Archive for the ‘Breeds of Dog’ Category

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon (Sporting Group)

Gemma | April 9th, 2012
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The Wirehaired Pointing Griffon is a member of the sporting group. This dog makes an excellent pointer, a versatile gun dog, and a solid all-around hunting companion. When on the job, these dogs have a deliberate point and retrieve style as they stick closely with the hunter’s gun.

Equally enjoyed by families all over the country, the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon makes a loving house pet and gets along moderately with strangers and other animals. They are a devoted breed, always willing to please, and even displays a somewhat comical personality when having fun in the house or romping around the yard with the family.

A Brief History Of The Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

France is the area of origin for the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon. And unlike most breeds that came to development over time, the creation of the Griffon was carefully deliberate. Every step along the way is well documented.

The breed started during the middle of the 1800s when the Cherville Griffon was created and later crossed with the pointer and the setter. Further development and refining of the breed is credited to a man named Edward Korthals, from Holland. In fact, the dog is still called by the name Korthals Griffon in many parts of the world.

Mr. Korthals began his work of refining the breed in 1874. It is said the he crossed twenty other dogs from the following breeds: spaniels, setters, water spaniels, griffons, French pointers and German pointers. As he traveled throughout France Edward helped build up the breed’s popularity all over the country.

By the year 1887 the first breed standard was published for the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon. In 1888, England offered the first show classes for the breed (although at that time the dog was referred to as a Russian Setter).

The popularity of the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon continued to skyrocket until World War II. After the war it’s reputation for being an excellent hunting companion brought the breed back to new life, but the numbers never quite reached the same peak as before the war.

Upkeep Requirements For The Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

Owning a Wirehaired Pointing Griffon means having plenty of open space outside and an active lifestyle. Like all members of the sporting group, this breed needs daily stimulation from a romp in the open wilderness, jogging, or fun games with the family. They especially like swimming.

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon dogs are able to live outdoors so long as the temperature does not reach overly hot or excessively cold levels. It’s best to allow the dog to remain outside in an open yard during the daytime hours, but to sleep indoors with the family at night. Due to its harsh coat, grooming requirements for the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon calls for heavy brushing twice per week.

Health Concerns

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon dogs can have a long life span of up to fourteen years, with twelve to thirteen being the average. A healthy breed, these dogs have no major health concerns to worry about. Minor health issues include otitis externa, CHD, ectropion, and entropion. Veterinarians suggest that Wirehaired Pointing Griffon dogs get tested for potential hip and eye problems.

Purebred Puppies Are Worth Every Penny!

Alan | October 23rd, 2008
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What you pay for your new dog depends to a large extent on the particular breed you want, how popular it is when you want it, what part of the country you live in, and the time of year you decide to buy the dog.

If you are shopping for a new dog during Thanksgiving or Christmas, holiday seasons, prices can be on the high side, because the demand is that much greater.

The price range for a good eight week old puppy will vary from about $500 (pet quality) to approximately $3,000 on up (a show dog prospect). The high price being a puppy who comes from a pedigreed line which has a history of champions.

If a puppy has fully grown out and is about eight to 12 months old, the price has been known to shoot up to as much as $10,000 or more.

Do Smaller Dogs Cost Less?

The size of a breed has nothing to do with the cost of the puppy. Many toy breeds, such as the Poodle or Yorkshire Terriers, are expensive, simply as a result of supply and demand. Since the demand for them is so great, it is not unusual that the entire litter is sold even before it arrives. Smaller dogs are easier to care for, less expensive to maintain, and require far less living space.

A female will usually be less expensive than a male unless she exhibits a great show potential. In that case, she will cost more because a great female puppy will be the foundation stock of a future breeding line. Many people do not wish to purchase a female simply because they don’t want the problem of dealing with newborn puppies, which will happen unless the animal is spayed. However, as far as being good pets, females are every bit as good as males and some people even feel females learn quicker, and easier.

Unscrupulous Breeders

As in any business, there will occasionally be found unscrupulous breeders with whom you might make contact with from time to time. Fortunately, they are soon discovered and ferreted out by members of their own profession who described him as the cancer of the breeding world. Word travels very rapidly throughout the doggie world.

In your search for the ultimate puppy, please take your time and do not rush in and buy the first dog you fall in love with. No matter how irresistible he may be, make sure he is exactly what you want. Check out other litters. In other words, shop around a bit before buying. Hopefully, the dog will be living with you for the rest of his or her life, and a good part of yours.

West Highland White Terrier History: Born From Injustice

Gemma | June 29th, 2008
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Over the years, the West Highland White Terrier has won almost every honor that can be conveyed from the show scene. These honors came despite the fact that most breeders ended the lives of these little white creatures at the bottom of a water bucket at birth. The only crime the Westie committed in those early days of his origin, was having been born with a white coat.

The West Highland White Terrier and the Cairn Terrier are really brothers under the skin. Cairn Terrier breeders considered the whites as skeletons in the closet and pretended that they didn’t exist. Whenever a white pup showed up in a litter, it caused the breeder embarrassment; professional breeders therefore tried to obliterate all traces of the scrappy little terrier with the white coat.

Once in a while, though, a white puppy from a litter of Cairns managed to survive man’s injustice and breeder fad, and together with a white puppy from another source, the strain of whites was preserved. In fairness, it should be pointed out that those who did save the whites from being destroyed were equally guilty of destroying any puppy born with a coat other than white.

Advocates of whites and advocates of colored continued their practice of breeding for distinct color, and in time, each side had developed a distinct variety of terrier. Though they did not originate the breed, one family in Poltalloch, Scotland, is credited with keeping the white breed pure for many generations. They were the Malcolm family.

To the Malcolm family and those who lived nearby the white terriers became known as the Poltalloch Terrior. While Cairn Terrier breeders were busy eliminating the occasional white puppy from their litters, the Malcolm family was busy deliberately working the other way; that is, eliminating all other colors except for white.

By the turn of the century, the West Highland White Terrier had lived with the name Poltalloch Terrior, Roseneath Terrer, White Scottish Terrier, White Cairn Terrier, and finally, the West Highland White Terrier.

The West Highland White Terrier became more popular with the general public than did the Cairn, and therefore was introduced into England before his colored brother. By the time Cairn Terriers gained the necessary popularity to be introduced to English dog shows, they found their white upstart little brothers already firmly established on the show circuit.

The Westie gained official recognition from the Kennel Club of England in 1907 followed shortly thereafter by the Cairn. The breed held its own in popularity for 10 years before the Cairn finally gained ground and became more popular with dog fanciers.

Connecting Hunting Abilities To A Labrador Retriever’s Behavior

Kate | June 10th, 2008
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Labrador Retrievers are many things to many people. Because of their loving nature and obedient temperament, these dogs have not only made great companions and helpers, but they are most often used as service dogs for the blind and handicapped.

How many dogs are adaptive enough to live with all of those different roles, yet still have the personality to enjoy swimming, hunting, and play fetching games? Labs are truly universal pets which is why they are my favorite dog to own.

What Makes The Lab Tick?

Labrador Retrievers are the product of long generations of breeders who used stringent selection for an animal that is intensely motivated to retrieve and plunge themselves into icy waters, swim against the hardest current, and swim back carrying a heavy waterfowl back to its hunter.

Having such a genetic ability to accomplish this job takes strength, endurance, determination, and the mental toughness to ignore any pain along the way. Sometimes the prey may still be alive and trying to fight its way out of the dog’s mouth.

The Strong-Willed Psyche Of The Labrador Retriever

The pressures of performing their hunting abilities, as described above, not only sharpens and strengthens a Labrador’s physical body, it also shapes the dog’s psyche. Motivation and determination is something that can only cause a dog to be so driven that they can make the fall (find the position) of a fallen bird, search for it regardless of the terrain, retrieve its prey under any circumstances, and then bring it back successfully to the hunter.

You Can Learn From This Hunting Behavior

This determination that Labs have when out in the hunting fields is a great way to understand the its behavior in the home. Some of you may be wondering why it is important to know just how incredible your Labrador retriever can function outside when hunting game, even if you do not take your dog out for such activities. The key is to understand just how fiercely intent a Labrador Retriever’s vision is as a hunter and then use that information to help you train and understand your dog when he becomes stubborn at home.

All too many Labrador owners experience frustration when their dog refuses to obey commands in the home. The reason is because these dogs act in a certain way and respond to certain behaviors that all links back to their hunting genetics.

They may react and make decisions that are only natural and good for their hunting skills, but not good for whatever training purposes you are intending at the moment. For the truly committed Labrador owners, it would behoove of you to learn and study its genetic hunting abilities and better understand this dog’s mental psyche when making decisions. Your training will be an easier and much more pleasant experience.

3 Things You Can Count On When Raising A Labrador Retriever

Kate | June 8th, 2008
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To completely understand the true nature of the Labrador Retriever, dog owners must have a firm grasp on the 3 most important aspects that make up this animal’s temperament and personality.

1. Labs Are Natural Born Hunters: Unlike most other hunting dog breeds, Labs do not just wait for its human hunting companion to command them to retrieve fallen birds. These dogs have to be so attentive that they can mark the fallen foul themselves.

It is believed that Labrador Retrievers are more aware of their surroundings than other hunting dogs because of their heritage. When hunting, Labs await for the right signal from their hunter in order to seek out and find the prey. Similarly, at home, they constantly wait by their owner’s side for the next task or command, regardless of what it is. It could be to walk, eat, anything really. This is what makes Labrador Retriever dogs a bit too needy for some dog owners.

2. Labs Must Have Proper Training: As hunters, Labs must be able to follow specific directions in order to find birds. And even if they do not have a direction to move in, they will keep hunting without giving up. In other words, a good Lab literally takes matters into its own hands to get the job done.

These characteristics are great for people to enjoy having a service dog that can take on its own in certain situations. On the other hand, it’s bad for dog owners who are incapable of providing absolutely no direction whatsoever. This is where most problems lie with new Labrador owners.

Many people see perfectly trained Labs at the park or walking with their owners and think to themselves I want one of those dogs. They are so well trained! Little do they realize that these animals are never born trained. It takes continuous progressive dedication to specific training protocols, all based on a Labrador’s genetic make up. This can prove too much work for some people to handle and end up with nothing but problems and frustration with their dog.

3. Labs Are Like A Box Of Chocolates: The last and most important thing to understand with Labrador Retrievers is that they are individualistic and not every Lab is the same. As Forest Gump says, Labrador dogs are like a box of chocolates, they come in all varieties and you never know just what you will get as they grow up.

Most Labs demonstrate the same interests, hunting, running, retrieving, and swimming, but oftentimes you may get a Labrador puppy that may absolutely hate water. And if you are fortunate enough, your Lab may not have an oral fixation, which causes many of these dogs to eat anything they can get a hold of.

The one thing you can definitely count on is that every Labrador Retriever is special and through proper training, attention, and love, you will have a wonderful dog that will display the utmost in loyalty and affection until its last day on earth with you.

The Labrador Retriever: Much More Than A Family Pet

Kate | June 4th, 2008
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Labrador Retrievers have become one of the most popular breeds used today as both assistance dogs and dog guides for the blind. The skills necessary for these two working jobs are extremely varied and are physically and mentally demanding, nevertheless, the Lab has once again proven that its popularity is based on much more than its good looks!

Dog Guides For The Blind

Nobody will forget the amazing story of the brave and courageous yellow Lab named Roselle, who on the disaster of 9/11, guided her vision-impaired owner, Michael Hingson, down 78 stories in the World Trade Center’s Tower One.

The pair exited from the choking smoke, dust and fumes just moments before the entire building collapsed on that horrible day. Roselle was bred, raised and trained by the Guide Dogs for the Blind in San Rafael, California. As amazing at it sounds, she was just doing her jog that day.

A position originally dominated by German Shepherd Dogs in the early 1900s, dog guides for the blind now include a large percentage of Labrador Retrievers, as well as Golden Retrievers, German Shepherd Dogs and Lab-Golden Mixes.

The Lab has risen to popularity in this service mostly because of their highly-qualified work ethic needed for such services: a stable temperament, a willingness to work, a moderate size and weight, and a low-maintenance coat.

Assistance Dogs

The type of work an assistance dog can perform is perhaps only limited by a trainer’s imagination. Labs are trained to assist those with limited mobility by picking up dropped items such as pencils, credit cards and keys.

Some dogs are trained to alert hearing-impaired handlers to a knock at the door, a baby crying, or in the case of a child, the sound of the school bell signaling a class change. Other Labs are trained to help disabled individuals to lean on and hold onto.

Some Labs even alert handlers to oncoming seizures before they happen and provide assistance during a seizure. Labrador Retrievers have been taught to pull wheelchairs, turn lights on and off, and even remove the handler’s socks before he or she goes to bed.

The benefits of an assistance dog can be seen at many levels. One of the greatest benefits is that people with assistance dogs regain a sense of independence, as well as an increase in self-esteem and self-worth because they can rely on the dog to help them, rather than have to rely on other people.

Assistance dogs can also serve as ice breakers. Disabled individuals frequently feel shunned because the general public feels uncomfortable in their presence. The company of an assistance dog, particularly a friendly Lab executing amazing skills for the disabled individual, is often the attraction that can facilitate conversation, social interaction and the formation of friendships.

Is The Labrador Retriever The New Rising Hero? – Part 2

Kate | June 2nd, 2008
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Labrador Retriever dogs are quickly becoming America’s top choice service animals when it comes to detection of bombs, narcotics, currency, and any other item that needs to be tracked.

Not only are these dogs genetically bred to pick up a scent and bring back a specific item from miles away, their work ethic and desire for human companionship completes them as the total package when a true hero is needed to do the job.

Bad House Pets Can Make Great Service Dogs

Another reason that Labrador Retrievers make excellent service dogs is because of their high energy levels and spectacular endurance. These characteristics are what make a reliable working scent dog. Ironically enough, some of the best, all-around, highly trained service dogs were given up from owners because their energy levels were just too much to keep up with.

A perfect example of a real-life situation is a group of Labrador Retrievers which were donated by several families because they were too high strung and acted out in severely destructive ways. When these same dogs were looked at by professional trainers, it was immediately obvious that they would make great working dogs.

And great working dogs they became! Two of them were taken in and trained to work for the DAD program (Dogs Against Drugs) of the Children’s Crisis Prevention Network Inc. in Texas. They now spend their days contributing to society by inspecting for alcohol, drugs, and guns in local schools.

Saving Time & Money

Using Labrador Retrievers as service dogs is also a better investment than using other dogs. This is because most dog breeds will only train and work effectively with one handler. Labs, on the other hand, can work with more than one handler if necessary, and still produce the same results.

Labs are also some of the most approachable of dog breeds. They appear friendly and are generally accepted as nonthreatening to the public. Consider the fact that many bomb threats and other potentially dangerous problems occur in public places such as airports, bus stations, and schools. A service dog must be able to work in and around crowds without alarming anyone. Labrador Retrievers are considered to be public friendly and do not intimidate people like other detection dogs, such as the imposing German Shepherd.

Read Part 1 | Read Part 2

Is The Labrador Retriever The New Rising Hero? – Part 1

Kate | May 31st, 2008
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When you hear somebody speak of a true life hero that reacted in a moment of bravery and did something courageous, regardless of the risks involved, a dog rarely comes to mind. But some of the most amazing feats of bravery and accomplishments are done by service-trained dogs each and every day.

After the disastrous terrorist attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center in 2001, the need for highly skilled working dogs to detect bombs, narcotics, chemicals, and explosives skyrocketed. In addition, more search and rescue dogs (SAR) were in demand as well.

In the past, working breeds such as the Belgian Malinois and, more commonly, the German Shepherd, took over these types of roles. But today, the Labrador Retriever is gaining huge popularity as the breed of choice for these demanding and potentially dangerous situations.

In fact, the Transportation Security Administration, U.S. Customs, and the Auburn University’s Canine Detection Training Center have all initiated detection-dog breeding programs that are 100% exclusive to the Labrador Retriever.

What Makes The Labrador Retriever So Qualified?

Research studies have shown that most dogs (in general) have the ability to detect infinitesimal amounts of scent, estimated to be lower than 400 parts per trillion. This ability alone makes dogs more reliable than any mechanical detection device available. In addition, dogs also have the ability to hold onto an odor and trace that scent directly to its source.

These skills are common with dogs in general, so when you consider that field and hunting Labradors are genetically favored to locate game when a hunter sends them out to retrieve fallen foul, this alone adds more power and ability to a Lab’s detection ability. When hunting, all a hunter has to do is give the Lab a general area of where the bird fell, and the dog does the rest, picks up the scent and brings back its prey.

In addition to having to rely on only an area of land to track down a particular bird, these Labrador Retrievers must also have the ability to block out every other scent that comes along the way. He must be able to discriminate against these other odors in order to be successful. These outside odors can often be so powerful that other dogs would not be able to concentrate and follow the direct target line like the Labrador Retriever can.

Another reason why Labrador Retrievers make excellent detection dogs is due to its work ethic. These dogs are highly intelligent and seem to have an endless drive to learn. And Labs are always begging for something to do. They enjoy working with people as opposed to other hunting breeds that prefer to act independently. This human-canine comradery is essential when facing a dangerous situation that has the potential to kill human beings.

Read Part 1 | Read Part 2

Maltese – King & Queens of Affection

Gemma | May 14th, 2008
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The best dog to get for those of you who are looking for something small, beautiful, and noble in stature, should be the Maltese.

These adorable little white creatures were literally bred for companionship. After taking one look at a sweet Maltese, how could anybody ever get angry at this dog? Is so gentle, friendly, and has the innocent look of an angel. Their dark eyes sparkle like gems and its snow white coat creates a vulnerable, yet alluring presence.

Love Is Everything

The Maltese is definitely not the dog for anyone with a big ego. This dog breed should have been named Love Dogs, simply because that is all they know. The Maltese loves everybody and every animal it comes across.

And when around strangers, it is affectionate yet always keeping an eye out for its number one favorite person, its owner. It is truly an eye-tearing display to watch. These animals are so eager to make you happy and please you in any way it can. Their entire mission is to feel good by making its owner feel good.

Maltese dogs are naturally great around children but it is not advisable to keep them around kids that are younger than 9 or 10 years old. It’s not that kids are bad for the dog, or vice versa, it’s just that it’s hard to supervise the activity between rough-playing children and the small, delicate frame of a Maltese dog. These dogs can even break their legs by simply jumping off a standard-sized sofa or chair.

Maltese Manners

So far in reading this article you would assume that the Maltese dog is a perfect little angel that does nothing but sit quietly and blink its eyes at you. Unfortunately, is not the case for every Maltese.

A friend of mine has had his Maltese for four years now. When the dog was about a year old, it had severe behavior problems. If a bug flew too close to its face, he would bark for hours on end. The smallest of items left around the house, such as papers and tiny objects, would be chewed and torn as much as the dog could muster.

What was the problem you might be asking? Well, as mentioned previously, these dogs are so sweet-natured and adorable that many people find it hard to bring themselves to giving discipline to their Maltese when it is young.

The last thing you want to do is hurt its feelings by yelling and disappointing the little guy. In time the dog realizes that there are no repercussions for its actions and because it was not trained early in its life, behavior issues become a common problem. The key is to avoid spoiling your Maltese when the time is necessary for strict discipline and obedience training.

For The Welsh Springer Spaniel Fans

Kate | May 11th, 2008
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The Welsh Springer Spaniel has never caught the fancy of the American Sportsman. On the scale of general popularity, the American Kennel Club ranks the Welsh dog at #120 on the list of recognized breeds.

Sportsmen have a wide selection of bird dog companions, whether they prefer pointers, retrievers, or the spaniel breeds. The pointers outnumber the other specialty breeds in this country. Though the Welsh Springer Spaniel’s prowess as a field dog may be obscured by the specialized abilities of other sporting breeds, indications are that he was the first spaniel ever to be used in front of a sportsman’s gun.

The Welsh Springer Spaniel is somewhat larger than the more popular Cocker Spaniel, and a shade smaller than the English Springer Spaniel. Our new friend is a native of Wales, and is very much in evidence there today. It was his cousin, however, the English Springer Spaniel, that rose to prominence as a bird dog in the United States.

The Welsh Springer Spaniel is a dedicated worker, with no terrain or brush condition considered too difficult. He wears a coat that enables him to withstand both extremes of temperature. So adaptable is he as a working dog that he is also used in his native country as a herd dog for sheep, and for driving cattle. Of the very ancient origin, the Welsh Springer Spaniel breed has been preserved in Wales purely for working purposes.

The one factor that has made the English Springer more popular than the Welsh Springer is the independent nature of the Welsh dog. He has a charming personality and is quite active.

It is said, however, that his independent nature dictates that his training be started when he is quite young; otherwise, he is not considered as easily trained as his English counterpart. If training is started at an early age, he learns his lessons well and retains what he learns.

For centuries though, Welsh sportsmen have been most satisfied with their native dog. Perhaps they know something we don’t and simply aren’t willing to share. It should be remembered that the Germans kept their Weimaraner under wraps for years before that breed’s prowess became known to the rest of the world.

The Welsh spaniel makes a terrific guard dog when properly trained, yet has an even disposition and temperament, compatible for close association with children. He is adaptable to countryside living, but is equally adaptable to city-type apartment dwelling.

He has a minimum of excess hair on his ears and legs. He can get himself caked up with mud and grime during a day of hunting in the field, and simply shake it off, exposing his gleaming white and red coat. He takes to water enthusiastically, whether retrieving fowl, or just taking a refreshing dip.