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Golden Retriever: Everything You Need to Know About This Beloved Breed

Golden Retriever: Everything You Need to Know About This Beloved Breed 0

When you imagine a faithful family dog, does the fluffy face of a Golden Retriever come to mind? These intelligent, active, affectionate dogs make ideal four-legged additions to many families, which is probably why they're one of America's most popular dogs. Read on to discover what goldens are all about!

An Overview of the Breed

The Golden Retriever belongs to the sporting dog group, and is known for their athletic prowess and desire to please. Originally bred to retrieve waterfowl, goldens have taken on many different jobs in the modern era, including service and therapy, search and rescue, and drug and bomb detection. These eager to please pups make them easy to train and the perfect working dog. 

There are three main types of Golden Retrievers, American, English, and Canadian, which look relatively similar to the amatuer eye. While they come in all shades of gold, from light cream to almost red, the American Kennel Club recognizes three different coat color variations: light golden, golden, and dark golden.

History and Background

Golden Retrievers might seem as American as apple pie, but their story actually began  in 19th-Century Scotland. In 1865, Dudley Marjoribanks, Lord Tweedmouth, bought the only yellow Wavy-Coated Retriever in a litter of black puppies. He later bred this dog, named Nous, with a Tweed Water Spaniel, now extinct, to create the Golden Retriever we know and love. This first true golden went by the name of Crocus.

In developing the breed, Lord Tweedmouth sought to create a superior retriever suited to the Scottish climate, terrain, and available game. The dog needed to be able to retrieve on both land and water and bring the game back unharmed. They were bred to have soft mouths, a powerful gait, a flat coat, and expert swimming abilities.

By the 1870s, Scottish gamekeepers had found work for these new companions as gundogs. In the early 20th Century, they began appearing in dog shows. The Kennel Club of England first recognized the breed as "Retriever - Yellow or Golden" in 1911, then as "Retriever - Golden" a few years later. In 1925, the American Kennel Club recognized the breed, paving the way for it to become one of the most popular dog breeds in the United states.

Physical Characteristics

Golden Retrievers stand 21 to 24 inches tall and weigh 55 to 75 pounds. They sport a double coat of straight, medium-length hair with floppy ears and straight, broad head. Let’s be real, is there anything cuter than golden retriever puppies?

Their dense, waterproof coat is perfect for retrieving on land or in water. The breed comes in three basic color ranges: Light Golden, Golden, and Dark Golden.

As a sporting dog, they are known for their athletic build, boundless energy, and strong desire to perform a task and please their handler. Their soft mouths make them ideal for retriever waterfowl, or gentle play with family members. 

Personality

If you want a "Velcro dog," you want a Golden Retriever. They'll follow you everywhere because they love spending time with humans. They show great affection and a stable temperament that makes them good around children. They even have enough energy to keep up with the average kid!

What’s bad about golden retrievers? Don't expect them to be the world's greatest security dog. While they do bark , their love for human connection may result in them greeting strangers with a big kiss and request for a belly rub or back scratch.

Along with their seemingly endless energy and happy demeanor, goldens are known for their native intelligence and loyalty. These qualities make them eager to please their handler and relatively easy to train with a little work.

Caring for the Breed

Golden Retrievers need 30 minutes of exercise twice a day, not just to keep them in good shape but also to help burn off the excess energy that might make them too rambunctious. As a retriever, goldens will literally play fetch as long as allowed. If you love to jog, run, or walk as part of your daily routine, you'll have a new exercise partner! 

Golden Retrievers need training to become happy, well-behaved family members. But you're in luck there, too, because these super-smart dogs learn fast. You might want to start with leash training, though. They will chase after birds, squirrels, and other creatures if they don't know how to behave on a leash.

Nutrition can make a big difference in your Golden Retriever's health. Like any dog, this breed will get chubby unless you feed it sensible meals. A "couch potato" needs to stay between 989 and 1,272 calories per day. If the pup lives an active life, it should get 1,353 to 1,740 calories. Ask your vet whether your pet can also benefit from nutritional supplements.

Grooming your dog every six weeks, along with weekly brushing sessions, can help you manage that thick coat. Check the toenails every couple of weeks to see if they need trimming.

Potential Health Issues

Any dog can experience health issues, including Golden Retrievers. This breed has a relatively high cancer rate, with up to 56 percent of female deaths and 66 percent of male deaths caused by the malignant forms of this disease. Golden Retrievers can also be bothered with circulatory, heart, and lung problems.

Similar to other sporting dogs, goldens are prone to joint issues, like arthritis and hip and elbow dysplasia. With proper breeding, weight management, and treatment, severe cases can be avoided. It’s always a good idea to take extra care of a golden’s joint by adding nutritional joint support, like glucosamine for dogs, to their diet.

Their dense double coat makes a great potential home for bacteria, pests, parasites, and debris. These invaders could pose a problem because these dogs can have trouble with allergic reactions to fleas, ticks, mites, mold, and dust. Regular baths with a dog shampoo will help keep their coat free of irritants. It’s also a good idea to provide extra skin and coat support by adding an omega 3 for dogs to their diet.

Goldens can also run into trouble with cataracts, thyroid problems, bloat, and ear infections. It’s vital to schedule regular wellness checks so a vet can catch these issues early.

Fun Facts

Not every breed of dog can swim well, but Golden Retrievers are highly capable swimmers. Why are golden retrievers so good at swimming? Their strong hind legs, water-repellent double coat, webbed paws, and rudder-like tail help them excel at swimming.

Since receiving AKC recognition in 1925, Golden Retrievers have regularly placed near the very top of the rankings as one of the most popular U.S. dog breeds. 

They are considered to be the 4th smartest dog breed behind Border Collies, Poodles, and German Shepherds.

Not just good for waterfowl retrieving, goldens also make great therapy dogs, guide dogs, and search-and-rescue dogs. 

Famous Golden Retrievers

Golden Retrievers have moved in some high-flying circles, including the White House. President Gerald Ford's Golden Retriever, Liberty, made a cute and friendly addition to the First Family in the 1970s.

Bretagne was a famed search-and-rescue dog who aided the rescue efforts of major hurricanes like Katrina, Rita, and Ivan and was deployed to Ground Zero following the 9/11 attacks. She was the last known surviving dog that responded to Ground Zero.

Pinkie took the Best in Breed title at the Westminster Dog Show, only to grow even more famous for her "adoption" of a trio of tiger cubs.

Buddy achieved fame through his appearances on America's Funniest Home Videos and Late Night With David Letterman. He also starred in the feature film Air Bud.

Golden Retrievers to Follow on Instagram

Tucker currently rules Instagram with an unmatched 2.2 million followers.

Marty and Murphy are a hilarious Canadian duo. Marty is known to sing a tune or two.

Chelsea can be found chillin by the pool, or in it, most of the time. Let’s just say water is her second love behind food.

Maui shares his adventures with Rubi the Corgi.

What to Expect From Golden Retriever Ownership

If you adopt a Golden Retriever, you can expect many happy years with a loving, active, friendly companion. Just do everything you can to keep up with it! Give it lots of personal attention, exercise, and the right portions of nutrients, and you can't go wrong with this golden-haired beauty!

From Pembroke to Cardigan: A Complete Corgi Guide

From Pembroke to Cardigan: A Complete Corgi Guide 0

From ordinary folks to royalty, everyone loves corgis. They are smart, alert, and affectionate. There's no mistaking these pups’ unique appearance: big ears, bouncing butt and short "drumstick" legs.  Some may look like a loaf of bread. Others have perfected the “sploot”. Everything about them — from their round builds to their happy faces — is absolutely adorable. What's not to love about this breed? Keep reading to learn more!

An Overview of Corgis

Corgis are the smallest member of the herding group. Their long and low bodies make them quick and agile herders. It’s no surprise that their name reflects their stature. The word Corgi is believed to be derived from the Welsh words “cor”, which means dwarf, and “gi”, which means dog. 

What many people don’t know is that there are actually two different types of Corgis: Cardigan Welsh Corgi and Pembroke Welsh Corgi. These two types are considered separate breeds because they come from different ancestors (we’ll touch on that later).

However, they do share similarities, both physically and personality wise, that lead to them often being confused. Both types have large heads with long bodies on short, thick legs. However, the quickest way to tell them apart is to look from behind. Cardigan Welsh Corgis have tails, while Pembrokes do not. 

History and Background

Delving into the history of Corgis reveals the differences between the two breeds, which originate from different parts of Wales - Pembrokeshire and Cardiganshire - and have different ancestral lineage.  

The Cardigan Welsh Corgi is one of the oldest breeds in the British isles and nearly 2,000 years older than Pembrokes. Their ancestors were brought to Wales from Central Europe by Celtic tribes around 1200 BC. It is believed that they descended from the German Teckel lineage.

The history of the Pembroke Welsh Corgi dates back to around the 10th century and is believed to descend from the Nordic Spitz breeds. However, the theory of their origin is somewhat disputed and includes ties to Flemish weavers, Scandinavian raiders, and even a fanciful tale of being ridden by fairies. Pembroke Welsh Corgis are perhaps best known because Queen Elizabeth II loves the breed.

Both excelled in herding and guarding grazing cattle. Perhaps surprisingly, the breeds haven't interbred, with the exception of a brief period in the 1930s. During this period, these two corgi breeds were considered one breed, Welsh Corgi, by the Kennel Club of Great Britain. In 1934, the two types were separated into two distinct breeds.  

Physical Characteristics

They have a lot more going on than their stoutness! These dwarf breeds have almost comically large heads and upright ears. Cardigans are rounder (in both body and ears) and larger, with males weighing up to 38 pounds. Pembrokes are slightly smaller at 30 pounds and feel more rectangular thanks to their straighter spine.

Cardigan coats can be brindle, black and white with either brindle or tan points, blue merle, or red and sable with white markings. Pembrokes, on the other hand, have red, sable or tricolor coats with white markings. However, it's common for dogs of both breeds to have a white stripe down their nose. Technically, the AKC considers their longer coat to be a fault of the breed, but plenty of people love their fluffy Corgis!

Personality

There are also a few personality differences between the two Corgi types. Pembroke Welsh Corgis are more outgoing, while Cardigans can take some time to warm up to new people. Pembrokes have more energy overall and stay close to their owners, which makes them excellent walking buddies. However, some people prefer the Cardigan Welsh Corgi's independence and adaptability. They love to lounge at home on the sofa as much as they like to travel.

Caring for the Breed

With their higher energy, Pembrokes may require more calories than Cardigans, especially because the latter breed can easily become overweight. The AKC recommends giving Cardigans two smaller meals each day to aid digestion.

When it comes to grooming, Cardigans need only weekly brushing and trimming of their nails and the fur around their feet. Pembroke Welsh Corgis are a bit more demanding because of their double coat — it requires daily brushing with a slick brush and can shed quite a bit. Bathing your Pembroke during shedding season helps to reduce this.

They enjoy a good walk, and Pembrokes especially want a job to do. However, their legs are too short for them to join you on bike rides, so stick to daily walking or jogging. If you notice your Cardigan zooming around the house — an activity known as "trapping" — it's time for exercise. Cardigan Welsh Corgis love toy balls and socializing, and regular trips to the dog park are a great way to give them both! Note that stairs and excess jumping can cause back injuries in Cardigan Welsh Corgis.

Both breeds can benefit from training, which helps them socialize and release energy. Training may include herding, obedience or agility activities. Pembrokes and Cardigans alike love positive rewards, which will help ensure they are well-behaved.

Common Health Issues

Both breeds are typically healthy and have similar life expectancies — 10 to 15 years for Cardigans and 10-13 years for Pembrokes. With proper breeding, many genetic health conditions can be avoided. It is important to have hip and ophthalmologist evaluations to catch potential joint issues, progressive retinal atrophy, and degenerative myelopathy

Due to their low build, Cardigans and Pembrokes are prone to developing hip dysplasia and back injuries. Doggie parents should avoid letting their pup jump between furniture and the floor. It is also important to ensure your pup’s joints are receiving the nutritional support they need to stay healthy. Look for a glucosamine for dogs supplement and/or omegas for dogs to support their joints and reduce inflammation.

Fun Facts

According to legend, Welsh fairies relied on Pembroke Welsh Corgis to work their cattle, pull their coaches, and even carry them into battle! For this reason, Corgis are sometimes known as "enchanted" dogs.

Pembroke Welsh Corgis were named the 11th smartest breed by Stanley Coren in his book "The Intelligence of Dogs."

People think that Corgis and their body parts look like all sorts of food! Their stubby legs resemble "drumsticks," especially from the back. And the Japanese even have a word for their fluffy butts — the Japanese word for "peach!"

Famous Corgis

Many people are aware of the Queen of England's penchant for the breed. She's owned at least 30 Pembroke Welsh Corgis or mixes in her lifetime, giving them the royal treatment even after they've passed.

Horror writer Stephen King has affectionately referred to his Corgi Molly as the "Thing of Evil" on social media since she joined the family in 2015.

Anime fans might recognize Ein, a Pembroke Welsh with enhanced intelligence, who joins the Bebop crew in Cowboy Bebop. Netflix is making a live action reboot of Cowboy Bebop.

Finally, comic lovers can check out Tori the Corgi and her sardonic munchkin cat friend Samuel in their series on Webtoons.

In its early days, Amazon even had a Pembroke Welsh Corgi mascot named Rufus, who joined his editor-in-chief owner at work!

Corgis to Follow on On Instagram

Ralph the Corgi may be the most famous Corgi influencer with 318k followers.

Geordi La Corgi & Scotty are an adorable duo you don't want to miss.

Don't forget to check out Tibby's fun and festive IG.

What to Expect When Owning a Corgi

Your expectations will differ based on the breed. With a Pembroke Welsh Corgi, you'll have a small, loyal and energetic friend who will keep up with you — and keep you on your toes! The double-coat needs more attention but is beautiful nonetheless.

If you choose a Cardigan Welsh Corgi, you'll have a gentler and more timid dog that loves spending time at home with you. However, it will still require socializing, and you must be watchful of your dog's weight.

Overall, both Corgis make excellent additions to a family or even a ranch!

Anti Inflammatory for Dogs: Why Controlling Inflammation is Critical For A Healthy Dog

Anti Inflammatory for Dogs: Why Controlling Inflammation is Critical For A Healthy Dog 0

Inflammation in dogs can both stem from, and contribute to, many health challenges. Dog parents who want to help their pup achieve and maintain an optimal quality of life need to understand what this problem can mean and how the proper nutritional support can help. 

Whether your dog suffers from a known inflammatory disorder or you just want to keep him happy and healthy for life, take a moment to consider the following key points about inflammation in dogs.

What Is Inflammation?

Inflammation plays a key role in the body's nonspecific immunity against physical threats such as an infection or injury. When the immune system perceives such a threat, it releases large numbers of white blood cells, which then travel rapidly to the area in need of help. Inflammation may look and feel unpleasant, but it can help to wipe out invading germs and speed tissue repair.

Acute Inflammation vs. Chronic Inflammation

While inflammation usually proves helpful under normal circumstances, it can also cause problems if it gets out of control or occurs for the wrong reasons. Acute inflammation may cause redness, pain, and swelling, but these symptoms should go away once the underlying health issue resolves itself. Unfortunately, chronic conditions often lead to chronic inflammation. This state of ongoing, low-level inflammation can cause serious problems such as cell damage, joint trouble, premature aging, major organ disease, and even cancer.

Common Inflammatory Disorders: Symptoms and Complications

Dogs can develop a variety of chronic inflammatory problems, some of which are easier for owners to spot than others. You and your vet will want to watch out for the following common inflammatory conditions.

  • Enteritis: Enteritis occurs when the small intestine becomes inflamed. Many kinds of irritants can trigger this condition, including parasites, allergies, intestinal blockages, and ingested germs such as bacteria or viruses. Dogs suffering from enteritis may experience abnormal stools, abdominal pain, vomiting, weight loss, and fever. 
  • Osteoarthritis: Osteoarthritis commonly affects older dogs (just as it affects older humans), but it can also develop because of premature joint wear and tear. In this inflammatory condition, the cartilage that lines and cushions the bone ends in joints thins out and breaks up. Symptoms include swollen joints and painful stiffness when your dog tries to walk, climb stairs, lie down, or stand up.
  • Hepatitis: Dogs can develop chronic inflammation of the liver (hepatitis) because of infections, reactions to toxic substances, or no identifiable reason. Genetics may also play a role, since the condition appears more often in such popular breeds as Chihuahuas, Springer Spaniels, Standard Poodles, Doberman Pinschers, Cocker Spaniels, and Labrador Retrievers. Symptoms include jaundice, an enlarged abdomen, increased thirst/urination, weight loss, diarrhea, and lethargy.
  • Dermatitis: Dogs often suffer from skin inflammation related to canine allergic dermatitis, sometimes referred to as canine atopic dermatitis. This condition can affect any dog, but Bulldogs, Dalmations, Golden Retrievers, Old English Sheepdogs, and many breeds of terriers seem especially vulnerable to it. Common triggers include specific foods, airborne allergens, irritants that contact the skin, or even normal skin microorganisms. Dogs who lick or bite at the inflamed, itchy lesions caused by this condition may develop skin infections.

Veterinary Treatment Options for Canine Inflammation

Regular wellness exams can help your veterinarian identify a chronic inflammatory condition, even if that condition hasn’t yet displayed obvious external symptoms. Conditions such as osteoarthritis may reveal themselves through X-rays, visual evidence of joint swelling, and observations of your dog’s stance and gait. Allergy testing can help to confirm sources of skin inflammation. Analysis of blood, urine, and fecal samples can pinpoint internal problems related to chronic inflammation.

Veterinarians commonly treat inflammation with a combination of therapies. For example, anti inflammatory for dogs, such as NSAIDs or steroids, may help reduce inflammatory reactions. Histamines can help dogs with allergic inflammation. Dogs with osteoarthritis may also benefit from gentle exercise to keep the joints limber (and prevent unwanted weight gain that might stress the joints further). 

Diet and nutrition also play important roles in the treatment of canine inflammatory disorders. Your dog may need a special diet to help him cope with digestive inflammation, allergies that trigger dermatitis, or organ problems related to chronic inflammatory damage.

Foods and Nutrients That Can Help Your Dog Manage Inflammation

Many foods and seasonings contain nutrients that can help to prevent or control chronic inflammation in dogs. This approach can prove safer and gentler than a heavy reliance on medications (which can produce unwanted side effects or interact with other prescription drugs).

Food allergy-based inflammation may recede after your pet switches to a hypoallergenic diet. For instance, if your dog has allergies to the proteins commonly found in commercial food products, he may do much better with a diet that relies on less common protein combinations such as eggs and rice, duck and peas, or fish and potatoes. Seasonings such as cinnamon and turmeric can also help control chronic inflammation.

Omega-3 fatty acids are a major ally in the fight against canine inflammation. These fatty acids — commonly found in salmon, anchovies, sardines, and other fatty fish — also come in fish oil supplement form. Omega-3 supplementation makes it easy to ensure that your dog gets enough of these fatty acids regularly, even if he doesn’t like fish. 

Joint issues can start very small and overtime become serious. With the increase severity comes increased inflammation. Nutrients that help reduce inflammation, like omega fatty acids, are critical for treating the body's response. Additionally, the initial issue should be treated as well. Nutrients like glucosamine and chondroitin help improve joint health and mobility. By helping lubricate and cushion the joint, these nutrients help to stop the damage that is causing inflammation.

Give your pet the regular evaluations he needs, work with your vet on any necessary treatment plan, and provide the right dietary and nutritional support to help your dog fight inflammation. Your best friend will appreciate it!

How to Identify and Treat Common Dog Skin Problems

How to Identify and Treat Common Dog Skin Problems 0

Dog skin issues are one the most common reasons for vet visits. Dogs are prone to a variety of diseases that cause changes in your dog’s skin, including scaling, pustules, and lesions. Dog skin problems often lead to scratching and excessive licking. Unfortunately, this self-soothing can lead to the spread of skin infections and even self-harm.

Dog skin conditions are no fun and can make your dog very uncomfortable. Keep reading to learn more about common skin and coat problems for dogs and how to treat them. 

Canine Atopic Dermatitis

Canine atopic dermatitis refers to allergens that a dog may inhale. Just like humans, dogs suffer from environmental and seasonal allergies too! When lgE antibodies are exposed to environmental allergens, they can develop pruritic inflammatory skin disease. After inhaling allergens such as dust mites, mold, hair, and pollen, dogs experience discomfort and stress.

Symptoms of Canine Atopic Dermatitis

In the initial stages, dogs rub, scratch, and chew excessively. Depending on the allergen involved, this behavior may be seasonal. The itching and rubbing may occur in certain areas or the entire body. Due to allergic reactions, they may also develop some hot spots.

Canine atopy is different from a flea allergy, which affects the thighs, groin, and tail area. The disease is hereditary and is common in the following breeds;

  • Boston Terrier
  • Scottish Terrier
  • Golden and Labrador Retrievers
  • Fox Terrier
  • White Terrier
  • Dalmatian
  • Boxer
  • Shar-Pei

Usually, this disease occurs between 6 months and 3 years.

How to Treat Canine Atopic Dermatitis

You can treat atopic dermatitis in dogs through avoidance of allergens and regular baths. Ensure your dog stays away from dust, mold, and hair to avoid this disease.

Bathing dogs helps reduce the allergen load. It’s recommended to bathe your dog weekly with a dog shampoo to reduce secondary infections. Be sure to avoid shampoos for humans, as they can harm a dog’s skin and coat.

Seborrhea

Does your dog have dandruff-like flakes or very greasy fur and skin? That may be a sign of dermatitis seborrhea, a common skin disorder.

Seborrhea is a genetic disorder that may occur in young dogs and last for a lifetime. It causes greasiness on the dog’s skin, leading to dandruff. The affected parts develop whitish scales as a result of skin flaking off.

Different dog breeds are predisposed to common health issues. Seborrhea affects a variety of dog breeds, mostly including:

  • Golden retrievers
  • German shepherds
  • Cocker spaniels
  • Dachshunds
  • Labrador

Older dogs may develop seborrhea. However, this is often caused by conditions such as parasites, dietary deficiency, or endocrine disorders.

Seborrhea causes an unpleasant odor in dogs. It affects the sebaceous glands, which then leads to excess sebum on the skin. Dogs with vitamin deficiency may also develop seborrhea.

How to Treat Seborrhea

To treat seborrhea, you have to look at the underlying condition. Call a vet to diagnose the conditions that may be causing seborrhea.

Besides, seborrhea is manageable. These general treatments may help relieve your dog from the disease:

  • Feeding with omega-3 fatty acid supplements
  • Oral antibiotics
  • Use of anti-seborrheic sprays and shampoos

Unless the condition is severe, your dog will quickly recover from seborrhea.

Tips for Keeping a Dog's Skin and Coat Healthy

It’s no doubt that skin and coat problems can be detrimental to your dog’s life. Keeping your dog’s skin and coat healthy improves its moods, appearance, and performance. After all, you want to have a dog that looks healthy, smells nice, and has a shiny coat.

Some of the best ways to keep the skin and coat healthy include:

Bathing Regularly

Bathing your dog at least once biweekly keeps skin diseases at bay. When bathing, use dog shampoo to prevent irritations. You can brush to remove dead skin cells and give the coat a shiny look. 

Be sure to use a good dog shampoo and avoid shampoos for humans. The skin of dogs and humans have very different pH balances. Human shampoo can actually harm a dog’s skin and leave them more vulnerable to parasites, viruses, and bacteria. 

Providing the Right Diet

Did you know that diet has a direct impact on your dog’s skin? Dog diet should have sufficient protein to maintain a healthy coat. 75% of a dog’s hair is made up of proteins, and with protein deficiency, your dog may develop skin and coat disorders.

Adding an omega 3 for dogs supplement and multivitamins to your dog’s diet ensures they are receiving the proper vitamins and super nutrients their skin and coat needs. Look for supplements that reduce inflammation and combat allergies.

Regular Checkups

How often do you visit a vet? It’s advisable to visit a vet once every 6 months for a checkup. Even when your vet doesn’t show any symptoms, a checkup may help you spot something you might have missed.