Once upon a time… dog breeds (2)

Once upon a time… dog breeds (2)

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 a few in our exploration of extinct dog breeds…

Click here for Once upon a time… dog breeds (1)


A Polynesian dog breed, named from the Māori language, “Kurī Māori” meaning “ordinary dog”. The word “kurī” meaning “dog” or “four-legged animal”.

The Kurī was used alongside pigs and chickens as a protein food source; thought to have been bred for food as well as companionship.

It is thought to have gone extinct in the 1860’s when European settlers came to New Zealand; seemingly unable to survive interbreeding with European dog breeds that had been introduced with the settlers.

In Māori mythology, the first dog was made by the demigod, Māui (yes, I thought of Moana too). It is said that Māui, annoyed with his brother-in-law, Irawaru, turned him into the first dog or kurī.

Said to be approximately 20-30cm to the shoulder, in height, and weighting in at 13-15kg. Compared to the modern-day Border Collie in size, with terrier features, stumpy legs and a bushy tail. The Kurī breed was said to have howled in a similar way to that if a fox, as opposed to have stereotypically barked like most modern dog breeds today.

The last known specimen was taxidermied for display in The New Zealand Museum Te Papa Tongarewa in 1924.

Open source image of the Kurī on display at The New Zealand Museum from 1924

Further images of the Kurī on display at The New Zealand Museum can be found on their website, here.

Bullenbeißer (Bullenbeisser)

Bullenbeißer or Bullenbeisser meaning “bull biter” was also known as the German Bulldog. It is said to have been like the modern-day Dogo Argentino (banned in the UK under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 despite the breed not being in the UK at the time) in appearance and usage. As the name suggests, this dog was bred for bull fighting and other similar usage.

The Bullenbeißer was bred in two sizes (being two regional varieties), the larger Danziger Bullenbeißer and the smaller Brabanter Bullenbeißer; varying between 40-70cm to the shoulder in height.

Open source image of both verified of the Bullenbeißer dog

The Brabanter is said to have been used for cross breeding, to create new types of dog, and is thought to be an ancestor of the modern-day Boxer – three German breeders are said to have crossed them with Bulldog breeds from Great Britain, in the late 1870’s.

Turnspit Dog

Also known as the Kitchen Dog, Underdog, Cooking Dog or Wheeling Dog – sometimes known as the Vernepater Cur (meaning “the dog that spins the wheel”), this little dog breed was employed to work in kitchen, to run around on a wheel to keep the spit turning, to cook the meat. The wheel, not dissimilar (in my opinion) to a hamster wheel, was connected to the spit. These dogs would be used in shifts to avoid the over-exertion of one dog – often used in pairs to share the work.

Not too much is known about this dog breed due to a lack of record keeping, likely due to it being of low ranking as it was only used for kitchen/ cooking assistance. There are different speculations around the ancestor of this little dog; some believe it is the ancestor of the Dachshund, whilst others believe it is the ancestor of the Welsh Corgi’s, and others believe it to be the ancestor of the Glen of Imaal Terrier.

The breed declined and eventually became extinct, following advancements in the kitchen, making these little dogs redundant in their job role. By the early 1900’s, mechanical turnspits had replaced these dogs.

The last known specimen of this breed, “Whiskey”, is taxidermied and on display in the Abergavenny Museum in Wales.

Open source image of “Whiskey” the Turnspit Dog

All images are either 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 the social media pages:

• Instagram (@alis.animal.answers)
• Facebook (Ali’s Animal Answers)
• Twitter aka X (@AlisAnswers)
• LinkedIn (Ali Lloyd)

‘Fraid of Fireworks

‘Fraid of Fireworks

As we approach Halloween and Bonfire Night, fireworks tend to play a large part in the festivities that people participate in.

Further to my Fireworks Anxiety (dogs) post from 2014, as a lot of pets are scared of fireworks, here are some tips to help them through it.


Long Term: it is good practise to try and desensitise your dog to the loud bangs, so that thunder and fireworks are not too much of an issue.

With my two, from being small pups, I played thunder and fireworks videos on YouTube at a low volume to get them used to the noises. Over time I increased the volume (as real thunder and fireworks are loud!) to continue the desensitising. I would play with my pups or practise tricks and reward with treats – doing something positive and enjoyable to help my pups not be bothered by the noises going on.

Gradually, over time, working with your dog to desensitise them to loud noises, can help them to have a positive association to these sounds (such as thunder and fireworks) with, instead of evoking a negative and often fearful response.

A couple of relaxed dogs

During: some things you can do for your dog whilst the fireworks are going off in your neighbourhood to help them feel more relaxed…

– Use an anti-anxiety plug in diffuser or calming collar. These use calming pheromones to help calm your dog. The ones I’ve used in the past (in other circumstances) have been Adaptil products, but there are other brands on the market.

– Ensure your dog has a safe space; a quiet, secure, covered area to retreat to, should they need it. A crate (door left open) or table covered with a blanket or towel, with blankets and favourite toys inside can be a place of comfort for your dog to go to if the fireworks get too much for them.

If you are able to provide multiple safe spaces within your home, this will give your dog options – they may feel less stress and anxiety in one area of the house, so giving multiple safe spaces gives your dog the choice of where to retreat to, where they feel safest.

– Do not take your dog outside whilst fireworks are going off as this will only add to their anxiety. Ensure you have taken them for walkies and let them out for the toilet before fireworks are due to go off, which usually means taking them out before dark.

– Close your blinds/ curtains; it’s not just the noise of fireworks that can frighten your dog – the flashing lights can also upset them. Blocking out the sight of the fireworks should help.

– If your dog is content to have a chew toy/ treat or to engage in play, this is a good way to distract them from what’s going on outside.

– If your dog has severe anxiety, speak to your vet as they may require medication to help them through the firework season. Ask your vet to refer you to a behaviourist to work on this long term.

Dog walkies before dark


– As with dogs, keep cats inside whilst the fireworks are going off. If your cat is an outdoor cat, ensure to provide a litter tray whilst they are indoors.

Do not confine your cat to one room/ area as they may injure themselves trying to escape.

– Block off/ lock cat flaps and ensure your doors and windows are secure to prevent your cat from getting out.

Do create a safe hiding place for your cat; somewhere they can retreat to if they need to.

– If your cat is happy to be distracted with play, do spend time playing with your cat to ease their anxiety.

Feliway or other branded pheromone products can also be used to help relax your cat.

Kittens safe and snuggled in a box with blankets and bed

Rabbits and Guinea Pigs

– If they usually live outside in a hutch, it’s a good idea to bring the hutch inside, or put your pets in an inside enclosure, whilst fireworks are going on outside.

– Ensure windows and doors are closed. Ensure curtains and blinds are closed. This will help dampen the noise.

– Adding extra bedding in the hutch or indoor enclosure will also help to dampen to noise, and provides a safe area to snuggle in if they get scared.

– Monitor their behaviour and seek veterinary assistance if necessary. If a rabbit or guinea pig is severely anxious they may stop eating, chew their cage, freeze, pull their fur out, or perform other anxious behaviour.

Rabbit in a hutch, indoors. Hutch has extra hay and a plastic hide-away.

Summary: All Pets

– Need a safe space away from the fireworks.

– Need to be monitored. Any extreme behavioural changes should be noted and your vet contacted.

– Need to be secure, indoors with windows and doors securely closed. Curtains and blinds should also be closed.

– Avoid having your pets outside with you if you are doing or attending firework displays.


All images are either 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 the social media pages:

• Instagram (@alis.animal.answers)
• Facebook (Ali’s Animal Answers)
• Twitter (@AlisAnswers)
• LinkedIn (Ali Lloyd)

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Here’s to a better 2021…

Here’s to a better 2021…

A belated Merry Christmas, and wishing you all a Happy New Year for 2021!

2020 has been a weird one, with a lot of problems… But also a lot of joy! The website posts, the social media posts and photo’s and shares, show snippets of some of the joy I’ve experienced this year! Especially with being able to help Tilly; spending time training and walking her.

I hope you all can reflect on the joys you’ve experienced this year despite everything else that’s gone on – here’s looking forward to more joy in 2021!

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