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All About Designer Dog Breeds


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Hear a kind of dog with a funny or unique name lately? It’s probably a “designer breed,” also known as a hybrid of two different dog breeds. The first generation of designer dogs are developed by crossing two purebreds, and the offspring of these crosses go by the same name. For example, the parents of a Goldendoodle can either be a Golden Retriever and a Poodle, or two Goldendoodles. Most designer breeds were developed in the early 2000’s and have become increasingly popular since then by serving different purposes. Learn more about 10 of our favorite designer dogs, below!

1. Goldendoodle


The Goldendoodle is a cross between a Golden Retriever and Poodle. The breed hybrid was developed in the 1990’s to have the friendly, energetic nature of a Golden Retriever and the allergy-friendly coat of a Poodle and has since become one of America’s most popular dogs.

2. Labradoodle


Labradoodles are a cross between a Labrador Retriever and Poodle. Developed in Australia in the late 1980’s, this breed hybrid continues to gain popularity for its easy trainability and outgoing personality. They were originally bred as allergy-friendly aids to the blind, and they are now a favorite companion dog among many North American homes.

3. Maltipoo


This popular mix known as the Maltipoo is a combination of a Maltese and a Poodle. The breed was specially created to be a small-sized companion dog with an allergy-friendly coat. They are clever and quick to learn, and make great watch dogs, often barking at anything suspicious in sight! The Maltipoo will charm your socks off, and then curl up on your feet to keep your toes warm.

4. Cockapoo


The Cockapoo is made by breeding a Cocker Spaniel with a Poodle. This breed is one of the older “designer” breeds, likely resulting from an accidental breeding in the 1960’s. Cockapoos are people-oriented, compassionate, intelligent and make excellent pets for families with children. They are prized for their intelligence, low-shedding coat and easygoing nature.

5. Frenchton


The Frenchton is a mix between a French Bulldog and a Boston Terrier, but unlike other designer dog breeds which are half one breed and half another, Frenchtons are 75 percent French bulldog and 25 percent Boston Terrier. This dog was developed in the 1990’s to create a healthier, more energetic breed than its parent breeds. These dogs are friendly, loving and intelligent, and are well suited for apartment living.

6. Morkie


The Morkie is a cross between a Maltese and a Yorkshire Terrier. Both parent breeds are known for having a lot of personality, so it doesn’t come as a surprise that the Morkie does as well! They love to play and exercise, and are eager to please their owners. As long as they have a lap to sit on, they do equally well in apartments or larger living spaces.

7. Pomsky


A cross between a Pomeranian and a Siberian Husky, the Pomsky has achieved rapid popularity in recent years. Usually active and energetic, this rarer designer breed tends to be highly intelligent, loving, playful and self-assured. Pomskies can also make great guard dogs, like both of their parent breeds. The appearance and size of a Pomsky can vary greatly, but very often they look like miniature Huskies.

8. Puggle


The Puggle is a cross between a Beagle and a Pug. Originating in the 1980s, Puggles combine the Beagle’s boundless energy and the Pug’s warm, loving personality. These dogs also have the Beagle’s incredible sense of smell and desire to track, and the Pug’s slightly pushed-in face. They vary in color and size, but are consistently popular family dogs and easy to take care of and train.

9. Shihpoo


This crossbreed is a mix between a Shih-Tzu and a Poodle. Shihpoos are very loving and playful, and get along very well with other pets and children. Also known as “Shoodles,” these are easy to train, intelligent dogs that do well in any size home. The appearance of a Shihpoo may vary, but this dog consistently has a cute, alert expression and a devoted, people-oriented personality.

10. Aussiedoodle


The Aussiedoodle is a cross between an Australian Shepherd and a Poodle. Each of those parent breeds is considered one of the more intelligent breeds, so crossing the two makes for a super-smart pup! Aussiedoodles are wonderful for families with small children, but watch out: they sometimes bump into children with the intent to “herd” them! While Aussiedoodles love to be active, they are just as happy curling up at your feet as they are happy playing outside.

These are just 10 of the many adorable designer breeds out there. Do you have a favorite designer dog that didn’t make the list?

Getting to Know Guide Dogs


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Guide dogs, also known as seeing eye dogs, are special pooches that help the blind navigate their world. Guide Dogs of America provides blind and visually impaired people with guide dogs free of charge in North America. Now that deserves a “round of a-paws.” Let’s get to know more about these paw-some pups and how they perform heroic acts every day.

History
The first school for training service animals, including seeing eye dogs, was established in Germany during World War I to assist veterans blinded in war. Outside of Germany, interest in service dogs did not become widespread until the mid-1900’s. The first guide dogs were German Shepherds, appropriately coming from the service dog school’s country of origin. In 1929, Nashville resident Morris Frank succeeded in convincing Americans to grant people with service animals access to public transportation, hotels and other open public areas. By Federal law, blind people with service dogs are now allowed to go anywhere the general public is allowed, including restaurants, hospitals, stores, airplanes and taxis.

Breeds
The dog breeds used in guide dog service are chosen for their easy trainability and sound temperaments. The most common breeds selected as guide dogs are Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers and German Shepherds, but other breeds have also been known to be good choices, such as Labradoodles, Standard Poodles, Collies, Border Collies, Australian Shepherds, Havanese and Vizslas.

Training
Many guide dogs are trained from birth for the special task of aiding the visually impaired. Dogs who start training at birth take about 18 months to complete their program (DGP for Pets). Just like all domesticated dogs, guide dogs must first learn housetraining and basic obedience before receiving additional guide dog training. After about one year, the guide dog meets her partner and they train together for two weeks.

The guide dog recipient is just as responsible in training as the dog. It is the responsibility of the visually impaired person to use his or her senses to judge whether or not it is safe to cross the street, for example, but the guide dog may refute the action if she deems it hazardous. The dog’s intentional refusal of a command is called “intelligent disobedience.”

Meeting a Working Guide Dog Team

If you encounter a visually impaired person with a guide dog, you should treat this person as you would any other stranger on the street and respect boundaries. Do not pet, feed or talk to a guide dog without asking for the owner’s permission first. While they may be irresistibly cute, guide dogs are at work and should not be distracted. After all, the owner depends on his or her guide dog to be vigilant of dangers.

Guide dogs are special service dogs that have helped aid the blind for decades. Their ability to learn techniques above and beyond basic training techniques in order to devotedly assist their partner is truly remarkable. We never cease to be amazed at what dogs can do in our everyday lives.

Epilepsy in Dogs: Is My Dog at Risk for Seizures?


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Seizures don’t just affect those of us who walk on two legs. Our four-legged friends can also suffer from seizures, and if the fits of uncontrollable twitching turn into a pattern, your dog may have epilepsy.

About Canine Seizures
Seizures are uncontrollable outbursts of twitching or shaking which result from surges of electrical activity in your dog’s brain, according to WebMD. They can last anywhere from less than a minute to several minutes. Some causes of seizures in dogs include eating poison, liver disease, a sudden rise or drop in blood sugar, anemia, head injury, stroke and brain cancer.

Signs of an Epileptic Fit

You can usually tell when a dog is having a seizure because of the strange behaviors exhibited. Your dog will likely feel the seizure coming on, and seek out her owner for comfort. After a period of restlessness, whining or hiding, a dog having a seizure will show symptoms like muscle twitching, collapsing, vomiting or foaming at the mouth. Afterward, the dog will experience a period of disorientation ranging from a few minutes to days. She may even be temporarily blind during the recovery period.

Types of Seizures

There are a few different types of seizures. A generalized, or grand mal seizure, is the most common type, in which abnormal electric activity throughout the brain causes the dog to lose consciousness and shake erratically. Conversely, in a focal seizure, the abnormal electrical activity only occurs in one part of the brain, and will likewise cause movements in only one side or part of the body. Sometimes seizures start as focal and then become generalized. A psychomotor seizure takes the form of an odd behavior, such as interacting with an imaginary object or some other apparent hallucination. Whatever the behavior is, the same one will repeat in future seizures. Finally, seizures with no known cause fall under idiopathic epilepsy. They usually occur in dogs six months to six years old, and are most common in Labrador Retrievers, Australian Shepherds, Beagles, Belgian Tervurens and Collies.

What to Do
If you notice your dog having a seizure, remain calm. Avoid contact with her until she has calmed down, but if there is something nearby that may hurt her, be sure to move the object or gently slide her away, taking care to stay away from her mouth. If the seizure lasts more than two minutes, your dog is at risk of overheating. Any longer than five minutes, time to take her to the vet.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Be sure to record observations of your dog’s seizures. If a pattern develops, your vet should be able to identify the type of seizures and administer the appropriate medications. For example, valium may be given intravenously to control prolonged convulsions. And, to regulate future seizures, vets commonly prescribe phenobarbital and potassium bromide. It’s very important to adhere to the dosage recommended by your vet. It’s also recommended to check liver function before giving your dog anti-epileptic medications. While there is no cure for epilepsy, appropriate treatment can significantly reduce the frequency and severity of these frightful fits.

13 Dog Breeds Perfect for Hiking


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If you own a dog, you already know how helpful dogs can be in keeping you fit and active. Hiking is one such popular physical activity to do with your dog, but there are some factors to consider before going on that next trek with your pup. For example, most dogs don’t have the endurance to hike for more than about 3-5 hours, and not all dogs can tolerate all climates. In addition, dogs under the age of one may not be sturdy enough for strenuous exercise. Likewise, dogs in their old age may have a harder time keeping up. The following is a breed-specific list of dogs best suited for hiking.

1. Bernese Mountain Dogbernese-hiking-thumbnail

Big, strong and well-behaved, the Bernese Mountain Dog makes a
great candidate for a hiking buddy—after all, the word “mountain” is in her name! Bernese can carry about 10 times their body weight, meaning she’ll have no problem carrying some supplies on her back if necessary. Because of her thick, furry coat, she loves to hike in colder weather. On the flip side, be cautious taking her out to hike in the warmer seasons. Overall, this easygoing and athletic dog will love hiking alongside you, and acting courteous to strangers along the way.

2. Vizslavizsla-hiking-thumbnail
Since this active dog already requires a lot of exercise, the Vizsla is a great companion to take with you out on the trails. The Hungarian-bred hunter is intelligent and has the stamina to go on long, steep hikes. She’ll come along with you on a hot or temperate day, but make sure to bundle her up when the weather gets breezy.

3. Siberian Huskyhusky-hiking-thumbnail

The friendly and energetic Husky may be a handful to train, but you’ll have a ball with her as your hiking partner. Bred as sled dogs, Huskies are strong, intelligent dogs who can withstand freezing temperatures while carrying heavy cargo. Her furry double-coat won’t serve her well in extreme heat, but she’s fine to spend time outdoors with you in most climates.


4. Australian Shepherdaustralian-hiking

The Aussie is a hard worker at heart and will love to join you for a day of hiking and adventure. She has the strength to hike on even bumpy and uneven terrain, and has plenty of energy to keep going without getting tired. Despite her long coat, she can withstand most temperatures as long as they are not extreme.


5. Labrador Retrieverlabrador-hiking

America’s favorite dog breed is also a hiking favorite for a number of reasons. For one, her easy trainability gives her the right temperament to join you on the trail without acting out. The Lab is also strong, and won’t mind carrying up to 10 pounds of gear. She has the mind of an explorer and will be comfortable in most climates.

6. Portuguese Water Dogportuguese-hiking-thumbnail
Here’s a good dog for those hikes ending in a waterfall or stream. The dog of choice of the Obama family is a perfect pal on land or water. Her waterproof coat and webbed feet make her a great swimmer, so she’ll join you for a refreshing dip in the water after a long, tiring trek.

7. German Shorthaired Pointergerman-shorthaired-hiking-thumbnail
Similar to Labs, the German Shorthaired Pointer is a loving companion with enduring stamina. Just watch out—because of her natural high prey drive, this dog might try to bolt from your grip at the sight of a bird, squirrel, rabbit or other small creature. This dog also tends to be very protective of her owner, making her a vigilant watch dog on the trail.

8. Alaskan Malamutealaskan-malamute-hiking-thumnail
This Siberian Husky lookalike is larger and considered even stronger than her other sled-pulling relative. She’ll brave the toughest, snowiest terrains and coldest temperatures. She’s sturdy, independent and a true athlete. This dog is made for the wild and will have you panting by the end of your hike.

9. Rhodesian Ridgebackrhodesian-hiking-thumbnail
Bred to be a lion hunter, the Rhodesian Ridgeback is nothing short of mighty. Her apt ability to protect her loved ones from danger makes her a prime companion for exploring the great outdoors. Her paws are tough enough to plow through any terrain, and her sleek, short coat shields her from the heat. This dog needs plenty of exercise and would surely love to accompany you on a nice, long hike.

10. Jack Russell Terrierjack-russel-hiking-thumbnail
Who says all hiking dogs have to be big and beastly? This little pup packs a lot of energy into a small body, and won’t get tired after a long trek through the woods or up a cliff. The playful Jack Russell will run for ages and makes a good watchdog, barking at anyone that comes his way. You won’t have to worry about this little one keeping up!

11. Weimaranerweimaraner-hiking-thumbnail
This dog will have no problem covering long distances with you; in fact, she’ll get a little antsy if she doesn’t get enough exercise! A good watchdog, the majestic gray Weimaraner is intelligent and loves to run and play. Satisfy her demanding exercise needs by taking her on a long hike!

12. Border Collieborder-collie-hiking-thumbnail
The Border Collie is everything you want in a hiking pal: highly intelligent, energetic and eager to please. She loves a challenge and lives to perform tasks, whether fetching your knapsack or following directions to a destination. She loves being outdoors with plenty of space to stretch her long legs.

13. Doberman Pinscherdoberman-hiking-thumbnail
This fierce-looking dog is a loyal and obedient hiking companion with plenty of strength for those tough climbs. She’s easier to train than the Rhodesian Ridgeback, and her attentive nature as a fearless guard dog can provide you with protection when walking alone. Take her on hikes with you to give her a healthy way of expending her abundant energy.