In the 1960s and early ’70s in the United States there was a serious problem with pet overpopulation. An estimated 20 million cats and dogs were euthanized in animal shelters each year. At that time most people did not spay or neuter their pets and it wasn’t unusual for pet owners to have unwanted litters of kittens or puppies.

Since that time there has been a great public education campaign to make pet owners more aware of their responsibility when it comes to containing their pets and stopping unwanted litters. Today it’s estimated that 2-3 million cats and dogs are euthanized in animal shelters each year and many of those animals are considered unadoptable because of age or illness. Great strides have been made toward reducing unwanted litters.

According to the American Pet Products Association 2011-2012 National Pet Owners Survey 78 percent of owned dogs are spayed or neutered and 88 percent of owned cats are spayed or neutered. The message about spaying and neutering pets has reached the vast majority of pet owners in the U.S.

Benefits of spaying and neutering
There are a number of benefits to spaying and neutering your dog. According to the Society for Theriogenology (animal reproductive veterinarians) spaying and neutering provide the following benefits:

Health
• Decreased risk of mammary, testicular, and ovarian neoplasia

• Decreased risk of pyometra

• Decreased risk of prostatitis, benign prostatic hyperplasia, prostatic cysts and squamous metaplasia of the prostate

• Decreased incidence of perineal and inguinal hernia and perineal adenoma in neutered male dogs

Behavior
• Inter-dog aggression may be due to competition for available territory or availability of cycling animals

• There is a decreased risk of wandering and being hit by a car in neutered animals

• Sterilization prevents unwanted litters

On the other hand, there are also benefits to keeping your dog intact.

Benefits of keeping your dog intact
• There is a decreased incidence of hemangiosarcoma in intact dogs

• There is a decreased incidence of osteosarcoma in intact dogs

• There is a decreased risk of transitional cell carcinoma in intact dogs

• There is a decreased risk of prostatic adenocarcinoma in intact male dogs compared to gonadectomized male dogs

• There is a decreased incidence of obesity in intact male and female dogs, which may be due at least partly to increased metabolic rate

• There is a decreased incidence of urinary incontinence in intact female dogs (equivocal if bitches are spayed after 5 months but before their first heat)

• There may be a reduced incidence of urinary tract infection in intact female dogs

• There may be a reduced incidence of autoimmune thyroiditis and hypothyroidism in intact male and female dogs

• There is a possibly reduced incidence in diabetes mellitus in intact male dogs

• There is a reduced incidence of cranial cruciate rupture in intact male and female dogs

• There may be a reduced incidence of hip dysplasia in male and female dogs that are not gonadectomized before 5 months of age

Behavior
• There may be less aggression towards people and animals in intact female dogs

• There may be a decreased incidence of cognitive dysfunction in intact male and female dogs

A new study from the University of California at Davis backs up these findings and emphasizes the negative effects of spaying and neutering on hip dysplasia and cancers. http://news.ucdavis.edu/search/news_detail.lasso?id=10498 According to this study, and others, it’s definitely advisable to wait until your dog is older to spay or neuter.

So, while there are definitely some benefits to spaying or neutering your dog and it makes sense for many pet owners, there are also health benefits to keeping a dog intact. You should always talk to your vet about spaying and neutering. Discuss your dog’s overall health, his age, his breed or mix, and any health conditions that might be affected by spaying and neutering. Your dog looks to you to make these decisions for him so find out all you can

Many people are under the impression that all dogs know how to swim, or dog paddle, but that’s not the case. While some breeds are natural swimmers, such as Labrador Retrievers, Newfoundlands, and Portuguese Water Dogs, there are many other breeds and dogs that aren’t physically built for swimming. Many of the brachycephalic breeds (short-nosed) like Pugs and Bulldogs, can have difficulty keeping their head up out of the water or supporting their heavy bodies with their shorter legs. Some dogs need some help in learning to swim. And a life jacket/personal flotation device is a good idea for most dogs.

Fortunately, you can teach most dogs to swim. This is a good idea, especially if you have a pool or if your dog will be spending any time around the water. Knowing how to swim could save his life if he falls in the water. Plus, swimming is a lot of fun for many dogs and they like to be able to join you in the water.

Teaching your dog to swim

Here are some tips to help you teach your dog to swim.

  • Choose a small area. If you have a pool, use the shallow end for teaching your dog at first. If you are using a lake or pond, use an area that is not very deep. Your dog will feel more confident in a shallow area while he learns. You can move to a deeper part of the water as your dog gains confidence.
  • Use a life jacket or vest. Even if your dog is a natural swimmer, it’s usually a good idea to fit him with a colorful safety vest in the water. This is especially important when you are boating or in deeper waters, but it is also a good idea in a swimming pool or pond. Not only does a life jacket provide your dog with some buoyancy, but the colorful vest makes it easy to see your dog if you need to find him quickly in the water. Choose a vest that has a good handle on the back so you can grab your dog from above in case you are in a boat. Jackets come in all sizes and styles so choose one that fits your dog well.
  • Avoid a lot of noise. Work with your dog when it’s quiet and the two of you can focus. You can gently guide or coax your dog into the water. Use your arms to support his stomach and hold his head up in the water. His legs should begin to paddle. You can let him paddle around the shallow water while you guide him. You can gradually let him do more on his own. If he is wearing the life jacket it should help keep him afloat.
  • Be encouraging. Just as with any kind of training it’s important for you to be encouraging. Praise and reward your dog for his efforts. Take treats with you – preferably something that will be okay if it gets wet. Make your dog’s swimming lessons fun.
  • Don’t throw your dog in the water. Some dogs might be scared of the water. Never throw a dog into the water or force them in the water. If you scare your dog he won’t want to swim or get in the water. If your dog doesn’t want to get in the water then just play with him on the edge of the water and encourage him to get his paws wet. He may eventually want to get in the water. But don’t force him.

 

  • Keep supporting your dog. Continue to support your dog’s middle and his hind legs until he starts paddling. Once your dog gets the hang of swimming he should be okay, but stay nearby
  • Show your dog how to get out. This is very important, especially if you have a swimming pool. Teach your dog where the steps are and how to get out of the pool. Many dogs drown each year because they fall into pools and they don’t know how to get out. Swim with your dog to the steps again and again and make sure that he knows where to exit the pool.
  • Watch your dog. Don’t leave your dog unattended. Don’t allow your dog to swim without you. Even if you are together, keep checking on your dog. A dog (or anyone) can drown quickly, so keep your eye on your dog when he’s in the water.

If you follow these suggestions you should be able to teach your dog to swim and keep him safe. Most dogs love to swim even if they aren’t natural swimmers. So, head to the water with your dog and have a great time!

Does Your Dog Need Sunscreen?

Believe it or not, some dogs do need to use sunscreen. While dogs enjoy the sun as much as any of us, there are some breeds that are hairless and other breeds with white or pink skin which is sensitive to the sun. Owners with these dogs need to take some special precautions so their dogs’ skin won’t burn.

 

Which breeds?

Hairless breeds include:

  • Chinese Crested (AKC and other registries)
  • Xoloitzcuintli (Mexican Hairless Dog) (AKC and other registries)
  • Peruvian Hairless Dog (Perro Sin Pelo del Perú) (FCI, UKC, AKC Foundation Stock Service)
  • American Hairless Terrier (UKC)

 

Non-registered breeds:

  • American Crested Sand Terrier
  • Hairless Khala (Argentine Pila Dog)

 

All of these breeds might need some sunscreen when they are out in the sun, especially if you live in a very hot, sunny area. Some of these dogs have both hairless and coated versions, or dogs that have some slight fur on their bodies. The hairless dogs may need some moisturizer for their skin, too. For example, the Chinese Crested has both a hairless and powder puff variety. The hairless has a smooth body with skin showing. They feature silky hair on their head, “socks” on their paws, and a plume on their tail. They require sunscreen when outside and they often need some moisturizer for their soft skin.

 

The Xolo or Mexican Hairless Dog also has skin showing over his body. These dogs are an ancient breed from Mexico and they were sacred to the Aztecs and other central American people. The dogs are believed to date back more than 3000 years and it’s thought that they derive from a spontaneous genetic mutation for hairlessness.

 

Hairless dogs sometimes have problems with acne if too much lotion or cream is used on their bodies or if they are bathed too often. Bathing can strip away their natural skin oils, just as it does with coated dogs.

 

Other dogs that need sunscreen

Other dogs that sometimes need sunscreen include dogs with white or pink skin. If your dog has a white or partly white coat, then he probably has white or pink skin beneath it. He should be fine outside unless he likes to lie on his back and show off his stomach. The fur is very thin over the abdomen and inner thighs. You can apply sunscreen in this area to protect your dog.

 

If your dog has a pink or pale nose you can also place some sunscreen on it for protection. Delicate ears are another place where you might want to apply some sunscreen.

 

And, any dog that has a thin coat with little undercoat might need some sunscreen. But try not to grease your dog up with too much of the product. If you can easily see your dog’s white or pink skin through his hair, then some sunscreen might be in order. Or you can limit your dog’s exposure to the sun.

 

What to use?

Vets advise you to avoid using any product with zinc oxide on your pet. If your dog licks zinc oxide it can make him dangerously anemic. Otherwise you can use sunscreens that are SPF 15. There is one sunscreen that is made specifically for dogs (and horses) and approved by the FDA: The Epi-Pet Sun Protector Sunscreen.

 

Most dogs can enjoy the sun without any problems but if you have a hairless dog or a dog with more sensitive skin, a little sunscreen can provide the protection your dog needs

Dogs are truly man’s best friend. They greet us each day with wagging tails and slobbery tongues, hoping for a walk or game of fetch. They love snuggling up on the sofa and they may even bring your shoes over when they want to go outside. Dogs are loving and affectionate creatures, so it is important that we reciprocate. Thankfully, dogs aren’t like humans in the sense that they hold grudges or talk behind your back; making dogs happy is actually quite simple. Here are some ways you can boost your reputation with your own dog and canines the world over.

Wear a Treat Utility Belt

If there’s one thing we know about dogs, it’s that they love to eat. Anytime, anywhere, they’re always ready to chow down. If you’re familiar with the DC Comics superhero Batman, you know he has a utility belt filled with gadgets to help him fight crime, such as the Batarang and grappling hooks. Like Batman, you should have your own utility belt to help you fight hunger for doggies. If you’re on a walk, have a couple for your dog(s), but also be ready to give some to dogs you meet along the way – you’ll make a new friend for life!

Know Your Dog Breeds

You don’t need to be an expert on every dog in the world, but it doesn’t hurt to know some basic breed facts. For example, if certain dogs tend to be more aggressive toward strangers, you know not to approach them if it’s the first time you’re meeting, or to make any abrupt movements that may alarm them. If you know that certain dogs need a lot of exercise, make sure they get it. Think of how much you appreciate when someone knows you and all of your preferences – it means a lot to you and you value that individual. Dogs feel the same way when you comprehend and acknowledge their needs.

Set Aside Snuggle Time

Dogs love to cuddle! Don’t deprive your buddy of one-on-one love and affection. You can’t realistically do this all the time because you have your family, work, social life, etc., but you should always make time for belly rubs and ear scratches.

Walk Frequently

This is a given, but it’s worth mentioning. Dogs need exercise just like humans do. Develop a schedule and stick to it so your dog gets to release energy and has something to look forward to.

Be Spontaneous

Instead of your normal evening walk, head to the dog park. If you have a greenbelt nearby, walk there instead of the usual neighborhood route. Head for the hills and have a picnic on your day off. There are a million different things you can do – make it fun! You don’t want to do the same things over and over and over again, and neither does your dog.

Now that you know how to treat your canine companions, go and do! If you continue to nurture your relationship, you’ll create a strong bond and many lasting memories.

Ron Rutherford loves dogs, fresh peach pie, and a rousing game of pinnacle. He writes for Havahart Wireless, manufacturers of invisible electric fencing for dogs.

We all love our dogs and we love giving them treats when they do something good. But we may not know what’s in those store bought treats and if it is good or bad. It doesn’t help when there are recalls for dog foods and treats as well, that end up worrying dog owners more than anything. So when you want to give your dog a special treat, what do you do? Well, here are two do-it-yourself gourmet dog treat recipes that you can easily make at home:

Natural Greenies Treats
Greenies is a brand of dental dog treats that helps to freshen breath and clean teeth. Here is your recipe for natural Greenies treats at home! You’ll need: 3 ½ c organic brown rice flour, 1 tbsp premium activated charcoal, 4 tbsp vegetable oil, 1 egg, ½ c packed fresh mint, ½ c packed fresh italian parsley, 1 c chicken broth, 1 tsp Swanson GreenFoods Liquid Chlorophyll.

Heat your oven to 400 and then line a baking sheet with either parchment or spray with non-stick spray. Then mix the flour and the charcoal and put to the side. Now, you’ll want to finely chop the mint and parsley and mix it with both the oil and ¼ c of the broth so that it makes a paste. Once you have your paste made, add in the chlorophyll and mix well. Carefully add the paste mix to the flour and knead like a bread recipe. You’ll want to add in the remaining broth carefully, mixing well in between each addition. If you find that the recipe is getting too stick to knead or roll out, you can add in a bit more flour or dust the area that you’re working with it. The dough will not be green, in fact, it will be a dark gray color normally. Once you have your dough completely mixed and kneaded, roll it out and use a cookie cutter to make fun shapes. Bake at 400 degrees for about 15-20 minutes. Let them cool and then store in an air tight container in the fridge.

Dog Chicken Jerky
Every dog loves meat, so why not make them and organic treat that they can gobble up? Here is a recipe for organic chicken jerky for your furry baby. Here’s what you’ll need: 1 package lg organic boneless chicken breasts, and a pinch of sea salt. (Pretty simple, right?!) Preheat your oven to 200 degrees and cut the chicken into very thing strips, cutting with the grain and removing all fat. Very lightly sprinkle sea salt onto the strips, not too much, just enough that your dog thinks they are getting human food. Now, lay the strips on a baking sheet or rack and bake about 2 hours at 200 degrees or until the meat is dry, but still soft (like jerky). If you’re not sure that it’s totally done yet, you can leave it in for another 20 minutes or so, checking it often. You basically want to make sure that they chicken is done all the way through.

When it’s finished, let it cool and then store it in an air tight container in the fridge. You can also use a dehydrator for this if you have one, but the oven version does make the chicken a little softer for your dog to chew. And hey, why not try some for yourself while you’re at it? Although, your dog may get a bit jealous.

Popular Dog Breeds: Rottweilers

The powerful Rottweiler makes a devoted companion but he is also renowned as a police dog, herder, service dog, therapy dog, and an excellent obedience dog. While these muscular, protective dogs can strike fear in the hearts of intruders, they are often clownish and fun-loving at home with their families.

 

History

The Rottweiler has a long and distinguished history. Their ancestors were the drover’s dogs that were used to herd the cattle and other herds the Romans brought with them into Europe 2000 years ago. The Germans recognized the superior herding and guarding instincts of the dogs and bred for these traits. The result was a dog developed to drive cattle to market in the Rottweil region of Germany. The dogs were also useful to butchers and were used to pull carts. This continued until the mid 19th century when cattle driving was outlawed. The number of Rottweilers declined drastically after this time since there was no work for them to do. After 1901 the Rottweiler began to be favored as a police dog and the breed’s fortunes improved again. The Rottweiler was admitted to the AKC studbook in 1931 and the breed parent club was formed in the U.S. in 1971. Today the breed is very popular in the U.S.

 

Temperament

Rottweilers are devoted to their owners and their families but they are a protective breed. They will protect their territory and they do not welcome strangers unless they are properly introduced. They are generally loving and even comical at home with their loved ones. It’s very important that Rottweilers are well-socialized from the time they are puppies so they will not be overly mistrustful of people. Obedience training is also recommended for Rottweilers. They are large, strong dogs and they should always be obedient to their owners.

 

These dogs are calm, confident and courageous with a self-assured aloofness. They are very self-confident.

 

Rottweilers do require regular daily exercise. They are active dogs and they need exercise and play as outlets. They love having a job to do and they like to work, so if you can do obedience, agility, or another activity with your Rottweiler, he will be very happy. Rottweilers are very intelligent dogs and they learn easily. They require a minimum of coat care.

 

Appearance

Rottweilers are medium-large robust and powerful dogs with a compact and substantial build that denotes great strength, agility and endurance. They have a black, short-haired coat with rust to mahogany markings. They stand 22 to 27 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh between 77 and 130 pounds. They are double-coated and the coat is short, hard, and thick.

 

Health

Rottweilers are considered to be a relatively healthy breed. However, they are not an especially long-lived breed. According to breed surveys, the average lifespan of Rottweilers is approximately 9-10 years. There is currently research being done to learn more about the Rottweiler’s lifespan.

 

Rottweilers can be prone to hip dysplasia, like many larger, heavier dogs. Osteochondrosis Dessicans (OCD) which is a joint problem affecting the shoulder or elbow, can also occur in Rottweilers. Better breeders usually x-ray the hips and elbows of breeding stock before breeding.

 

Rottweilers can also have eye problems with entropion and ectropion (eye lid issues). Full dentition (having all of their teeth) and a proper scissors bite are also issues in the breed. If you are thinking of getting a Rottweiler you should talk to the breeder about these issues.

 

Rottweilers also seem to be prone to some kinds of cancer which is a common cause of early death in the breed. Rottweilers, along with other black and tan dogs, seem to be more susceptible to parvovirus. This is a highly contagious disease that occurs in dogs, especially puppies and young dogs. Vaccination against this disease is very important, starting when a puppy is a few weeks old.

 

Rottweilers usually enjoy eating and they can tend toward obesity. If you are getting a Rottweiler you should manage his meals appropriately and make sure that he gets plenty of exercise throughout his life. Do not overfeed your dog.

 

Training

Rottweilers are very smart dogs who like to work and enjoy having a job to do. They are usually easy to train. Early socialization and lessons in basic obedience are recommended. Many Rottweilers are also food-motivated which also helps with training. Rottweilers can excel at many activities including obedience, agility, herding, rally, and other dog sports.

Popular Dog Breeds: German Shepherd Dogs

Noble. Loyal. Courageous. German Shepherds (officially known as the German Shepherd Dog by the AKC) are all of these things and more. They’ve been one of the most popular dogs in the United States almost since they were developed, a little over 100 years ago.

 

History

The German Shepherd Dog is another rather young breed. They were intentionally created by Captain Max von Stephanitz and others who shared his vision around 1899 in Germany. The breed is derived from old breeds of herding and farm dogs but Capt. Von Stephanitz wanted to develop a new breed that would excel at police work, too. And he succeeded. The breed was still very young in World War I when an American soldier rescued a young German Shepherd pup from a battlefield and brought him back to the U.S. That dog would go on to became famous in early films as Rin Tin Tin. An even earlier German Shepherd film star had been Strongheart, one of the first dogs to star in the movies. Right from the start, Hollywood was fascinated with German Shepherds and the publicity gave a big boost to the new breed. They have remained popular ever since that time.

 

Temperament

German Shepherds are loving, energetic, and fun-loving. They are good family dogs and they get along well with children. They are exceptionally loyal and make a good guard dog for the family home. German Shepherds do require a good deal of daily exercise and they need to be groomed regularly. While we think of German Shepherds as police and military dogs, they are descended from herding dogs and they often have an innate desire to herd and organize other pets and family members. They like order and organization. They like to have roles and authority clearly defined in the home. The breed is extremely intelligent and usually easy to train. They tend to be reserved with strangers until they are certain the person is welcome in the home.

 

Appearance

German Shepherds stand 22 to 26 inches tall at the shoulder. They can weigh between 55 and 95 pounds. Their coat can be a lot of different colors but the most common is tan and black or red and black. Most of the color varieties have black masks on the face and black body markings. These markings can range from the classic saddle to an all-over “blanket.” Rarer color variations include sable, all black, all white, liver, and blue varieties.

 

Health

The lifespan of the German Shepherd is about 11 years. Like other breeds, they can be prone to certain health issues. Hip dysplasia can be a problem in the breed. According to the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals, 19.1 percent of German Shepherds which have been tested have some degree of hip dysplasia. Elbow dysplasia can also be a problem in the breed. German Shepherds rank 12th in the OFA database for elbow dysplasia with 19 percent of dogs tested having some degree of elbow dysplasia. Both of these problems can lead to arthritis as the dog ages.

 

Degenerative spinal stenosis can also be a problem with some dogs. Degenerative myelopathy, a neurological disease, and Von Willebrand’s disease, a bleeding disorder, also occur in the breed. In addition, bloat (gastric dilatation volvulus) and ear infections can also occur.

 

Before getting a German Shepherd puppy you should talk to the breeder and inquire about the health of the parents. Make sure the breeder has tested them for hip and elbow dysplasia. Health tests recommended by the German Shepherd Dog Club of America, and those which are considered optional but suggested, are listed here: http://www.caninehealthinfo.org/brdreqs.html?breed=GS

 

Training

German Shepherds are one of the most versatile of all dog breeds. With their intelligence and physical abilities, these dogs can excel at nearly every kind of canine sport and activity. They are terrific at obedience, rally, agility, herding, police and military work, Schutzhund, scent work – you name it, German Shepherds can learn how to do it. If you are willing to take the time to train your dog, a German Shepherd will love to learn what you want to teach him. These dogs love to work and learn.

 

Getting A Dog From A Breeder

If you are thinking of getting a dog from a breeder you will find that it is quite different from adopting a dog in most ways. Purebred dogs are intentionally bred for specific reasons. Each breed originally had a purpose, even if the dogs are no longer used for that purpose today. Breeders and breed clubs keep extensive information about their dogs, the history of the breed, and their health. If you are planning to get a purebred dog you should ask the right questions about the puppy or dog you’re considering, especially about the dog’s health. The knowledge available can help you choose a dog who has a better chance of living a long and healthy life.

Before you get a purebred dog
Before you get a purebred dog – or any dog – you should ask yourself some basic questions:

• Do you have time for a dog right now?
Dogs require lots of time and patience. They need love and attention, as well as training. You also have to make time to feed and groom them. Everyone’s excited about a dog in the beginning but you may have a dog for many years and you have to go on caring for them.

• Is it a good time to get a dog from a financial viewpoint?
Dog food and vet care get more expensive each year. In addition to vaccinations, your dog will also need flea and tick preventive as well as heartworm preventive on a regular basis. Dogs also need toys, chews, grooming supplies, beds, collars and leashes – the list goes on! Some breeds need to be professionally groomed every few weeks. Dogs also need training such as a class you take with your dog or an investment in books or CDs so you can train your dog yourself. All of these things add up in terms of dollars each year.

• What about your family?
If you have a spouse or family, are they on board with you getting a dog? No matter how much you love and want a dog, if your spouse or family are opposed to the idea, it can cause a lot of tension in the home. Maybe you have kids who swear they will take care of the dog. Sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t. Are you prepared to take care of the dog if your kids slack off?

These are some of the things you need to consider before getting any dog. There are other things, depending on the size and kind of dog you are interested in. For example, if you live in an apartment, consider carefully before getting a very large dog. Some large dogs, such as Greyhounds, can be very laid back and adapt to living in an apartment or small house, but they do require regular runs and exercise. But other large dogs do better with a yard of their own. Other dogs, even small dogs, do not do well in an apartment because they are active and they bark, such as Beagles. Make sure you know the pros and cons of any breed you are considering so you will know if it suits your situation.

Advantages of getting a purebred dog
There are some definite advantages to getting a purebred dog. Many things about a breed can be predicted with some assurance such as their usual temperament, how large they will become, what kind of coat they will have, their activity level, their instincts and what kind of things they will enjoy doing, and some things about their health. If you work with a good breeder you should also have an expert in the breed to help you throughout your dog’s life. This means that if you have any problems with your dog, you should be able to contact the breeder for advice. This can be very helpful with training, health issues, and other matters. Some breeders are even willing to board one of their dogs for you when you go on vacation if you keep in touch with them. Many people find that they develop good friendships with their dog’s breeder and return to the breeder years later when they are looking for another dog.

How to find a good breeder
The easiest way to find a good dog breeder is by contacting the breed club for the kind of dog you are interested in. You can visit the breeder referral search page on the American Kennel Club web site: http://www.akc.org/breederinfo/breeder_search.cfm This page lists all of the AKC breed parent clubs with links to their web sites. Visit the parent club for the breed you are interested in. The appropriate contact person can put you in touch with breeders who are expecting a litter.

You can also visit a local dog show when there is one in your area. Watch the show to find breeds you like. If you already know which breeds you like, watch them show and pick out which dogs you like. You can find the owners after they have finished in the ring. The owners and their dogs will be back in the grooming area after they have finished showing and you can speak to them then. (It’s best to wait until after people have shown when they are more relaxed.) Some of the people showing dogs are professional handlers but they can still provide you with information. Or find some of the owner-handlers to speak to. Ask them your questions about the breed. Most people are happy to be helpful.

Questions for breeders
Once you have found some breeders with puppies or dogs you like, you can contact them directly. Many breeders have web sites about their dogs so you can check them out online. This will probably give you some of the information you want. Questions that you should ask include:

• How long have you been breeding?

• How many dogs do you have?

• Tell me about your dogs. (Most breeders are happy to tell you LOTS about their dogs.)

• What kind of health tests have your dogs had? (You should already know which tests are common for the breed. Different breeds use different tests.)

• What were the results?

• What kind of contract and guarantee do your puppies have?

If you are interested in a puppy, you should say so. If you want a pet, you should say so. Do not tell a breeder that you want a top quality show prospect puppy when you don’t intend to show the dog. It’s not fair to anyone to lie about your intentions. A top quality show puppy needs to be shown so allow the breeder to place the puppy in the correct home. What’s the difference between a pet and a show puppy? It’s often something you would never notice. It could be something like a patch or the color of the markings. It doesn’t make the puppy inferior in anyway. It would just make the puppy less desirable as a show dog so the breeder wants to place the dog in a pet home.

Breeders also have adult dogs looking for homes sometimes so if you are interested in an adult dog, you should mention this fact. A breeder might have a retired male champion, for example, or they have decided they have too many dogs and they need to place one so they can keep a puppy. Breeders love their dogs and they will only place one of these dogs in a very good home, but if you are interested in an adult, go ahead and mention it.

As you can guess, people who call up and start off by demanding to know how much a puppy costs don’t usually get very far with a good breeder. You can expect a breeder to ask you a lot of questions about yourself and your home, too. They want to make sure they are placing their puppy or dog in the very best home possible. Some breeders will has to do a home visit first.

If you like a particular breed and you like knowing as much as possible about a puppy or dog before you get him, then getting a purebred dog is often a good choice. It also helps to work with a good breeder who is able to stand by the dog and answer your questions. No dogs are perfect, of course, but a purebred dog can make a great pet.

Popular Dog Breeds: Shih Tzus

The Shih Tzu originated in China where it was cherished by members of the royal family for over 1000 years. Always a house pet and companion, these compact dogs have a beautiful flowing double coat. They are one of the most popular breeds of dog in the United States today.

History
The Shih Tzu is an old breed, developed in China more than 1000 years ago. It seems likely that they were originally a cross between the Lhasa Apso (or the Tibetan mountain dog) and the Pekingese, two very ancient breeds. Information and images of Shih Tzu date from documents, paintings, and objects of art all the way back to 624 AD. The dogs have been associated with the Chinese court and royals for hundreds of years. They are the oldest and smallest of the Tibetan holy dogs. They were housepets during the Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644 A.D.). In the 19th century the Dowager Empress kept an important kennel that included Shih Tzu but following her death in 1908 the dogs were dispersed and breeding mostly stopped. All Shih Tzu today can be traced back to 14 dogs, some of which were brought to England. In England the dogs were first mistaken for Lhasa Apsos but they were soon sorted out and serious breeding began in 1930. The Shih Tzu Kennel Club of England was formed in 1935. They were admitted to the AKC in 1969.

Temperament
Shih Tzus are outgoing, happy, affectionate, friendly, and trusting toward everyone. Although they look arrogant and proud with their long coat and their head held high, they are very sweet, loving dogs. They have always been kept as companions and house pets and that is still their function today. Although they don’t require a lot of exercise, they are lively, alert dogs and they are quite playful. The breed is very loyal and they love to be with their owners. They usually get along well with children and other pets. Although they are a small dog, they can stand up for themselves.

Appearance
The Shih Tzu is recognizable by its beautiful long, flowing double coat. The dogs usually have a topknot on their head to secure their hair out of their eyes – either a bow or a barrette. The dogs have a distinctive, arrogant carriage with their heads held high and their tails curved over their backs. Their coat can be any color. The luxurious coat does require daily brushing unless you choose to keep it cut short. They are sturdy, lively, alert dogs with a proud bearing.

In terms of height, the Shih Tzu is usually 9 to 10 ½ inches tall at the withers. They should not be less than 8 inches tall nor more than 11 inches tall. Mature dogs usually weigh between 9 and 16 pounds.

The dogs also have large, dark eyes and a short muzzle. Shih Tzus have an underbite.

Shih Tzus are often called “chrysanthemum-faced” dogs because of the way the hair grows around their faces.

Although Shih Tzus do not shed as much as some breeds, they are not considered to be a “hypoallergenic” breed.

Health
Shih Tzu tend to be a long-lived breed. Many dogs live between 10 and 20 years. A health survey for the breed in the UK puts the average lifespan at 13 years and 7 months.

As with other breeds, there are some health issues found in the breed. Some of these issues include: hypothyroidism, intervertebral disc disease, portosystemic liver shunt, hip dysplasia, and, occasionally, epilepsy.

The Shih Tzu is a brachycephalic breed (short-hosed) so they do not do well in hot weather. Do not leave your Shih Tzi outside when the weather is hot and do not force the dog to take part in strenuous exercise. Shih Tzu may also have problems breathing at high altitudes or in airplanes. They do best in cooler climates or in air conditioning.

Training
Because of their small size Shih Tzu are not usually trained for dog sports but they should learn some basic obedience and good manners. It’s a good idea to start training your dog as a puppy. Like many small dogs, a Shih Tzu can become quite bossy and badly-behaved in the home if you do not provide some training. Good socialization is important for a Shih Tzu, so be sure to take him places and let him meet other people and dogs when he is young.

Popular Dog Breeds: Boston Terriers

The dapper Boston Terrier is one of the few breeds that was entirely developed in the United States. He is a true All-American. Gentle, lively, and highly intelligent, the Boston Terrier makes a wonderful companion. He is particularly well-suited to apartment life and being a house pet.

History

Although they may not look like it today, the Boston Terrier was originally developed to be a fighting dog. Bostons were originally bred in the stables of Boston, Massachusetts after the Civil War. Almost all modern day Boston Terriers trace their lineage back to an imported dog known as “Hooper’s Judge” who was sold to a man from Boston in 1870. The breed was the result of a cross between an English Bulldog and a white English Terrier. They took the name of Boston Terrier in 1891. The American Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1893. Much of the progress in developing the Boston Terrier came in the 20th century and the breed became well-loved as a smaller companion dog instead of a fighting dog.

Temperament

In temperament Boston Terriers are very gentle and they love to be with their owners. They are lively in the home and they typically get along with other dogs and pets. They get along well with children. They are friendly dogs so don’t expect them to act as guards or watchdogs. They don’t usually bark very much which makes them a good choice for people who live in apartments. They are somewhat cat-like in their habits and actions. They are very clean and like to stay that way. They can be stubborn at times but they usually like to please their owners. Boston Terriers are known for having naturally good manners and they are considered to be easy to train. Bostons only need a moderate amount of exercise and grooming is minimal.

Appearance

Boston Terriers come in three sizes: Under 15 pounds; 15 pounds and under 20 pounds; 20 pounds and not to exceed 25 pounds. The appearance is the same for all sizes. They are short-headed and have a compact body. They have erect ears, short tails and a short muzzle that is usually free of wrinkles.

The coat is short, smooth, bright and fine in texture. Colors include brindle, seal, or black with white markings. Bostons typically give a clean-cut, striking appearance and are easily recognizable.

Health

There are a number of health issues that can affect Boston Terriers. Eye problems such as glaucoma, corneal ulcers, and cataracts can be common in the breed. Mitral valve disease, heart murmurs, epilepsy, and allergic dermatitis can also occur. You can find out more about genetic health issues in Boston Terriers here: http://www.bostonterrierclubofamerica.org/boston-terrier-health/Boston-Terrier-Health-Links.htm

Boston Terriers are a brachycephalic breed, meaning they have a shortened muzzle like some other breeds. This means that they may not be able to tolerate heat or humidity very well. You should not leave a Boston Terrier outside in the heat or allow them to over-exert themselves, especially in warm weather. Bostons may also need special care if they need anesthesia.

Boston Terriers have an average lifespan of 12-13 years but many of them live even longer.

Training

Boston Terriers are considered to be very intelligent dogs and are usually easy to train. Owners say that they can be stubborn at times but they usually have a strong desire to please. While Bostons are not usually the most athletic dogs, you can train them to learn anything you would like to teach them. They are friendly dogs and they will enjoy going out with you, taking classes, and participating in dog events for dogs their size.