Breeds | Breeds http://www.dogster.com/breeds Breeds en-us Fri, 01 May 2015 13:11:00 -0700 Fri, 01 May 2015 13:11:00 -0700 http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rss Orion <![CDATA[It's National Purebred Dog Day!]]> http://www.dogster.com/lifestyle/national-purebred-dog-day Today is National Purebred Dog Day! 

They've fought by our sides, caught our food, managed our livestock, protected our homes, and warmed our beds and hearts for centuries -- yet until last year, there was no day honoring purebred dogs.

A year and a half ago, Puli owner Suzi Szeremy noticed the omission: "There's a National Dog Day, National Mutt Day, National Rescue Day, National Puppy Day, and even a National Poop Scoop Day, but nothing honoring the purebred dog."

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Puli by Shutterstock.

Thinking that dog ownership needed more balance, she started a Facebook page, threw up a picture, named it National Purebred Dog Day -- and forgot it! When she remembered to check it a few days later, she was astounded to find it had 3,000 likes. She was even more surprised to see how many likes there were by last May 1, the first National Purebred Dog Day.

"As far as I can tell, only word of mouth lead to sources as varied as Psychology Today and the AKC to mention or write about the day on their social media platforms, and at day's end, over one million people expressed interest in a day that hadn't existed six months before. Hundreds of pictures of people with their beloved purebred dogs were posted on Twitter and Facebook, on scores of different pages. Now as we look to this May 1, NPDD's Facebook page is 'kissing' 40,000 page friends [likes]. It suggests to me that the day has resonated with people who love their purebred dogs."

One state -- Colorado -- has even officially recognized Purebred Dog Day.

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Beagle by Shutterstock.

National Purebred Dog Day is about more than just a single day, though. It's about purebred dogs every day. The NPDD Facebook page is a mix of trivia, "guess the breed" challenges, celebrity purebred-dog gossip, and breed information, with an emphasis on education.

"I don't find it enough to simply suggest that a Beagle, for example, is special, I want to explain WHY it's special," explains Szeremy. "What is it about this breed that makes it the perfect fit for the right family?"

Why Honor Purebred Dogs?

"From Uggie and Snoopy, to Rin Tin Tin to Lassie, from Brian Griffin and Santa's Little Helper, to Presidential dogs Bo, Barney, Fala, and Laddie Boy, purebred dogs have held an important place in American culture and history," says Szeremy.

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Collie by Shutterstock.

National Purebred Dog Day celebrates the diversity, heritage, and predictability of the purebred dog. It may also save them. With some dog breeds in danger of extinction, a day of recognition and celebration may give a push toward salvation. Many breeds have already become extinct, and at least 20 AKC breeds are in danger of dying out -- and even more that were never even popular enough to be one of the AKC anointed.

We may no longer need them to control otters or turn spits, just as we don't need Model T cars, Clydesdale horses, or King Tut's sarcophagus, but we do need them, really, if we are to maintain ties to our past. Just as we visit a museum to see the history of mankind, marvel at the earliest tools and weapons, and trace the evolution of technology from the wheel to the space ship, the history of the dog is intertwined with ours. Purebred dogs are a living link to our past and an irreplaceable part of our present -- and we hope, future. Give the NPDD video, which makes the case for the holiday, a watch:

Szeremy cites yet another reason for it: In a culture in which some people choose to denigrate purebreds, it's time they were given equal time.

"In the conversation about responsible dog ownership, the voice of the purebred dog owner has been largely left out, but worse, the culture of purebred dog ownership has been painted with a very broad brush," says Szeremy. "Having a day of recognition opens an important dialogue because at the end of the day, the emphasis shouldn't be about whether someone buys a rescue dog, adopts from a shelter, or gets their dog from a respected breeder invested in their breed, it should be about potential dog owners doing their homework and getting the best fit of dog for themselves so that both dog and owner have a fulfilling lifelong relationship.

"For some people, a mixed breed from the pound, or a rescue dog, is a great match, while others prefer the predictability of a purpose-bred dog bred by a breeder who will stand by their puppies. I've had all of the aforementioned as companions in my life and believe that informed decisions about who we have as our canine companions should be respected."

Read more about purebred dogs on Dogster:

About the author: Caroline Coile is the author of 34 dog books, including the top-selling Barron's Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds. She has written for various publications and is currently a columnist for AKC Family Dog. She shares her home with three naughty Salukis and one Jack Russell Terrier.

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Fri, 01 May 2015 13:11:00 -0700 /lifestyle/national-purebred-dog-day
<![CDATA[Retired U.S. Greyhound Racers Find Forever Homes in Canada ]]> http://www.dogster.com/lifestyle/northern-sky-greyhound-adoption-retired-racers-lurchers April is the official National Greyhound Adoption Month, but for the many dedicated Greyhound advocates across North America, every month should get that label. This is especially true for Deb Ward, president of Northern Sky Greyhound Adoption Association in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
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Deb and her husband John have brought hundreds of retired racing Greyhounds to Canada and placed them in loving adopted homes across the prairies in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba.

“Every time we see a dog happily in his home, it makes all the hours on the road, all the hours we spend -- moving them into foster care, getting them to the vet, getting them out to meet people, doing home visits -- it makes every single hour worth it,” says Ward.

And the hours certainly do add up. Last summer, the Wards made eight trips to Iowa, one of seven states where Greyhound racing is still legal in the U.S., to pick up dogs. That's a 26-hour drive, each way.

The couple have made countless road trips over the last decade, but their love for the breed was sparked years before they got involved in adoption or even had a Greyhound of their own.

“In 1997, my husband and I went to Arizona for a holiday, and I walked past a Greyhound track,” recalls Ward. “I fell in love right then, and I said my next dog is going to be a Greyhound.”

When the Wards got back to Canada, they started looking around for local rescue groups, but came up empty-handed. The couple contacted rescue groups in the United States, but many were reluctant to adopt to the Wards because of the geographic distance. It took five years before Deb Ward’s wish was finally granted.

“I was driving home one night, and I saw a sign that said 'Greyhound Adoption Day," says Ward. "I said, 'Jon, we’re going to that.' That was on a Friday night, and on Saturday we went to the meet and greet. On Thursday, our first Greyhound came home.”

That first Greyhound was Zinny, a beautiful and sweet-tempered retired racer who came up to Canada through a group called Chinook Winds Greyhound Rescue.

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Zinny's smile was infectious. (All photos courtesy Deb Ward)

“She was a racing-school dropout,” explains Ward. “She only ran four races and didn’t do well in any of them, so she retired when she was just under two years old. She was placed in a home before she came to us, and that home didn’t work out. She’d just been returned when it happened that we were at that meet and greet.”

Zinny was the perfect match for the Wards. She fit right in with the couple, their cats, and their Miniature Pinscher/Chihuahua cross. Zinny inspired the Wards to start working with Chinook Winds to help other Greyhounds find homes, and she also inspired them to expand their own Greyhound family.

“We adopted our second one about four months after that, and we have just kept going ever since.”

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Sam was the second Greyhound to join the Ward household.

And they kept going in a big way -- the Wards currently have eight Greyhounds of their own, but they say it’s not as chaotic as people would imagine.

“It’s like having two of any other dog. Everyone thinks that they’re such high-energy, busy dogs, but they’re absolutely not. Greyhounds are much more cat-like than they are dog-like. They sleep 18 to 21 hours a day,” says Ward. “They are the most chill, laid-back dog ever.”

Unfortunately, the Wards lost the founding member of their Greyhound pack on Christmas Day 2014, when Zinny passed at 13 years old.

“We were very lucky,” says Ward. “We had almost 11 years with her, and for a retired racer that is absolutely incredible.”

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The late Zinny's legacy lives on.

Zinny may be gone, but the impact she had on the Ward household lives on. The beloved dog inspired the Wards to form Northern Sky Greyhound Adoption Association when Chinook Winds decided to stop bringing retired racers up from from the States.

“Over the time we worked with Chinook Winds, we probably adopted out 300 to 500 dogs. And since we’ve been Northern Sky, we’ve brought in and adopted out 130 dogs so far.”

Over the years, the Wards have watched the Greyhound racing industry in the United States change and shrink, and the type of dogs who need help is also changing. According to Ward, Greyhound rescue and adoption groups are no longer a dumping ground for injured racing dogs; now, the dogs are more likely to come off the track having had appropriate veterinary care before heading to adoption groups. That’s why Ward takes a neutral position on regulated Greyhound racing, but she still steadfastly opposes the underground world of field and match races.

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All the dogs adopted through Northern Sky between January and December 2014.

“Not all Greyhound groups will take a Greyhound cross, but we’ve taken 26 dogs from the American Lurcher Project,” explains Ward, who says the dogs known as Lurchers are used in underground, unregulated racing, and they suffer miserably.

“The Lurchers, unlike the Greyhounds, have not had the vetting care,” says Ward, adding that bringing up a Lurcher costs her about twice as much as bringing up a retired racer.

“These dogs who come in through the Lurcher project are so grateful and so happy to have the attention and the love," says Ward. "They don’t take any longer to house-train than the retired racers do, and they share many of the same traits.”

Ward says the Lurchers also tend to be more responsive to commands than their Greyhound cousins (who still make up most of Northern Sky’s adoptable dogs). According to Ward, the Lurchers are like Greyhounds "with a little extra.” She recommends them to adopters who want that extra bit of dog-like personality -- although she still perfers the cat-like personality of purebred Greyhounds.

“I’ve always been a dog person -- I’ve never had a day in my entire life without a dog -- but the moment I met a Greyhound, it was like something inside me just changed completely," Ward says. "Looking into the eyes of a Greyhound is like looking into the soul of the world, and I was just sunk.”

To learn more about Northern Sky Greyhound Adoption Association, follow the group on Facebook and Twitter.

Do you know of a rescue hero — dog, human, or group — we should profile on Dogster? Write us at dogsterheroes@dogster.com.

Read more on Greyhounds and Greyhound racing:

About the Author: Heather Marcoux is a freelance writer in Alberta, Canada. Her beloved Ghost Cat was once her only animal, but the addition of a second cat, Specter, and the dog duo of GhostBuster and Marshmallow make her fur family complete. Sixteen paws is definitely enough. Heather is also a wife, a bad cook, and a former TV journalist. Some of her friends have hidden her feed because of an excess of cat pictures. If you don’t mind cat pictures, you can follow her on Twitter; she also posts pet GIFs on Google+.

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Tue, 28 Apr 2015 04:00:00 -0700 /lifestyle/northern-sky-greyhound-adoption-retired-racers-lurchers
<![CDATA[Breed Fads Are Bad for Dogs. Just Look at the Tibetan Mastiff]]> http://www.dogster.com/lifestyle/dog-breed-fads-tibetan-mastiff-pug-saint-bernard-dalmatian-chihuahua-jack-russell-terriers From Lassie to Rin Tin Tin, Frank the Pug to Beethoven the Saint Bernard, dogs in popular culture have always had a way of capturing the public’s imagination. Thanks to starring roles in Hollywood movies, their affiliations with certain celebrities, or their images as status symbols, breeds such as Poodles, Dalmatians, Cairn Terriers, Chihuahuas, and Jack Russell Terriers have all done their time as pop culture fads. But for purebred dog breeds, being popular is often not a good thing. For the Tibetan Mastiff in China, it’s been a curse.

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Tibetan Mastiff by Shutterstock.

According to a recent New York Times article, these huge, majestic canines, which were the must-have dog for status-conscious elites just three years ago, have fallen out of favor due to indiscriminate breeding, large-dog bans in some cities, and fickle, irresponsible owners. But unlike what happens to dogs when canine fads fizzle in Western countries, these majestic giants aren’t just being dumped in shelters, they’re ending up on dinner plates. In fact, just two months ago, 20 Tibetan Mastiffs were rescued from a dog meat truck, headed for slaughter. All were saved from their terrible fate, with eight of the dogs ending up at Luckier Animal Shelter outside of Beijing.

“Ten years ago, it was German Shepherds, then Golden Retrievers, then Dalmatians and then Huskies,” says Mary Peng, founder and chief executive of the International Center for Veterinary Services, in the NYT article. “But given the crazy prices we were seeing a few years ago, I never thought I’d see a Tibetan Mastiff on the back of a meat truck.”

But before we start singling out China, it’s important to remember that breed fads are a worldwide problem, especially in Western countries.

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German Shepherd by Shutterstock.

When people run out en masse and acquire dogs just because they’re trendy, the consequences for dogs can be devastating. Fads lead to canine overpopulation and inbreeding, as indiscriminate breeders capitalize on public demand, churning out mass quantities of dogs with little regard for health, temperament, or quality. As a result, many of our most beloved breeds have turned into “genetic nightmares,” with the greatest number of inherited disorders compared to less popular dogs.

For example, thanks to Rin Tin Tin’s popularity in movies and TV in the mid-20th century, German Shepherds were used by mass-production breeders profiting on the soaring popularity of this intelligent, protective breed. As a result, the GSD we know today is a breed plagued with serious congenital health issues such as hip dysplasia, heart problems, gastric disorders, and cancer.

Besides the genetic destruction of breeds, dog fads are terrible for animal shelters and rescue organizations. Since most impulse shoppers do little or no research before running out and buying a dog who has caught their fancy, it’s only a matter of time until they realize that the trendy pup doesn’t behave anything like that canine movie star or the furry fashion accessory a pop culture icon carries in her designer handbag. And that’s when rescue organizations and animal shelters become flooded with popularized breeds, dumped for not meeting human expectations or simply because they’ve fallen out of favor in the popular culture.

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Dalmatian by Shutterstock.

Hollywood definitely plays a huge role in this canine crisis. Whenever a movie starring a particular breed of dog is released, U.S. rescues and shelters brace themselves for the deluge of discarded dogs to come.

“When the 101 Dalmatian movies were released, many animal shelters experienced a huge increase in unwanted Dalmatians,” says Susan Feingold, shelter director of Dekalb County Animal Services in Georgia. “Currently, many California animal shelters are overwhelmed with Chihuahuas. In fact, some Chihuahua buyers seem to be purchasing them almost as a fashion accessory. The biggest current fad I’m seeing is with Pit Bulls, which in some communities are seen as a ‘macho’ status symbol. Any time an animal shelter is overwhelmed with any one breed of dog, it is the dogs who pay the price because it’s very difficult to find homes for all of them.”

While there are countless rescue groups and shelters working tirelessly to save dogs, fad breeds or otherwise, these valiant organizations simply can’t rescue their way out of this problem. Educating people about the responsibility of pet ownership, stressing the importance of doing research before acquiring a certain breed, promoting spay and neuter, and making rescue more attractive than buying are key to stopping the plethora of unwanted dogs overwhelming our shelters and rescues.

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Chihuahua by Shutterstock.

We live in a disposable society, but dogs are not widgets or gizmos, fashion accessories or status symbols -- they are living, breathing, sentient beings who depend on humans for their care. By falling prey to trends and giving less thought to acquiring a dog as one would a stereo, people are directly contributing to the needless deaths of one of our world’s most loving, loyal creatures -- almost 2 million of them per year in the U.S. alone.

Don’t be a “sheeple,” especially when it comes to dogs. Shelters and rescues are packed to the gills with purebred dogs of all shapes and sizes, so be part of the solution by saving a life and adopting your next canine companion. And if you have your heart set on a certain breed, do your research to make sure it’s the right fit for your lifestyle. Dogs are for life, not for a whim or a fashion season.

What do you think of breed fads? Have you ever followed one? What do you think we need to do to combat the negative effects these trends have on dogs?

About the author: Lisa Plummer Savas is a freelance writer, journalist, devoted dog mom, and animal activist. In an effort to help make the world a more compassionate place for non-human species, she is especially focused on using her writing to spread awareness about controversial animal welfare issues, including the dog and cat meat trade in Asia and Africa. She lives in Atlanta with two spoiled German Shepherds, one very entitled Pug, and a very patient, understanding husband. Read more of her work by visiting her blog and website.

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Fri, 24 Apr 2015 09:30:00 -0700 /lifestyle/dog-breed-fads-tibetan-mastiff-pug-saint-bernard-dalmatian-chihuahua-jack-russell-terriers
<![CDATA[Do People Make Assumptions About Your Dog Because of His Appearance?]]> http://www.dogster.com/lifestyle/pit-bull-ears-dog-body-language As a writer for Dogster, I regularly post photos of my Pit Bull, and they regularly come under public scrutiny. Axle has been called too thin, too large, too close to a cat, and even sad looking. I brush most of these off, as everyone has an opinion and none of them are causing any actual damage. I had to draw the line, though, when someone took photos from my personal Facebook page and shared them in a notorious anti-Pit Bull forum.

One photo in particular was posted with the question, "Does this dog look comfortable?" I was also accused of "forcing my kid onto my dog," as his ears "clearly indicated he was uncomfortable." I am so glad someone has finally touched on something that has been a struggle for me for more than four years -- my dog's ears.

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My husband with Axle as a puppy. Clearly uncomfortable here!

You might not know this, but Axle kind of got on my nerves as a puppy. He had a habit of drinking out of any nearby puddle, and we had this wonderful adventure with the bacteria Giardia. He was very energetic, and training was difficult in those early stages. Beyond these minor issues, he was absolutely adorable! I wanted to capture all of his adorableness in photo form, but there was a problem -- those ears. I grew up with mutts, retrievers, and a Boxer, so I had never been around a dog who had what can only be described as "pigtail ears." He almost looked bald! 

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Axle around three months old. Prime example of those "pigtail ears."

Of course, I thought this was entirely abnormal. After all, every photo of Pit Bulls I had seen either had cropped ears or forward-facing ears with a bit of flop. Regardless of his mood, Axle's ears stayed slicked back on his head like some throwback to '50s greaser hair, minus the leather jacket and cool wheels. I would try to get photos of him with his ears up because I felt that's how he was supposed to look, but the pictures often ended up blurry, as he would come walking toward me as I made all sorts of weird noises trying to get those ears to perk up.

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Axle at six months, in the comb-over era.

As he grew, his ears went through what I like to refer to as the "comb-over" stage, when they sort of both flopped sideways in the same direction. I knew that dogs such as German Shepherds often went through strange ear phases as they developed, and I hoped this meant that Axle's would settle into a nice, symmetrical forward flop. I was to be disappointed. It didn't help that he also tended to look "concerned" in his photos. People on social media would often ask me why he looked "so sad" or worried. Like humans who get accused of having "resting bitch face," I could only respond, "That's just his face." 

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"This IS my model face!"

It was even suggested to me a time or two that having Axle's ears cropped would make them look more congruent with the standard, but I don't agree with cutting off a part of my dog's body for cosmetic purposes. I just had to come to terms with the fact that my dog has backward-drooping ears. Now that I've added a kid to my picture-taking equation, the struggle is even greater. I always want to take the clearest, cutest photo I can, but that can be difficult beyond measure. Trying to get a picture of them together, in which they are both relatively in focus and not doing something weird, like picking their nose or eating something off the floor, is a real challenge. I'm typically left with posting the clearest photo available, even if that means it's the one with Axle's ears in their natural, slicked-back position or in the middle of a stretch.

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Trying to capture this adorable moment between Axle and my baby.

With the great visuals that have circulated the Internet on how to read dog body language, I can see where some people might look at a photo of my dog and assume he is uncomfortable based on his ears, but it's important to remember those visuals are guidelines and don't hold true for every individual dog. I can assure you that Axle's slicked-back ears aren't the result of him being upset. His stress signals include yawning when he isn't tired, nose licks, and a constant turning away from whatever stimulation is making him uncomfortable.

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It's also been said that Axle's "uncomfortable as indicated by his stiff leg(s)." He didn't get the memo.

When I see negative comments about pictures of Axle with my daughter, I wonder, "What do they want?" Do they want me to keep my dog and child separate at all times? I assume that's what the anti-Pit Bull crowd wants, as they don't believe Pit Bulls deserve to even exist in the first place. But what about the rest of the dog lovers out there? Shouldn't we promote supervised interactions between our beloved dogs and our children? After all, that's how healthy relationships are forged, and it's vital our children learn how to interact appropriately with dogs and other animals from a young age. They are our future.

Do people make assumptions about your dog because of his or her appearance? Let us know in the comments!

Read more about Pit Bulls by Meghan Lodge:

About Meghan Lodge: Fits the Aquarius definition to a fault, loves animals, and is always pushing for change. Loves ink, whether it's in tattoos, books, or writing on that pretty sheet of blank paper. Proud parent of Toby and Odin (cats), Axle (dog), and one human kid. I'm a former quiet nerd who's turned bubbly animal-obsessed advocate.

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Wed, 22 Apr 2015 02:00:00 -0700 /lifestyle/pit-bull-ears-dog-body-language
<![CDATA[50 Bulldogs Vie for Most Beautiful at Drake University]]> http://www.dogster.com/the-scoop/drake-university-beautiful-bulldog-contest-tank-cute-pictures This weekend's 36th Annual Beautiful Bulldog Contest at Drake University, which kicks off the school's Drake Relays athletic week, featured a record-setting crowd of 1,400 spectators watching 50 Bulldogs compete to be top dog. The contest has been around since 1979 and is considered the oldest event of its kind in the country. Each year, the event receives so many entrants that officials must select contestants from a lottery.  

The winner? The handsome Tank, whom Duane Smith adopted from Craigslist last year. "He loves to play tug of war, he's friendly with the neighbors -- he's a great dog," said Smith. 

This is Tank: 

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(All photos courtesy of Drake University)

"Tank has just got a great look to him," said judge and Drake University Athletic Director Sandy Hatfield Clubb. "Great coloring, nice stature, that classic Bulldog face with bottom tooth that sticks out just right. And he's kind and gentle, which is equally important."

This is some more Tank:

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The win makes Tank 2015's Beautiful Bulldog and Drake Relays mascot, and his duties require appearances at Drake Relays-related events throughout the week

Tank won out over a impressive panel of contestants, especially the pirate dog and a bunch of Bulldogs in dresses -- oh, and the Bulldog in the top hat. Hard to imagine anyone beating a Bulldog in a top hat, but here we are.  

Enjoy more pictures of the event: 

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See more Pix We Love on Dogster:

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Mon, 20 Apr 2015 10:25:00 -0700 /the-scoop/drake-university-beautiful-bulldog-contest-tank-cute-pictures
<![CDATA[SoCal Corgi Beach Day: 634 Corgis Invade Huntington Beach]]> http://www.dogster.com/the-scoop/socal-corgi-beach-day-634-corgis-huntington-beach-instagram SoCal Corgi Beach Day has officially captured the imagination of Corgi lovers on the West Coast. The meet-up at Huntington Beach started in 2012, with just 12 dogs. Happy dogs, to be sure, but just 12 of them -- 12 dogs looking at one another and thinking, "Hey, you look familiar. Do I know you?"

This weekend, however, it was clear that Corgiland has become a bonafide thing and might take over the entire coastline if we're not careful. A total of 634 Corgis checked into the event -- not to mention all the non-Corgi hangers-on -- which spread out over a mile of coastline. The SoCal Corgi Beach Day Facebook page was positively giddy, the #SoCalCorgiBeachDay hashtag trended on Twitter, and every news outlet sent their reporters to go spelunking for photos of the sunning Corgis on social media. 

Here are some of the ones we found, via Instagram. Get ready for a lot of Corgis: 

 

A photo posted by Sneakers (@sneakersthecorgi) on Apr 13, 2015 at 12:50pm PDT

 

A photo posted by Sneakers (@sneakersthecorgi) on Apr 13, 2015 at 12:14pm PDT

 

A photo posted by Sneakers (@sneakersthecorgi) on Apr 11, 2015 at 6:12pm PDT

 

A photo posted by Sneakers (@sneakersthecorgi) on Apr 12, 2015 at 6:24pm PDT

 

A photo posted by Sneakers (@sneakersthecorgi) on Apr 13, 2015 at 12:01pm PDT

 

A photo posted by @norithecorgi (@norithecorgi) on Apr 15, 2015 at 7:19am PDT

 

A photo posted by Obiwan & Lexi Lee (@thecorgleeduo) on Apr 14, 2015 at 9:08pm PDT

 

 

A photo posted by Maki Boo (@corginista) on Apr 14, 2015 at 4:47pm PDT

 

A photo posted by Gabriel Avalos (@gabrielthethird) on Apr 14, 2015 at 2:28pm PDT

 

A photo posted by Three Corgis (@threecorgis) on Apr 14, 2015 at 11:33am PDT

 

A photo posted by Hilly Bear (@hilly_n_stumps) on Apr 14, 2015 at 11:50am PDT

 

A photo posted by Three Corgis (@threecorgis) on Apr 13, 2015 at 9:06pm PDT

 

A photo posted by jessica_o_smith (@jessica_o_smith) on Apr 13, 2015 at 4:20pm PDT

 

A photo posted by Three Corgis (@threecorgis) on Apr 13, 2015 at 2:24pm PDT

 

A photo posted by Michela (@michelaloves) on Apr 13, 2015 at 3:11pm PDT

 

A photo posted by Roo III (@corgi_roo) on Apr 13, 2015 at 2:09pm PDT

 

A photo posted by Joanne Howe (@jo.howe) on Apr 13, 2015 at 3:46pm PDT

That was a lot of Corgis.

See more Pix We Love on Dogster:

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Wed, 15 Apr 2015 10:15:00 -0700 /the-scoop/socal-corgi-beach-day-634-corgis-huntington-beach-instagram
<![CDATA[DNA Testing Lets Shelter Rebrand Chihuahuas and Boost Adoptions]]> http://www.dogster.com/the-scoop/dog-dna-test-chihuahua-peninsula-humane-society-spca Ever since Watson and Crick discovered the double helix back in 1953, the benefits of DNA testing have transformed the medical, judicial, and law enforcement fields.

But we know where DNA is put to its best use: Helping pups find their forever homes, of course.

The Peninsula Humane Society and SPCA in Burlingame, Calif., not far from San Francisco, has certainly embraced the technology, particularly when it comes to its large population of Chihauhuas. According to the Associated Press, roughly 25 percent of the dogs in the PHS’ shelter are Chihuahuas, with many of the same characteristics. So in order to help distinguish the pups from each other -- and make them more individually attractive to potential forever families -- the organization turned to DNA testing.

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As DNA testing shows, there are many different and interesting mixes of Chihuahuas available for adoption.

Under the slogan “Who’s Your Daddy?” the humane society performs DNA tests to determine the exact breeding of the Chihuahuas. The purpose is two-fold: It gives potential owners a more complete background profile of the dogs, complete with potential behavioral traits, and allows the shelter to give the dogs their own “designer” breed names, to make them more adoption-attractive.

Consider: A Chihuahua-Australian Shepherd-Jack Russell Terrier-Collie mix is now a "Kiwi Collier," a Yorkshire Terrier and Beagle mix is a "Yorkle,” and a Golden Retriever-Miniature Pinscher-Chihuahua is a "Golden Chinscher."

The testing and re-branding paid immediate dividends, according to Scott Delucchi, the shelter's senior vice president. Of the first 12 dogs to undergo the testing, 11 showed unique mixed breeding and were placed in forever homes within two weeks, twice as fast as untested dogs.

According to the AP story, one owner, Lynn Mazzola, found the DNA testing of her rescue Lily -- a Chihuahua-Yorkie terrier mix called a “Chorkie,” helped her identify cues to Lily’s behavior.

"It explains why she goes after birds and mice and she's not nervous like a Chihuahua," Mazzola said.

While Delucchi said the DNA “gimmick” has boosted adoptions, it’s still a small part of the solution to the booming Chihuahua population in California.

"Another part is making spay-neuter low-cost or free to the community," Delucchi said. "If you have a lot of one breed, you target that breed and those owners and make it easy for them to do the right thing and get them fixed."

Here is a behind-the-scenes look at PHS:

Via AP News

Read more dog news on Dogster:

About the author: Jeff Goldberg is a freelance writer in Quincy, Mass. A former editor for MLB.com and sportswriter for the Hartford Courant who covered the University of Connecticut's women's basketball team (Huskies!) and the Boston Red Sox, Jeff has authored two books on the UConn women: Bird at the Buzzer (2011) and Unrivaled (2015). He lives with his wife, Susan, and their rescue pup, Rocky, an Italian Greyhuahua/Jack Russell mix from a foster home in Tennessee, hence the name Rocky (as in Rocky Top).

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Thu, 19 Mar 2015 08:20:00 -0700 /the-scoop/dog-dna-test-chihuahua-peninsula-humane-society-spca
<![CDATA[Celebrate St. Patrick's Day With These Nine Irish Dog Breeds]]> http://www.dogster.com/lifestyle/irish-dog-breeds-setter-terrier-wolfhound-spaniel-kerry-beagle They say, "If you're lucky enough to be Irish, you're lucky enough." And if you're lucky enough to share St. Patrick's Day with an Irish dog, then you indeed have the luck o' the Irish. Join us in this celebration of Ireland's native breeds -- you may find yourself green with envy!

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Irish Red Setter in St. Patrick's Day hat by Shutterstock

1. Glen of Imaal Terrier

If you saw this fellow on the street, you might assume he was just a jaunty mutt, but the Glen of Imaal Terrier is actually one of the first breeds of dogs recognized by the Irish Kennel Club, back in 1934. The American Kennel Club didn't recognize it until 2004, and it's still one of the rarest AKC breeds.

His claim to fame? He may be the last descendant of turnspit dogs, kitchen-help animals who walked for hours inside a round drum to turn cooking meat on a spit. But this tough guy has also been used for vermin control and can pull a badger from its den.

2. Irish Red and White Setter

Everyone knows the exuberant Irish Setter, but far fewer know his direct ancestor, the somewhat more stately Irish Red and White Setter.

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Irish Red and White and Irish Red Setter by Shutterstock

The Red and White has been around since at least the 17th century, but by 1900, those who were solid red won out in popularity (and became today's Irish Setter), and the patched ones were almost extinct. Realizing the breed was about to be lost, efforts were made after World War I to revive it. The AKC recognized them in 2009, but they're still quite rare in America.

3. Irish Setter

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Irish Setter photo via Shutterstock

The rollicking Irish Setter never met a person he didn't want to party with, and St. Patrick's Day is definitely his favorite day of the year! In the 1970s, the Irish Setter rose to rank among the most popular breeds in America, but like so many superstars, his popularity has since declined dramatically. The best known Irish Setter was the fictional "Big Red," but a real-life show dog named Champion Milson O'Boy captured America's imagination in the 1930s, and he could be considered the most famous show dog of all time. This Irishman has shared the White House with three U.S. presidents (Nixon, Truman, and F.D. Roosevelt).

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Woman and Irish Setter by Shutterstock

4. Irish Terrier

Aptly dubbed the daredevil of dogdom, the red-haired Irish Terrier -- like any self-respecting Irishman -- doesn't back down from a challenge. One of the oldest terrier breeds, he was used for hunting vermin, but later even served as a sentinel and messenger in World War I.

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Irish Terrier by Shutterstock

Although he was once one of the most popular terrier breed (probably accounting for his appearance in several Jack London books), this classic is now one of the least popular.

5. Irish Water Spaniel

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Irish Water Spaniel by Shutterstock

This may be the oldest of all spaniels, dating back at least to the 1100s. And in the late 1800s, it was the third most popular sporting breed in England. But they're amongst the rarest of breeds now, and most people who see one assume she's some sort of Poodle derivative with a rat tail. This is a fun-loving sportster always ready to dive right into water or adventure!

6. Irish Wolfhound

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Irish Wolfhounds in a field by Shutterstock

Irish chieftains used this tallest of all breeds to hunt wolves and Irish elk, and to present to foreign nobility as gifts. The Irish name for them was Cu Faoil; “cu” is a term implying bravery. Almost extinct in the 1800s, the breed was reconstituted with crosses to other large breeds and is now one of the most popular of all sighthounds. This cool and calm Irishman has made his presence felt at the side of American leaders such as President Hoover and celebrities such as Rudolph Valentino.

7. Kerry Beagle

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Coco the Kerry Beagle by mark hosny (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The rarest of the Irish breeds, the Kerry Beagle isn't the Beagle we usually think of. It's much larger, up to 24 inches tall and 60 pounds in weight. It dates back to the 16th century, but its numbers have steadily declined since the 1800s until only one major pack remains, the Scarteen of County Limerick. According to local legend, when Noah's Ark rested against the highest peak in Tipperary, two black and tan hounds jumped off in pursuit of a fox, eventually giving rise to the breed. Irish immigrants brought Kerry Beagles with them to America, and the breed is probably behind several Coonhound breeds.

8. Kerry Blue Terrier

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Kerry Blue Terrier by Shutterstock

The Kerry Blue was the first breed recognized by the Irish Kennel Club. It originated around the Ring of Kerry in Ireland in the 1700s. It was an all-purpose farm dog, hunting vermin, small mammals, and birds, and also herding cattle and sheep. It's even been used as a police dog. Irish nationalist leader Michael Collins had a famous Kerry Blue Terrier named Convict 224, which he exhibited at the first Irish Kennel Club show in 1920. At that time, the breed became fashionable as a macho symbol for young men. It's still plenty macho and mischievous -- like any good Irishman!

9. Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier

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Soft-Coated Wheaten Terriers by Shutterstock

In Ireland, the breed is known as the Irish Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier. After all, it would just be dumb to give up the claim to ownership of this leprechaun of dogdom. Established by the 1800s, it was an all-around farm dog, exterminating vermin, guarding the homestead, and rounding up livestock. It was officially recognized as a breed in 1937 in its native Ireland, but only in 1973 did the AKC recognize it. The dog's playful nature has endeared the breed to people around the world.

Of course, as you know, on St. Patrick's Day, everyone is Irish -- even the dogs!

Interested in other breed profiles? Find dozens of them here.

Read related stories on Dogster:

About the author: Caroline Coile is the author of 34 dog books, including the top-selling Barron's Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds. She has written for various publications and is currently a columnist for AKC Family Dog. She shares her home with three naughty Salukis and one Jack Russell Terrier

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Tue, 17 Mar 2015 02:00:00 -0700 /lifestyle/irish-dog-breeds-setter-terrier-wolfhound-spaniel-kerry-beagle
<![CDATA[Get to Know the Norwegian Lundehund: The Rarest AKC Breed of Them All]]> http://www.dogster.com/lifestyle/norwegian-lundehund-rare-dog-breeds-puffins-hunting-dogs He's the rarest AKC dog breed, ranked 175th out of 175 in American Kennel Club's 2014 breed popularity rankings. And he is perhaps the strangest of any breed. Not only does he have extra toes, but he's the world's most flexible dog. These traits have helped the Lundehund perform a dangerous job for hundreds of years.

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Imfoto / Shutterstock.com

More interesting things about the Lundehund

  • Lundehund means "puffin dog" in Norwegian.

  • The Lundehund comes from Norway’s Lofoten Islands, where puffin birds (“lundes”) nest in narrow caves and tunnels in the islands’ cliffs. Only the Lundehund could climb the cliffs and squeeze deep into the twisting tunnels to catch these birds. A good Lundehund could catch 30 puffins a night during their nesting season, supplying the village with tasty meat and valuable down feathers. Lundehunds have performed this task at least since the 14th century.

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Lundehund in agility competition by Shutterstock

  • Each foot has at least six toes. The rear feet have elongated foot pads. This helps the dog climb rocky cliffs.

  • The neck is highly flexible, allowing the head to bend straight backward to touch the spine. This lets the dog turn around in narrow puffin bird caves.

  • The shoulders are flexible enough so the front legs can extend flat to the side, like a person can. This helps the dog hug the cliffs.

  • The ear flaps close and fold forward or backward to block the ear openings. This protects them from debris.

  • He is a member of the Spitz family, which have in common a stand-off coat, small pointed ears, wedge-shaped head, and curled tail carried over the back. However, the Lundehund is more slightly built than most other Spitz breeds.

  • He may be confused with the Norwegian Buhund, but the Lundehund is smaller and longer bodied -- and has a lot more toes!

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"Lundehund-2003" by Karen Elise Dahlmo. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

  • By the early 1900s, most puffins were being caught with nets, not dogs. The dogs, neglected and hungry, attacked the sheep, and subsequently had a bounty put on them. Distemper, a dog tax, and crosses with other breeds rendered the pure Lundehund almost extinct. Hearing of this rare breed, a dog enthusiast tracked down 50 Lundehunds on a secluded island. In 1939, four Lundehunds were exported; in 1941 a distemper outbreak killed all but one of the remaining Lundehunds. Two pregnant females and two puppies, descendants of the dogs earlier exported, were sent back to repopulate the island.

  • Over the next years, Lundehunds teetered on extinction. In the 1960s, interest in the breed grew with a breed club, and numbers grew under the guidance of a geneticist who devised a breeding scheme to repopulate the breed. The first Lundehund came to Canada in 1960, and to America in 1987.

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Lundehund puppy by Shutterstock

  • It became a regular AKC Non-Sporting group breed in 2010.

  • No Lundehund has yet won a Best in Show at any show.

  • Lundehunds are now adjusting to life as primarily companions. They are more primitive in their behavior than many breeds. They are very inquisitive and independent, and can climb and tunnel, so few things are out of their reach. They can be hard to housetrain.

  • Every Lundehund probably has Lundehund syndrome, a collection of potentially serious gastrointestinal problems, though some show no signs.

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Smiling Lundehund by Shutterstock

  • No celebrities we know of own a Lundehund.

  • Their small numbers, lack of a job, primitive temperament, and potential health problems make the Lundehund one of the breeds most in danger of extinction.

Do you own a Norwegian Lundehund? Have you spent time with one? Let's hear what you think about this fascinating breed in the comments! And if you have a favorite breed you'd like us to write about, let us know that, too!

Interested in other breed profiles? Find dozens of them here.

Read more about rare dogs on Dogster:

About the author: Caroline Coile is the author of 34 dog books, including the top-selling Barron's Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds. She has written for various publications and is currently a columnist for AKC Family Dog. She shares her home with three naughty Salukis and one Jack Russell Terrier

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Mon, 16 Mar 2015 06:00:00 -0700 /lifestyle/norwegian-lundehund-rare-dog-breeds-puffins-hunting-dogs
<![CDATA[Get Ready for Spring With These Coton de Tulear Puppy Pictures]]> http://www.dogster.com/lifestyle/coton-de-tulear-puppies-small-dog-breeds-cute-puppy-pictures When winter arrives, many of us enthusiastically embrace the changes it brings. We can wear our favorite warm winter coats, enjoy the bracing wind, and frolic like children in the freshly fallen snow. 

A small breed of dog that originated in the more temperate climate of Madagascar, Coton de Tulear puppies share our frenzied excitement. However, as the winter season drags on, our perceptions shift. Winds that were once bracing become piercing. Smiles at fresh powder turn to frustration as we dig our way out of snow drifts. This Coton de Tulear puppy picture mirrors our mid-winter frustrations.

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(Photo by hennimarias on Instagram)

What is a Coton de Tulear, anyway?

The Coton de Tulear is a small dog whose reputation is on the rise. These dogs were admitted to compete at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show for the first time in 2015. In January, a Coton de Tulear named Icon won the breed's first American Best in Show award at a dog show in South Carolina. Beyond the show stage, the Coton de Tulear is being recognized for his constant cheerfulness and readiness to play. Check out this eager puppy!

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(Photo by leslie761986 on Instagram)

The Coton de Tulear puppies and dogs you're likely to see in competitive conformation shows tend to be covered in long, flowing white locks. Well, wandering through winter's sludge is going to get the most adorable dog's coat filthy. As we prepare for spring with these Coton de Tulear puppies, I won't hesitate to tell you that grooming is a big part of their lives. Time for a nice dog bath!

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(Photo by aseragnarsson on Instagram)

Not the most flattering look for any dog, though it's certainly good for a smile and to provoke a hearty laugh from the most winter-weary among us. A long, lustrous coat may get it done for eagle-eyed judges at dog shows, but many dog owners might put haircuts on the list of spring cleaning duties. A fresh look and a close trim can improve our outlook and give us a better view of a Coton de Tulear puppy's large, dark eyes.

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(Photo by kottengreta on Instagram)

These Coton de Tulear puppies are ready for spring!

The Coton de Tulear might be a lap-sized dog, but their rising popularity among small dog breeds is due in no small part to their boundless energy and love of adventure. Observe the knowing grin on this Coton de Tulear puppy's face. There's a gleam in the eye that reminds me of Falkor, the luck-dragon from The Neverending Story. This puppy is far too small to give you a ride through the sky, but cute puppy pictures always allow us to daydream.

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(Photo by evavitalphoto on Instagram)

One of the worst parts of winter is that it limits our movements and dampens our spirit. We don't see our friends as often as usual, which certainly doesn't help. As winter gives way to spring, the sun peeps out from behind grey skies and melts away whatever snow remains. This Coton de Tulear puppy takes immediate advantage, dashing over to a friend's house for a long-awaited reunion. Puppy playdates are back and everyone's invited!

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(Photo by gracie_and_oliver on Instagram)

Familiar landscapes take on renewed interest!

Now that you're out and about, you find the silliness of the Coton de Tulear puppy too strong and too infectious to withstand. The Coton de Tulear puppy's short legs don't prevent the dog from bouncing all over the living room when he sees you reach for the leash. Your local park is still empty, which is the perfect opportunity for a puppy to let out excess energy!

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(Photo by y0uyang on Instagram)

You and your Coton de Tulear might live closer to the lake. No matter the situation, once you're ready to start leaving the house on a regular basis, you can count on the joyous temperament of the Coton de Tulear puppy to make the most familiar locales seem like fantasy wonderlands. You're catching some of the baby puppy's excitement.

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(Photo by janibirdy on Instagram)

Even if you don't live with a Coton de Tulear puppy, these excellent, fun-filled puppy pictures are hopefully doing what they're intended to and delivering a glimpse at the better weather and happier moods of the spring to come. Perhaps they're helping you envision yourself under bluer skies and brighter days. Soon, you'll be bounding out of the house and across the fields.

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(Coton de Tulear puppy by Shutterstock)

Is there a Coton de Tulear in your life?

With their soft, cottony coats, range of happy vocalizations, and faces that seem wrought into smiles at all times, these Coton de Tulear puppy pictures are making me long for springtime. These are friendly, outgoing, and gentle dogs. How can you look at this face and not feel your spirits rise?

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(Photo by pukathedog on Instagram)

Though they've had a presence here since the 1970s, this is a breed that is only just starting to hit its stride in America. Do you know any Coton de Tulear puppies or dogs? Share your experiences, stories, and photos of these happy little fluffballs in the comments!

See more cute puppy pictures at Dogster:

About the author: Melvin Peña trained as a scholar and teacher of 18th-century British literature before turning his research and writing skills to puppies and kittens. He enjoys making art, hiking, and concert-going, as well as dazzling crowds with operatic karaoke performances. He has a one-year-old female Bluetick Coonhound mix named Idris, and his online life is conveniently encapsulated here.

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Fri, 13 Mar 2015 04:00:00 -0700 /lifestyle/coton-de-tulear-puppies-small-dog-breeds-cute-puppy-pictures
<![CDATA[Get to Know the Lhasa Apso: The Tibetan Sentinel]]> http://www.dogster.com/lifestyle/lhasa-apso-tibetan-sentinel-small-breed-dogs-dalai-lama The Lhasa Apso is one of the most ancient breeds of dogs, behind many of today's breeds, and it was among the most popular glamour dogs just a few decades ago. But dog popularity is fickle, and he's been steadily working his way down the charts, waiting for a new generation to realize what a cool dog this Cousin Itt imitator can be!

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(Woman and Lhasa Apso by Shutterstock)

More interesting things about the Lhasa Apso

  • The Lhasa Apso may be confused with the Shih Tzu. The Lhasa is larger and longer bodied. At dog shows, the hair on his head is traditionally parted in the middle rather than pulled back with a bow.

  • DNA studies indicate that the Lhasa Apso is among the 14 most ancient AKC breeds.

  • The dog was revered in Tibetan monasteries, where she barked when visitors came. They were called Abso Seng Kye, which means "bark lion sentinel dog." It was believed that the souls of deceased lamas could enter the dogs' bodies while the lamas awaited reincarnation.

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(Lhasa Apsos outdoors by Shutterstock)

  • Some breed historians believe the word Apso is derived from the Tibetan word "rapso," meaning "goat," in reference to the dog's goat-like or wooly coat. Although the coat doesn't seem that goat-like to me ...

  • The dogs were called Lhassa Terriers when they came to England in the early 20th century.

  • The first two Lhasas in America were gifts from the 13th Dalai Lama in 1933.

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(Lhasa Apso and awards by Shutterstock)

  • The AKC recognized them as the Lhasa Terrier in 1935 and placed them in the Terrier group. They were renamed the Lhasa Apso in 1944 and reassigned to the Non-Sporting group in 1959.

  • The Lhasa Apso is currently the 63rd most popular AKC breed, plummeting from 38th a decade ago.

  • The Lhasa is one of the few breeds that the AKC has allowed to incorporate unregistered dogs from Tibet into the AKC gene pool, a decision made in 2011.

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(Black Lhasa Apso by Shutterstock)

  • Only one Lhasa Apso has ever won the Non-Sporting (or Terrier) group at the Westminster dog show, back in 1977. None has ever won Best in Show there.

  • In 1984, a Lhasa Apso named Champion Saxonsprings Hackensack won Best in Show at England's Crufts dog show, the largest dog show in the world. In 2012, the same award went to a Lhasa named Champion Zentarr Elizabeth. Lhasa are a member of the Utility group in Britain.

  • Owners include Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Liberace, Eva Gabor, Bob Hope, Barbra Streisand, Kurt Vonnegut, Ellen DeGeneres, Bob Mackie, Jane Lynch, Bethanny Frankel, and Gwen Stefani.

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For dog shows, the Lhasa Apso's fur is parted in the middle. (Silky Lhasa Apso running by Shutterstock)

Do you own a Lhasa Apso? Have you spent time with one? Let's hear what you think about this fascinating breed in the comments! And if you have a favorite breed you'd like us to write about, let us know that, too!

Interested in other breed profiles? Find dozens of them here.

Read related stories on Dogster:

About the author: Caroline Coile is the author of 34 dog books, including the top-selling Barron's Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds. She has written for various publications and is currently a columnist for AKC Family Dog. She shares her home with three naughty Salukis and one Jack Russell Terrier

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Tue, 10 Mar 2015 04:00:00 -0700 /lifestyle/lhasa-apso-tibetan-sentinel-small-breed-dogs-dalai-lama
<![CDATA[Wait Out a Snowpocalypse With Cute Boston Terrier Puppy Pix]]> http://www.dogster.com/lifestyle/boston-terrier-puppies-terrier-cute-puppy-pictures-small-dog-breeds Late winter snowstorms are the worst. I lay the blame firmly at the feet of all those groundhogs that emerged from their warm underground burrows, prophesying six additional winter weeks. We get into February and hope that the worst is behind us, only to be buried under more snow. Cheer up! I come bearing gifts of adorable Boston Terrier puppy pictures to warm the cockles of your heart!

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Photo by heejaechung on Instagram.

Waiting it out under the covers!

I grew up in Georgia and currently live in North Carolina. The story is the same in both states: Folks go into panic mode at the mere mention of flurries. The race is on to get all the bread and eggs from the grocery stores. Roads are immediate hazards, people forget how to drive, and it's generally chaos. These Boston Terrier puppies are operating on my level. If I can't step outside my door without slipping and falling, I'm staying under the covers.

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Photo by bosky413 on Instagram.

Here's another Boston Terrier who's got the right idea. A nice pillow to lay his head on and a warm blanket are far preferable to battling traffic or the elements. You've just looked out the window, and the snow is coming down harder than ever. Boston Terriers don't have to go to work or school, so sleep on, baby puppies!

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Photo by speaksassy on Instagram.

No matter how resolutely we try to ignore all the snow and ice that have accumulated just beyond our doors, I suppose even the most reticent among us must eventually get up and face the day. This Boston Terrier puppy is doubly protected, nestled among quilts in the soft dog bed. Undaunted, our next few Boston Terrier puppies are determined to find activities to engage their interest!

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Photo by dan481 on Instagram.

Looking for fun indoors!

Here is a baby Boston Terrier puppy who has crept from the dog bed and is now ready to play. Can you deny these Boston Terrier puppies a little bit of fun on a cold day? How about a game of fetch with the puppy's favorite toy? Look at the pleasant bulge of those pleading eyes! The gentle curl to the ears! At the very least, how can you possibly resist rubbing her tiny pink tummy?

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Photo by roku_nana313 on Instagram.

As we all know, dogs are curious to taste all of life's delights. Even with plenty of toys, dog puzzle treats, and chew sticks scattered around the living room, the things that Boston Terrier puppies do when they're bored can be inexplicable. There's no accounting for taste with Boston Terriers. Meet Frankie. His snow day activity of choice is licking the windows. Does the condensation taste good, buddy?

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Photo by gloriagallantcheely on Instagram.

Titan is a brindle Boston Terrier puppy. This is his first experience with snow. He's been patient, sleeping in as long as you did. He amused himself with a squeak toy in the laundry room, but it's just not enough! You dread trading your warm, dry couch for cold, wet socks, but the indomitable spirit of Boston Terrier puppies will not be contained!

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Photo by seana2910 on Instagram.

Boston Terrier puppies braving the elements!

Time to suit up and see what all the fuss is about. You pull on a couple of pairs of pants, a sweater, and as many socks as your shoes will permit. This Boston Terrier puppy has a fashionable winter coat that rarely gets used, so this is the perfect opportunity to break it in. After all that pleading to see the snow, this is a typically unamused reaction.

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Photo by chamipapa on Instagram.

As you may know, here in North Carolina, what constitutes a winter weather "emergency" is vastly different than in other areas of the country. This is Jack, a North Carolinian Boston Terrier who is thrilled to see any snow at all. The funniest and simultaneously the least amusing thing about snow, ice, and sleet here is that even this dusting is sufficient to paralyze the entire state.

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Photo by tessismadfierce on Instagram.

During 2015's first North Carolina snowstorm, schools in my area were shut down for a solid week. Total snowfall? Less than three inches. We're almost completely unprepared for that kind of weather mischief here. Boston Terrier puppies, on the other hand, just want to get outside and have fun, no matter the weather. Meet Quilby, a Boston Terrier puppy who's had quite enough after about 15 minutes.

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Boston terrier portrait by Shutterstock.

Dreaming of spring!

The most important thing about snow storms in the late part of winter is the "late" part. The calendar says that spring is only weeks away, despite all appearances. These Boston Terrier puppies are ready to embrace the warmth. Imagine jumping in the car with a crew of mischievous Boston Terrier puppies! It won't be much longer before you can roll down the window and feel the breeze without losing all sensation in your fingers.

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Photo by katdaul on Instagram.

In Boston and other Northeastern and Midwestern cities, of course, they're completely prepared for sudden and drastic inclement winter weather. Snowpocalpyse now? Handled. Ice storm in the night? Everyone's getting to work and school safely in the morning. Here in the South, it's a different story altogether. How are you and your dogs enduring the last throes of winter?

Look at more cute puppy pictures with Dogster:

About the author: Melvin Peña trained as a scholar and teacher of 18th-century British literature before turning his research and writing skills to puppies and kittens. He enjoys making art, hiking, and concert-going, as well as dazzling crowds with operatic karaoke performances. He has a one-year-old female Bluetick Coonhound mix named Idris, and his online life is conveniently encapsulated here.

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Fri, 06 Mar 2015 04:00:00 -0800 /lifestyle/boston-terrier-puppies-terrier-cute-puppy-pictures-small-dog-breeds
<![CDATA[Get to Know the Cairn Terrier -- and Toto, Too!]]> http://www.dogster.com/lifestyle/cairn-terrier-wizard-of-oz-toto-small-dog-breeds "And Toto, too?" is perhaps the most iconic movie phrase ever uttered in reference to a dog. And just about everyone who hears it conjures up a mental image of a Cairn Terrier. But, of course, the real Cairn Terrier is a far more complicated character than the movie version, although any owner would tell you that pulling back the curtain on the Wizard is a totally terrier thing to do!

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Dorothy and Toto, still in Kansas.

More interesting things about the Cairn Terrier

  • The Cairn Terrier may be confused with the Norwich Terrier, but the Cairn is slightly larger, has a hairier and rounder head, smaller ears, a longer docked tail, and comes only in solid colors, including black. He may also be confused with the Border Terrier, but the Cairn is shorter and stockier, and has more coat and erect ears. He may also be confused with the West Highland White Terrier, but the Cairn never comes in white, and the Westie always does. And he may be confused with the Norfolk Terrier, but the Cairn has erect ears, is slightly larger, has a hairier and rounder head, longer docked tail, and comes only in solid colors, including black.

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Black Cairn Terrier by Shutterstock.

  • The Cairn Terrier is one of the oldest terriers, probably existing since the 15th century.

  • They were used to bolt otters from cairns, which are stone piles used as landmarks, on the Scottish Isle of Skye. They also hunted fox and badger.

  • They were initially grouped with Scottish Terriers, West Highland White Terriers, and Skye Terriers as a single breed: the Scotch Terrier.

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Cairn pile by Shutterstock.

  • Scotch Terriers were divided into Dandie Dinmont and Skye Terriers, with Cairns in the Skye Terrier group. Cairns were called Short-haired Skye Terriers. Then Skye Terriers were divided into Skye and Hard-haired Terriers, with Cairns in the latter. Finally the Hard-haired Terriers were divided into three breeds: the Scottish, West Highland White, and Cairn Terriers.

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Lucille Ball and her Cairn Terrier.

  • The Cairn became a member of the AKC Terrier group in 1913. Initially whites were allowed, as they could interbreed with West Highland Whites, but this was banned in 1917.

  • Only one Cairn has won the Terrier group at Westminster, back in 1988. None has won Best in Show there.

  • The Cairn is the 61st most popular AKC breed, down from 42nd a decade ago.

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Girl and Cairn Terrier by Shutterstock.

  • The best-known Cairn is Toto, the dog in the Wizard of Oz movie. The dog who played Toto was a brindle Cairn named Terry, who also appeared in the Shirley Temple movie Bright Eyes and 11 other movies. Toto's breed was not identified in the original Frank Baum book, but the illustrator drew him as a Cairn (although some say he was Yorkshire Terrier). Baum described Toto as "a little black dog with long silky hair and small black eyes that twinkled merrily on either side of his funny, wee nose."

  • Cairn Terriers appear in the TV series I Love Lucy (Little Ricky's dog) and George Lopez as well as in the book Maximum Ride.

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Cairn Terrier in field by Shutterstock.

  • Owners include Liza Minnelli, J. Edgar Hoover, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor (Prince Edward and Wallis Simpson), Bill Murray, David Hasselhoff, George Kennedy, and Shelley Duvall.

Do you own a Cairn Terrier? Have you spent time with one? Let's hear what you think about this fascinating breed in the comments! And if you have a favorite breed you'd like us to write about, let us know that, too!

Interested in other breed profiles? Find dozens of them here.

Read more about the Cairn Terrier:

About the author: Caroline Coile is the author of 34 dog books, including the top-selling Barron's Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds. She has written for various publications and is currently a columnist for AKC Family Dog. She shares her home with three naughty Salukis and one Jack Russell Terrier

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Tue, 03 Mar 2015 06:00:00 -0800 /lifestyle/cairn-terrier-wizard-of-oz-toto-small-dog-breeds
<![CDATA[Do You Have One of the AKC's Most Popular Dog Breeds?]]> http://www.dogster.com/the-scoop/american-kennel-club-akc-2014-most-popular-breeds-labrador-retriever-german-shepherd-bulldog-beagle-yorkshire-terrier The American Kennel Club's annual list of most popular breeds is out, and the Labrador Retriever once again fetched the top spot in 2014. It's been America's most popular AKC breed since 1991, longer than any other breed, eclipsing the former top-spot longevity records held by the Poodle and Cocker Spaniel. The Top 10 breeds of last year are the Labrador Retriever, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Bulldog, Beagle, Yorkshire Terrier, Poodle, Boxer, French Bulldog, and Rottweiler.

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The Lab is followed by long-time favorites the German Shepherd and Golden Retriever, but No. 4 is a mover and shaker, the Bulldog, which has rocketed in popularity the past few years. This year it shuffled from up from No. 5, displacing the ever-favorite Beagle. America seems to be in the midst of a bully love affair, with the French Bulldog entering the Top 10 for the first time in nearly 100 years, at No. 9. The Frenchie's been on the rise faster than any other breed; five years ago it was the No. 24 most popular breed.

Other breeds on the fast track are the Siberian Husky (No. 13 compared to No. 22 five years ago), Great Dane (No. 15 from No. 21); Australian Shepherd (No. 18 from No. 28); Havanese (No. 25 from No. 32); Vizsla (No. 33 from No. 42); Shiba Inu (No. 46 from No. 65); Belgian Malinois (No. 59 from No. 81), and Wirehaired Pointing Griffon (No. 74 from No. 108).

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French Bulldog by Shutterstock.

But if some breeds move up, it means others must move down. Breeds on the downward trend are led by the Yorkshire Terrier. Though still popular at No. 6, it was No. 3 five years ago, and movement in the top 10 reflects large changes in registration numbers. The Dachshund fell out of the Top 10 for the first time since 1985. It's now No. 11 compared to No. 8 five years ago. Other breeds on the downturn are the Shih Tzu (No. 18 from No. 10), Pomeranian (No. 20 from No. 14), Chihuahua (No. 24 from No. 12); Pug (No. 32 from No. 17), Miniature Pinscher (No. 60 from No. 33), and Pekingese (No. 80 from No. 53). For whatever reason, America's infatuation with toy dogs seems to be over.

Of the breeds AKC has recognized in the last five years, only the Cane Corso, at the No. 47 spot, is in the top 100. The Leonberger is at 101 and the Russell Terrier at 102. Two newcomers are at the bottom of the list; the Norwegian Lundehund is again the least popular AKC breed, ranked at No. 175, with the Cesky Terrier at No. 173. The English Foxhound, at No. 174, is used to being near the bottom, but is probably actually more popular than the statistics suggest, as most Foxhounds are in non-AKC hunting packs.

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Norwegian Lundehund by Shutterstock.

The bottom 10 AKC breeds (from least popular to more) are the Norwegian Lundehund, English Foxhound, Cesky Terrier, Harrier, American Foxhound, Otterhound, Pyrenean Shepherd, Skye Terrier, Canaan Dog, and Sussex Spaniel.

Here's the complete list:

 

Breed

2014

2013

2009

Retrievers (Labrador)

1

1

1

German Shepherds

2

2

2

Retrievers (Golden)

3

3

4

Bulldogs

4

5

7

Beagles

5

4

5

Yorkshire Terriers

6

6

3

Poodles

7

8

9

Boxers

8

7

6

French Bulldogs

9

11

24

Rottweilers

10

9

13

Dachshunds

11

10

8

Pointers (German Shorthaired)

12

13

16

Siberian Huskies

13

14

22

Doberman Pinschers

14

12

15

Great Danes

15

16

21

Miniature Schnauzers

16

17

11

Shih Tzu

17

15

10

Australian Shepherds

18

20

28

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels

19

18

25

Pomeranians

20

19

14

Shetland Sheepdogs

21

21

18

Pembroke Welsh Corgis

22

24

26

Boston Terriers

23

23

19

Chihuahuas

24

22

12

Havanese

25

25

32

Mastiffs

26

26

27

Brittanys

27

30

30

Spaniels (English Springer)

28

28

29

Maltese

29

27

20

Spaniels (Cocker)

30

29

23

Bernese Mountain Dogs

31

32

39

Pugs

32

31

17

Vizslas

33

34

42

Weimaraners

34

33

31

Collies

35

35

38

Newfoundlands

36

37

46

West Highland White Terriers

37

36

36

Rhodesian Ridgebacks

38

39

48

Border Collies

39

44

52

Newfoundlands Retrievers (Chesapeake Bay)

40

43

49

Basset Hounds

41

41

34

Papillons

42

38

37

Bichons Frises

43

40

35

Bullmastiffs

44

40

42

Akitas

45

45

50

Shiba Inu

46

46

65

Cane Corso

47

50

-

Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers

48

51

62

Bloodhounds

49

48

43

St. Bernards

50

47

45

Portuguese Water Dogs

51

49

60

Bull Terriers

52

52

57

Alaskan Malamutes

53

57

58

Australian Cattle Dogs

54

58

67

Whippets

55

59

61

Airedale Terriers

56

56

59

Chinese Shar-Pei

57

54

47

Scottish Terriers

58

55

51

Belgian Malinois

59

60

81

Miniature Pinscher

60

53

33

Spaniels (English Cocker)

61

62

66

Dogues de Bordeaux

62

65

69

Chinese Crested

63

68

55

Dalmatians

64

64

75

Lhasa Apsos

65

63

54

Samoyeds

66

67

76

Cairn Terriers

67

61

56

Chow Chows

68

70

63

Pointers (German Wirehaired)

69

71

74

Irish Wolfhounds

70

73

84

Setters (Irish)

71

72

73

Italian Greyhounds

72

66

68

Great Pyrenees

73

69

64

Wirehaired Pointing Griffons

74

80

108

Old English Sheepdogs

75

78

79

Cardigan Welsh Corgis

76

75

83

Staffordshire Bull Terriers

77

79

77

Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs

78

74

101

Bouviers des Flandres

79

82

85

Pekingese

80

77

53

Giant Schnauzers

81

83

89

American Staffordshire Terriers

82

76

70

Border Terriers

83

81

82

Basenjis

84

85

88

Keeshonden

85

86

102

Tibetan Terriers

86

88

96

Setters (English)

87

91

94

Standard Schnauzers

88

90

99

Brussels Griffons

89

84

72

Retrievers (Flat-Coated)

90

94

106

Japanese Chin

91

87

71

Anatolian Shepherd Dogs

92

93

115

Fox Terriers (Wire)

93

96

95

Norwich Terriers

94

89

98

Afghan Hounds

95

95

91

Retrievers (Nova Scotia Duck Tolling)

96

97

110

Setters (Gordon)

97

105

97

Silky Terriers

98

92

78

Borzois

99

99

90

Norwegian Elkhounds

100

103

105

Leonbergers

101

98

-

Russell Terriers

102

102

-

Welsh Terriers

103

104

103

Spaniels (Boykin)

104

121

92

Schipperkes

105

109

93

Belgian Tervuren

106

108

109

Rat Terriers

107

-

-

Treeing Walker Coonhounds

108

101

-

Neapolitan Mastiffs

109

111

113

Toy Fox Terriers

110

107

100

Parson Russell Terriers

111

100

87

Spinoni Italiani

112

117

119

Pointers

113

114

114

American Eskimo Dogs

114

110

118

Bearded Collies

115

112

116

Tibetan Spaniels

116

106

111

Belgian Sheepdogs

117

119

120

Fox Terriers (Smooth)

118

116

123

Irish Terriers

119

123

132

Black and Tan Coonhounds

120

113

86

Black Russian Terriers

121

118

130

Kerry Blue Terriers

122

126

121

Miniature Bull Terriers

123

125

125

Bluetick Coonhounds

124

128

44

Norfolk Terriers

125

129

122

Briards

126

127

127

Spaniels (Welsh Springer)

127

124

136

Salukis

128

115

112

Tibetan Mastiffs

129

132

131

Manchester Terriers

130

120

117

Spaniels (Field)

131

140

137

English Toy Spaniels

132

135

129

Australian Terriers

133

122

124

Bedlington Terriers

134

137

135

German Pinschers

135

130

146

Xoloitzcuintli

136

139

-

Spaniels (Clumber)

137

131

128

Affenpinschers

138

143

133

Beaucerons

139

152

148

Icelandic Sheepdogs

140

142

-

Greyhounds

141

148

140

Redbone Coonhounds

142

133

41

Lakeland Terriers

143

134

138

Petits Bassets Griffons Vendeens

144

138

134

Pulik

145

136

149

Spaniels (Irish Water)

146

141

150

Entlebucher Mountain Dogs

147

155

-

Plotts

148

149

126

Setters (Irish Red and White)

149

145

80

American English Coonhounds

150

146

-

Scottish Deerhounds

151

165

142

Swedish Vallhunds

152

147

147

Ibizan Hounds

153

151

144

Spaniels (American Water)

154

144

139

Kuvaszok

155

150

141

Glen of Imaal Terriers

156

167

158

Retrievers (Curly-Coated)

157

163

145

Pharaoh Hounds

158

160

152

Lowchen

159

154

143

Portuguese Podengo Pequenos

160

153

-

Dandie Dinmont Terriers

161

168

151

Komondorok

162

159

154

Sealyham Terriers

163

158

157

Polish Lowland Sheepdogs

164

157

153

Chinooks

165

156

-

Norwegian Buhunds

166

166

104

Finnish Lapphunds

167

171

-

Finnish Spitz

168

170

160

Spaniels (Sussex)

169

162

159

Canaan Dogs

170

164

156

Skye Terriers

171

161

155

Pyrenean Shepherds

172

169

107

Otterhounds

173

172

161

American Foxhounds

174

176

162

Harriers

175

173

163

Cesky Terriers

176

174

-

English Foxhounds

177

177

164

Norwegian Lundehunds

178

175

-

Interested in learning more about these breeds? Find dozens of breed profiles here.

About the author: Caroline Coile is the author of 34 dog books, including the top-selling Barron's Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds. She has written for various publications and is currently a columnist for AKC Family Dog. She shares her home with three naughty Salukis and one Jack Russell Terrier

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Fri, 27 Feb 2015 09:05:00 -0800 /the-scoop/american-kennel-club-akc-2014-most-popular-breeds-labrador-retriever-german-shepherd-bulldog-beagle-yorkshire-terrier
<![CDATA[Actor Jon Bernthal Wants to See a Picture of You and Your Pit Bull]]> http://www.dogster.com/lifestyle/jon-bernthal-walking-dead-majority-project-pit-bulls-bsl-animal-farm-foundation
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In 2012, I answered a casting call for the Majority Project. The ongoing campaign, created by Animal Farm Foundation, is a photo collection of "Pit Bull-type" dogs and their owners. As the human to an American Pit Bull Terrier, I'm always keen to share pictures of my boy, especially when it can help educate the public about just how wonderful the breed is.

The foundation began rescuing and rehoming pets, focusing on American Pit Bull Terriers, in 1985. Very quickly, it realized that many of the dogs were not purebreds but a mix of various breeds often labeled as Pit Bull. The group says on its website that a Pit Bull is "not a breed or breed mix, but an ever-expanding group that includes whatever an animal control worker, shelter worker, dog trainer, politician, dog owner, police officer, or newspaper says it is."

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A submission to The Majority Project: Chris with Brady, Abby, and Cassie in Clayton, North Carolina.

Beyond its many programs and services to help these dogs, AFF wanted to do something bigger to fight the breed-specific legislation targeting these dogs and their owners. The Majority Project features images of Pit Bull owners holding signs that read, "I am a ________. I am a "Pit Bull" dog owner. I am the MAJORITY."

Each person personalizes their sign by filling in the blank with a word that describes themselves as a valued member of a family or community. The foundation had recognized that it wasn't just the public's perception of the dogs being targeted by BSL that needed to change, it was their perception of the owners of those dogs.

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Submission to The Majority Project: a girl and her dog in Jackson, Mississippi.

Notorious anti-Pit Bull groups like to generalize these owners with labels such as "thugs" and "lowlifes." Those labels couldn't be further from the truth, as the Majority Project is proving one photo at a time. The people who own the dogs, like myself, are as diverse as the breeds and breed mixes that fall under the Pit Bull umbrella. Since the start of the project, AFF has received more than 1,000 photos and gained more than 9,000 followers on its Facebook fan page.

Teachers, lawyers, doctors, children, parents, law enforcement members, and more have all submitted photos to the project. To add a little star power to its campaign, the foundation has teamed up with Jon Bernthal, best known for his former role as Shane Walsh on The Walking Dead. Some submissions will even be featured along with the actor's in an upcoming televised public service announcement!

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Jon Bernthal and one of his Pit Bulls.

AFF's director of operations, Caitlin Quinn, said that although "it is hard to identify the impact of the Majority Project, since these days so many great things are happening for Pit Bull dogs and their owners, we do know that BSL is on the decline all across the country. It's our goal to continue to fuel that trend by generating awareness through the Majority Project photos. This is definitely good news for Pit Bulls and their owners across the nation. National Canine Research Council reported that five more states no longer allow BSL, and more than seven times as many U.S. municipalities repealed or rejected proposed BSL than enacted it between January 2012 to May 2014."

.

It's amazing having stars like Bernthal participating in the Majority Project. Posed with his two dogs, Boss and Venice, along with his two-year-old son, Billy, the actor has a sign that reads, "I am a father. I am a "Pit Bull" dog owner. I am the MAJORITY." The actor's love for his dogs doesn't go unnoticed on his Instagram account, where he posts pictures of them going for walks with the family, riding in their vehicles, and sharing in cuddle time.

He is a model example for the public and for his son. Billy is clearly being raised to understand that dogs are part of the family and that they are individuals and deserve to be treated as such. 

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My own submission to The Majority Project in 2012.

It is my personal hope that one day, we won't need campaigns like the the Majority Project because it will have helped to eradicate BSL and other types of breed discrimination. We can't get there without your help, though, so download the Majority Project poster, grab your pooch, and take a picture! Submit your photo, then check out the rest of the submissions on AFF's website and Facebook page. Feel free to share your photo in the comments below -- we'd love to see them!

Read more about Pit Bulls and BSL on Dogster:

About Meghan Lodge: Fits the Aquarius definition to a fault, loves animals, and is always pushing for change. Loves ink, whether it's in tattoos, books, or writing on that pretty sheet of blank paper. Proud parent of Toby (cat) and Axle (dog). I'm a former quiet nerd who's turned bubbly animal-obsessed advocate.

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Thu, 26 Feb 2015 04:00:00 -0800 /lifestyle/jon-bernthal-walking-dead-majority-project-pit-bulls-bsl-animal-farm-foundation
<![CDATA[Get to Know the Vizsla: Hungary's Most Popular Export]]> http://www.dogster.com/lifestyle/vizsla-hungarian-breed-hunting-dogs The Vizsla is a versatile hunting dog, but that's an understatement. They're a fun, versatile companion, and, well, an anything dog! This red Hungarian is steadily rising in popularity and with good reason! He's good-looking, fun-loving, and obedient. Well, sort of.

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Hamlin is ready to play. His friend is a little less bullish. Photo by Daily Dose of Cute Puppy on Tumblr.

More interesting things about the Vizsla

  • The Vizsla may be confused with the Weimaraner, but the Viszla is red. He may also be confused with the Redbone Coonhound or Rhodesian Ridgeback, but the Vizsla is smaller, more lightly built, and in North America he usually has a shorter (docked) tail. And he has no ridge, of course.

  • The Vizsla is the National Pointer of Hungary. The Vizsla's home country is the low-lying Danube Valley and the broad Hungarian plain.

  • The breed is also known as the Hungarian Vizsla or Magyar Pointer.

  • The Vizsla's ancestors probably arrived in Hungary in the 8th century with the nomadic Magyar tribesmen and warlords who invaded from Eastern Europe and from China.

  • By the 10th century, a dog resembling a Vizsla can be seen in tribal art of a Magyar tribesman with his falcon and dog. A dog resembling a Vizsla is also seen in the 1375 Illustrated Vienna Chronicle in a chapter on falconry.

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Vizsla and hunter by Shutterstock

  • Vizslas trailed mammals and pointed and retrieved game in the Hungarian plains for centuries.

  • By the late 19th century, the breed's numbers had declined. It was rebuilt from just a dozen or so good specimens -- and possibly a Weimaraner and German Shorthaired Pointer.

  • Vizslas were often given as a gift from one royal family to another. Recipients included the queens of Italy and Spain.

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Leaping Vizsla by Shutterstock

  • The Vizsla has been called the “Gift of Kings” because with few exceptions, the only ones allowed to leave the country were those presented to foreign royalty.

  • When Hungary was occupied by the Soviet Union in 1945, some aristocrats who fled the country were able to bring their dogs with them, but it's estimated that 80 to 90 percent of the Vizsla population was wiped out.

  • Those taken to America and elsewhere gained supporters because of their hunting ability.

  • A wirehaired version of the Vizsla was created in the 1930s by crosses with German Wirehaired Pointers, but these dogs are considered a separate breed, the Wirehaired Vizsla.

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Vizsla on mossy rock by Shutterstock

  • The AKC recognized the Vizsla in 1960.

  • The Vizsla is the 34th most popular AKC breed, up from 45th a decade ago.

  • The first, last, and only Vizsla to win the Sporting Group at the Westminster dog show was in 1983. None has ever won Best in Show there.

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Extreme closeup of Vizsla by Shutterstock

  • Vizslas are known for their versatility. A Vizsla named Legacy’s DeChartay was the first quintuple champion and most-titled dog of any breed in American Kennel Club history, holding titles in the show ring, obedience, field work, and agility. Her full name is FC AFC OTCH MACH CH Legacy’s DeChartay 5xUDX MH VC MX MXJ HOF. Chartay was awarded her own seat with VIP status from American Airlines.

  • Clifford the Big Red Dog is thought by many to be a Vizsla, but he was supposed to be a Bloodhound initially!

  • Owners include Jill Clayburgh, Mark Buehrle, and Wil Shriner.

Do you own a Vizsla? Have you spent time with one? Let's hear what you think about this fascinating breed in the comments! And if you have a favorite breed you'd like us to write about, let us know that, too!

Interested in other breed profiles? Find dozens of them here

Read more on Vizslas on Dogster:

About the author: Caroline Coile is the author of 34 dog books, including the top-selling Barron's Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds. She has written for various publications and is currently a columnist for AKC Family Dog. She shares her home with three naughty Salukis and one Jack Russell Terrier

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Mon, 23 Feb 2015 06:00:00 -0800 /lifestyle/vizsla-hungarian-breed-hunting-dogs
<![CDATA[We Chat With Michael Brandow About His Controversial New Book, "A Matter of Breeding"]]> http://www.dogster.com/lifestyle/michael-brandow-a-matter-of-breeding-purebred-dogs-dog-breeds This week saw pedigreed pooches and the people who own them descend on New York City for the 2015 Westminster Kennel Club dog show. For many, the top dogs of Westminster represent perfect, standard-conforming specimens -- living proof of impressive ancestry and thoughtful breeding. But a new book by author, social critic, and former Manhattan dog walker Michael Brandow is challenging many long-held beliefs about purebred dogs.

Brandow says his book, A Matter of Breeding: A Biting History of Pedigree Dogs and How the Quest for Status Has Harmed Man's Best Friend, runs contrary to Westminster and everything for which it stands. The author hopes his work might influence people who have typically looked to the show ring before selecting a family pet.

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"Maybe they'll lighten up on their ideas of blood-purity and how dogs need to look," says Brandow, whose book details historical influences on cultural beliefs about and preference for purebred dogs as pets.

According to the American Kennel Club, each of the 184 AKC-recognized breeds has a distinct personality, and researching the right breed to match your lifestyle is an essential task before choosing a pet.

Although Brandow contradicts that position now, the author admits there was a time when he didn’t doubt it, recalling a discussion with friends when he decided to get his first dog back in the '90s.

"The first thing that came to my mind was, well, what breed?" Brandow remembers. "And they said, what are you talking about 'what breed?' Just go to a shelter and get a dog -- and that's when it suddenly dawned on me."

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Author Michael Brandow. (Photo by Michael James Bradford)

By ignoring the impulse to select a companion based on breed, Brandow ended up with Sammy, an intelligent mutt who shared his life for 14 years.

"People are doing that more and more now; they're not just going straight for this idea that you have to find a breed that's perfect for your personality and lifestyle," says Brandow, adding that selecting a pet based on breed won't guarantee a certain behavior.

The author points to a legacy of breeding for looks and a lack of genetic diversity as the causes of many behavioral and health issues in purebreds. In A Matter of Breeding, Brandow writes that Cocker Spaniels -- once a popular family pet -- have become very aggressive, noting the phenomenon of "Cocker rage syndrome." Brandow also notes that despite the fact that Bulldogs lead the pack when it comes to veterinary bills, people continue to purchase these puppies born with pedigrees (via cesarean section) and the breed surges in popularity. The author believes these breed-specific concerns aren't enough to deter consumers who long ago internalized imported English ideas about lineage and aristocracy.

"There's still this ability to overlook all the illnesses in their breeds, which are getting worse all the time," he tells Dogster.

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English Bulldog puppies by Shutterstock.

The question of who is healthier -- mutts or purebreds -- was the topic of a 2013 University of California, Davis, study Brandow references in his book, but the answer was interpreted differently by both sides of the debate. The study of 90,004 dogs over 15 years found that 10 genetic disorders were found more often in purebreds, and one disorder was more common for mixed dogs. The prevalence of 13 out of 24 genetic disorders was about the same in purebred dogs and mixed-breed mutts. The UC Davis news release was titled "Purebred dogs not always at higher risk for genetic disorders, study finds,” while others, like Veterinary Practice News, used the same data to conclude "Study Shows Mutts Genetically Healthier."

Brandow believes the study was misframed by UC Davis in a way that encourages consumers to see purebred dogs as better than mutts -- a perception he sees as sadly common.

"It's rooted in all these elitist beliefs, and this idea that you're getting a quality dog -- you're not getting a quality dog, not as it would normally be defined. You're buying into the snob appeal basically, and that is very much alive whether you watch Westminster or not."

In A Matter of Breeding, Brandow also explores the uncomfortable idea that society's preference for purebred dogs is simply a holdover from the eugenics movement.

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A mixed-breed dog by Shutterstock.

"I really think that we're pawning off these archaic beliefs about class and racial purity that we're no longer supposed to have, and we're putting them on the backs of dogs," he says.

"You can't have it both ways. We're subjected to the same laws of biology as they are. Either you believe in blood purity and racial profiling or you don't."

Brandow's comparison of dog breeding to racism is one that many dog fanciers challenge. Many also take issue with his assertion that showing dogs does not improve a breed, but weakens it.

"Take the Border Collie," he offers. "The real Border Collie people, the United States Border Collie Club, fought for years against kennel club recognition. They knew, because every working dog has been ruined by the show ring."

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Border Collie runs through agility poles by Shutterstock.

Brandow recognizes that much of his book will be disputed by those who love, show, or breed purebred dogs.

"I'm hoping I don't have to wear sunglasses at the local dog run in Washington Square Park and go incognito," he jokes, adding that the reviews from early readers (including some with a purebred dog of their own) were surprisingly promising.

"I think the public is primed for it in a way," Brandow explains. "I think a lot of celebrities are starting to set good examples by coming out against dog shows and against breeding in general."

"Ryan Gosling with his mutt -- I love to see things like that," he says.

Whether you agree with Brandow's anti-dog-show stance or not, the book offers an interesting look into the history of various breeds as well as how humankind has changed the way dogs look and live. As for any bias against purebred dogs themselves, the author doesn't care if your dog looks like the Westminster champ or the famous actor's mutt.

"I love all dogs. I just don't care what their coat colors are."

What are your thoughts on purebred dogs? Let us know in the comments. 

Read more about the 2015 Westminster Kennel Club dog show:  

About the author: Heather Marcoux is a freelance writer in Alberta, Canada. Her beloved Ghost Cat was once her only animal, but the addition of a second cat, Specter, and the dog duo of GhostBuster and Marshmallow make her fur family complete. Sixteen paws is definitely enough. Heather is also a wife, a bad cook, and a former TV journalist. Some of her friends have hidden her feed because of an excess of cat pictures. If you don’t mind cat pictures, you can follow her on Twitter; she also posts pet GIFs on Google+.

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Thu, 19 Feb 2015 06:00:00 -0800 /lifestyle/michael-brandow-a-matter-of-breeding-purebred-dogs-dog-breeds
<![CDATA[Get to Know the Chinook: An American Explorer]]> http://www.dogster.com/lifestyle/chinook-breed-large-dog-breeds Walk a Chinook down the street and you'll be hard-pressed to find anyone who thinks he's anything but a friendly mutt. Claim he comes from heroes and explorers and you'll get patronizing nods. Reveal he's one of America's best kept secrets when it comes to homegrown dogs and you'll be telling the truth.

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The Chinook is the official state dog of New Hampshire. (Photo courtesy of ccho)

More interesting things about the Chinook

  • The Chinook may be mistaken for an Anatolian Shepherd, but the Chinook is always a tawny color, is shorter but heavier, and his ears may either be drop, prick, propeller (folded to the side), or a combination. 

  • The Chinook is largely the creation of one man, Arthur Walden of New Hampshire, who had experience as a musher in the Yukon.

  • In 1917 Walden bred a large tawny Mastiff-type farm dog to Admiral Peary's Greenland Husky lead dog, Polaris, to produce three puppies (Rikki, Tikki, and Tavi). Walden renamed one Chinook, and this dog became a prized lead dog.

  • Walden and Chinook brought the sport of sled dog racing to New England -- and dominated it.

  • Chinook led the first dog sled team to climb Mount Washington.

  • Chinook was bred to Belgian and German Shepherd working dogs, Canadian Eskimo Dogs, and possibly others. His offspring were called Chinooks in his honor.

  • Chinook weighed almost 100 pounds, but current Chinooks are smaller.

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Chinook dogs in the snow (Photo courtesy of Trike/)

  • At almost age 12, the original Chinook and 15 other Chinook dogs were part of Admiral Byrd's 1929 Antarctic expedition. Byrd described them as the backbone of the expedition. Unfortunately, on his 12th birthday, Chinook wandered from camp and was never found. Byrd described it as the saddest incident of their journey.

  • The Chinook Trail in New Hampshire was renamed to honor Chinook.

  • In 1931, a Chinook named Paugus, with his young owner Lawrence Orne, won as contest to be declared America's most typical boy and his dog. They met President Hoover.

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Dogster member Mukluk the Chinook.

  • Walden subsequently passed on his kennel to another breeder, who did not continue the line. Instead, current Chinooks descend from three dogs -- Jock, Hootchinoo, and Zembl -- who were placed before the Antarctica expedition. Eventually these dogs were passed to another breeder, who sold only males or spayed females, so nobody else was able to breed them. After his death in 1965, another breeder continued.

  • In 1965, the Guinness Book of World Records listed them as the rarest dog, with only 125 specimens. It was the first of three times the Chinook received this dubious distinction.

  • In 1966, Boeing Helicopters obtained a Chinook named Charger as a mascot. Charger went to the 228th base at An Khe, South Vietnam, but never made it back.

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  • By 1981, only 11 breedable Chinooks remained. Several breeders fought to save the breed, crossing dogs with other Chinook foundation breeds and working to raise awareness of the breed.

  • The UKC recognized the breed in 1991.

  • In 2009, the Chinook became the state dog of New Hampshire.

  • The Chinook entered the AKC Working group in 2013.

Do you own a Chinook? Have you spent time with one? Let's hear what you think about this fascinating breed in the comments! And if you have a favorite breed you'd like us to write about, let us know that, too!

Interested in other breed profiles? Find dozens of them here.

Read related stories on Dogster: 

About the author: Caroline Coile is the author of 34 dog books, including the top-selling Barron's Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds. She has written for various publications and is currently a columnist for AKC Family Dog. She shares her home with three naughty Salukis and one Jack Russell Terrier.

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Tue, 17 Feb 2015 04:00:00 -0800 /lifestyle/chinook-breed-large-dog-breeds
<![CDATA[Winning Westminster -- the Road to Best in Show and Other Top Honors]]> http://www.dogster.com/the-scoop/westminster-kennel-club-dog-show-history-judging The first Westminster Kennel Club dog show was held in 1877 at Gilmore's Garden in New York City. It attracted entries of 1,201 dogs. Uniformed attendants presented all the dogs in the rings, and after breed judging, there was no more competition. Between 6,000 and 8,000 spectators attended the first day, and more than 20,000 the second. The street was clogged with carriages. The New York Times reported that "everybody was fashionably dressed and wore an air of good breeding."

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The first Westminster Kennel Club dog show in 1877. (Photo courtesy of WKC)

The profit of $1,295.25 all went to the ASPCA to fund a home for stray and disabled dogs. Attractions included two of General Custer's staghounds, a two-legged dog "with almost human intelligence," and a dozen "educated" Poodles, among others.

This year will mark the 139th Westminster Kennel Club dog show -- the second-longest continuously held (after the Kentucky Derby) sporting event in America. Much has changed since that first show: The special dog attractions are gone, many more breeds are included, dogs are presented by their owners or hired handlers, and competition proceeds through various classes, best of breed, group, and finally Best in Show. But the excitement, the crowds, and the prestige of winning still remain.

Westminster isn't actually the biggest show in America. It capped its entries at 2,500 dogs for many years, while other shows swelled to up to 4,000 in the big-entry days of a decade or more ago. This year, breed judging happens at The Piers, allowing for more room and an entry cap of 3,000. There are 2,684 dogs entered in 192 different breeds and varieties in 2015.

For many years, Westminster allowed only American Kennel Club Champions to enter, but that changed with the move to The Piers three years ago. Now class dogs (non-Champions) can once again compete. Here's how competition progresses: Judging starts with class dogs, which can be entered in a variety of classes, such as 12 to 18 months, Bred by Exhibitor, American Bred, or Open.

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A class of Bearded Collies in the ring at the 2014 Westminster Kennel Club dog show. (Photo by Sandra Dukes/courtesy of WKC)

All dog classes are judged before all bitch classes start (and yes, use "dog" for males and "bitch" for females when you're talking dog show stuff). The winner of each class competes against each other for Winners Dog (or Winners Bitch), and then Reserve Winners. Then the Champions, also called Specials, enter the ring in catalog order, followed by the Winners Dog then Winners Bitch.

The judge examines each entry at a stand, comparing it against the AKC breed standard. The way the dog moves is as important as how the dog looks standing; the judge checks the movement as the dog trots away and back, looking for signs of lameness or inefficiency. For example, in most breeds, the legs should move forward and backward in a straight line, converging toward the center line (depending on breed), without being cow-hocked, out at the elbows, or flipping the pasterns in a circle.

Movement from the side is similarly examined. In this case the judge is once again looking for efficiency and balance of motion, which in most breeds means strong drive from the rear legs, good reach forward with the front legs, and no pounding into the floor, hackney action, or stilted gait -- except for the breeds that call for these traits!

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A Papillon, left, and a Miniature Pinscher say hello during the judging of the Toy Group at the 2014 Westminster Kennel Club dog show. (Photo by Mary Bloom/courtesy of WKC)

So movement, as well as appearance standing, is judged against that breed's standard. A German Shepherd is expected to have a very wide, open gait from the side, whereas a Chinese Shar-Pei is expected to have a stilted one, an Afghan Hound should have more of a lifting floating gait, and a Miniature Pinscher a hackney gait.

Depending on the size of the breed entry, the judge may make a cut and narrow the choices, eventually choosing Best of Breed, Best of Opposite Sex (that's the best entry of the sex opposite to the sex that won Best of Breed), and if both Winners Dog and Bitch are present, Best of Winners chosen between the two. At Westminster, the judge may also award one or more (depending on the number of entries) Awards of Merit.

Occasionally, the Winners Dog or Winners Bitch beats the Champions for Best of Breed. It happened two years ago when Swagger, the Old English Sheepdog, "went over Specials," as it's called. He then went on to make history by winning the Herding group and then Reserve Best in Show. Never discount the class dogs!

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A Wire Fox Terrier named GCH Afterall Painting The Sky won the Terrier group and Best in Show at the 2014 Westminster Dog Show. (Photo by Jack Grassa/courtesy of WKC)

Win or lose, all dogs must return to their bench and remain there until 5 p.m. to allow spectators to see them. Westminster is one of just a very few shows that are still benched. It's hard on the dogs -- especially those not trained to use a public ex-pen to potty in -- and hard on their people, as there's no real seating for humans at the benches!

The Breed winners are allowed out at 3 p.m. to go to Madison Square Garden, where group judging will be held at 8 p.m. They must arrive there by 5 p.m. Most owners will try to give their dog some R&R during that break.

Finally, it's group time! Dogs assemble outside the entrance, and when the group is called in, an official indicates when to enter the ring. Each dog has a stanchion with its breed on it that they are to stand next to; this differs from most shows, at which dogs line up according to speed instead of alphabet.

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Best In Show was awarded at Westminster for the first time in 1907. A Smooth Fox Terrier bitch named Ch. Warren Remedy won that year and for the following two. She remains the only dog every to win three times. (Photo courtesy of WKC)

An official again indicates when to go up for the individual exam. Although spectators at home can hear the dog's name, the judge cannot. Technically, the judge is not supposed to know whom she's judging, but with the plethora of glossy dog show magazines advertising them (sent free to all judges), they recognize all the big winners -- some of whom have had upward of $100,000 advertising budgets in the past year. Each dog is again compared to the breed standard, a cut of finalists is made, and first through fourth in each group awarded.

Many dogs retire after Westminster each year; in some cases, famous dogs with high-maintenance coats have been shaved before bedtime as gesture of retirement. And regardless, unless he's just starting out in his career, the Best in Show dog almost always retires, at least from the AKC circuit -- after all, what else is there to conquer?

The first place winners in each group must appear the second night to compete for Best in Show. The Best in Show judge is kept sequestered, with the idea that he is not to know what dogs are competing until he walks into the ring -- although he may be told the breeds so he can review their standards. This year's judge is the Hon. David C. Merriam, from California, a retired trial-court judge who has bred Bull Terriers since at least the 1950s. His task will be to judge his seven finalists with an impartial eye, narrowing them down to Reserve Best in Show and finally -- Best in Show!

Follow the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on Facebook for more updates, and we'll keep you posted on Dogster. We've already made our predictions for group and Best in Show winners below!

You can watch live streaming of all breed judging at westminsterkennelclub.org and on the official 2015 Westminster Show App. The show will air live Monday night on CNBC from 8 to 11 p.m. ET (5 to 8 p.m. PT) and Tuesday night on USA from 8 to 11 p.m. ET (5 to 8 p.m. PT). See your local TV listings for rebroadcasting details. The Masters Agility Championship at Westminster airs Sunday, Feb. 15, from noon to 2 p.m. (9 to 11 a.m. PT) on Fox Sports.

Read more about the 2015 Westminster Kennel Club dog show:  

About the author: Caroline Coile is the author of 34 dog books, including the top-selling Barron's Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds. She has written for various publications and is currently a columnist for AKC Family Dog. She shares her home with three naughty Salukis and one Jack Russell Terrier.

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Fri, 13 Feb 2015 08:00:00 -0800 /the-scoop/westminster-kennel-club-dog-show-history-judging
<![CDATA[Who Will Win Westminster? Our Predictions for the Final Day of the Dog Show]]> http://www.dogster.com/the-scoop/westminster-dog-show-predictions-sporting-working-terrier-groups Four groups down and three to go -- time to place our bets on the Sporting, Working, and Terrier groups, who will be competing Tuesday. (Note: The abbreviation GCH stands for Grand Champion.)

The Sporting Group

This group sports some big contenders, starting with Beckett (GCH Rainbow Splash's Ruggedly) the Brittany, who won 25 Best in Show awards in 2014. He'll be challenged by another orange-flecked dog, English Setter Teller (GCH Stargaze'R 'N Wingfield Wait Wait Don't Tell), as well as black Field Spaniel Gideon (GCH Promenade Pay It Forward), English Springer Spaniel Randy (GCH Telltale American Ride), and black Cocker Spaniel GCH Ashdown's Time To Thrill.

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CJ the German Shorthaired Pointer is our favorite to win the Sporting group. (Photo courtesy of Myst Kennels)

Our favorite, though, is German Shorthaired Pointer CJ (GCH Vjk-Myst Garbonita's California Journey), a relative newcomer who's setting the rings on fire out West. Keep an eye out for the Golden Retriever and Irish Setter as well.

The Working Group

The Working group has the hardest working dog in America in it -- or at least, the biggest winning. Matisse (GCH Claircreek Impression De Matisse) the Portuguese Water Dog won an astounding 134 Best in Shows in 2014, with a lifetime total of well over 200. Matisse heads to Westminster with 238 BIS and the title of Top Winning Male Show Dog of All Time. When he finishes the year, he'll almost certainly have broken the record of the top winning dog of all time, the German Shepherd Mystique. There's not much he hasn't won -- except Best in Show at Westminster. He won the group there last year, but was bested by the then No. 1 dog Sky the Fox Terrier.

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Matisse the Portuguese Water Dog.

But he can't afford to look that far ahead, not when Trader (GCH Cr - Wicca's Trade Secret) the Akita is breathing down his neck. Trader had a more than respectable 19 Best in Shows in 2014.

Off to a fast start this year is the Doberman Glory (GCH Dezperado’s Hallelujah CA CGC), who may be a surprise contender. Look also for the Samoyed (GCH Pebbles' Run Play It Again Ham), Boxer GCH Brisbane N' Blue Monday's Diamonds Are Decadent, Rottweiler (GCH Gamegards I'll Have Another V Braeside), Mastiff (GCH Willow Ridges Risky Business), and Bernese Mountain Dog (GCH Derby's Toast With Gusto) to be among the finalists.

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Glory the Doberman may be a surprise contender this year. (Photo courtesy of Gay Glazbrook's Facebook page)

The Terrier Group

The Terrier group is always terrier tough, and this year is no exception. It's been dominated this year by the Skye Terrier Charlie (GCH Cragsmoor Good Time Charlie), winner of 33 Best in Shows in 2014 including the AKC Invitational, second in prestige only to Westminster in North America. His main threat will come from the Welsh Terrier GCH Shaireab's Bayleigh Maid Of Honor, winner of 23 BIS awards last year, and the Scottish Terrier, GCH Mcvan's To Russia With Love, with eight Bests. Also watch for the Cairn, Norfolk, Smooth Fox, and Border Terriers to be in the mix.

Best in Show

And once the top Terrier is chosen, it's down to the final seven for Best in Show. Will Matisse the PWD finally get his prize? No Portie has ever won BIS at Westminster. Westminster is often not kind to the No. 1 dog, although last year's winner, Sky the Wire Fox, was a No. 1 dog for all breeds. 

Will Swagger the OES best his former Reserve Best in Show at Westminster to go all the way? Only two Old English have won BIS at the Garden, the last back in 1975.

Maybe Flame the Poodle? Poodles have historically done well at Westminster, with four Best in Show winners, but the last one was in 1991. Or Charlie the Skye, fresh off his huge Invitational win? The only Skye to win BIS there was back in 1969. Those four are the favorites statistically, but Westminster is not a show of statistics, and chances are one or more won't even make it out of their groups. As much as judges like pointing to proven winners, they like even more discovering new dogs, dogs who will be setting the records next year, not last year.

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Miss Flame the Poodle is dominating the Non-Sporting Group. (Photo courtesy of Derek Glas Photography's Facebook page)

Follow the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on Facebook for more updates, and we'll keep you posted on Dogster. You can watch live streaming of all breed judging at westminsterkennelclub.org and on the official 2015 Westminster Show App. The show will air live Monday night on CNBC from 8 to 11 p.m. ET (5 to 8 p.m. PT) and Tuesday night on USA from 8 to 11 p.m. ET (5 to 8 p.m. PT). See your local TV listings for rebroadcasting details. The Masters Agility Championship at Westminster airs Sunday, Feb. 15, from noon to 2 p.m. (9 to 11 a.m. PT) on Fox Sports.

Read more about the 2014 and the 2015 Westminster dog show: 

About the author: Caroline Coile is the author of 34 dog books, including the top-selling Barron's Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds. She has written for various publications and is currently a columnist for AKC Family Dog. She shares her home with three naughty Salukis and one Jack Russell Terrier

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Thu, 12 Feb 2015 10:00:00 -0800 /the-scoop/westminster-dog-show-predictions-sporting-working-terrier-groups