Dog groups: Sighthounds


Sighthounds (a.k.a gazehounds) are hunting dog breeds that hunt by sight, and speed! As this group of dogs hunt by sight; they need the stamina, speed and agility to keep up with their prey.

As seen in the below image; Sightounds are slim built dogs (lean), with deep chests, long legs, and flexible backs – all traits which aid the dog in keeping up with their prey.

Saluki Whippet (TMSHG)
Deep chest, long (strong) legs, lean build – Saluki and Whippet. [Photo credit: Paul Morrison/ The Morrison Sighthound Gang on Facebook]
Sighthounds need exercise just like any other dog, but focusing on the type of exercise. As long as your sighthound gets a good sprint, a couple of 20-30 minute walks daily are quite sufficient (in between nice, long snoozes of course)!

Sighthounds playing (TMSHG)
Playful dogs from The Morrison Sighthound gang [Photo credit: Paul Morrison/The Morrison Sighthound Gang on Facebook]
Sighthounds are generally affectionate and friendly dogs, both with their human(s) and other dogs. However, are often not suited to living with small, fast animals as this may trigger their chase and hunt instincts!

Sighthound breeds include:

  • Afghan Hound
    Height: 60-75 cm, Weight: 25-35 kg, Lifespan: 12-14 years
  • Azawakh
    Height: 60-75 cm, Weight: 15-25 kg, Lifespan: 10-12 years
  • Basenji
    Height: 38-43 cm, Weight: 9-12 kg, Lifespan: 12-16 years
  • Borzoi
    Height: 66-76 cm, Weight: 25-47 kg, Lifespan: 7-10 years
  • Greyhound
    Height: 68-76 cm, Weight: 26-40 kg, Lifespan: 10-12 years
  • Ibizan Hound
    Height: 56-74 cm, Weight: 20-30 kg, Lifespan: 10-12 years
  • Irish Wolfhound
    Height: 76-90 cm, Weight: 47-64 kg, Lifespan: 6-10 years
  • Italian Greyhound
    Height: 33-38 cm, Weight: 3-5 kg, Lifespan: 12-15 years
  • Pharaoh Hound
    Height: 53-64 cm, Weight: 18-27 kg, Lifespan: 11-14 years
  • Saluki
    Height: 58-71 cm, Weight: 18-27 kg, Lifespan: 12-14 years
  • Scottish Deerhound
    Height: 70-80 cm, Weight: 35-50 kg, Lifespan: 8-11 years
  • Sloughi
    Height: 61-72 cm, Weight: 18-28 kg, Lifespan: 12-16 years
  • Whippet
    Height: 45-56 cm, Weight: 6-14 kg, Lifespan: 12-15 years

A Lurcher is a type of Sighthound but is not a purebreed, but a mix (this may be a mix of Sighthound breeds, or of a Sighthound and any other breed(s)). Lurchers will exhibit traits of the breeds that are in them, as with any other crossbreed, but will have the general appearance of a Sighthound.


I recommend checking out (via this link) The Morrison Sighthound Gang page on Facebook for more stunning photographs, as well as videos, and information. I want to thank The Morrison Sighthound Gang for the use of the images (all individually credited).


All other images are open source, Google images, or my own – or photos donated for use by the pet owners.


If you have any questions or comments; please post a comment below, or contact Ali’s Answers via one of my social media pages…
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Titbit: Bertie the Miniature Schnauzer


So recently I’ve started clicker training with my new friend Bertie. As you can see from the photo above, Bertie is a (young) Miniature Schnauzer. He is such a lovely little pup – so friendly and so smart! But, as with all pups, quite mischievous too!

Bertie is quite fond of the clicker as he has quickly learned to associate the noise with the reward. They key in any kind of training is to find what motivates your dog to use as the reward – with Bertie it is most definitely treats! But with your dog it may be a particular toy or ball, or even just a big fuss!

Bertie responds well to the puppy treats i have been usuing. He is lovely to train as he responds really well to the clicker. He learned “down” in about 10 minutes one afternoon.

As he’s young we (his owners and I) are going to do the basic training, as well as a few fun tricks! I know Bertie will pick it up quickly.

The other week I was dog-sitting so used the opportunity to do a little recall training with Bertie on my own. It’ll be an eye opener to see how well he does this for other people; for a first go he was very good for me, and spent a good amount of time off lead as a result.

Before we left the park he made friends with a Husky cross – even if she was a little unsure of the small dog at first!

I am looking forward to doing more training with little Bertie, and seeing him become a model dog/ student! 😉

Endangered Earth


In the past 10 years we have lost several animal species – in this day and age we consider ourselves better than our predecessors, yet we are still the main cause of animals going extinct… we’re no better than those before us – in some ways we’re worse, as we are not doing what we do to survive; we are doing it for “fun” or “progress”. In what civilised or ‘advanced’ society is there place for this abominable behaviour? Yes, this post is looking to be an informative rant-type…

In the past century many animal species have been wiped from the planet, below is a selection (from the past decade) of those lost forever:
(1) 2015 – Eastern Cougar
(2) 2014 – Malagasy Hippopotamus
(3) 2013 – Formosan Clouded Leopard
(4) 2012 – Pinta Tortoise
(5) 2012 – Zanzibar Leopard
(6) 2012 – Japanese River Otter
(7) 2011 – Western Black Rhinoceros
(8) 2010 – Alatora Grebe
(9) 2010 – Derwent River Sea Star
(10) 2009 – Christmas Island Pipistrelle Bat
(11) 2008 – Spotted Green Pigeon (Liverpool Pigeon)
(12) 2008 – Caribbean Monk Seal

Many species that are extinct today is due to humans – we hunt to extinction, we destroy habitats, we remove animals from the wild for fashion or entertainment – we first make them extinct in the wild and then we deplete the captive animals until they’re gone… and many other reasons.
The ICUN Red List contains information of the endangerment of species.
We used to hunt sustainably for food, and in many countries/cultures this is still the case, but most of the hunting (at least in first world cultures) is for “fun” or “sport” and is unjustifiably cruel and unnecessary. The man that hunts to feed his family and/or community is not the reason Elephants and Rhino’s are depleting in number and becoming extinct; the cruelty of riding out with a pack of dogs to have them tear apart an innocent fox is not for any justifiable reason; the mind-set of people needs to change to make a difference… the bans we have in place need to be enforced to make a difference… we all want a better world but that won’t happen if we cannot really change.

We have bans (in certain countries) on things like fox hunting, whale hunting (whaling), shark finning, dog and cock fighting, removing animals from the wild (with conservation excepted), and many more abhorrent things – yet these bans are not universal, and often not enforced. If there are no consequences for these actions, or these consequences are not adhered to and/ or enforced, then what power do these bans have? Where then is the protection for these creatures?

Red Fox

Animals are a lot more important to their ecosystems than people give them credit for – the removal or addition of one species has an affect on everything around it. Take the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone National Park for example – video link here (this is in no way my video) – thanks to wolves being back in the ecosystem, the rivers went back to how they used to be, plants that had been destroyed by the overpopulation of deer returned, because the wolves kept down the deer population – things went back to the way they were; back to how they should be. Why did the ecosystem breakdown in the first place; why did the wolves become extinct in Yellowstone? Because of us. Because of humans. Because we killed them off…Grey Wolf

The way we are going, the same thing will happen again and again, with more species. We, as a species, need to change before we are the only species left on a dying planet – small steps to ensure that other species don’t become myth and fairy-tales, instead of living, breathing creatures that share this planet.

Your cat and the big outdoors


New cat or kitten? Wanting to let them roam the big, wide world outside? Stop and think before you do, to ensure the safest way to introduce your cat to the outdoors.

Kittens Outside

You must note that there are differences in introducing a young kitten and an adult cat to the outdoors.

With an adult cat, keep them indoors 3-6 weeks before letting them venture outdoors; cats have a great ‘homing beacon’ and if you let them out straight away will find their way back to where home was before you brought them home with you. Keeping your cat indoors for minimum of 3 weeks will sort of ‘re-set’ this, so your home becomes theirs and they will then find their way back to you. This also applies with adult cats when you move house – keep them inside until your new location becomes theirs.

With a kitten there is a bit more preparation before letting them outside – this is first for a new kitten! Ensure your kitten is micro-chipped in case they get lost; vaccinated to avoid illness or disease; and neutered at the appropriate age to avoid any unplanned litters!

Work on recall in the home before letting your cat/kitten out – calling them and shaking their favourite bag of treats, or something similar so they know to come back when called.

Cat Collar

If you want to put a collar on your cat/kitten (many people choose to so a bell can be added), ensure you get a collar that can has some sort of [emergency] release so the collar will break if it is stuck on something, and it won’t harm your pet. Bells on collars do reduce the success rate of hunts, however won’t ever completely prevent the occasional successful hunt.

At first it is wise to monitor your cat/kitten on their first adventure outside to ensure they don’t get into too much trouble, and so you’re on hand if they do! You may wish to firstly take your cat/kitten out on a harness and lead to let them get used to the smells and surroundings and layout of your garden in a controlled environment.

Whilst outside, sit and play and explore with your pet to allow them to get used to, and enjoy this new setting. Practise recall in the garden with your pet, being sure to reward, fuss and praise them when they come back when called.


Kitten exploring

Eventually allow your cat/kitten more time outside without you, until they want to venture out on their own.

As cats are nocturnal, they spend the nights active and hunting – to allow your pet outside of an evening/night it is advisable to get a cat flap. With a cat flap, you won’t have a restless cat that has been cooped up all night, and you won’t be disturbed by your pet asking to be let out. The best options are cat flaps that open via magnets (one in the flap and one on the collar of your cat(s)), or that open when registered microchips are within a certain proximity. These kinds of flaps ensure no cats that are not of your household can enter.

For any further advice or any questions on this topic, please do not hesitate to contact me via any of the methods below.


All images are open source, Google images, WordPress supplied images, my own images, or photos donated for use.


If you have any questions or comments; please post a comment below, or contact Ali’s Answers via one of my social media pages…

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Prepping for your Pup!


So you’ve picked your pup and soon (s)he’ll arrive, and make a lovely addition to your household!

Boston Terrier puppy

We love our pets (as per my first ever website post), and part of that love comes before we’ve even brought them home – in ensuring we are ready and able to properly care and provide for them.

Dogs are a very popular pet; preparing for an adopted adult dog and preparing for a puppy are different things. This post will focus on preparing for a brand new little puppy.

Preparation depends a lot on the breed you have chosen – the attributes belonging to the breed of dog you have chosen. Choosing a breed should tie in with your lifestyle – don’t get a breed of dog that requires what you can’t provide. For further information about specific dog breeds, pop me a message or check out my posts covering A-Z of Dog Breeds.


Food, Water and the Bowls that hold them!

Bowls should be the appropriate size and weight for the breed you have chosen; a large dog breed will require larger, heavier bowls than a small dog breed.
If your pup will grow into a tall dog, you may want to invest in bowls that will fit into a stand as your pup grows bigger! A large dog will strong, and move small items (such as food/water bowls) around easily, so heavy duty bowls may be more suitable, to prevent your pup pushing them bowls (and spilling the contents) as they eat/drink.
Small dogs are suited to smaller bowls, and medium dogs to medium bowls, etc. The weight of a smaller bowl will depend on the breed – if it’s a stronger/heftier breed (e.g. British Bulldog) you have chosen you may wish to opt for a weightier bowl, than if you have chosen a petite/lightweight breed (e.g. Italian Greyhound).
The depth of the bowl should reflect the length of muzzle and shape of the head/face of your chosen breed – a short-snouted dog will struggle to reach the bottom of a deep bowl. You can even get bowls specifically designed to keep long, floppy ears out of the dish and nice and clean!

Food will size specific and often age specific, and breed specific too with some brands. Do your research into top brands – don’t compromise with a poor diet for a bargain! There are plenty of top-notch foods out their that won’t break the bank, as well as the ones that will stretch your wallet a bit further! Depending on how quickly the dog breed you have chosen will reach maturity, will determine how long your pup should stay on puppy food – this should be indicated on the packaging (in my opinion, any food brand worth their salt will provide this information). Between 6-18 months old, your dog will have reached sexual maturity (at this point dogs often get neutered), but they may continue to grow to full size for some time after that. Small dogs tend to reach maturity closer to 6 months and are often full grown at 12-18 months; where as larger breeds tend to reach maturity later and can take 2 years to become fully grown.


Beds, crates and safe spaces

As mentioned above, the breed and size of your dog plays a big factor in getting ready for them. If you plan on crate training your pup (which I personally would recommend) think about the best option – if you plan on keeping the crate throughout your pets adult life, for travel or holidays or “just in case!” (like we did with our family dog) then buy for an adult dog! Don’t buy a little crate for the pup, buy the size you will need in the future to accommodate the size of dog you will have. In my experience, crates don’t tend to differ too significantly in price as the sizes go up, so it’s more advisable to spend a tenner or so more for the correct adult size than end up spending the X amount now and then X+ amount again in the future.
Post on Crate Training to follow.

Beds – sizing being the obvious factor here, but also take into account where your pup will be sleeping and what characteristics the breeds is known for. Some breeds are known for chewing through anything – you don’t want your pup chewing their way through nice pillow stuffing that can clog up their gut, just for the sake of wanting them to have a soft bed they can snuggle into. Dogs are brilliant and keeping themselves warm, and you’d be surprised how insulating a lining of newspaper under the bedding can be!
The bed and/or crate will be your pet’s “safe space” – this is where teaching children and others comes in. If your dog takes themselves off to their bed and/or crate, do not disturb them or harass them but leave them to it; they need to know this is their space and it is safe for them to have peace from children and from excitement and anything else.

You should be able to stroke your pet, to handle them if necessary in their bed – they shouldn’t be possessive of their “safe space” to the extent they may get aggressive. Do stroke your pet in their bed and/or crate but not for long, but often enough so they allow you into their “safe space” when necessary.


Collars, leads and “walkies!” related titbits

Get your pup used to a collar – puppy collars are gentle on the new skin and new fur of a young pup. Put the collar on for 5 minutes a day at first, and build up the amount of time over a few weeks. Once your puppy is ready for their first set of vaccinations you can try a collar on for a few hours building up as you see fit until their second set of injections, when you can take them for a walk. Before they can go out into the big, wide world you can take them around your garden or home on collar and lead (or harness or whatever you will use to walk them).

Puppy collar modelled by Tilly


Teaching your pup to walk well on a lead is essential – especially if you plan on walking with just a collar and lead. If you plan to use a harness or a gentle leader (personally I’d advise against using a Halti) get them used to this also with the collar and lead. If you do plan to use a harness, do your research and get the best type of harness for your breed – I would advise against a harness that goes round the chest and over the shoulders as this restricts movement; go for a hardness that goes from the chest, around the shoulders. Do not use a harness on breeds designed to pull, as this will encourage pulling. If you plan to use a gentle leader, ensure you fit your pet with the correct size to ensure full control and that your pet will not slip out of it. Alternatives are check chains and half-check chains – I personally would never use a check chain, and certainly if you are unsure how to set it up for safe use as you could choke your pet; half-check chains are a lot safer, as they do not require set up as they are half chain and half collar. I personally do not prefer either but if you insist on one, go with the half-check.

Gentle Leader


Once your pup is big enough for “walkies”, keep walks short and interesting until they’re big enough to walk further an explore more. If you plan to walk your dog off lead in any location, then off the lead training should be done before hand, in a safe area, to ensure your dog’s safety when out and about off the lead.
 For further information on the above section check out my Loose the Leash! post.

On a related note, for travel in the car I suggest getting a suitable harness or travel seat/carrier. Do not let your dog loose in your car whilst driving – you may have a well behaved dog, but good behaviour won’t stop your dog flying out the windscreen or into a person (or worse) in the event of a crash. My little pooch (pictured below in his car harness) weighs around 10 kg – just imagine the damage 10 kg can do loose in a car in a crash… safety first, for you and them!

Please do check out my other website posts or send me a message via any of my contact details below for further information on any of the above, or advice for walking equipment and/or on and off the lead training.

(Car) Harness – note straps go around the shoulders, not across.




All images are WordPress supplied, open source Google images, or my own – or photos donated for use.


If you have any questions or comments; please post a comment below, or contact Ali’s Answers via one of my social media pages…
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The Cycle of Abuse


Apologies in advance but this is a bit of a rant post! I find it SO sad that the UK has some of the best animal welfare legislation in the world, yet it is still (in my opinion) severely lacking… We do not have a regulated body that can enforce animal welfare laws or do anything to protect the welfare of animals in need. I feel that things aren’t being done, or at least not enough is being done, to stop and punish those who cause harm to animals. The Cycle of Abuse is illustrated in a triangle cycle: This indicates that if a person commits any offence in the cycle, they are likely to commit at least one out the the other two – and very capable of ending up committing all three offences. Somewhere I used to live (I keep up with the local news) seems to have gotten a gang or gangs of nasty youths who think they can run the place. Based on news articles there is a lot of animal abuse and even the murder of animals – if this kind of things isn’t dealt with now sufficiently, then they could go on to do this sort of thing again following the cycle. Its happened before; kids abusing animals with parents and authorities aware yet doing nothing. This led to them taking a child away from his mother and killing him – doing what they’d being doing to animals to the poor boy. We need to have better awareness and care, and take action if we know a person is abusing an animal (whether you’re an ‘animal person’ or not) – if left to escalate something could happen to a person you love. It’s not just a place I once called home where this goes on; this is just my recent experience. It’s all over news stories; I feel that more needs to be done to change things. Maybe if we nip it in the bud with these kids harming animals it won’t escalate to one or both of the other options on the cycle. Rant over [for now].
All images are WordPress supplied, open source Google images, or my own – or photos donated for use.
If you have any questions or comments; please post a comment below, or contact Ali’s Answers via one of my social media pages… . Google+ (Ali’s Animal Answers) . Facebook (Ali’s Animal Answers) . Twitter (@AlisAnswers) . LinkedIn (Ali Holloway)

Once upon a time… dog breeds (1)


Once upon a time there lived different types of animals – in addition to or the ancestors of the ones we know know and love today… 

So we all know animal species become extinct and I’ve written many posts about threatened/ endangered species; but what about those species that are still around but have just lost some types/ breeds along the way?

Focusing, for a few posts, on dog breeds that once were but now no longer exist; here are the first few in our exploration of extinct dog breeds…

Hare Dog (a.k.a. Hare Indian Dog or Coydog)

The Hare Dog or Coydog is said to have been a domestic dog/ coyote hybrid (Coy[ote] dog). Bred as a (sight) hunting dog by tribes in Canada. This breed fizzled out of existence by breeding it with other dog breeds that were introduced to the region, until the Hare Dog was bred out of existence.

Described as having no detectable difference in form from that of a Coyote, except in size (being smaller than a Coyote). It is said to have had more of a howl than a bark, yet at the same time the sound is distinct as belonging to a domestic dog. However there are a lot of debates regarding the exact origin of this breed, and surrounding the appearance – and being extinct, I suppose the facts will remain extinct with it.

Coydog (open source image)

Talbot Hound

Said to be an ancestor to the Beagle, the Coonhound, it was close to the Blood Hound; the Talbot Hound was a scent-hound and was used for hunting. It is thought that the breed was interbred with the Blood Hound until just the one breed remained.

The breed is said to have originated in Normandy, and brought over to England by William the Conqueror. This however is disregarded by most as here-say, as there is no evidence to support this. Nor is there any mention of the breed in medieval French history.

Talbot Hound crest (open source image)

With big floppy ears and known for being white in colour (on occasion with spots/patches) the Talbot is described as having been a large, white hound. Large, slow, heavy hounds were described as ‘Talbot like’ regardless of colouration, but the ‘true Talbot’ was described as being milk white in colour.

Talbot Hound (open source image)

Molossus

Originating in Ancient Greece, specifically from within the region of the Molosi tribe, the Molossus is said to be the ancestor of a lot of large breeds we know and love today. The Molossus was often kept as a guard dog, and said to have been very loyal – fiercely so!

This dog was also used in war, hunting, gladiator and dog fights, as well as for herding and guarding livestock on farms.

The appearance Molossus varies between sources; some suggesting it was Mastiff like in appearance, and others suggesting it was more of a slender sight-hound looking animal. M. Aurelius Olimpias Nemesianus wrote a poem in 284 BC describing this dog as having the appearance of a sight-hound.

Due to the variation in appearance, the Molossus is referred to having been a type as opposed to a breed. Mastiffs are often referred to as Molossus types nowadays.

Stone depictions of Molossus type (open source image)
Molossus type – Alpine Mastiff (open source image)

Hawaiian Poi Dog

This short, fat, little barrel of a dog is said to have been a playful and friendly breed if not a little clumsy! It is also said that they were lazy and rarely barked. Being fed on a vegetarian paste diet caused them to be quite slow and sluggish, and resulted in a bloated stomach. It is said to also have had a large and flat head due to the lack of chewing from their diet. Some sources describe the Poi Dog as having flopped ears, whereas other sources depict them with ears that stick up.

Hawaiian Poi Dog (open source image)

They were kept by tribes they lived with as food. Fattened up along with the hogs. The Poi was also a companion animal and a pup would often be presented to a child as a gift. It is said that if the child died before the dog, the dog would be killed and buried with the child; if the dog died first, however, the child would be given a necklace of the deceased dog’s teeth for protection.

Hawaiian Poi Dog companion (open source image)

As this breed interbred with other breeds it lost its purity; a breeding programme was started in Honolulu Zoo in the 19th Century, in an attempt to recapture the original breed type, but with no luck. The breed soon became extinct.

Cumberland Sheepdog

It’s pretty obvious by the picture below who these guys are the ancestors of…

Cumberland Sheepdog (open source image)

A medium sized dog, with a bushy tail and white in colour with brown or black markings. These dogs were said to be highly intelligent, but unruly if their owner did not take on the role of Alpha. Said to have been an energetic breed – much like its descendant, the Border Collie – it needed a lot of exercise and could get bored easily. Used for guarding and herding livestock, this breed is said to have become extinct by interbreeding; it is said to have been interbred eventually resulting in the Border Collie.


All images are open source, Google images, or my own – or photos donated for use.


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Do Crocodiles Have Ears?

As response to an interesting question from my lovely little 2.5 year old niece, “Do crocodiles have ears?” I have written the following post, for mummy and daddy to read/explain to her… and for the rest of you to enjoy too 😉

So, let Aunty Ali answer your question Scarlett! Yes, crocodiles have ears. They are internal (on the inside) only – they have no external (outer) ear like we do, but they have very good hearing! Their ears are not always easy to spot – can you find the ear in the picture below?

Their ears are located behind their eyes, in the upper part of their heads; just like with Alligators. They have flaps which cover their ears forming a tight seal, preventing water from entering the ear when submerged.

Due to the location of their ears, they can hear whilst in the water, with just the tops of their heads sitting above water level. Their hearing is so sensitive, they can hear their offspring making noises inside their eggs!


All images are open source, Google images, or my own – or photos donated for use.


If you have any questions or comments; please post a comment below, or contact Ali’s Answers via one of my social media pages…
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