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!

Breed of the Week: Boxer

Boxer dog

Meet our sweet and lovable breed of the week, the Boxer! An active breed that loves spending time with their family. It’s easy to fall in love with this charming breed, read on to discover their wonderful attributes!

 

Developed in Germany in the late 1800’s, the Boxer is considered part of the ‘Molosser’ group which all bulldog breeds also belong to. His ancestors are the English bulldog, and an old mastiff-type breed that does not exist anymore, called ‘Bullenbeisser’. The Boxer was originally bred for hunting large animals such as deer and wild boar. They were trained to take down the animals and hold them until their hunting master could get to the animal.  Boxers were bred with the intent to make the perfect hunting companion. The strength and determination of a bulldog, combined with the stamina and size of the Bullenbeisser (small mastiff-type dog). Everything about the Boxer breed was very intentional, even their colouring. The brindle colouring of many Boxers was specifically created by breeders to help them camouflage when on the hunt.

 

The Boxer completely suits their name as anyone who has watched a Boxer play, knows how much they like to ‘stand up’ and use their front paws (and they look like they’re boxing!). Which makes sense considering the large prey they were bred to hunt, it was natural for them to go on their hind legs so they could reach the neck of their prey. As this action of jumping up is so natural for these dogs, one of the most valuable things you can teach your boxer is to not jump up on people. Once taught, this breed will often require management on their manners; meaning even when they’re an adult, you may still need to do training sessions once in a while on how to properly greet a stranger and not jump.

 

Boxers are one of the most family friendly breeds you will find. They love to spend every minute of the day with you. When properly socialized, they get along amazingly with kids, but be sure to watch them around very young kids as the boxer’s boisterous energy may knock young children over! They are very active dogs and will need to be with an owner who has an active lifestyle to match. They are able to adapt to apartment living if they have sufficient time running around and getting out their energy.

 

If you want a dog that doesn’t require regular trips to the groomer, the boxer might be your next dog! They don’t require any hair clipping, but they do shed and require regular brushing at home, along with bathing, nail clipping, etc. Also be sure to inspect and wipe out their facial wrinkles as needed to ensure they stay clean and don’t get infected or irritated.

 

The wonderful Boxer can make a great companion to an active individual or family. Be sure to teach them early on not to jump on people, and continue to maintain those manners throughout their lives. If you think you can handle the energy of these playful wonderful dogs, then consider bringing a Boxer into your life!

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!

Brain Games for your Dog

smart-dog

We all love hanging out with our four legged companions; Whether it be going for a nice long walk or strengthening your bond during playtime! While fetch and tug of war can be some fun games we often play with our dogs, but did you know you could be playing some great games that get your dog thinking? We’ve listed a couple of games to play with your dog that will help keep them mentally stimulated and satisfied!

 

Hide and Seek

For this game you will need two people. One person instructs the dog to sit and stay, while the other person goes to hide. Once that person is fully hidden, you can then instruct the dog to go find that person. To make this game easier for the dog to understand at first, it is best to use people that they are bonding with as they will quickly recognise their scent and track them down. To make the game even easier if your dog doesn’t quite get it initially, the person hidden can make a few quiet noises to alert the dog that there is someone to find. This game uses your dogs scent tracking and they get an incredible sense of satisfaction and confidence once they find that person! Make sure to make a big deal when your dog finds the hidden person and give them tons of praise!

 

The Shell Game

 

A well-known game amongst humans, the shell game consists of a ball or some other item hidden under one of three (or more) shells. One person moves around the shells and then the other person has to guess which shell the item is under. It is best to start off very easy for your dog to understand the game. Start off by having your dog sit and stay. Then place a treat under one cup or shell. Instruct your dog to come and he will naturally want to go to the cup he just saw you put a treat under. Slowly, you can increase the amount of cups used. You want your dog to gain confidence in these games, so make sure to not make it too difficult too fast. If 5 cups is too hard for him and he often doesn’t get the correct answer, then reduce it back down to 4 or 3 cups. This game has your dog using his problem solving skills, and just like with most brain games, he will get a big confidence boost when he chooses the correct shell.

 

If you are looking to not only strengthen your bond with your dog, but also help him strengthen his brain power, then you and your dog will definitely benefit by incorporating these fun brain games into your regular routine!

Breed of the Week: St. Bernard

saintbernard

If you’ve seen the famous movie ‘Beethoven’, then you’re already familiar with our breed of the week, the St. Bernard! This big cuddly goofball is a well-known family dog that really is a gentle giant! Read on to find out why everyone’s heart melts when they meet a St. Bernard!

 

The St. Bernard breed was developed in the 17th century Switzerland as companions to monks. They were bred from various mastiff-type dogs. These dogs would accompany the monks on search patrols as they were excellent at detecting avalanches about to happen. With their keen sense of smell, they were also used to track anyone who had been buried in snow by the avalanches. When the weather was too bad for the monks to do their searches, they would send out groups of St. Bernards to go alone and search out for anyone who had been lost or buried in the snow. When the dog would find someone, one St. Bernard would lie on the body to keep it warm, while another Bernard would go back to the monastery to alert the monks. The very recognizable barrel under the neck of a St. Bernard, would contain some sort of alcohol so that the person being rescued could drink it to help stay warm while waiting to be rescued.

 

Now that we use helicopters and various forms of technology for search and rescues, the St. Bernard is generally just used as companion dog. As with most giant breeds, the St. Bernard does require daily exercise but not as much as a highly active dog such as a Border collie or Weimaraner.  But due to their extra-large size, they do take up a lot of space so they may not be best for small living areas such as an apartment. They get along great with kids as well as cats and other dogs. As with any breed they should be well socialized at an early age. St. Bernards should also learn all of their basic obedience at an early age as to not become to rambunctious when full grown and to prevent jumping on people (as they could easily knock an adult over!).

 

The St. Bernard doesn’t require any hair trimming, but they do shed a lot! They will need to be brushed at least once a day. And if you don’t like drool, then you will not enjoy living with a St. Bernard. They will drool on anything and everything! You won’t ever have to worry about buying them booties or a jacket for the cold weather, they were bred to work in the snow! So they often really enjoy going for even longer walks during the cold weather.

 

Living with a St. Bernard is like living with a giant cuddly teddy bear, they are excellent cuddlers (their original job was to basically cuddle people buried in snow and keep them warm!). They get along great with everyone and really enjoy being around their owners. Hopefully you like the snow because St. Bernards will want to play in the cold weather all day! And as long as you’re okay with drool, the St. Bernard could be the perfect breed for you.

Doggy Dental Care

Pembroke Welsh Corgi puppy with a toothbrush

We all know to keep up with our dog’s basic grooming; nail trimming, brushing & hair trimming. One very important piece of their basic grooming that is often forgotten is their dental hygiene. Dogs don’t know to brush their teeth every day, so it is up to us as their owners to ensure that their teeth and mouth stay healthy and clean. Here are some tips to keeping your dog’s dental hygiene the best it can be!

 

Crunchy Treats

Giving your dog crunchy food and treats is a great way to help work off any plaque build-up on their teeth. Having to chew on things like raw carrots or big pieces of kibble will help to work off some of the built up plaque on your dog’s teeth. This method will definitely help reduce plaque, but crunchy treats should be used in combination with other teeth cleaning methods as crunchy food will often not reach all of the built up plaque around the gum line.

 

Teeth Scaling

Dogs that have a lot of built up plaque on their teeth will often require vets to do a procedure called teeth scaling. This involves the vet putting the dog under anesthesia and then using dental tools to scrape off all the plaque on your dogs teeth. The vet will also generally do a full x-ray of your dog’s mouth after teeth scaling to ensure your dog’s mouth is in good health. This procedure is the most effective to keeping your dog’s mouth clean but it is also the most expensive as well as requires your dog to be under anesthesia. If your dog is young and his teeth are in good health, you likely won’t require this procedure until he gets older. Be careful of any groomers claiming to provide teeth scaling. It is a procedure that should only be done by your vet as they use the proper anesthesia to prevent your dog moving during the scaling, as well as they are trained to provide full cleanings without harming the many blood vessels in your dogs mouth.

Teeth Brushing

A very effective method of teeth cleaning that you can do for your dog every day is physically brushing his teeth, just like you brush yours every day! Ask your vet on the best dog safe toothpaste to use (as they are not all made equal!), and you can pick up little dog toothbrushes. Some dog toothbrushes are built to fit right on your finger to make it easier for you to thoroughly clean your dog’s teeth. It is important to start brushing your dog’s teeth early on so that they become comfortable with it, as it will be a weird and new sensation to your dog at first.

 

We all know how important is it to take care of our oral health, it is just as important for your dog to have good oral health & hygiene too! The best way to ensure your dog’s teeth are clean and plaque free, is to be brushing their teeth with dog safe toothpaste every day. Combined with vet teeth scaling as determined by your vet, as well as some crunchy treats, your dog will have the brightest smile around!

Breed of the Week: Chow Chow

chow-chow-dog

Here comes the Chow Chow! A bouncy, fluffy, energetic teddy bear that loves his family! This dog is an independent thinker and some say this breed acts more like a cat than a dog!

 

Chow chows are believed to be one of the oldest dog breeds in the world. Originating from Mongolia, they were kept by Chinese emperors to guard all of their valuable possessions. Some emperors kept as many as 2000 Chows! The breed started becoming very popular outside of China after Queen Victoria gained interest in them, and then in 1895 a breed club was finally formed for the Chow Chow. Now in the modern world, many celebrities have fallen in love with the breed too! Sigmund Freud’s daughter became a Chow breeder and Martha Stewart would often bring her own Chows onto her television show.

 

As you can probably guess by looking at these big fluffy teddy bears, the Chow would be considered high maintenance for grooming. They require daily brushing, sometimes twice a day if your particular Chow is a heavy seasonal shedder. Basic grooming like nail clipping, teeth cleaning and bathing will also be required. Some owners choose to shave down their Chows, but most groomers will recommend against this due to the Chow’s ‘double coat’. When dogs with double coats are shaved, it often leaves the hair to grow back much coarser than it was before, as well as diminish it’s naturally ability as insulation in colder weather. So we highly recommend that you don’t shave your Chow Chow’s coat, but instead simply keep up with brushing and your Chow will be feeling comfortable as well as keeping stylish!

 

Chow Chows are very family oriented. The family unit they grow up with they will often bond to for life and be very loyal companions. Chows are often independent and serious type dogs and do not like to be ‘messed with’; for this reason they should be carefully monitored around young or rowdy children. Chows need to be heavily socialized when puppies to ensure they are not too standoffish or weary of strangers, as well as to become comfortable around children and other animals. Most Chows have a natural tendency to be very friendly with cats, probably because they act so similar in mannerisms! Although they are almost always calm and almost lazy inside the home, they do still require a fair amount of exercise to keep them happy and healthy.

 

Chows are a wonderful choice for individuals or families looking for a laid back dog that will always be happy to see their owners. Loved by many celebrities, this dog gets along great with cats and can get along well with kids when socialized early. The Chow Chow will love to go for a long run with their owner and then relax for the rest of the day at home. So make sure to consider the Chow Chow when looking to add a new dog to your home!

Ways to Help Your Dog Relax

Most dog owners at one point or another have seen their dog in an anxious or stressed state. It can be unfortunate to watch your dog feeling stressed, especially when you don’t know what to do. So to help you and your pup feel more at ease during those anxious times, we’ve put together some helpful tips to ease your dog into a more relaxed state of mind.

 

‘Monkey See, Monkey Do’: What we mean by this is when your dog sees you acting calm and speaking in a low, soothing voice, he will also be in a calm state of mind with you. Dogs read our body language very well and respond to it immediately. If you are talking in a way that gets your dog excited, then you can only expect him to be excited! The more you practise being calm in your own life, you will quickly see your dog becoming calm right along with you.

 

Go For a Run!: Have you ever noticed going for walk quickly improves your mood? The same goes for your dog! Making sure your dog is properly mentally and physically stimulated helps to ensure they are not redirecting any excess energy into being anxious. A tired dog is much more likely to be calm and relaxed as opposed to a dog who hasn’t had a walk all day!

 

Thundershirt: Using a special design of ‘pressure points’ (but not painful), the thundershirt helps anxious dogs by fitting snugly and applying pressure to make the dog feel more secure. Similar to how a baby feels when being swaddled, the thundershirt fits tight on the dog’s torso and makes most dogs feel safe during anxiety-inducing instances such as thunderstorms, loud noises, vet visits, fireworks, etc. Although the thundershirt may not work for every dog, many dog owners have found a lot of relief with this product.

 

Whether you decide to use anxiety-reducing products or simply talking in a less excited tone to you dog, the best way to help your dog stay in a calm state of mind is patience and consistency. Especially if your dog is prone to being anxious, sometimes the best method is to ask a trainer or behaviourist on what long term exercises you can do to help your dog. Just as we don’t want to be constantly stressed, our dogs shouldn’t have to be stressed either. Making sure to watch our own behaviours and staying in a calm state of mind around our dogs will help them to relax.