Category Archives: Breed Profile

Dog Breed Profile: the Expressive Norwegian Lundehund

By Langley Cornwell

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.

The history

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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Breed Profile: the Energetic Entlebucher Mountain Dog

By Langley Cornwell

I’ve never met an Entlebucher Mountain Dog in person. In fact, I’d never heard of this dog breed until I learned they were one of the six new breeds that competed in the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in February. The pictures I’ve run across show good looking, tricolored dogs with wonderfully expressive faces. I wanted to know more about these beauties.

About the Entlebucher Mountain Dog

A native of Switzerland, this dog breed is also known as the Entlebucher Sennenhund or the Entelbucher Cattle Dog. They are the smallest of the four AKC Swiss breeds. The original purpose for this easily-trained dog was herding and guarding, and they were highly valued for their strength, vitality and work ethic. These days, Entlebucher Mountain Dogs are usually kept as an energetic companion animal.

Appearance

Medium-sized and muscular, this dog looks square and sturdy. They have a well-proportioned head with a strong skull and a long, powerful jaw. Their smallish eyes are brown and their triangular ears are black. Some Entlebuchers have a congenital bobtail.  They all have a smooth, close coat with balanced black, tan (fawn to mahogany) and white markings. The coat is white on their chest, blaze, toes and the tip of their tail; the tan color always separates the black from the white. It’s the tricolored markings on their faces, however, that drew me in. Those symmetrical markings give their faces so much expression; these dogs look extremely intelligent and responsive. Regarding their size, male Entlebucher Mountain Dogs are between 17 to 21 inches and females are between 16 to 20 inches tall at the shoulder.

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Cat Breed Profile: Maine Coon


By Suzanne Alicie

The breed of feline known as the Maine Coon is a domestic cat with a very distinctive appearance. This is one of the oldest natural breeds of cat in the United States, and is not only native to the state of Maine but is also the official cat of the state.

The Maine Coon cat is one of the largest domestic cat breeds, with males weighing between 15 and 25 pounds and females between 10 and 15 pounds. The solid muscular build is important for supporting the weight of this cat, and the broad chest with rectangular body shape balances out the long tail and the weight that this cat can gain.

The 2006 Guinness World Record holder for “longest cat” is a Maine Coon known as Leo. He was the only kitten of two fairly large Maine Coons, and the benefit of having all of his mother’s milk may have been the reason he was able to grow to 35 pounds and 48 inches in length!

The origin of the Maine Coon cat is steeped in folk tales and theories with no factual proof. There are rumors that the Maine Coon evolved from the Turkish Angora cats that Marie Antoinette sent to the United States mating with Norwegian Forest cats. Another tale involves sea captain Charles Coon and his long haired ship cats. Rumor says that when Captain Coon laid anchor in New England his ship cats would visit and mate with the feral cats in the area. When long haired kittens started being born, the locals referred to them as Coon’s cats.

While not a traditional long haired cat, the Maine Coon is considered a long haired or medium haired cat. The length of the hair is short on the head and shoulders and longer on the stomach and flanks. Some Maine Coons have a long lion’s ruff around the neck. The light undercoat helps keep grooming to a minimum by being self maintaining. The most common color of a Maine Coon is brown tabby, but the breed can have any color that other cats have, as well as many different eye colors.

Maine is known for harsh winter conditions, and these cats have adapted to their native environment. Dense water-resistant fur, a long bushy tail and large paws provide these cats with many different options to deal with the cold weather. The long hair on the underside provides extra protection while walking or sitting in wet snow and ice. The tail can curl around the face and shoulders for warmth, and the ling tufts of hair between the toes and the ears also help keep the cat warm.

The Main Coon cat is a hardy breed that has evolved to survive and thrive in the harsh Maine climate. They are generally healthy cats whose most sever threat is HCM (feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy). This is the most common heart disease found in cats and is an inherited trait in Maine Coons.

These large dignified cats are not known for being “lap cats,” but they are relaxed and amiable. This makes them a good choice for families with children, other animals and even dogs. The Maine Coon is an extremely intelligent cat that is easy to train. They are a playful breed and actively affectionate. As with most cats they are independent, and their love is shown less through cuddling and more through play and interaction.

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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.

Dog Breed Profile: Korean Jindo


By Ruthie Bently

The Korean Jindo is a Spitz type dog of a medium size with a double coat native to Korea, specifically the island of Jindo in South Korea. It is believed that the breed originated on Jindo Island where they were bred several centuries ago. One theory purports that they were cross bred with Mongolian dogs when the Mongols invaded Korea during the thirteenth century. They were bred to help on farms as well as to hunt, and were used for hunting deer, rabbits, wild boar and badgers. The Jindo is used in packs or individually and is prized for its hunting skills. The Jindo is different from several other breeds in that it does not retrieve or point its prey. It brings down the prey and returns to its handler to lead them to its capture.

The Korean Jindo made its first appearance in the United States during the 1980s, though it is claimed that they first appeared in France. There are currently about twenty-five Jindo dogs in Britain, and the Korean government is working to gain recognition of the breed internationally. While the Jindo is not yet able to compete in AKC confirmation events, it was approved to compete in AKC companion events in January of 2010. It has been a member of the AKC’s Foundation Stock Service since January of 2008. The Jindo has also been added to the Non-Sporting dog group of the AKC, and has been recognized by the both the United Kennel Club (1998) and the Fèdèration Cynologique Internationale (2005).

There are currently six coat colors recognized by the United Kennel Club (UKC) in the Jindo: red, black and tan, gray, white, fawn and brindle. The brindle is also known as a “tiger” pattern as the base color is fawn with either black or dark brown stripes on the fawn base; these stripes appear while the dog is still young. The residents of Jindo Island prize the black/red, black and red/white as good dogs for hunting. An adult male Jindo should weigh between 35 to 45 pounds with a height at the shoulders of between 19-1/2 to 21 inches. Adult females should weigh between 30 to 40 pounds and their height should be between 18-1/2 to 20 inches. Their life expectancy is between twelve and fifteen years.

While a Jindo has a coat suited to an outdoor climate, they should never be left outside on their own. When bored they can get into mischief and have been known to scale an eight foot fence. As with any other active breed, they would do well with several daily walks or vigorous romps in the yard, but are easy to housebreak and able to live in an apartment; however, they would do better with more room to roam as they like to investigate their area thoroughly. It is suggested that a Jindo be leash walked due to their prey drive, unless the dog is very well-trained.

A Jindo grooms itself like a cat due to its fastidious nature. The Jindo is a double coated dog and blows its coat twice a year. Brushing the coat several times a day during the shedding seasons will help rid them of this dense undercoat. I suggest brushing outside when the weather is temperate enough to do so, as the birds will benefit from the shed hairs, and it will be easier to dispose of.

In 1962 the Korean government moved to protect the Jindo. This was accomplished by declaring them as the fifty-third natural treasure of the country. After passing the Jindo Preservation Ordinance, the Jindo is now protected by the Cultural Properties Protection Act under Korean law as a national monument. It takes a formidable task to export a purebred Jindo from Korea due to their status. Because the Jindo is so highly prized, they marched in Seoul, Korea during the opening ceremonies of the 1988 Summer Olympic Games.

The reason the Jindo is so revered in Korea is due to their high intelligence, fastidiousness, courageous nature and their affection and loyalty to their masters; these qualities have also enabled it to become the most popular dog in Korea. I would not suggest a Jindo for a first time dog owner, as you need to be in control and the alpha at all times with this breed. However, for a seasoned dog owner used to owning a strong, intelligent and crafty dog, the Jindo may be just what you’re looking for.

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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.

Breed Profile: Basenji (Congo Dog)


By Ruthie Bently

The Basenji is a small hunting dog native to Africa (also known as the Congo dog). The African natives used it for driving game into nets and for pointing, as well as retrieving wounded game. It was also used to warn about dangerous animals in the forest and as a guide. These traits helped the dog in the field as they were frequently out of the hunter’s sight. Their silence, adaptability and courage, as well as their speed and power, were prized as an asset in a productive hunt.

The Basenji has a short coat. They are known as a barkless dog, but depending on their mood will crow, howl or growl and when they are excited they “yodel.” They are a member of the AKC’s hound group; they hunt by using both scent and sight and were recognized in 1944. The first Basenjis were given to ancient Pharaohs of Egypt as gifts, and a Basenji-like dog has been seen on wall drawings and in Egyptian tombs dated to five thousand years ago.

The Basenji breed has some habits more reminiscent of a cat than a dog, as they are fastidious and can spend hours cleaning themselves. They have also been seen sitting on the back of furniture to look out a window. They lack a “doggy” odor and are a low shedding dog, which endears them to their fans.

Basenjis were taken to Britain in 1895 but contracted distemper and died. In 1937 they were taken to Britain again, as well as the United States. The pair imported into the US was able to have a litter of puppies, but all except one male died from distemper. A female was imported to Boston, MA in 1941; she was bred with the surviving male and their litter lived. In subsequent years more Basenji dogs were imported from Britain and Canada, which helped further the breed in the United States.

Basenjis usually live between ten and thirteen years although one lived to the age of twenty-two. The weight for a male dog is between 22 and 26 pounds (10 to 12 kg) and their height is between 16 and 17 inches (41 to 43 cm). Females should weigh between 20 to 25 pounds (9 to 11 kg) and their height should be between 15 and 16 inches (38 to 41 cm).

The Basenji is known as an independent, curious, alert, energetic and affectionate breed that loves to play. There are cautions about having them in a household with non-canine pets, but they do well in multiple Basenji households. They need to be socialized from an early age, are very intelligent with a desire to please, and are fairly easy to train. They do well with children and will form a strong bond with their owner though will be naturally reserved and aloof with strangers.

When introducing a Basenji to new people you should let the dog make the first overtures and approach them head on and not from behind. They need exercise daily to release pent up energy and do not easily tire when playing. They are chewers and should be provided with lots of options so as not to chew inappropriate items around the house.

They are known as climbers and are not averse to scaling a chain link fence. When curious, a Basenji will often stand on their hind legs, and they’re known to be able to jump over six feet straight up. Basenjis are very smart and need an owner who knows how to be the “alpha” dog, or they can become unruly and demanding. If they are exercised enough, a Basenji can be kept in an apartment or in a house with a small yard and would do well with a long daily jaunt.

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.

Breed Profile: Irish Wolfhound, the Gentle Giant


By Ruthie Bently

The Irish Wolfhound breed has an interesting past. One of the earliest records of the Irish Wolfhound comes from the Roman Consul Quintus Aurelius, in 391 A.D. He wrote about seven that he received as a gift, though there is some thought that the breed may have arrived in Ireland as early as 3500 B.C. They were used by the Romans as guards for their stock, castles and families. They were also used as warriors in battle to drag men off horseback or out of chariots, as well as for hunting game like the very large Irish elk and wolves. Irish Wolfhounds were also considered a family pet, and were allowed to play with children.

With the extinction of the Irish elk and wolves, the breed almost became extinct itself. Because there was such a worldwide demand for the Irish Wolfhound, Oliver Cromwell created a law to ban their export from Ireland. Nevertheless, by the nineteenth century there were not many Wolfhounds left in Ireland. Enter Captain George August Graham, who in 1862 began to restore the breed. He gathered the last specimens of the breed, and by using a Borzoi, Tibetan Mastiff, Great Danes and Deerhounds was able to recover the size and style of the original Irish Wolfhound. Under his supervision, in 1885 with the founding of the Irish Wolfhound club, the first breed standard was made. In 1981, the Irish Wolfhound Society was founded by Mrs. Florence Nagle, and every year both the society and the club hold a rally and a championship show and open.

The Irish Wolfhound is the tallest and largest of the hound group, with a rough coat. He has keen sight, is very swift and powerful with a commanding appearance and a strong muscular frame. The size range for height should be between 30 and 34 inches at the shoulder with the minimum for females being 30 inches and a weight of 105 pounds; males should be 32 to 34 inches at the shoulder and weigh about 120 pounds. They should have good symmetry and power while being active and showing courage.

While Irish Wolfhounds are known as “gentle giants,” it should be remembered that they are historically a hunting dog. They are usually friendly and even tempered, but socializing them early is very important. They are generally good with other dogs and people, and most Wolfhounds love children. However, they may not do well around other types of animals because of their natural instincts. One good outlet for this behavior is lure coursing, which also helps with their need for exercise.

Because of their size and exercise requirements, you should carefully consider whether a Wolfhound is the right breed for you. Although they can be kept in a city, it is not the best place for them. The ideal situation for them is a property that is fenced and has sufficient room for them to run and gallop, as their size demands. As an adult, these dogs are a calm, loving family member and do best with daily human companionship.

Read more articles by Ruthie Bently

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.