Monthly Archives: June 2019

Holy Shih-Tzu

The Shih-Tzu, or lion dog as they were affectionately referred to by their first breeders, are the 20th most popular dog in the world, and for good reason. Originally bred for Chinese royalty to be affectionate and beautiful, they weigh up to 16 pounds and live for 10 to 16 years. As these affectionate little doggos were bred specifically for Chinese royalty, the public did not know about them until the 1930s, during which time breed clubs began organizing in the city of Peking, and later spread into England where the breed was refined. Holy Shih!

AKC on the breed

 

 

Shih-tzus have naturally very long hair, which allows for the owner to really customize how their affectionate little pup looks, but in order to keep them looking their best you have to groom them. If you ever notice your bitch is getting smelly or that they look like they are crying, then it’s time for you to gently wipe their face with a wet washcloth. Shih-tzu coats are beautiful, but they require you to brush their hair every three days (be careful of knotted fur), but you should only brush your bitch after getting her hair cut or when she is exceptionally dirty from outside play, as washing more than that will dry out their skin and strip their skin of essential oils needed to maintain a healthy coat

More on grooming

 

When Chinese royal dogs would die, they would just get a new one, so this breed was never meant to be healthy, just cute and affectionate. As a result of this, Shih-tzu’s are prone to a lot of health problems, the most prevalent of which are retinal dysplasia, malocclusion, and breathing problems. Retinal dysplasia causes the retina tissue to be folded where normally it would be flat, which causes mild to complete blindness, which can not be treated. Malocclusion is a dental disease which causes the teeth of your pup to be pushed together, like a child in need of braces or the stereotypical Brit. This is not a serious problem, and to me makes the dogs even more lovable because of how silly and cute they look while looking up at you. The breathing problems present in this breed, meaning that the owner should be very cautious of overexertion or extremely hot days, as the dog could suffer from heatstroke.

More on health concerns

 

Little fluffy balls of pure and unfiltered love, all that your Shih-tzu wants is to love and to be loved back. A downside to this breed is that they are stubborn, and are very hard to house break them. The name little lion is far from what this dog is, but it is also sort of accurate. While this breed does not look like a fierce protector, they do act like it sometimes. Carrying themselves like a little lion, this breed is both cautious and enthusiastic about meeting others, and make fantastic watch dogs. This breed is not aggressive in nature, so if you see an aggressive Shih-tzu it’s all on the bad owner. These dogs are loving companions for anyone who is willing to take the time to care for them and train them, and they have love equal to that of a golden retriever, just in a smaller and more condensed package.

More on their personalities

 

The Pembroke Welsh Corgi, the dog with the booty

The Pembroke Welsh Corgi, known as the Corgi and the dog with the thick booty, is the queen of England’s favorite breed of dog.  They are the 13th most popular dog breed and very spunky balls of fur. They can weigh up to 30 pounds and live 13 years on average.  Originally used for herding, this breed is fearless, smart, and eager to get trained. As their full breed name may suggest, they originate in Pembrokeshire, Wales. Surprisingly, of all the domestic dog breeds, the Corgi is one of the closest related to the wolf. The Cardigan Welsh Corgi, a slightly similar breed differs from the Pembroke Corgi in that it has a tail.

https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/pembroke-welsh-corgi/

 

The Corgi is very short and long, so their bodies are more exposed to dirt than most dog breeds.  They don’t need to be bathed frequently, just when they get dirty when playing outside. They are considered heavy shedders and should be brushed several times a week to prevent knotting and clumps.  This breed has a double coat, so in the spring they shed excessively. When they are getting rid of their winter coat, they should be brushed daily. It is recommended to include fish oil and omega 3 oil in their diet to encourage a soft shiny coat.

https://canna-pet.com/corgi-grooming/

 

This “dwarf” breed has disproportionate legs to their head and body and with this comes several health risks. As is frequent with many domestic dog breeds, they can fall victim to hip dysplasia.  They also occasionally get PRA which I touched on in my previous post. Von Willebrand Disease is a blood issue that can affect both dogs and people. Corgis also are prone to degenerative myelopathy which is a spinal cord condition where the nerves and supportive tissue of the spinal cord deteriorate.  “The disease can’t be cured, but can be managed with treatments like transfusions, minor surgeries, cauterizing and suturing injuries, and avoiding some specific medications that further thin the blood.” Lastly, this breed is very food motivated and needs a monitored diet else they become obese.

 

This is a very smart dog breed. With food as a motivation, they are very eager to learn and please. In addition to picking up on the basics of being house trained and knowing basic commands like sit, this breed gradually learns words and associates meaning to hearing them. They love getting scratches and you can expect a handful of fur after giving them a long scratch. While this breed is small in stature, they have a big personality and don’t want to be your lap dog. They want to be independent and play, especially in colder weather.  And most importantly, they have the cutest butts of all dog breeds,so watch out Kim Kardashian.

Why Frenchies are so darn popular

Weighing anywhere from 20 to 28 pounds and living up to 12 years on average, the French Bulldog is the fourth most popular dog breed in the world. Most popular among people who live in cities, the Frenchies originate from England and France. Originally a cross between the toy bulldogs of English and French lace makers and either terriers or pugs, the resulting dog was born with its trademark bat ears and named Bouledogue Français. Ever since the breed first hit the streets in Paris, the dog has been a hit. The Frenchie is a people pleaser that requires little outdoor exercise and are very compassionate to both people and animals. It is clear to see why so many people adore them.

 

 Frenchies are the perfect dog for those who live in metropolitan areas and apartments because the breed rarely barks, needs very little exercise, are extremely affectionate, and have infectious personalities – you can’t look at one and not smile. As puppies, French Bulldogs can be a handful to deal with as they are extremely energetic and love playing rough. As the dog grows older, they will have less energy but will still love receiving and giving attention, to both other animals and humans. These qualities are very attractive to prospective pet owners, as the dog’s affection is limitless and they show it very well.

 

Frenchies come in a large variety of colors, dark brown/black with hints of lighter colors throughout, a light color (mainly white) with darker color spots, and uniform colors being tan, cream, mixed blue, and chocolate. Maintaining your Frenchie’s coat is a pretty simple task all things considered, make sure they have a healthy diet high in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, bathe the doggo once a month, and brush their hair once a week. Bathing your doggie more than once a month can strip it of the essential oils which keep their skin healthy and shiny, which could cause issues down the line. By brushing your Frenchie once a week, you are ensuring that their coat is clean and shiny. Brushing more frequently is not necessary because their short hair does not leave much dead hair and does not need to be removed as often as other breeds.

More on coats

 

The most common health issue in Frenchies is their respiratory compromise which means that the dogs are prone to heat and exercise intolerance. If your bitch is ever struggling to breath or breathing irregular it is imperative that you try and cool it down immediately, as heat strokes are deadly. Other common issues with Frenchies are skin and ear diseases, as well as problems that arise in the spinal disks in their backs. The skin issues present itself mainly in allergies, which means that owners should take their doggos to the vet to see if they are allergic and should take steps to avoid having that substance around their pets.

More on health risks

 

Frenchies are popular for a reason, and they make a great little companion for anyone who is missing the constant and unending love and affection that this dog breed offers. This breed can make that stressful day at work go away, so why not add one into your life?

 

Labrador Retriever 6/25/19

The Labrador Retriever, the most popular guide and therapy dog, originates in the United Kingdom and Canada. Originally used to fetch game for hunters, this breed rapidly grew in popularity. Typically the breed weighs between 55 and 80 pounds with males weighing a little more than the bitches and live anywhere from 10 to 14 years on average.  This dog is very intelligent, kind, loving, gentle, and well tempered, so it’s no wonder it is the most popular dog breed.

 

Labradors come in 3 coat colors; yellow, chocolate, and black.  The breed has a double coat which insulates especially in water. As a dog breed that loves to play in water and mud, this is a good thing. Using shampoo too often will dry out the skin and fur which will cause the doggo discomfort and strips their coat of oils that keep them warm and their coat healthy. It is recommended to brush their coat once or twice a week year round and extra in the spring when all that extra undercoat that kept them warm all winter is no longer needed. While it may seem like they are hot over the summer with their thick coats, don’t shave them under any circumstance. The coats help regulate body temperature in hot and cold weather and without it, they are prone to sunburn.

more on Labrador coats

 

The most common health issue with labs is joint dysplasia. Predominantly in the hips, but also frequenting the elbows, this breed is prone to joint issues. If you notice your bitch limping, you should schedule an appointment with your primary veterinarian to examine and potentially xray your Labrador. Another common issue is blindness and it often starts to form around 3 or 5 years of age. Signs of this may include a change in behavior and cloudiness/milkiness of the pupil. Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) is genetic, so it’s important to spend more money getting your dog from a reputable breeder than to have to deal with health issues down the road.  This breed is a passionate and aggressive eater which can lead to obesity and bloating. I would recommend getting a dog bowl designed to slow down dogs eating speed or adding large rocks the dog has to eat around, to slow them down. As is the case with people, creating a good diet and exercise regime for your lab reduces health risks and promotes longevity. 

more on health issues

 

Ready to please, this breed is easy to train and great with kids. They make for an ideal companion to a family or a single owner. Additionally they are great with other pets, so if you already have a dog or cat and want another pet, you should consider a lab.  Being a larger breed with substantial energy, this breed is an ideal exercise companion both on land and in the water. This breed has an overall low risk of health issues, so the cost of ownership is consistent.

 

With all these positives to the breed, it’s no wonder they are the most popular dog breed. What do you think about adding one to your family?

Yorkies 6/23/19

Yorkies are by far one of my favorite breeds. Ever since I was a little kid, I wanted one. It wasn’t until last year that I finally added a Yorkie to my little dog pack.  There are several members of my family with allergies to dogs and cats, so I usually try to pick a hypoallergenic dog when adding a new member to my family. This cute and non-shedding dog breed originated in England about 100 years ago with the intended plus of catching rats in addition to providing companionship. This miniature breed generally caps out at 7 pounds and lives anywhere from 13-16 years.  Before the yorkie breed became official, they were brought into the royal family and would be lap dogs for the queen.

 

Yorkies are very smart and love to please their owner, so they can easily be trained to complete tricks and tasks.  They are very emotional and get upset when they are disciplined for a negative behavior. This breed generally only connects to one person and It’s hard to change that innate nature of the breed.  They do well living in an apartment, but need a lot of exercise. They don’t do well being alone and think they are a lot bigger than they are. Yorkies are very stubborn and persistent, trying something over and over until they get what they want. In some cases this translates to fighting to the death, even when it is their own life that gets taken.

 

Hair styles:

Compared to most hypoallergenic breeds, the Yorkie has an easily manageable coat. It grows straight and isn’t excessively thick like the poodle’s hair.  The real question is do you want to keep their hair long or short or a hybrid of the two. Most Yorkie owners choose to keep their hair short because it’s the easiest to maintain. A Yorkie with long hair will require periodic brushing to keep their coat from getting tangled.  A breed specific haircut is a shaved back and medium length belly and legs. It takes anywhere from 1-2 years to grow out a Yorkie’s hair to floor length. It is recommended to put the hair on the top of their head in a bow if you choose to grow their hair out.

 

More info on hair styles

 

Potential Health issues:

 

If you notice a lull in energy level, especially at a young age, your puppy could have hypoglycemia, which is more common in small dog breeds.  This means that they are suffering from low blood sugar and should be taken to a vet for examination and testing. A quick solution to this is sticking a little honey in their mouth.  If you notice your Yorkie limping, they may be suffering from poor hip joints and is called “Legg-Perthes Disease.” it takes a full month for this hip joint issue to fully develop and is best caught early on. Often surgery is the solution to this problem.  Yorkies are also prone to having skin allergies and if they demonstrate excessive itching, they may have a dermal allergy to a myriad of things. Naturally this is something non urgent you will want to bring to the attention of your vet so they can help alleviate your dogs discomfort.

More on health risks

 

German Shepherds 6/20/19

Loving, smart, athletic, german shepherds are amazing and versatile dogs. These loving companions live up to 13 years and can weigh up to 90 pounds.  Originally bred by a military officer, this German breed has a long history of working alongside military and police enforcers. They are very capable and can be trained to complete a wide variety of tasks from sniffing out drugs to hunting to serving as a therapy dog. It’s no wonder this is one of the most popular dog breeds.

 

German Shepherds have the capacity to be wonderful companions with children and it’s best to socialize them from a young age with children.  In England, they are known as the babysitter dog because they are very caring and loyal to their pack/family and make protective guard dogs who won’t hesitate to protect their loved ones.

 

 

This breed SHEDS A TON!!!  Especially when they are getting rid of their winter coat. They lose their winter coat in heaps at a time and is not a good fit for an owner with allergies. They require monthly bathing to keep their coats healthy which may be hard if you take them anywhere near mud or water frequently because they know how to have fun and get down and dirty.

 

Here’s what the American Kennel Club has to say about German Shepherds.

 

As is the case with virtually all dog breeds, neutering your dog will improve their mood.

 

This breed has a high energy level and requires daily walks and strenuous exercise.  If this breed’s exercise needs aren’t met, they will act out in the house and chew up furniture or worse. If you or your family enjoys the outdoors and exercise a lot, this loving companion is a great fit for you.

 

One potentially serious medical condition they are prone to is hip dysplasia and they should be taken to a vet for examination and xray if you notice them limping.

 

This breed loves to make their owners happy and should be trained in house rules as soon as you bring them home. If you don’t have experience training dogs, I would highly recommend seeking a professional dog trainer who can not only teach your dog, but to teach you how to be the alpha in your dog’s eyes.

For more information on the breed, check out: Vetstreet

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Golden Retrievers 6/19/19

Yet another very popular dog breed… The Golden Retriever is a very loving breed.  As the name suggests, this breed was used to retrieve small game for hunters AND is golden in color. The average size of a retriever is anywhere from 55-75 pounds and they live up to 12 years as is common for dogs of this size.  They are the 4th smartest dog breed and the 5th most popular breed. With a propensity for playing fetch and jumping in the water, this breed thoroughly enjoys exercise as well as lazy time. This friendly and intelligent dog breed is perfect for a family or as a therapy dog.  

 

The only real potential drawback from the breed is the shedding, but its nowhere near as problematic as owning a husky. Weekly brushing will keep their coats looking nice and silky. This breed requires a large space to live in and doesn’t do well in an apartment.  Retrievers are highly sensitive and don’t do well with being scolded or reprimanded. These loving doggos don’t do well being left alone for long periods of time.

(photo credit)

Perhaps the best smile of all dog breeds, these loving beauties are very well proportioned and are very athletic with a propensity for playing in the mud.

 

Here is what the AKC has to say about Golden Retrievers:

https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/golden-retriever/

 

While some dogs favor having one owner, retrievers are instantly best friends with whomever they meet.  If an intruder were to enter your house in the middle of the night, this breed would more than likely greet the unwelcome stranger with a playful bark and a friendly demeanor. They are generally great with kids and other pets and not aggressive.

 

Yet another reason they make great additions to a family. They love being tasked with an action such as fetch.  It’s as if they have an oral fixation as they will keep a ball or stick in their mouth for hours. They tend to be oblivious to overheating, so it’s essential to keep an eye on how much exercise they are getting. As you can see from the picture on the right, this “adogable” breed loves to chase, but doesn’t always bring the item back to the thrower. That is something that needs to be taught.

(photo credit)

The hardest part about having a puppy is potty training them. No one wants a pee stain on their bed, rug, or carpet.  This breed does best with a consistent schedule and a potty command. Often owners will use crate training to teach them to hold it in. If they start to mark around the house, it is a sign that they should be neutered.  Keep in mind accidents will always be a part of any success story, so try not to get mad when they pee in the house. Rather than scold, reward proper outdoor pottying with positive reinforcement in the form of a treat or verbal praise.

For more on crate training golden retrievers, check out:

https://pets.thenest.com/golden-retriever-puppy-potty-training-3523.html

With so much versatility to the breeds adaptability and capabilities, how could you say no to adding this loving animal to your family.