Dog Breeds: The Labrador Retriever

December 22, 2011 by  
Filed under All Posts, Pet Dogs

Labrador Retriever

Very few dogs are as lovable as a Labrador Retriever. If you are an outdoor person who loves the company of a four-legged companion, then this dog may be for you.

History

Before we begin, know that there are two types of Labrador: the American and the English. The breed as a whole originated in Newfoundland but was taken to England in the 1800s. It worked side by side with fishermen, helping them to bring in their catch. As a service dog, the Labrador Retriever has enjoyed a long history in a variety of services: police dog, watchdog, hunting, disability services, search and rescue, competition and field training. It is one of the oldest and most popular canine pets.

Temperament

This dog is well-balanced both in body proportion and temperament. He is a friendly outgoing dog who loves to be loved by his owners. If you own an American breed, then your dog is tall and lanky. The English version is bred more for hunting and retrieving.

Labradors are great companions who are good with children and adults. They are friendly and love any opportunity to show their masters that they can do the job you give them. They love to swim and play games with their human family.

Intelligent and devoted, they crave the attention of their family. This dog has the potential to become quite destructive without human contact. Be sure that you have enough time to devote to play and recreation each day or you will have a problem. Socializing them well can put an end to this problem.

Care

Labradors have a double coat. the under coat is weather-resistant and soft. It helps to insulate the dog from the cold. The shorter outer coat is water-resistant and very dense. This dog is an average shedder. Regular brushing with a firm brush is needed to keep from forming mats and tangles. Coat colors are usually chocolate, yellow or black. Bathe your dog when needed. Dry shampooing is preferred but only when necessary.

This dog can be prone to a few health issues. Be aware that they can develop hip or elbow dysplasia and eye disorders. Exercise them well to keep their weight in check.

Exercise is also essential to fulfill their migration instinct. Apartment dwellers can own this type of dog as long as they are walked briskly on a daily basis.

Training

This dog is not hard to train. In fact they enjoy it most when you give them a job to do. Labradors also subscribe to the “pack” mentality. This means that they need to know that their human master is the pack leader to feel comfortable. When walking them, be sure that they stay behind you or at your side. When you stop, the dog should heel behind you. This prevents them from bounding out of doors and tackling people.

Labrador Retrievers are loyal, loving, energetic and responsible. If you have the time and space (they get quite large), try this dog.

Dog Breeds: The Chihuahua

December 20, 2011 by  
Filed under All Posts, Pet Dogs

Chihuahua

This cute little dog has been featured in movies and fast food commercials. But, how is he as a pet in your home? Keep reading to find out the information you are looking for about the Chihuahua.

History

This is the smallest of all dog breeds. It originates in the Chihuahua region of Mexico. These dogs were highly prized as companions of the royal and the wealthy. In the late 19th century, the dog made its way to Europe. Because of its unique features it is believed that the Chihuahua was descended from the Fennec Fox.

Temperament

As a companion dog, the Chihuahua is aces. If you’ve ever seen one, then you know they are rambunctious, courageous and affectionate. But, they can also become strong-willed if not socialized well.

They are loyal to their owners, even licking their faces at times. People mistakenly treat them as if they were little toys instead of dogs. Giving them preferential treatment because they are small could turn your treasured pet into a spoiled brat who doesn’t know how to behave with the family or other people.

Care

For a toy sized dog, the Chihuahua has a well rounded head and large pointy ears. Often, they are born with a soft spot in their head called the “molera.” It usually closes over by adulthood but in some it does not which can lead to injuries. They have large wide set eyes.

Chihuahuas can have short or long coats. The colors they come in include: black, white, chestnut, black and tan, white, sable, silver, fawn and sand to name a few. The long coat requires daily brushing to keep it manageable. The short coat only requires an occasional wiping with a damp cloth. Bathe them once a month or as needed. Keep the ears clean and the nails trimmed regularly.

There are a few conditions to be aware of that might affect your dog. They are prone to rheumatism, gum problems, corneal dryness, glaucoma, colds and fractures. Corneal dryness is often due to their protruding eyeballs. Fractures can occur during birth as most are born by cesarean due to the large head.

For a small dog, he is prone to obesity. Watch his diet to prevent him from gaining too much weight. Also be aware of toxic products that can kill him. Avoid chocolate and fertilizer in places where your pet can get at them.

Training

Even though he is small, a Chihuahua very much has the “pack” mentality. It is important to teach him early that his human master is the pack leader. If not, this can cause stress on your pet as they try to fulfill that role. Allowing him to get away with behaviors because he is small can lead to nipping, biting and aggression.

Don’t forget to walk him. Exercise is good for the mind, satisfying their migration instinct. Like the pack leader, walk your dog behind you so he knows who the boss is.

Want a small dog that is good with the entire family? Try a Chihuahua.

Dog Breeds: The Weimaraner

November 29, 2011 by  
Filed under All Posts, Pet Dogs

Weimaraner

The dog with the funny name is anything but. Weimaraners are a breed built for spending time with their masters on the hunt. If you like the great outdoors, then this may be the dog for you.

History

This breed got its start in Germany. It has always been a noble hunting dog, chasing rabbits, birds, foxes and the like. Their sleek features make them perfect for running fast and exhibiting stealth when necessary. Over the years, this dog has been bred for hunting under the strict guidance of the German Weimaraner club.

The breed came to America when a sportsman from Rhode Island applied and was accepted into membership at the now exclusive German Weimaraner club. He successfully bred females with a puppy that was sent to him.

Temperament

This dog is loyal, obedient and intelligent when trained properly. As a pup it is important to teach them that you are the leader. This dog loves to run. They are happiest when they are living indoors and outdoors. They can be headstrong and stubborn if cooped up in the house and not given a chance to exercise extensively outdoors.

They work best with children who are well behaved. A Weimaraner will seek out their master or other human family members who are most like it – dominant and in control. Socialization works well with other dogs but not with cats. They are not weak dogs and have no tolerance for weak people. This personality trait has helped them to become excellent watchdogs and family protectors.

Care

Once called the “gray ghost”, its coat is short and close to the body. What makes this dog stand out is the shiny gray color of its coat, ranging from silver gray to a blue gray tint. He has a light eye color which complements his coat. He requires very little grooming beyond a weekly brushing and a monthly bathing to stay clean. As long as enough protein is provided in the diet, his coat will stay shiny.

Regular visits to the vet are recommended. This dog is prone to bloating so feed him a couple of small meals as opposed to one large meal or a full bowl that he can graze on throughout the day. Regular exercise can also help reduce this. Weimaraners are prone to hip dysplasia as well. Otherwise, they are rather healthy.

Training

Dogs need to know who is boss. Their instincts tell them that if there is not a dominant personality in the group then they must step up. To keep this dog from becoming the dominant personality, it is important to establish that the human owner is the leader from the puppy stage.

The Weimaraner responds well to firm training. They do not do well with harshness or yelling. Once they become weary of certain training techniques, they will not respond.

Weimaraners are excellent companions for sportsmen and those who love the outdoors. Read up on these dogs on Animal-World’s Weimaraner page.

Animal-World’s Featured Pet of the Week – The Australian Shepherd

October 23, 2011 by  
Filed under All Posts, Featured Pets, Pet Dogs

Australian Shepherd

Animal-World’s Featured Pet for this week is: The Australian Shepherd!

If you want a very high-energy, playful, and fun dog around, Australian Shepherds meet all of those parameters and more! They are popular as ranch dogs because of how much energy they have and can be very useful as herding dogs and just plain fun to have around. My main experience with Australian Shepherds was during college. I met a friend there who had a ‘mini’ ranch with several horses and other animals, including a couple Australian Shepherds. I would often go out to go horseback riding with her and her two dogs would always tag along with us on the rides – running along beside us and exploring as we went. They were very friendly dogs and loved when I would come over.

The name “Australian Shepherd” is a little misleading because these dogs are not from Australia! They were actually developed completely in the United States in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. There is variation in why people believe it has the name it has. It could be because of their blue merle coloring common to Aussies, the possibility that their lineage comes from Australia, or maybe because many Australian ranchers who came over to the U.S. took them in as ranch dogs. It is not sure exactly what breeds were used to develop the Australian Shepherd, but it is thought to be from other sheepdogs and collies.

Because of how friendly, energetic, and playful these dogs are, training is usually pretty easy! They love to please! This makes training fun for you as the owner and helps create a bond between you. They can learn to do just about anything you want them to, including many sports activities. Ideally, you should provide them with “work” to do that keeps them busy and gives them plenty of exercise. At the very least, make sure that you provide them with daily walks and plenty of room to play while not on the leash. This makes them a good pet when you have a large backyard or lots of acreage. They are not generally recommended as apartment dogs.

They are easy enough to care for, as long as you are a dedicated dog owner. They can have coats that are either wavy or straight and is short everywhere except on the backs of the forelegs and around it’s head. They only need moderate grooming to keep their hair from becoming matted. They do shed, so if they are kept indoors regularly, vacuuming will most likely be needed often. They also only need occasional baths. Make sure to feed them a good quality dog food that is meant for Australian Shepherds, or feed them a diet consisting of oats, wheat, potatoes, lamb and poultry.

There are a few health problems that these dogs are prone to. The most common problem is Collie eye anomaly and cataracts. Dogs that are bred irresponsibly can be blind. When purchasing an Australian Shepherd, make sure that you are obtaining your dog from a reputable breeder and that two dogs containing the merle genes were not bred together, as this gene combination is much more likely to produce offspring with health problems. Other health problems occurring in these dogs are hip dysplasia, thyroid problems, and Pelger-Huet syndrome.

These dogs often run from $300 to $600 and are found almost anywhere in the United States.

If you are looking for a fun and energetic dog, be sure to check out Animal-World’s page on Australian Shepherds!

Jasmine is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.

Dog Breeds: The German Shepherd

October 20, 2011 by  
Filed under All Posts, Pet Dogs

German Shepherd

You have probably seen this dog in a variety of places including the workplace. German Shepherds are work dogs with a noble German heritage.

History

This dog has its origins in Germany. As the name suggests, they are descended from herding dogs – sheepdogs from the German mountain regions. There these dogs have long hair, short hair and wire hair varieties.

The dog was popular in the early 1900′s due to the strict breeding and training tactics of a man named Captain Max Von Stephanitz. After World War II this changed as people had associated the dog with the infamous leader Adolph Hitler. British breeders adopted the dog and gradually changed its name to try and bring back the popularity but without the stigmatic associations.

This breed is popular in America and has been for years. They are known for their fearlessness, strength, intelligence and obedience.

Temperament

To look at them, you may think that they will bite your leg off, but this dog actually has a loyal and protective quality. In the home with young children, they are loving and gentle, requiring constant interaction with their families. They are also good with other animals in the home.

Because this is a pack dog, it is important to establish who the “alpha dog” is right away. They will assume that position if their master is timid or inconsistent in behavior in any way. From then on, you will have a problem with discipline unless you step up and show that you are in control.

Because of their fearlessness, they make good service dogs. You may have seen them in the K-9 unit as police dogs. Many use them as guard dogs and watchdogs. Disability services also train them to be guide dogs for the visually, hearing or mentally impaired.

Care

This dog is a heavy shedder. It can have a long, short or wire coat. His coat is medium length, straight but coarse or rough feeling to the touch. It is also dense and thicker in the winter. His coat can come in a variety of colors including tan and black, solid black, black and cream and black and silver.

For best results, use a dog rake on their hair daily. This removes loose hairs and can minimize shedding. Refrain from bathing (once or twice a year at most) as this can remove helpful oils from their skin and hair.

German Shepherds are prone to a few diseases. For that reason, regular vet visits are recommended. They may develop: hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, eczema, epilepsy, digestive issues and flea allergies.

Training

As we said, this pack dog needs to know who is boss right away. They are highly intelligent and respond to firm training and a reward system. They excel at agility, obedience, tracking and schutzhund. When exercising, keep them on a short leash beside or behind you.

Are you looking for a family dog that is also a great protector and worker? Try the German Shepherd. To read more on these dogs as pets, check out Animal-World’s German Shepherd Dog page!

Dog Breeds: The Saint Bernard

October 6, 2011 by  
Filed under All Posts, Pet Dogs

Saint Bernard

Are you looking for a dog to share your life? Depending on your needs you may want to consider the Saint Bernard. Keep reading to find out vital information about this lovable breed!

History

The Saint Bernard is one of the oldest dogs there is, originating in the 900 A.D. period. They are primarily known as search and rescue dogs. Perhaps you’ve seen cartoons or shows that picture this dog with a barrel of medical provisions around its neck.

They are known for their heightened sense of smell and direction. This is what makes them useful for finding and helping those who are lost or injured. Because of their size (both males and females can grow to be around 200 pounds and 25 inches), they can also aid in moving an injured person to safety.

Temperament

Saint Bernard dogs are large but they are also as gentle and friendly as any dog breed can be. Often they look downtrodden like Eeyore from the Winnie the Pooh stories but they are anything if not lovable and full of affection for their families. These pooches are loyal and make good watch dogs.

In a family setting, they get along with other household pets. Because of their gentle nature, they are also good pets for families with children. Hugs as often as possible are much appreciated by them.

Care

Saint Bernard’s have long, rough coats or long smooth ones. Their color is normally white with tan, black, red or brindle (mixed brown or gray markings with darker patches) markings. Daily brushing prevents any tangles and also can cut down on the amount of overall shedding they do on the furniture. Do note that this animal is a heavy shedder by nature. Their coat is naturally water resistant so keep bathing to a minimum to avoid stripping oils.

If you own a Saint Bernard be aware of the potential health problems of the breed. They are prone to heart problems, Wobbler Syndrome (condition due to misalignment of vertebrae in the necks of dogs and horses characterized by a strange walking gait), skin disorders and bloating.

Training

Saint Bernard’s are lovable but sometimes stubborn. They respond well to socialization in a gentle and patient manner. Along with that they have a fierce desire to please their masters. To that end, they are best behaved with a loving and present family. Staying away too long from home can result in increased anxiety in the animal. For those who have never owned an anxious animal, this can lead to destruction of furniture and other items in the house while you are away.

They do require outdoor exercise. For free running and training, a fenced in yard is best. Play sessions with the family are a great way for everyone to get exercise together. Be aware though that this breed is easily overheated.

Is your next dog a Saint Bernard? This information can be helpful to make that decision. Check out Animal-World’s Saint Bernard page!

Dog Breeds: The Doberman Pinscher

September 26, 2011 by  
Filed under All Posts, Pet Dogs

Doberman Pinscher

Are you looking for a dog that will not only make a good companion but a good working dog for your property? You may have to look no further than a Doberman Pinscher. Keep reading and find out more.

History

The Doberman breed was developed in Germany in the later 1800s by a man named Louis Dobermann. An all-purpose dog, it was tasked to do everything from standing guard to chasing vermin to herding sheep. In the United States, this dog is an official combat dog of the marine corps.

Since that time, they have been used in physical positions due to their elegant lines and muscular build. With a face to match, they are fierce in dangerous situations, protecting their families and property.

Temperament

Even with the countenance of a hardened soldier, Doberman Pinschers are loyal and devoted to their owners. This dog is courageous, resourceful and quite intelligent. They work well with a single owner but also thrive in a family setting. It is not uncommon for the Doberman to become closer to one family member than the others.

This breed does best when alone as far as other pets are concerned. They do not get along well with other animals in the home setting. As for children, older children who are respectful and well-behaved make good companions for the Doberman. Constant attention is important as they don’t do well if they are left alone for long periods of time without contact with their owners.

Care

Good news for owners: Doberman Pinscher breeds require very little grooming. Their hair is short and close to the skin. usually just a wipe with a damp cloth every once in a while will manage their coats. Speaking of coats, most are black and shiny with brown, red, blue or black patches above the eyes, on the muzzle, neck, legs and under the tail.

To keep your Doberman in tiptop shape, here are a few tips. Cut and trim nails regularly to keep them short. If he requires a bath, use dry shampooing for odors and a wet bath if he is visibly soiled. Dobermans are prone to a few diseases to watch out for: Wobbler syndrome, von Willebrand’s disease, congenital heart conditions, bloating and hip dysplasia.

Training

When it comes to training this dog needs a firm, but fair, hand. Bullying them to get them to obey doesn’t work. Try positive reinforcement. From the time they are pups, a dominant owner can train their Doberman to be fierce, well-mannered and obedient. Without it, they can become shy and timid, not good combinations for guard dogs.

A Doberman Pinscher could be in your future if his characteristics fit the bill for you. Hopefully, this information will help you make an informed decision. For more information on the Doberman Pinscher, check out Animal-World’s Doberman Pinscher page!

The Irish Wolfhound

August 27, 2011 by  
Filed under All Posts, Pet Dogs

Irish WolfhoundIrish Wolfhound

"These dogs were originally bred as wolf hunters!

The Irish Wolfhound is huge – with some growing as large as small ponies!

Irish Wolfhounds are giant dogs, however they usually have gentle tempers. They are generally friendly, although may be reserved around people they don’t know. They are loyal, affectionate and sociable with their families and children and are easy enough to train. Due to their size and their need of space and room to run and play, they are not apartment dogs. They also have a tendency towards several hereditary health problems, including heart problems, bone cancer, and liver shunts. This would be something to look out for when selecting an Irish Wolfhound… Read More

More about Irish Wolfhounds!

Pugs as Pets

August 24, 2011 by  
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PugsPugs

"These little dogs are one of the oldest breeds and are originally from China!

The Pug is a great house dog, being stocky and short and a wonderful companion!

Being generally happy little dogs, pugs are loyal and affectionate to their owners and families. They get along well with visitors and children and are quite smart. They also usually get along well with other dogs and pets, which is a bonus. Pugs are, however, prone to eye problems and breathing problems, so make sure to research the background of your dog before selecting him… Read More

More about Pugs!

Featured Pet of the Week: The Labrador Retriever

August 14, 2011 by  
Filed under All Posts, Featured Pets, Pet Dogs

The Labrador Retriever as a pet

Labrador Retriever

The Labrador Retriever, often known as just a “lab” is an extremely popular dog breed as a companion pet (the most popular, in fact!). They have great personalities – they are very affectionate and gentle with their owners and get along well with just about everyone. They are classified as sporting dogs, but can be trained to do a number of things in a variety of areas.

My family had one lab while I was growing up – his name was William or “Billy” for short. He was a black lab and was one of the best pets we ever had! Right from the start he wanted to desperately be a part of the family and went with us everywhere. I remember the first night he came home with us we left him with a dog bed in the living room and he cried the whole night until one of us went to sleep with him. He had the best personality and was extremely smart; he was able to perform a number of tricks and knew how to sneak around without getting caught if he wanted to go somewhere he wasn’t supposed to!

Some history associated with Labrador Retrievers. It originated in Newfoundland from the St. Hubert’s Hound and other European pointer breeds. It was primarily used to retrieve fishing nets from the water for fishermen. In the 1800′s it was introduced to England where it had it’s retrieving abilities worked on even further. Now they can do a myriad of things including hunting, guarding, acting as service dogs, drug-sniffing for the police, and competitive obedience training. They also have many color variations! These include black, yellow, and chocolate.

If you are considering getting a Labrador Retriever, either a puppy or an adult, these are some of the things you may want to think about. First, they can be prone to eye problems, joint problems, and hereditary myopathy. They also love to exercise, so you will want to make sure they have plenty of outside room to run and play in, or that you have the time and commitment to take them out on walks or swims regularly. They make good house dogs in general and love to spend time with their families. They are also fairly large dogs – with males reaching up to 75 pounds, which is something to keep in mind if you live in an apartment or a small house.

As far as their diet is concerned, they need lots of protein and fat, with few carbohydrates. You can always pick up commercially prepared dog food which generally provides the correct balance of what they need, otherwise a diet that consists of lamb, poultry, fish and green vegetables is recommended. Obesity can be a problem because they are prone too eating too much if offered too much food, or the wrong kinds of food. This can lead to other problems, so take care to feed your lab properly!

Labs have fairly short hair and so do not need detailed grooming. Simply brushing their hair and giving an occasional bath should suffice. They do shed somewhat and so if kept indoors you will want to vacuum regularly.

A common health problem for Labradors is ear infections. These can be prevented somewhat by simply clipping the hair under and around their ears. Check their ears regularly for signs of infection as well.

Labradors can make great pet dogs and if you would like to learn more about them check out the Labrador Retriever page!

Jasmine is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.

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