Monthly Archives: April 2014

Your Dog: A-Z, Originally Bred For… (8)


The final post, week 8; covering some basic titbits about the breeds. This will be in between other posts too.

This, the eighth, post will cover W-Z of dog breeds.
In previous posts, A-CD-FG-IJ-LM-OP-R and S-V have been covered.
Now at the end of my 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!

W

Weimaraner

Country of Origin: Germany

Lifespan: 10-12 years                     Breed Size: Large

Original Use: Big-game hunting. The Weimaraner was used as a gun-dog from the early 1900’s – used to hunt wolves, wildcats, and other large predators; as well as large game such as deer, etc. Later being used for hunting game-birds.

Outstanding Physical Trait:  I had a friend in my teens who referred to this breed as the “Parma Violet Dog” after the sweets, because of the colouration of the breed. They are a brown/ grey colour up to and including their brown/ pink little noses.

Weimaraner
Weimaraner
West Highland White Terrier (a.k.a. West Highland Terrier)

Country of Origin: Scotland

Lifespan: 14-16 years                     Breed Size: Small

Original Use: As with many other small terrier breeds, the Westie was bred to control vermin such as rats, foxes, otters, badgers, and other small animals that were classed as vermin.

Outstanding Physical Trait: The distinctive white coat (hence the name), is the only colour a Westie comes in. It was once seen as a white variation of the Cairn (brindle) or Scottish (black) Terrier, but was classified as a breed in its’ own right in the early 1900’s, even though it has been around since the 1500’s.

West Highland Terrier
West Highland Terrier

X

Xoloitzcuintli (a.k.a. Mexican Hairless Terrier)

Country of Origin: Mexico (hence the alternate name); nickname Xolo.  Xoloitzcuintli pronounced as zoh-loh-eets-kweent-lee.

Lifespan: 15-17 years                     Breed Size: Medium

Original Use: Said to have been around, dating back as far as the Aztecs – the Aztecs would eat them, sacrifice them, and use them as companions and hot water bottles on cold nights! Nowadays they are used solely as companions.

Outstanding Physical Trait: The lack of hair! The only bit these dogs get in abundance is in between the ears, right on top of their head! They do have a thin covering of hair/fur but not enough to immediately notice.

Xoloitzcuintli
Xoloitzcuintli

Y

Yorkshire Terrier

Country of Origin: England – Yorkshire

Lifespan: 13-15 years                     Breed Size: Small

Original Use: Surprise, surprise – this small terrier was originally used for hunting small vermin!

Outstanding Physical Trait: The colouration unique to the Yorkie – sandy coloured face, ears, legs and belly; black/ grey on top (back, tops of legs, tail). They are also quite long haired little dogs, and often need hair trimming around the face, and/or the hair tying back out of their eyes.

Yorkshire Terrier
Yorkshire Terrier

Z

Unfortunately… There is no dog breed for this, the final letter. So I am going to do the cheesy thing, and give you a couple of pictures for Zzz – an adorable, sleeping puppy!

Zzz
Zzz 

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)

“Did You Know?” at Easter


Easter themed animal facts – Easter chicks & Easter bunnies!

 “Did You Know?” Easter chicks

There are more chickens than people in the world

There are more chickens than any other bird species in the world

Chickens have different alarm calls for different types of predators

Chickens have over 30 different calls

Chickens have full-colour vision

Baby chickens are called chicks

Female chickens are known as pullets until they’re old enough to lay

Laying females are known as hens

Male chickens are called roosters, cocks or cockerels

The part of a rooster that dangles under his beak is called a wattle

 A chickens toenails and beak each have a blood supply

Heard the phrase “running around like a headless chicken”? – there is some truth in this, the longest time period recorded, of a chicken living without its head, was 18 months!

The fear of chickens is known as Alektorophobia

Chickens are afraid wide open spaces, this is known as Agoraphobia

Rooster

“Did You Know?” Easter bunnies

For more bunny information – including terminology – check out my “Bunny Basics!” post (http://wp.me/p4i7kX-7c)

The biggest rabbit is 50lbs (3.5 stone!) and is called Darius – he is 4ft 3″ in length

Darius lives in the UK and is also the most valuable rabbit – insured for over £950,000.00

The largest litter reported to date was 24 kits the litter

At a run, a rabbit can reach 35 mph!

Rabbits on average live 8-12 years, the oldest rabbit lived to be 16

Rabbits are crepulscular animals – meaning they are most active at dawn and dusk

Rabbits can jump 36″ high

Rabbits cannot vomit – like horses, they lack the reflex

In the UK, the rabbit is the 3rd most popular pet (after dogs and cats)

A rabbit can growl and/ or scream when threatened

Rabbits scent mark their territory with scent glands under their chin

The fear of rabbits is known as Leporiphobia

Bunny Rabbit
Bunny Rabbit

I hope that you found the random Easter animal facts a bit of fun – if you want any more information, or have any questions, please feel free to ask in the ‘thoughts’ box below or on the comments page, or via social media sites
– Facebook, Google+, Twitter or LinkedIn.

HAPPY EASTER!

Your Dog: A-Z, Originally Bred For… (7)


The penultimate post, week 7; covering some basic titbits about the breeds. This will be in between other posts too.

This, the seventh, post will cover S-V of dog breeds.
In previous posts, A-CD-FG-IJ-LM-O and P-R have been covered.
In the final follow up post I will look into dog breeds from W-Z
Almost done with my 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!

S

Saint Bernard

Country of Origin: Italy and Switzerland – the Great St. Bernard pass linking Switzerland and Italy has a monastery/ hospice where monks used to keep this breed as guard dogs.

Lifespan: 8 -10 years                      Breed Size: Giant

Original Use: Guarding the monks in the monastery/ hospice. and being companions and search and rescue dogs, for the monks. These dogs would act as search and rescue in the mountains and the pass. The dogs are said to have been acquired firstly during the mid-late 1600’s – with their excellent sense of direction,their brilliant ability to navigate through dense fog and snow storms, and the sensing an impending avalanche and being able to warn the monks prior to it happening; the dogs always accompanied the monks out in the mountains and the pass.
Later on, the breed was used on farms and dairies for guarding, herding, and drafting.

Outstanding Physical Trait: Aside from its’ sheer size, the breed has quite a distinguishing colouration – the white face, chest and underneath; the dark ears and eyes (and often around the nose) and the lighter back to tail, down the back legs markings. They are also quite jowly and do slobber a bit!

St Bernard
St. Bernard
Staffordshire Bull Terrier (nicknamed Staffie or Staffy)

Country of Origin: England – Staffordshire (also breed name origin)

Lifespan: 13-15 years                     Breed Size: Medium

Original Use: Bred for bull baiting, bear baiting and dog fighting. Unfortunately, all too often they are still used for dog fighting. They are also used as “status symbols” by gangs and owners who want to appear tough – they often encourage negative behaviours in their pet and treat it poorly, and do not train the dog well; allowing their pet to behave how it chooses.
Dogs will choose to behave in the way that gets a positive response from their owner (meaning the dog will behave aggressive if the owner encourages this) – which has led to this breed getting a bad reputation, and often people avoid them due to the minority of bad owners. Behaviourally, any breed will behave negatively if encouraged, it just seems to be bull breeds that bad owners choose to corrupt.
In my personal experience with this breed, they are lovely with people – very loyal and good with families, but often do not get on with other dogs (some do, but most I have worked with strongly dislike other dogs) – this could be due to the centuries of being bred to be aggressive to other dogs.

Outstanding Physical Trait: The wrinkly head and snout of this breed is commonplace, and is a Staffie look. They are stocky dogs with a muscular build – evidence of the brute strength they were bred for. But SO cute! 🙂

Staffordshire Bull Terrier
Staffordshire Bull Terrier

T

Tibetan Spaniel

Country of Origin: China; region of Tibet

Lifespan: 14-16 years                     Breed Size: Small

Original Use: Simkhyi is what the Tibetan monks used to call them – meaning “house/ room” dog – the original use was purely a small companion to live in homes with people. Originally bred by monks in Tibetan Monasteries, but also, in time, kept by wealthy nobles.

Outstanding Physical Trait: One of the smallest breeds of spaniel – this and the Japanese Spaniel (Japanese Chin) are the 2 smallest spaniel breeds, then the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Other spaniel breeds include the Springer and the Cocker – 2 of the more popular spaniel species, along with the Cavalier King Charles – which all have quite typical spaniel features – long coat, long tail, long and floppy ears; the Tibetan spaniel has long (ish fur), short and floppy ears – which also can stick up, and a little tail that curls around, atop its’ back. It has its’ own little look, not typically spaniel!

Tibetan Spaniel
Tibetan Spaniel
Springer Spaniel (left) & Cocker Spaniel (right)
Springer Spaniel (left) & Cocker Spaniel (right)
Toy Poodle

Country of Origin: Germany – defined into various breed standards alter in France. Originally called the Pudelhund – meaning “puddle dog” in German. Then translated into poodle (puddle). It is also the national dog of France, despite not actually originating from there.

Lifespan: 12-14 years                     Breed Size: Small (Miniature – Medium, Standard – Large)

Original Use: The larger of the breed were used as gundogs, to retrieve and flush out game – often getting in the water a lot (hence the “puddle dog” name). The smaller breeds were used for sniffing out truffles, and later in circuses for entertainment.

Outstanding Physical Trait: The typical French Poodle cut – pom-poms and fluffy ears and head (pictured below, left).

Toy Poodle
Toy Poodle
Poodle Size Comparison
Poodle Size Comparison

U

Utonagan (a.k.a. Tamaskan Dog)

Country of Origin: Finland

Lifespan: 12-14 years                     Breed Size: Large

Original Use: The Utonagan has been bred to be a wolf-like breed, and is to resemble the wolf as closely as possible without containing any wolf DNA whatsoever – it is purely domestic dog; no crossing with wolves or other wild canines. It is a mix of the Alaskan Malamute, German Shepherd, and Siberian Husky. This breed is fairly new, having only been developed during the late 1900’s! The breed was developed by crossing the Malamute and Husky, later crossing the offspring with the German Shepherd. The breed has been bred as its own breed, without the use of the previous three breeds, since the 1980’s.

Outstanding Physical Trait:  The wolf-like look and colouration with long sleek fur and wolf-shaped face/ muzzle, and pointed ears – even without the long fur it bares a strong resemblance to its’ relative the Grey Wolf. Not unlike the Eurasier, however Utonagan is not a spitz-type of dog, which is clearly seen in the face of the Eurasier – the Utonagan has a more wolf-like face. The Long Haired Utonagan is fluffier than the European Grey Wolf, whereas the Short Haired bares more of a resemblance coat-wise (pictured below).

Untonagan
Utonagan (Long Haired)
Utonagan Short Haired
Utonagan (Short Haired)
European Grey Wolf
European Grey Wolves

V

Vizsla (a.k.a Hungarian Vizsla or Hungarian Pointer)

Country of Origin: Hungary

Lifespan: 12-14 years                     Breed Size: Medium

Original Use: First referred to as a breed in the mid-1300’s, but not established as an official breed until the 18th Century. A dog of the aristocracy used as a gundog – tracking, flushing out and retrieving game – used for this as early as the 14th Century. The name comes from the Hungarian word Vis – meaning, “to search”.

Outstanding Physical Trait: The unique russet-gold colouration is the only colour this breed comes in. Sometimes white flecks may appear on the coat, but primarily the Vizsla is russet-gold, including its’ nose!

Vizsla
Vizsla

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… (6)


Week 6 of going through dog breeds A-Z is here; covering some basic titbits about the breeds. This will be in between other posts too.

This, the sixth, post will cover P-R of dog breeds.
In previous posts, A-CD-FG-IJ-L and M-O have been covered.
In the follow up posts I will look into dog breeds from 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!

P

Pharaoh Hound

Country of Origin: Malta, a little island in the Mediterranean sea – not far from Egypt, but not from the land of pyramids, as the name suggests. This breed is the national dog of Malta.

Lifespan: 12-14 years                     Breed Size: Large

Original Use: Sight Hound – used for hunting rabbits for food, for the humans it lived with. The Maltese people call it Kelb Tal-Fenek meaning “rabbit dog”.

Outstanding Physical Trait:  Large ears and long body, depicting the look of the Egyptian jackal god Anubis, much like the Ibizan Hound. The rich tan colour of this breed, verging on being red in colour, is an outstanding feature of this breed.

Pharaoh Hound
Pharaoh Hound
Plott Hound

Country of Origin: America. Bred in North Carolina, USA – it is the state dog of North Carolina. Its’ ancestors come from Germany; the Plott brothers moved to the US (only one surviving the voyage) in the mid-1700’s, and developed this breed in America.

Lifespan: 12-14 years                     Breed Size: Large

Original Use: Bred for hunting in a pack. Hunting larger animals, such as wild boar and bears. These dogs are hardy and strong with good endurance and stamina; they need to be to take on a wild boar or a bear!

Outstanding Physical Trait: This breed is tall and lean, the typical look of a hound-type – similar in appearance to the Bloodhound (which makes sense as it has ancestry in German Bloodhound types), however, less jowly than a Bloodhound. It has a slim face and a long snout with a keen sense of smell and powerful jaws – beneficial for hunting and bringing down large game.

Plott
Plott
Portuguese Water Dog

Country of Origin: Portugal

Lifespan: 12-14 years                     Breed Size: Large

Original Use: Catching fish, helping fisherman to catch fish by chasing them into nets, retrieving broken nets or nets that broke loose and floated off, retrieving any other fishing equipment dropped into the water… Generally aiding fishermen in their daily working lives.

Outstanding Physical Trait: The odd hair cut (image below, right) with the back end and muzzle shaved, originates in the original use of this breed – the shaved muzzle helped it catch fish and the lack of fur on the back end is said to have made it easier to swim, with the fur that was left acting as protection and warmth whilst in the water.

Portuguese Water Dog
Portuguese Water Dog

Q

Queensland Heeler (a.k.a. Australian Cattle Dog a.k.a. Australian Heeler)

Country of Origin: Queensland, Australia – hence both names.

Lifespan: 13-15 years                     Breed Size: Medium

Original Use: Bred, and used, for herding cattle – the dog crouches low and nips at the heels (hence the name heeler). Nowadays, this breed is used in herding trials and is shown in dog shows, in the pastoral group.

Outstanding Physical Trait: The colouration differences also lend themselves to 2 more names for this breed – the Blue Heeler and the Red Heeler. The 2 distinctive colours for this breed, the more common being the Blue Heeler (image below). The blue is a grey/black/blue type colour, the red is a tan/ginger colour.

Queensland Heeler
Queensland Heeler

R

Rhodesian Ridgeback

Country of Origin: Zimbabwe (f.k.a. Rhodesia) – Southern Africa

Lifespan: 9 -11 years                      Breed Size: Large

Original Use: Formerly known as Van Rooyen’s Lion Dog and African Lion Hound/ Dog – these previous names give away the original use; hunting lions in Africa.

Outstanding Physical Trait: This poor breed has a very distinctive “ridge” on its back (hence the name Ridgeback) – however, this is not how the breed was originally bred. Breed standards and artificial, intensive breeding from people who (in my opinion) do not care about animal welfare. This “ridge” is the spine, sitting higher than it ought to. Due to the wrong positioning, air pockets form between the vertebrae in the spine and cause pain to the dog. The air pockets often go al the way from the skin – being a hole in the back through to the spine, letting disease and infection set in; not to mention other spinal problems. Rhodesian Ridgeback dogs born without this protruding spine are classed as ‘defective’ when really, these are the only ones that are fully healthy, with correctly positioned spines. Breeders in the past would kill the “ridge-less” puppies in the past – nowadays they are usually just neutered to prevent them from producing puppies, healthy, like themselves. The “ridge” is claimed by breeders and dog ‘clubs’ as hair growing in the opposite direction along the spine, to the rest of the body – however there is more to it than this claim.

Rhodesian Ridgeback
Rhodesian Ridgeback

 

Ridgeback Ridge
Ridgeback Ridge – protruding spine
Rottweiler

Country of Origin: Germany – named after the town of Rottweil, where it is said to have predominantly been established as a breed. Taken to Germany and Switzerland by the Romans – bred from Roman mastiff-type dogs.

Lifespan: 9-11 years                      Breed Size: Large

Original Use: Herding and guarding livestock, and pulling butchers’ carts laden with meat – f.k.a. the Rottweil Metzgerhund (Butchers’ Dog) due to this use. Nowadays this breed is shown, used as a guard dog, police dogs, and service dogs.

Outstanding Physical Trait: The strong muscular build of this breed, coupled with black and tan markings (with the tan eyebrow spots similar to the Doberman) give the Rottweiler a distinctive look. The Doberman may have a similar colouration, but the strong, sleek build of this breed gives it a more powerful look.

Rottweiler
Rottweiler

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… (5)


So this is week 5… I am going through dog breeds, covering some basic titbits about the breeds. This will be in between other posts too.

This, the fifth, post will cover M-O of dog breeds.
In previous posts, A-CD-FG-I and  J-L have been covered.
In the follow up posts I will look into dog breeds from 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!

M

Miniature Schnauzer

Country of Origin: Germany

Lifespan: 13-15 years                     Breed Size: Small

Original Use: Bred, and used for hunting rats and other vermin on farms in the late 1800’s – early 1900’s. The small size of the Miniature Schnauzer helped it to easily adapt to city life.

Outstanding Physical Trait: I personally, think they look like angry teddy bears with their little beards and bushy eyebrows. The fluffy muzzles are a distinguishing feature, and the breed is aptly named after their beards – the name is derived from the German word for muzzle, “Schnauze”.

Miniature Schnauzer
Miniature Schnauzer
Münsterländer

Country of Origin: Münster, Germany

Lifespan: 11-13 years (both)              Breed Size: Large (large ML) and medium (small ML)

Original Use: The Small Münsterländer was bred (in the 1700’s) originally for use of nobles for hunting, often used alongside falcons in a hunt. The dog would flush out the prey, and the falcon would catch it. Both the Small and the Large were used as gundogs – all round gundogs; retrieving, flushing out, tracking… The Large Münsterländer was bred (in the 1800’s) for hunting things a little larger then its’ smaller counterpart.

Outstanding Physical Trait: 

Munsterlander (small)
Munsterlander (small)
Munsterlander (large)
Munsterlander (large)

 N

Newfoundland

Country of Origin: Canada – the Newfoundland region

Lifespan: 9-11 years                      Breed Size: Giant

Original Use: Fisherman’s dog – pulling fish nets, hauling carts laden with fish and/ or fishing equipment.

Outstanding Physical Trait: That immense coat! Big, fluffy bear-like fur! Thick, waterproof coat. It’s just outstanding… !

Newfoundland
Newfoundland
Norwich Terrier

Country of Origin: England – Norwich (oddly enough!)

Lifespan: 13-15 years                     Breed Size: Small

Original Use: Hunting small vermin such as, rats and foxes in the 19th Century. Originally used on farms, but adapted easily to city living due to their small size.

Outstanding Physical Trait: It is one of the smaller of the terriers, with a cute little face giving it a little, teddy-bear like look. The Norfolk and Norwich terrier used to be classed as the same breed – the Norfolk being known as the drop-eared  as the tops of its ears flop down, the Norwich terrier was known as the prick-eared, and is a required trait for the breed standard (pricked up ears) of the modern day Norwich terrier.

Norwich Terrier
O
Old English Sheepdog

Country of Origin: England

Lifespan: 10-12 years                     Breed Size: Large

Original Use: Herding/ guarding sheep (sheepdog) – it is a pastoral breed, bred in the late 1800’s – early 1900’s. Nowadays they are kept as companions and often shown. They are no longer used as herding dogs, in favour of Collie breeds, but somtimes are still used for guarding – homes not sheep!

Outstanding Physical Trait: The long, thick coat of the Old English with its’ distinctive colouration – white with grey along its’ back and rump and tail (with a white tip on tail).

Old English Sheepdog
Old English Sheepdog
Otterhound

Country of Origin: England

Lifespan: 10-12 years                     Breed Size: Large

Original Use: Bred for hunting otters… The otters would eat up all the fish, so there were few left for humans to fish. Otterhounds would hunt the ‘vermin’, reducing the numbers, but increasing the numbers of fish available for people.

Outstanding Physical Trait: This breed has an amazing, thick, double coat – it is water and weather-proof; ideal for hunting the semi-aquatic creature, and being in water for long periods of time. The Otterhound also has a brilliant sense of smell, being able to track otters beneath and through the water.

Otterhound
Otterhound

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)