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!

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!

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!

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: 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!