Monthly Archives: March 2014

Bunny Basics!


With the warmer weather (supposedly) on its way, now that spring has arrived & Easter is on its way, it got me thinking rabbits! Partly because of the Easter bunny, partly because all the little, wild baby bunnies (kits) will start to appear soon with their parents, to begin life above ground! So here is my bunny post… Bunny Basics.

Some Basic Terminology

  • An adult female is called a  Doe
  • An adult male is called a Buck

(like many deer species)

  • Baby rabbits are called a kitten or kit (for short)
  • Bunny is an affectionate term for rabbits as a species, sometimes mistakenly thought to be the term for baby rabbits
  • A mother rabbit will have a litter of kits
  • A group of rabbits is known as a colony, warren or nest in the wild
  • A group of domestic rabbits is called a herd
  • Caecotrophs are feacal-like pellets, that are very soft. It is full of undigested nutrients that the rabbit will re-eat to gain the nutrients it missed the first time round the digestive tract
  • The process of caecotrophy, or more accurately coprophagy, is when the rabbit eats the caecotrophs (do not be alarmed by, or discourage your rabbit from, eating its’ waste)
  • For many years, rabbits were wrongly classified as Rodents – they are not. Rabbits are classified as Lagomorphs.
1.5 week old kit
1.5 week old kit

Classification of Rabbits

The domestic rabbit, a.k.a. the common rabbit, a.k.a. the Old World rabbit, a.k.a. the European rabbit, is classified as follows:

Kingdom – Animalia – it is an animal
Phylum – Chordata – it has a back bone with nerves, that does or at some point did extend past the anal opening (Sub-Phylum – Vertebrata – it has a back bone, a stiff rod of uniform composition)
Class – Mammalia – it is a mammal; produces milk from mammary glands for its young
Order – Lagomorpha – meaning “hare-shaped”; it is a small to medium sized, terrestrial herbivore – hares, pikas, and rabbits
Family Leporidae – hares and rabbits
Genus – Oryctolagus – native to Europe and North West Africa, however has been introduced world-wide
Species – Oryctolagus cuniculus – common rabbit

Today, they exist in the wild on every continent except Asia and Antarctica, and exist domestically world-wide. With the vast population of rabbits, humans introduced a disease to attempt to control the wild population – myxomatosis. This is a nasty, air-borne virus that affects both wild and domestic rabbits – it will result in death, whether via the progression of the disease, or via euthanasia. Domestic rabbits can be vaccinated against this  – so make sure you get your rabbit(s) to the vet and keep up with this inoculation regularly, especially if you and your rabbit(s) live in close proximity to a wild rabbit colony.

Be careful, especially in warmer weather about parasites too! Keep you rabbit up to date with anti-parasite precautions, such as worming tablets and flea/ mite spot-ons. One of the worst things your bunny can get in warm weather, and poor hygiene, is fly strike! Fly strike is where the smell of a dirty bunny or a dirty hutch/ cage attracts flies, and the flies lay their eggs on the rabbit (usually around their tail and rump). The maggots hatch and begin to eat… the live rabbit. This, obviously, can be fatal. If caught in time, and gotten to the vet in time, they can survive. This is a painful experience and very unpleasant (as you can well imagine). Keep your bunny and his house clean and smelling as nice as a rabbit and his house can! Especially in summer!

Bunny Care

Pellets or muesli-type rabbit food can be bought, and fed according to the guidelines on the packaging. Do your research into good food brands – cheap price usually means poor nutrition. In my personal opinion Excel are brilliant at rabbit and guinea pig food (but not dog or cat food), and the pellet type I have used with my rabbits in the past. Russell Rabbit food is a good muesli-type, and very popular too. There are a lot more brands out there so do some research, and also see what your rabbit prefers.

Some rabbits will pick out the bits they like from muesli-type food, and leave the rest (as mine used to). Rabbit that do this are better suited to the pellet diet so that they get all the nutrients provided in the food, and do not miss out on any because they’re being picky! Now if you keep rabbits and guinea pigs together, know that guinea pigs do not make vitamin C in their body like rabbits do – guinea pig food is safe to feed both rabbits and guinea pigs on, however guinea pigs will get a vitamin C deficiency if they are fed on rabbit food.

Fresh fruit and veg can be given to rabbits, but be careful what you give them! Grapes, onion and garlic are toxic to bunnies – as with dogs. Tomato leaves are also toxic to bunnies. Do not feed you rabbit anything with a high water content such as lettuce (particularly iceberg) and cucumber; foodstuffs too high in water content can cause bloat, which can be painful, smelly, and on occasion – fatal. Do not feed grass cutting from your lawn-mower; this is not good for your rabbits’ digestive system.

Dark green veggies are great – cabbage, broccoli, sprouts, pea shoots, green beans… Not forgetting the classic bunny food – carrots! These can be fed in their entirety – leaves, roots and all! When thinking what to feed your bunny abide by the “if in doubt, leave it out!” rule.

If you let your rabbit in the garden, make sure there is nothing toxic growing out there that could be the end of your rabbit! Daffodils, foxgloves, ivy, poppies, hemlock, snow drops, tulips, and many more common garden plants are toxic to rabbits – take a look around your garden and check up on the plants before letting your rabbit run free – alternatively, get a run for him!

Roughage is approximately 70% of your rabbits diet. This is a very necessary foodstuff that your rabbits requires. Roughage means dried grass, mainly hay but there are other types out there – although not straw. Rabbits do not eat straw, however it can be used as bedding. Fresh hay ought to be provided daily, and any soiled hay removed.

Bedding needs to be soft, warm and absorbent – wood shavings are commonly used as they are highly absorbent. Ensure wood shavings are dust free as much as possible, so your rabbits is not coughing or sneezing due to the dust. Straw can be provided for extra warmth, however a lot of rabbits will make a bed out of the amply supply of hay – breakfast and bed! 😉

 If you are new to rabbit ownership, I would advise you to get a book about rabbit care, with a good reputation.
These will contain basic care information and food do’s and don’ts.

If you have any questions, comments, or would like more information; leave a comment below or contact me via Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or LinkedIn.

Trust Issues


With the warmer weather (supposedly) on its way, now that spring has arrived & Easter is on its way, it got me thinking rabbits! So I am going to do a bunny blog post (which will be posted in the next couple of days) covering the basics.

So, before I write a post, I always have a mooch on the internet to see what information is around currently, on each topic I post about. There is, unfortunately a lot of wrong and/ or poor information on the internet – so if you’re not clued up, how do you know which advice to go by?

Firstly, if any information is spelled or typed wrong and/ or poorly, I would personally disregard it immediately. If you cannot type (especially if you are blogging) and/ or spell – why should I trust you?! With spell-check options, there really is no excuse…

Generally speaking – for pets; the RSPCA, the Dogs Trust, WWF, and other registered charities, and veterinary websites are usually quite good with providing correct advice and information. Behaviourally speaking, not all vets are the best in this department, so use some discernment – you know your pet best!

Pet Shop websites can provide good information, but if the person(s) providing the information do not have the correct knowledge (even if they pretend they do)  then you may be misinformed! Even face-to-face information in a pet shop is not always correct or best unfortunately – for example; I went into a pet shop and was looking at an older, male rabbit, but I wanted to see how clued up the staff were, so I asked if I could have a hold of this rabbit and what gender/ age “it” was. After being palmed off from the first person to a second, then this second person to a third (a supervisor), to then be told I had to speak to yet another member of staff (as none of the previous could or would answer my questions… )This final member of staff told me they did not know if it was male or female or how to check,  thought it was very young (despite obvious signs of him being an older adult rabbit) – this member of staff then asked if I could pick the rabbit up myself as they did not know how to hold a rabbit! -_-
So, as I said, use discernment and your own knowledge the best you can!

Blogs are quite good, from breeders or professionals, generally speaking – but double-check any information provided if you are unsure about the person blogging! Often blogs and internet posting sites (such as Wiki!) are very misinformed and provide good information mixed in with very wrong/ poor information  making it difficult to know which information to trust. If a lot of sites say the same thing, usually you can determine that it is likely to be correct information, but still, try to make sure you know you can trust the information provided, and the person/ blog/ website providing the information.

For instance, on my “about” page you can see some titbits of information about me, including my BTEC National Diploma, and my BSc Hons. Degree studying animals – so it’s likely that I know what I am talking about on here. If I start posting about how to be the worlds best cricket player or blinds manufacturer, however, I wouldn’t bank on that information being the best from me! 😛

Your Dog: A-Z, Originally Bred For… (4)


Welcome to week 4 out of 8! I am going through dog breeds, covering some basic titbits about the breeds. This will be in between other posts too.

This, the fourth, post will cover J-L of dog breeds.
In previous posts, A-CD-F and G-I have been covered.
In the follow up posts I will look into dog breeds from M-O, P-R, S-V, and W-Z
Basically I am doing an A-Z of dog breeds, with 1-3 breeds covered per letter.

If I do not cover the breed of your dog in this post, please leave the breed in the “thoughts” comment box below, or post it via the contact page – 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 dog breed!

J

Jack Russell Terrier (and Parsons Jack Russell)

Country of Origin: England

Lifespan: 15-17 years                     Breed Size: Small (Parsons: Medium)

Original Use: Small game hunting in the mid-1800’s. Originally bred by, and named after, Reverend John Russell. The variation in breeding throughout later years making the breed more diverse – smooth coat, wire coat, long and short legs. The long legged Jack Russell has become known as the Parsons Jack Russell, and was bred to hunt slightly larger animals (such as foxes and badgers) – the longer legs helping them to keep up with the bigger animals they were hunting.

Outstanding Physical Trait: The diversity in the appearance in this little breed, but with key similarities too! Both breed types can be short coated, long coated, smooth coated, wire coated; then long or short legged – whichever combination, the looks can be quite different – but still really adorable!

Jack Russell Terrier/ Parsons Jack Russell
Jack Russell Terrier/ Parsons Jack Russell
Japanese Chin (aka Japanese Spaniel)

Country of Origin:  Japan (who’d have guessed?!) and China

Lifespan: 11-13 years                     Breed Size: Small

Original Use: Royal lap dog; companion animal. This breed is quite delicate though, and unsuitable around small children as they can be a bit rough and damage this little dog quite easily. This little breed has been depicted with nobility and royalty in pictures dating back as far as the 17th Century.

Outstanding Physical Trait: Their long, flowing, silky coat gives them a regal look (which would have fitted in with the nobility they were bred for). The long tail fur flows down when the tail is down, in silky waves; when upright, the tail fur spreads out, fanning around the end and flowing over the back of the dog.

Japanese Chin
Japanese Chin

 K

Kerry Blue Terrier

Country of Origin: Ireland (County Kerry, in the South-West of the Republic of Ireland; contributing to the breed name) in the 1700’s. Brought to Europe and America in the early 1900’s.

Lifespan: 13-15 years                     Breed Size: Medium

Original Use:  Hunting small game, and retrieving from land and water. Also used for hunting vermin. Used as well for herding sheep and cattle.

Outstanding Physical Trait: Although born black, the coat takes on a  blue colouration as the dog matures (contributing to its’ name); it is tightly curled and does not shed. The Kerry Blue Terrier has quite lengthily facial fur, coming down around its muzzle like a long beard or a bit of a funky moustache! This is quite a distinguishing feature of the breed.

Kerry Blue Terrier
Kerry Blue Terrier
Komondor

Country of Origin: Hungary

Lifespan: 10-12 years                     Breed Size: Large

Original Use: Guarding livestock – with the large size and the strength, it was quite adapt for this role; also having its’ big, thick coat to keep it warm whilst guarding out in fields. It has been said to be capable of taking out predators such as wolves and bears, when guarding herds and flocks.

Outstanding Physical Trait: The mega funky fur! The fluffy brushed-out fur or the striking dreadlock look! This dog has amazing fur, but it does take a lot of grooming and up-keep! It looks very similar to the Puli, a smaller breed that also has the dreadlock look (and also from Hungary); this breed colour ranges from light to dark (more often being dark), whereas the Komondor is always of a light colouration. The Puli also has a longer lifespan than the Komondor.

Komondor and Puli
Komondor and Puli

L

Labrador Retriever (Labrador)

Country of Origin: Canada – the Newfoundland and Labrador regions.

Lifespan: 13-15 years                     Breed Size: Large

Original Use:  The retriever as we know today was originally bred and used for retrieving (big surprise) game; used as gun-dogs to retrieve the small game (often birds) from where they fell after being shot. However, it is said to be derived from a breed used by fisherman for hauling nets – St. John’s Dog a.k.a. Lesser Newfoundland. This dog was used to produce retriever-like dogs and is an ancestor to modern day retrievers (Labrador, Golden, Flat-coated, etc).

Outstanding Physical Trait: This breed does not really have anything outstanding about it physically – it has short, smooth fur; slender bodies, legs and tails; floppy ears; and lovely faces.

Labrador
Labrador
Lhasa Apso

Country of Origin: Tibet

Lifespan: 13-15 years                     Breed Size: Small

Original Use: Bred by Tibetan monks as a watch-dog  for the monasteries. Kept by the monks and by Tibetan nobility. Now it is kept as a companion dog, and is often shown. They are loyal, friendly dogs when properly trained – however they can be quite iffy with strangers, which is a good attribute for a watch-dog! Lhasa’s were not sold, if you wanted one it had to be gifted to you – the spreading out of this breed across the world was in the form of gifts, usually from nobility to nobility.

Outstanding Physical Trait: The long, flowing, silky coat of the Lhasa gives it a look that fits in with nobility. The fur is very straight and needs often grooming to keep it in tip-top condition.

Lhasa Apso
Lhasa Apso
Leonberger

Country of Origin: Germany – the town of Leonberg

Lifespan: 9-11 years                      Breed Size: Giant

Original Use: Bred by the mayor of Leonberg, in 18040 – Heinrich Essig, to honour the town. Bred purely because Essig wanted to create his own breed. It is a good guard dog, and over the years has often been used a such.

Outstanding Physical Trait: This breed is tall and well built. They have big, expressive faces and a long, thick coat. The coat is so thick it sheds very heavily twice a year, and moderately throughout the rest of the year – so expect fur carpets 😉 if you own this breed!

Leonberger
Leonberger

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…
. Google+ (Ali’s Animal Answers)
. Facebook (Ali’s Animal Answers)
. Twitter (@AnimalFreak24)
. LinkedIn (Ali Holloway)

Your Dog: A-Z, Originally Bred For… (3)


Welcome to week 3 of going through dog breeds, covering some basic titbits about the breeds. This will be in between other posts too.

This, the third, post will cover G-I of dog breeds.
In previous posts, A-C and D-F have been covered.
In the follow up posts I will look into dog breeds from J-L, M-O, P-R, S-V, and W-Z
Basically I am doing an A-Z of dog breeds, with 1-3 breeds covered per letter.

If I do not cover the breed of your dog in this post, please leave the breed in the “thoughts” comment box below, or post it via the contact page – 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 dog breed!

G

German Pointer

Country of Origin: Germany

Lifespan: 13-15 years                     Breed Size: Large

Original Use: Gundog, used mainly for hunting birds – the use also known as Hunt, Point and Retrieve (HPR). The Short Haired being developed in the late 1800’s, and the Wire Haired being developed in the early 1900’s. The name being mainly due to the “pointing” to where prey is (pictured by the Wire Haired Pointer below).

Outstanding Physical Trait: The difference in the fur types of both dog types is very easily distinguishable; the short, smooth fur of the Short Haired, and the longer, wire-type hair of the Wire Haired (hence the names). Both dogs look quite different just due to the different coat types!

German Short Haired Pointer
German Short Haired Pointer
German Wire Haired Pointer
German Wire Haired Pointer
German Shepherd (Alsatian)

Country of Origin: Germany. However, it is also said to  have been bred and named after the Alsace region, Germany/ France – this region has switched hands between Germany and France a few times.

Lifespan: 10-12 years                     Breed Size: Large

Original Use: Herding (or shepherding – name origin). However this breed has been used as a military dog since WW2, and more recently within the police force too. They are also used as guide dogs, although not as commonly used for this role as the Labrador Retriever. This breed has also been used as a guard dog (for herds, homes, etc.) and still fulfils this role today.

Outstanding Physical Trait: It bares a wolf-like appearance, but with a different colouration. Unfortunately, due to Kennel Club breed standards, specifying the angle the legs/hips ‘need’ to be in relation to the body, causing a sloping back and weak hind legs; the hind legs and spine can suffer health-wise, and often the hind legs cannot support the animal.

German Shepherd
German Shepherd
Great Dane

Country of Origin: Germany

Lifespan: 8-10 years                      Breed Size: Large

Original Use: Guard/ watch dog

Outstanding Physical Trait: The sheer size is usually the first thing people notice about the Great Dane! However, there are plenty of breeds bigger (classified as ‘giant’ breeds rather than just ‘large’) but most people still think “large size” when thinking of the Great Dane. They have long, slender legs, and slender bodies – with quite long tails. They are a beautiful breed with naturally floppy ears (which is how these dogs ought to look) – the ear cropping (which has thankfully been banned in the UK along with tail docking, since 2007) is often done to this breed to make them look fiercer for the purpose of guarding.

Great Dane
Great Dane

H

Harrier

Country of Origin: England

Lifespan: 11-13 years                     Breed Size: Medium

Original Use: Scent hound – bred for hunting in the 13th Century, bred as a smaller version of the Fox Terrier. Used in a pack, alongside people on horseback, to track and hunt small animals – much in the same way Fox Terriers and Beagles were used (up until recently), however the Harrier is taller than the Beagle.

Outstanding Physical Trait: The Harrier doesn’t have anything specifically outstanding about it physically, it looks like a big Beagle or a small Fox Terrier – similar in markings, colouration , and appearance. It has lovely, lop ears, an alert stance, and a solid physique – a well built little hunting dog.

Harrier
Harrier
Havanese

Country of Origin: Cuba, named after the capital city; Havana – this is the only native breed to Cuba, and is the Cuban national dog.

Lifespan: 14-16 years                     Breed Size: Small

Original Use: Bred for companionship for the children of Cuban nobility and courtiers. When Cuba was under communist rule in the early 1960’s, many owners and breeders fled to America, taking their dogs with them – spreading the breed to other countries.

Outstanding Physical Trait: The Havanese has a light, fluffy little coat that is wavy-straight giving them a unique look amongst others in their breed type (such as the Bichon Frise and the Maltese).

Havanese
Havanese

I

Ibizan Hound

Country of Origin: Spain – the island of Ibiza, and other surrounding Spanish islands.

Lifespan: 10-12 years                     Breed Size: Large

Original Use: Hunting rabbits for food for the people they shared the island with, and it is still used for this purpose on these islands today. When this breed came about is unknown, but the type has been around for a long time – the type of dog being depicted in ancient Egyptian wall paintings alongside Anubis.

Outstanding Physical Trait: Large ears and long body, depicting the look of the Egyptian jackal god Anubis, much like the Pharaoh Hound (personally, I think the wire-haired – pictured below – looks like the Chilly Down Gang from the film Labyrinth).

Ibizan Hound
Ibizan Hound
Irish Wolfhound (aka Cú in ancient Irish)

Country of Origin: Ireland

Lifespan: 10-12 years                     Breed Size: Giant

Original Use: Guard and Sight Hound – used for hunting; by royalty mainly, not a dog for common people to have. This breed was often sent as gifts from royalty of one country, to royalty of another country, to keep a positive alliance between them.
This breed was used to hunt various large game, as well as any threats such as wolves – used in packs to hunt, guard and protect the local area. Some royals and nobles also used this breed for entertainment value by pitting them in fights against wolves, bears, lions, and other large predatory animals – Julius Caesar is said to have been gifted some for this use in Rome.
This breed is very old, and has even been mentioned in Irish law and literature (known then as the Cú) as early as the 5th Century!!

Outstanding Physical Trait: The fact it is a MASSIVE dog?! Brilliant and tall, with quite a striking face with its’ wiry fur.

Irish Wolfhound
Irish Wolfhound
Size Comparison, Irish Wolfhound
Size Comparison, Irish Wolfhound

 

Italian Greyhound

Country of Origin: Italy (if you hadn’t already sussed that one!)

Lifespan: 13-15 years                     Breed Size: Small

Original Use: Bred by the Romans as a lap dog for the noble and wealthy, originally.
Although, mummified remains of tiny, greyhound-like dogs have been found in the tombs of Egypt, and across the Mediterranean; whether or not these were what we known in today as the Italian greyhound is a different matter! When this breed came about is unknown, but the type has been around for a long time!

Outstanding Physical Trait: The size has got to be the most outstanding thing, physically, about this breed – or lack of it!

Italian Greyhound
Italian Greyhound

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…
. Google+ (Ali’s Animal Answers)
. Facebook (Ali’s Animal Answers)
. Twitter (@AnimalFreak24)
. LinkedIn (Ali Holloway)

Connecting


If you’re not one for websites per-se but are always mooching around on one social media site or another, why not keep up to date with the posts and updates from Ali’s Answers this way? Connect with Ali’s Answers via Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and even LinkedIn!

All posts on these social media sites link back to the website for full viewing, but this way you can post questions, comments, photo’s and keep updated all via your social media site – convenient!

Facebook

FB

Google+

G plus

Twitter

TW

LinkedIn

LI

Your Dog: A-Z, Originally Bred For… (2)


This is week 2 of “Your Dog: A-Z” – I am going through dog breeds, covering some basic titbits about the breeds. This will be in between other posts too.

This, the second, post will cover D-F of dog breeds.
In the previous post, A-C was covered.
In the follow up posts I will look into dog breeds from G-I, J-L, M-O, P-R, S-V, and W-Z
Basically I am doing an A-Z of dog breeds, with 1-3 breeds covered per letter.

If I do not cover the breed of your dog in this post, please leave the breed in the “thoughts” comment box below, or post it via the contact page – 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 dog breed!

D

Dalmatian

Country of Origin: Dalmatia region of Croatia

Lifespan: 10-12 years                     Breed Size: Large

Original Use: Gun dog, used for hunting large game (such as deer) in the 1800’s. It was then used as a coach-runner; running alongside mail coaches, coaches of the wealthy, and fire coaches; as a guard dog. This is also why Dalmatians are the mascot breed of the fire department.

Outstanding Physical Trait: THE SPOTS! Liver or black spots all over! The distinctive trait that identifies this breed. However, they are born completely white – no spots! So it takes a few weeks to determine the colour of the dog.

Dalmatians
Dalmatian
Dandie Dinmont Terrier

Country of Origin: Britain – the England-Scotland border.

Lifespan: 12-14 years                     Breed Size: Medium

Original Use: Originally used by gypsies and farmers for hunting vermin – rats, badgers, otters, rabbit, weasels, and any other small creatures considered vermin. This breed is famous from Sir Walter Scott’s book Guy Mannering in 1814 – which is also where the breed got its’ name from, from a character named Dandie Dinmont. In the book they are known as Mustard and Pepper Terriers, after the 2 colours of the breed.

Outstanding Physical Trait: The “top-knot” – the fluffy, little,puffy hair-do! Also, hypoallergenic – they do not moult, so again, a good breed for those dog lovers allergic to moulting dogs!

Dinmont Dandie Terrier
Dinmont Dandie Terrier
Doberman (aka Doberman Pinscher)

Country of Origin: Germany – developed in the late 1860’s  by Louis Dobermann, and named after him – if you hadn’t already guessed!

Lifespan: 11-13 years                     Breed Size: Large

Original Use: Louis Dobermann bred this dog, from a variety of different breeds, to be a guard dog, as Louis was a tax collector. This is still the same main use the breed has now. However, nowadays, in some countries, this dog (as well as many other breeds) are disfigured by veterinary procedures to make them “look fiercer” – tail docking and ear cropping. Often these procedures (especially the ear cropping) go wrong and the dog is left looking a bit odd, as well as missing chunks of its’ body – damaging hearing and impairing body language.

Outstanding Physical Trait: The tan markings above the eyes, sometimes giving it an “angry” look – maybe this is what Louis Dobermann was going for?! The breed comes in black, blue, red and fawn – all with tan coloured markings.

Doberman
Doberman

E

English Bull Terrier

Country of Origin: Britain, England

Lifespan: 10-12 years                     Breed Size: Medium

Original Use: Unfortunately, this breed was developed in the early 19th Century, by crossing bull and terrier breeds, for the purpose of dog fighting as a blood sport. Sadly this still illegally goes on with more than just this breed. Them smaller variation of this breed, the Miniature Bull Terrier, was bred to be more easily hidden at the arrival of police to illegal dog fights.

Outstanding Physical Trait: The shape of the skull; due to intensive, artificial breeding; has become a distinguishing feature of this breed, and they have come to be known by it. The almost completely oval shape of the head is hard to miss, and is due to breeders choosing to breed these dogs this way for no other reason than aesthetics… With no thought given to the dogs themselves.

English Bull Terrier
English Bull Terrier
Original English Bull Terrier Skull Shape
Original English Bull Terrier Skull Shape

 

Eurasier (aka Eurasian Spitz)

Country of Origin: Germany

Lifespan: 11-13 years                     Breed Size: Medium

Original Use: Bred by Julius Wipfel, by mixing the Wolf Spitz (Keeshond), Chow Chow, and Samoyed in the 1960’s (so a fairly modern breed). It was bred to be an even-tempered, family dog  – but has a cool indifference to strangers; not aggressive but not wanting their attention either. Bred to be a family pet, and is a family oriented dog. It was also bred for its wolf-like appearance; Julius wanted it to look like a more primitive canine.

Outstanding Physical Trait: Wolf-like look and colouration. Long sleek fur and wolf-shaped face/ muzzle, with pointed little ears – Julius Wipfel definitely achieved his desired look for this breed.

Eurasier
Eurasier

F

Flat Coated Retriever

Country of Origin: Britain, England

Lifespan: 8-10 years                      Breed Size: Large

Original Use: As the name of the breed suggests, the original use was a retrieval dog – to seek out and flush out live game, and to retrieve game that had been shot. Very popular in the 19th Century for use on large hunting estates, specifically for bird hunting.

Outstanding Physical Trait: Long, water-proof, flat coat that distinguishes it from other retriever types (very different to the curly coated retriever, for example). The long, flowing coat of this breed is longer at the front of the body, and the front legs.

Flat Coated Retriever
Flat Coated Retriever
French Bulldog

Country of Origin: Nottingham, England – that’s right, not France!

Lifespan: 11-13 years                     Breed Size: Small

Original Use: Lace-makers in the 1800’s bred this breed as a smaller version of the standard bulldog, as a companion or lap-dog! They were originally known as the “Toy-Bulldog”. When some lace-makers went to France during the Revolution, they took their lap-dogs with them; this breed soon became popular amongst the French court who adopted the little breed as their own – hence the origin of the name.

Outstanding Physical Trait: The French Bulldog has fairly large ears for such a small dog, personally I think this just adds to the cuteness of this little breed, and it also makes them good watch-dogs – being able to hear very well anyone approaching, and give you a little warning of the impending visitor. I have known people, all too often, to confuse the French Bulldog and Boston Terrier – however, the Boston Terrier is larger, slimmer and its’ ears are more in proportion to its’ size.

French Bulldog
French Bulldog
Boston Terrier
Boston Terrier

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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Curious About Cross-Breeds!


Cross-Breed or Hybrid

Cross-breed means the animal is of mixed blood; the animal is often a mix of two different breeds, or a mix of several breeds. These are often referred to as mongrels for dogs, or moggies for cats, mules in sheep, or just known as a cross-breed with other species. Cross-breeds often display traits from all the breeds that make up the mix. Cross-breeds can reproduce, as they are just different types of the same species.

A cross-breed is different to what is referred to as a hybrid. A hybrid is cross between different species, as with cross-breeds, hybrids often display both physical and personality traits from both parents species. However, hybrids tend to be infertile (they cannot reproduce their own young) and therefore the only way to get the particular hybrid is to cross the 2 original species. A few hybrid animal examples are:

  • Mule (female donkey x male horse)
  • Hinny (male donkey x female horse)
  • Liger (male lion x tigress)
  • Tigon (lioness x male tiger)
  • Leopon (lion x leopard)
  • Beefalo (buffalo x domestic cow)
  • Dzo (yak x domestic cow)
  • Cama (camel x llama)
  • Zorse (zebra x horse)
  • Donkra (zebra x donkey)
Tigon
Tigon (lioness x male tiger)

Cross-Breed Dogs

It is important to think about this when acquiring a cross-breed as a pet; if the mix of breeds is known, you can research into them to see the likely physical characteristics, as well as the likely personality traits you may see in your pet.

Cross-breeds are becoming increasingly popular with dogs, and cross-bred dogs are being sold as designer breeds. Some of the more popular designer dog breeds are:

  • Labradoodle (Labrador x Poodle)
  • Cockapoo (Cocker Spaniel x Poodle)
  • Chorkie (Chihuahua x Yorkshire Terrier)
  • Puggle (Pug x Beagle)

As you may have noticed, these  deisgner  breeds have been given their own, new name that combines the 2 breeds they have been crossed with.

Chihuahua x Yorkie
Chihuahua x Yorkie

Due to the fact that cross-breeds have ability to reproduce, there is dispute about designer breeds and what makes them up. Take the Labradoodle for example, most breeders will only accept a dog as being a Labradoodle if it is the first generation; i.e. one parent is a Poodle, the other parent is a Labrador. If 2 Labradoodles have offspring, most breeders do not class the puppies as Labradoodles, but rather as mongrels. If one parent is a Labradoodle, and the other is either a Poodle or a Labrador, the offspring is also termed as being mongrels along most breeders of the designer breed.

Labradoodle
Labradoodle

Aside from the designer cross-breeds, most cross-breeds are not recognised as “breeds”, but rather just referred to as crosses. The crosses from just 2 different breeds that are not designer dogs are easily differentiated by the fact they are referred to as cross-breeds, and do not have their own “breed name”.

Often cross-breeds are similar breeds that have been mated, such as the Scottish Terrier and the West Highland Terrier. These are 2 similar looking breeds; similar height, coat, ears, face, as well as having a similar temperament.

Cross-breed
Cross-breed dog (2 breeds crossed)

However, due to the ability to reproduce, cross-breeds become more and more diluted in breed terms and eventually just get termed as a mongrel. A lot of mongrels are so mixed with breeds that a similarity to any one breed is very hard to see, others have a distinct breed that stands out; such as the Alsatian mix and the Tibetan Terrier mix, pictured below.

Cross-breed
Cross-breed dog (Mongrel)
Cross-breed
Cross-breed dog (Mongrel)

All breeds, including the ones that are now classified as pedigree breeds, have come about from mixing different kinds of canines to get the desired appearance and/ or personality out of the animal that the breeder desired. The Bedlington Terrier for example, is thought to be a mix of; the Rothbury Terrier, Kerry Blue Terrier, Wheaten Terrier,  Otterhound, Poodle and the Dandie Dinmont Terrier… so basically a mongrel with a lot of breeds mixed in! However, nowadays it is its own recognised breed, a pedigree.

Bedlington Terrier
Bedlington Terrier

Other Cross-Breed Animals

Dogs may be the most popular animals to mix breeds, but they are certainly not the only ones! Cats, birds, fish, rabbits, rodents, reptiles, sheep, cows, pigs, horses and ponies can all be cross bred; but some species cross-breeds are more common than others. For example, cross-breed rabbits are fairly common, often due to un-neutered pets having accidental litters!

Cats cross-breed often too, however in one litter there can be a different father for each kitten, so the crosses cannot always be determined and may not be known – unless the cross-breeding was intentional and artificially selected. Cats are usually bred via artificial selection for their pedigree, so in the way we get designer dog breeds, it is not the same with cats. Some cat crosses  can be seen clearly, but most are unsure and just get termed as a moggie.

Cross-breed cat
Cross-breed cat

Just to clarify – the terms horse and pony refers to the height of the same animal. They are measure in hands high (hh) – horses are 14.2hh+, whereas ponies are up to (and including) 14.1hh. Horses and ponies are usually selected for their pedigree too, due to needing pure bloodlines for race and show animals. However, there are a few recognised cross-breeds:

  • Welera (Welsh pony x Arabian horse)
  • National Show Horse (American Saddlebred x Arabian horse)
  • Morab (Morgan x Arabian horse)
  • Appendix Quarter Horse (Quarter horse x Thoroughbred)
  • Quarab (Quarter horse x Arabian horse)
  • Walkaloosa (Tennessee walking horse x Appaloosa)
Cross-breed horse
Cross-breed horse

There is also a mongrel of horses – a mix breed of many breeds that has come to be recognised as a breed, the Pony of the Americas (POA).

Mix breed horse (POA)
Mix breed horse (POA)

A lot of people do not believe birds and fish can be cross bred, however this is just due to the occurrence of this being very low (lower in fish than birds). Birds can cross breed as long as they belong to the same sub-species; for example, 2 of the same type (such as 2 conures, or 2 cockatoos) of parrot can have offspring, 2 of the same type of aviary bird (such as a pair of different finch types) can have offspring, 2 different chicken types can have offspring… And the list goes on. It is just uncommon, but the ability is there.

 So really… they’re all mongrels and moggies and mixed breeds, our pets! But whatever we have, we love them regardless!
 Any questions or comments?
Please use either contact page, thoughts comment box below, or social media site (Facebook, Google+, Twitter or LinkedIn).

Your Dog: A-Z, Originally Bred For… (1)


Over 8 weeks, I am going to go through dog 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. One thing I will include for each breed is the original use of the breed… Some are obvious, such as bulldogs – used for bringing down bulls! Other original uses are quite surprising! This will be in between other posts too.

This, the first, post will cover A-C of dog breeds. In the follow up posts I will look into dog breeds from D-F, G-I, J-L, M-O, P-R, S-V, and W-Z… basically I am doing an A-Z of dog breeds, with 1-3 breeds covered per letter.

If I do not cover the breed of your dog in this post, please leave the breed in the “thoughts” comment box below, or post it via the contact page – 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 dog breed!

A

Afghan Hound

Country of Origin: Afghanistan – introduced into Britain in the 1800’s

Lifespan: 12-14 years                     Breed Size: Large

Original Use: Sight Hound – this breed will track and hunt game, whilst humans follow (often from horseback). They have brilliant eyesight, and hunt mainly by sight – making this breed a sight hound.

Outstanding Physical Trait: Long, luxurious coat that tangles easily and needs daily grooming – however the coat protects from a lot of weather types; this breed can withstand high and low temperatures due to their coat. DO NOT shave your Afghan assuming it will cool them down during hot summers, their coat is specifically designed to keep them cool as well as warm – shaving off the coat in hot weather can cause them to over-heat.

Afghan Hound
Afghan Hound
Airedale Terrier

Country of Origin: England – Airedale in Yorkshire to be precise

Lifespan: 10-12 years                     Breed Size: Large

Original Use: Hunting vermin – rats, foxes, badgers. They use smell to find where the vermin are hiding – burrow’s, etc. – and flush them out and pursue them.

Outstanding Physical Trait: Hypo-allergenic coat – minimal shedding, great for people with allergies to dog hair.

Airedale Terrier
Airedale Terrier

B

Bedlington Terrier

Country of Origin: England – Northumberland, in the old mining town of Bedlington

Lifespan: 15-17 years                     Breed Size: Medium

Original Use: Hunting vermin! Similar to a lot of terrier breeds, the Bedlington was originally used to hunt and kill vermin – pest control! They are also said to have been used to guard small flocks of sheep, due to their appearance, they blend into the flock like a lamb – and would give a sharp nip to any stranger who got too close!

Outstanding Physical Trait: Hypo-allergenic coat – these dogs do not moult, so require daily grooming to ensure a nice coat, however are great for people with allergies to dog hair. The fluffy, curly fur gives this cute breed the appearance of a lamb! 

Bedlington Terrier
Bedlington Terrier
Bichon Frise

Country of Origin: Allegedly found by sailors on the island of Tenerife during the 14th Century, and taken back to France.

Lifespan: 14-16 years                     Breed Size: Toy

Original Use: Funnily enough, this has not changed – companion and show dogs. Sometimes they were used for performances in circuses, but were originally just used for show and as companions. They were highly popular within Renaissance courts, by courtiers.

Outstanding Physical Trait: It’s lose, curly fur sits away from the body; often being said to look similar to a powderpuff, or having a “mane”.

Bichon Frise
Bichon Frise
British Bulldog

Country of Origin: Unsurprisingly – Britain! In the 1500’s. In England, to narrow it down.

Lifespan: 8-10 years                      Breed Size: Medium

Original Use: Bull-baiting, and bear-baiting. This was, however, done with the original version of the breed – taller, slimmer, longer muzzles… not the intensively bred short, wrinkled, chubby dogs that have become the national dog of the British Isles.

Outstanding Physical Trait: The short, wrinkled snout is a main feature of this breed; giving a grumpy old man kind of look! However, the muzzle was not so short and wrinkled in the original version – meaning originally, it could breathe/ sleep/ smell better!

British Bulldog
British Bulldog

C

Chinese Crested

Country of Origin: Surprisingly enough, not China! They are thought to have come about from an African or Mexican hairless breed. Although no-one is quite sure of the origin of this little breed, they are thought to have come to China via sailors in the early 16th Century.

Lifespan: 11-13 years                     Breed Size: Toy

Original Use:  They were used on these ships as for ratting as early as the 13th Century, and from use on ships they made their way around the world and to many different countries. Aztec tribes were also known to have kept them as little bed warmers and companions, although they also ate them!

Outstanding Physical Trait: The Chinese Crested comes in 2 forms – the hairless (Cruella DeVille’s dog in 102 Dalmatians) and the powderpuff. The main difference is clearly seen – with the hairless only having patches of fur, and the powderpuff having fur all over the body.

Chinese Crested, Hairless
Chinese Crested, Hairless
Hairless, Powder Puff
Hairless and Powder Puff
Collie – Rough, Smooth, Border, Bearded

Country of Origin: Britain – mainly Scotland and England, but also Wales and Ireland.

Lifespan: 15-17 years                     Breed Size: Medium

Original Use: Herding – still used for this, and in some cases also used for sheepdog trials and showing.

Outstanding Physical Trait: The differences in appearance is outstanding between the types in this breed. The 2 most similar are the border and the rough collie. The rough collie is what people often refer to as a “Lassie dog” due to the famous film about a rough collie named Lassie. The border collie is what most people think of when they think of sheep herding dogs. The bearded collie is often confused with the Old English Sheepdog – however much less scruffy, and smaller! The smooth collie is most unlike the rest, not having a long, flowing coat… It has short fur and is the only collie type not to moult – which is good for collie lovers with allergies to dog hair.

The colour differences are also vast within the collie breed; black and white, brown (chocolate) and white, blue (grey) and white,  red and white, sable (sand) and white, lilac (diluted brown) and white, tricolour (back, tan and white), tricolour chocolate (brown, red and white) blue merle, red merle, tricolour merle, and any other variation that comes from mating two different coloured dogs!

Collies
Collies

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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