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.


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Want To Know More? Giraffes


As a response to a query, asking to know more about giraffe’s, here is some information you may not have known…

There are four species of giraffe’s left in the world nowadays – a further seven species are now extinct. The living species are classified as follows:

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Classification: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Giraffidae
Genus: Giraffa
Species…

(1) Northern Giraffe
Subspecies:
(i) Kordofan Giraffe
(ii) Nubian Giraffe (Rothschild’s Giraffe included)
(iii) West African Giraffe

Rothschild’s Giraffe

(2) Reticulated Giraffe (aka Somali Giraffe)

Reticulated Giraffe

(3) Southern Giraffe
Subspecies:
(i) Angolan Giraffe
(ii) Cape Giraffe

Angolan Giraffe

(4) Masai Giraffe
Subspecies:
(i) Kilimanjaro Giraffe
(ii) Thornicroft’s Giraffe

Thornicroft’s Giraffe

Giraffe’s are even-toed ungulates (ungulate being an animal with hooves); as opposed to zebra’s and rhino’s which are odd-toed ungulates. The feet of a giraffe alone span around 30 cm in diameter (that’s roughly the size of a dinner plate)!

Giraffe Foot

Adult males weigh 1,764-4,255 lbs (800-930 kgs), and adult females weigh 1,213-2,601 lbs (550-1,180 kgs). But that doesn’t stop them! They can reach speeds of 35 mph at a gallop (sprint), and keep a steady running pace of 10 mph.

Giraffe’s are the largest mammals on Earth – their legs alone (on average) are around 6 ft in height; as is their neck! A male giraffe will grow (on average) 16-20 ft tall, and females average 15-16 ft tall – that’s taller than the average double-decker bus (in the UK – being 14 ft) – and their tail can be 3 ft long, including the tufty bit!

A calf (baby giraffe) is around 6 ft in height at birth! It also has about a 6 ft drop, as the mother gives birth standing up. The young can stand, walk and run within (approximately) 1 hour of being born; this is advantageous as a prey species, and being a vulnerable newborn, in escaping from predators. Within the first year the young giraffe reaches around 10 ft in height – they are also weaned at one year old; they reach maturity between 3-6 years old.

These tall beasts live for 20-25 years in the wild (up to approximately 28 years old in captivity). As with cattle (and elephants, and whales, etc. etc.) male giraffe’s are known as bulls, females are known as cows, and (as previously mentioned) the babies are known as calves. Each giraffe’s pattern is unique to that individual; just as with human finger prints, zebra and tiger stripes, leopard spots… (you get it)! This can be a helpful way for conservationists to be able to identify the same individual.

Due to the awkwardness that comes with the height, giraffe’s have a difficult time drinking. Their necks will not allow the to reach water standing up; they have to awkwardly bend down or spread their legs out to get close enough to the water to drink.


Giraffe’s are herbivores (meaning they are vegetarian). Giraffe’s are browsers – they casually feed on whatever they fancy. They spend around half their day eating. They have a long, blue/black tongue – which is prehensile (meaning it’s capable of grasping). Their tongue is around 18-20 inches long, and can be used kind of like a super-finger to twist around branches (often thorny branches) to strip them of their leaves, for food. The vegetation and fruits consumed by giraffes is dependant on the availability of food in their location, and in the different seasons.

As with cattle, giraffe’s have a four-chambered stomach; animals (including sheep, deer and others) with this type of digestive system are known as Ruminants. Their digestion is split between the four chambers and regurgitated for “chewing the cud” or “ruminating”. The first chamber is the rumen, the second is the reticulum , the third is the omasum, and the fourth chamber is the abomasum. The rumen is for storage, and to regurgitate the for “chewing the cud” later. The reticulum is where the “chewed cud” goes, and is fermented to make the foodstuffs easier to digest; then regurgitated to “chew the cud” again. The omasum , is where the food goes for the absorption of water. Finally, the rest of the foodstuffs goes to the abomasum, which is like our stomach – where the bulk of the break-down and absorption happens (before going to the intestines).


Giraffe’s inhabit the woodlands, grasslands and savanna’s of Africa, and live in loose herds – meaning the herds do not stay together 24/7. Mainly herds are made up of females and young, or bachelor herds of young males. Older males are often solitary.


Did you know?
Giraffe’s have the same number of vertebrae in their neck as humans (seven)!


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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Moving: With Pets (Part 2)


Moving is stressful when it’s just you and your junk (speaking from experience) – but how does moving take its toll on your pets? You can bet they’ll be stressed and anxious too, even if they’re not packing or trying to organise a removal company!

Here are some tips to help your pets cope with moving… part 2: moving with fish.

The fish:

  1. Never move the fish in the tank – always bag the fish.
    Tanks are not built to be moved loaded with water, and the pressure can easily crack a tank – which would result in loss of fish as well as water (and potentially glass) everywhere!
  2. Fill the bag 1/3 with water, and leave 2/3 air.
    This ensures plenty of oxygen for your fish in transit.
  3. Ensure to either use a rounded fish bag; or if it’s a bag that hasn’t been rounded at the bottom, turn the bag inside-out and don’t poke the corners out.
    This will stop your fish (especially small ones) getting stuck in the corners and becoming stressed (and potentially dying).
  4. Ensure to not over-crowd the bags. The size of the bag and the size of the fish will determine how many fish you put in each bag.
    Take into consideration the bag being filled 1/3 with water, and the length of the journey, when determining how many fish to put into each bag.
  5. Transport your bags of fish in a solid container, and ensure the bag is tightly closed (tied and/or with elastic bands).
    A polystyrene box/container, or a cardboard box (lined with a towel (was how I did it)) is good to keep the bags upright and insulated. Do not pack the bags in too tightly – use multiple containers if need be, and fill any space with a towel or something similar. The bags should sit comfortably in the container, but not be too loose that they may not stay upright. Placing a cover around/ over the bags to make it darker for your fish will help them not to stress too much.
  6. Starve your fish for 24 hours before the move (this won’t do them any harm).
    This will reduce the amount of waste on moving day – resulting in less toxins in the reduced space of the moving bag.
  7. Stress zyme, or a de-chlorinator containing stress zyme, can be added to the bags once the fish are in  – before tying the bag.
    Stress zyme helps to re-coat the mucus layer covering your fish, which is depleated with stress – thus helping to keep the stress on your fish to a minimum.
  8. Ensure to transport your fish as quick as possible – i.e. bag the fish up just before setting off, and set up the tank and put them in it upon arrival.
    Be sure to set up the tank as a new tank; as you usually would, with de-chlorinated water. Let the bags with the fish sit on top of the water for 15-20 minutes, and then put the fish and the bag water into the tank. Once the fish have been in the tank for 30-60 minutes, feed them.
Comet Goldfish

The tank:

  1. Ensure to turn off all electricals before putting your hands in the water (to remove fish or decor or attachments).
    Fish are not earthed so you cannot tell if the water is electrified, as it will not affect the fish. The last thing you need on moving day is to be electrocuted by tank water.
  2. Empty the tank of water.
    Transporting a tank full of water may cause the tank to crack/break, rendering it useless. If you want to keep the tank water rather than setting up fresh water upon arrival, put the tank water into buckets/containers and transport this way as opposed to leaving the tank filled.
  3. Remove the decor and attachments.
    Remove and bag up any ornaments – anything fragile you may wish to bubble-wrap. If you have kept boxes that filters/heaters/etc. came in, it may be worth putting the attachments back into their original packaging – and bubble-wrapping anything you feel needs it. I have always left the substrate in the tank before moving, however the journey was no more than 1 hours each time. You may wish to box/ bag up the substrate also.
    Some people like to remove the filter sponge and transport this in a bag of tank water to ensure the nitrogen cycle isn’t disrupted too much – for the short journey’s I have taken I have not done this, but transported the filter in-tact and boxed up.
  4. Ensure to turn off heaters 15-20 minutes before packing them away.
    This will ensure the heater has cooled down sufficiently to be handled/ packed.
  5. Ensure any food and treatments you have for your fish are packed away properly to avoid leakage. Ensure you have food and de-chlorinator in date.
    Moving is also a good time to check dates on things. Be sure to bin any out of date foodstuffs and treatments rather than taking up space packing these. Ensure anything that you bin, that is a necessity, is replaced A.S.A.P.
    Check food and the de-chlorinator before you move as you will need these on the day.
Comet Goldfish – my dissertation Goldfish that moved 4 times!

Alternatively, if you have aren’t moving too far you can always leave the fish with a (competent) friend for a few days around moving day; or look online for a local establishment that can do this for you.


All 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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Pink Flamingos Day: 29 May 2018


Happy Pink Flamingos Day! (As opposed to Green Flamingos Day 😉 )

Flamingos are large birds with long, stick-like legs and long, slender necks. Flamingos are wading water birds, inhabiting alkaline, saline and/or estuarine lagoons and lakes (usually lacking in vegetation). Flamingos are not a migratory bird; there are six known species, which can be found in a variety of places.

  • Africa:
    – Greater flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus)
    – Lesser flamingo (Phoeniconaias minor)
  • South America:
    – Andean flamingo (Phoenicoparrus andinus)
    – Chilean flamingo (Phoenicopterus chilensis)
    – James’ or Puna flamingo (Phoenicoparrus jamesi)
  • Caribbean, the Yucatan Peninsula and the Galapagos Islands
    – Caribbean flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber)

A group of Flamingos is called a flock or a colony. Colonies can be made up of 50 or so birds up to colonies with thousands of individuals. Flamingos reach maturity around five years of age, and are monogamous (same mate for life)

Yes, it’s true… flamingos are pink due to the food they eat. They eat insects, invertebrates, small fish, and algae. They stir up food from the mud with their feet, and hold their breath whilst they duck under water to catch a meal.

The algae they eat is full of beta carotene (also in foods such as tomato, carrot, sweet potato causing the colour) which causes the pink colouration, as well as carotenoids in the molluscs and crustaceans they consume. Depending on the levels of the carotene and carotenoids in the foods available in their habitat, will determine the shade and brightness of the Flamingos colouration. Flamingos are born white/grey and turn a pink-colour at around two years old.


All 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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Moving: With Pets (Part 1)


Moving is stressful when it’s just you and your junk (speaking from experience) – but how does moving take its toll on your pets? You can bet they’ll be stressed and anxious too, even if they’re not packing or trying to organise a removal company!

Here are some tips to help your pets cope with moving… part 1: packing and travelling.

On a practical level – remember to update your contact details on microchips, tags, pet passports, etc. – as well as with your pet insurance company and your local vet. If you’re moving a significant distance, remember to find a new local vet and get all your pet’s details transferred.

Updating the tag is something you can do easily, and may choose to do before moving day in case your pet wanders off during or post transit.

Packing:

Your pet’s belongings and foodstuffs – if you can pack these last do. In particular pack bowls/bottles last so that your pet can have a drink upon arrival, as they will likely need one!

If you have a designated area in your home for your pet and will do so in your new home, this can all be packed last so your pet can chill whilst you pack up, and then unpacked first so your pet can begin to settle whilst you move the rest of your stuff in.

Maine coon snoozing on suitcases

Welfare:

If your pet is prone to being anxious in transit there are steps you can take to ensure their welfare is one of the top priorities on moving day…

• Allocate one person (if possible) to be in charge of your pet – checking on them at regular intervals during the move to ensure they’re doing okay.

• Ensure the removal company staff know where your pet is and how their belongings are to be transported – i.e. any of your pet’s things that are to stay with your pet and not be packed deep into the removal van you should make the removal co. staff aware of.

• Pheromone sprays and collars are very beneficial to a distressed pet – companies such as Feliway and Adaptil provide such items for dogs and cats (for more information please click here for Feliway and here for Adaptil).

• Animals can be placed into carriers with a familiar scented item (current bedding rather than fresh, blanket or owners item of clothing, etc).

• Placing a blanket or towel or sheet over the carrier can also help in keeping your pet calm.

• Ensure pets in carriers have something to keep them occupied if they so wish – you don’t want chewing of carrier bars (potentially damaging their teeth/gums) when you could provide a chew toy to keep them occupied.

• Ensure your pet is secure in transit; whether this means entrusting someone responsible to holding the carrier, or fitting the carrier safely into a vehicle, or ensuring your dog’s seat-belt is secure and he can’t get to anything he shouldn’t whilst on the move – make sure your pet is safe and secure.
A big pet peeve of mine is people who have dogs loose in the car – not only is their jumping about distracting to you and other drivers, even a small dog (say 5-10kg in weight) can cause serious damage to you if you have an accident and the dog is thrown into someone – not to mention the injury the dog will sustain by being unrestrained! We wear seat-belts to avoid injury if we were to be involved in an accident; its the same principal – secure your dog.

• If you ware moving far away and the journey is long – remember your pet would enjoy a bathroom/ water break and a leg stretch. Ensure that any exercise is done safely and with your pet on a lead – your can get harnesses/leads for dogs, cats, rabbits, ferrets and more.

 

To follow: I will cover moving with fish, amphibians and reptiles, and once you’re in your new place.


All 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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Ugly mug: aquatics!


Not everything in the animal kingdom is an lovely songbird with beautiful wings or a cute crustacean bobbing along the ocean floor or a fuzzy little kitten on your lap or adorable snakey nuzzling your neck (you get my point)… some creatures are just unpleasant!

Here are a three examples of the weird and wonderful, but not necessarily cute, beasties in the animal kingdom… starting with the world of water!

1) Blobfish

Usually found in lists of animals not winning any beauty awards! This poor fella has a rep for having an ugly mug – living in the murky deep off the coast of Australia, Tasmania, and New Zealand, this fish grows up to 12″ and has a low-density, giving it the jelly/blob look which actually aids in in bobbing along in the high-pressured deep.

However, as you can see fron the inage above, they’re a lot less vlob-like underwater! Unlike most fish species, the Blobfish doesn’t have a swimbladder to keep it afloat but rather their blobby structure and the pressure of the deep work together to keep them floating. The Blobfish isn’t very active, and pretty much just waits for food to pass by.

This little guy was actually voted the “World’s Ugliest Animal” in 2013! Out of water (see image below) – you can see why it won that title!

2) Axolotl

I know (personally) a few people think the Axolotl is quite cute but I have never seen the appeal so they have made my little list of ugly aquatic animals. The Axolotl only lives in the lakes of Xochimilco, Mexico (and in various homes/ tanks around the world) and is the top predator in its’ habitat.

Axolotls can grow up to a foot in length, however usually only reach half a foot. This ugly little salamander has the ability of regrowth – it can regrow a limb if lost! Despite this fascinating ability the Axolotl is critically endangered and on the decline.

Colouration is usually mottled brown or black; however white, albino and piebald variations do occur – but usually in captive environments. I personally think the albino and white colouration’s are uglier than the other variations, as they give the appearance of being almost translucent! They have a dorsal fin running from the neck to the tip of the tail, and external gills with a feathered appearance – this is unusual in salamanders; as such the Axolotl is considered to be aesthetically neonatal, as it stays in larval form throughout its’ life.

3) Goblin Shark

This is a shark of many names; the scientific name being Mitsukurina owstoni named after Kakichi Mitsukuri and Alan Owston – the two people who discovered this unusual shark species. It is mainly found off the bays of Japan, however can also be found off the coasts of Australia, New Zealand, USA (California and Florida), Brazil, Portugal, France, South Africa, Taiwan, and Sri Lanka. in Japan the Goblin Shark is known as tenguzame (Tengu being a long-nosed mythical demon creature, and zame meaning ‘same’). Along those lines, it i known as Gnome or Demon Shark in Portugal; in USA it is known as Goblin or Elfin Shark.

This amazing and ugly looking shark has nail like teeth, set in a flexible jaw under a long, protruding, pointy nose. The see the unusual bite action of the Goblin Shark watch this amazing YouTube video – the jaws spring forward out of the mouth in a pincer-like grab (protrusive jaws)… showing that’s looks aren’t everything! The Goblin Shark is pinky in appearance due to the blood vessels being close to the surface of the skin, and can grow to over 10ft in length.

The last Goblin Shark sighting was in 2000 – before that the last sighting is said to have been in the early 1970’s. As such, there are few photographs of this ugly mug!


All 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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A-Z: Cat Breeds (8)


Over 8 posts, I am going to go through cat breeds, and cover some basic titbits about the breeds; a little bit of history surrounding the breed, including the original use for the breed, and some other interesting facts.

This, the eighth and final, post will cover W-Z of cat breeds… basically I am doing an A-Z of cat breeds, covering 1-3 breeds per letter.

If I do not cover the breed of your cat in this post, and you would like me to; please leave the breed in the thoughts comment box below, or post it via the contact page, or get in touch via any social media pages listed at the end of each post – this way I can include your breed in another post (either the follow up, or a repeat with different breeds). Do the same if you want more information than I have provided on any particular cat breed, or if you would like to share a photo of your cat(s)!

W

There are no cat breeds for this letter.

X

There are no cat breeds for this letter; however see below image of an x-ray of a domestic cat.

X-Ray of a domestic cat

Y

York Chocolate

Country of Origin: USA

Lifespan: (approx.) 15 years               Breed Size: Large                

Hair/Fur Length: Semi-Longhair     Colour(s): Chocolate

Breed History: In 1983, on a farm, the first York Chocolate was born in a litter to a (shorthaired) black and white female, fathered by a (longhaired) black male. One kitten of the litter was semi-longhair, chocolate coloured female. The kitten was named Brownie by the farm owner. Brownie had her own litter, and produced within it a semi-longhair, chocolate male named MinkyMinky was eventually bred with Brownie (his mother), producing a litter with two semi-longhair, chocolate kittens – a male named Teddy Bear and a female named Cocoa.  The breed was named by farm owner, Janet Cheifari, after her hometown of New York and the unique colour of the breed. By 1989 Janet had bred another 27 York Chocolate kittens.

This breed is not yet recognised by any official cat organisations, as a recognised breed as such, as it is considered as still being developed. It is recognised by some associations as an ‘experimental’ breed.

Outstanding Physical Trait: Unique chocolate colouration.

Z

There are no cat breeds for this letter.; however see below some images of adorable sleeping “Zzz” kitties!

 

 


All 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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A-Z: Cat Breeds (7)


Over 8 posts, I am going to go through cat breeds, and cover some basic titbits about the breeds; a little bit of history surrounding the breed, including the original use for the breed, and some other interesting facts.

This, the seventh, post will cover S-V of cat breeds. In the follow-up (and final) post I will look into cat breeds from W-Z… basically I am doing an A-Z of cat breeds, covering 1-3 breeds per letter.

If I do not cover the breed of your cat in this post, and you would like me to; please leave the breed in the thoughts comment box below, or post it via the contact page, or get in touch via any social media pages listed at the end of each post – this way I can include your breed in another post (either the follow up, or a repeat with different breeds). Do the same if you want more information than I have provided on any particular cat breed, or if you would like to share a photo of your cat(s)!

S

Scottish Fold

Country of Origin: Scotland, UK

Lifespan: 11-15 years               Breed Size: Medium

Hair/Fur Length: Shorthair and Longhair

Colour(s):  White, Blue, Cream, Red, Silver, Cameo, Brown, Tortoiseshell, Black – in solid colouration, bi-colour, tri-colour, tabby, ticked/spots.

Breed History:  The origin of this breed is said to stem from a mouser in a farmer’s barn in 1961; a white cat with unusually folded ears, named Susie. Susie mated with a local tom cat; a local shepherd named William Ross acquired one of the kittens and named her Snooks. William bred Snooks, and then bred one of her kittens with a British Shorthair, which resulted in a litter of “lop eared cats”. While the Scottish Fold is generally Shorthaired, from Susie the trait for Longhair has been passed down – a Longhaired Scottish Fold is often known as a Highland Fold.

Outstanding Physical Trait: The folded ears. kittens are born with straight ears, which may fold at about 3 weeks old (they do not always fold). The fold could be a single – a fold half way up the ear, or a double – where the ears sit tighter to the head, or a triple – where the ears lie flat against the head (which is the desired ear fold for show cats).

Sphynx

Country of Origin: Toronto, Canada (not Egypt as many think due to the name)

Lifespan: 10-15 years                    Breed Size: Medium                

Hair/Fur Length: Hairless           Colour(s): All colours and patterns

Breed History: Developed as a breed in the mid-1960’s, when a domestic shorthair had a hairless kitten in her litter (named Prune). Prune was a male, and bred with furred cats (including the Devon Rex) to try and produce more hairless kittens. The results of the breeding of Prune was litters that had kittens both with and without fur. The hairless kittens were subsequently bred and the breed developed into the mid-late 1970’s. Some of the hairless kittens were also exported to Europe, where the breed was developed there.

Outstanding Physical Trait: The lack of hair/fur.

T

Tonkinese

Country of Origin: USA

Lifespan: 15-18 years                 Breed Size: Medium                

Hair/Fur Length: Semi-Longhair

Colour(s): Champagne, Blue, Natural, Platinum – in solid, point, and mink patterns.

Breed History: The modern version of this breed that we see today is a cross between the Siamese and Burmese, developed in the 1950’s. However in the 1880’s it was a breed in its’ own right, but were known as Chocolate Siamese, and was very close genetically to the Siamese and the Burmese. In the 50’s they went by Golden Siamese but by the 60’s they were renamed to Tonkinese.

Outstanding Physical Trait: The oriental but fuller look – not quite a slender as most oriental type breeds.

U

Ukrainian Levkoy

Country of Origin: Ukraine

Lifespan: 15-19 years                   Breed Size: Medium              

Hair/Fur Length: Hairless          Colour(s): All colours and patterns

Breed History: A cross between the Donskoy (or Russian Hairless) and the Scottish Fold (above) – this is a hairless cat with folded ears, artificially bred 2000-2001 for their unique appearance.

Outstanding Physical Trait: The lack of hair/fur coupled with the folded ears.

V

Van Kedishi (a.k.a. Turkish Van)

Country of Origin: Eastern Turkey (Lake Van region)

Lifespan: 12-17 years                  Breed Size: Medium                 

Hair/Fur Length: Semi-Longhair

Colour(s): Traditionally white with auburn throughout. Modern accepted colours include white with cream, black, blue, tortoiseshell (tortie), blue tortie, blue tabby, brown tabby, tortie tabby or blue tortie tabby.

Breed History: There is a myth relating to the origin of this breed; the Van Kedishi cat was on Noah’s Ark during the flood. Noah’s Ark came to rest on Mount Ararat when the flood was over, which is said to be not too far from Lake Van, and is where these cats headed once they cam off the Ark. It is also said that the coloured markings on their fur are due to God blessing the animals as they came off the Ark. Thought to have originated in the Lake Van region of Turkey, and to have existed there as a domestic breed for centuries, but first brought to Britain in the 1950’s.

Outstanding Physical Trait: The van colour pattern – white with colour on the head and tail only.


All 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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National Bird Day: 5th January 2018


National Bird Day is on 5th January every year; it is scheduled for the end of the annual Christmas Bird Count. The count helps to monitor our nation’s birds; members of the public go out and count as many birds as they can see during the three week count.

It is estimated that approximately 12% of the population of all bird species could face extinction within the next century. Many parrot species and songbirds face extinction due to illegal trade (see my post about the Javanese Songbird Trade for some related information), disease, and loss of habitat.

Today, National Bird Day, is to promote care and conservation of birds, as well as to raise awareness about their decline. It also marks the end of the Christmas Bird Count – which monitors wild populations to measure the numbers of individuals.

Many countries have a national bird, and I am going to use a few as examples to show the importance of National Bird Day, and the conservation of birds.

United Kingdom: European Robin 
The population of this bird has increased by 45% since 1970! The current count is 117,000,000-181,000,000 mature adults in Europe alone.

European Robin

United States of America: Bald Eagle
Estimated population of 300k-500k (k = thousand) in the 1700’s; the current population is now 70k in North America, and just 5k in the South. However numbers were as low as only 500 in mid-late 1800’s, so the population has increased again.

Bald Eagle

Italy: Italian Sparrow
The current population is 10-20 million individuals (5-10 million pairs) however have been classified as vulnerable due to their rapid decline at a rate of 54.2% between 2000 and 2015.

Italian Sparrow

Canada: Canada Goose
This species has steadily increased in population  at an estimated rate of 3% between 1998 and 2007. In 2015 the estimated population was 4.2-5.6 million.

Canada Goose

With the information from bird counts, we can take active steps to help conserve species when they need it – to show us the most vulnerable or endangered species, so that we can take steps to avoid their extinction.


All 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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