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

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Hunting Dogs: Portuguese Podengo

The Portuguese Podengo while an ancient breed, is just starting to become known more widely outside Portugal - Portuguese hunters have brought these dogs with them for generations as they migrated, however, the breed now has enthusiasts trying gain breed recognition with the American Kennel Club so that they can show the dog in North America.

Coming in three sizes and two coat types, the Podnego is one of the breeds that probably was introduced to a range of areas by sailors; in this case it is said that Phonecian sailors kept the dogs on board to kill vermin when they were at sea and hunt when they were on land. The Podnego then was further developed in Portugal where they were primarily used as hunters.

Coat types are smooth and wire, while the Podengo sizes are Grande (44 - 66 pds/ 20 - 30 kg), Medio (35-45pds/16 - 20 kg.), and Pequeno 10 - 13 pds/4.5 -6 kg). Additionally, the Grande is taller than the Medio, however, the two can be born in the same litter. The Grande is the least common while the Pequeno is gaining popularity as a house dog. This is a breed that is valued for function and health, being a long lived breed in all sizes.

The Podengo can be hunted in packs or as individuals. The Grande has been used for wild boar hunting, while the Medio and Pequeno are more often used for smaller game, particularly rabbit. There are several characteristics that make the Podengo unique when they hunt. First, they use both sight and scent to hunt. Second, when they find their prey they tend to leap straight up, which makes them easier for humans to spot in the field - this athleticism makes them hard to contain in a fence.

While the Podengo is popular as a family companion as well as a hunting dog, they do have a high prey drive and are not necessarily good with cats. They are also a very energetic dog which will require a brisk walk or jog every day. They do, however, have great potential as agility dogs.To contain a Podengo, fences need to be tall and buried below the ground or digging under, climbing out, or jumping out are all possibilities.

The Podengo probably shares some ancestors with the Ibizan and Pharaoh hounds, which I personally think of with some of the Podengo Medio I have seen. As the breed becomes more popular for bench shows, I'm sure the looks will become more unified; I hope that the hardiness of the breed does not suffer. As long as the Podengo is still hunted though, some bloodlines will remain valued for their robustness and athleticism rather than being bred with undue emphasis on their confirmation.

If one wants an uncommon dog that is hardy and good for agility and lure coursing, a Podengo is a breed worth considering. They will require persistent training from a young age, and should be well socialized. They will reward their person with healthy, energetic, long lived devotion - and they're said to have a sense of humor, something I personally enjoy in a dog.

Mini-miracle in cheweenie world!

It might not look like much but his majesty has now allowed himself to TOUCH another dog while he lays down and he is sharing the couch with two other dogs without growling.

That's better then some of the more established members of the family typically manage.

Yes, we're making progress with the cheweenie's socialization.  :-)

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Chiweenie update

Today is a hang out and writing day at our house.
His majesty is not happy with this arrangement - mainly the writing part. He wants all hands petting and adoring him - not wasting time typing on a computer. He has walked across the keyboard several times now to make his disgust known. He actually managed to turn the wireless connection off and it took me several minutes to figure out how to turn it back on (never a good sign when the dog is more tech savvy than the person.)

He's also gotten the whole house going by barking while charging back and forth on the couch, a pint size general rousing the troops. Of course, the troops aren't all that sharp or well trained, so that just resulted in a lot of running around and jumping.

 I took his majesty outside to cool down a little and he immediately started to charge down the street, perhaps determined to go find a house where someone would give him a more devoted level of attention.

Back inside he continued to try and rouse the rabble to mutiny.

Gracie finally responded by leaping up - and infuriating his majesty by standing on his throne. They are now both not helping me in my goal to update and post here today.

So many helpers...so little help.....  :-)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

German Mastiffs: Boxer and Great Dane

The members of the German branch of the mastiff family have enjoyed steady popularity for a number of good reasons not least of which is their pleasing personalities. The younger of the two breeds, the Boxer, was developed in the 19th century; they are known for their affinity for people in general and children in particular.

The Boxer is an extremely energetic breed with a sense of humor; they enjoy playing and running.  A young Boxer can be a boisterous dog to house around small children. The breed, however, is devoted to young people and have a natural protective instinct when it comes to watching over children.

The brindle Boxer I used to live with, Keeper, would watch over all children in her vicinity, regardless of who they belonged to. She once offered to protect a squealing child from the father who was tossing her in the air causing her to squeal. Yes, that protective. In other words, the Boxer needs firm and consistent handling so that their energy and instincts are channeled in constructive ways.

Boxers are also prone to counter surfing and seem to have a real soft spot for bread products. My sister's Boxer once got up on the counter, passed up all the Christmas cookies, and went straight for the loaves of pumpkin bread that were supposed to be baked gifts for family members. Keeper used to have a weakness for loaves of bread - my friend did not help as he would buy loaves of bread especially for her, then toast and butter the bread for her. That is what we call a 'mixed message' about whether a dog should be eating the bread.

As devoted family dogs who need to be near their people, Boxers can develop separation anxiety if left home alone too long and too often. They benefit from several walks - or runs - a day, and enjoy opportunities to play every day too. My sister's family is living with their second adopted Boxer and every morning my niece gets up to take him jogging before school; once he's had his exercise for the morning he is able to nap until she comes home from school and takes him jogging again in the late afternoon.

He then needs an evening walk, plus he has become the neighborhood dog who plays with all the children after school. He cannot, however, be allowed off leash as he will run and not immediately return.

While once a tragically short lived breed, careful breeding has vastly improved the life expectancy of the breed - more and more Boxers are living to be 12 and 13 - for a breed that used to have an expectancy of 7 years this is a vast improvement.

Great Danes have been around longer than Boxers. The Dane is more directly related to ancient breeds but again, the Dane as we know them is a little more recent with probable influence from English Mastiff and Irish Wolfhound contributing to the modern breed.

This is another dog that does well with families, however, their size means they can easily knock over small children without meaning to. The Dane is less active than are Boxers but still require a walk and an opportunity to get out every day. Ironically, the Dane probably would adapt to a slightly smaller space more easily than the Boxer, as the Dane is much more prone to laying down on a couch and sleeping during the day, while a Boxer is far more active.

 Either breed can become destructive if bored and both breeds are less likely to be bored if their people are around and interacting with them. These are both people centered breeds who do not do well if not given regular and consistent human interaction.

 Both breeds also have a high incident of deafness and sometimes blindness in individuals who are white or predominately white. It is becoming commonplace to have hearing tests done on puppies who carry a white factor in their immediate genetic background.

Both breeds have regional breed rescues that can assist a family in finding the right family member to adopt. These breeds also can be found from time to time in shelters and with the economy continuing to drag, I've witnessed more people needing to re-home their dogs and trying to arrange for private adoption.

If one has breed experience then private adoption might be a viable way to go, otherwise, I strongly recommend working with breed rescue or knowledgeable shelter staff. While these are both handsome dogs, neither is a breed that is particularly suited to a family with little or no dog experience - these just aren't 'starter' dogs.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

It isn't Easter until the dog has bunny ears.


A reader got me looking through Easter dog pictures, again...
I know it says something about my life that this isn't the first time I've looked through Easter dog pictures. I realized that for so many of us it isn't the season until a dog has been dressed in rabbit ears. So here is a picture ode to those who celebrate in this special way. Please look for as many of these in their original source as you are able.

Easter Dog Outfits ( I could see Bucky in these lol)












Are we getting too cute?
Let's take the saccharine level down a notch....



Photo: Randi DeGeorge    


I hope someone has started a therapy fund for this poor girl - she's never going to be able to look at a rabbit the same way again.

Remember, when celebrating your traditions keep this one thing in mind - do the least harm possible to the one's you love ;-)