Sunday, July 28, 2013

How Much Sleep Does a Dog Need?


It depends on the age.  Puppies sleep up to 20 hours a day, whereas adult dogs need around 14 to 15 hours. Like people, older dogs need more sleep.

Size matters, too.  Big dogs sleep more than little dogs.

Researchers found that during an 8 hour night, dogs sleep for about 16 minutes, then wake up, stay awake for around 5 minutes, then go back to sleep. On average, that happens about 23 times during a normal night.

Read the science behind the article: Sleep-wake cycles and other night-time behaviours of the domestic dog. (G. J. Adams, and K. G. Johnson)

Watch this you tube compilation of dogs sleeping and dreaming.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Bully Whippet

Would you believe the dog below is a purebred Whippet?  She is.
Bully Whippet
Wendy is what's called a Bully Whippet, the result of an unusual gene mutation that affects myostatin, creating a sort of double muscle effect.  Including the rare Bully Whippet, there are three types within the breed.

  The non-racing Whippet is the smallest, weighing about 22 pounds.

The racing Whippet weighs close to 35 pounds.

Wendy weighs 65 pounds.

Wendy's double muscle condition has to do with a mutation on one gene.  If a Whippet has one copy she will be very fast.  If she has two copies she will be over-muscled.

If you want to know more, read this New York Times article.

New York Times
Or watch this video about Wendy the Bully Whippet, courtesy of Animal Planet

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The dog as fashion statement

These New York City Library costume collection book plates show how breeds moved from field work to fashion statement in the 1800s through early 1900s.
If it's an equestrian costume it must be a coursing hound.
But I can't tell which breed.

That looks like a Doberman, but Mr. Doberman didn't develop
his breed until later.  It could be an old fashioned 
Great Dane (they were much smaller then.)
The sporting man, or at least a male model who 
looks like one, with Foxhounds.

From killing rats to killing looks, the Rat Terrier made a
 fashion statement well into the 1930s. 

The wire-haired Fox Terrier - think Asta from the Thin Man series.

The Greyhound, always a good fashion statement.

A Greyhound again, looking increasingly stylized.

Could it be the family dog?  Probably. The idea of a single family dwelling in the suburbs, 
fenced garden and family dog was a new one in 1909.  So were "roomy 
patch pockets; very swagger looking."

Friday, July 12, 2013

America's Native Dog Breeds

When Columbus arrived in the New World, more than 20 native American dog breeds were identified by explorers. By the early 1800s they were gone. Or maybe not. Recent DNA analysis proves that seven remain almost as purebred as they were 500 years ago, and still walk among us.
 Inuit Dog
Inuit girl and dog, 1904
Library of Congress
Northern Inuit Dog today

Eskimo Dog
Eskimos with dogs and sleds, World's Fair, St. Louis, c 1904
Library of Congress

(Canadian) Eskimo Dog today

Greenland Dog
Greenland girls with their dogs, c 1900
Library of Congress
Greenland dog today
Source: Wild Trekker

Pre-Columbian pottery depicting

Chihuahua today

Xoloitzcuintli (Mexican Hairless)
Tapestry, probably about 1600

Xolo today

Peruvian Hairless
Pre-Columbian pottery

The Carolina Dog
America's dingo, the Carolina Dog matches
17th and 18th century illustrations of mid-Atlantic and
Prairie Indian tribal dogs. The free ranging dog can still be found
living in lowland swamps of the southeastern U. S.
To learn more, check out these links:

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

OCD in dogs

Canine Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

If retrieving a ball 28 times in a row is considered normal canine behavior, how do you know when your dog's eccentricities go beyond normal and head into the realm of obsessive compulsive behavior? People with OCD  ritualize ordinary tasks to the point of disrupting their daily lives - for instance washing hands over and over. It's the same with dogs. Repetitive behaviors performed out of context that are exaggerated or sustained indicate OCD traits in dogs.  These include spinning, tail chasing, fly snapping, shadow chasing, air licking, eating/suckling, flank sucking, and paw licking. Whereas 2% of the human population has OCD,  in the general dog population it's closer to 10%. Specific types of compulsive behaviors are more frequent in certain breeds, suggesting a genetic predisposition. For instance, although tail chasing may occur in a variety of breeds and mixes, it is most commonly observed in German Shepherds and Bull Terriers.
Up to a third of the Bull Terrier population 
exhibit signs of OCD, usually tail chasing. 
Many cases are so severe the dogs must be euthanized.
Read more about obsessive tail chasing.

Dobermans with OCD suck their skin.
Dobies are of special interest to scientists because about 70% suffer from the disorder.  With such a large population, scientists were able to compare healthy dogs to afflicted dogs to identify a genetic basis for the disorder. (Tufts University, 2010)  But they still didn't know how the gene was affecting the brain to create the condition.  Just recently, they found out. (Brain structural abnormalities in Doberman pinschers with canine compulsive disorder) Using an MRI to compare brains of healthy and afflicted Dobies, scientists found inconsistencies in the brains of dogs with OCD.  When they looked at the brains of humans with OCD, the anomaly was in the same area. You can read more about the study at National Geographic News.
And if you have a dog with OCD and need some help,
check out this article in Whole Dog Journal.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Dog people with July Birthdays

"All knowledge, the totality of all questions and all answers, is contained in the dog, "said Franz Kafka, pictured below with his inspiration, about 1890. Kafka was born in July and so were these other famous people, all dog lovers.

Dalai Lama, July 6, 1935
Dalai Lama with what else? A Tibetan Terrier

Calvin Coolidge, July 4, 1872
Calvin Coolidge should be called the dog president.
He had plenty. (Library of Congress)

George Bernard Shaw, July 26, 1856
Shaw with his dog, Reggie
Source: Society of Authors

Amelia Earhart, July 24, 1897

Edgar Degas, July 19, 1834
"At the Stables, Horse and Dog" (1861)

And happy birthday to my favorite famous person, my sister Barbara, 
pictured here, as Cecil Beaton would have photographed her,
 with her dog, Dottie Barker.