Breeds | Breeds http://www.dogster.com/breeds Breeds en-us Tue, 03 Mar 2015 06:00:00 -0800 Tue, 03 Mar 2015 06:00:00 -0800 http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rss Orion <![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!

Share this image
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.

Share this image
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.

Share this image
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.

Share this image
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.

Share this image
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.

Share this image
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

]]>
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.

Share this image
German Shepherd by Shutterstock.

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).

Share this image
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.

Share this image
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

]]>
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
Share this image

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."

Share this image
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.

Share this image
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!

Share this image
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. 

Share this image
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.

]]>
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.

Share this image
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.

Share this image
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.

Share this image
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.

Share this image
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.

Share this image
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

]]>
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.

Share this image

"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."

Share this image
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.

Share this image
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.

Share this image
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."

Share this image
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+.

]]>
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.

Share this image
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.

Share this image
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.

Share this image
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.

Share this image

  • 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.

]]>
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."

Share this image
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.

Share this image
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!

Share this image
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!

Share this image
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.

Share this image
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.

]]>
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.

Share this image
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.

Share this image
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.

Share this image
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.

Share this image
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

]]>
Thu, 12 Feb 2015 10:00:00 -0800 /the-scoop/westminster-dog-show-predictions-sporting-working-terrier-groups
<![CDATA[Howard Deese Is a Hero for English Bulldogs in Atlanta]]> http://www.dogster.com/lifestyle/howard-deese-georgia-english-bulldog-rescue You may have never heard of Howard Deese, but to those involved in rescue in the metro Atlanta area, the man is a real hero for dogs. A retired military vet, Howard spends his days with his wife and the other love of his life: dogs, particularly English Bulldogs.

Share this image

Two years ago, Howard and his wife adopted an English Bulldog, Moses, from Georgia English Bulldog Rescue (GEBR). Since then, he's become one of its "most dependable and loving volunteers," according to the director of GEBR, Ruthann Phillips.

He took in a senior English Bulldog, Gertie, as a permanent foster, and he helps the rescue transport dogs to and from vet appointments and other locations; he even transports Bulldogs in danger to safety. He ended up taking one such dog, now known as Victor, home as well. Above and beyond his volunteer work, Howard had his vehicle retrofitted into a sort of Bully limousine, adding platforms so that the dogs can see out the windows, ramps for access, and bowls for refreshments. 

Share this image
Benton's Truman (front) get social time and a ride with Howard's Moses.

Howard also is a hero to his neighbors. When Christa Benton moved to her new home outside Atlanta, she was happy to have a bigger yard to play in with her dogs, Chase and Truman. The new place wasn't without its cons, though, as she now had a longer commute. When she met Howard, he stepped in to help with her two dogs while she was away at work. 

"Howard is truly an angel," Christa says. "Without asking for anything in return, Howard just stepped in and helped with Chase and Truman as though they were his own. He takes them for rides in his Bully mobile, lets them have play time with his dogs, and sends me pictures of them while I'm at work. He even sends texts as though Chase or Truman wrote them. It's such a wonderful feeling knowing my dogs are safe and getting love and attention when I'm not there."

Share this image
Truman and Chase ride in the Bully limo.

She went on to describe how Howard's involvement with her dogs has particularly helped Truman, an English Bulldog she took on as a foster from GEBR. "Truman is deaf, and he didn't have the best start in life. He really had a bad time, and he needed a lot of work to come out of his shell. Howard has been a huge help with that," Christa says. Ruthann also noted the significant improvement in Truman's behavior and quality of life because of Howard's involvement.

"I don't know what we would do without him," Christa says. "He is just such a giving individual and brings such joy to dogs and people alike."

Share this image
Howard and Truman, one of the Bulldogs he donates his time to help.

On the other hand, Howard himself doesn't think he's doing anything special. "I don't think I do any more than anyone who loves our Bullies," he says.

Christa, Ruthan, and the countless dogs Howard has helped certainly disagree! The dog community could certainly use more people like Howard -- people with boundless love for dogs. 

Read about more Dogster Heroes:

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

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.

]]>
Fri, 06 Feb 2015 04:00:00 -0800 /lifestyle/howard-deese-georgia-english-bulldog-rescue
<![CDATA[Get to Know the Maltese: He'll Melt Your Heart]]> http://www.dogster.com/lifestyle/maltese-small-toy-breeds The very picture of petite elegance, the tiny Maltese, with her cape of shimmering white hair and melt-your-heart eyes, is as sassy as she is sweet. There's a reason one of the most famous Maltese of all time was named Trouble.

Share this image
Maltese with topknot by Shutterstock

More interesting things about the Maltese

  • The Maltese may be confused with a number of other longhaired toy breeds, but the Maltese is always white, with hanging ears and a long silky coat.

  • The Maltese is among the most ancient of breeds; very possibly the oldest known toy breed. Greek vases depict dogs resembling Maltese as long ago as 500 BC, and the breed is thought to be much older.

Share this image
Man and Maltese by Shutterstock

  • Aristotle mentioned a tiny dog he referred to as a Canis Melitae (the name for Malta in those times), and drawings on Greek and Roman pottery show small, long-haired dogs of general Maltese type.

  • They are a member of the Bichon family of dogs, which originated in the Meditaranean region. Other members include the Bichon Frise, Havanese, Coton de Tulear, and Bolognese.

Share this image
Happy Maltese running by Shutterstock

  • The breed has gone by several names: Ancient dog of Malta, Roman Ladies' Dog, Maltese Lion Dog, Maltese Terrier, and Bichon Maltaise. A modern slang for the breed, originated in the 1960s in the United States, was Cokie -- and we have no idea why.

  • Early sailors probably took the dogs with them to act not only as ratters but trade items. They were thus spread to distant ports.

  • Maltese were favorite lapdogs of the upper class in 1800s England. They were one of the first breeds exhibited at dog shows, but were called Maltese Terriers then.

  • The Maltese was known by the AKC as the Maltese Skye Terrier and Maltese Terrier from 1879 to 1917, but was always considered a Toy breed. The terrier designation was dropped from the name in 1918.

Share this image
Woman and Maltese by Shutterstock

  • Early Maltese came in many colors. Only in the 1900s did show standards around the world gradually require them to be all white.

  • The Maltese remained fairly unknown until the numbers started rising slowly in the 1950s. The dog reached the list of 15 most popular breeds in the 1990s.

  • Maltese at dog shows appear as parade floats, with their long white coats draped to the floor. For most pet owners, such coats aren't practical, as they require the hair to be combed and then folded into wrappers for safe-keeping, giving the appearance of a women in curlers! Pet Maltese are generally clipped into a shorter pet clip.

  • Although they've competed at the Westminster dog show since 1979, a Maltese has yet to win Best in Show there. Five have won the Toy group there, most recently in 1992.

Share this image
Maltese family by Shutterstock

  • The Maltese is the 27th most popular AKC breed, down from 20th 10 years ago.

  • The 1915 novel Seventeen featured a Maltese named Floppit who was the center of attention of the female love interest, much to the main character's chagrin.

  • Owners include Elizabeth Taylor, Barbra Streisand, Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, Tony Bennett, Liberace, Heather Locklear, Halle Berry, Britney Spears, Anna Nicole Smith, Torrie Wilson, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Brooke Shields, Billy Ray Cyrus, Eva Longoria, and Lindsay Lohan.

  • The richest dog in the world was a Maltese. The controversial Leona Helmsley left her Maltese, Trouble, a $12 million trust fund in her will. The will also stated Trouble would be buried next to her in a mausoleum, and an additional $3 million was earmarked for the mausoleum's upkeep. A judge ruled with her upset family members, and only gave Trouble a paltry $2 million. How can any Maltese live on that?

Do you own a Maltese? 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 small dogs:

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

]]>
Mon, 02 Feb 2015 06:00:00 -0800 /lifestyle/maltese-small-toy-breeds
<![CDATA[Get to Know the Borzoi: From Russia With Love]]> http://www.dogster.com/lifestyle/borzoi-russian-wolfhound-working-dogs In the 1930s, it was common to see Hollywood starlets emerging from their Rolls Royces with a brace of Russian Wolfhounds (also known as Borzoi) -- the ultimate status symbol of dogdom in the day. Now they are seldom seen, but they still exude an air of glamorous days gone by. Unless, of course, they see a mud pit and decide to wallow in it, because for all the aristocratic looks, they tend to be clowns at heart.

Share this image
Borzoi hounds by Shutterstock

More interesting things about the Borzoi

  • The Borzoi may be confused with the Afghan Hound, but the Borzoi is taller and more narrow, with a more arched back, wavier coat, and heavily plumed tail. The dogs also have small folded ears.

  • The Borzoi originated in the Middle Ages, when Russian nobility crossed coursing hounds with long-coated flock-guardian dogs to create one who could run down and hold wolves in the cold climate. They also hunted foxes and hare.

Share this image
Borzoi puppy by Shutterstock

  • The first standard was written in the 1600s.

  • In the 19th century, wolf hunts were elaborate affairs, with hundreds of Borzoi arriving by train. They chased the wolf in pairs or trios, and held it down until the hunters arrived.

  • In the 1917 Russian Revolution, many Borzoi were killed, as they symbolized the aristocracy.

  • Queen Victoria of England popularized Borzoi outside of Russia.

  • The Borzoi is a member of the AKC Hound group. It is in the Sighthound family of dogs.

  • Until 1936 the breed was known in America as the Russian Wolfhound. "Borzoi" comes from a Russian word meaning "swift." Nobody can seem to agree on whether the plural form is "Borzoi" or "Borzois."

  • In the 1920s through 1940s, the breed was the ultimate glamour dog in America. They were seen with movie stars and were popular as Art Deco models.

Share this image
"Borzoi" means "swift," and these two dogs are certainly racers. Borzois running in snow by Shutterstock

  • Although Borzois have competed in the Westminster dog show since 1891, none has yet won Best in Show there. Three have won the Hound group there, most recently in 1993.

  • In the 1930s, a Borzoi named Champion Vigow of Romanoff amassed an incredible show record: Shown 77 times, he was Best of Breed 77 times, first in the Hound group 67 times, and Best in Show 21 times. He was the top-winning American-bred dog of all breeds for 1935 and 1936.

  • The Borzoi is the 99th most popular AKC breed, down from 93rd a decade ago.

Share this image
One of the famous Wolfschmidt vodka ads.

  • A Borzoi is the symbol of the Alfred A. Knopf publishing house, founded in 1915.

  • The United States 27th Infantry regiment is nicknamed "The Wolfhounds" and has a Borzoi mascot named Kolchak.

  • Two large circuses have had all-Borzoi trained-dog troupes.

  • In the 1970s and '80s, Borzois were used in a series of Wolfschmidt vodka ads.

  • The Captain of the Titanic owned a Borzoi named Ben, who was not on board the ship's ill-fated maiden voyage.

Share this image
Borzoi muzzles by Shutterstock

  • Borzois appear in Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace and F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Beautiful and Damned.

  • A Borzoi supplied the vocals for a Pink Floyd song titled Seamus, named after the dog. It was recreated in a live performance and renamed Mademoiselle Nobs with a different Borzoi, named Nobs.

  • Borzois briefly appear in The Hunger Games.

  • Owners include Liberace, Bo Derek, Michael Douglas, Don Johnson, Nick Nolte, and Rod Stewart.

Share this image
Screenshot from "The Hunger Games" featuring a Borzoi.

Do you own a Borzoi? 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 the most-recent breed 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

]]>
Mon, 26 Jan 2015 06:00:00 -0800 /lifestyle/borzoi-russian-wolfhound-working-dogs
<![CDATA[6 Reasons Big Dogs Are Simply the Best]]> http://www.dogster.com/lifestyle/big-dogs-better-than-little-dogs-large-dog-breeds- As a dog sitter, I have experienced the love, and wrath, of every size dog you can imagine. My dog, Riggins, is everything to me. I just can't imagine that my big dog would have given me the same amount of comfort over the years if he were small.

It's not that I don't like small dogs. I do. It's no secret that if I had a little dog, I'd take him everywhere with me, tucked away in a giant purse. Poor thing. Just imagine how tortured he would be! Even so, when it comes to hugs, comfort, and overall goofy happiness, I pick big dogs.

Share this image
Jax, Huxley, and Hank are examples of sweet big dogs. (All photos by Wendy Newell unless noted)

First, let's define "big dogs." Those who own giant pups who easily tower over their owners when standing on their back legs will mock me for saying my pup is big. I'll give them that. They are at a whole other level of big dog love! For this article, let's define "big dogs" as those pups who are too big to be lap dogs, but usually try to be anyway!

Here is why I think big dogs are the best:

1. Hugs

Share this image
My brother-in-law giving his family pup, Captain Shadow, a big ol' hug!

Don't hug a dog. That is one of the top rules of dog-human interaction. Understandably, the dog can see this move as aggressive and react accordingly. 

I ignore this rule daily. I hug my dog, your dog, any dog big enough to take on my snuggle is fair game! Little dogs just don't have the heft to take on a Wendy tackle-hug. I dog sit a gentle giant named Clover. She is half Golden Retriever and half Direwolf. OK, maybe not Direwolf, but something huge, that's for sure. Clover spends a lot of her time lying in my hall, and I usually have to step over her when I go from room to room. Sometimes I just can't control myself and lie down next to her for a snuggle. She is the perfect body pillow!

2. Protection

Share this image
Huxley shows you why you shouldn't mess with him! Actually he was just waiting for me to throw a stick.

I live in a not-so-great area of Los Angeles, and yet I never feel unsafe. Why? Because my neighborhood is scared to death of my big black dog. If you come near the house, he will unleash a chesty, deep, earth-moving bark that will make you shake in your boots. We have a delivery man who won't even come close if the front door is open -- I've seen him toss a package and run. Would-be intruders don't need to know that once they make it inside, Riggins will happily let them hang out and even show them to the treat cabinet, just in case that is what they were looking for.  

Share this image
Don't mess with me. I'm walking the big dogs!

I have been out walking my black dog, a Pit mix, and a German Shepherd and have received the comment, "No one is going to mess with you." Little did the person know that the dog who would most likely cause them harm was the Chihuahua tucked into the dog carrier over my shoulder.

3. Warmth

Share this image
Luna takes being a big-dog lap blanket very seriously.

I don't care how big a dog is, he still thinks he is a lapdog. My pup will sit on the sofa and lay his body across my lap. I have no need for a lap blanket. I have a living, breathing portable heater!

4. Heroes

Share this image
Bill Queitsch along with Explosive Detection Dog CWD Carlo and American Humane Association's 2013 Military Hero Dog (yellow lab) and other 4 legged military heros. Photo courtesy of CWD Carlo's Facebook page.

Look at the breeds that we label as "heroes" because of their actions and training. Of the eight finalists in the American Humane Association 2014 Hero Dog Awards, seven are "big dogs." 

The National Association for Search and Rescue says that large dogs in the working and sporting groups are often the best suited for the task of picking up a scent and tracking it over possible harsh terrain. I've hiked with enough small dogs to tell you that most poop out long before their bigger counterparts. Often, when out on a trail, I have to help a small pup up a big rock because it just is too high for little legs to jump over. You don't want your search and rescue dog to be stopped by a boulder! To be fair to small dogs, though, super big dogs aren't great choices for the work, either. Would you like to hoist a 200-pound Mastiff into a helicopter?

5. Personal dietitian

Share this image
Asscher shows it's no problem at all to get food and water when she needs it. Even from a horse trough.

Nothing says big dog like having your sandwich disappear off the counter when you turn around to put the mayonnaise back into the refrigerator. I once had two large Subway sandwiches on my counter that I was in the process of wrapping up and placing in a picnic basket, when one disappeared after Riggins strolled into the kitchen. I had to call my folks, who were relying on me for our sandwiches, and tell them we would be splitting a tuna fish salad sandwich three ways, as the turkey sandwich no longer existed. The same can be said about a container of shredded chicken, numerous peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, apple slices, and some yogurt covered raisins that earned my pup a very expensive trip to the vet, just to name a few.

You may be wondering how this is a good thing. If he eats that stuff, then you can't. It's the perfect diet! Once your dog is big enough to table surf, you can consider your diet started!

6. Smiles

Share this image
Clover, my personal body pillow, smiles big for the camera.

The bigger the dog, the bigger their smile!

As Parks and Recreation's Ron Swanson eloquently said, "Any dog under 50 pounds is a cat, and cats are useless." Don't get angry with me! He said it.

What about you? Do you love big dogs? Tell us why in the comments!

Read more about Riggins and dog sitting by Wendy Newell:

About the author: Wendy Newell is a former VP of Sales turned Grade A Dog Sitter. After years of stress, she decided to leave the world of "always be closing" to one of tail wags and licks. Wendy's new career keeps her busy hiking, being a dog chauffeur, picking up poop, sacrificing her bed, and with other furry filled activities. Wendy and her dog, Riggins, take their always-changing pack of pups on adventures throughout the Los Angeles area, where they live together in a cozy, happy home. You can learn more about Wendy, Riggins, and their adventures on Facebook and Instagram.

]]>
Tue, 20 Jan 2015 02:00:00 -0800 /lifestyle/big-dogs-better-than-little-dogs-large-dog-breeds-
<![CDATA[Get to Know the Chow Chow: China's Chosen One]]> http://www.dogster.com/lifestyle/chow-chow-big-dog-breeds-black-blue-tongue-martha-stewart There's a story that the teddy bear was modeled after a Chow Chow puppy. Supposedly, Queen Victoria was so besotted with her Chow puppy that she carried the dog everywhere, so friends made a stuffed version. Chow babies certainly look like teddy bears, but adult Chows are far more dignified (unless nobody's looking!).

Share this image
Dog ... or teddy bear? Extreme close-up of Chow Chow by Shutterstock

More interesting things about Chow Chows

  • The Chow Chow may be confused with the Chinese Shar-Pei. The Chow has longer hair, a longer tail, and a shorter muzzle.
  • DNA studies indicate that the Chow Chow is among the 14 most-ancient AKC breeds. The dog has been known in China for hundreds or even thousands of years.
  • Their exact origin isn't known, but it was possibly Mongolia, Northern China, or Siberia.
  • They may have been used as hunting dogs initially and later kept in monasteries and as guardians. Some accounts say they accompanied Mongolian armies in the 13th century.

Share this image
Chow Chow puppy and young girl by Shutterstock

  • The Chow was also likely used for food.
  • The Chow is a prototypical Spitz breed, with curled tail, pointed ears, and stand-off fur, typical of dogs from cold climates. It is related to, and may even be the ancestor of, the Samoyed, Pomeranian, Norwegian Elkhound, and Keeshond.

Share this image
Look at that big blue-black tongue! Chow with tongue hanging out by Shutterstock

  • They were named Chow Chows when they came to England in the late 18th century; the name probably comes from a term meaning Oriental knickknack.
  • Queen Victoria was a proponent of the breed in the 19th century.
  • In 1936, a Chow named Champion Choonam Hung Kwong won Best in Show at the world's largest dog show, Crufts, in England.

Share this image
Extremely furry black Chow Chow by Shutterstock

  • In the 1930s, one top show Chow from England was sold to the United States for the equivalent of more than one million dollars. It was the highest price ever paid for a dog at the time.
  • The breed was very popular in the 1930s and again in the 1980s.
  • The breed soared in popularity in America in the 1980s, peaking as the sixth most-popular breed. They have since plummeted in popularity. They are currently the 70th most popular breed, down from 60th a decade ago.

Share this image
Red Chow Chow in armchair by Shutterstock

  • The black or blue tongue is a breed characteristic. A fable of how the Chow got his blue tongue says that when God was painting the sky blue, he spilled some paint, and the Chow licked it up.
  • The Chow has a distinctive stilted gait. Their show standard calls for straighter angulation at the knee compared to most other breeds of dogs.
  • The breed comes in "smooth" (which is between short and medium in length) or the more popular "rough" (which is medium to long in length). Both have coarse hair that stands off the body, so the dog appears puffy.

Share this image
Chow Chow with traditional stilted gait by Shutterstock

  • Color can be solid red, black, gray, cinnamon, or cream.
  • Although the Chow Chow has competed at the Westminster dog show since 1999, the breed has yet to win Best in Show there. But it has won the Non-Sporting group eight times, and holds the record for most consecutive group placements, placing each year from 1932 to 1942.
  • Martha Stewart regularly competes at the Westminster show with her top winning Chows.

Share this image
Martha Stewart's Chow Chow, Ghengis Khan, won Best of Breed at Westminster in 2012. (Photo courtesy Martha Stewart's Twitter)

  • Owners include Sigmund Freud, Calvin Coolidge, Bijan, Walt Disney, David Lloyd George, Ringo Starr, Sally Struthers, Uma Thurman, and Kelsey Grammer.

Do you own a Chow Chow? 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

]]>
Mon, 19 Jan 2015 06:00:00 -0800 /lifestyle/chow-chow-big-dog-breeds-black-blue-tongue-martha-stewart
<![CDATA[Meet the American Kennel Club's Four Newest Breeds!]]> http://www.dogster.com/the-scoop/new-breeds-american-kennel-club-akc The American Kennel Club (AKC) family has gained four new breeds! So make room for the Cirneco dell'Etna, the Boerboel, the Spanish Water Dog, and the Bergamasco. Um -- the whats?

Okay, they may not be household names, but every breed has to start somewhere. But actually, all these breeds started a long time ago and far away ...

The Cirneco dell'Etna

The Cirneco dell'Etna (pronounced cheer-NAY-co) will be joining the Hound group. It dates back as far as 2,500 years ago on the island of Sicily, where the dogs hunted rabbits by scent and to a lesser extinct, sight, following the rabbit to its warren and barking or digging at it. Traditionally, a ferret would then be sent in after the rabbit.

Share this image
Cirneco dell'Etna puppies by Shutterstock.

The Cirneco resembles a small Pharaoh Hound, and the two breeds are undoubtedly related. Dogs resembling Cirnechi (plural form) are depicted on 5th to 3rd century BC coins from Segesta in Sicily. Legend has it that a thousand Cirnechi guarded an ancient temple dedicated to Adranos, and that the dogs could divinely discern -- and attack -- thieves and nonbelievers, while guiding pilgrims to the temple. The breed was virtually unknown outside Sicily until 1932, when a visiting veterinarian published an article outlining their poor outlook. They came to America in 1996.

Cirnechi are very affectionate, busy, and gentle. The breed is friendly to strangers and gets along well with kids, other dogs, and pets -- but they do like to hunt and can be led away by rabbit trails or fleeing wildlife.

The Boerboel

The Boerboel (pronounced BUR-bul) is joining the Working group. His roots go back to Cape Town, South Africa, when the Dutch East India Trading Company established a trading post there, which we wrote about here. The settlers' Bulldog-like dogs (Bullenbijters) crossed with later English settlers' Mastiff and other Bulldog breeds, and also native African dogs, resulting in the Boerboel. The dogs protected the farm, livestock, and farmer from leopards, baboons, and other dangerous animals.

In the early 1980s, two fanciers searched Africa for authentic Boerboel dogs, eventually locating 250 and selecting 72 for registration. The breed has since spread throughout the world, but has been banned in at least one country as a fighting dog. This is a confident, strong-willed, and protective breed, aloof toward strangers. It is not a breed for a novice owner.

The Spanish Water Dog

The Spanish Water Dog is joining the Herding group. They trace back to the 12th century and were used for different jobs in parts of the Iberian Peninsula. In the northern coastal regions and fishing ports, they were all-purpose water dogs, jumping in the water to retrieve fishing tackle, nets, and mooring lines. In the central and southern regions, they herded and guarded sheep, goats, and cattle. They may have also hunted in both regions. Spain's Industrial Revolution drove many dogs out of work.

Share this image
Cassie the Spanish Water Dog by Shutterstock.

In 1975, two breeders began an effort to revive the breed. They gathered dogs from all regions, but mostly gathered Andalucian herding dogs. By 1980, a breed club was established in Spain, and in 1985, the Spanish Kennel Club recognized the breed. This is an incredibly versatile breed; besides herding they are frequently used as search and rescue dogs, and as drug and explosives detection dogs; they have even been circus dogs. This is a high-energy and affectionate breed. He gets along well with other dogs and pets, but is naturally suspicious of strangers.

The Bergamasco

The Bergamasco is also joining the Herding group. His roots lay in nomadic herding dogs from Persia, which eventually settled in the Italian and Southern Swiss Alps. Initially, they were probably flock guardians, but as the flocks needed to be moved, they doubled as flock drovers, which encouraged a more biddable yet free-thinking and friendlier temperament. They were important components of sheep and goat farming until World War II, after which sheep and goat farming, as well as the dogs, declined.

Share this image
Check out that serious fur on the Bergamasco! Stefano Tinti / Shutterstock.com.

In the 1960s, one person undertook a concerted effort to revive the breed. Now the dogs are once again used in the Italian and Swiss Alps as goat and sheep herders. The first Bergamascos came from Italy to the United States in the mid-1990s. Bergamascos are independent problem solvers, willing to be obedient unless they see a better way to accomplish a task. They are fun-loving and gentle with family and generally good with other dogs and pets. The impressive coat is made up of long, flat matted hair called flocks, which take some care, especially when forming.

If you're looking for a dog unlike any in your neighborhood, check out these new kids on the block! Besides turning heads, you'll be helping save a rare breed.

Share this image

These four breeds bring AKCs roster of recognized breeds to 184. And more are on the way!

Do you own one of these new breeds? Have you spent time with one? Let's hear what you think about these dogs 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 dog breeds:

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

]]>
Tue, 13 Jan 2015 02:00:00 -0800 /the-scoop/new-breeds-american-kennel-club-akc
<![CDATA[Get to Know the Alaskan Malamute: The 18 Wheelers of Sled Dogs]]> http://www.dogster.com/lifestyle/alaskan-malamute-sled-dog-large-dog-breeds-working-dogs During the Yukon Gold Rush, men depended on strong tough dogs to haul their supplies. And there was no dog more suited for that job than the native Alaskan Malamute. A single Alaskan Malamute has been known to pull more than 2,600 pounds of freight for a short distance over snow. So get your mush on!

Share this image
Alaskan Malamute in the snow by Shutterstock

Read more interesting things about the Malamute

  • The Alaskan Malamute may be confused with the Siberian Husky, but the Malamute is larger, tends to carry his tail higher, never has blue eyes, and is not commonly seen in colors other than gray shading to white. He may also be confused with the Akita, but the Malamute is longer bodied, has a less tightly curled tail, and, again, is not commonly seen in colors other than gray shading to white. He may also be confused with the German Shepherd, but the Malamute is taller, shorter in body, heavier boned, and, once again, not commonly seen in colors other than gray shading to white.

  • The Malamute is a member of the Spitz family, which have in common curled tails, small pricked ears, and stand-off fur, all of which help stave off cold.
  • DNA studies show Malamutes are one of the most ancient breeds. They were developed in Alaska to hunt seals and polar bears and to haul heavy loads.

Share this image
When they aren't pulling sleds, Malamutes love to participate in agility tests. Malamute jumps through agility hoop by Shutterstock

  • First known as Mahlmuts, from "Mahle" (Inuit tribe name) and "mut" (dog).
  • During the Alaskan Gold Rush, interbreeding with other dogs almost caused the breed's extinction. It was rescued in the 1920s by a New England dog sledding breeder. The fact that the DNA data came from modern Malamutes supports that these dogs go back to the original Mals or at least to other equally ancient sled dogs.
  • Mals participated in Admiral Byrd's 1933 trek to the South Pole.

Share this image
Malamutes' thick stand-up fur helps stave off bitter cold. Malamute playing in water by Shutterstock

  • Mals served in World War II as freight haulers, pack animals, and search and rescue dogs, primarily in Greenland. After WWII, the numbers were down to only about 30 registered Mals, so the stud book was reopened to allow new unregistered stock in.
  • They seldom bark, more often making a series of woo-woo-woos. Many howl.
  • Malamutes are not usually used for sled racing because their forte is strength, not speed. They are the breed of choice for freighting or for long-distance hauling.
  • In 1994, the US Postal Service issued a four AKC centennial stamps honoring purebred dogs of America. One of the four breeds was an Alaskan Malamute.

Share this image
Malamutes in a dog-carting team on dry land by Shutterstock

  • The Alaskan Malamute was named the State Dog of Alaska in 2010.
  • The Star Wars character Chewbacca was inspired by George Lucas' Alaskan Malamute, Indiana -- who also inspired the name for Indiana Jones. In the movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Indiana Jones' childhood home is shown complete with a Malamute!
  • The Alaskan Malamute has been shown at the Westminster dog show since 1936 but only one has won the Working group, in 1998.
  • A Malamute named Costello (Champion Nanuke’s Snoklassic No Boundaries) won Best in Show at the 2006 AKC Invitational dog show, along with $80,000 in prize money.
Share this image
George Lucas and his Alaskan Malamute, Indiana. (Photo courtesy Wookieepedia)
  • The top winning AKC show Malamute of all time is Champion Nanuke's Take No Prisoners, who won 75 Best in Shows.
  • A Malamute starred as Yukon King in the TV series of that name. Two Malamutes were in the movie Eight Below. Malamutes are main characters in Mal owner Susan Conant's dog mysteries.
  • The Malamute is currently the 57th most popular AKC breed -- just where he was a decade ago!

Share this image
Happy Malamute by Shutterstock

  • Owners include Herbert Hoover, George Lucas, Robin Williams, Vida Blue, Steve McQueen, Dom Deluise, Melissa Gilbert, Cheryl Ladd, Daniel Pinkwater, Lowell Thomas, Judy Collins, and John Elway.

Do you own a Malamute? 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!

Read more breed profiles:

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

]]>
Mon, 12 Jan 2015 06:00:00 -0800 /lifestyle/alaskan-malamute-sled-dog-large-dog-breeds-working-dogs
<![CDATA[Get to Know the Coton de Tulear: Cotton Candy on Four Legs]]> http://www.dogster.com/lifestyle/coton-de-tulear-cotton-candy-little-white-small-dog-breeds It's a cloud! It's a giant cotton ball! It's a Coton de Tulear! Um, what? Yes, it's the dog that looks like cotton candy come to life. And he's bound to get questions no matter where he goes. How does he see? (Just like you would see through long bangs, but still, most people clip the dog's hair back when he's not being shown.) Is the coat as soft as it looks? (Yes. Put your hand on it, and it will sink down several inches before you reach dog.) Do they take a lot of grooming? (Yes. Rain, twigs, and the mere passing of hours can lead to tangles.) Are they great dogs to live with? (Yes!!)

Share this image
What a fluffy ball of nonsense, and we mean that as a compliment! (Coton de Tulear by Shutterstock)

More interesting things about the Coton de Tulear

  • The Coton de Tulear may be confused with a Bichon Frise, but the Coton is larger and has straighter hair. He may be confused with a Maltese, but he is much larger with puffier hair. He may be confused with a Polish Lowland Sheepdog or Tibetan Terrier, but he is smaller, and his hair is puffier and almost all white.
  • Coton de Tulear (pronounced co-TAWN day-too-LEE-are) means "cotton of Tulear" in French, with "cotton" referring to the coat and "Tulear" coming from the seaport at the tip of the island of Madagascar.
  • The breed is in the Barbichon family of dogs, which includes the Bichon Frise, Maltese, Havanese, and Bolognese.

Share this image
(Coton de Tulear with topknot by Shutterstock)

  • These dogs' ancestors were kept as ratters and companions on sea trading ships. The story goes that one of these ships sunk off Tulear, and several little white dogs survived and came ashore. Some became feral and mixed with native dogs.
  • A popular legend claims that the dogs were so smart that they could outwit crocodiles. Supposedly, one half of a group would go upstream and start barking to draw the crocs to them, while the other half of the group crossed the river.

Share this image
(Coton de Tulear by Shutterstock)

    • In the 17th century, the native Merina people adopted the dogs and presented them to the Merina nobility.
    • When the French laid claim to Madagascar in the late 17th century, French nobility adopted the dogs and decreed no commoners could own them. They became known as the Royal Dog of Madagascar.
    • When Madagascar attained independence in the mid-20th century, tourism increased and visitors took Cotons home with them.
    • The Fèdèration Cynologique Internationale (FCI) recognized the Coton in 1987, increasing demand and depleting native stocks.
    • In 1992, Madagascar began limiting the number of exported Cotons.
    • Madagascar once issued a stamp featuring the breed.

Share this image
(Coton de Tulear taking a walk by Shutterstock)

  • The first Coton came to America in 1974.
  • There is some disagreement about the proper type of the breed between the prominent breed clubs (and even accusations of impure breeding), further fueled by disagreement over pursuing AKC recognition.
  • Against the wishes of many breeders, the AKC admitted the Coton de Tulear into the Non-Sporting group in 2014.
  • Owners include Barbra Streisand, Debra Messing, Glenn Close, Jane Fonda, Carrie Fisher, Paula Printess, Richard Benjamin, and Catherine Zeta-Jones.

Do you own a Coton de Tulear? 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!

Read recent breed profiles:

Interested in other breed profiles? Find dozens of them 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

]]>
Mon, 05 Jan 2015 06:00:00 -0800 /lifestyle/coton-de-tulear-cotton-candy-little-white-small-dog-breeds
<![CDATA[Get to Know the Boykin Spaniel: South Carolina's State Dog]]> http://www.dogster.com/lifestyle/boykin-spaniel-south-carolina-state-dog-hunting-dog-breeds If you're from the city, especially some non-Southern city, you probably don't come across many Boykin Spaniels. But if you're from the rural South and have any contact with bird hunters, chances are you've seen this unassuming little brown "swamp Poodle." And if you haven't seen one yet, you will, because the Boykin is rapidly becoming one of the most popular spaniels in America.

More interesting things about the Boykin Spaniel

  • The Boykin Spaniel may be confused with the American Water Spaniel, but the Boykin's coat is not as curly and his tail is usually docked. He may be confused with a Cocker Spaniel, but his coat is always a solid shade of brown (but some Cockers are, too), and he has much less coat. He may be confused with a Field Spaniel, but he has a shorter head, thicker body coat, and is significantly smaller. He has much longer legs than a Sussex Spaniel.

Share this image
Boykin Spaniel at sunrise by Shutterstock

  • In the early 1900s, hunters on South Carolina's Wateree River needed a small retrieving dog that could fit in their tiny "section" boats, which had to be transported, and often used, in pieces. Each piece could fit one man and one small dog. It was difficult to find a small dog who could perform as needed, though.

  • L.W. "Whit" Boykin and his relatives tried several crosses to produce such a dog, finally hitting upon success with a small brown stray spaniel found by a friend in Spartanburg, SC, around 1905. The dog, named Dumpy because he was kind of dumpy looking, developed into an adept turkey dog and waterfowl retriever.
  • Dumpy was bred to another stray brown spaniel, and eventually crosses were made with the Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Springer Spaniel, Cocker Spaniel, and American Water Spaniel. Boykin's spaniels became known for their versatility, retaining the flushing abilities of a spaniel but adding water retrieving and even deer driving and tracking. They are equally effective on upland game and waterfowl (where they have been called "the dog who doesn't rock the boat").

Share this image
Dogster member Tripper

  • The breed's nexus was around Camden, SC, where many hunters and wealthy families wintered. These families often left in the spring with little brown spaniels, distributing the Boykin around the country, but especially along the Eastern Seaboard.
  • The Boykin Spaniel Society was formed in 1977 and now has worldwide membership.
  • In 1985, the Boykin Spaniel became the state dog of South Carolina.
  • Also in 1985, it was recognized by the United Kennel Club.
  • Because the Boykin Spaniel Society would not pursue AKC recognition, a separate group formed the Boykin Spaniel Club and Breeders Association of America in the 1990s to pursue that goal and gain access to AKC field events. The AKC recognized them as the AKC parent club in 2007.
  • The Boykin Spaniel joined the AKC Sporting group in 2010.

Share this image
"Who are you calling a swamp poodle?" Boykin Spaniel by Shutterstock

  • The Boykin is currently the 121st most popular AKC breed. However, this ranking almost certainly underestimates the breed's popularity, as most Boykin Spaniels are not AKC registered. Many more are registered with the Boykin Spaniel Society, for example, which registers more than 1,000 each year -- eclipsing the number of Boykins registered with the AKC.
  • The Boykin has only competed at the Westminster dog show for a few years, and has not yet won any placements in the Sporting group.
  • A slang name for the Boykin is the swamp Poodle. Now, that's not very nice! But it is kind of funny.

Do you own a Boykin Spaniel? 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 about more spaniels 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

]]>
Mon, 29 Dec 2014 08:00:00 -0800 /lifestyle/boykin-spaniel-south-carolina-state-dog-hunting-dog-breeds
<![CDATA[Get to Know the Berger Picard: Not as Mixed Up as He Looks!]]> http://www.dogster.com/lifestyle/berger-picard-large-dog-breeds-because-of-winn-dixie He's the prototypical big scruffy mutt -- except for the part where he isn't a mutt! He's been a breed for centuries, but only recently (largely from his role as a big scruffy mutt) have Americans become aware of this French lover.

Share this image
(Berger Picard dog by Shutterstock)

More interesting things about the Berger Picard

  • The Berger Picard could be confused with the Wirehaired Portuguese Podengo Mediano -- if anyone knew what they were, either!
  • The breed is also known as the Picardy Shepherd.
  • Fanciers call them Picards for short.
  • Dogs resembling today's Berger Picard are depicted as early as the 14th century, and they may be the oldest of the French sheepdogs. Some claim they came to France with Celtic invaders as early as 400 BC.
  • In the mid-1800s, herding breeds in France were classified according to coat length as the Berger de Beauce (shorthaired; today's Beauceron), Berger de Brie (longhaired; today's Briard), and later, medium-length, the Berger de Picardie.

Share this image
(Photo courtesy of Michele Fitzgerald)

  • Berger (pronounced bare-ZHAY) means "shepherd," and Picard (pronounced pee-CARR) refers to the region of France the dog is from.
  • World Wars I and II decimated the breed as fighting took place around their farmlands, and food rationing didn't allow for feeding large dogs.
  • It's claimed that some Picards were used to smuggle matches and tobacco over the Belgian border by shaving the dog's back and placing the goods in a goatskin pouch, hair side up, that blended with the dog's coat.

Share this image
(Photo courtesy of Michele Fitzgerald)

  • Breeders searched Picardy after World War II for dogs to rebuild the breed, and in the early 1950s found the dogs that would become the foundation of the modern Picard.
  • By the 1970s, occasional Picards were being brought to America.
  • In 2002, they got their big break: Hollywood producers cast the breed in the starring role of the movie Because of Winn Dixie. They needed several dogs that looked alike that could all play the single role of a mixed breed, and they imported five Picards from France, and three of them (Scott, Laiko, and Tasha) performed in the movie. The American public was introduced to the breed when the movie debuted in 2005.

Share this image
The dog in Because of Winn-Dixie was played by a Berger Picard.

  • A group of fanciers worked to promote the breed responsibly, and by 2013 it entered the AKC miscellaneous group, and in 2015, the AKC Herding group.
  • Picards have also appeared in the movies Daniel and the Superdogs and Are We Done Yet?
  • A Picard is the subject of a book, Chester Gigolo: Diary of a Dog Star, based on the weekly blog about Chester. He even has his own Facebook page.
  • No celebrities are yet known to own Picards, but as the breed becomes more well known that's bound to change. 

Do you own a Berger Picard? 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 recent dog profiles 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

]]>
Mon, 22 Dec 2014 06:00:00 -0800 /lifestyle/berger-picard-large-dog-breeds-because-of-winn-dixie
<![CDATA[Laura Schlessinger Condemns Pit Bulls; Dog Lovers Strike Back]]> http://www.dogster.com/the-scoop/laura-schlessinger-pit-bull-controversy-dog-lovers-outrage-janet-goree-petition On Monday of this week, satellite talk show host Laura Schlessinger outraged dog lovers when she talked about going to a local dog shelter. Schlessinger said that she was shocked that there were so many Pit Bulls in the shelter and that she considered them a "waste of space" who should be put down.

Share this image

To anyone who's paid even cursory attention to her career, the fact that Laura Schlessinger said something stupid and hateful shouldn't be surprising. It's kind of what she does. Her entire career has essentially been built on selling hackneyed stereotypes as straightforward common sense. In 2000, gay rights activists campaigned against Schlessinger's new television show because over the years, she had repeatedly referred to gay men and lesbians as "biological errors," as well as saying that gay men were predators and pedophiles. The show went on the air but was cancelled after only a year.

In 2010, Schlessinger was forced to make the move from broadcast radio to satellite after she used the n-word 11 times while talking to a black woman who had called her show. The woman, who was married to a white man, asked for advice because she felt her husband let friends and family make racist comments around her without speaking up. Schlessinger told the woman, "If you're that hypersensitive about color and don't have a sense of humor, don't marry out of your race."

Share this image
Laura Schlessinger on CNN.

A week after the call, Schlessinger announced that she had "decided" to stop doing radio and move to satellite broadcasting.

"I want to regain my First Amendment rights," she told Larry King in an interview. "I want to be able to say what's on my mind and in my heart and what I think is helpful and useful without somebody getting angry, some special interest group deciding this is the time to silence a voice of dissent and attack affiliates, attack sponsors. I'm sort of done with that."

Compared to using the n-word eleven times or calling gay men pedophiles, her comments about Pit Bulls might be considered relatively mild. They come from the same place, however; they exploit commonly held fears and ignorance, and they parade these as courage. Schlessinger would be nowhere if she weren't able to persuade an awful lot of people that her bigotry is actually an act of resistance.

Share this image
Mischievous face of Pit Bull by Shutterstock.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of people who would be quite happy to kill Pit Bulls en masse, just as there are many people who cling to the idea that LGBT people are out to rape their children or that racism would go away if only black people would stop being so "sensitive" about it. Just last month, a 9-year-old girl and her family had to fight to keep their town from taking her pet and euthanizing it for no other reason than that he was a Pit Bull. Despite what her PR hacks might want us to think, Schlessinger hasn't said anything new or courageous. Schlessinger has never in her career gone after anyone who had more power than her. She invariably targets those who are already marginalized by the prejudices of others and then pretends that she's speaking truth to power.

Share this image
Close-up of Pit Bull Terrier by Shutterstock.

Fortunately, dog lovers have been pushing back and trying to make Schlessinger accountable. Writer Janet Goree has been especially prominent, using her column and her Twitter feed to promote Schlessinger's critics. Goree says that when she called Schlessinger's office for a comment, the person on the phone hung up on her; a request for comment via Twitter was ignored.

As of this writing, an online petition condemning Schlessinger has gotten 10,000 signatures. (Organizers are trying for 20,000.) The petition reads in part:

Such speeches are completely unacceptable. The reputation that Pit Bulls have is totally misleading -- since the 1980, the media has begun to portray Pit Bulls as dangerous dogs. This couldn't be any more false! There is no such thing as a 'bad' dog, but rather a 'bad' owner! In addition, because of their good temperaments -- friendly nature, loyalty and stability -- Pit Bulls are considered the perfect 'nanny dogs' for children. They make excellent family and their love for children is well known.

Dog lovers have also started a hashtag campaign on Twitter. Pit owners have been asked to tweet pictures of their dogs with the (incredibly long) tag #Drlaurawhydoyouwantmedead.

Schlessinger herself has ignored all criticism. Just as Goree's requests for comment were ignored, Schlessinger's Twitter feed and Facebook page haven't even acknowledged the controversy. The posts simply continue to churn past like they would any other week, summarizing her "call of the day" and dispensing trite pieces of "wisdom."

What do you think? Is there a way to make Schlessinger sit up and notice, or does the controversy just serve her public relations strategy by giving her attention?

Via Inquistr

Read more about dogs in the news on Dogster: ]]>
Fri, 19 Dec 2014 11:45:00 -0800 /the-scoop/laura-schlessinger-pit-bull-controversy-dog-lovers-outrage-janet-goree-petition
<![CDATA[Get to Know the English Springer Spaniel: The Country Squire]]> http://www.dogster.com/lifestyle/english-springer-spaniel-hunting-dog-breeds This dapper Englishman is at home lounging by the hearth on a country estate -- but he'd rather be out getting down and dirty searching the brambles for birds. He's an active dog with a sense of adventure, but also a level head that makes him an ideal companion.

Share this image
Young girl and English Springer Spaniel by Shutterstock

More interesting things about the English Springer Spaniel

  • The English Springer Spaniel may be confused with the Welsh Springer Spaniel, but the Welsh is longer bodied, has less coat, shorter ears, and is always red and white. The Springer is either black and white or liver and white. He may also be confused with the parti-colored Cocker Spaniel or the English Cocker Spaniel, but the Springer is larger than either. And, he may even be confused with the Brittany, but the Brittany is more slender, has longer legs, less coat, and is mostly white with red (but occasionally white with liver).
  • Spaniels were developed by the 1300s to spring, or flush, birds into nets or to waiting falcons. Later, with the advent of shotguns, they were also used to find and point birds.
  • They became specialized by their size, the terrain they hunted over, and the type of birds they hunted.
  • By the late 1800s, larger land Spaniels were differentiated from smaller ones. Different sizes were found in the same litters and classified accordingly when they reached adult size. Eventually the larger ones became Springer Spaniels, and the smaller ones, Cocker Spaniels.

Share this image
Springer Spaniel hunting dog by Shutterstock

  • In 1902, the Kennel Club in England recognized the Springer Spaniel as a distinct breed. At the time, English and Welsh Springer Spaniels were considered the same breed, distinguished only by color, but they were eventually separated.
  • The English Springer Spaniel was AKC recognized in 1910. It is a member of the Sporting group.
  • English Springer Spaniels are the 28th most popular AKC breed -- exactly their position a decade ago!
  • Springers have excellent noses; besides finding birds, they've been used to sniff out explosives, contraband, bees, and blood.

Share this image
Springer Spaniel on the beach by Shutterstock

  • An English Springer Spaniel named Buster was awarded the Dickin Medal (the animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross) in 2003 for his work with the British Army locating explosives caches in Iraq.

Share this image
Springer Spaniel hoarding tennis balls by Shutterstock

  • English Springer Spaniels have won Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show six times between 1963, the year of the first title, and 2007, the last. That's more than any other Sporting breed (the Pointer, at No. 2, has only three Best in Show winners), and third of any breed (behind the Wire Fox Terrier and Scottish Terrier). Champion Chinoe's Adamant James is one of only seven dogs to win Best in Show at Westminster more than once. He is also the most recent, having done so in 1971 and 1972.

Share this image
First Lady Barbara Bush with Millie at the White House in 1991.

  • President George Bush's dog Millie was the first presidential dog credited with writing a book, which became a top seller. Millie was the dam of two other White House Springers, Ranger (known to be Bush's favorite dog) and Spot (belonging to President G.W. Bush). The Millie Bush Bark Park in Houston is named for her.
  • Owners include both U.S. Presidents George Bush, Oprah Winfrey, and Jimmy Buffett.

Do you own a English Springer Spaniel? 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 Spaniels:

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.

]]>
Mon, 15 Dec 2014 06:00:00 -0800 /lifestyle/english-springer-spaniel-hunting-dog-breeds