard or wide open spaces as opposed to an apartment in the city. They require lots of exercise every day. Lucky for you, they typically get along great with other dogs and can play with their friends at the dog park all day. Being a working dog, Vizsla’s love to have a game with purpose such as fetch or Frisbee. But be sure that your Vizsla does not get possessive over toys. The intensity of some working dogs when not handled correctly can sometimes result in undesirable behaviours (such as protecting or getting aggressive over toys).

 

If you are lucky enough to be able to bring your dog to work every day, the Vizsla may just be the perfect dog for you! Vizsla owners will lovingly describe their Vizlas as ‘Velcro dogs’ as they never leave your side. When you have a Vizsla, you have an extra shadow. Be sure to play confidence building games with your Vizsla and to practise staying calm when coming or going as to not encourage separation anxiety. They generally get along great with strangers and are very gentle with kids. Just as with any breed, you should always socialize your dog early with other dogs, people and animals to help them be confident adult dogs.

 

The Vizsla is a very active dog who loves to go for a run then cuddle up with you on the couch. He will stick to you like Velcro and follow you everywhere you go. One of the most affectionate of the pointer-type breeds, the Vizsla is an amazing companion to the right owner/ family. Ideally they should go to a home with lots of space to run around so they can get out some of their endless energy. The Vizsla is an amazing dog that could win both athlete of the year as well as best cuddle buddy!

Breed of the Week: Dandie Dinmont Terrier

dandie dinmont terrier

Here’s a breed most people haven’t heard of, the Dandie Dinmont Terrier. Known as the gentleman of the terrier group, this breed is very rare and it is a long and thorough process to own one of these dogs. Read on to find out why this dog is so rare and what differs them from the rest of the terrier group.

 

The Dandie Dinmont Terrier is one of the oldest recorded breeds in the world, going back as far as the 1700’s. Originally bred in Scotland, the Dandie Dinmont would assist with hunts for badgers and otter. Remarkably, unlike many breeds we have today, the Dandie Dinmont from the 1700’s compared to the Dandie now, are almost completely identical. Breeders have worked very hard to maintain the high standards of this breed and ensure that they have the desired temperament and appearance.

 

The Dandie Dinmont was the first terrier recorded to be given a name, separating it from the other terriers. Up until then, all terrier-type dogs were simply just called terriers. In the early 1800’s, there was a novel written called ‘Guy Mannering’ by Walter Scott. Walter was a proud owner of several Dandie Dinmont Terriers and decided to include them in his novel. In ‘Guy Mannering’, one of the characters was named Dandie Dinmont and this character took his little tan and grey terrier dogs everywhere he went. When people read this book, they wanted their very own little Dandie Dinmont terrier too!

 

With new breeds on the rise, the Dandie became less and less popular to own as they were no longer the new craze. Die hard Dandie Dinmont enthusiasts and breeders have worked hard to keep this wonderful breed going, but even so, anyone looking to own a Dandie will likely have to purchase from a breeder in Scotland and be put on about a two year waiting list.

 

Although from the terrier group (who are known for their high energy), the Dandie is surprisingly low-key and with about two walks a day, he is quite content to spend the rest of his time on the couch. They get along amazingly with other dogs. Once they find a doggy friend they like, good luck calling him in for dinner! Dandie’s are big goofballs that love to play for hours upon hours.

 

The Dandie Dinmont Terrier is a non-shedding dog, but he will still require trips to the groomer to have his hair trimmed to the Dandie hair cut or for an all over shave. The Dandie hair cut leaves a large ‘topknot’ on the Dandie’s head (almost like he’s wearing a large hat!). Because this terrier is built with such short legs, their stomach is very low to the ground and will get dirty often! Be sure to always have some pooch shampoo stocked at home!

 

This little terrier is known for his ability to adapt too many different situations very easily. They aren’t fussy dogs, as long as they get time to run outside for a bit every day, they are quite content living in an apartment or condo.

 

If you’re ready to bring an easy going but playful dog into your home, be sure to get in touch with a Dandie Dinmont breeder or rescue! Although there may be a long wait time till your little guy comes home, it will be worth having this wonderful dog in your life!

Breed of the Week: Komondor

white komondor

Our hairy breed this week is the Komondor. Also commonly known as the ‘mop dog’ with their tons of dreadlocks. Most people look at this dog and see a giant walking mop! While this breed might not be so great at mopping up your kitchen floor, they do have some fabulous traits that would suit many owners!

 

The Komondor originated in Hungary in the 9th century (known then as the Danube Basin Region). The breed was used for guarding livestock, mostly sheep. The Komondor was bred to be a strong and calm watchdog and we can see that in their personalities even today. As with many breeds, the Komondor was almost wiped out during World War II. With the ties being cut off between United States and Hungary, all importing came to a halt including bringing in Komondor dogs for breeding. After the war, Hungary slowly re-established the breed and eventually gained popularity with breeders in United States.

 

The Komondor takes his job as a protector very seriously. They are most comfortable when their owner or family are all within eyesight so they can keep watch over them. Under all those dreads are a lot of muscle, so be sure to train them to walk nicely on leash. While they aren’t known to be a rambunctious breed, just as with any dog, if the Komondor finds something interesting on your walk together, he might go running after it and is strong enough to drag you along with him! The Komondor does well with children and other animals when properly socialized. When training a Komondor, it’s a good idea to heavily focus on their guarding instincts. You want to make sure your dog knows to stay calm when you are welcoming a new person into your home.

 

The Komondor can be very high maintenance for grooming. If you aren’t a fan of the dreadlock look or don’t want to deal with maintaining the dreads, you can have your Komondor clipped/shaved so there is only short somewhat curly hair all over.

If you are a fan of the dreadlocks (also known as cords) on the Komondor, first thing you should know is to never brush out the dreads. This will damage the hair and create more grooming issues down the road. When the Komonder is around 9 months of age, they start to lose their soft baby fur, and it begins to change to a coarser, thicker hair. On its own, the hair will start to naturally clump around their legs and bum. If you are doing the cording process, this is the time to start pulling apart (by hand only!) the chunks of fur to determine the size each dread will approximately be. The dog will be completely corded (dreadlocks all over their body) by about 2 years of age. If you are thinking about bringing a Komondor into your life, be sure to have your groomer on call as even the smallest mistakes could possibly ruin the look and the health of your Komondor’s hair. It is recommended to leave any bathing to your groomer due to the extremely long process of properly drying the cords.

 

The Komondor is a great companion for many families. With proper training and grooming maintenance, they can make wonderful pets. Be sure to stay in touch with your groomer to ensure your Komondor has their dreadlocks looking their best!

Amazing Things Dogs Can Detect: Part 2

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Dogs can make fantastic pets, but did you know your dog might not just be a cute face, he could also be detecting things you weren’t even aware of! A lot of dogs can detect changes in the earth as well as in the human body, simply with their great sense of smell! You’d be surprised to learn all the things your dog might be detecting without you even realizing it! Continuing from last week’s ‘Amazing Things Dogs Can Detect; Part 1’, here is the rest of our list of fascinating things dogs can detect!

 

Thunderstorms       Most of us are very familiar to being woken up in the middle of the night to our dogs acting anxious, and then an hour later, there’s a thunderstorm! Could there be any correlation? Are our dog’s psychic? Well, no, your dog might not be psychic, but he can definitely smell that thunderstorm or rain on its way! Have you ever stepped outside the day after a storm and thought, ‘wow, it really smells like rain today’? Now think about your dog’s incredible sense of smell, if humans can smell the rain, you better believe our furry friends pick up on that scent way before we do. Typically they start to notice the different smell in the atmosphere 30-60 min before it even starts to pour!

 

Diabetes                   We’ve had service dogs around for years and they have provided their owners with independence and confidence. One of the amazing things service dogs can be trained to detect are changes in blood sugar levels within the human body. This being extremely useful for individuals who are diabetic. When blood sugar levels drop dramatically, our bodies produce chemical changes that dogs can pick up on when they sniff our breath and skin. This can give diabetic individuals peace of mind when they are out and about. Blood sugar levels can drop drastically in the body and sometimes the individual won’t notice until it’s a serious emergency. Trained service dogs help these individuals by alerting them so the owner can have more time to get their insulin. These types of service dogs are best suited to individuals who have unpredictable and dramatic changes in the blood sugar levels.

 

Anxiety         At some point we’ve all heard the old saying ‘dogs can smell fear’. While this is in fact accurate, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the dog will then become aggressive. Most dogs will actually recognise an individual who is fearful of them, and often avoid them. But can dogs really smell fear or are they just looking at our facial cues? The answer is, both! Dogs (especially ones we’ve bonded to) are very good readers of our facial expressions and that definitely plays a part in them recognising our fear/ anxiety. But dogs actually do rely on their noses in this situation too! When we start feeling anxious, our bodies pump blood faster, we release adrenaline, start sweating and releasing pheromones that dogs pick up on.

 

We’ve discussed some amazing things that dogs can detect. Some owners may find their dog can sense even more things than we’ve listed here! It is truly remarkable how our furry friends can sniff out and sense oncoming rain and the earth’s magnetic field. We are lucky to have them in our lives!

 

Breed of the Week: Pharaoh Hound

pharaoh hound

Native to the island of Malta, our featured breed this week is the graceful hunter, the Pharaoh Hound. This hard working dog may not be right for apartment living, but they certainly make excellent companions to the hunters of Malta.

 

There are no records showing when this breed was developed. It is thought that the Pharaoh hound is so ancient that they existed before humans started writing. Many people believe the Pharaoh hound is related to the Podenco Canario and the Ibizan Hound. The Pharaoh hound was introduced to America in the late 1960’s, but the breed is still quite rare in North America today. Although rare to most of the world, the Pharaoh hound is the official breed of Malta and an important part to the citizen’s daily lives. Even today, Pharaoh hounds are used as guard dogs in Malta as well as for hunting (specifically rabbit). The Maltese people call the Pharaoh dog ‘Kelb tal-Fenek’ meaning ‘Rabbit dog’. Not only are they used most often for hunting rabbits, they have a slight resemblance to rabbits with their big tall ears.

 

Grooming for the Pharaoh hound is extremely minimal. You won’t have to take him in for any haircuts and with their short hair you don’t need to worry about brushing out any knots or tangles. Pharaoh hounds are not big shedders at all, in fact, some allergy sufferers who normally react to dog hair, have reported having no reaction when around the Pharaoh hound. The only things you’ll need to take care of are making sure their ears and teeth stay clean and nails trimmed.

 

Pharaoh hounds are recommended for more experienced dog owners, and do well when they are used for specific job such as hunting. They need to have enough space to run and get out their energy. Don’t expect your Pharaoh hound to be satisfied with one game of Frisbee every day. They are extremely intelligent dogs that were built to be hard workers. Not only do you need to fulfill their needs for mental and physical stimulation, you also need to come up with ways for them to feel accomplished. Pharaoh hounds gain satisfaction when they catch the rabbit after a hunt as they have completed their task, and telling them to go fetch a tennis ball with no reason why, will not keep them happy. If you aren’t interested in having your Pharaoh hound go hunting, another job you can give them is search and rescue. Find a toy that they like and they recognize the smell of, and teach them the game of search and rescue. Give them lots of rewards when they find the object, and make sure to keep it challenging, change up the toy/ object, hide it farther and farther each time, etc. This will help keep your Pharaoh hound from becoming bored and unhappy.

 

The Pharaoh hound can be a wonderful companion with the right owner, but can easily become bored, destructive, and unruly with the wrong one. They require an owner who has lots experience with more primitive-type dog breeds as well as someone who has the proper time to dedicate to this high energy dog every day. With lots of consistent training, exercise, and fulfilling mental stimulation, the Pharaoh hound can be a loyal and sweet dog who is a pleasure to be around!

Amazing Things Dogs Can Detect!: Part 1

dog with pregnant woman

Most of us have heard of dogs and their ‘supernatural’ seeming abilities to detect changes in nature, the planet, even human bodies! We’ve put together short list of some fascinating things our canine companions have been known to detect.

 

Earth’s Magnetic Field      Do you ever wonder why your dog spins around so much just before he does his business. Researchers have shown that when dogs spin around as they do before going to the bathroom, is actually them just aligning themselves facing either North or South (meaning they are able to detect our magnetic field!). But don’t leave your compass at home just yet; Dogs will only do this when the Earth’s magnetic field is calm.

 

Cancer           Did you know Cancer has a smell? In its later stages, scientists have confirmed that there is in fact, a detectable smell. If that isn’t crazy enough, dogs can detect that smell way before we can. Some dogs are able to detect certain types of cancer even in its early stages, just by their remarkable sense of smell. There have been many reports around the world of dogs ‘catching’ the cancer early on in their owners, leading to early detection and intervention; and saving many lives!

 

Pregnancy    When a woman becomes pregnant, her body goes through a lot of changes. One of the first changes being hormones. Dogs are able to sniff out the different chemical composition in our bodies when our hormones change. The way your dog reacts to the change is completely unique to them. They may become a little bit more distant, or a little more protective of you. Even though they recognise that you smell different, it is still widely believed that they don’t know why. They don’t comprehend that you are growing a human inside your belly. So when baby finally comes home and meets your dog, your dog probably isn’t thinking “Hey! You must’ve been what my owner was carrying for 9 months!???.

 

It is truly remarkable what our pets can detect. They can see, feel, hear and smell things that we are completely unaware of at times. With so many fascinating things that our dogs can perceive, it’s no wonder we had to make two lists! Check back next week for our Part 2 of amazing things dogs can detect!

Breed of the Week: Papillon

papillon

This week we are looking at one of the oldest spaniel breeds, the Papillon. Also known as the Continental Toy Spaniel, this dog is most recognised by its fluffy ears that resemble butterfly wings. A friendly and energetic dog, the Papillon is a great companion in a tiny package.

 

The Papillon is one of the oldest known breeds in the world. This breed dates back to the 15th Century! Their exact origin is still unknown to this date, but suspected to likely be Belgium, France or Spain. As depicted in many old paintings, we have come to find that many famous historic figures loved this little spaniel. Marie Antoinette was known to carry her little Papillon around with her quite often. The breed originally had droopy ears, it wasn’t until the late 1800’s that Papillon breeders started breeding for erect ears. During this time that the erect ears became more popular, any Papillon’s that did not have erect ears came to be known as the Phalene (meaning night moth). Interestingly enough, even through years of breeding for either erect or drooped ears, when a Papillon gives birth, you can have pups with erect ears and ones with drooped ears within that same litter!

 

If you are looking for a dog that won’t leave fur all over your house, then do not get a Papillon. These guys shed a lot and need to be brushed at least every other day. If you want to maintain the classic Papillon haircut then you will be going to the groomer about once a month. If you are okay with him not looking absolutely perfect or if you prefer the puppy cut (short hair all over) then only need to visit the groomer about every 4 months. Be very gentle when you are brushing the Papillon as they do have a lot of fur, but it’s not thick. The Papillon doesn’t have a double coat like some other breeds, so be sure to have a soft touch when brushing to not accidentally hurt or scratch the dog’s skin.

 

The Papillion is a sweet and friendly little dog. When properly socialized, they are often very friendly with dogs, cats and new people. These little guys are high energy and very intelligent (imagine a tiny border collie). They need to have adequate physical and mental stimulation every day to not bored and get into trouble. Papillons are very light-footed and fast, meaning they can be great escape artists. It’s important to work on your Papillon’s recall early on (as well as teach them to stay within your property when off leash) to ensure that when you open the front door, they don’t run out.

 

When owning a toy breed such as the Papillon, safety is a big concern. Even a short fall down some stairs or accidentally stepping on your dog if he’s quietly running by your feet, can seriously injury their tiny bodies. So be sure to look around your house and ‘tiny dog proof’ it to make sure they aren’t at risk of getting hurt or getting stuck somewhere.

 

The Papillon can be a fantastic companion to an active owner. They do great in apartments and don’t take up much space! With that in mind, they will need time outside to run around daily and get out all of their energy. Be prepared for trips to the groomer and maintaining your dog’s coat in between grooms. The Papillon is a wonderful and happy little dog that can be a lot of joy to the right owner!

Breed of the Week: Brussels Griffon

brussels-griffon

Have you ever noticed a furry, pug-looking dog at the dog park? Well you might have just seen our featured breed this week, the Brussels Griffon! Lot’s of personality, and hilarity packed into one little dog. These guys will surely make you laugh on a daily basis.

 

The Brussels Griffon originated in Belgium in the early 1800’s. They were owned by coachmen and used to hunt rodents in the stables were the coachmen kept their horses. They were cross-bred with the pug and a type of Belgian terrier. Later added to the mix was the King Charles Spaniel and the English Toy Spaniel. Once these secondary breeds were added to the making of the Brussels Griffon, it resulted in the many coat variations we see today in the Brussels Griffon.

 

The Brussels Griffon comes in many different colour variations such as beige, black, red and black & tan. They can have a smooth coat or a wire-coat. The smooth coat Brussels generally have shorter hair that is easy to maintain and requires minimal grooming. The wire-coat will need regular trips to the groomer for trimming. The classic Brussels Griffon haircut is a short body and head, with longer hair around their mouth making it look as though they have a beard.

 

This great little dog adapts well to any sort of housing. They do fine in apartments or condominiums, generally only needing one good walk a day along with bathroom breaks. The most important thing to these dogs is to be with their owner at all times. They adore humans, especially the ones they have bonded with and dislike being left alone (sometimes resulting in being destructive). Brussels Griffon owners would do well to not accidentally enforce their anxious tendencies such as a big, exciting reunion when coming home from work. Dog breeds who are more inclined to developing separation anxiety should always be greeted in a calm manner and even ignored until they have settled down. Responding to an anxious dog with excitement when you’ve been separated for a period of time can result in increasing their anxiety in the future.

 

These dogs can get along fantastically with other animals when properly socialized and are generally good with strangers. If you think you’re ready for a loving little bearded dog, consider bringing in the wonderful Brussels Griffon to your home!

Choosing the Right Groomer

Red Toy Poodle puppy sits on a white background

 

Bought your first pup and looking for a new groomer to maintain their stylish looks? Or maybe you’ve been to other groomers already and are not completely satisfied? We’ve put together a few tips to help you find the right groomer for you and your four-legged friends!

 

Look Around!          Did you notice that gorgeous looking poodle walking down the street? Or maybe that handsome Bichon Frise? Next time you see a well-groomed dog at the dog park, ask the owner where they go! A great looking groom is free advertisement for a groomer and shows you their skill level. Try to keep an eye out for dogs similar looking to your dog to get a better idea of how the groomer will be with your particular dog. Every groomer will have some breeds they are better at. Just because your groomer can do a great groom on a cocker spaniel, doesn’t mean they will do a great groom on your miniature schnauzer.

 

Ask Questions!       When you are entrusting someone to maintain your pet’s lovely coat, it’s normal to be a little anxious for your first few grooms. So prepare a list of all your questions ahead of time and ask the groomer before your first groom. Find out how familiar they are with grooming your particular dog’s breed, how many years they’ve been grooming for, their full list of services, etc. Think of as many questions as you can to really get to know your groomer and what type of service you will be provided with.

 

Check Certifications!         You always want to be sure that your groomer is properly certified for all the services that they offer. Many groomers are self-taught and/ or self-employed, but they are still encouraged to become certified as a groomer/ pet stylist in Canada. As well, they should be certified for several other services if they offer them, such as treating fleas and ticks. Beware if your groomer offers any services that require anesthesia such as teeth scaling (different from teeth cleaning which is typically done with dog toothpaste and toothbrush). These procedures should be left to your veterinarian for the health and safety of your dog. Complications can arise with these more invasive services/ procedures and you want to be sure there is a team of trained staff to be there for your pet as well as the proper medical equipment found in a vet’s office.

 

Whether you want a new ‘do’ for your new Bouvier, or trying to find a calm groomer for your senior coton du tulear; these tips are sure to help you and your dog find the most compatible groomer for you!