June 2014 - LUV My dogs

LUV My dogs

Everything about your dog!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Everything about your Beagle

Everything about your Beagle
  The Beagle is a happy, inquisitive, shorthaired hound who makes a great family companion, an eager hunter in the field — or both!
   Small, compact, and hardy, Beagles are active companions for kids and adults alike. Canines in this dog breed are merry and fun loving, but being hounds, they can also be stubborn and require patient, creative training techniques. Their noses guide them through life, and they're never happier than when following an interesting scent. The Beagle originally was bred as a scenthound to track small game, mostly rabbits and hare. He is still used for this purpose in many countries, including the United States.
   Although beagle-type dogs have existed for over 2,000 years, the modern breed was developed in Great Britain around the 1830s from several breeds, including the Talbot Hound, the North Country Beagle, the Southern Hound, and possibly the Harrier.
   Beagles have been depicted in popular culture since Elizabethan times in literature and paintings, and more recently in film, television and comic books. Snoopy of the comic strip Peanuts has been promoted as "the world's most famous beagle".

Overview
  It's difficult to resist the appeal of a Beagle's dark brown or hazel eyes, with his soft, pleading expression. They're happy, outgoing and loving — characteristics more than balanced out by their hound nature, which is inquisitive, determined, and focused on food.
  They aren't yappy dogs, but they do have three distinct vocalizations — a bark/growl, a baying howl, and a half-baying howl (a cross between a frantic bark and a bay). The half-howl vocalization usually is reserved for when they catch sight of quarry — or think it's time to wake the neighbors at 6 a.m.! Being pack dogs, they generally get along well with other animals and their human friends — and they think everyone is their new best friend.
  The most important thing to know about the Beagle is that he is a scenthound. His nose is the most important part of his anatomy and his head is always down to the ground, searching for an interesting trail to follow. Beagles have approximately 220 million scent receptors compared to the paltry 5 million or so in people, which makes them very good at picking up scents. Humorist Dave Barry once described his in-laws' Beagle as "a nose with feet."
   You may have seen the Beagle's nose at work at airports across the country. In 1984, the U.S. Department of Agriculture decided to use Beagles to sniff out contraband food being brought into the United States at the Los Angeles International Airport.
  The experiment was a huge success. Because they are small, friendly, and cute, the Beagles didn't intimidate people who are afraid of dogs, and with their super nose power, they could be trained to identify specific food articles while bypassing those that weren't contraband. Today, members of the "Beagle Brigade" patrol the baggage-claim areas at more than 20 international airports and other points of entry into the United States.
   Although they've branched out into other fields of work, Beagles remain superb hunters of small game. The National Beagle Club's Institute Farm hosts AKC-sanctioned field trials where breeders with packs are put to the test in the field. Many other countries have similar activities for hunting Beagles.
  Because of their small size and gentle temperament, Beagles can do well in apartments if their people are willing to walk them on lead several times a day in all kinds of weather. They need plenty of exercise, about an hour a day if possible. If left alone and unexercised, Beagles can become destructive.

Breed standards
AKC group: Hound
UKC group: Scenthound
Average lifespan: 12-15 years
Average size: 20-25 lbs
Coat appearance: Sleek, smooth, short
Coloration: Brown, white & black, and more
Hypoallergenic: No
Other identifiers: Squarely built, fairly long body with short legs for hunting and chasing. The square muzzle is straight and medium in length. Long, wide-set ears. Black nose is broad with full nostrils for piqued sense of smell and a high-set, straight tail, never curled.
Possible alterations: Coat coloring varies and can be seen in tricolor, black and tan, red and white, orange and white, and many other variations.
Comparable Breeds: Basset Hound, Bloodhound
Highlights
  • Beagles can be difficult to housetrain. Some people say it can take up to a year to fully housetrain some Beagles. Crate training is absolutely recommended.
  • Beagles can get bored if left alone in a house too long. If left in a backyard, Beagles will start finding ways to amuse themselves, usually by howling, digging, or trying to escape.
  • The most common reason Beagles are turned over to rescue groups is because either their owners or their owners' neighbors got tired of their baying. Be sure that you are prepared to work with your dog to control excessive barking and howling.
  • Beagles are targets for thieves who would steal them and perhaps sell them to research laboratories for use in experiments. Supervise your Beagle when he is outdoors and be sure to have him microchipped!
  • Since they are scenthounds, Beagles will wander off if they catch an enticing smell in the air. Their noses control their brains, and if they smell something interesting, nothing else exists in their world.
  • Although they are loving and gentle, Beagles can have an independent, stubborn streak. Obedience training is recommended, but be sure the instructor of the class understands hound personality and favors using food as a reward.

Other Quick Facts
  • Beagles come in two sizes; both sizes of Beagles can be born in a single litter. If you want to be sure you get one of a certain size, wait to purchase a puppy until he is about nine months old.
  • Beagles bred for hunting are more likely to be noisy and active than Beagles bred for the show ring.
  • You might not think so when you are trying to train him, but the Beagle is very smart in the sense that he is a good problem-solver. He might not respond instantly to your commands, but he will quickly figure out how to overcome any obstacles that are preventing him from getting something he wants.
  • Beagles need daily exercise and mental stimulation in the form of sniffing. Without it they can become bored and destructive. Provide them with the attention, training and activity they need or suffer the consequences.
  • Shyness and aggression are not common Beagle characteristics. Do not choose a puppy who shows signs of these behaviors.
History
  The origin of the word "beagle" is uncertain. It's thought that it may have been derived from the French word begueule, meaning open throat, or from the Old English word beag, meaning small. Others think it may have come from the French word beugler, meaning to bellow, or the German word begele, meaning to scold.
  The breed's history is cloudy as well because breeds as we know them today didn't really develop until the 19th century. Greek documents from 400 B.C. describe Beagle-like dogs, and the Romans may have brought small rabbit-hunting hounds with them to England and bred them with the local hounds.
   William the Conqueror reportedly brought Talbot hounds to England during the Norman Conquest in 1066. These dogs are thought to be the ancestors of the Beagle and the Foxhound.
   Beagles became popular in England very early in its history. During the reigns of Edward II (1307 - 1327) and Henry VII (1485 - 1509), extremely small beagles, called Glove Beagles, were popular. They reportedly were small enough to be held in a gloved hand. There's also mention of Singing Beagles, named for their bugling voices.
  Elizabeth I (1533 - 1603) kept packs of Pocket Beagles that stood only 9 inches tall. These small dogs were depicted in paintings as short-legged and pointy nosed. They were used for hunting, but quickly fell out of favor because they weren't very fast.
  In the 1700s, fox hunting became popular in England, and the Beagle fell out of favor as the larger Foxhound became the dog of choice. If it hadn't been for the farmers in England, Ireland, and Wales who continued to keep packs to hunt rabbit and hare, the breed might have become extinct at that time.
   In the mid-1800s Reverend Phillip Honeywood established a pack of Beagles in Essex, England. These dogs are thought to be the ancestors of the modern Beagle. Rev. Honeywood bred for hunting skills, not looks. Thomas Johnson, a fellow Englishman, was responsible for breeding Beagles who were both attractive and good hunters.
  At about the same time, American breeders started importing Beagles from England to improve the looks of their own dogs. Many of the English imports were bred to an average height of 15 to 17 inches at the shoulder so they could hunt fox. American breeders started breeding them to be smaller for rabbit hunting.
   Of interest is the "Patch" Beagle strain developed by Willet Randall in New York around 1880. The line is primarily white with a very large tri-colored spot. They were very popular in the 1940s and 1950s because they were able to run so fast. Today, many people call lemon and white or red and white beagles "Patch" beagles.
  The American Kennel Club and the first Beagle specialty club both were founded in 1884. In that same year, the AKC began registering Beagles.
   In 1916, five members of the National Beagle Club purchased 508 acres in Western Loudoun County, Virginia for the purpose of holding field trials. The men who purchased it formed a corporation called Institute Corporate to purchase and own the land, then leasing it to the Institute Foundation that maintains the property for the National Beagle Club, which today is the site of many activities of the National Beagle Club.



Temperament and Personality
  Beagles are happy, outgoing and loving. They are often described as having a merry temperament, but they are also known for their mischievous nature. Beagles like to have their own way, and they can be naughty, determined and stubborn in their efforts to get what they want, which is usually food.
  Start training early, be patient and be consistent, and one day you will wake up to find that you live with a great dog. But even so, there are a few Beagle behaviors that you should expect to live with throughout his life. They are part and parcel of being a Beagle, and nothing you do will change them. Beagles love good smells, Beagles howl, Beagles have selective hearing, and Beagles love to eat.
  Everything a Beagle does somehow leads back to his nose. His powerful sense of smell overcomes any good sense you might have tried to instill and tells the Beagle to escape from the yard or break into the dog food bag in the pantry or see what’s in the trash. When channeled properly, it’s also what makes him a great arson dog or termite detector, so it all evens out in the end. Just remember that when your Beagle’s nose is down, his “other brain” is turned off.
  Beagles have what fans call a “musical” voice, but to your neighbors it’s just going to sound like really annoying noise. Beagles will sing along to sirens, “give tongue” when they are hunting, and bark when strangers come to the door, but they aren’t usually nuisance barkers unless they are bored or lonely. If you don’t live out in the country where no one else is around to hear his drawn-out “Aaaaarrrroooooh,” keep your Beagle occupied with toys, the company of another animal or, best of all, your presence so he doesn’t feel the need to serenade the neighborhood.
  Beagles like to do what they want to do, not necessarily what you want them to do. They are true masters when it comes to selective hearing. If a Beagle isn’t interested in the request you’ve made — commands are futile with this breed — he will simply ignore you or wander off. That can be frustrating if you’re not prepared for it. Successfully living with a Beagle means making everything a game, one that will hold his attention.
  As for eating, well, Beagles will try to eat anything. They are professional food thieves, and they will eat anything that even looks like it might be food, including things that you wouldn’t imagine would interest them. If nothing else, living with a Beagle will teach you, your spouse and your kids not to leave food of any kind within a Beagle’s nose range.
  The biggest trick to training a Beagle is to make everything you do with him seem like fun. Never try to force a Beagle to do anything, and never count on a Beagle to be obedient unless you can offer treats as an incentive. This is one breed where it’s important to keep in mind that old saying about catching more flies with honey than with vinegar.
  Your Beagle’s personality will also be affected by the kind of breeder who produced him. Beagles from breeders who produce hunting dogs are more likely to be hard-charging and demanding of exercise. They are unsuited to lying around the house all day while everyone is at work or school. More laid back Beagles typically come from a breeder who shows dogs in conformation.
  Any dog, no matter how nice, can develop obnoxious levels of barking, digging, food stealing and other undesirable behaviors if he is bored, untrained or unsupervised. And any dog can be a trial to live with during adolescence. In the case of the Beagle, the “teen” years can start at six months and continue until the dog is about three years old and sometimes throughout life.   Some Beagles just never lose that fun-loving, happy-go-lucky puppy nature. While it makes them entertaining to live with, it also means that they need more supervision than the average adult dog. Fair warning!
  The perfect Beagle doesn’t spring fully formed from the whelping box. He’s a product of his background and breeding. Whether you want a Beagle as a companion, show dog, hunting dog or all three in one, look for one whose parents have nice personalities and who has been well socialized from early puppyhood.


Health
  The typical longevity of Beagles is 12–15 years, which is a common lifespan for dogs of their size. Beagles may be prone to epilepsy, but this can often be controlled with medication. Hypothyroidism and a number of types of dwarfism occur in Beagles. Two conditions in particular are unique to the breed: "Funny Puppy", in which the puppy is slow to develop and eventually develops weak legs, a crooked back and although normally healthy, is prone to a range of illnesses;Hip dysplasia, common in Harriers and in some larger breeds, is rarely considered a problem in Beagles. Beagles are considered a chondrodystrophic breed, meaning that they are prone to types of disk diseases.
   In rare cases, Beagles may develop immune mediated polygenic arthritis  even at a young age. The symptoms can sometimes be relieved by steroid treatments. Another rare disease in the breed is neonatal cerebellar cortical degeneration. Affected puppies are slow, have lower co-ordination, fall more often and don't have a normal gait. It has an estimated carrier rate of 5% and affected rate of 0.1%. A genetic test is available.
  Their long floppy ears can mean that the inner ear does not receive a substantial air flow or that moist air becomes trapped, and this can lead to ear infections. Beagles may also be affected by a range of eye problems; two common ophthalmic conditions in Beagles are glaucoma and corneal dystrophy. "Cherry eye", a prolapse of the gland of the third eyelid, and distichiasis, a condition in which eyelashes grow into the eye causing irritation, sometimes exist; both these conditions can be corrected with surgery.They can suffer from several types of retinal atrophy. Failure of the nasolacrimal drainage system can cause dry eye or leakage of tears onto the face.

Is this breed right for you?
  Beagles make excellent family pets. They love affection and attention, and their loving personalities make them great pets to have around kids. Their medium-sized builds allow Beagles to feel comfortable in most environments; however, they are a very vocal and energetic breed, so apartment life may not be ideal.

Care
  A fenced backyard is a necessity with a scenthound such as a Beagle. When outside, your Beagle should be on lead in unconfined areas, or securely confined and supervised. He's a wanderer by nature, so in case he escapes — a common occurrence with Beagles — be sure he's microchipped and wearing identification tags on his collar so he can be returned to you.
Some people prefer to use an underground electronic fence, but this type of enclosure doesn't prevent other animals from coming into your yard. Besides, if a scent is enticing enough your Beagle will be more than willing to risk a momentary shock to follow it.
  Like all dogs, Beagles benefit from obedience training. Positive reinforcement techniques work best because Beagles will simply switch off when treated harshly. Most Beagles are more than happy to do anything for a tasty treat.
  Adolescent Beagles are full of energy and need a lot of opportunities to work it all off. They love to go for walks with their family, or, even better, a good run across a field to hunt down rabbits . They'll enjoy jogging with you, but wait until they're 18 months or older before starting them on a repetitive exercise like this.
Grooming
  Beagles are easy-care dogs who don’t need a lot of fancy grooming. A good going-over with a hound mitt once or twice a week removes dead hairs and helps keep them from migrating to clothing and furniture. And that’s the bad news: Beagles shed year-round. The good news: unless your Beagle rolls in something stinky, which is a strong possibility, he shouldn’t need a bath more than three or four times a year.
  Keep your Beagle’s droopy ears clean with a solution recommended by your veterinarian. Don’t use cotton swabs inside the ear; they can push gunk further down into it. Wipe out the ear with a cotton ball, never going deeper than the first knuckle of your finger.
  Trim his nails regularly, usually every couple of weeks. They should never be so long that you hear them clicking on the floor.
  When mature, a Beagle can become fairly lazy, content to lie about the house all day, getting up for meals and perhaps an occasional scratching of the ears. Since this is a breed prone to obesity, don't let this happen.

Living Conditions
 Beagles will do okay in an apartment if they get plenty of chances to be outdoors. They are very active indoors and a small yard will be sufficient.

Exercise
  Energetic and possessing great stamina, the Beagle needs plenty of exercise, including a brisk daily walk. It should have a fenced yard of reasonable size to romp in. Always use a lead when walking this breed or you will be running the risk of it disappearing in search of wild game.

Did You Know?
  Beagles are used as scent detection dogs at U.S. airports, where their friendliness allows them to search for weapons, drugs and illegal food items without making passengers nervous the way a larger “police dog” might.
Children and other pets
  Beagles bond with everyone in the family, especially children. They can be rambunctious when playing, however, so they need to be properly socialized and supervised with very young children. In addition, Beagles tend to be "mouthy," grabbing things, including your or your child's hand, with their mouths to play. They do this in fun and can be trained not to do this.
  As with every breed, you should always teach children how to approach and touch dogs, and supervise any interactions. Teach your child never to approach any dog while he's eating or sleeping or to try to take the dog's food away. No dog, no matter how friendly, should ever be left unsupervised with a child.
  Because of their pack dog heritage, Beagles enjoy company and don't like to be left alone. Another dog or even a cat will help meet their companionship needs.

In popular culture
  Beagles have been featured across a wide range of media. References to the dog appear before the 19th century in works by such writers as William Shakespeare, John Webster, John Dryden, Thomas Tickell, Henry Fielding and William Cowper, and in Alexander Pope's translation of Homer's Iliad. Beagles appeared in funny animal comic strips and animated cartoons from the 1950s with the Peanuts character Snoopy, billed as "the world's most famous Beagle",Walt Disney's Beagle Boys, Odie, Garfield's friend and "chew dog" and Beegle Beagle, the constant companion of Hanna-Barbera's Grape Ape. They have appeared in numerous films, taking a central role in Underdog, Cats & Dogs and its sequel, and the title roles in the adaptation of Phyllis Reynolds Naylor's book Shiloh. 
They have played supporting roles in films including Audition, The Monster Squad, I Am Number Four and The Royal Tenenbaums, and on television in Star Trek: Enterprise, EastEnders, The Wonder Years, and To the Manor Born among others. Former US President Lyndon Baines Johnson had several Beagles, and caused an outcry when he picked up one of them by its ears during an official greeting on the White House lawn. The ship on which Charles Darwin made the voyage which provided much of the inspiration for On the Origin of Species was named HMS Beagle after the breed, and, in turn, lent its name to the ill-fated British Martian lander Beagle 2. Gromit of Wallace and Gromit is also a beagle.

A dream day in the life
  Romping with the kids at the park or roaming wide-open spaces with its human best friends would mark an excellent day for this high-energy, attention-loving breed. A day of fun in the sun with plenty to sniff, chase and howl about is just what Beagle dreams are made of. After a few hours of playtime, a cozy nap on a warm lap would top off a perfect day.






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Everything about your Shetland Sheepdog

Everything about your Shetland Sheepdog
  The Shetland Sheepdog, or Sheltie, as it is affectionately called, is by all appearances a miniature Collie, and while it does share some genetic traits with the Collie, it is not considered to be of that breed class. The Sheltie is a member of the working class of herding dogs, and it continues to excel in that area. With the ability to learn commands in less then five repetitions, it is considered to be one of the most intelligent breeds. An alert watchdog and an affectionate companion, the Sheltie is an ideal breed for an active and youthful family.
   Shelties are a breed of their own, with the personality to prove it. This loyal herding dog was bred to help farmers and protect homes and is known to vocalize its protective instincts by barking. Intelligent as can be, Shelties rank among the top performers in agility and obedience training.
  Bright eyed and bushy tailed, with a face that always seems to be smiling, the Shetland Sheepdog, has long been a family favorite. Not a Miniature Collie but his own distinctive breed, the Sheltie is loyal, funny, and smart. He is also a barker.
   Canines of the Shetland Sheepdog dog breed  stood guard for farmers in the Shetland Islands off the coast of Scotland, keeping hungry birds and sheep out of the farmer's garden, and they served as herding dogs as well. Today they're excellent family companions and superstars in dog sports.

Overview
  The Sheltie is an active, fun-loving dog who’s a little too big to be small but small enough to be cute. His gentle disposition, athleticism, and keen intelligence make him a dog who lives to please and loves to show off. Trick-training is a breeze with this breed.
   Although his barking may make him difficult to tolerate in noisy city environs, he’s well-suited to a suburban lifestyle and (overall health permitting) is a wonderful walking, running, or hiking companion who can go for miles. Expect attention when out with a Sheltie; his cuteness always attracts a crowd and admiring comments.
  Along with the Border Collie, this diminutive speed demon is tops at the canine sport of agility. Less competitively, he loves to learn tricks that require a degree of agility, such as jumping over a bar or through a hoop. Retrieving games are not in the breed’s contract, but some Shelties become tennis ball freaks and will fetch them for hours. Don’t toss the ball into water, however: Most Shelties seem to think they are made of sugar.
  Though the “Lassie” markings are most common and popular, Shelties come in other varieties with varying degrees of white ruff and paws, including dogs with mottled gray-black coats (blue merles) or solid black coats. Blue merle dogs may have blue eyes and may be deaf in one or both ears.
Highlights
  • Many Shelties are very vocal, and they have a loud, piercing bark. To keep your relations with neighbors friendly, it's important to train your Sheltie at an early age to stop barking on command.
  • Expect your Sheltie to shed profusely in the spring, and sometimes at other times in the year.
  • Shelties are extremely intelligent and like to have a job to do. They can be stubborn, however. Make training fun and allow them time to make up their own minds to do what you want them to do.
  • Shelties have a lot of energy and need to be able to run. They thrive on activities such as agility and flyball, where they get both mental and physical exercise.
  • Shelties have been popular family dogs for many years. Because there's a big demand for puppies, there are many poorly bred Shelties for sale. If you're looking for a puppy, make sure you find a reputable breeder who tests her breeding dogs to make sure they're free of genetic diseases that they might pass onto the puppies and who breeds for sound temperaments. To get a healthy dog, never buy a puppy from a puppy mill, a pet store, or a breeder who doesn't provide health clearances or guarantees.
Other Quick Facts
  • The Sheltie is among the top 20 breeds registered by the AKC.
  • Shelties have strong herding instinct and do well in herding instinct tests and herding trials. They are also hotshots at agility, obedience, rally, and tracking.

Breed standards
AKC group: Herding
UKC group: Herding dog
Average lifespan: 12 - 14 years
Average size: 14 - 30 pounds
Coat appearance: Thick, coarse, water-repellent
Coloration: Varies
Hypoallergenic: No
Other identifiers: Many identify it as a miniature Collie. Small, triangle ears that flop over at the tips.
Possible alterations: None.
Comparable Breeds: Border Collie, Collie
History
  Unlike many miniature breeds that resemble their larger counterparts, this breed was not developed simply by selectively breeding the Rough Collie for smaller and smaller size. The original sheepdog of Shetland was a Spitz-type dog, probably similar to the modern Icelandic sheepdog. This dog was crossed with mainland working collies brought to the islands, and then after being brought to England, it was further extensively crossed with the Rough Collie, and other breeds including some or all of the extinct Greenland Yakki, the King Charles Spaniel (not the Cavalier), the Pomeranian, and possibly the Border Collie. The original Spitz-type working sheepdog of Shetland is now extinct, having been replaced for herding there by the Border Collie. The Shetland Sheepdog in its modern form has never been used as a working dog on Shetland, and ironically it is uncommon there.
  When the breed was originally introduced breeders called them Shetland Collies, which upset Rough Collie breeders, so the name was changed to Shetland Sheepdog. During the early 20th century (up until the 1940s), additional crosses were made to Rough Collies to help retain the desired Rough Collie type – in fact, the first AKC Sheltie champion's dam was a purebred rough Collie.
  The year 1909, marked the initial recognition of the Sheltie by the English Kennel Club, with the first registered Sheltie being a female called Badenock Rose. The first Sheltie to be registered by the American Kennel Club was "Lord Scott" in 1911.



Personality and Temperament
  Intensely loyal and affectionate with his family, the Sheltie has the typical herding breed reserve and even suspicion toward strangers. The Sheltie loves his people — and he’s very good with “his kids” — but he’s not all that fond of strangers. Shetland Sheepdog fanciers call him aloof and suggest the trait was intentional, to keep the small farm dogs from being stolen. Coupled with yapping, this trait can be very annoying to live with. So can the “Sheltie spin,” in which the dog will get revved up — typically at the sight of another dog — and bark furiously at the end of his leash while spinning like a top.
  His vocal warnings at the sight of strangers or, really, anything unusual, can go into overdrive. Unless someone is there to keep his barking under control, he can be entirely unsuitable as an apartment dweller, despite his small size.
  The Sheltie’s reserved nature can slide into shyness, timidity, or nervousness, all of which are inappropriate for the breed. He should not be stubborn, snappy, or ill-tempered. To have a Sheltie as he’s meant to be, it’s essential to make sure he gets plenty of socialization, coupled with firm, consistent training with respect to his barking.
  Like many a herding breed, the Sheltie has a tendency to nip at moving objects, which can mean children. Correct this every time you see it; a Sheltie should never get the idea that his nipping behavior is acceptable. On the plus side, Shelties generally get along with other dogs, typically seem to enjoy cats, and are fine with other household pets.
Shelties learn best with treats and praise, so teaching them good behaviors to substitute for the bad ones is the way to go. Fortunately, Shelties are really, really smart. That gives you a head start in training them.
  Begin training your puppy the day you bring him home. Even at 8 weeks old, he is capable of soaking up everything you can teach him. Never wait until he is 6 months old to begin training or you will have a more headstrong dog to deal with. If possible, get him into puppy kindergarten class by the time he is 10 to 12 weeks old, and socialize, socialize, socialize. However, be aware that many puppy training classes require certain vaccines  to be up to date, and many veterinarians recommend limited exposure to other dogs and public places until puppy vaccines have been completed. In lieu of formal training, you can begin training your puppy at home and socializing him among family and friends until puppy vaccines are completed.
Talk to the breeder, describe exactly what you’re looking for in a dog, and ask for assistance in selecting a puppy. Breeders see their puppies daily and can make uncannily accurate recommendations once they know something about your lifestyle and personality. Whatever you want from a Sheltie, look for one whose parents have nice personalities and who has been well socialized from early puppyhood.





Physical Characteristics
  The Shetland has a questioning, intelligent, gentle and expression. Even though it appears like a miniature version of Rough Collie, it has some differences as well. This agile Sheepdog has a small body that is long in proportion to its height. Its gait is ground covering, smooth, effortless, and, imparts good speed, agility, and endurance necessary in a herding dog. Its double coat comprises a dense, soft, short undercoat that effectively keeps the Sheltie comfortable in both cold and warm environments, with a straight, long, harsh outer coat that repels rain and moisture. The mane, tail, and frill have abundant hair, with the mane growing to impressive sizes on the male Shelties especially. Colors are various. The two main colorations are sable colored - a mix of dark and light brown with white - or blue merle, with gray, white and black. The Sheltie can be as small as 12 inches, and as tall as 16 inches, but in either case is considered to be a small dog.


Basic coat colors
  • Sable – Sable is dominant over other colors. May be pure for sable (two sable genes) or may be tri-factored or bi-factored (carrying one sable gene and one tricolor or bicolor gene). "Tri-factored" sable and "shaded" sable are NOT interchangeable terms. A shaded dog (one with a lot of black overlay on a sable coat) may or may not be tri-factored or bi-factored.
  • Tricolor – black, white, and tan. Tricolor is dominant over bi-black. May be pure for tricolor (2 tri genes) or may be bi-factored (carrying one tricolor gene and one bicolor gene).
  • Bi-black – black and white. Bi-black is recessive. A bi-black Sheltie carries 2 bi-black genes; thus, any dog of any other color with a bi-black parent is also bi-factored.
"Modified" coat colors
  Any of the above colors may also have a color modification gene. The color modification genes are merling and white factoring. Merling dilutes the base color (sable, tricolor, or bi-black) causing a black dog's coat to show a mix of black, white, and gray hairs, often with black patches.
  • Blue merle—blue, white, and tan. A tricolor with the merling gene. May have blue eyes.
  • Bi-blue—blue and white. A bi-black with the merling gene. May have blue eyes.
  • Sable merle—faded or mottled sable and white. Often born with a mottled coat of darker brown over lighter brown, they usually present as a faded or lighter sable or can appear as a washed out blue-merle. Sable merles are shown in the breed ring as sables; therefore, blue eyes are a major fault in AKC. Blue eyes are not faulted in sable merles in UKC.
  White factoring affects the amount of white on the dog. It is hard to tell, without actually breeding, whether a dog is white-factored or not, though dogs with white going up the stifle (the front of the hind leg) are usually assumed to be white-factored. Breeding two white-factored dogs can result in color-headed whites-Shelties with colored heads (sable, tricolor, bi-black, or blue or sable merle) and white bodies. Since dogs with more than 50% white are heavily penalized, they are not shown in the breed ring, but are perfectly normal in every other way.
  Double merles, a product of breeding two merle Shelties together, have a very high incidence of deafness and/or blindness. There have been reports of a brindle Sheltie but many Sheltie enthusiasts agree that a cross sometime in the ancestry of that specific Sheltie could have produced a brindle. Unacceptable colors in the show ring are a rustiness in a blue or black coat. Colors may not be faded, no conspicuous white spots, and the color cannot be over 50% white.


Is this breed right for you?
  Shelties are a highly active breed and do best in outdoor environments where there is plenty of room to run. Farms and acreages would suit this breed perfectly, but apartment living could work provided they get consistent daily exercise and are trained to restrain their barking. Loyal to the core, this protective breed is loving and sweet but might intimidate strangers with its barking. If you're prone to allergies or simply dislike fur, you may want to opt for another breed as Shelties have a high-maintanance coat that sheds frequently.

Health 
  The Sheltie has a lifespan of 12 to 14 years and may be prone to minor concerns like patellar luxation, allergies, hypothyroidism, Legg-Perthes, canine hip dysplasia, hemophilia, trichiasis, cataract, Collie eye anomaly, and progressive retinal atrophy, or a major one like dermatomyositis. Occasionally this breed may suffer from epilepsy, von Willebrand Disease, patent ductus arteriosus (PDA), and deafness. Eye, hip, DNA, and thyroid tests are advised. Some may not tolerate ivermectin. One merle should not be bred with another merle as homozygous merle is harmful to health and can be lethal.

Care
  Although Shelties were bred to withstand harsh weather conditions, they love their people and should live indoors with them as part of the family.
  While they can be relatively inactive indoors, Shelties were bred to be working farm dogs and need ample exercise. They enjoy going for walks, playing fetch with the kids, and running around the dining room table. Afterward, they'll help you hold down the sofa.
  Because of their small size, Shelties can do well in an apartment if their people are committed to providing daily walks and playtime, as well as training them not to bark incessantly.
  This requires finesse. Shelties can have their feelings easily hurt by harsh treatment. Instead of yelling at your Sheltie for barking, acknowledge his alert and give a verbal reprimand only if he continues barking. In general, Shelties respond best to positive reinforcement such as praise, play, and food rewards.
  Try to keep training interesting for your dog. Shelties can become bored easily, and see no point in repeating an exercise multiple times if it was done correctly the first time.

Grooming
  Regular and thorough brushing and combing is a must for this double-coat breed, because the undercoat can mat into a layer of uncomfortable felt while the long outer coat still looks normal.   Ask your Sheltie’s breeder to show you how to brush him so you get all the way down to the skin.
  Professional grooming at six-week intervals will prevent the worst shedding and matting, and make it possible to keep up the grooming in the interim. Shelties shed a lot, typically more in spring and fall. Your new best friends will be an undercoat rake, a pin brush, and a slicker brush.
  Shelties are good at keeping themselves clean, especially if you do your part by brushing regularly. Give your Sheltie a bath once every month or two. He shouldn’t need one more often than that.
  The rest is basic care. Trim his nails as needed, usually every week or two. Brush the teeth with a vet-approved pet toothpaste for good overall health and fresh breath.

Living Conditions
  The Sheltie will do okay in an apartment if sufficiently exercised. They are fairly active indoors and will do okay without a yard.

Exercise
  This active, graceful dog needs lots of exercise, which includes a daily walk or jog. They will also enjoy running free, but be sure the dog is in a safe area.

Children and other pets
  Shelties are excellent family companions, especially when they're raised with children who know how to handle dogs respectfully.
  As with any dog, always teach children how to approach and touch dogs. Supervise all interactions between dogs and young kids to prevent biting or ear pulling from either party. Never leave dogs and young children alone together.
  When it comes to other dogs, Shelties have a definite preference for their own kind, even if they don't live with other Shelties. On first introduction, they seem to recognize other Shelties as kindred spirits and are usually immediately friendly and willing to play. They tend to be standoffish with new dogs of other breeds, however. They can get along with cats, once the cat puts the Sheltie in his place for trying to herd him.

Famous Shetland Sheepdogs
  • Ch Halstor's Peter Pumpkin ROM - The Shetland sheepdog sire with the most Champions (160).
  • Am/Can/Jpn/Int'l Ch.Golden Hylites the Phantom ROM - One of the most expensive and campaigned Shetland sheepdog sires, sold to a kennel in Japan for a large amount.
  • Badenock Rose - the first Shetland sheepdog registered with the English Kennel Club.
  • Pikku - Shigeru Miyamoto's Shetland sheepdog
  • Reveille II - a past official mascot of Texas A&M University
  • Forrest as Grace O'Keefe's dog Lady in Kill the Irishman
  • Mickey - main character of Canadian children's series Mickey's Farm
  • Sam - The Dog in the Lethal Weapon series, owned by Riggs.
Did You Know?
  The Shetland Sheepdog has Collie in his ancestry and once went by the name Miniature Collie. He has also gone by the names Lilliputian Collie, Toonie Dog, and Fairy Dog.

A dream day-in-the-life
  Doing what it was born to do — herding, guarding and even swimming. This active breed loves to spend its days filled with athletic activities. To exercise its brain muscles, enrolling your Sheltie in agility or advanced obedience training would be highly welcomed. Living on a farm or home with room to run would make this pooch extra happy.



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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Everything about your Maltese

Everything about your Maltese

The Maltese has been a treasured companion dog for more than 2,000 years.
  With shoe-button eyes framed by a glistening coat of silky white, the Maltese has earned enduring popularity by combining cute with a lively, bright, and bold personality. Weighing less than seven pounds, these charmers are popular with the purse-dog set.
  The Maltese is the quintessential lap dog. It is extremely lovable and playful, and enjoys nothing more than to be pampered and praised by its owner. The breed is easily distinguished by its straight and long white coat, making it appear like it has just stepped out of a doggie hair salon.
  This breed is known for retaining its sweet-natured puppy tendencies through adulthood. Loving, social and loyal, the Maltese is an excellent companion dog in every sense of the word.

Overview
  The small, spunky Maltese is known for retaining his puppy-like attitude throughout his life. The Maltese is one of a handful of similar breeds whose job has always been that of “companion.” They are specifically designed to love and be loved.
  If you want a smart little dog to run you and your home, then this is your breed. Maltese pack a lot of love into their tiny bodies, and are never happier than when cuddling in their owners' laps. That doesn't mean these dogs don't need exercise and training. Resist the impulse to simply carry them everywhere and pluck them out of trouble, and let your dog be a dog. In particular, the Maltese excels at learning tricks and loves to show off.
  While the Maltese's happy, courageous natures make him a wonderful pet for many, this may not be the right dog for families with young children. Maltese are tiny and can easily be injured if play is too rough, or they may snap at a child in self-defense if frightened or hurt.
  This is also the wrong breed for someone who wants the look of a show dog with little effort. Those gorgeous creatures floating around the show ring with their gleaming white coats and perfect topknots are the product of endless hours of washing and combing, followed by keeping the coat in wraps for protection. Most pet Maltese are kept clipped short, which means frequent professional grooming. Neglected coats become tangled and matted, which is painful and can lead to serious skin infections.
  Those shoe-button eyes may look adorable against the white coat, but that look requires a lot of time spent cleaning away tear stains, which cause a rust discoloration that most people find unsightly even though it’s harmless.
  Allergies aren’t harmless, but those who sneeze and wheeze may find this breed more tolerable than others, although Maltese are fully capable of causing an allergic reaction in the most sensitive of sufferers. The size of a Maltese helps limit the amount of dog hair – and dander -- to trigger allergies, and a coat kept clean and clipped short will help further. But don’t believe the hype: there’s no such thing as a dog that doesn’t cause allergies at all.
The Maltese was developed exclusively as a companion dog, so he needs to live in the house and never outdoors.

Breed standards
AKC group: Toy Dog
UKC group: Companion Dog
Average lifespan: 15 - 18 years
Average size:  2 - 4 pounds
Coat appearance: Silky, straight, flat
Coloration: Pure white
Hypoallergenic: Yes
Other identifiers: Small, compact body frame; dark brown round eyes and black button nose
Possible alterations: Long coat standard for show dogs; puppy cut popular for non-show dogs
Comparable Breeds: Miniature Poodle, Shih Tzu
Highlights
  • Although your Maltese will want to please you, he can be difficult to housetrain. Crate training is recommended.
  • Maltese are prone to chills, especially if they are damp or walking in damp areas.
  • If your Maltese has long hair, he can get sunburned on the skin where the hair is parted on the back.
  • Because of their small size and delicate structure, Maltese generally aren't recommended for households with toddlers or small children.
  • Some Maltese have delicate digestive systems and may be picky eaters. Eating problems can occur if your Maltese has teeth or gum problems as well. If your Maltese is showing discomfort when eating or after eating, take him to the vet for a checkup.
  • To get a healthy dog, never buy a puppy from an irresponsible breeder, puppy mill, or pet store. Look for a reputable breeder who tests her breeding dogs to make sure they're free of genetic diseases that they might pass onto the puppies, and that they have sound temperaments.

History
  The Maltese dog is one of the most ancient of the toy breeds, with a history that can be traced back at least two millennia. Artists, poets, and writers immortalized this small dog in the early great cultures of Greece, Rome, and Egypt. They even were mentioned by Aristotle. The Greeks erected tombs for their Maltese dogs, while representations of Maltese-like dogs on Egyptian artifacts suggest that they were prized by that ancient culture. The Egyptians and, centuries later, many Europeans, thought that the Maltese had the ability to cure people of disease and would place one on the pillow of an ill person. This inspired one of its names — "The Comforter." Even before the Christian Era, the breed was widespread in Mediterranean cultures.
  Despite his prominence in history, the exact origin of the Maltese dog is uncertain. Many believe the breed was developed in the Isle of Malta in the Mediterranean Sea from Spitz- or Spaniel-type dogs. Others believe he was developed in Italy, and still others believe that he was originally from Asia and had a part in developing many of the smaller Asian dogs.
Wherever he came from, the Maltese thrived. By the 15th century, he had found a secure place in the arms and hearts of French aristocrats. During the reign of Henry VIII, Maltese arrived in the British Isles. By the end of the 16th century, the Maltese had become a favorite pet for noble and royal ladies. The little dog was a favorite of Queen Elizabeth I, Mary Queen of Scots, and Queen Victoria. Numerous painters, including Goya and Sir Joshua Reynolds, included these small dogs in their portraits of beautiful women.
Although he survived the fall of the Roman Empire and the Dark Ages, the Maltese was nearly destroyed in the 17th and 18th centuries when attempts were made to breed him to be the size of a squirrel. After this nearly disastrous experiment, breeders mixed poodles, miniature spaniels, and East Asian miniature dogs with the breed to save it. This resulted in the Maltese becoming so varied that several new breeds were formed. It is thought by many that Maltese are the direct ancestors of the Bichon Frise, Bolognese and Havanese breeds.
  English breeders developed the Maltese as we know him now. Many of the Maltese in the U.S. today trace their heritage back to English imports. Maltese were first seen in the U.S. in the late 1800s. They were entered in the earliest Westminster Kennel Club shows in the 1870s.
The number of Maltese dogs registered with the AKC grew very slowly until the 1950s. Since then, the breed has become quite popular. Maltese are one of the most popular breeds among spectators at dog shows, and frequently win the Toy Group. They also have an excellent record in the "Best in Show" competition.





Is this breed right for you?
  If you're looking for a pint-sized best friend to bring with you everywhere, the Maltese is right for you. Allergy sufferers rejoice! This breed's luxurious coat of hair means no dander, which will keep sneezing and sniffling to a minimum. The Maltese is a small and fragile breed, especially in its puppy years, and therefore must be supervised around little kids. A perfect companion dog, this adorable breed gets along with just about anyone — canine, feline and human.



Temperament and Personality
  Despite his tiny size, the Maltese is a lively and vigorous dog. He loves nothing more than to spend the day with his family.
  Because Maltese are so focused on their people, they take well to training. Attention and the ability to please are all it takes to get a Maltese to learn. He’s a ham who will show off tricks at home and excel in dog sports, including agility, obedience, rally and, believe it or not, tracking. A Maltese can also be a super therapy dog.
  Start training your puppy the day you bring him home. He is capable of soaking up everything you can teach him. If possible, get him into puppy kindergarten class by the time he is 10 to 12 weeks old, and socialize, socialize, socialize. However, be aware that many puppy training classes require certain vaccines (like kennel cough) to be up to date, and many veterinarians recommend limited exposure to other dogs and public places until puppy vaccines (including rabies, distemper and parvovirus) have been completed. In lieu of formal training, you can begin training your puppy at home and socializing him among family and friends until puppy vaccines are completed.
  Talk to the breeder, describe exactly what you’re looking for in a dog, and ask for assistance in selecting a puppy. Breeders see the puppies daily and can make uncannily accurate recommendations once they know something about your lifestyle and personality.
The perfect Maltese doesn’t spring fully formed from the whelping box. He’s a product of his background and breeding. Whatever you want from a Maltese, look for one whose parents have nice personalities and who has been well socialized from early puppyhood.

Health 
  Prone to sunburn along the hair parting, skin, eye issues, respiratory, and slipped stifle. Some may be difficult to feed with weak, upset digestion. They may get the chills, and they experience discomfort in hot weather. Maltese should be kept out of damp areas. Also prone to teeth problems. Feeding dry dog biscuits in addition to their normal food can help the teeth stay clean and healthy.

Care
  Maltese have no undercoat, and have little to no shedding if cared for properly. Like their relatives, the Poodles and Bichon Frisé, they are considered to be largely hypoallergenic and many people who are allergic to dogs may not be allergic to the Maltese. Daily cleaning is required to prevent the risk of tear-staining. Many owners find that a weekly bath is sufficient for keeping the coat clean, although it is recommended to not wash a dog so often, so washing your Maltese every 3 weeks is sufficient, although if the dog keeps clean even longer than that. They need to get professionally groomed about once every month and a half.
  Regular grooming is also required to prevent the coats of non-shedding dogs from matting. Many owners will keep their Maltese clipped in a "puppy cut," a 1 - 2" all over trim that makes the dog resemble a puppy. Some owners, especially those who show Maltese in the sport of conformation, prefer to wrap the long fur to keep it from matting and breaking off, and then to show the dog with the hair unwrapped combed out to its full length. Some Maltese need to be blow-dried in order to prevent mats because drying is ineffective to some dogs.
  Dark staining in the hair around the eyes, "tear staining", can be a problem in this breed, and is mostly a function of how much the individual dog's eyes water and the size of the tear ducts. To get rid of tear staining, you can get a solution or powder specially made for tear stains, which can often be found in local pet stores. A fine-toothed metal pet comb, moistened with hot water and applied perhaps twice weekly, also works extremely well. The antibiotic, Cephalexin has been shown to completely clear up "tear staining" in some cases.
  Maltese are susceptible to "reverse sneezing," which sounds like a honking, snorting, or gagging sound and results often from over-excitement, play, allergies, or upon waking up. It is not life-threatening or dangerous, it will go away after about a minute.
  They are ranked 59th out of 69 in Stanley Coren's The Intelligence of Dogs . which indexes obedience and the ability of a dog breed to follow commands, with very light focus on skills seen outside of working breeds, such as emotional intelligence.
  Maltese tend to have many or several tooth problems usually resulting in cavities, without proper care the infected teeth may fall out as the dog gets older. Maltese might need additional care, and have their teeth brushed with soft-bristled toothbrush and special dog toothpaste every week to avoid tooth problems.

Living Conditions
  The Maltese is a good dog for apartment life. They are very active indoors and will do okay without a yard.

Exercise
  Maltese need a daily walk. Play will take care of a lot of their exercise needs, however, as with all breeds, play will not fulfill their primal instinct to walk. Dogs that do not get to go on daily walks are more likely to display behavior problems. They will also enjoy a good romp in a safe, open area off lead, such as a large, fenced-in yard. They remain playful well into old age. They are very active indoors.

Grooming
  The glamorous Maltese is a high-maintenance dog. The Maltese has a silky single white coat that should be groomed daily with a pin brush or a stainless steel comb to prevent or remove any mats and tangles. Maltese who are allowed to become matted will probably need to be trimmed short because it will be too painful to comb or brush out the mats.
  As you comb or brush your Maltese, spray the coat with a mixture of coat conditioner diluted with water. This will help protect the hair from breakage and prevent the buildup of static. When your Maltese is dry and beautiful, pull up the hair around his face into a cute topknot or trim it so it doesn’t fall into his eyes.
  Bathe your Maltese whenever his coat starts to look dingy. With the gentle pet shampoos available, you can bathe him weekly if you want without harming his coat.
Before bathing, comb the coat out thoroughly to remove all tangles. Use a whitening shampoo, followed by a conditioner for dogs with long hair. Rinse thoroughly, and then rinse again to make sure you’ve removed all the shampoo and conditioner. Use a towel to soak up as much moisture as possible, then blow dry the coat until it is completely dry. Never let your Maltese air-dry, or his coat won’t look pretty at all.
  If all of this sounds like too much work, take your Maltese to a professional groomer who can give the coat the care it needs or trim it into an easy-care puppy clip that you can manage at home.
  Of course, a Maltese also needs the same basic care as other dogs. Trim his nails every week or two, short enough that they don’t click on the floor, and brush his teeth frequently with a vet-approved pet toothpaste for good overall health and fresh breath.

Children and other pets
  Most Maltese breeders will not sell puppies to families with young children. It's just too easy for a toddler to injure a tiny Maltese by dropping him, stepping on him, or holding him too tightly. He does much better in a home with quiet older children or adults only who will treat him with the care he needs.
  Maltese can get along with other dogs and cats if they are socialized to them at an early age. They're unaware of their tiny size, however, and must be protected from taking on dogs that are ten or twenty times their size.

Did You Know?
  The sweet little Maltese is a favorite of celebrities, including Halle Berry, Heather Locklear, and Eva Longoria. Could it be because they’re so darn cute in photographs? We think so.




A dream day in the life of a Maltese
  Looking adorable while sitting on your lap is all in a day's work for the Maltese. Compact and friendly as can be, this breed loves to go anywhere with you. More than just a beautiful face, this pooch has brains and loves to show them off. A day of learning new tricks and showing off would keep this pup's tail wagging. Resist the urge to coddle your Maltese — yes, it makes them happy, but in the long run it's best to teach them a little independence.





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