Tag Archives: Dalmatian

Marking Harry Maclary’s 40th anniversary

For Dame Lynley Dodd, a sketch of a dog on note paper started it all – 40 years ago.

Harry Maclary From Donaldson’s Dairy was first published in 1983. The book features Harry, a mixed breed dog who looks a lot like a Skye or Scottish Terrier (Dodd has said that he is a terrier mix) alongside his canine friends:

  • Hercules Morse, As Big as a Horse, a Mastiff
  • Bottomley Potts, All Covered in Spots, a Dalmatian
  • Muffin McLay, Like a Bundle of Hay, an Old English Sheepdog
  • Bitzer Maloney, All Skinny and Boney, a mixed breed dog that is clearly part Greyhound     


  • Schnitzel Von Krumm, With a Very Low Tum, a Dachshund

Every Kiwi child knows this story! (with a further 19 books that followed the first).

NZ Post will release a series of commemorative stamps on 1st March to celebrate the 40th anniversary of this now classic children’s book. Can you guess which character is Sox’s favourite?

Kathleen Crisley, Fear-Free certified professional and specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

The importance of a greeting

The Balanced Dog is a fully mobile practice. Working in home gives me much better information than if I practiced in a clinic setting. Clinics are not a normal environment for a dog and so they often don’t act normally when they are there. A common issue is that the owner reports lameness but the dog isn’t lame in the clinic – because their nervousness overrides any pain signals and the muscles are tighter than normal.

Another benefit to me and the dog when I arrive is that I am often greeted off-leash, as Dalmatian Velo did with me on Saturday.

In the act of greeting me, I got to watch Velo’s gait (a relaxed doggy on a Saturday morning at home) and I was able to confirm also that he’s being kept warm in his jumper.

Kathleen Crisley, Fear-Free certified professional and specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

Dogs capable of interspecies adoption

Interspecies relationships often make the news as human interest stories.  Dogs have developed caring relationships for a variety of species, including cats, rabbits, and lambs.

What this means, essentially, is the great depth at which dogs have emotional lives and the capacity to bond.  They bond to us – why not to other animals?

This video, of an Australian Dalmatian who took a spotted lamb under its protection, is an example of the interspecies bond that dogs can form.

What stories do you have about a dog bonding with another animals?

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

Deaf pet awareness week

The week of 23 – 29 September is Deaf Pet Awareness Week.

In many cases, when a dog is found to be deaf, it is put to sleep.   However, more frequently there are pet owners willing to take on these special needs animals.  These dogs can be trained using sign language and are just as intelligent as ‘normal’ dogs.

Deafness in animals can be inherited or acquired through trauma, drug reactions, or simply old age.   Dalmatians and Boxers are more prone to deafness than others. Thirty percent of all Dalmatians born are either deaf in one ear or  bilaterally deaf.   Some deaf dogs also have albinism, meaning that they lack normal melanin pigment in their eyes, nose, or skin.  Owners of these dogs have to pay special attention to sun protection.

The Deaf Dog Education Action Fund has a wonderful website with answers to questions involving the ownership and care of deaf dogs.

Use this special week to contact animal shelters in your area to find out if there is a special deaf dog waiting for you!

The importance of pain management

Whenever I take on a new client, I use a health questionnaire that covers current conditions as well as the dog’s health history.  One of the issues I address is any recent changes to the dog’s behaviour or living conditions.

What I am trying to ascertain is if a dog is in pain or having adjustment difficulties. There is a clear link between pain and aggression and this has been supported in a recent study by researchers at the Autonomous University of Barcelona in Spain.

In the Spanish study, which has been published in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior, 12 dogs that were brought in by their owners for ‘aggression problems’ were studied.  All were found to have pain-induced aggression with eight diagnosed as having hip dysplasia.

The breeds in the study were:  a Giant Schnauzer, Irish Setter, Pit Bull, Dalmatian, two German shepherds, Neapolitan Mastiff, Shih-tzu, Bobtail, Catalan Sheepdog, Chow Chow and Doberman.

The researchers concluded “if the pet is handled when in pain, it will quickly act aggressively to avoid more discomfort without the owner being able to prevent it.”

So, when a dog is behaving differently or is “out-of-sorts”, a visit to the vet is recommended.  Behaviour changes can be the first indicator that something is wrong and your vet can help to run appropriate tests to see if there is an underlying health problem.

Dogs have a way of not telling us they are in pain until a problem is more pronounced because their natural instinct is to protect themselves by not exhibiting any noticeable vulnerabilities.  Therapies such as massage and low level laser (which I employ in my canine rehabilitation practice) are useful in helping to manage pain through appropriate stimulation of acupressure points and managing muscle, tendon and ligament condition.  I’m also a strong supporter of acupuncture and refer clients to a local vet who is trained in veterinary acupuncture.

These complementary therapies can be employed alongside traditional pain medications such as NSAIDs to support your dog’s quality of life.  When pain is managed, quality of life improves for everyone in the household.

Source:  Plataforma SINC. “If your dog is aggressive, maybe it is in pain.” ScienceDaily, 13 Jun. 2012. Web. 15 Jun. 2012.

A letter to my dog

A letter to my dog is the website collecting stories for photographer Robin Layton’s book project.  Dog owners from across the United States are encouraged to write a letter to their dog, include a photo, and upload both to the site.

This year, Layton will select some of the submissions and visit the dogs and their owners for professional photographs – and the letters and photos will go into his book.    A contribution from the proceeds of the book will be donated to the Humane Society of the United States.

What I like about the site is that people can include the breed of their dog as part of their submission (and there’s a category for mixed breeds, too!).  If you’re partial to the Dalmatian, for example, you can click on the Dalmatian link and read all the stories submitted by Dalmatian owners.

What I really like about the site is that it is a great pick-me-up after a long day.   It’s  dedicated to the bond between dog and owner and gives owners a chance to express their great love for their dog.  Excellent reading!

Some excerpts:

Full of jokes and hugs, you always know how to make me laugh, even in my darkest depression.

The way you look at me, it makes me feel as if I am every thing good in the world, because that is what you see in me.

I am so happy to have you and I hope you live a lot more years.

How could we have known when we walked into the animal control (the pound) the special connection and impact you would have on our lives.

I adopted you 9 years ago, and I still have vivid memories of that day when I came to pick you up.

This might seem a little odd because you can’t read, so I’ll explain it to you over a beer and a few treats very soon.

You instantly won my heart and even managed to win over my mom.

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In memoriam

On Monday, we lost a great dog by the name of Olliver (yes – that’s the correct spelling). A Dalmatian, Ollie had great spirit, which showed through even more when he lost the ability to walk in July 2010.  The veterinary profession have been stymied as to the reason for Ollie’s sudden loss of function and his owner has generously offered Ollie’s body for study at Massey University.

With the love and constant care of his owner, Ollie was engaged and alert until his sudden crash on Monday with internal bleeding.  I miss him.   Working with Ollie three times per week over the last year, we connected in a way I haven’t had the privilege of doing with any other dog.  Rest well, Ollie, my special boy.   I will take you with me for the rest of my days.

The Rainbow Bridge

Just this side of Heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.  When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.  There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.  There is plenty of food and water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.  All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigour:  those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days gone by.

The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing:  they miss someone very special to them who had to be left behind.  They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddnely stops and looks into the distance.  The eyes are intent, the eager body quivers.  Suddenly he begins to break away from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.  You have been spotted and when you and your special friend finally meet you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again.  The happy kisses rain upon your face, your hands again caress his beloved head and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you pass over the Rainbow Bridge together…

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

Pointer vs Dalmatian

When I am out walking with Daisy, many people stop us to ask, “She’s a Dalmatian crossed with what?”  And I reply politely, “She’s a pure bred English Pointer, actually.  But it is the spots that throw people off.”

With the help of our friend, Olliver (Ollie for short), I am going to explain the differences between a Pointer and a Dalmatian.  

To start off, let’s look at Daisy and Ollie side by side:  they are different!

Maybe a side by side comparison will help:

Both dogs are black & white, but Ollie has only small spots whereas Daisy has large and small ones.  Daisy’s head is almost solid black; Olliver’s head has spots all over!

Perhaps the best way to tell the dogs apart is to read Daisy’s lips.  Our friends call these saggy doggy lips.  Ollie’s lips are clearly not the same!

Both dogs shed on a regular basis and are single-coated.  This means that they feel the cold and so their favourite place in winter is in front of the fire.  They also benefit from wearing a coat on colder days.

 Some basic Dalmatian facts:

The Dalmatian is a non-sporting dog and the breed is recognised by the American Kennel Club and the New Zealand Kennel Club, as well as many other clubs worldwide.   Dalmatians are either bi-coloured or tri-coloured. Bi-coloured dogs are black and white and tri-coloured dogs have brown, liver and black spots.  Puppies are born white and their spots develop over time.

The breed has a long history, with some people suggesting that Dalmatians were featured on the walls of the Egyptian pyramids. Gypsies that travelled Europe used Dalmatians to calm horses and provide companionship to travellers.  The word ‘Dalmatian’ is derived from the area of Croatia that was known as Dalmatia.  Dogs were traded for goods to the British, who were the first to breed the dogs.

During the late 1700s, Dalmatians were known to be riding under the axles or alongside the carriages of their noblemen owners for the sole purpose of being a status symbol.  The dogs could run or trot for over a hundred miles in a single day. In the evening, the dogs were placed alongside the horses in the stables to guard and to calm the horses.

When Dalmatians came to America in 1870, they arrived as the mascot to the fire truck and this association with firehouses continues to this day.

Dalmatians are known for their spots, energy, devotion, protective nature and intelligence.

Some basic Pointer facts:

The English Pointer, also known as the Pointer, is a gun dog that is recognised by major kennel clubs worldwide.  Pointers may be liver and white, black and white, lemon and white or orange and white.  The dogs can be tri-coloured and also come as solids.  (Solids are more rare and are much sought after.)

Like the Dalmatian, the Pointer has a long history.  It was bred to be a gentleman’s hunting dog and so they are known for being gentle and well-mannered once they are trained.  History records Pointers as far back as the 1600s, with Pointers being used to locate hares and greyhounds being used to chase them.  The breed is thought to be a cross of Foxhound, Bloodhound, Greyhound, Newfoundland, and Setter.  Other records say that there was a Spanish Pointer that was bred in 17th and 18th century to form the basis of today’s breed.

Pointers are often shown ‘on point’ when they are standing still and pointing at the location of birds.  Pointers are not naturally known for their retrieving skills but they can be trained to find dead or wounded game.

Pointers are known for their strength, cleverness, dependability, hardworking nature, loyalty and congeniality.

Famous dogs

Sensation was one of the most famous Pointers.  He was imported to the United States in 1876 and is the mascot for the Westminster Kennel Club, appearing on their emblem.

The Pointer ‘on point’ is also the official registered trademark of the Rodd & Gunn clothing company and the image of the Pointer is found on all of their menswear garments. 

Pointer Brand clothing has also been manufactured in the United States since 1913.  The company’s logo features Carolina Bill, the dog of Landon Clayton King who founded the company, L. C. King Manufacturing Company, in Tennessee. 

Sparky® the Fire Dog is one famous Dalmatian.

He is the mascot and logo for the National Fire Protection Association.  Perhaps the best known Dalmatians are Pongo, Perdita, Prince and the puppies made famous by 101 Dalmatians.  The One Hundred and One Dalmatians was a novel published in 1956 by Dodie Smith that was made into animated films by Walt Disney Productions.

I hope that this article gives you some better information about why Pointers are different from Dalmatians.   Despite their differences, the dogs get along just fine!







Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand