Monthly Archives: September 2013

What Do the 8 AKC Dog Breed Groups Mean?

akc groups aussiegallBy Linda Cole

The American Kennel Club, established in 1884, is a registry of purebred dogs in the United States. To help categorize breeds, dogs are put into one of eight groups based on why the breed was created – i.e., what his job is.

Herding Group

The main function of dogs in this group is to control the movement of other animals. AKC created this newest classification in 1983. Prior to that, they were members of the Working Group. These breeds have the stamina and superb athletic ability to work long hours in difficult weather conditions and over rough terrain. Their job is to drive livestock or herd sheep, controlling them by manipulating their movements. They are extremely intelligent, able to problem solve and have the ability to work on their own when necessary.

Sporting Group

Members of this group were developed to flush out and retrieve quarry on land or in water. In Europe it’s called the Gundog Group, and many of the breeds have their origins in European countries. At one time, hunting was essential to provide food for the family and dogs were indispensable in helping the hunter locate fowl hiding in thick underbrush. When hunting with guns became more popular, retrievers were developed to bring back quarry that had been shot down. These dogs have a generally laid back temperament, are very intelligent, easy to train and want to please.

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Is It Okay to Dress Up Your Pet?

By Julia Williams

Halloween is almost here, and the stores are fully stocked for fright-night fun.  Alongside all the spook-tacular decorations and giant bags of candy are the costumes.

With so many animal lovers among us, it’s hard to say which is more prevalent in the Halloween aisle – costumes for humans or costumes for pets. There’s no denying that our pets look adorable in costumes. “Cute factor” aside though…should pets wear costumes? Most people fall into one of three camps. There are those who love dressing up their pet, those who think it’s categorically wrong, and those who wouldn’t put a costume on their own pet, but don’t mind if others do. I am in camp number three, but only because I have cats, who tend to be a bit curmudgeonly when it comes to the whole costume-wearing thing.

okay to dress petsIf you go looking for photos of cats in cute costumes, most will either be a) cats with a minimal costume such as a hat or a headpiece, or b) fully-costumed cats who glare menacingly at the camera as if to say, “Just you wait, human. I will get even with you for this travesty! Just you wait.” There’s not a whole lot in-between. Most cats are not costume lovers. Most would, in fact, happily rip your face off if you even tried dressing them up. I haven’t put any sort of costume on my current three felines, because I am sure it would not end well for whatever body parts they could sink their claws or teeth into. Yes, I am a chicken; but “better safe than shredded” is my motto.

As with anything, there are exceptions to the “cats loathe costumes” rule.  Not many, mind you…but some. Such as Luna the Fashion Kitty, who started wearing colorful tutus when she was just a kitten. Luna now wears a costume almost every day, and her human say she doesn’t mind and even seems to like it. Although I’m not entirely convinced that Luna loves to wear clothes, all of her photos suggest she is at least not bothered by their presence. That, to me, is the Golden Rule.

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We’d Do Anything for CANIDAE’s Bakery Snacks!

Langley's dog 3By Big Al and Frosty Cornwell, canine correspondents

Big Al:

Wait. I hear something. Yes, there it is – the sound of my favorite cabinet opening! That cabinet has a special squeak that I’ve grown to love. Whenever I hear that squeak, it’s followed by a crumple. The crumple is followed by the sound of my dear human’s voice calling my name. But she doesn’t have to say anything; I’m already right by her side.

I sit before she even asks me to, because she always wants me to be a gentleman. I sit and hit her with my big brown eyes; she’s hopeless when I stare into her eyes with the full force of my brown-eyed sincerity. Sometimes I’ll even give her a dashing tilt of the head, which always makes her smile. This is one of my favorite times of the day.

She’s been giving us CANIDAE Bakery Snacks lately. Wonder if we’ll get the Turkey, Quinoa and Butternut Squash or the Lamb, Wild Rice and Sweet Potato. It doesn’t matter to me, they’re both delicious! I’ve heard her say that she likes these treats because their crunchy texture helps clean my teeth. Honestly, I’m not really worried about my teeth. For me, it’s all about the taste.

I’m not picky about treats, but I know our dear human is. I’d never turn down a treat (or two or three) but I’ve seen my human read labels and I know she’s careful about our treats and our food. I love everything she gives us. I hope she never makes me choose between these new Bakery Snacks and CANIDAE’s Pure Heaven treats or Snap-Biscuits and TidNips, because they’re all my favorites!

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Interesting Tidbits on the History of Dogs

Pekingese

Pekingese

By Linda Cole

Regardless of how human and canine paths came together, the history we share is unique and special. Early dogs weren’t the cuddly, family-friendly pets we cherish today, and domestication was likely initiated by the animal and not by man. The history of dogs is filled with fascinating facts.

Dogs, wolves, coyotes, dingoes, jackals and foxes are members of the Canis Family. (Canis comes from the Greek word kūon and means “dog”). These animals are opportunistic, adaptable, intelligent and found in every habitat on Earth. Their early history goes back to around 65 million years ago to a carnivore that resembled a weasel, the Miacis (My-ah-sis) that made its home in trees and dens in Europe, China and North America. These creatures evolved into the Tomarctus (Toe-mark-tus), a hyena-like animal that lived about 15 million years ago and lived throughout North America. These animals are thought to be direct ancestors of the Canis Family – prehistoric dogs.

The Tomarctus had five toes on their back feet, but as it evolved into Canids, the fifth toe became immature, and the remnants of the fifth toe are seen in the dew claws found on the back feet of wolves and some dog breeds.

One of the first Canids, the dawn-wolf, looked like a fox with an elongated body. This creature was as cat-like as he was dog-like, living in and climbing through trees. It’s believed this animal could be related to the feline species as well as to Canids.

Because the domestication process happened so long ago, and archaeological findings have provided small clues, scientists are divided on the evolution of wolves. They are equally divided on the origin of where wolves first lived. One theory says Canids began in North America before spreading out to areas in South America and Asia.

It’s possible the grey wolf had a smaller ancestor that crossed the Bering Strait land bridge to Siberia where it evolved before making its way back to Canada and the United States as the wolf we know today. And a third theory suggests Canids began in North America, found their way to Asia, and then migrated back.

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Great Games for Kids and Dogs to Play Together

games for kids n dogs julie c OKBy Suzanne Alicie

Having a dog and being a responsible pet owner can be a very rewarding experience. When you have children, your dog can be more than a pet – it can be a playmate and a furry family member. Your dog needs exercise, fresh air and fun just like your kids do. With a well-trained dog and children who love and respect the animal, you can supervise a variety of fun games that everyone will enjoy.

Dog training may not be your personal specialty, but simple basic obedience training is all your dog will need to learn to play with your kids safely under your supervision. Linda Cole has shared 8 positive dog training tips that work to help you get started!

Not only are games for kids and dogs fun, but they can help improve the health and fitness of your progeny and your pet.  Exercise, agility, hand-eye coordination and a good, healthy sense of fun are great for your kids; playing with the family dog can prepare them for many types of sports and activities as they get older. Your dog may not need paw-eye coordination, but games can also improve their overall coordination as well as all the other high points mentioned above.

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Ten Things Pets Can Do Better Than People

By Linda Cole

We humans have a tendency to present our species as being the most sophisticated, smartest and superior. But when it comes down to it, there are many things animals can do a lot better than we can.

1. Gripping Ability 

If you’ve ever played tug-of-war with your dog, you know how strong his grip is. The average bite force of a dog is 320 pounds per square inch. Humans have an average bite force of 120 psi. The Mastiff has the highest bite force at 552.

2. Speed

A dog running at full stride is beauty in motion. It’s almost as if they are racing the wind. The fastest human, Usain Bolt, holds the running record at 28 mph, and has an average running speed of 23 mph. But his speed isn’t even close to the fastest dog, the Greyhound, with an average speed of 40 mph and a top running speed of 45 mph. When you add endurance, humans would be gasping for breath long before most canines stopped.

3. Navigate Tight Spaces

As a lifelong cat owner, I’m constantly reminded that no matter how small an opening, never assume a curious cat can’t squeeze through it. Ultra-sensitive whiskers help a cat judge the size of an opening, and a free floating collarbone allows her to squeeze through tight openings. If the head fits, the entire body will follow just fine.

4. A Nose That Knows

The ability of dogs to pick up scents in the air is truly amazing. The canine brain is wired to process smells, and gives them a sort of “visual image” that is as vivid to them as a photograph is to us. Almost half of the dog’s brain is dedicated to analyzing scents. The average canine nose has between 125 to 300 million scent receptors to our mere 5 million.

5. Purr Therapy

An old veterinary school saying “If you put a cat and a sack of broken bones in the same room, the bones will heal,” may seem farfetched, but researchers have discovered cat purrs do have a healing ability. Cats purr when they’re happy, but they also purr when injured, giving birth and even at the end of life. The feline purr is between 25 and 150 Hertz, which is the best frequency range to promote healing in feline bones and muscles, and improve bone density.

6. Radar-like Ears

Dogs track a sound by moving their ears to locate exactly where it’s coming from, and can pinpoint the source to 6/100th of a second. An average dog can hear sounds four times farther away than we can, and ten times better. Eighteen muscles in each ear gives dogs radar-like control to follow an interesting sound (like when you are opening up his favorite CANIDAE treats!). We hear sounds at 20,000 cycles per second; dogs hear sounds at 40,000 to 60,000 cycles per second.

7. Sniff Out Trouble

We’ve come a long way from the first seeing eye dog, Buddy, who made history when he safely guided his blind owner across a busy New York City intersection in 1928. Since then, we have successfully trained dogs to detect seizures, cancer, low blood sugar, peanuts (for those with allergies) and other medical conditions and possible life-threatening situations.

8. Make a Perfect Landing

A cat’s flexible spine is what allows her to twist, turn and perform acrobatic acts. Felines are born with the ability to right themselves in mid-air to make a perfect landing on their feet. The first thing a falling cat does is rotate her head, then the spine, and finally the rear legs. To soften the impact, she will arch her back. Many cats have survived falls from heights of seven stories or more. The higher the fall, the more time the cat has to right herself.

9. Super Vision

Feline eyes are designed to see in low light to locate prey. Proportionately larger than our eyes, cat eyes have super reflective cells called tapetum lucidum, which reflects light like a mirror to give rods and cones in the eye a second chance to pick up all available light. Larger eyes and the tapetum make it possible for cats to see in very low light and pick up movement, and is why their eyes glow at night.

10. Predict Earthquakes

The paw pads of dogs and cats are super sensitive, and seismologists believe some pets may be able to detect P-waves before an earthquake hits. P-waves are the fastest moving waves just before an earthquakes occurs.

Top photo by Kathleen Tyler Conklin
Middle photo by Anssi Koskinen
Bottom photo by Mark Watson

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