A few months ago, I wrote an article about Unusual Cat Breeds. One of the breeds profiled was a hairless cat known as the Ukrainian Levkoy. While unusual, it’s not the only hairless breed in the feline family; there are several others including the Elf Cat, the Bambino, the Peterbald, the Donskoy and the Sphynx.
As unusual looking as hairless cats are, can you imagine what hairless dogs looks like? There is a dog breed called the Xoloitzcuintli, also known as the Mexican hairless that is – you guessed it – hairless. This is one of the oldest and rarest dog breeds in existence.
Many modern dog breeds are the result of crossing two breeds or some other type of manipulation by human interference. Xoloitzcuintlis, on the other hand, are considered an original breed shaped by natural selection.
The word Xoloitzcuintli is a combination of the word Xolotl, the Aztec god of fire and the deity responsible for escorting the dead to the underworld, and itzcuintli, the Aztec word for dog. You pronounce Xoloitzcuintli like this: show-low-eats-queen-tlee. The breed is also referred to as the Xolo (show-low).
These unusual looking dogs are thought of as “healing” dogs or “doctor” dogs because people with arthritis or other similar conditions find relief when they cuddle with a Xolo; apparently they give off intense body heat. I’ve even seen Xolo’s referred to as living hot water bottles. They are also said to have the magic of a healing touch, with special abilities to help people with things like rheumatism, asthma and even insomnia. Another otherworldly gift, they are said to have the power to frighten off evil spirits. Read More »
Growing up, I always had my nose stuck in a book, which was usually about the adventure of a dog, cat or some other animal. One book was about a dog described as having wirehairs sticking out around his muzzle, which gave him a grizzly sort of look. It was an old library book, written sometime in the 1940s or earlier, and about the only thing I remember is the breed of the dog. He was an Otterhound, a unique dog originally bred to hunt only one critter.
The exact origin of the breed isn’t known. Britain is where the Otterhound was developed, but it’s believed the breed began in France because of similarities the breed shares with the French Griffon Nivernais in coat type, appearance and conformation. Although a large dog weighing 65 to 125 pounds and standing 24 to 28 inches at the shoulder, the Otterhound has a rough, unkempt-looking double coat with a somewhat oily undercoat and water-repellent outer coat. His feet are large and webbed which helps him do the job he was originally bred to do: hunt river otters.
The earliest writing that mentions the “Otter Dogge” was in England in 1175. William Twici, a 14th century huntsman, described the breed as “a rough sort of dog between a hound and a terrier.” During the early years in England, fisherman had to compete for trout and other fish with river otters that were considered to be vermin. Hunters used terriers to flush otters from dens dug into banks along ponds, lakes and rivers. Once the otter was on the run, packs of Otterhounds followed the animal on land or into the water.
There are some dogs that, when they look at you, their personality just shines from their face. This is true of the Pumi. If you’re looking for an adorable fur baby that is loyal and fun, then look no further. If you want a dog that is intelligent, eager to please and excels in agility and working tasks, then a Pumi also fits that description. This is a truly well rounded breed that makes an excellent pet and a great working dog. Since I’m not a very active person, I’m pretty sure it’s a good thing I’ve only seen photos of the Pumi breed, because I know that if I looked into one of those lovable, expressive faces I would want to take the dog home!
The Pumi is a Hungarian herding breed that originated in the 17th and 18th centuries as an adapted version of the ancestral Puli breed. These dogs were used to herd farm animals including sheep, goats and pigs. They were very versatile and intelligent on the job, being equally useful for gathering, driving and keeping stock within boundaries.
Not a large dog, the Pumi is a square shaped breed, meaning that the height at the withers is the same as the distance from the prosternum to the buttocks. They are typically between 15 to 18 inches tall and weigh between 22 to 29 pounds, with the males being on the larger end of these ranges.
The Pumi has been recorded in the Foundation Stock Service classification since 2001, but the breed has been recognized around the world as show dogs, agility dogs and working dogs for many years.
The Dachshund may not look feisty, but this short-legged dog is a badger’s worse enemy. This breed was created to hunt – a job they are extremely good at – and is the only AKC recognized breed that was developed to hunt above and below ground.
The Dachshund is the smallest member of the Hound Group, even though he was bred to go to ground after his prey, like a terrier. In 1874, the Dachshund was recorded as a German Badger Hound in the English stud book, which started a somewhat heated debate – is the Dachshund a hound or a terrier? A breed expert was quoted in 1906 as saying, “That it is used occasionally as a hound in the sense that it follows rabbits and hares by scent as does a beagle, does not alter the fact that it is essentially a dog that goes to earth and is therefore a terrier.”
Dog historian Edward Ash also got in on the debate in 1927 saying, “A Dachshund is, in fact, a terrier with very crooked legs, but possessing in a very great degree both the appearance and fine nose of the beagle.” Needless to say, this breed has fine qualities of both the hound and terrier!
The Dachshund was created in Germany in the early 1600s, but illustrations of dogs with short legs and elongated bodies hunting badgers have been found dating back to the 1400s, and writings from the 1500s mention the “earth dog,” “dachsel,” and “badger creeper.” In Germany, this breed is known as the Badger Dog, and the Teckel. The German word for badger is “dachs,” and “hund” means dog.
The Dogue de Bordeaux, also called the Bordeaux Bulldog and French Mastiff, is a very amazing dog. It’s not known exactly how this breed first originated, but some speculate they were linked to breeds like the Bulldog, Tibetan Mastiff and Bullmastiff. What is known for sure is that the Dogue de Bordeaux is a smart breed that has protected his “master” for many years. This Dogue de Bordeaux profile will help you understand the breed better so you can determine if he’s suited for your family. Responsible pet ownership means learning all you can about your pet so that you can provide the best care possible.
The Bordeaux Bulldog is a muscular dog with a gigantic, wrinkled head and a short, stocky body. These features make this French breed a very powerful and intimating dog. They have a medium to short but wide muzzle that averages about a third the length of their head. The nose is big and the upper lip hangs down in thick wrinkles over their lower jaws.
The dog has a loose fold of skin that hangs from his neck, and light or dark brown eyes that are set far apart. He has small ears compared to the rest of his body. The base of his tail is broad but tapers off at the end. He has muscular legs, a broad chest and loose skin.
The adult Dogue de Bordeaux usually weighs between 120 to 150 pounds and stands up to 30 inches high. Their coat varies from light to dark shades of brown and sometimes they’ll have a reddish color mixed in. Around the eyes, nose and lips are usually a darker shade of brown or red, and some dogs will have white marks on the toes and chest area.
Many years ago I adopted a dog from the shelter that looked to be partly yellow Labrador; the other parts were anybody’s guess. I always thought she had some type of Spitz breed in her because of her fluffy, high-set tail that arched over her back. She also had what I thought was a Spitz-like personality. One of the things that set her apart was her expressive ears, they could move in every possible direction. Friends and family loved this dog as much as I did… almost. I remember we were at a big outdoor, dog-friendly gathering once and the conversation drifted to favorite dog breeds. More than one person said they wished my dog was a specific breed because they wanted a dog just like her. She was my constant and cherished companion for 17 years.
During the time that precious pup was part of my life, I hadn’t heard of Norwegian Lundehund dogs. Since then, however, I’ve learned that the Lundehund is a small and active Spitz breed that has upright, triangular ears that move in every direction. Their ears can fold forward, backward, or shut at will, just like my dog’s ears. Furthermore, online images of the Norwegian Lundehund look very similar to the way she looked. There’s no way to confirm it (and it certainly doesn’t matter) but I’ve come to believe that my dog was part Lab, part Lundehund.
The Norwegian Lundehund has a distinctive combination of traits not found in any other dogs. The ear acrobatics are one of the special qualities. Another is that this dog breed has six toes on each foot. Additionally, they’re able to lift their head up and tip it backwards so far that it can touch their back bone. That’s a unique set of characteristics for this one-time Puffin hunting dog.
As the name denotes, the Lundehund is from Norway, where their job was to locate and retrieve live Puffin birds from the fissures of sheer upright Norwegian cliffs. At that time, Puffins were a meat and feather crop for the farmers of Norway so the Lundehunds had an important role in the local economy. But in the 1800’s, Puffins became a protected species and Norwegian Lundehunds were no longer needed. The breed numbers sharply decreased and the Norwegian Lundehund dwindled down until the breed was close to extinction. Several concerned Norwegians joined together and established a plan to save the breed, and the plan is working, albeit slowly. There still are not many of these dogs in existence.
One thing that may help the growth of the breed is the fact that the American Kennel Club recently recognized the Norwegian Lundehund.
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