Category Archives: Breed Profile

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.

Read more articles by Suzanne Alicie

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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.

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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.

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: 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.

Breed Profile: Portuguese Water Dog


By Ruthie Bently

The Obama family recently got a new puppy, and Sasha and Malia named him “Bo.” This breed was picked because the Portuguese Water Dog is purported to be better for people with allergies. Bo is a black and white Portuguese Water Dog, and was six months old when he went to live at the White House. In light of that, I thought I would do this month’s breed profile on the Portuguese Water Dog.

The Portuguese Water Dog was first recognized by the AKC in 1981, so they are a relatively new breed to the AKC. They are a member of the working group and the size standard for the breed is a height of between 17 to 21 inches at the withers for females and 20 to 23 inches for males, with a weight of 35 to 50 pounds for females and between 42 and 60 pounds for males. The reason for the diverse size ranges are due to the fact that smaller dogs were better suited to smaller ships, and large dogs were better suited for larger ships. Their lifespan is between ten and fourteen years of age.

In their native country of Portugal, they are known by three names. Cao de Agua, which means “dog of water,” is the main name they are known by. The two other names are Cao de Ague de Pelo Encaradolado, which is the name given to the curly coated variety, and Cao de Agua de Pelo Ondulado, the name given to the long-haired variety of water dog. Their duties included being a courier between ship and shore and from ship to ship, as well as retrieving lost nets or tackle, and herding fish into nets. They were even used by the Portuguese in the frigid waters of Iceland when the fleets sailed there to bring saltwater codfish back to Portugal.

According to the AKC, the Portuguese Water Dog was originally bred to be “a calm, intelligent breed of fine temperament, rugged and robust, with a profuse non-allergenic, non-shedding, waterproof coat, and webbed feet; he is an ideal outdoor dog, capable of limitless work.” They come in many colors including black, brown, white, black and white, brown and white, black and silver, brown black and white, and brown brindle. There are several theories that Portuguese Water Dogs and Poodles come from the same genetic lineage. The Portuguese Water Dog is shown in two clips: the lion clip and the working-retriever clip, and there are fans of both.

By the early 20th century, the numbers of the Portuguese Water Dog had dwindled and the breed was on the verge of extinction. This was due to advances in fishing and getting away from the fishing traditions that had been in place for many years. Thanks to the efforts of Vasco Bensuade, a wealthy Portuguese shipping magnate with a fondness for dogs, the breed was saved. Because of his efforts a breed standard was written. Bensuade’s first dog Leao, (which means lion) became the founding sire of a kennel that Bensuade set up. After his death, Algarbiorum Kennel was acquired by Conchita Branco, who was a former lady bullfighter.

However, despite Bensuade’s best efforts the Portuguese Water Dog was again on the verge of extinction in the 1960’s, as there were only about 50 dogs in existence in the world. Fate stepped in again, in the form of Deyanne and Herbert Miller, Jr. Due to the persistence of the Millers, the Portuguese Water Dog Club of America was formed in 1972 with fourteen other breeders. The breed was admitted to the AKC in June of 1981 under the miscellaneous category, and in 1983 they were admitted to the working group.

Today I am happy to report that there are over 5000 Portuguese Water Dogs, so it doesn’t seem like it will be going away soon. If you want an active dog that loves to work and swim, this may be the breed for you.

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.

American Staffordshire Terrier, Breed Profile

The beautiful lady in the picture is my dog, Skye. She is an American Staffordshire Terrier. The American Staffordshire Terrier is a breed that was recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1936 and is a member of the Terrier group.
According to the breed standard of the AKC the general impression of the breed is as follows: “The American Staffordshire Terrier should give the impression of great strength for his size, a well put-together dog, muscular, but agile and graceful, keenly alive to his surroundings. He should be stocky, not long-legged or racy in outline. His courage is proverbial.” Skye is all that and more.
American Staffordshire Terriers (AmStaffs) are a true terrier breed. They are fearless, loyal, courageous and strong for their size. They are well-suited for many of the canine sports available to dog enthusiasts these days. They are good at agility, tracking, and obedience, as well as confirmation. Some of the jobs assigned to this plucky breed include police work, guarding stock, weight pulling, as well as being watch dogs. They need to have a job to do and are never happier than when they are active. This is a breed that needs a fair amount of exercise, and is perfectly happy whether going for a walk or playing a rousing game of ball or Frisbee in the yard.
The adult AmStaff should weigh about 50-65 pounds (23-30kg), and size range for males should be between 18 to 19 inches and bitches should be between 17 to 18 inches at the withers. They have a short coat that is easy to care for. Their life span is usually between 10 and 12 years, but Smokey, my last AmStaff was almost 20 when he passed. They don’t tend to be troubled by hip dysplasia, but congenital heart disease and hereditary cataracts have been reported. Because of their deep chest they can suffer bloat.
The AmStaff is a very social dog and loves their family. They are bred for their temperament and gentleness and make great family dogs. However, because of their keen intelligence like most terriers, they can be independent and stubborn, so they need to be trained and socialized properly. They are not a dog for everyone, and like any large strong dog they need to know you are the alpha dog. However, when raised with love and kindness they make fabulous companions.
Skye was raised in a kennel and only knew other AmStaffs, before she came to live with us. While she was good with other dogs and people, I wasn’t sure how she would be with my cats, chickens and geese, as she had never been around any. She does like to chase the chickens and I have never left her unsupervised with them. I did watch her chase a gander one day, but watching her, I noticed she wasn’t trying to catch him, even though I knew she was capable of it. She was just trying to put him in his place and establish her own place in the pecking order. As for the cats, when everyone gets into bed at night if Skye is up with us, Munchkin (a 6 pound adult) likes to sleep perched up on top of Skye; and the rest of the cats have a healthy respect for her, though she has never harmed any of them. 
AmStaffs can be a handful and are not for everyone, but with the right person, they can be a super companion and friend for life.
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.