Category Archives: dog breeds

Hear bark or C-Barq?

I’ve just signed Izzy up so we can complete a C-Barq questionnaire for her.

I know what you are thinking:  you don’t ‘see’ barks, you hear them.  Well actually, C-Barq stands for ‘Canine Behavioral Assessment and Research Questionnaire’ and it’s another example of citizen – or participatory – science.

Created by Dr. James Serpell who is a behaviorist at the Center for the Interaction of Animals and Society (CIAS) in Pennsylvania, the questionnaire is designed to provide dog owners and professionals with standardized evaluations of temperament and behavior.    The Center is based within the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

Penn University medicine

Tested extensively for reliability and validity on large samples of dogs of many breeds,  the current version consists of 101 questions describing the different ways in which dogs typically respond to common events, situations, and stimuli in their environment. It should take about 15 minutes to complete (I haven’t done this yet).

Please pay attention, however, to the sign-in page where questions are asked about your dog’s breed, background, and behavior.  This helps in coding the answers for analysis.

So far, over 80,000 dogs have been included in the study. Dr Serpell says, “There is no other breed or species of animal with such a wide variety of appearance and behavior.”

Between 10 percent and 15 percent of dogs can show very high levels of aggression, Serpell says, while 20 or 30 percent show no aggression.

Pit bulls and Akitas, popular breeds for fighting and guard dog duty, show serious aggression toward other dogs. But the title for most aggressive overall actually goes to tiny dachshunds, which display heightened aggression toward dogs, strangers and even their owners.

Source:  Science Friday on pri.org

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

Best Mate – book review

Best Mate

Best Mate is a book for young readers, approximately 10 years of age.   I picked up my copy at an outdoor market for just $3 (the book was originally published in 2007).  Since I am now the proud owner of a re-homed racing greyhound, it was the greyhound on the cover that caught my eye.

It was, of course, an easy read.  But I can highly recommend this book which tells the story of a greyhound pup rescued by a small boy, Patrick, on his way to school.  Named ‘Best Mate’, the pup was discarded in a river canal in a sack with his litter mates.

And so begins a story of a dog and a child’s insight into animal cruelty.  Best Mate loves Patrick and Patrick loves him.  The two are separated when Best Mate is stolen for  racing.  There he meets a young girl named Becky who names him Brighteyes and he makes a friend with another racing greyhound.

But that is not the end of his story, or the cruelty that the book portrays.  Be prepared to support the young reader in your home:  Best Mate’s friend is killed when he can no longer win races.

Best Mate will ultimately be re-homed yet again before the end of the book, and this time he ends up with the name Paddywack.

There are a few chapters in this book written from Best Mate’s perspective.  The only thing that would strengthen the book is to hear more from Best Mate himself.

This book should be on your child’s reading list.  It is a good introduction into animal welfare issues and a good first insight into the greyhound racing industry.

My reading of this book is all the more timely since news has hit the media this week about ‘live baiting’ in Australian greyhound racing…the book doesn’t portray live baiting, but I felt a connection to the story nonetheless because of the headlines.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

Bullseye! The mascot of the Target Corporation

The value of dogs in advertising cannot be underestimated.  Just ask the Target Corporation, a chain of discount stores in the United States.

Their mascot is Bullseye, a bull terrier.

Photo by Target Corporation

Photo by Target Corporation

Bullseye features in print media and television campaigns and appears ‘in person’ at corporate events including store openings.  In October 2014, for example, Target opened a CityTarget store in Boston, not far from famed Fenway Park.

To mark the occasion, the company did photo shoots of Bullseye at various famous locations around the city.  Now that’s public relations!

Bullseye apparently lives on a ranch just north of Los Angeles with her trainers.  Over the years, there have been many Bullseyes (just like there were successive Lassies over the years).  The company has also proudly reported that the makeup used on Bullseye is non-toxic and natural.

Bulleye is so popular that Target offers a range of products featuring Bullseye in its Bullseye Shop.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

New dogs at Westminster in 2015

The Westminster Kennel Club will allow two new breeds to compete this year:  the Coton De Tulear and the Wirehaired Vizsla.

Sometimes referred to as a ‘Bichon-type’ dog, the Coton De Tulear is known for its cottony coat. The long topcoat covers the forelegs.  The breed belongs to the Non-Sporting Group.

Photo by Wikipedia

A Coton De Tulear, photo by Wikipedia

The Wirehaired Vizsla is a member of the Sporting Group and is known for its energetic and active lifestyle.  A breed requiring mental stimulation daily, it is an excellent hunting dog with origins in Hungary.

Three Wirehaired Vizlas:  Harry, Vincent and Poppy (photo courtesty of DogBreedInfo.com)

Three Wirehaired Vizlas: Harry, Vincent and Poppy (photo courtesy of DogBreedInfo.com)

The Westminster Dog Show begins on Saturday, 14 February 2015.

Willow’s surgery for cleft palate

Willow is a beautiful Beagle who was born earlier this year with a cleft lip and palate.  As part of the defect, she has a bottom jaw that is slightly forward and bucked top front teeth – so her top teeth sink into the soft tissue of her lower jaw.

Cleft lip and palate are birth defects that have been traced to genetic factors.  (see my earlier articles on Cleft Palate in Dogs and The Genetics of Cleft Lip and Palate in Dogs)

Willow, before her surgery, showing the cleft lip

Willow, before her surgery, showing the cleft lip

The inside of Willow's mouth, showing the palate deformation more clearly

The inside of Willow’s mouth, showing the palate deformation more clearly

Last week, Willow had surgery to correct her birth defect.  She’s now home but taking strong pain relief medication and sucking on ice cubes for fluids.

Willow's mouth, post-surgery

Willow’s mouth, post-surgery

Willow in her Elizabethan collar (which brother Freddie believes makes her into a scary monster)

Willow in her Elizabethan collar (which brother Freddie believes makes her into a scary monster)

We are all hoping that the surgery was successful; her Elizabeth collar comes off later this week and she’ll be re-examined.  Then her owner will discuss what can be done to help with the mis-alignment of Willow’s jaws and teeth.

Cleft lip and palate are serious defects (Willow had to be hand-fed from birth because she couldn’t nurse like normal pups; many people will ‘look the other way’ when a pup is born with these defects and let it die from malnutrition.  Thankfully, Willow’s owner Gwen Hindmarsh wasn’t willing to do that).

Surgery is expensive and painful for the dog involved.  Dogs with cleft lip and palate in their lines should not be allowed to breed, as the defects don’t always appear in every litter.

Good luck Willow!

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

 

 

Border collies patrol at airports

In today’s Christchurch Press, comes news that Christchurch Airport has employed its first Border Collie, Jet, to scare away geese and other birds from the runway areas.

14-week old Jet, Christchurch Airport's newest employee, will undergo training to get her used to the noisy runways at the airport (Photo by The Press)

14-week old Jet, Christchurch Airport’s newest employee, will undergo training to get her used to the noisy runways at the airport (Photo by The Press)

Bird strike is a major hazard for modern aviation.  Bird strike was the cause of the engine failure on US Airways Flight 1549 in 2009, for example.  That plane landed safely in New York’s Hudson River in what was called the “Miracle on the Hudson.”  Bird strike can also cause damage to aircraft windscreens and fuselages, not just engines.

Jet’s arrival in Christchurch is a first for New Zealand but Border Collies have been patrolling airports in other countries for many years.

Birds view the dogs as natural predators and so, where they may become accustomed to other scare tactics like sirens, the birds will always be wary of being chased by a dog.

Airports that use Border Collie patrols include Southwest Florida International Airport, Vancouver International Airport, New Bedford Regional Airport (Massachusetts), Dover Air Force Base (US Air Force), Ramat David Air Force Base (Israel), Cold Lake Air Force Base (Canada), and Augusta Regional Airport (Georgia).

A Border Collie at the Southwest International Airport in Fort Myers, Fla. By Marc Beaudin, The (Ft. Myers, Fla.) News-Press

A Border Collie at the Southwest International Airport in Fort Myers, Fla.
By Marc Beaudin, The (Ft. Myers, Fla.) News-Press

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

All American or Mutt? What to call our mixed breed dogs

This article by columnist Britt Peterson lends some interesting perspective on what to call our mixed breed dogs – now that even the Westminster Kennel Club is allowing them to compete in dog shows.

Good cur! – Ideas – The Boston Globe