Monthly Archives: February 2010

Rare Dog Breeds From Around the World


By Linda Cole

Rare dog breeds fascinate me. There’s a mystic and awe that surrounds their existence. Rare breeds are not family dogs for the average owner, but rather have a specific purpose that aids us in certain tasks. They’re intelligent, independent and absolutely amazing animals that deserve to be recognized for what they do and how they make life easier (and safer) for the people who work with them.

The Peruvian Inca Orchid, pictured, is an ancient hairless rare breed that was found in the Inca homes amidst their orchids, and the Spanish named them “Perros Flora” or “flower dog.” When Spanish explorers visited Peru in the 1500s, they found the Peruvian Inca Orchid (PIO) living with royalty who used them as bed warmers, but their history goes back to around 750 AD. Nearly wiped out during the Spanish conquest of Peru, the remaining dogs retreated to rural areas where people thought they were mystical. They were originally bred to hunt and run messages between tribes.

The Peruvian Inca Orchid is an energetic, independent and intelligent dog with a quick wit. Because they are usually hairless, they need protection from the elements. Not all PIO are hairless, however, and a litter can have some with hair and some without. Hairless PIO have tufts of hair on their heads, tails and feet. They have “hare feet” that are webbed with long toes. They are a small dog, but they need regular exercise. As a sight hound, they’re always on the lookout for something to chase, and are quick and agile. They need to be supervised around young children and small pets, but generally get along fine with other dogs. Wary of strangers, this dog needs an experienced owner.

The Thai Ridgeback is a rare breed outside of Thailand. This primitive dog is believed to have evolved from the Asian Wolf in eastern Thailand, and cave drawings depicting the dog have been found dating to around 3,000 years old. They were used for hunting, guarding and pulling carts. One of only three breeds with a ridge running down its back, the Thai Ridgeback is also recognized by large ears that stand straight up. They were originally bred to keep snakes away, and are capable of attacking and killing Cobras. Today, they are primarily used in Thailand as a guard dog.

There are only about 1,000 Thai Ridgebacks found outside of Thailand, with just 100 in the United States. This muscular dog needs to be active, is territorial and needs an experienced dog owner. It can have aggression issues and is not good with other dogs, but can make a nice pet for the right owner. A warm weather dog, the Thai Ridgeback would not like playing in snow.

The Lagotto Romagnolo has its origins in Italy, and was initially bred to hunt water fowl. During the 19th century when the marshlands were drained, this rare dog breed was on the brink of extinction when lovers of truffles brought them back with the remaining breeding stock. The only breed recognized for their ability to sniff out truffles, this working dog has a thick neck, wide chest, curly Poodle-like coat, and sheds very little.

The Lagotto Romagnolo predates the Romans and is considered to be the great-great-grandfather to all water dogs. Medium size with powerful long straight legs, this robust little dog is easy to train. They do like to dig, however, and need room to roam. This dog needs brain exercises to keep him from finding his own “entertainment” but gets along well with other dogs as long as he is well socialized.

The Karelian Bear Dog (KBD) was almost extinct after WW II. Today’s Karelians can all be traced back to 40 dogs that were rescued after the war. A fierce hunter, this rare dog breed can and does stand up to and fight bear, which is what they were bred to do. They are as loyal as they come but difficult to train. Only an extremely qualified and experienced owner who can manage a Karelian Bear Dog with proper discipline and affection should adopt this breed.

A primitive dog that dates back to Finland thousands of years ago, the KBD was originally from Karelia, an area in eastern Europe. With only around 300 KBD dogs in the U.S., this rare breed has a distinctive double black/white coat designed to protect them from frostbite. Small pointed ears stand erect and point slightly outward. Powerful jaws with a biting pressure of 230 lbs. give this medium size, hardy dog enough power to hold onto any prey until they choose to let go.

This is not a good family pet for novice dog owners, and they need lots of room to roam. They can interact with other dogs, but you need a firm hand to successfully train, socialize and control them. This beautiful rare breed is energetic, intelligent and independent. They will defend their owner and family with their life and have the utmost determination and bravery. Today, specially trained Karelian Bear Dogs aid forest workers in bear conservation efforts by helping to teach bears it’s in their best interest to avoid humans.

Read more articles by Linda Cole

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

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Responsible Pet Ownership: The Year in Review


By Julia Williams

Yesterday marked the one-year anniversary of this CANIDAE-sponsored pet blog. I didn’t begin writing for the blog until April, so I’m not sure if the starting date of February 14th was intentional, but it seems fitting. Why? Well, most of us associate Valentine’s Day with love. CANIDAE All Natural Pet Foods was founded out of love for pets, and they created this blog as a way to aid those who love their pets! Further, they chose to call it Responsible Pet Ownership because those three words perfectly personify the company philosophy, and are the heart and soul of CANIDAE.

The purpose of this blog is, and has always been, to provide helpful tips and advice for caring pet owners, be they dog lovers, cat fans or “pet people” who refuse to choose their favorite animal. We strive to offer a diverse mix of educational, inspiring and entertaining articles on all aspects of pet ownership and care. Although the old adage “you can’t please all of the people all of the time” may be true, we do try our best to offer something for everyone. We want our readers to keep reading, after all, because that’s why we do what we do. Without you, this blog would have no meaning.

The writers who contribute to the Responsible Pet Ownership blog may come from all walks of life, but we have two things in common: a deep love for pets and a commitment to responsible pet ownership. Another thing we share is the desire to enrich people’s lives with our words. As a writer, I can tell you that nothing moves me more than knowing someone got “something” from my words – whether it was information on how to care for their pet, a laugh or a smile, or just a few minutes of reading pleasure in an otherwise harried day.

I’ve been a longtime fan of the CANIDAE brand. Well, FELIDAE actually, which is their cat food label. My three cats have eaten FELIDAE exclusively for about five years, and I am positive that I’m giving them top-notch food. But being part of the blog team has enabled me to see what a great and giving company CANIDAE is too. In addition to promoting responsible pet ownership through proper nutrition and care, CANIDAE also supports many worthwhile pet-related organizations and “pets in need.” This includes scholarship programs for veterinary students, donating their premium-quality pet food to wonderful charities such as The Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank, holding charity raffles to raise money for canine cancer research, and so much more.

On this one-year anniversary of the Responsible Pet Ownership blog, we’d like to express our appreciation of you, our valued readers. If you’ve been reading this blog from the start, thank you! And for those who may be new to the blog, we encourage you to poke around our archives and discover what you may have missed. Moreover, we welcome your comments, so let us know if there are subjects you wish to read about, and feel free to suggest ideas for how we can make this blog better.

I am honored to be a part of the Responsible Pet Ownership blog team, and look forward to sharing my words with you in the future.

Read more articles by Julia Williams

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

Why Dogs Counter Surf, and How to Stop It


By Ruthie Bently

Many dogs counter surf no matter how well trained they are, but most of what I’ve read does not address why they do it, just the methods you can use to stop them. I believe the reason that many dogs (mine included) counter surf is because they are hard-wired with the instinct to seek food. While dogs have been domesticated for about 15,000 years now, they still have instincts stemming from their wolf ancestors.

If a wild wolf pack is lucky enough to kill an adult moose (which weighs between 1200 and 1800 pounds) they gorge themselves. An adult wolf can eat fifty pounds of meat at one time and the reason they do is because they don’t know when their next meal will be. Not every dog counter surfs, but since they all have this instinct they can be prone to it.

Other reasons given for why dogs counter surf are that they are hungry or bored, have a nutritional deficiency, or simply because it smells good and tastes even better. While some of these reasons make sense, I don’t agree with all of them. I will agree with the smells good and tastes better idea, but my counter surfing dog isn’t bored (we play or walk every day) and she gets plenty of good food to eat. I thought I was a bad owner and she did it just to spite me but then my vet explained about the instinct and it made sense to me.

So, how do you stop your dog from counter surfing? The best way is to prevent the temptation for your dog to do it. Don’t leave your dog alone if there is food on the kitchen counter or table. Teach your dog “off” or “leave it” and make sure to use either command if you catch your dog getting up on the counter or table.

The “penny can” is another method you can try to stop the counter surfing behavior, although in my experience it isn’t terribly effective. Put some pennies in a can and place the can on some food bait or attached to it to so that when the dog grabs the food they will (in theory) be frightened by the noise and run off, leaving the food behind. Although Skye was scared off by the noise, she still grabbed the food and took it with her as she ran out of the room. I have, however, used my “spritz” (a spray bottle filled with water) on her and it works. If I have cooked food I put it in the microwave or oven to keep her from it, and don’t leave the kitchen if I am preparing food.

Special thanks to Vickie’s dog, Tsavo, for posing for this picture!

Read more articles by Ruthie Bently

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

Is It Normal for Cats and Dogs to Sneeze?


By Linda Cole

Cats and dogs sneeze all the time, just like we do. A bit of dust, grass or tiny piece of dirt can get up their nose as they rummage and sniff out an interesting smell in some tall grass or in a corner of the living room. Most of the time, sneezing is nothing to worry about. However, if your pet’s sneezing seems to be chronic, this could be a signal that something is wrong.

Cats and dogs are notorious for sticking their nose next to the ground in a clump of grass to follow a scent they picked up. My dogs are always sticking their nose in the grass around the fence of their pen as they follow the trail of a mouse or other small rodent that passed through it. Their only reward, besides a few minutes of excitement, is a series of sneezes to get rid of the loose dirt, snow or grass they inhaled up their nose.

Because cats and dogs use their nose to investigate their world, dust, pollen, dirt and small objects can easily be inhaled into the nasal cavity. Sneezing is a normal reaction to get rid of the irritation. Pets can also have allergic reactions to household cleaners, smoke, dust, perfumes, disinfected sprays, deodorants or dust from the cat litter. Scents and chemicals that bother us can also bother our pets. The best way to tell if a sneeze is caused by something irritating their nose is to pay attention to what you have on or how they react when you clean house or spray products in your home. A process of elimination can help you determine what the culprit is.

A cat that sneezes a lot may indicate they are dealing with an upper respiratory infection. The only way to be sure is by taking their temperature rectally. For both cats and dogs, their normal body temperature is 100.5 to 102.5. Touching their nose to decide if they are running a temperature does no good and will not tell you if they have a fever or not. Besides running a fever, a cat with an upper respiratory infection may have swollen eyes and glands, a running nose, coughing and sneezing. This is a highly contagious infection that can quickly be passed from cat to cat. It’s usually treated with antibiotics.

Cats and dogs can both be infected by a virus or bacteria that cause upper respiratory infections. Some cats who appear to be perfectly healthy can carry a virus, Herpes-1, their entire life and this virus is the cause for their sneezing. It’s like people who get cold sores all the time. Too much stress can activate the virus in their system. So a cat that carries Herpes-1 needs to be kept as quiet and stress free as possible.

Tumors in the nasal cavity or an abscessed tooth can cause sneezing. Anytime you see blood coming from your pet’s nose or mixed in with a nasal discharge, this can indicate a possible tumor or a bad tooth. Either case will require a vet’s attention. Most people don’t associate a bad tooth with sneezing. Good dental hygiene can help prevent a case of the sneezes with daily attention to their teeth. Cats and dogs have an upper tooth called the third upper tooth that has roots close to the nasal passages. This tooth and the ones next to it can cause your pet’s sneezing and nasal discharge if one of them is bad. So a check in their mouth can rule out a tooth problem if a nasal discharge accompanies a sneeze. A vet will need to run tests if a tumor is suspected to be the problem.

Certain breeds of dogs and cats have more problems with sneezing. Flat nosed dogs like Bulldogs or Pugs, and cats like Persians have a nasal passage that is more compressed than in other breeds.

Even though most sneezing is nothing to be concerned with, it’s always wise to pay attention to frequent sneezing to make sure it’s not something serious. If in doubt, a checkup with your vet can help ease your mind.

Read more articles by Linda Cole

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

Great Movies for Dog Lovers


By Julia Williams

A few weeks ago I gave you some suggestions for good cat movies to watch, so it’s only fair that I recommend some good dog movies too. I thought selecting a few of my favorites would be far easier than it was for the cat movies. Upon further reflection, I realized there were so many really great dog movies to choose from, it was hard to pick just a handful. But I couldn’t include them all, or this article would stretch into next week! After much wrangling, I whittled my list down to five. Gather the family, pop some corn and curl up with your favorite canine to enjoy one of these delightful dog movies.

My Dog Skip (2000) is a heartwarming coming-of-age tale about the special friendship between a shy boy and his extraordinary canine companion. Young Willie isn’t good at sports, he has trouble making friends and his relationship with his Dad is problematic. Willie’s Mom gives him a dog for his ninth birthday, and his life changes for the better, largely because Skip becomes well loved by everyone and even helps the boy make friends. Set in the 1940s in the small, sleepy town of Yazoo City, Mississippi, My Dog Skip was loosely based on the best-selling memoir by the late Willie Morris, and stars Frankie Muniz, Diane Lane, Luke Wilson and Kevin Bacon.

Trivia: Six different Jack Russell terriers played Skip. One of those was Moose, the dog best known for his role as Eddie on the TV sitcom “Frasier.”

Because of Winn-Dixie (2005) is another “dog changes lonely child’s life” story, only this time it’s a girl. Though not nearly as endearing as My Dog Skip, it’s still a feel-good family film that’s enjoyable to watch, especially for children. Ten-year-old Opal adopts a stray dog and names him after the local supermarket where she found him. The two become constant companions, and the mischievous Winn-Dixie helps Opal make friends and meet all sorts of eccentric characters in their small Florida town. The movie was based on Kate DiCamillo’s children’s book by the same name, and stars Jeff Daniels and Cicely Tyson.

Trivia: Five different Picardy Shepherd dogs played Winn-Dixie. The Picardy Shepherd is a rare breed that’s also known as the Berger Picard.

Best in Show (2000), starring Eugene Levy and Parker Posy, is a hilarious comedy about dog shows that will have you howling with laughter, from the opening scene to the end. It’s presented as a mock-documentary of the obsessive owners (and handlers) of five show dogs—a Norwich Terrier, Weimaraner, Bloodhound, Standard Poodle and Shih Tzu—as they prepare to compete at the Mayflower Kennel Club Dog Show in Philadelphia. A film crew interviews the comical characters as they prepare for the trip, arrive at the hotel, and backstage during a national dog show. Best in Show was nominated for a Golden Globe, and in 2006 the movie magazine Premiere voted it one of “The 50 Greatest Comedies Of All Time.”

Trivia: According to the Internet Movie Database (IMDB), filming for the scenes with numerous dogs went remarkably well, with only one unscripted bark. The bloodhound in the movie is named Hubert. Bloodhounds are also known as St. Hubert hounds.

Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey (1993) is a remake of a classic 1963 Disney film which was based on the best-selling novel, The Incredible Journey, by Sheila Burnford. The movie chronicles the epic adventures of two dogs and a cat as they trek across the Sierras on a quest to find their family. Chance (voiced by Michael J. Fox) is an American bulldog pup with energy to spare; Shadow (voiced by Don Ameche) is an old, wise Golden Retriever; Sassy (voiced by Sally Field) is a snooty Himalayan cat who lives up to her name.

Trivia: in the original book, the animals’ names and breeds were all different. It featured a Labrador Retriever (Luath), a Bull Terrier (Bodger), and a Siamese cat (Tao).

Marley and Me (2008) is based on the best-selling autobiographical book by John Grogan, and stars Jennifer Aniston, Owen Wilson and Kathleen Turner. This touching tale presents dog ownership in a true-to-life way that many people can relate to. When a young couple adopts a yellow lab puppy (named after reggae singer Bob Marley), the rambunctious dog wreaks havoc on their household. Despite his naughty nature, Marley becomes an important member of their family.

Trivia: Marley and Me is the second highest-grossing live-action dog movie of all time (movies starring real dogs, not animated films) behind only Scooby Doo released in 2002. There were 22 different dogs that played Marley.

Although this list is by no means inclusive of all the great dog movies available on DVD, it should give you some ideas for what to watch on family movie night.

Read more articles by Julia Williams

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

Does Breed Always Determine a Dog’s Personality?


By Suzanne Alicie

All over the world people have misconceptions and yes, even stereotypes about dog breeds. Over the centuries dogs have been bred for certain uses, including hunting, working and sport. The breeding has led to certain characteristics that are common for each breed of dog. For example, Labradors are considered water dogs because they were bred for retrieving. But the type of behavior, skills and abilities that come from breeding are traits that run in the bloodlines.

Personality traits are entirely different from breeding traits, and many breeds have common personality traits. One example of this is the Samoyed. These dogs were originally bred for working outside in cold temperatures. Yet somewhere along the way this breed also developed a loyalty and personality that is very unique to their breed. They want to be close to the people that are their family and are almost comedic in their effort to gain their persons attention.

The question is, do all dogs of this breed have this type of personality? The answer is that while breed-wide personality traits are common, and considered to be the norm, in reality each dog is an individual and may develop a different personality because of the way it is raised.

For example, if a dog breed that is generally regarded as friendly and great with kids, is raised in a home where there are no children and the dog has little contact with people other than its owners, this dog could be quite unfriendly, territorial and scared of children.

A common claim these days concerning personality traits is in regards to the Pit Bull. These dogs have a reputation for being fierce fighters, dangerous to have around your children and a scourge in the community. Yet when a puppy of one of these breeds is raised in a family filled with love, a family that trains the dog and raises him to be gentle, they can be one of the most protective and loving dogs. This isn’t to say that you can cross out centuries of breeding traits that involve fighting and defense. Those instincts are still there, but in the family situation when the dog isn’t threatened he may have a wonderful friendly personality.

On the other side of the realm are the tiny dogs. Poodles and Chihuahuas have a reputation for being annoyingly yappy and nervous dogs. This can be because of the breeding that has made them so small and seemingly insignificant in a big world. I used to have a fair amount of disdain for what I called yappy dogs, and then my children got me a miniature poodle for Mother’s Day.

From the first day when he curled up in my hands I fell in love with that little white ball of fur. I didn’t turn into Paris Hilton and carry him around with me in a purse, but I allowed him to be with me wherever I was around the house. I taught him tricks and let my children play with him. My poodle didn’t bark unless a stranger came to the door, and no one was a stranger for long. He loved everyone and exhibited none of the nervous yappiness I had come to expect from that breed. Health problems did arise that were part of the poodle’s breeding traits, but the personality traits were all from how he was raised.

So the basic idea is that breeding traits are ingrained in your dog, and can at times override personality traits. But if a dog owner assumes that a dog will have a certain personality due to its breed, then that is probably the type of personality it will have because they will make no effort to train it differently, chalking the personality up to the breed.

Read more articles by Suzanne Alicie

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.