Sunday, March 11, 2012

From Hero to Beethoven~ The Saint Bernard

I have met a few Saint Bernards here on Alki and so this week I have decided to write about the beautiful, large and brave Saint Bernard.
I hope you enjoy learning about them as much as I have!

The St. Bernard is a large dog. The average weight of the breed is between 140 and 264 lbs and the approximate height at the withers is 27½ inches to 35½ inches.
The St. Bernard is descended from the ancient Roman Molossian dogs of war that accompanied Roman soldiers on their invasion of the Alps. These dogs were crossed with native Swiss dogs and the Saint was developed for hauling carts, guarding and herding.

The hospice was founded in 980 AD by St Bernard de Menthon as a refuge for mountain travelers using the hazardous mountain pass between Switzerland and Italy.
By the 18th century, the monks of the hospice were breeding St. Bernards to guide and rescue mountain travelers.

The Saint’s sense of smell is so good that he can find people buried by avalanches under many feet of snow.

The breed also seems to be able to sense low frequency vibrations and predict avalanches. During the past 3 centuries, these dogs are credited with saving the lives of well over 2,000 people.
"St. Bernard" wasn't in widespread use until the middle of the 19th century. The dogs were called "Saint Dogs", "Noble Steeds", "Alpenmastiff", or "Barry Dogs" before that time. .

There are two coat types for the Saint Bernard.  The coat can be either smooth or rough, with the smooth coat close and flat. The rough coat is dense but flat, and more profuse around the neck and legs. The coat is typically a red color with white, or sometimes a mahogany brindle with white.
Black shading is usually found on the face and ears. The tail is long and heavy, hanging low with the end turned up slightly. Sometimes the eyes, brown usually, can be icy blue, nearly white.
                     (Short haired St. Bernard)
The Saint is an intelligent, courageous, loyal, obedient and good natured dog breed. Some Saints are extroverts and some introverts but all need close contact with their families. Do not leave this breed outside all the time as it needs to be part of the family’s activities.
The breed is very good with children and also other pets but because of their very large size, young children and toddlers should be supervised carefully to avoid any accidents. The St Bernard is devoted to its family and will guard it from any threats.
The Saint is slow moving, obedient and wants to please its owner and therefore is relatively easy to train. However St. Bernard dogs are so large that they must be thoroughly socialized and trained while they are young and haven’t grown too large to handle. Any giant breed must be thoroughly obedience trained or you will have a disaster in the making.
The Saint makes a good watchdog even though it doesn’t bark much and is fairly tolerant of strangers. The Saint Bernard does best with an experienced dog owner.
Here are some famous Saint Bernards:
  • Bamse, a Norwegian dog honoured for exploits during World War II memorial statue in Montrose, Scotland.
  • Barry, famous Alpine rescue dog
  • Beethoven (from the movie series of the same name)
  • Buck, from Jack London's The Call of the Wild, is half St. Bernard
  • Cujo, the dog from the book Cujo and film of the same name
  • Nana, in the Disney and Columbia Pictures Peter Pan movies (but a Newfoundland in J.M. Barrie's original play and novel
  • Porthos, J.M. Barrie's dog
  •  Scipio St.Bernard of Orville Wright
And here is a photo that I really love of a St. Bernard and a cute little friend!
And so from Hero to Beethoven, the St. Bernard is a great dog!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Coton de Tulear - Playful Pup

Hello Dog Whisperer Readers ~
This week I am going to write about the Coton de Tulear (It’s pronounced KO-Tone Dih TOO-Lay-ARE) due to a request from Julie, a Lil' Dog Whisperer reader!  Thank you very much for the request and I hope that you enjoy!
Madagascar is the country of origin of the Coton Tulear. It is presumed that in the 16th century sailors had brought the ancestors of the Coton to the port city of Tulear (present day Toliara) in Madagascar from Spain and Portugal. The Coton is related to the Bichon dog family.

Cotons are both lovable and lucky, so it seems. In general, the Coton de Tulear is a healthy animal that can live to be 18 years old.
Coton de Tulears are affectionate, playful, and intelligent little breeds.  They love life, and are generally lively and enthusiastic. A very vocal breed, this fluffy dog grunts and makes noise when having fun. Some even have a habit of leaping and walking on their rear legs to entertain people. But some may exhibit cautiousness or shyness in new situation, particularly around strangers. This will not be a problem if you properly socialize and train him/her.

Training Coton de Tulears is a delightful experience. This breed is lovable, and eager to please the owner making them highly responsive to positive methods using praise and rewards. They are obedient and highly agile dogs that enjoys competition being in the spotlight. As with other breeds, they still require consistent training with obedience classes as puppies to both socialize them, and provide a good knowledge of the basic commands.
The Coton de Tulear loves to play and swim. They appreciate wide open space, and can tag along on horseback with their masters. They do great in various dog sports including agility trials, and catch. As an active breed, they really adapt well to their family's situation for as long as they are provided with daily walks.

This small dog weighs between 9-13 pounds for males, 8-11 pounds for females, and stands 10-12 inches for males, 8.5-10.5 inches for females.
The Coton de Tulear is different from most breeds of dogs in that the cotton, dry textured coat is more like hair than it is like a traditional dog fur. This makes the coat appear very fluffy and light, almost tussled in appearance.
The tail of the Coton de Tulear may be carried straight or slightly curved, but will always be covered with longer, cottony hair. The breed has a noticeable beard and moustache of longer hair, plus the eyes of the mature Coton de Tulear will be covered with the long hair from the forehead. In pets this may be trimmed to help with upkeep, but in show dogs the coats and faces may not be trimmed or clipped. The overall appearance of the coat should be windblown and free, not slicked or flat against the body. They should closely resemble a fluffy cotton ball that has been slightly pulled apart.

I hope you’ve enjoy learning about the Coton de Tulear as much as I have! 
You dog Lovin’ Friend,