Breed of the Week: Italian Greyhound

italian greyhound

Meet our cute and tiny featured breed this week, the Italian Greyhound! This miniature pooch is super playful and gentle. When they aren’t cuddling up to you on the couch, you can find them bouncing around outside with pure joy!

 

The Italian Greyhound is the smallest of the sighthound group. The breed originated in Italy approximately 2,000 years ago when Italians started breeding naturally smaller greyhounds. Many experts will debate the origin of this dog actually dates back as far as 6,000 years ago as some drawings on ancient Egyptian tombs have depicted a small dog very similar in resemblance to the Italian greyhound. There is even rumor that an Italian greyhound looking dog was discovered in the remnants of the city of Pompeii. Being from the sighthound group, the Italian Greyhound’s original purpose was to hunt for small game.

 

With their natural hunting instincts, it’s easy to see why this dog will often chase anything that moves! The Italian Greyhound can be found either bouncing off the walls and wiggling his body like crazy, or nuzzled into a cozy blanket or lying in a sunspot. Because of their high energy spurts, you want to be sure to give your Italian Greyhound lots of time every day to run around outside and let lose some of that energy. Preferably with some doggie friends as the Italian Greyhound gets along amazingly with other dogs, they thrive having canine friends to play with.

 

Italian Greyhounds makes wonderful family pets and are very suitable for apartment or condo living with their small size (but be sure to get them out to run around every day!). They get along great with kids, and usually tolerant of young kids when socialized properly. As long as the young kids are polite and respectful to the dog, and know not to try to pick them up unexpectedly (Italian Greyhounds are very sensitive to touch and usually dislike being grabbed by surprise) They are very sweet and gentle dogs that also get along well with other pets such as cats. Much like cats themselves as they like to nuzzle up to a warm couch or sleep under a sun beam from the window. Italian Greyhounds will often perch themselves on top of a couch so they can look out the window, much like a cat. But make sure they don’t climb too high, this breed often suffers from broken legs from trying to jump across high places.

 

This breed is very easy to maintain their good looks. Being short-haired, you don’t need to worry about taking them to the groomer for hair trimming. Just basic maintenance grooming like teeth and ear cleaning, nail trimming, baths, etc. Although not hypoallergenic, they do shed very little so hair all over the house won’t be much of a problem.

 

Italian Greyhounds are a wonderful choice for a family pet and get along fantastically with other dogs. The have a contagiously happy and playful personality. If you’re looking for a cute little clown that’s also an expert cuddlebug, look no further than the Italian Greyhound.

Ways Your Dog Says ‘I Love You’

dog heart

It’s pretty easy to see when humans are showing their love or affection for one another, kissing, hugging, hand-holding, etc. But do you know all the little ways your dog tells you he loves you? You may be surprised to learn some of the almost unnoticeable ways your dog is saying ‘I love you’.

 

Yawning (When You Yawn)

When humans yawn from seeing another human yawn we often think ‘yawns are contagious’; but really, it is a sign of sympathy. When you are more attached to the person who is yawning, you are more likely to also feel the urge to yawn as you are unconsciously showing sympathy for the person. Crazy thing is, dogs do the same thing! Recent studies have shown that the more bonded the dog is to the person who is yawning, the more likely they are to yawning. Of course, we also know that yawning in dogs can also be a sign of anxiety or anticipation, so be sure to analyze the situation if your dog is nervous, excited to go somewhere, or just taking the time to say ‘I love you’!

 

Wiggling Their Eyebrows

 

According to the Behavioural Processes Journal, a Japanese Study revealed that dogs are likely to wiggle or raise their eyebrows when they are reunited with someone they like! In the study, dogs were observed when exposed to various toys, strangers and their owner. The results showed that there was unpredictable movement towards the toys and strangers, but consistently dogs would move their left eyebrow in some way whenever they saw their owner! When studied further and discovered that dogs often have the same reaction to other dogs that they know well, this tells us that dogs moving their left eyebrow definitely has a correlation to the relationship they feel they have with the person or dog.

Wanting to Sleep Near You

Whether sleeping on your bed or in his own dog bed near your bed, dogs want to sleep near someone they feel close to and trust. In dog world, sleep is a very vulnerable state, this is why most wild dogs or wolves will sleep in a pack as there is safety in numbers. But you will rarely find a dog sleeping near someone they don’t trust. In their eyes, the safest place to sleep is with you because you are their protector, and they love you for it! It’s a huge compliment when a dog trusts you enough to sleep close to you and definitely shows their love.

 

These are only some of the ways our furry companions tell us they love us. And every dog is different, so your dog may have even more cute ways that he says he loves you that we haven’t discovered yet!

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!

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!

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.