The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : Dog Breed The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : Dog Breed
Showing posts with label Dog Breed. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dog Breed. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

These Are the 15 Longest Living Dog Breeds, Because You Want as Much Time as Possible with Fido

Dogs live forever, right? Right!? Unfortunately, like humans, dogs are mortals. Anyone who has lost a pet knows how heartbreaking it is to say goodbye. They are truly family members. If you’re someone who hates goodbyes or simply wants a companion for as long as possible, look into the longest-living dog breeds. On average, domesticated dogs live about ten years, but the dogs on our list have been known to live well into their teens. You’ll notice most of these pups are on the smaller side. While breed alone isn’t going to tell you how long your dog will live, it can give you a pretty good idea.

To read more on this story, click here: These Are the 15 Longest Living Dog Breeds, Because You Want as Much Time as Possible with Fido


Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Tips for Keeping Your Dog Safe This Summer

Summer is the time to have outdoor fun with our dogs. Longer walks in the park, ambitious hikes, beach days, or family travel — the sun is shining, and the outdoors is calling. But hot weather can also make us uncomfortable, and it poses special risks for dogs. From an increased exposure to ticks and other insects, to sunburn, and even heatstroke, all sorts of things can go wrong for your dog in summer. Keep the following safety concerns in mind as the temperature rises, and follow our tips for summer safety for dogs. They will help you keep your pet happier and healthier during the dog days of summer.

To read more on this story, click here: Tips for Keeping Your Dog Safe This Summer


Sunday, October 14, 2018

No, A 'Dog Year' Isn't Equivalent To 7 Human Years

Dogs age at different rates compared to humans, but the simple rule of 7 dog years to 1 human year is far from accurate.

If humans aged seven times slower than dogs, then many of us would be able to reproduce at age 7 and live to be 150. Obviously that's not the case.

The reason that dogs can reach full sexual maturity after only a year is that our canine friends age faster during the first two years of their lives than humans do.

Even this general statement is slightly off since smaller breeds tend to mature faster than larger breeds.

Compared to humans, dogs age more quickly at the beginning of their lives and slower toward the end. Therefore, calculating your dog's age relative to yours is a bit tricky, but luckily it's possible.

Since smaller breeds tend to live longer than larger breeds, it's important to calculate your dog's age according to the right category: small (20 pounds or less), medium (21-50 pounds), large (51-90 pounds), or giant (over 90 pounds).

To read more on this story, click here: No, A 'Dog Year' Isn't Equivalent To 7 Human Years


Thursday, October 4, 2018

This Dog Breed Has Sold for Over a Million Dollars Multiple Times

A Chinese businessman purchased a Tibetan mastiff for $1.9 million in 2014.

Similarly, in 2011, a red Tibetan mastiff by the name of “Big Splash” sold for a reported $1.5 million.

Red Tibetan mastiffs are among the rarest and most expensive dogs in the world.

The unconditional love you receive from man’s best friend is priceless. But you’ll likely have to pony up some cash if you want a dog in your life permanently, and if you’re purchasing one from a reputable breeder, that initial fee can be substantial.

No matter how much your furry friend costs, though, you probably won’t pay as much as one wealthy Chinese businessman, who coughed up nearly $2 million for a Tibetan mastiff at a “luxury pet” fair in 2014, according to the Qianjiang Evening News.

The price likely made the pup the most expensive one ever sold at the time.

Tibetan mastiffs are a notoriously pricey breed. In 2011, one 11-month-old red mastiff by the name of “Big Splash” reportedly sold for 10 million yuan, or $1.5 million. Another one was sold for $600,000 to a Chinese woman in 2009.

To read more on this story, click here: This Dog Breed Has Sold for Over a Million Dollars Multiple Times


Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Did You Know That The Shih Tzu Often Referred to as a ‘Small Lion’, Originated in Tibet?

The Shih Tzu (pronounced Shid Zoo in singular and plural), is undoubtedly one of the world’s oldest dog breeds. The Shih Tzu is often referred to as a "small lion." They originated in Tibet, but are most associated with China where they were highly revered as a palace pet and prized companion. The Shih Tzu is an active, happy, and affectionate breed.

A compact and solid dog, the Shih Tzu’s long, flowing double coat is its most distinctive feature. The word Shih Tzu means "lion" and although this dog is sweet and playful, they are not afraid to stand up for themselves!

Shih Tzu love to strut around the house with their head held high and tail wagging! They strut like they own the place! Most have an outgoing, happy, friendly personality! Shih Tzu tend to get a little bossy as they reach the adult age, and quiet down when they get to be seniors. They love to be spoiled at all ages!

Human Companions:
The ideal companion for the Shih Tzu would be singles, seniors, families with older children. Though good family dogs, Shih Tzu are not especially good with very young children. They cannot be handled roughly or awkwardly and tend to get snappish when their patience wears thin.

Shih Tzu usually weigh between 9 and 16 pounds full grown, and measure between 10 – 11 inches in height.

Shih Tzu come in a rainbow of colors. They are Liver and white, cream, black, brindle and white, solid blue (rare), solid brindle, gold and white, black and white, solid white, solid red, red and white, solid silver, silver and white.

The Body:
The Shih Tzu body is slightly longer than tall, its legs straight and muscular, and its feet firm and well-padded.The head is round, broad, and wide between the eyes, and in balance with the rest of the dog. The dark eyes are large and round; the ears are natural and heavily feathered; the muzzle is square, short and unwrinkled, and flat; lips and chin should neither protrude nor recede. The jaw is undershot,  the incisors of the lower jaw overlap the incisors of the upper jaw.

The Coat:
The coat is long and flowing and generally grows in an upward direction from his nose, which is why you’ll often see him with his fur tied on top of his head. The growth of his fur in all directions from his face has earned him the nickname “chrysanthemum-faced dog.” Most show dogs have the long flowing coat, however, most pet owners like to keep the hair cut short. 

Basically healthy, the Shih Tzu is subject to a kidney disease called renal dysplasia, and to slipped stifles or kneecaps. His slightly protruding eyes are prone to injury, and his short muzzle often produces slight wheezing problems.


Thursday, October 13, 2016

Artist Paints Breed Portraits To Show How Purebred Standards Hurt Dogs

Dog shows are meant to show off the best of the best examples of purebred dogs. There are many strict standards that must be adhered to, and not all of those standards result in healthy pups. One artist, Levi Morris, created a series of dog breed portraits that show off just how harmful these purebred standards can be.

In one painting, he shows how the short snouts and flat faces of Bulldogs can lead to breathing problems. In another, he shows how large, bulging eyes on Pugs can lead to problems with vision, and even eyes falling out. And in another painting, he shows how the excessive folds of a Shar-Pei‘s skin can cause irritation.

To read more on this story, click here: Artist Paints Breed Portraits To Show How Purebred Standards Hurt Dogs


Monday, February 8, 2016

Maryland Couple is Suing a Kennel After One of Their Toy Poodles Was Killed by a Much Larger Dog

A Maryland couple is suing a kennel after one of their toy poodles was killed by a much larger dog.

The Klionskys of Bethesda boarded their toy poodle puppies Pumpkin and his apricot-colored sister Peanut at Life of Riley in Rockville in November to take a trip to Paris. They returned two days later when they learned their 5-pound Peanut was dead.

“I was totally devastated,” Yumi Klionsky said. “I couldn't eat for a week. I cried every single day.”

“She still cries,” said her husband, Mark.

The couple was told their little dogs would be kept separate from big dogs, Mark Klionsky said.

“They let the small dogs out into the same area as the large dogs to relieve themselves,” he said. “During that time, our puppy Peanut was attacked and killed by a hundred-pound bull mastiff.”

Life of Riley owner Paul Abbott said they dedicate their lives to taking care of animals but had an incident and want to make it right.

The Klionskys are suing the kennel for $17,600 in damages -- the money from their lost trip and previous medical bills for Peanut. They said they are suing for negligence; the money isn't important.

They want all dog owners who send their dogs to the facility to know about the tragedy.

At first, Yumi Klionsky couldn't think about replacing Peanut, but then the breeder heard about the loss of Peanut and allowed the Klionskys to adopt her sister from the same litter, Pinot.

“She's a small version of Peanut,” Yumi Klionsky said. “She has her own character, and I would like to respect and take proper care and give lots of love.”


Thursday, January 7, 2016

The Problem With Pit Bulls

It's horrible that KFC kicked out that 3-year-old girl, but let's focus on the real problem: pit bulls were bred to be violent

The social media universe became furious at KFC this week after an employee reportedly asked a 3-year-old victim of a dog attack to leave one of their restaurants because “her face is disrupting our customers.”

But it wasn’t KFC employees who broke down the door to Victoria Wilcher’s grandfather’s house and mauled the toddler until half her face was paralyzed and she lost the use of one of her eyes. Three pit bulls did that.

Pit bulls make up only 6% of the dog population, but they’re responsible for 68% of dog attacks and 52% of dog-related deaths since 1982, according to research compiled by Merritt Clifton, editor of Animals 24-7, an animal-news organization that focuses on humane work and animal-cruelty prevention.

Clifton himself has been twice attacked by dogs (one pit bull), and part of his work involves logging fatal and disfiguring attacks. Clifton says that for the 32 years he’s been recording, there has never been a year when pit bulls have accounted for less than half of all attacks. A CDC report on dog-bite fatalities from 1978 to 1998 confirms that pit bulls are responsible for more deaths than any other breed, but the CDC no longer collects breed-specific information.

Another report published in the April 2011 issue of Annals of Surgery found that one person is killed by a pit bull every 14 days, two people are injured by a pit bull every day, and young children are especially at risk. The report concludes that “these breeds should be regulated in the same way in which other dangerous species, such as leopards, are regulated.” That report was shared with TIME by PETA, the world’s largest animal-rights organization.

To read more on this story, click here: The Problem With Pit Bulls


Wednesday, January 6, 2016

American Kennel Club: We Have Two New Dog Breeds – The American Hairless Terrier and the Sloughi Have Joined 187 Other Recognized Breeds

A hairless terrier and an ancient North African hound are ready to run with the pack of dog breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club.

The organization announced Tuesday that the American hairless terrier and the sloughi have joined 187 other recognized breeds. The newcomers can now compete in most AKC shows and competitions, though not at the prominent Westminster Kennel Club show until next year.

Many American hairless terriers are, as advertised, bare-skinned, though others have short coats but carry the hairless gene. Their rise began when a hairless puppy emerged in a litter of rat terriers in the 1970s, wowing a Louisiana couple and leading to deliberate breeding of the hairless dogs, according to the American Hairless Terrier Club of America.

The lively, inquisitive terriers can do well at canine sports and as pets for people with dog-hair allergies.

"They're terrier-smart" but somewhat calmer than some other terrier breeds, said club secretary Lynn Poston of Fontana, California. "They're very easy to live with because they're very trainable."

The sloughi (pronounced SLOO-ghee), also called the Arabian greyhound, was developed to hunt game as big as gazelles. The lean, leggy dogs have some similarities to salukis, another hound breed from North Africa.

Sloughis are known for speed, endurance, grace and rather reserved demeanors.

"They are very attentive to their family, but they are not the kind of dog that will jump on your lap - they are not after you all the time," says Ermine Moreau-Sipiere of Como, Texas, president of the American Sloughi Association. She has owned them for nearly 40 years.

The dogs need patient training, opportunities to exercise, and a substantial fence if they're allowed to be loose in a yard because they may follow their hunting instinct far and wide if they spy prey, she said.

Criteria for AKC recognition include having several hundred dogs of the breed nationwide.

Some animal-rights advocates are critical of dog breeding and emphasize that many mixed-breed dogs need adoption. The AKC says breed characteristics help owners anticipate a dog's characteristics and make an enduring match.

This undated photo provided by the American Kennel Club (AKC) shows an American Hairless Terrier, one of two newcomers recognized by the AKC that can now compete in most of the organizations shows and competitions, though not at the prominent Westminster Kennel Club show until next year. The two new breeds announced Tuesday, Jan 5, 2016, are the hairless terrier and a sloughi, also called the Arabian greyhound. (American Kennel Club via AP)

This undated photo provided by the American Kennel Club (AKC) shows a sloughi, also called the Arabian greyhound, one of two newcomers recognized by the AKC that can now compete in most of the organizations shows and competitions, though not at the prominent Westminster Kennel Club show until next year. The two new breeds announced Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016, are the sloughi and the American hairless terrier. (American Kennel Club via AP)


Friday, January 1, 2016

Why You Should Never Acquire Littermates When Choosing Pets

Many experts and organizations in a position to know (for example, animal behaviorists, dog trainers, and rescue professionals), discourage dog guardians from acquiring puppy littermates. In fact, many shelters and breeders simply refuse to place siblings together.

The reason, according to certified professional dog trainer Jeff Stallings, writing for The Bark:

“Anecdotal evidence suggests that behavioral issues may arise during key development periods because the two puppies’ deep bond impedes their individual ability to absorb and grasp the nuances of human and canine communication.”

In other words, canine siblings can be so closely bonded on a primal level, that if they go on to share the same home and family, that deep connection can inhibit their ability to learn how to communicate with their humans and interact with other dogs.

They wind up with a “muddled understanding of the world around them,” according to Stallings, which can create fearfulness and other undesirable coping behaviors.

The phenomenon is known as “littermate syndrome,” and it doesn’t occur in every single pair of littermates who are raised in the same home. However, it happens often enough that experts in canine behavior and the human-canine bond advise against bringing home siblings.

Signs of Littermate Syndrome

Some of the signs of littermate syndrome include:

  • Fear of strangers (people and dogs)
  • Fear of unfamiliar stimuli
  • High level of anxiety when separated even for a short time
  • Failure to learn basic obedience commands
  • Training two littermates is not just a matter of twice the work, but also the level of difficulty resulting from the puppies constantly distracting each other. According to Patricia McConnell, applied animal behaviorist and author of several books on canine behavior:

“It’s just hard to get their attention. They are so busy playing with each other … that you become the odd man out.

I suspect this indeed does have to do with social bonding to some extent, but I have seen pups of a duo who clearly adored their humans. Adored them. They just didn’t listen to them.

It seems harder to get their attention, harder to teach them emotional control, and harder to teach them boundaries. I imagine that we humans become more like party poopers that interfere in their fun with their playmates, not to mention that we are more tiring, because they have to learn a foreign language in order to communicate with us.”

Another Potential Problem Among Littermates: Fighting

Sometimes littermate syndrome can take the form of non-stop fighting between the dogs.

Bullying and aggression between siblings seems to happen more often than between unrelated dogs, and it can get nasty. Many well-intentioned dog guardians have terrible tales to tell about the harm caused to one sibling by the other.

Shelters have stories as well of pairs (or one of a pair) being returned because the adoptive owner feared for the well-being of the sibling being bullied.

Unhealthy Emotional Dependence

Nicole Wilde, canine behavior expert and author of “Don’t Leave Me!” believes the separation anxiety between littermates is the result of hyper-attachment, which is also what interferes with the puppies’ ability to be properly socialized.

“People assume that having two same-age pups who play together and interact constantly covers their dog-dog socialization needs,” Wilde told Stallings, “but they in fact don’t learn how other [dogs] play and have no idea about social skills with other puppies, adolescents or adult dogs.

“Perhaps one puppy is a bit of a bully, which his littermate puts up with,” Wilde continued, “but his rude behavior might not be tolerated by a new dog in a new setting.”

Many canine behavior experts feel it’s best to rehome one of the siblings when a pair is showing early signs of littermate syndrome, so that both puppies have the opportunity to grow separately into stable, balanced adults.

Since this can be a difficult time for the original owners, it’s often easier to have prospective new owners meet both puppies and decide which one to take.

Uh Oh … I’ve Already Adopted a Pair of Littermates. Help!

It’s important to keep in mind that it isn’t a given that every pair of puppy siblings will develop littermate syndrome. In fact, I’m sure there are many people reading here right now who are in complete disagreement with the advice of the experts I’ve cited.

With that said, according to Pat Miller writing for the Whole Dog Journal, there are things you can do to prevent or mitigate littermate syndrome if you’ve already brought sibling pups home with you.

The goal is to keep the puppies from developing a counterproductive degree of emotional dependence on one another.

Two dogs, two crates:

Miller recommends crating your puppies separately at night. The crates can be near each other initially, but one pup per crate helps each dog learn to adjust to being alone. The next step is to gradually increase the distance between the crates until the pups can no longer see each other.

Make sure the crates are in bedrooms at night so the pups spend several hours in close contact with their human family members.

Two dogs, two training sessions:

Train your puppies separately so that you can count on their undivided attention. Miller also suggests walking and socializing them separately to avoid ending up with a leader and a follower who looks to the leader – not you – for social cues, commands, and direction. This will help both pups develop into confident, independent adult dogs.

Use training sessions to lavish attention and affection on one puppy, while the other works on a treat-release toy in his crate in another room. This will allow you to develop a bond with each puppy.

Two dogs, two play sessions:

Miller suggests separating the pups for play sessions at least some of the time so that the less assertive of the two can come into her own.

“For example, if you always play ‘fetch’ with the two together,” says Miller, “you’re likely to see that one pup repeatedly gets the toy and brings it back, while the other runs happily along behind. If you watch closely, you may even see the more assertive one do a little body language warning if the other tries to get the toy – a hard stare and stiffened body, perhaps.

The less assertive one defers to her sibling by letting go of the toy and looking away. That’s a fine and normal puppy interaction, but it can suppress the ‘softer’ pup’s retrieving behavior.

Unless you make the effort to give her positive reinforcement for fetching toys when you play with her alone, you might find it difficult to get her to retrieve later on in her training.”

A Good Rule of Thumb for Most Dog Guardians: One Pup at a Time

As I mentioned earlier, littermate syndrome isn’t a foregone conclusion for every pair of puppy siblings. Genetics play a role, and certainly the knowledge and commitment of the dogs’ owner to raise two well-socialized, balanced individuals does as well.

However, the general advice given by professionals is: don’t do it. Instead, adopt a puppy who is most likely to fit into your lifestyle, and then focus on training and socializing your pup to insure she is comfortable in her environment and when she encounters other dogs and people.

Only after your puppy has grown into a well-balanced adult is it smart to think about adding a second canine companion to the family.


Saturday, December 26, 2015

The Truth About Pet-Friendly Hotels

If you’ve ever taken a trip with your dog and checked into a hotel that claims to be “pet friendly,” there are a few things to keep in mind that might not be advertised.

As a pet traveler of 20 years, I have encountered mostly amazing experiences at pet friendly hotels and bed and breakfasts, but occasionally one falls through the cracks. Pet friendly does not mean red carpet in all cases, so keep these pointers in mind the next time you book a room for you and Fido:

Fees are usually imposed on travelers who are staying with pets. Always ask ahead if there are fees involved, how much, and if there is a fee for each pet or a one-time deal. Often, hotels will hold a security deposit and then refund it or not charge your credit card prior to checking out.

Pet friendly has its pets allowed limits. You can bring three kids, just not three dogs, as an example. Ask first how many dogs are allowed. Nothing ruins a trip or vacation than hearing, “sorry ma’am, but three dogs are not welcome here, only two.”

To read more on this story, click here: The Truth About Pet-Friendly Hotels


Monday, December 21, 2015

Remember Precious, the Dog that Stood Guard Over Her Injured Owner During House Fire? She is Up for Adoption: Please Share Her Story

A loyal pit bull who stood guard over her injured owner is up for adoption after the family who took her in found they were unable to care for her.

The dog, Precious, guarded her unconscious owner after fire broke out at their Landover Hills, Maryland, home earlier this month. Precious stood guard over her even after fire crews arrived at the home — but she ended up at an animal shelter with her puppy, Molly, because of Prince George's County's ban on their breed.

The next day, Precious and Molly found a new home with their owner's sister, Megan Sanchez, who lives in Montgomery County.

"She just wanted to protect her mommy; that's all," Sanchez said about Precious. "And her house."

But Sanchez and her family soon found they were unable to care for Precious or her puppy. They were able to rehome Molly, but Precious was left without a family. That's when a friend contacted Jessica Stuby and her organization, Babes 4 Bullies, for help.

Stuby said Precious has been amazing companion since she began fostering her.
"She's doing great. She's actually at work with me. She's been a wonderful companion," Stuby said.

Precious suffered from smoke inhalation as a result of the fire and also had fleas. Stuby said she wants to give Precious time to recuperate and will focus on finding her a home in the new year.

On Dec. 2, Precious made headlines for her act of devotion. In fact, firefighters said they had trouble getting to her owner — who was hurt in the fire and lying unconscious on the front lawn — because the loyal dog was standing over her.

Firefighters tried to call Precious away, but she wouldn't budge and acted aggressively when they approached. They eventually deployed a powder fire extinguisher in her direction, causing Precious to run away and giving them time to get the woman onto a stretcher.

Stuby hopes Precious' story will help change the law that kept her from returning to her owner.

"I think the main important goal isn't to rehome, but that her story can change people's mind about the breed," Stuby said. "She's not just an amazing dog — this breed is an amazing breed."

For more information on Precious, contact Babes 4 Bullies at

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Monday, May 25, 2015

Are You Surprised at the Innovative Ways Dogs Are Being Used Today?

Looking for a way to harness the energy of an unruly German shepherd puppy named Solo, English professor Cat Warren started training him as a cadaver dog. The two have spent the past seven years as volunteers searching for the dead.

In her book, What the Dog Knows: The Science and Wonder of Working Dogs, published this month, Warren tells of her journey into the field of "on the job" dogs and reveals how science is unraveling the secrets of the canine nose.

Not everyone who has a high-energy dog like Solo decides to train him to become a volunteer cadaver dog. What made you decide to teach Solo to look for the dead?

I took Solo to a trainer when he was four months old and asked her what I could possibly do with this dog. She suggested that I could consider training him as a cadaver dog. I didn't even know what that meant. She explained that a cadaver dog goes out to search for the missing and presumed dead.

What makes a good cadaver dog?
Drive, a good nose, and an ability to focus. A good cadaver dog needs to be deeply bonded to his handler and simultaneously be independent and to make decisions on his own. The dog needs to work as part of an inseparable unit with the handler, but also be independent enough that he's not constantly looking back for signals on what to do next. When Solo is working scent, he won't look back at me for minutes at a time. He will be out there, and I will be trying to stay out of his way so he can do his best work.

Do most searches end with finding a body?
Nine out of ten times you search, and you don't find someone. It can be very hard to find the missing. People think that it's easy once you have one or two things in place, but bodies can disappear forever. We're so used to having everything wrapped up in a 50-minute television show that we don't realize how many years investigators can work on cases and how many of them remain unresolved.

Why does law enforcement rely on volunteer cadaver dogs?
It's mostly about budgets. The fact is, cadaver dogs aren't needed every day in the same way a patrol dog is needed every day. There are larger departments that still have cadaver dogs, but more and more law enforcement depends on volunteers. A good dog and handler team can help produce some excellent results.

How does training a cadaver dog differ from training other types of sniffer dogs, like drug- and bomb-detecting canines?
Scent is scent, so the training itself is not greatly different. You introduce the dog to the scent, and you reward him for finding it. You're training a dog to get as close as it can to a particular scent, indicate it's there, and get his reward while making sure that the dog doesn't harm a scene or get harmed. One of the fascinating things about training human-remains detection is that it's a very complex scent. You're dealing with a range of scent, from dry bone to very fresh material. Understanding that and getting the dog to recognize that means going through a pretty long series of steps until you think that you and the dog are dependable. For Solo and me, I didn't rush it. I was inexperienced. We finally were ready when he was about two years old.

How much does science understand about how detector dogs do their work?
What's fascinating about this field is how much we don't know about how dogs detect scent. Chemists are starting to realize what the compounds are in certain drugs that dogs are interested in, but we're still a ways away from knowing exactly what the dogs are alerting on in cadaver scent. Forensic anthropologist Arpad Vass and fellow researchers at the University of Tennessee's anthropological research facility have identified nearly 480 different volatile compounds coming off decomposing bodies. We don't yet fully know which of those compounds are significant to the dog.

Are German shepherds, like Solo, better at detecting certain smells than other breeds?
Despite all the myths about the bloodhound having the best nose versus the German shepherd, we have no really good scientific studies about which breed's nose is the best. There are sometimes more variations between one Labrador and another than between two breeds. Many breeds have fine noses. It also has to do with how much the dog wants to work. You could have a Labrador with a great nose that is indifferent to doing the work, and you would simply never know it had a great nose.

Were you surprised at the innovative ways dogs are being used today?
I was surprised. The tasks that we're thinking up for dogs are multiplying by the day. It's not just bombs, drugs, and humans we're asking dogs to find. They are being trained to detect everything from invasive species to endangered species, from mildew to cows in heat to gas leaks. That's not to say that they're always successful, and we still have a lot to learn about, for instance, how good dogs are at detecting cancer and whether there's ultimately a practical application for that skill. Finally, I think it's important for people to realize that while dogs and their noses are amazing, they are not magical, and it's not easy work. It takes rigorous training, handling, and a fine dog to produce good results.

What's in it for the dogs?
It depends on the dog, but it has to be fun. I think that Solo works partly for the joy of the hunt and partly because he is bonded with me. But I know he loves getting a game of tug most of all.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

David McCandless' New Book Knowledge is Beautiful, Ranks 87 Dog Breeds

This chart is from, from David McCandless' fascinating new book Knowledge is Beautiful, ranks 87 dog breeds and compares those rankings to the actual popularity of the breeds in the US.

The ranking is based on a number of factors: trainability, life expectancy, lifetime cost (including the price of food and grooming), and suitability for children, among others.

The result: Border Collies, according to McCandless, are the finest dog breed in existence. Labs, Beagles, and Golden Retrievers, while not at the very top, are other popular dogs (at the top right of the chart) that he rates highly.

On the other hand, the formula seems to penalize big dogs. German Shepherds, Great Danes, and Saint Bernards, all in the top left quadrant, are in McCandless' words, "inexplicably overrated." The formula also uncovers some overlooked breeds, at the bottom right, that should be more popular, like Border Terriers and Pointers.

Finally, on the bottom left, the chart shows the breeds that are unpopular and properly so: Old English Sheepdogs, Borzois, and Afghan Hounds.

To view larger image click here: Dog Chart


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Reverse Sneezing and Gagging in Dogs

Sneezing refers to the normal behavior of expelling air to remove matter through the nasal cavity. Reverse sneezing, on the other hand, refers to the reflex of bringing air into the body to remove irritants in the upper area that lies behind the nostrils. Dogs may gag to remove irritants from the larynx; this is commonly misinterpreted as vomiting.

Symptoms and Types

Sneezing is often accompanied by a sudden movement of the head downwards, with a closed mouth, and may cause the dog's nose to hit the ground. Reverse sneezing is often characterized by a backwards head motion, a closed mouth and lips sucking in. Gagging usually causes the dog to swallow after extending its neck and opening its mouth. Read more about dog sneezing episodes, and how they could impact your dog's health, using the PetMD Symptom Checker.

 Any breed of dog can be affected by these medical behaviors. The most common causes for younger dogs include infections, the existence of a cleft palate, or bronchial infections. Another primary cause is the involuntary movement of the hairlike cilia that line the respiratory tract and act to remove foreign matter from the air before it reaches the lungs. This involuntary movement of the hair is medically termed ciliary dyskinesis. The most common causes for older dogs include nasal tumors and dental diseases. Other causes can be mucus irritation, nasal passage obstruction, inflammation, excess nasal discharge or secretion, pneumonia, chronic vomiting, and gastrointestinal disease. Under vaccinated or unvaccinated dogs are at a higher risk of developing infections, which may lead to consistent sneezing. Chronic dental disease can lead to both chronic sneezing and reverse sneezing. Mites found in the nasal openings can also be a cause for any of these physical reflexes.

 The first method of diagnosis is to distinguish between sneezing and reverse sneezing in the dog. Next, if the condition is serious, more in depth testing may be performed to see if there is a more serious underlying medical condition.


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Peninsula Humane Society and SPCA in Burlingame, CA - Giving Free DNA Tests Under the Slogan "Who's Your Daddy?"

Burlingame, CA - A quarter of the dogs taken in by one California animal shelter look like Chihuahuas. So how do you make a pet stand out when it's similar to so many other dogs at the shelter? Check the DNA.

The Peninsula Humane Society and SPCA in Burlingame, a 30-minute drive south of San Francisco, began free DNA tests under the slogan "Who's Your Daddy?" Scott Delucchi, the shelter's senior vice president, came up with the idea to speed up adoptions of Chihuahua-centric dogs.

Because pets become part of the family, the $50 tests allow owners to find out the background of their pooches and certain traits they could exhibit. The tests also allow the shelter to get creative by coming up with clever breed names that can boost adoption odds.

For example, the Chihuahua-Australian shepherd-Jack Russell terrier-collie became a "Kiwi collier"; a Yorkshire terrier and beagle mix became a "Yorkle"; and a golden retriever-miniature pinscher-Chihuahua was proclaimed a "golden Chinscher."

In February, the shelter tested 12 lookalike dogs. One of the results was inconclusive, but 11 showed mutt combinations that the facility had never seen before. The tested dogs were all placed within two weeks — twice as fast as any 11 untested small, brown dogs in the previous months.

Twelve more dogs were tested, and once the last few in that group are placed, 24 more dogs will find out their breed backgrounds, Delucchi said.

In the two batches of tests, only 10 of 23 dogs had no Chihuahua in them. Chihuahuas took over from the glut of pit bull mixes that dominated the shelter until five or six years ago, Delucchi said.

There are a lot of reasons Chihuahuas became so popular, he said, citing Hollywood stars toting them in purses and the "Beverly Hills Chihuahua" movies.

Seeing one of the tiny dogs at the shelter changed Lynn Mazzola's mind about what kind of pet she wanted.

Mazzola of San Carlos, California, wanted a big dog, but 2-year-old, 6-pound Lily stole her heart. DNA results showed her that her new dog was part miniature pinscher, part Yorkie terrier and part Chihuahua, which the shelter dubbed a "Chorkie."

Knowing Lily's DNA gives you clues to her behavior, Mazzola said. For example, "it explains why she goes after birds and mice and she's not nervous like a Chihuahua," she said.

Mazzola's husband was about to undergo surgery and she wanted the dog to keep him company while he recovered.

After his operation, "he walked in the door, she ran up to him and hasn't been out of his lap since," Mazzola said of the dog that had been at the shelter for seven months.

The adoption promotion helped Lily, but it's going to take more than a gimmick to reduce the "alarming" number of Chihuahua mixes coming in, Delucchi said.

"Another part is making spay-neuter low-cost or free to the community," he said. "If you have a lot of one breed, you target that breed and those owners and make it easy for them to do the right thing and get them fixed."

He said facilities also work with states that need small dogs, such as Florida and New York, by flying in as many as they can handle.

Despite the promotion's tagline, the question that never gets answered is "Who's Your Daddy?" The DNA tests describe two parents, but they don't reveal which one is dad.


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Ohio Won’t Label Pit Bulls ‘Vicious,’ But Bexley Still Can

Picture of pit bull
Bexley officials are not likely to welcome pit bulls into their community, despite passage of legislation yesterday to end labeling of the dogs as “vicious” animals under Ohio law.

Ohio is the only state with a law labeling a specific breed of animal as vicious. But the state’s shift from that will not affect local ordinances regarding pit bulls or any other breed of dog.

“Any city that is a charter city does not have to follow the state law and can continue to have their own ordinance,” said Lou Chodosh, Bexley city attorney.

“I will be very surprised if Bexley changes its pit-bull law.”

Bexley bans the breed.

“I think I can speak for the (police) chief,” Chodosh said, “that he feels very strongly that these dogs are dangerous.”

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Barbara Sears, R-Toledo, agreed that the change in the state law does not compel Bexley or any other community to change ordinances restricting pit bulls. A handful of other communities in Franklin County have laws about “vicious” dogs but do not specify a breed.

For instance, Columbus bans owners from allowing their animals to run at large off their property. Violators face misdemeanor charges and up to 60 days in jail, or up to 180 days if their pet bites someone, said Bill Hedrick, chief of staff in the Columbus city attorney’s office.

The state’s change, he said, “doesn’t prohibit us from dealing with dogs which are problematic."

Yesterday, the House voted 67-30 to agree with Senate changes to House Bill 14 and send the legislation to Gov. John Kasich for his signature.

Supporters say that Ohio’s 25-year-old law labeling pit bulls as vicious discriminates against a specific breed of dog and has required dog owners to carry expensive liability insurance for their pets regardless of their behavior.

“Breed-specific laws imply that pit bulls, by their very nature, are vicious and are the only types of dogs that can attack without provocation, but this is simply not the case,” Sears said.

The legislation allows dogs showing behavioral problems to be designated in one of three categories: a nuisance, dangerous or vicious.

A “nuisance” dog is one that has chased or attempted to bite a person while off its premises. A “ dangerous” dog has caused injury to a person, or killed another dog, without provocation. A “ vicious” dog has killed or seriously injured a person without provocation.

Owners of dogs placed in one of the three classifications would face penalties ranging from fines to felony charges.

The legislation also sets requirements for how dogs under each classification should be restrained, such as keeping the pet in a locked pen, and also bans felons from owning a dog deemed to be “dangerous” for three years after their release from prison.

Sears said the legislation had a 10-year ban, but it was reduced at Kasich’s request.

“Breed-specific legislation is not a viable solution to dog attacks, and such language does not solve the underlying issue of irresponsible ownership,” said Rep. Matt Szollosi, D-Oregon.

“Such laws are unfair to responsible owners.”