Monday, January 26, 2015

Geographic Origin of 400 Dog Breeds

Of the 400 plus dog breeds in the world, more than 300 were created after dog shows gained popularity in the 1870s. To put it another way, it took ten thousand years to create 100 breeds, and about 100 years to develop the other 300.  The graph below shows the country of origin of all 400 breeds.

This is the breakdown by country and number of breeds developed there:

Great Britain - 60
Scandinavia - 31
Europe - 121
Asia - 8
North America - 30
South America - 9
Australia - 9
Africa - 6
Japan - 10
Middle East - 16
Eastern Europe - 22
Russia - 80

Monday, January 19, 2015

What Keeps Your Dog's Feet from Freezing?

It's winter time and your dog is likely jumping from one snow drift to another without a care in the world while your feet, in spite of wool socks and foot warmers, are as cold as ice.
Canine physiology protects dogs' feet to temperatures
as low as minus 31 F.

What keeps your dog's feet from freezing?

A team of scientists figured out that dogs have special blood vessels in their paws that protect them from cold.  Using electron microscopes they found that heat was transferred from the artery in the dog's pad to a network of veins where the blood is warmed up before it returns to the body. This in turn  prevents the feet from cooling down. Dog's paws are kept at a constant temperature in cold weather.

Read more in BBC Nature News.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Mutt Facts

MARS VET LAB says there are 38 million mutts in the U.S., meaning about 50% of US dogs are of mixed parentage. And they should know as they own the monopoly on the DNA test franchise. 

But that's a whole lot less than the Humane Society's estimate. They say around 70% are mixes. There are 61 million mongrels in the U.S. within the 83.3 million pet dog population. Additionally, 75% of shelter dogs are mutts.  And 20% of U.S. companion dogs are adopted from shelters. They should know, right?

Whatever the correct answer is, the good news is that shelter euthanasia has decreased significantly in the last few years because shelter volunteers, bless them, socialize the canine inmates, so more people are adopting.  

Do mutts have fewer genetic health issues?  Yes and no. It's true that a mutt with, for instance, a distant Golden Retriever ancestor will have a lower incidence of cancer than a purebred Golden. But a mutt that's only one generation removed from her purebred parent may have the same risk. Although pups have 50% of each parent's genes or variants of the gene, you don't know which parent's genes will be expressed.

Overall the incidence of genetic pathologies in mixed breeds is a little lower than their purebred counterparts.  Read more details about disease averages at this site.  

But I won't argue which dogs are the best.  Mutts of course. Here are some of mine:

Lollie, Jess, Izzy, Gus and Chance