Discussing dog breeds, dog-adoption, and the human-canine connection.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Brachycephalic Dogs: The challenges of snorters and snorers

French Bulldog

Short nosed, flat faced, snorting, snoring, sniffling: the brachycephalic (short nose, broad head) dogs have their own unique charms. I've lived with a few variations on this theme.


The looks and charms of these breeds attract a number of people but these breeds also come with a few challenges that their longer nosed canine kin do not. Today we'll touch on a few of the main points to keep in mind when considering adding a short nosed dog to your life.

Shi Tzu

One of the most notable characteristics of these breeds is in fact the noise they make when breathing. These breeds have shorter airways which can be prone to congestion.These breeds can also be born with "brachycephalic airway syndrome" which usually includes narrow airway passages and an elongated palate.Basically, it is harder for the dog to breath.

Boston Terrier

Whether or not a dog has the syndrome, short nosed dogs generally breath harder in hot weather as they try to cool themselves off through panting; of course, all dogs cool themselves through panting but a shorter nosed dog who already is a hard breather can become a distressed breather in hot weather.


People need to be mindful of keeping these breeds from overheating. Too much exercise in heat, for example, is a real no-no.

English Bulldog

Short nosed dogs can also be vulnerable to colds, sneezes, and sniffles. Stress weakens our immune systems and it weakens a dog's immune system; a stressed out short nosed dog is basically an upper respiratory infection waiting to happen.

Douge de Bordeaux or French Mastiff

Once these breeds develop a bad cold or infection it can be harder for them to get over it -- you want to be certain that at the first signs of sickness you take your short nosed dog to the vet. Your pup may well need medication to recover.


You also want to keep an anti-histamine on hand with these breeds. I once had a frightening experience with my boxer, Keeper, when she had a sudden allergic reaction, possibly to a bee sting. Her short face immediately started to balloon in reaction and within five minutes she was struggling to breath at all.


Fortunately, at that time I was living about three minutes from my vet and as Keeper reached the point that her sides were heaving with the stress and effort of trying to draw in enough air to keep her heart beating, the vet was able to get an air tube in her, and then the needed medications to start countering the swelling.


 I've been in personal near death experiences but nothing ever freaked me out the way that afternoon and watching my poor girl almost smother to death in front of me did. Trust me, you want an anti-histamine on hand with a brachycephalic dog.


These are also breeds that as a general rule really love their people, which is why despite the shortcomings of a snub nose they continue to be popular. The shorter snout gives them the appearance of smiling at us with an almost human face (okay, maybe I just know some really interesting looking people.)

Bull mastiff

It is important to remember though, avoid extremes of heat or cold, over-exertion, and stress. Hmm, I guess if I add, eat a healthy diet, drink plenty of water, and exercise I could be speaking to the needs of people and canines here....

Chinese Shar Pei

Monday, March 26, 2012

Easter Bunny Understudy Tryouts

It isn't easy being the Easter Bunny. What a lot of people don't realize is that there are tough neighborhoods for a bunny to patrol. These are neighborhoods with a lot of dog activity - particularly  areas with rabbit hunting dogs.

So the Easter Bunny is holding tryouts for understudies and assistants. Not everyone gets elves like Santa has - the Easter Bunny needs to find his own assistants.

Some are very happy, excited even to be trying out.

Others are bringing their own back up, to show the Easter Bunny that they can basically provide an understudy team.

A few just don't seem to be as into the opportunity -- maybe they're trying out to please their mothers, I'm not sure.

Some seem a little better suited to the role of actually filling for the EB than others...I think this is one of those situations where size does make a difference.

At the same time, it seems like a good idea for any EB wanna be to be big enough to pick up and carry an Easter basket, as opposed to needing a ride in it.

I imagine there are many qualities that go into being a good EB helper, including size, enthusiasm, and an ability to pass up opportunities to hunt your boss.

And I'm sure some breeds do better at avoiding the allure of the Easter treats than others. Children aren't very happy when their Easter baskets show up with nothing but plastic grass left inside.

If you happen to know any viable candidates for EB backups, understudies, and/or assistants, be sure to forward their picture to me. I'm doing everything I can to assist the Easter Bunny in maintaining personal safety during the delivery season.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Univesity Mascots and your personal dog Totem

Johnathan, University of Connecticut

Not everyone agrees with the practice, but some schools use live dogs as their mascots. Most, though not all,  also have a "costume" version of the mascot, some person who runs up and down the sidelines at games or jumps into the stands to rev up the crowd.
Smokey, University of Tennessee

Uga, Georgia

Live dogs certainly seem safer than some of the other live animal mascots out there - like a bison or a tiger. And when well cared for -- as they all seem to be -- it is not too bad a life for a dog, as long as they don't mind loud crowds at sporting events. Some dogs actually seem to enjoy the life.

Bill Cosby with the Scotty he gave Carnegie Melon

It is interesting to note how we believe that our "animal totems" represent characteristics and traits that we aspire to. The dogged determination of the bulldog, the strength and endurance of a sled dog, the spirit and tenacity of a terrier.

Reveille, Texas A&M
Spirit, University of Washington

Have you ever thought, if you were selecting a dog mascot to represent yourself and the ideals you either believe you have or that you aspire to, what breed would you choose? Or would you choose a mixed breed of a certain size?

I can see pieces of myself in all three of the girls I live with now: I can be a little distracted yet easy going like Jenny the Collie, a bit stubborn like Gracie the Bull Terrier, with a desire to get along with others like Lil the Lab. Then there are days when I'm very much like my Schnauzer Bonny was in her old age - its my way or the highway!

You talking to me?!

Anyone else care to share their potential doggy totem?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Reader Dogs and My Money Eaters

Ozzie and friend
First, we have some new photos from readers to share - always exciting :-)
I love when we have photos from readers and am always looking for more so please share them if you have them - cmoslund@gmail.com

Ozzie assisting Jennifer

We're starting with Ozzie, a lovely English Bull Terrier. How cute is this boy?! He was adopted as an adult from rescue. His first person died of cancer, his second person had a mini-bully that he didn't get along with -- for Ozzie the third home was the charm. He is much loved by Jennifer and her family.

Ozzie resting after reading many, many books

Due to a health issue, Ozzie's ears are dropped rather than perk - and he is just as cute as can be with this unique touch. Hopefully in the future we will get to see more of Ozzie.

Ozzie with a few more of the ladies in his life

Next, we have a catch up from our friend Kathy. Kathy's adopted senior Beagle, Gilbert passed away at the end of this winter. Recently, a younger dog who could be a playmate for Gus the Golden got very lucky - Kathy adopted her to join the family.

Say hello to Zoe!

The angle of the picture makes Zoe's muzzle look just a tad longer than it appears in person. Zoe is probably a Pug + Beagle + Terrier -- or a Puggle Plus.
She is very intelligent, athletic, devoted to her new family, and did I mention oh-so-cute!

Gus, Ruby, most of Zoe, and Fred (shh, he doesn't know he's odd man out)

Remember - always happy to see and share pictures :-)

And now...the money eaters.

We all spend money on keeping our companions in kibble, toys, and medical care. That adds up.
I think we tend to look at their faces and think - they're worth it.

After all, don't these look like sweet faces worthy of all I can provide?

Very deceptively innocent looking - don't be sucked in - these girls are trying to drive me crazy.
Not only have they decided that ripping up cardboard is THE thing to do when I leave the room (I don't know where they keep finding more boxes, I think they have a secret stash) they have upped the game.

Now you might ask yourself, why would anyone leave money laying around in the first place?
Let me set the record straight. This money was in my wallet. My wallet was in my purse. My purse was on a shelf.
Yes folks, a young Lab jumped up, pulled the purse down, removed the wallet, and removed the money from the wallet. To be fair, Gracie did much the same thing when she was about a year old.
In fact, to show she has outgrown carry out such a crime, (even though I suspected she suggested it to Lil) Gracie wanted to make sure she was not connected to the incident in any way.

Gracie playing dead at the other end of the house from the destroyed money

Jenny checking for life, Gracie not moving

Lil whispering, "You were right, money isn't that great - don't know what the fuss is about." Gracie not moving

I didn't actually say anything to Gracie, she decided all on her own that if I was taking the camera out to collect evidence, it would be best to look incapable of committing a crime - in fact, I think she was trying to look like the victim of a crime. Or maybe she was saying, "I was so shocked when I saw what Lil had done to the money, I staggered into the kitchen and passed out!" I didn't believe her but I appreciated the attempt at looking innocent.

Dog body mysteriously reposed when my back was turned...Otherwise, no sign of life

So what have the little monsters in your life been up to that costs you a bit? Misery after all loves company ;-)