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

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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!

Managing Your Dog’s Weight

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Have you noticed a little extra pudge on your dog lately? Or maybe you’ve started to notice them losing weight. Our furry friends can’t manage their weight on their own, they need our help to provide them with adequate exercise and proper nutrition. Here we will discuss how to help manage your dog’s weight and keep them happy and healthy!

 

When we are looking to lose a few extra pounds, most people will start going for an extra walk, talking the stairs when possible, basically just increasing how many calories we are burning throughout our day. The same goes for your pup! You can’t just tell Spot to drop and give me 10 push ups! You have to get moving with them! Small changes added to your daily routine can go a long way. Increase your walks together by 10 minutes. Add in an extra game of fetch or Frisbee. The added bonus to helping our dog’s get more exercise is we often get healthier along with them!

 

Not only do we need to look at how much calories our canine companions are using throughout the day, we also need to consider what calories they are putting into their bodies. And when I say ‘they’, I actually mean ‘we’; often times the owner is the culprit to providing too many treats or table scraps which can add to your dog’s waistline. If your dog needs to lose a few pounds, the first thing to do is eliminate table scraps. If you want to continue giving your dog treats, give up any unhealthy treats and instead use your dog’s kibble! This helps you give him smaller portioned treats and assuming you have a high quality kibble for your dog, it will provide him with much better nutrition than those cheddar bacon treats! Alternatively, you can also use ‘raw’ treats such as washed and peeled carrot pieces.

 

It’s important to not only discuss when your dog is looking a little too roly poly, but also to take notice if your dog has started losing weight. If you notice dramatic weight loss in your dog over a short amount of time, make sure to book him in for an appointment with your regular vet for a check-up. If his weight loss is accompanied by any other symptoms such as fatigue, lack of appetite, increased thirst, you should take him to the vet immediately to ensure there isn’t a more serious health problem. When you notice weight loss in your dog, try to think of reasons why, did his food change? Has he been out exercising more? Always try to use your best judgement if his weight loss makes sense, or if it requires a vet visit. Weight loss in dogs under 8 months generally is not normal and should be addressed with a vet immediately.

 

Just like us humans, dogs like to have lazy days too (especially certain breeds). Too many of those lazy days combined with too many yummy snacks can lead to an unhealthy lifestyle and potentially lead to health problems down the road. To keep your pup at his best, ensure that he is eating proper portions of high quality food. Combine that with adequate exercise every day and your dog will be healthy for years to come!

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!

Breed of the Week: Clumber Spaniel

clumber-spaniel

Our featured breed this week is the wonderful Clumber Spaniel. A dog known for going at their own pace, many would be surprised to learn their history and great scent detection. This dog is a lovely family companion with their laid back attitude, but can definitely get their spurts of energy too! Let’s take a closer look at this interesting breed.

 

The Clumber Spaniel was developed in the late 18th century. Hunters bred the Clumber Spaniel from other already existing breeds such as the Basset hound and the Alpine Spaniel. With their ancestors being the basset hound, it is no wonder they have great scent detection and were used for hunting mostly birds. The owners of Clumber Spaniels were typically people of nobility, who enjoyed hunting for sport rather than a necessity. The Clumber Spaniel is thought to be a very English dog breed as they were even named after Clumber park in Nottinghamshire, England.

 

A day in the life of a Clumber Spaniel is generally very easy going and relaxed. They like to take their time on walks, make sure they investigate every new scent thoroughly. You won’t often find a Clumber Spaniel running around like a Border Collie (although they do get spurts of energy just like any dog). The Clumber spaniel is thought to be the gentle giant of the spaniels. They are quite sturdy with the female typically weighing 55lbs and the male at about 70lbs. Clumber spaniels typically get along well with other dogs and cats too if socialized early. Because of their hunting instincts they may not do well with small animals such as guinea pigs or parrots. The Clumber spaniel adapts well to apartment living and typically only require 2-3 walks a day.

 

The Clumber Spaniel may not be the best match for a first time dog owner. Although they are naturally very loving and gentle, they can be quite stubborn and difficult to train. Most Clumber Spaniels are food motivated so it may help your training sessions if you have a pocket full of treats! They do require some grooming to keep them looking their best. Once or twice a month to the grooming to get hair trimming, as well as regular bathing, brushing and nail clipping. You may find the Clumber Spaniel needs more bathing than other breeds as they love to get dirty. Especially if they catch a good scent, they will run through dirt, mud, anything to pursue that scent!

 

Families looking for a low key dog that loves to curl up on the couch would do well with a Clumber Spaniel. They are such loving dogs (even though they can sometimes be a little stubborn!). But beware when on your walk or letting your Clumber Spaniel off leash as they tend to forget the rest of the world when they’re on a good scent!