LUV My dogs: Vikings

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Showing posts with label Vikings. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Vikings. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Everything about your Icelandic Sheepdog

Everything about your Icelandic Sheepdog
  Thought to be companions to the ancient Vikings, the Icelandic Sheepdog dog breed was used to protect flocks, especially lambs, from birds of prey. They still retain the habit of watching the sky and barking at birds — as well as everything else they see or hear.

  It's thought that invading Vikings brought the ancestors of this breed with them to Iceland in the ninth century. Thanks to the isolation of Iceland, today's Icelandic Sheepdogs — also called the Icelandic Spitz or Icelandic Dog — probably look a lot like their ancestors.
   He's too friendly to be much of a guard dog, but you'll never be surprised by visitors.
  Affectionate, confident, and playful, the Icelandic Sheepdog gets along well with people and other dogs. Males tend to be more laidback and cuddly than females. Trained with consistency and patience, Icelandics learn quickly and willingly.

Quick Facts
  • The Icelandic Sheepdog’s thick, straight or slightly wavy double coat comes in two lengths and several colors — shades of tan, ranging from cream to reddish brown; chocolate brown; gray and black — all with white markings and sometimes with a black mask.
  • Icies typically have double dewclaws on their hind legs.
Breed standards

AKC group: Herding
UKC group: Herding Group
Average lifespan: 11-14 years
Average size: 20 - 30 pounds
Coat appearance: medium or longer, always with a thick, soft undercoat
Coloration: Tan, reddish-brown, chocolate, gray, black, white is a prominent required color
Hypoallergenic: No
Best Suited For: Families with children, active singles, houses with yards, farms/rural areas
Temperament: Affectionate, confident, playful, loving
Comparable Breeds: American Eskimo Dog, Norwegian Elkhound

  The breed is sometimes denoted in Latin as canis islandicus, though it is a breed and not a species.
  As the name implies, it is a sheep dog, but is also used as a watch dog and general working dog. When herding, the Icelandic Sheepdogs were not mainly used to take the sheep from one point to another, but to prevent animals from straying. Additionally, the dogs were in charge of herding horses and other animals, as well. When herding failed, the dogs drove the animals by barking. Thus, they tend to bark when they want something, although this behaviour can be controlled by training.
The Icelandic Sheepdog often has
 two dewclaws on each hind leg.
  In the Icelandic landscape, sheep often get lost and it has historically been the dog's job to find them and return them to the herd. They are, therefore, used to working on their own and to figuring things out for themselves, so owners have to beware lest they learn things they should not. As a watch dog, their main task was to alert the inhabitants when somebody was coming, so these dogs tend to bark a lot when they see people approaching.
  The Icelandic Sheepdog is very loyal and wants to be around its family constantly. It follows its owner everywhere. Unlike most working dogs, these calm down when indoors and happily lie down at their master's feet.

  The Icelandic Sheepdog is native to, yes, Iceland — the only breed that originated there. It’s thought that Vikings brought the ancestors of this breed with them to Iceland in the 9th century. The dogs were used to protect flocks, especially lambs, from birds of prey.
  The breed has been brought from near-extinction in the 1950s, when only about 50 of the dogs remained, to a population of more than 800 in the United States alone. The American Kennel Club recognized the breed as a member of the Herding Group in 2010.

  This breed is prone to separation anxiety, so it is not recommended as an outside-only dog. The breed is social, affectionate, playful and friendly, making it a great option for families.
  Icelandic sheepdogs are great with children, other dogs and smaller pets. The prey drive is not strong in this breed, so smaller pets should be welcomed by them. Always supervise your dog with smaller animals because the hunting instincts can vary depending on the individual dog. Calm but firm training is recommended.
  Icelandic sheepdogs bark when active, working or excited, so apartment residents should take this into consideration.

  The Icelandic Sheepdog generally has little health issues with an average life expectancy of 12 to 16 years. Main health concerns associated with the Icelandic Sheepdog include hip dysplasia and an eye disorder called distichiasis.

  With such a thick coat, this dog breed does require weekly brushing. An active exercise plan is best for the Icelandic Sheepdog. It should never be left alone for too long as isolation may result in anxiety issues.

Living Conditions
  The Icelandic Sheepdog needs a lot of activity and exercise and needs close contact to the family. Many of these dogs have "home-alone anxiety" problems, because they don't like to be home alone.

  As a breed, Icelandic Sheepdogs are smart, willing and eager to please. This makes them pretty easy to train. However, because they are so intelligent and enthusiastic, they should be kept challenged with a variety of different training, exercise and play activities, so that they don’t become bored. It can be helpful to rotate their activities every few days, to keep them alert and happy.

Activity Requirements
  Icelandic Sheepdogs are active, athletic, energetic animals that need lots of exercise to  keep them in tip-top physical and mental shape. They enjoy all sorts of outdoor activities, such as taking long rambling walks with their owners, romping at the dog park and frolicking at the beach or along a river. They love to play with other dogs. They also love to participate in obedience, agility, utility, flyball, herding and other competitive dog sports, at which they excel.

  The Icelandic’s coat of many colors can be short or long, with both lengths having an outer coat and an undercoat.
  Brush the Icie’s coat once or twice a week to remove loose fur and reduce the amount of hair you find floating around the house or attached to your clothes. Be sure you have a good vacuum cleaner to keep your home tidy. Icie lovers say he doesn’t shed as much as you might think, but don’t get this breed thinking that he is a low shedder.
  The rest is basic care. Trim the nails every three to four weeks or as needed. You may also want to clip the tufts of hair between the toes, but other than that, the coat needs no trimming. Brush the teeth often — with a vet-approved pet toothpaste — for good overall health and fresh breath.

Is the Icelandic Sheepdog the Right Breed for you?
Moderate Maintenance: Regular grooming is required to keep its fur in good shape. Professional trimming or stripping needed.
Moderately Easy Training: The Icelandic Sheepdog is average when it comes to training. Results will come gradually.
Very Active: It will need daily exercise to maintain its shape. Committed and active owners will enjoy performing fitness activities with this breed.
Not Good for New Owners: This breed is best for those who have previous experience with dog ownership.
Good with Kids: This is a suitable breed for kids and is known to be playful, energetic, and affectionate around them.

Did You Know?
  The Icelandic Sheepdog is also known as the Iceland Spitz.

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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Everything about your Norwegian Elkhound

Everything about your Norwegian Elkhound
  This gorgeous dog breed with the wolflike face delights in life. Smart as can be, he also has a wonderful sense of humor. He’ll race you around the kitchen island, reverse directions when you do, and then howl for sheer fun. Bold, energetic, and protective, he makes an excellent watchdog and guardian. Elkhounds are utterly devoted to their families. When you’re upset, this tenderhearted Viking will plop his head on your lap.

  Around since the Stone Age, the Norwegian Elkhound is known for its great hunting and watchdog skills. A better hunter at night than during the day, this breed can hunt small to large animals, including its namesake, elk. A Scenthound, this dog is known to hunt an animal from a mile away, find it, and bark a notification to his hunting companion for retrieval. A prized sled dog, this breed is athletic and has a strong ability to handle rough terrains.

  • The Norwegian Elkhound is loyal and affectionate, and he does very well with children and is generally friendly with strangers. However, he can be aggressive to other dogs and animals, so it's important to properly socialize your Elkhound from puppyhood to a variety of new experiences and dogs.
  • The Elkhound can be dominant and difficult to train, but training can nonetheless be enjoyable and effective as long as the approach is consistent and firm.
  • Being a working breed, the Elkhound has a level of intelligence, independence, and energy that can be overwhelming for timid or inconsistent owners. You should expect him to need at least 30 minutes of exercise twice per day, which will also fight this food-motivated dog's tendency toward obesity. He'll also need some form of mental stimulation to keep him from becoming bored.
  • The Norwegian Elkhound does fine in apartments if he's properly exercised, but the ideal setting is a large, fenced yard. Despite his outdoor hardiness, he needs to live indoors with his family.
  • He can be a barker, which you should keep in mind before bringing one home. Although some Elkhounds can be trained to not bark, this is not the norm.
  • 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.
Other Quick Facts
  • According to Norse sagas, Elkhounds traveled with the Vikings.
  • The Elkhound tends to be friendly to family and strangers alike.
Breed standards
AKC group: Hound
UKC group: Scenthound
Average lifespan:  12 - 15 years
Average size:  50 - 60 pounds
Coat appearance: Coarse and weatherproof
Coloration: Gray and silver
Hypoallergenic: No
Other identifiers: Square, medium-sized body; black, wide nose; dark brown oval eyes; broad, strong chest; straight and strong legs; thick muzzle; strong, pointed ears on top of head and fluffy tail that points upwards
Possible alterations: Puppies are born black and turn silver within a few weeks of birth
Comparable Breeds: Keeshond, Swedish Elkhound

  Dogs like the Elkhound accompanied the Vikings, the Norse sagas tell us; after all, a man’s dog is as important as his weapons. Over the centuries, the Elkhound’s ancestors guarded farms, herded and protected flocks from predators, and hunted big game such as elk and bear.
  Though these dogs have been known in Norway for hundreds of years, it wasn’t until 1877 that they began to be exhibited in dog shows. The Norwegian Hunters Association held its first show that year, and owners began to keep better records of pedigrees and trace them back as far as possible. They wrote a breed standard and published a stud book. A photograph of a well-known dog of that time — Gamle Bamse Gram — looks much like an   Elkhound of today, lacking only some of the modern dog’s refinement.
  The American Kennel Club recognized the Elkhound in 1913. Today the breed ranks 106th among the dogs registered by the AKC.

  The Norwegian Elkhound is well-known for his friendly nature and outgoing personality. He loves people however; he has a unique ability to tell which people are welcomed guests and which are unwanted. Very protective of his family, he makes an awesome watchdog. Barking is the Norwegian Elkhound’s forte. He loves to bark and will simply bark because he likes the sound of his own voice! It is imperative that he be trained to be quiet on command or he will drive you crazy.
  A family-oriented breed, the Norwegian Elkhound craves affection. Many suffer from separation anxiety which could lead to the dog becoming destructive of your possessions. Exercise and plenty of toys can help to minimize his anxiety. This breed does not fare well when left alone for long periods of time.

  This Norwegian Elkhound, which has an average lifespan of 10 to 12 years, occasional suffers from intracutaneous cornifying epithelioma, patellar luxation, Fanconi Syndrome and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA).
  The most serious aliment affecting it is canine hip dysplasia (CHD), while minor health problems such as renal dysplasia, hot spots, and sebaceous cysts are common. Hip, eye, and urine tests are good for this breed of dog.

  The Norwegian Elkhound requires daily exercise, not only to burn off energy but also to help him maintain a healthy weight. Exceptionally food-motivated, he can become obese, and proper feeding and exercise are required throughout his life.
  He does all right in apartments, but he is a barker, so take that into consideration. A home with a fenced yard is more suitable. He could live outside because he's so hardy, but he'd much rather be indoors with you.
  Crate training benefits every dog and is a kind way to ensure that your Elkhound doesn't have accidents in the house or get into things he shouldn't. A crate is also a place where he can retreat for a nap. Crate training at a young age will help your Elkhound accept confinement if he ever needs to be boarded or hospitalized.
  Never stick your Elkhound in a crate all day long, however. It's not a jail, and he shouldn't spend more than a few hours at a time in it except when he's sleeping at night. Elkhounds are people dogs, and they aren't meant to spend their lives locked up in a crate or kennel.

Living Conditions
  The Norwegian Elkhound will be okay in an apartment if it is sufficiently exercised. It is fairly active indoors and does best with at least a large yard. Elkhounds prefer cool climates.

  Elkhounds are intelligent dogs and have minds of their own, making them challenge to train. This breed needs firm leadership and absolute consistency or they will take over the household. Calm-assertive leadership is required, and many trainers suggest exercising your Elkhound before training sessions to ensure they are in the right frame of mind to accept leadership.
  Once leadership has been established and basic obedience has been mastered, Norwegian Elkhounds should graduate on to agility training. The obstacle course gives them an outlet to burn off physical energy, while keeping their minds sharp and active.

Activity Requirements
  Norwegian Elkhounds are bundles of energy and need a lot of vigorous activity in order to maintain health and an even temperament. Several walks a day are great, but that is just a start for this breed. They need time to run every single day, and should be exercised for one to two hours. If your Elkhound is not getting enough physical activity, he will become hyperactive and resort to destructive chewing when left alone.
  Norwegian Elkhounds are best suited for those who already have an active lifestyle. People who walk, jog, bike, hike and camp will find that an Elkhound fits seamlessly into these activities. Couch potatoes, or those who want a docile family dog should look to another breed. 

  The Elkhound has a soft, woolly undercoat and a coarse, straight top coat. The thick double coat is easy to groom with brushing several times a week, but it sheds heavily. During seasonal sheds, you’ll think it’s snowing Elkhound hair. At those times, daily brushing and warm baths will help remove the loose hair so the new hair can grow in. On the plus side, there’s never any need to trim his coat or whiskers and baths are rarely necessary.
  The rest is basic care. Trim the nails as needed, usually every six weeks. Brush the teeth frequently with a vet-approved pet toothpaste for good overall health and fresh breath.

Children And Other Pets
  An Elkhound is excellent with children and will play with and protect them. However, without careful obedience training, they may take over the role of pack leader and become dominant, especially toward children, less strong-willed adults, or other dogs.
  As with every breed, you should always teach children how to approach and touch dogs, and always supervise any interactions between dogs and young children to prevent any biting or ear or tail pulling on the part of either party. 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.
  The Norwegian Elkhound generally gets along with other pets, including cats, but remember his prey drive and willingness to hunt big game.

Is this breed right for you?
  The Norwegian Elkhound does extremely well with children, especially when introduced to them when a puppy, and is a loyal and loving family dog. Protective of and affectionate to his family, he's very devoted to his owners and does best in a family setting. An active and people-loving breed, he does best when exercised daily. A big shedder, the Norwegian Elkhound will need to be groomed at least twice a week. In need of a yard and a known barker, this breed does best in homes located in colder climates.

Did You Know?
  The Norwegian Elkhound’s job is to track elk, bear, or moose, and then keep the animal in place by barking at him until the hunter arrives.

Famous Norwegian Elkhounds
  • President Herbert Hoover's "Weejie"
  • "Canute" and others, in Virginia Woolf's novel, Orlando: A Biography
  • In The X-Files, Mulder blocks Eugene Victor Tooms when stalking a potential victim by asking him about his Norwegian Elkhound, Heinrich, in the episode "Tooms."
A dream day in the life of a Norwegian Elkhound
  A lover of his people, the Norwegian Elkhound will ideally wake up at the foot of the bed of his owner. After breakfast with his family, he'll enjoy a morning job outdoors. Coming home to a good brushing, he'll inspect the house to ensure it's safe and secure for the homeowners. Playing with the kids all day, he'll nose up to the cat, and bark away any possible intruders. After a game of Frisbee and tag in the backyard, this pup will head back inside to enjoy the evening with his loving humans.

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