Dog charities, rehoming shelters and even the pound that many local councils will use to house found and unowned dogs all have several roles to fulfil when it comes to helping dogs as a whole. As well as safeguarding the welfare of the dogs in their care, promoting responsible ownership and raising funds, they are also highly committed to getting lost dogs back to their owners, and finding suitable and appropriate homes for dogs that have been surrendered.
However, when a dog arrives at a shelter they are not simply offered up for adoption immediately and prospective owners encouraged to come along, adopt and take their chances. Shelters put a lot of time and effort (and sometimes money) into assessing the temperament, needs and traits of every dog in their care, in order to find them the perfect match. A vital element of this means checking how the dog reacts in everyday situations, how they get on with other dogs and people, and if they have any problems-and knowing more about these things help shelters to decide upon the most appropriate course of action for each dog.
Some shelter dogs may need time and work before they are suitable for rehoming, or they may require a specific type of owner-such as one that does not have other pets, or one that is very knowledgeable about dogs, and the specific requirements that adopted dogs may have.
Ergo, before a shelter will offer a dog up for adoption, they will already have spent some time running though their set assessments and spending lots of time interacting with the dog to work out its needs and if there are any problems. In this article, we will look at the basics of what this entails, and how shelters assess the temperament and core traits of the dogs in their care before they can be rehomed.
Reactions to people
First of all, dogs that have come into the shelter for the first time are assessed pretty much from the minute they come through the door, in terms of how they react and interact with people. Many dogs are shy, nervous or scared at this time, while others might be excited and happy to meet new people. Signs of fear, potential aggression or indications that the dog essentially doesn’t really know what is going on all provide important information for the staff further down the line.
Handling and one to one interaction
When the dog has settled in a little, the staff will look again at how the dog reacts and deals with people in a one to one setting, such as having someone in their kennel, if they actively approach for a pat and to say hello, and generally if they have a good foundation to be able to begin to form bonds with their regular handlers and later, new family.
Acceptance of strangers
As well as assessing how the dog gets on with someone who is caring for them regularly, the shelter will also need to find out how the dog reacts to new people; both in general terms, and to find out if the dog shows signs of fear or aggression with people that they do not know. This provides important information that the shelter can work with to make the dog more suitable for rehoming.
Behaviour around children
It is vital for dogs rehomed to families to be safe around children, and some dogs may only be suited to homes with older children, or in some cases, with adults only. Even if the decision is made that a dog should not live with children, they will still likely come across children from time to time and so it is vital that the shelter can be confident that the dog will not become aggressive or potentially dangerous.
Behaviour around other dogs
Behaviour and interaction with other dogs is a vital part of canine life, and the shelter will need to find out if the dog has been well socialised and is safe and happy around other dogs, or if this needs some work.
A dog that has not been well socialised or that does not get on well with other dogs in general will need work before they can be rehomed, which may be done via the shelter, or may mean that the dog can only be rehomed to an experienced owner who is prepared to work on this.
Responses when startled or surprised
Even a loving, friendly and generally confident dog may react very differently if they are startled or surprised, and this may in some cases manifest as aggression. Situations such as fireworks or other loud noises and flashing lights are a common trigger for many dogs, and how they deal with this is important to know.
Level of training
How well trained the dog is and if they know the basics of things like walking on the lead, going outside to toilet and other essentials are all things the shelter will need to know, either to improve upon or to ensure that the right owner who can deal with these things is found.
Finally, some dogs tend be be more territorial than others, and this may mean that they will be apt to guarding at home, which can be a problem for both their owners and other passers by! Some dogs will guard resources such as food and toys, and this may be a problem if the dog is not places with the right type of owner.
A huge number of dog lovers have dreams of bringing home their very own puppy one day, but for many people who would really like to have a dog, they make the very responsible decision that this is simply not possible for them at the current time, and that to do so would be unfair on the puppy itself.
This means that if you do not have a lot of free time and work very long hours or have an erratic schedule or transient living situation, a pup may not be a good choice, and understanding and respecting this is hard but usually the right choice. However, if you work average full-time hours (such as a nine to five with your weekends free, or any other stable working pattern that does not require you to put in a lot of regular overtime) then owning your own pup may be within your grasp-although it is not always easy!
Picking the right type of pup
First of all, all potential puppy owners need to make an informed decision about the breed or type of dog that is right for them and their circumstances, and if your dog will need to be left alone during the day then this is one very important consideration to factor in.
Picking a breed that is highly energetic and that needs a lot of ongoing mental and physical stimulation may be a recipe for disaster in this type of situation, and so breeds like the Siberian husky may not be a good pick, albeit some working people do own very lively dog breeds and do manage to make it work!
There is a lot of merit to the idea of adopting or buying an adult dog that is already comfortable with being on their own at times if you have to go out to work, but if you have your heart set on getting a puppy, picking the perfect age to bring them home is important.
Pups should not leave their dam until they are at least twelve weeks old, and twelve to fifteen weeks of age is really the best window within which to bring a new pup home in this type of situation.
This is because you will be able to start setting down the ground rules and the dog’s routine while they have never known anything different and will be most receptive to it-a younger pup will not thrive on their own even for a couple of hours at a time, and an older pup can be more of a handful if they do not already have boundaries.
When the pup first comes home
When you first bring your new puppy home, it is vital that you can take some time off to get the pup established and settled in, at least a couple of weeks. This allows you the time to start setting the ground rules for your pup and get them house trained, and begin to gradually get them used to being left alone for progressively longer periods of time.
It is vital that you use this time wisely, and have a plan for it, and that you do not simply sit playing with your pup all day rather than getting them used to how their life will be during the days when you are out at work. Use this time to teach them about their bed or crate and the room that they will spend most of their time in, and to get them used to entertaining themselves.
How long can a pup be left alone for?
Even an adult dog should not be left alone without company for more than around four hours, and when you have a pup, you will need to work up to this and not simply leave them alone for four hours from the start!
This means of course that if you work normal office hours, you will need to be able to go home in the middle of the day to let them out and spend time with them, or make alternative provisions for someone else to do this.
Hiring the services of a dog walker that can take your pup out in the middle of the day is a great idea, as this will break up their day, ensure that they are not left alone for too long, and remove one of the potential jobs you will have to do later if you can’t find the energy!
Neighbours and other family members can be a great help in this respect too, but make sure you always have a backup plan in case something goes wrong or someone lets you down.
Your pup should not be expected to simply sleep or sit around when you are out-you should ensure that they have plenty of things to do and play with, to avoid them getting bored or lonely. This should involve a wide range of different toys and interactive games that your pup enjoys, and as much stimulation as possible so that they do not have to sit around getting bored.
You may face some teething problems during the early days-like all puppy owners-such as your dog becoming destructive, toileting inside, or being fretful when left alone. If these things happen, you may need to take some time off work to deal with the issues, or have someone else that can help with this.
Is your dog microchipped?
One of the first standard questions for insurance policies is whether or not your dog is microchipped. This question is potentially less relevant since microchipping became mandatory for dogs in the UK, but of course this does not necessarily mean that it will have actually happened!
An insurance company today is likely to insist that your dog is microchipped before they will insure them due to the recent changes in the law, but additionally, having your dog microchipped tells your insurer other things as well, first of all it demonstrates that you are a responsible owner, and this is likely to be reflected in your day to day care of your dog. Also it does of course make it much more likely that your dog will be found if they are lost or stolen, lowering the chances of your insurer having to make a potentially expensive pay out.
Are they neutered or spayed?
You will also be asked if your dog is spayed or neutered too, and if when you first take out the policy, your pet is too young for the procedure, it is important that you update the information later once the procedure has been performed.
The reasons that this reduces policy costs is multifaceted- first of all, spaying and neutering itself eliminates the chances of your dog developing various different reproductive cancers and other problems as they age, and reduces the likelihood of them suffering from certain other problems too.
Additionally, keeping your bitch intact means that you may be planning to breed from them-or that a mis-mating accident might occur and lead to pregnancy, which comes with potential extra expenses and complications too.
In male dogs, intact status makes the dog much more likely to wander off or stray, and also means that they are more likely to get into a fight with another entire dog.
Spaying and neutering ergo can lead to a real saving in your policy cost.
Is your dog vaccinated?
Your insurer is also likely to ask directly (or if not, list in their “assumptions made about your circumstances”) whether or not your dog is vaccinated, and if you are able to answer yes, this will also shave a little money off your policy.
This is because naturally, the chance of a vaccinated dog catching a dangerous contagious illness drops to virtually nil if they have been vaccinated against it and also because once again having your dog vaccinated demonstrates your commitment to preventative healthcare and good management of your dog.
Is your dog aggressive?
This is a question that can be a real sticking point in policies-if you are not able to truthfully answer “no” to this question, your potential insurance company, they will likely need to give you a call or request some further information from you before you will be able to proceed.
Depending on the situation, this does not necessarily mean that you will be refused insurance, but that it is likely to be more expensive and may come with additional conditions such as muzzling your dog when outside, and/or keeping them on a lead at all times.
Is your dog used in the course of your work?A domestic pet policy is not appropriate for a dog that fulfils a working role, but even if your dog does not actually work but accompanies you to work regularly (including riding in your works vehicle) the risk factors are viewed as higher, and so a standard pet policy will usually not be suitable.
Insuring several pets?
The vast majority of insurers offer a multi-pet discount if you insure more than one pet with them, simply because it is worth them to offer this small discount in order to gain a potential long-term customer. It is always worth insuring all of your pets with the same company if the policy is appropriate, in order to benefit from such discounts.
Some causes of head shaking in dogs are minor and will go away on their own, while others may indicate a problem that needs veterinary attention-either a minor issue, or as a symptom of something more serious.
Identifying the problem
If your dog simply shakes their head from time to time, or the cause is immediate and obvious-such as coming in from the rain-this is not an issue. However, if you catch your dog shaking their head around multiple times per day, this indicates that something is amiss.
As well as head shaking itself, problems of all types usually come with other indications as well-such as your dog pawing at their ears repeatedly, on either one side or both, or trying to rub their head against furniture or your hand to relieve irritation or deal with another type of problem.
Muck, debris or creepy crawlies around and in the ears can of course, in combination with head shaking, indicate that something needs to be done.
One of the most likely reasons for head shaking is an infection in either one or both of the ears, such as a bacterial or even fungal infection. This may not be evident from observation, as the infection lay lie deep within the ear where it cannot be seen.
Ear mites too are high on the list of causes for head shaking, and ear mites can be present in significant numbers and not visible to the naked eye. Ear mites again may affect one ear but will quickly spread to the other, and will be very itchy and irritating for your dog until they are treated.
Popping ears affect people and dogs alike - this is the sensation that you may feel when taking off or landing in an aeroplane. This can lead to balance issues due to the way that the ears are connected to the general balance and orientation of the body, and can be caused by an infection or another secondary issue.
Head injuries can cause head shaking, because there may be pain or something else that does not feel quite right to your dog and that may be bothering them. If your dog has attained a head injury or had an accident, you should always get them checked out by your vet, in case of other complications.
Foreign bodies in the ear - often tiny things like grass seeds-are another problem that commonly affects dogs, particularly those with large ear openings. This is more common in the spring than at other times of the year, and again, you may not know what the problem is until you get your vet to have a look.
Additionally, some conformation problems that can affect certain dog breeds may lead to an unusual structure to the ear, which may mean that your dog needs to tilt or shake their head in order to orient themselves, and home in on the direction of a sound.
Deafness when it comes on slowly and the condition gets progressively worse may also cause head shaking, as your dog attempts to hear more clearly.
What should you do?
If your dog shakes their head continually or regularly, it is wise to get them checked out by your vet, because there are so many potential reasons for this, and few of them are things that you can diagnose at home.
A great many of the problems listed above do of course pertain to the ears, and the ear canal is deep and dark, and hard to see without the benefit of specialist equipment.
Treating ear mites or infections can be challenging, but these are the most common causes of head shaking and other issues with the ears, and they are also apt to be very irritating for your dog and potentially painful as well.
If the head shaking has been going on for more than a couple of days and also, if you have any other concerns, book an appointment with your vet to see what can be done.
The poodle dog breed is perhaps one of the most instantly recognisable of all common and popular breeds, particularly if the poodle in question is large and sporting a full lion clip or show clip. However, poodle hybrids are even more popular today than pedigree poodles, with common favourites such as the cockapoo and Labradoodle being common sights out and about in the UK.
This means that not only are there a reasonable number of poodles around in the UK but also that a large percentage of cross bred dogs also have poodle ancestry and as such, will sometimes share similar traits and tendencies, including those relating to hereditary health and conformation problems.
One such issue that affects a reasonable number of poodles and to a significant but lesser extent, breeds with one poodle parent is tear staining, which can both stain and discolour the fur around the dog’s eyes, and also potentially indicate a general problem with the eyes and tear ducts.
Tear stains explained
Tear stains occur when the lubrication in your dog’s eyes runs down onto the fur of their face, usually from the inner corner of the eyes. Dog’s eyes are naturally moist and require tears to keep them lubricated, but depending on how much lubrication is produced and the shape and angle of your dog’s eyes, this fluid may pool under the corners of the eyes.
Naturally occurring bacteria found on a dog's skin and coat feed on the tear secretions, which leads to the discolouration that is often a trait of tear staining. This is usually a rusty or brown colour, which cannot simply be wiped off and often form a stain.
Tear staining can occur for various different reasons, and usually depend on a combination of traits being present.
If your dog produces too much fluid from their lacrimal ducts (the tear ducts, responsible for providing lubrication to the eyes) this has to go somewhere, and can lead to the dog’s eyes having a very moist and shiny appearance, and of course, tears running from the corners of the eyes.
Additionally, if your dog’s tear ducts are too narrow, this can lead to pooling of fluid in the corners of the eyes and again, running down. The angle of your dog’s eyes and so, the angle at which the tear ducts lie and the shape of your dog’s face in general may also affect how much tears tend to pool, and where they run down the face.
Allergies, infections and anything else that affects the eyes and ears, nose and throat can of course worsen the problem, or cause tear staining in a dog that is not otherwise prone to it.
ear staining tends to be more of a problem in some breeds than others, and in the poodle the problem often arises because the poodle’s lacrimal ducts tend to be on the narrow side, which in turn causes pooling in the corners of the eyes that then tracks down the face, becoming discoloured over time as it comes into contact with skin bacteria.
Is it a problem?Tear staining is not something that your dog is really aware of, and it is more of a cosmetic issue for the owner than it is a problem for the dog. However, if the problem is caused by or worsened by allergies, getting the allergies under control is important in order to ensure that the dog’s quality of life remains good.
Infections and other problems that can cause tear stains also need to be resolved, and of course if your dog has a conformation issue that affects their vision or comfort, this will need treatment too.
What can be done?It is a good idea to get your vet to check out your dog’s eyes in the first instance, in order to confirm that their eyes are healthy and that their tear staining is not a symptom of a larger problem.
As long as your vet is happy with the situation, there is usually nothing that needs to be done, but of course keeping your dog’s eyes clean and wiping them over with a clean, soft cloth daily will help.
When it comes to preventing or removing tear staining, keeping the fur immediately under their eyes short can lessen the effect of staining, and you can buy wipes designed to reduce the staining itself, although these are only of limited effectiveness.
Unless you are very well off and/or could potentially lay your hands on several thousands of pounds to cover veterinary care if you needed to, pet insurance is the best choice for most owners, in order to have a safety net in place if something should go wrong. However, pet insurance can also be expensive both over the course of a year and in the long term, and ultimately insuring your dog is like making a gamble that you will hope to lose-in terms of never needing to call on your insurers for help.
Cost is of course a large factor for people when it comes to deciding whether or not insurance is viable for their own dogs, and a lot of different things affect the cost of a policy, from your postcode, the dog’s age, any preexisting health conditions, and a range of other variables too.
One thing that has a large influence over how much your policy will cost like for like is the breed of your dog, and there can be a huge amount of variance in the cost of providing the same type of coverage for various different breeds.
If you have ever wondered why this is, or simply why some dogs are very costly to insure while others are much cheaper, in this article we will explain some of the factors that dictate cost by breed. Read on to learn more.
Breed statusFirst of all, the breed status of the dog itself affects the insurance cost-a pedigree dog with papers will cost more to insure than one that is not a pedigree, a cross breed will be less costly than a pedigree, and a mongrel with lots of different breeds within their mix is usually the cheapest of all, based on the breed alone.
Breed sizeThe larger the dog breed, the more costly they are likely to be to insure-everything costs more for larger dogs, from the standard things like flea and worming treatments, to surgery fees, medications and other treatments.
Generally, smaller breeds come up quids in when it comes to policy cost compared to larger breeds.
Known Breed Hereditary Health Issues
Virtually all pedigree dog breeds each have a slightly elevated propensity to certain hereditary health problems, which have often become prevalent in the breed due to selective breeding and inbreeding.
This means that if the breed that you own has a higher than usual risk of needing to be treated for a hereditary health condition, the cost of their policy will reflect this additional risk.
Pedigree breeders are often encouraged to have their parent dogs health tested for common breed-specific conditions, and to make a decision not to breed from dogs that have a high chance of passing on problems. In some breeds for very widespread conditions, testing is actually a condition of registering the dog with The Kennel Club.
If the dog that you own has been health tested and come up clear, and/or the parents were tested and proven to be healthy stock, this can lower the policy price compared to untested dogs of the same breed. In fact, some insurance companies offer policy discounts in association with testing companies, in order to promote testing and good health.
Cost of Puppies and Dogs
The cost of buying a pedigree puppy can vary considerably across different breeds, with less common breeds or those that are so popular that demand exceeds supply often commanding premium prices.
The purchase price of the dog goes some way to indicating their financial value, and of course, the higher the purchase price, the more expensive for the insurance company it would be to pay out in the event of the pet’s untimely death.
As well as potentially predictable health conditions that come about due to hereditary defects, many breeds have certain conformation traits that are potentially more likely to cause problems than others. Insuring a dog with a brachycephalic face (like the pug) generally costs more than one with a normal length muzzle, and breeds with unusual dentition (such as a primitive mouth in the Chinese Crested) may require corrective surgery. If the breed requires veterinary care for things like mating and delivery (some breeds must be delivered by caeserean section in the majority of cases, due to their large heads-the French bulldog is a classic example) this is all taken into account too.
Finally, the average lifespan across the board for different dog breeds can be quite variable, with some breeds rarely living past the age of seven or eight, such as the Bernese Mountain Dog and other large breeds.
Breeds with shorter lifespans are more likely to suffer complications in their comparative old age, such as various cancers, diabetes and other issues that in other breeds, might not arise in great numbers until past the age of ten or twelve. This too is factored into the cost.
Most children go through a phase at least once in their lives where they really want a dog or a puppy, and while for some kids this is a passing phase, for others it is just the beginning of a lifetime love of dogs, which will usually endure into old age.
However, if your child falls into the latter category but is also allergic to dogs-or if you yourself would really love to have a dog but have to factor in a child with allergies, you may have to give up hope of ever being able to have a dog without compromising your child’s health.
That said, it is not always the case, and some people with allergies manage to own a dog successfully without it making them ill-but there are a lot of factors to take into account when it comes to mixing allergies and dogs, and some families do indeed manage to make it work.
Allergies to dogs
Identifying and managing allergies can be tricky, particularly in children, when they might not become apparent during the child’s first few years of life, and may lessen or become more acute as they age.
Additionally, if your child has been identified as being allergic to dogs, developing a basic understanding of how the mechanism of allergies works is important, because understanding the problem makes it easier to identify solutions.
Many people assume that it is dog fur that triggers allergies, but this is not strictly true-it is not dog hair itself that is the problem, but certain proteins shed in dog dander, which are then spread around by shed fur. This means that it is not the fur itself that is the problem, but fur helps to spread the allergenic dander around.
How badly this affects any given child can be very variable-some children will have a potential reaction any time they come within range of a dog, or even go into a room where a dog has been-while for others, they may be absolutely fine with most dogs, but react badly to the odd one or two.
Problems for kids
It is important to acknowledge and assess the various risks that accompany having a dog if your child is allergic, in order to mitigate them and decide whether or not they can be surmounted.
If your child is very sensitive to dogs and reacts badly regularly when in the presence of a dog, you will be unlikely to be able to have one without your child having to potentially take regular medications to reduce the effects-or of course, unless you are lucky enough to find one dog that is available and that does not trigger a bad reaction in your child.
Children that are immune-compromised, suffer from other illnesses or that tend to be sensitive to a lot of different things and suffer from other allergies are more likely to react badly to dog dander than children that are otherwise healthy, or that are not widely affected by all dogs.
Choosing the right dog
First of all, it is important to understand that despite what some breeders and dog owners might tell you, there is no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog. Some dogs shed less allergenic dander than others, which is sometimes connected to their breed (specifically, the type of coat they have) but there are no dogs that simply do not produce the protein chains that can trigger allergies, so finding the right dog is a process of trial and error.
The best way to do this is to introduce your child to a lot of different dogs in a one to one setting without other dogs around that might confuse the issue of what is causing your dog to react-and to spend several hours with them, ideally on more than one occasion, to be as sure as you can about whether it will work out alright.
Dogs that have a low-shedding coat are usually less likely to trigger allergies than dogs that shed heavily, so consider breeds like the poodle, or hybrid breeds with a poodle-type coat, such as the popular Labradoodle.
Preventing the Problem
Once you have found the right dog and have decided to go ahead, it is still important to do what you can to reduce the presence of allergenic triggers, in order to preserve your child’s health and hopefully, avoid worsening an existing allergy.
First of all, it is wise to brush and groom the dog regularly (outside of the home ideally) and get them bathed every few weeks, to reduce the amount of dander that is possible to be spread around. Also, washing soft furnishings regularly and keeping the dog off soft furniture is wise, as is having hard floors rather than carpet.
It is also a good idea to forbid the dog from going into your child’s bedroom, and potentially, use an air purifier in the main rooms that the dog uses to reduce allergens.
Also, teach your child not to let the dog lick their face (dog saliva holds allergenic proteins too) and that they should always wash their hands after they have been patting the dog.
The Siamese cat is a popular oriental breed that has a large following both in the UK and across the world, and that are renowned for their distinctive colour points, which contrast with their white or cream bodies.
The colour points themselves come in a range of different shades, and this is reflected in the Siamese cat’s breed standard, which has expanded over time to encompass new shades and variations of the colour points. Not all of the possible colour point combinations that Siamese cats can be seen in are officially recognised by all registries, however-the original Siamese colour was seal point, and over time the blue, lilac and chocolate shades became accepted too. Now, Siamese cats can be seen with red points, tortie points and other variants too-but the one thing that unites all Siamese cats is the fact that they have darker points on the tail, face and legs, with a light body.
However, the Siamese cat’s colouring and points originates from a certain colour gene called the Himalayan gene, which is a black colour that expresses in the Siamese with a partial albino variant, and that ultimately, led to the breed’s appearance and colouration as we know it today.
That said, you occasionally hear mention of all-black Siamese cats, or Siamese-type cats with all black coats, which poses the question of whether or not a pedigree Siamese cat can actually be all black in colour.
In this article, we will attempt to answer this question and explain a little bit more about the colour heredity of the Siamese cat breed along the way. Read on to learn more.
The Himalayan a Close Cousin
The Himalayan gene is what causes Siamese cats to have distinct colour points, because in the Siamese cat breed, the Himalayan gene-which causes a black coat-is expressed as partial albinism. This leads to a white or light-coloured body with darker colour points, and in fact, Siamese cats are born white, and only develop their colour points as they get older.
This is because the darker points of the Siamese occur in areas of the body that are cooler-literally, the gene’s expression is activated by changing temperatures. Because kittens in the womb are kept at a stable temperature across their whole bodies, when they are born, they are all white.
As the outside temperature is more variable of course, the core of the cat-the body-is warmer than the extremities-the face, tail and legs-and so the extremities darken while the body stays light.
This is why when female Siamese cats are spayed by shaving the fur and making the incision on the flank rather than the stomach. They may grow the fur back over the incision site slightly darker than the rest of their body, because it was cooler!
In order to inherit the Himalayan gene, which causes the signature colour-points, any given kitten or litter needs to inherit it from both of their parents, not just one. This is because the gene is recessive, and would be bred out over time if selective breeding had not lead to the gene becoming more widely spread.
In terms of Siamese cat crossings with other breeds that do not carry the Himalayan gene, the colour results and whether or not the cat has colour points can be variable. The chances of a cross breed litter inheriting the colour points can be determined with the following information:
So, is there any such thing as a black Siamese cat?Essentially, a seal point Siamese cat is genetically a black cat, although they are not black in colour due to the partial expression of the albinism trait. This is because the seal point colour is actually black, although it often appears to be dark brown rather than pure black.
If you see a cat whose fur is all black but otherwise looks Siamese, you are probably looking at an Oriental cat, which is a large, striking oriental breed with similar features to the Siamese. Another option is the Havana cat, which carries the black gene expressed as a dark brown or black.
Ultimately, a cat that is pure black in colour cannot be a pedigree Siamese, but all of the various oriental breeds and so, their colour genes are genetically fairly close, and so they will share some common ancestry!
While the cockapoo is currently the most popular hybrid dog breed in the UK, the Labradoodle is quite possibly the best known, and the hybrid dog type that has been around in large numbers for the longest period of time.
Many hybrid breeds such as the Labradoodle and the cockapoo are now outstripping many pedigree dog breeds in the popularity stakes, and for good reason-when a hybrid crossing is performed with two good quality parent dogs and with an eye to improvement, your hybrid dog will theoretically possess the best of both worlds in terms of the core traits of the parent breeds.
People that own Labradoodles do of course each have their own reasons for picking a dog of the type-but if you’re considering buying or adopting a Labradoodle and you’re still not quite decided, read on! In this article, we will share five good reasons to own a Labradoodle dog.
Lots of Sizes
A Labradoodle is bred by crossing a poodle and a Labrador retriever, or of course from crossing two Labradoodles, or a Labradoodle and one of the two parent breeds. While the Labrador retriever is a medium to large dog breed, poodles, on the other hand, come in three sizes. These are toy, miniature and standard, and there is a lot of variation in terms of their heights, with the toy poodle being tiny and the standard being what most of us would think of as a large dog.
This means that depending on the size of poodle used in the crossing, Labradoodles can be found in sizes ranging from medium to very large, and so there is lots of choice in terms of picking a dog of the right size to suit you!
Some of the very first deliberately bred Labradoodles were specifically crossed in order to produce dogs that would have all of the skills and intelligence to make good assistance dogs, while being less likely to trigger allergies in people who are often sensitive to dogs.
This is because the poodle coat is formed of wiry, tightly curled fur that does not tend to be shed from the coat, instead tangling up in the growing fur until the dog is brushed or groomed. This means that they shed less hair and so, less of the allergenic proteins that can affect people than most other dogs do.
While there is no such thing as a truly hypoallergenic dog, the Labradoodle comes close-assuming that they have inherited the poodle-style coat!
Virtually every pedigree dog breed recognised in the UK has been subjected to inbreeding and selective breeding over the years in order to produce the uniform breed traits-but this also means that the comparative size of any given breed’s gene pool of unrelated dogs is reasonably small.
Ultimately, this means that hereditary health problems and genetic anomalies that arise within a pedigree breed tend to spread across the breed over time, without the introduction of other breeds or unrelated stock to help to dilute it.
The Labradoodle, like all hybrid breeds, benefits from hybrid vigour-the robust health traits that come from an injection of new DNA into the gene pool. This means that any hybrid dog is statistically much less likely to suffer from health problems specific to either of their parent breeds, and will usually live longer too!
The poodle is ranked in second place when it comes to canine intelligence, beaten only by the Border collie-and the Labrador retriever too is a real canine smartypants, coming in seventh place.
This means that your average Labradoodle may be a real comedian and natural entertainer, but they are also really clever, which means that they can be taught lots of commands and skills, and may even make for great working dogs or sporting dogs too.
They are also keen to learn and very amenable to training, which is always an advantage!
Personable and Adaptable
The Labrador Retriever is renowned for being a real people pleaser, and the poodle too is fairly outgoing and loves the company of humans. This means that the Labradoodle is generally one of the best natured, most friendly and generally social dog types you will ever come across, both with people and other dogs alike.
They are likely to be in the thick of it in the dog park and don’t tend to be shy about meeting new people too, and they tend to be excellent companions for families with children. They are very tolerant of kids, love to play with them, and are happy within all sorts of living situations.
All dog lovers know how much pleasure their four-legged friends bring into their lives and homes. With this said, dogs can be pretty messy at times, but the good news is that you can make your home a lot more dog-friendly by incorporating a few simple things. It does not have to cost a fortune, nor does it mean you have to spoil the overall look of any rooms because by getting it right, you can actually enhance them with nicely thought out ideas.
Consider Wood Flooring
Wooden floors are easier to keep clean and dog hair-free although it's important to place rugs in strategic places to prevent your dog from slipping and doing themselves any sort of injury. Wooden, laminate and tiled floors are a lot easier to mop when your best four-legged friend walks in with muddy paws before you have to time to wipe their feet which makes life a lot easier all round.
Invest in Soft Furniture with Washable Covers
If you share a home with a dog that likes to sneak up onto the sofa as soon as your back is turned, you need to invest in furniture with washable covers. Another alternative is to buy some stylish throws to put on chairs and sofas which can easily be machine washed when necessary. Not only will it keep any dirt and debris off your furniture, but it will also keep it free of dog hair too!
Creating Space for Your Dog's Crate
Having a dog cage in a room does not have to be an eye sore, it does not have to spoil the look of a room because it can be disguised and used as a side table placed next to a sofa or chair especially if it is placed in the corner of a room. Alternatively, you can invest in a dog crate that's been cleverly incorporated into furniture and there are some great innovative designs around to choose from these days.
Invest in Good Quality, Stylish Dog Beds
Investing in dog beds that fit in with the decor makes them less conspicuous and therefore less of an eye sore. Colour coordinating a dog bed with a room is easily done with the added bonus being that if the bed is strategically placed not only will it look good, but it may help keep your four-legged friend off the furniture.
Invest in a Stylish Basket for Dog Toys
Most dogs have lots of toys some of which are firm favourites whereas others tend to get left around. To keep things tidy, invest in a stylish basket that fits in well with your décor, You can store your pets’ toys in the basket keeping things nice and tidy. If you invest in a tall basket, your dog can grab the ones they like whenever they want to play with them. The key to them not knocking over the basket is to place something heavy in the base. You could even teach your dog to put their toys back in the basket when asked by giving them a specific command.
Invest in a Well-Designed Food Station
It's a good idea to lift a dog's food and water bowl off the ground and there are some brilliant stands and feeding stations to choose from, It makes eating and drinking more comfortable for a dog when they don't have to reach down. These stands also make it a whole lot easier to keep the floor under the bowls cleaner.
Paint Strategic Walls with Dog-friendly Washable Paint
By painting strategic walls with a dog-friendly washable paint, it makes it much easier to keep them looking clean whether it's in the kitchen or elsewhere in the home where your dog spends a lot of time on their own. Many dogs like to rub their sides on a wall especially if they are damp or wet and it leaves dark marks on the lower part which can be quite unsightly. Being able to wash a wall down keeps the place looking a lot cleaner with the minimum of fuss.
Invest in Some Stylish Hooks for Dog Leads
Being able to hang your dogs' leads near a door makes life a lot easier because you'll never have to hunt for anything again. Choosing some stylish hooks that match your decor is a nice way of doing this without spoiling the look of an entrance. You can hang collars, leads, dog coats and any other items your dog needs when they go out on a walk.
Dogs can easily knock things off tables and lower shelves with their tails by accident, so it's a good idea to place any valuable and easily breakable items behind glass doors to prevent this from happening. Sharing a home with a canine companion is a lovely experience and one that lasts a lifetime. Making a home more dog-friendly is not that hard and it does not have to cost a fortune.