Breed of the Week: American Foxhound

american foxhound

The American Foxhound is one of the oldest American Dog Breeds. Although not a suitable apartment dog, this breed is a fantastic hunter as well as a gentle and easy-going cuddler!

 

The American Foxhound breed was developed in the late 1700’s, but the ancestor breeds (various other hound-type dogs) were brought over to America in the early 1600’s. The American Foxhound that we recognise today, was bred in Virginia, so it is no wonder that it is the state’s official dog breed! The breed was specifically bred to hunt foxes, often the American grey and red foxes. Today, the breed is still almost always used as a working dog. Either helping on the farm carrying heavy loads for the farmer (as this breed has a lot of strength and stamina), as hunting companions (used for tracking foxes), or competing in scent detection trials. This breed hates to be bored so it is best to only get this dog if you have a routine job for them to do.

 

Being a hound, this breed will definitely alert you with that typically hound ‘baying’ whenever he hears a noise. For this reason (as well as their high energy level), this breed is not a good option for small living spaces. The American Foxhound gets very bonded to their owners and enjoy working side by side with them. This breed is typically standoffish with strangers, and should be socialized early to prevent any fear or aggression towards strangers. They typically get along great with young kids, they can get along with other pets such as cats when heavily socialized to them, but they do have a prey drive so you should always use your best judgment.

 

They can be quite stubborn dogs when it comes to training. You should always stay calm, positive and patient with this breed. These dogs respond well to positive training methods, as well as they appreciate being given a reason to what you’ve asked of them. If you ask an American Foxhound to sit, they will look at you first almost like their asking “but why should I sit???? (usually cookies are a good enough reason!). Just be sure to not use too many training treats as this breed loves their food and can easily become overweight if not managed carefully.

 

Grooming needs for the Foxhound are very low maintenance. Being short-haired, they only require brushing maybe once a week. As they are often outdoors, they may need a few more wipe down than other dogs to keep them from tracking mud in the house!

 

The American Foxhound is a sweet and gentle breed, loyal to their family. They will spend all day outside if they are allowed, and their grooming needs are very low maintenance. Ensure that they don’t pig out on too many cookies and that they are getting enough exercise so that your Foxhound stays happy and healthy!

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!

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!

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!

Dog Breed Classifications: Part 2

dog-line-up-2

Continuing from last week, here is our second instalment of the 7 dog breed classifications! We’ve already discussed Hounds, Herding dogs and Toy Dogs. Today we will be going over the remaining 4 classifications, Terriers, Working dogs, Non-sporting and Sporting dog breeds.

 

Terriers: Some well-known dog breeds belonging to the terrier group are the miniature schnauzer, jack Russell terrier and the largest breed of the terrier group, the Airedale. When you think of a terrier breed, usually what comes to mind is a little, energetic go-getter kind of dog. They often have big personalities and are quite confident. Terriers were bred to hunt vermin and they had to be very persistent to catch their tiny prey. Families interested in bringing a terrier into their home would do well to socialize them early with other dogs to ensure they don’t get too ‘bossy’ as they can sometimes become bullies at the dog park with their high level of confidence and persistence.

 

Working: Examples of dogs from the working dog group are the Alaskan Malamute, Bernese Mountain Dog and the Boxer. Working dogs like the Alaskan Malamute were used to pull sleds. Even in extreme cold weather and thick snow, these dogs had to have a lot of stamina and strength. These dogs were bred to be working all day long, and then they love to have a nice relaxing time at home after a long day of work. If you are considering buying or adopting a working dog breed, be sure to provide them with enough space and time to get out all of their energy. They will need lots of physical and mental stimulation to simulate the long days of work that they were bred for.

 

 

Non-Sporting: Some adorable examples of non-sporting dog breeds are the French Bulldog, Coton de Tulear, and the Lhasa Apso. Unlike the working dog group, the non-sporting group was bred for no other reason than to be our wonderful and cute companions. These dogs were not bred with a specific purpose such as hunting or guarding life stock. These dogs are typically smaller so they are suitable for apartment living, although there are some large breed non-sporting dogs too such as the Chow Chow. Families looking for a dog who is specifically bred to be a great companion, would do well to get a dog from the non-sporting group. Activity level greatly varies amongst the breeds within the non-sporting group.

 

Sporting: In the Sporting dog group we have dog breeds such as the Chesapeake Bay Retriever, German shorthaired Pointer and the Golden Retriever. Dogs in the sporting dog group are typically quite active and intelligent. They have excellent hunting instincts and doing very well in competitions. Sporting dogs are very similar to dog breeds in the working dog group as they need to be with an owner with an active lifestyle. Sporting dogs make excellent companions and as long as they are properly exercised, they will quite happily cuddly up with the family on the couch.

 

We had a lot of fun discussing the different dog breed classifications and we hope you enjoyed it just as much as we did!

Dog Breed Classifications: Part 1

dog-line-up

Ever wonder why some dogs have never ending energy while others are more inclined to lay on the couch all day? Well part of the reason is what the dog’s ancestors were bred for! Today we will look at 3 of the 7 different classifications of dogs that will give us more insight into their personalities and why they act the way they do!

 

Hounds: The hound group includes dog breeds such as beagles, Norwegian elkhounds and basset hounds. These dogs typically have more scent receptors than breeds in other groups which tells you why they are known to always be on a scent. If you are interested in bringing a hound into your family, be aware that it may be more difficult to have reliable recall as they will often be distracted by a good scent. As well as they will typically ‘bay’ instead of bark, which some people prefer but it is not for everyone. So it helps to have a fondness for that baying sound!

 

Herding: Some of the dog breeds belonging to the herding group are the Border collie, Australian cattle dog and the Collie. You will often notice right away when a herding-type dog is playing at the dog park as their favourite way to play is chasing other dogs, mimicking their herding nature. Owners of herding dogs would be wise to ensure their dogs learn early on how to play nicely as they can sometimes be prone to nipping other dog’s ankles as this is the way their ancestors would herd livestock.  Herding dogs are generally very high energy and very intelligent so they are best suited to a family with an active lifestyle. They love to be challenged to learning new things and do great in agility competitions.

 

Toy Group: Examples of breeds from the toy group are the Chihuahua, maltese and Pekingese. These dogs were bred with the intent to have a small compact dog suitable to apartment and city living (as well as to be very cute!). These dogs do typically have that high-pitch bark so it would be wise to teach them early on to be quiet on command. You will often find toy dogs with not so great manners (of course this does not go for all toy dogs!) because their cuteness will generally let them get away with whatever trouble they get into. It is very important for owners of a dog from the toy group to look past that adorable face and ensure they are keeping up with their manners (not barking, jumping up on people, nipping, etc.).

 

Now that we’ve had a look at 3 of the 7 types of dog classifications, be sure to check in next week for the remaining 4!

Breed of the Week: Chihuahua

chihuahua

We’ve discussed lots of giant dog breeds in our ‘breeds of the week’, but this week we will be looking at a tiny little dog, the Chihuahua! Popularized in the 90’s as a mascot for a fast food chain, this tiny dog has a very big personality!

 

This breed was developed in Mexico in the mid 1800’s. They were named after the ‘Chihuahua’ state in Mexico. They are thought to originate from an ancient small breed in Mexico call the ‘Techichi’. It was common to find ancient remains of Chihuahua-looking dogs in old Mexican ruins. The Toltec people of Mexico created the Techichi and believed that their faithful companions would follow them to the afterlife and so this ancient civilization would have their Techichi buried with them when they would pass away.

 

The Chihuahua started to become popular in America in the mid 1900’s as this was the time when more people were settling down in cities and less people were working on farmland. The Chihuahua wasn’t very popular earlier than this, due to their very small size, they aren’t a working dog breed. Dogs were generally owned to work alongside farmers, guarding livestock, pulling carts, etc. When more of the population started residing in cities, they were now becoming more interested in owning a dog for companionship, but keeping in mind they need to be small as they’d be living in smaller places.

 

The Chihuahua can come in almost any colour or hair type you can think of! You can get a Chihuahua that’s blonde, black, white, short haired, long haired, you name it! Only if your Chihuahua is long haired will it require hair clipping. Every Chihuahua will need brushing about once every two weeks. They do not shed as much as many other types of dog breeds, but they still do shed! They will require basic grooming like bathing, nail clipping, etc. Generally speaking, the short haired Chihuahua is one of the more low maintenance dog breeds in terms of grooming needs.

Chihuahuas can be very sensitive dogs and will quickly respond to how their owner is feeling and acting. If the owner is calm and confident, the Chihuahua will often be a sweet and gentle dog. Unfortunately, if the dog is spoiled or coddled too much, this can create the dog to feel anxious or fearful and will often result in barking or nipping. For instance, the Chihuahua is the breed you often see being carried around in a purse and being reassured or coddled when barking or acting fearful around strangers. Dogs need their owner’s guidance and corrections to learn what behaviour is not okay and what behaviour is. For this reason, it is very important to socialize your Chihuahua and not accidentally reward or coddle them if they are barking or trying to nip at strangers.

 

Chihuahuas can be wonderful companions that are faithful to their owners, and when properly socialized, sweet and well-mannered little dogs. With their small size, they are perfect pets for small living spaces such as apartments. If you are interested in a popular pint sized pup, look no farther than the wonderful Chihuahua!