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!

Winter Safety Tips for your Pup!

dog winter

Around this time of year we all get to enjoy some beautiful snowy scenery. When out and about with your pup in this chilly weather it is important to be prepared to make sure your pup doesn’t get too cold! We’ve assembled our winter safety tips list to help keep you and your pup having fun in the snow this winter!

 

Double Coat vs. Single Coat

First things first, figure out if your dog has a double coat or a single coat. Most spitz-type dogs or super fluffy looking dogs will have a double coat that better protects them from the cold and helps to insulate heat. Examples of some dog breeds with double coats are huskies, golden retrievers and bernese mountain dogs. If your dog has a single coat he can be more susceptible to frostbite in very cold temperatures. It would be a good idea to invest in a high quality winter coat for your dog if he has a single coat. If you are unsure what type of coat your dog has, you can look up his particular breed online, ask your groomer or ask your vet. Keep in mind, even some dogs with double coats may need a winter jacket before going outside in the cold. Use your best judgement when it comes to your dog. One example of a dog with a double coat that may still require a winter jacket is the Yorkshire terrier. Even though they have thick fur, their tiny bodies can’t withstand that cold wind for too long!

 

Paw Care

If you find your dog gets dry or cracked paws in the wintertime, it may be a good idea to invest in some dog booties for him! Dog booties (although may feel weird to your dog when first trying them) will help to protect your dogs paw pads from getting too cold as well as drying out too much. On the other side, if your dog has very furry feet, it would be wise to take a trip to the groomer to get them trimmed. Excessive hair on the feet and between the paw pads can get wet running in the snow all day and then quickly freeze, keeping that frosty ice on your dog’s feet. And when your dog comes in from the snowy backyard, be sure to wipe down his feet with a dry towel to help them warm up faster (and help prevent puddles in your house as any ice or snow melts!).

 

Walk in the Sunshine!

If you find your pooch is getting too chilly on your morning or evening walks, try adjusting your routine so that your walks are when the sun’s out! This will dramatically help keeping your pup warm. Like most of us, we have busy lives where we can’t adjust our schedules to walking the dog during daylight hours, so look around for some knowledgeable dog walkers who can take your dog out. This doesn’t mean you have to pay for a dog walker year round, most dog walkers are more than happy to accommodate seasonal clients. So when you get home from a long day at work, your dog has already been tired out (without getting too cold!) and will only need a quick bathroom break before bed.

 

It is so important to make sure you and your dog are prepped and ready before taking on this cold weather. With these helpful tips your dog is sure to stay snuggly warm!

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!

Dog Friendly Birthday Cake

dog eating birthday cake

Looking for ways to make your wonderful dog’s birthday even more special? Why not make him/ her a homemade birthday cake (completely safe for dogs to eat!). Here is a simple recipe to make your dog’s birthday unforgettable!

 

Makes one 8??? round cake

 

Cake

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup natural peanut butter

3/4 cup applesauce

1/2 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling!)

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 egg

 

Frosting

1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt

1/2 cup natural peanut butter

 

To make the cake, grease an 8??? round spring form cake pan. Whisk your dry ingredients together (whole wheat flour and baking soda). In a separate bowl combine the wet ingredients together (peanut butter, applesauce, pumpkin puree, vegetable oil and egg). Combine your wet ingredients with the dry ingredients until just comes together (don’t overmix). Bake for 30-40 min at 350 degrees F.  Cake is done when a toothpick inserted into centre comes out clean.

 

When the cake is cool, whip together the greek yogurt and peanut butter until thoroughly combined and use as frosting for the cake. If you want to go a step further and personalize your pet’s cake, you can melt down some carob chips to pipe ‘Happy Birthday’.

 

Even though this cake is delicious, make sure your dog doesn’t eat too much at once! A 1/8 slice of this cake is a reasonable serving size for a medium-large breed dog. To ensure you don’t have so much leftover, invite some doggy friends to share in your dog’s birthday festivities! Just be sure to check for any doggie allergies first!

Breed of the Week: Chinese Crested

chinese crested

Our not so fluffy breed this week is the Chinese Crested Dog. If fur all over the house is a big concern for you, you may be interested in the Chinese Crested Dog! They are mostly hairless and can be sweet little companions to the right owner.

 

Although one would assume the Chinese Crested originated from China, which is surprisingly false. The origin is still much debated but most experts believe the breed to have originated either in Africa or South America as both continents have very similar native breeds. Some people would also argue that they have to have originated from Mexico because of their similarity to another hairless dog native to Mexico (the Xoloitzcuintli). Apparently when the breed started to become popular, many Chinese merchant ships would have Chinese Crested on board with them, thus giving the false impression that China is where they originated from. The breed became more popular as people were very curious about this breed and its very noticeable lack of hair.

 

The standard for the hairless Chinese Crested Dog is to have no hair on the body, some hair on the face, neck and feet. Chinese Crested Dogs also come in a variety known as the ‘powderpuff’ and looks like a completely different dog breed! The powderpuff has thick, soft fur all over its body. Even though the hairless variety is typically more desired, the continuation of the Chinese Crested breed depends on the powderpuffs! Breeders have said that when two hairless Chinese Crested’s are bred together, there is a high risk of the litter not surviving in utero. So when breeding, you need to combine a hairless Chinese Crested with a Powder Puff to produce a healthy litter. Within that litter, there will be both powder puff varieties as well as the hairless variety. You could also breed two powder puff varieties together, but then you would be unlikely to produce any hairless varieties in the litter (and the hairless is more popular/desired).

 

Chinese Crested Dogs love following their owner everywhere. They often become very bonded to one person and can be quite standoffish with strangers. Although a gentle breed, the Chinese Crested is generally not a fan of being messed with by young kids or rough housed by rambunctious puppies and can become aggressive just like any dog when overly stressed. Owners should definitely socialize their Chinese Crested early on with strangers and other dogs. It would also be wise to teach the Chinese Crested how to stay calm instead of reacting aggressively in stressful situations. You can do this by working with them on confidence building exercises as well as being near stimulating situations (such as a puppy walking by) and teaching your Chinese Crested to focus on you and stay calm. This will eventually help them learn how to stay calm on their own.

 

Chinese Crested dogs are not overly active, they enjoy staying on the warm living room couch all day! They only require basic exercising, about 1 or 2 long walks a day depending on the dog’s health and age. Even though they enjoy lounging around, you’d be surprised how fast they can run! They will often get sprints of high energy where they run around as fast as they can for a short while, then lazy the rest of the day!

 

The Chinese Crested Dog is a loveable little friend for the owner who enjoys having a little shadow follow them around. Although mostly easy-going, they do get their high-energy moments! They require a good amount of socializing to ensure they enjoy their time spent with other people and doggy friends. With their fascinating breeding requirements to continue the breed, and their vastly different varieties, you can be sure you’ll have one of the most interesting breeds in the neighbourhood!

Flyball! What It’s All About!

flyball dog

This week we are learning all about Flyball! A fun competition for you and your dog to get into! Read on to learn about the history of this fast paced competition and what you and your dog can gain from taking part!

 

Flyball was created in Southern California in the late 1960’s by a man named Herbert Wagner. Flyball was created as a different take on scent hurdle racing. In scent hurdle racing, dogs are required to jump over a series of hurdles, at the end of the hurdles they are giving the option of several different objects to pick up. They must choose the correct object (only one of the objects matches the scent that they were given at the start of the race), then bring back the object to the handler, jumping over each hurdle again. Whichever dog is the fastest and most accurate in bringing the correct object, wins!

 

A similar premise to scent hurdle racing, in Flyball, dogs have to jump over a series of hurdles, at the end of the hurdles is a spring loaded box that releases a tennis ball when pressed/jumped on by the dog. Once the dog presses on the box and has the tennis ball, he runs back over the hurdles to his handler. Once again, the fastest dog or Flyball team, wins!

 

The sport of Flyball is fantastic for all breeds. You’ll find just about every type of dog can get excited about this sport, whether it’s a Chihuahua or an Irish Wolfhound! Although many dog breeds can get involved in scent hurdle racing, typically the dog breeds with more scent receptors will have a higher success rate. With Flyball, all your dog needs to do is run, jump and catch! This is a great way to drain out some energy from very active dogs, and it even gives them mental stimulation so you can be sure they’ll be exhausted when they get home! High energy working breeds such as the border collie love to get involved with Flyball. They get to run as fast as they can, and they use their brain power to really focus in on the task at hand (get that ball!).

Flyball is not only great for getting out some energy, but also for strengthening your bond with your dog. Spending all day together at a Flyball competition or spending an hour practising, simply spending that interactive time together will bring you two closer, and your dog will likely give you even more cuddles for it!

 

Feeling inspired to get your dog started? You can easily find Flyball groups looking for new members on the North American Flyball Association website.

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!