Meet the Breed Monday ~ July 2020

NormanIt’s Monday and we hope the weekend was tickety-boo. While you’re rubbing the sleep out of your eyes and heading into a brand new week, let’s  ‘budge up’ and have a good chinwag about this month’s edition of “Meet the Breed.” Norman here. Elsa and I argued chatted up which breed we wanted to look at and finally decided to look no farther than within our own family for a good look at a very cool breed, the Chesapeake Bay Retriever, often called as “Chessies.” Rudder and Axel are mum’s nephews and just moved into a new mountain home not far from rivers and streams, a Chessies dream world. You can visit their blog here.

Chessies

Blimey! Look at that boy’s take off! That handsome, athletic fella is Rudder. Can I just say… mate, my golly! You think he can give me loads of advice on water fun?

To say Chessies are “water dogs” is a bit of an understatement. This American original embodies all that is valued in retrievers. They’re loyal, upbeat, affectionate, and tireless and well known for their waterproof coat. Rudder is always ready for retrieving sticks or rocks thrown into nearby streams.

Chessies

Chessies are strong, powerfully built gundogs standing anywhere from 21 to 26 inches at the shoulder with males weighing between 75 to 100 pounds. The distinctive breed trait is a wavy coat that is oily to the touch. Chessies are solid-colored, either chocolatey brown, sedge, or deadgrass, with keen yellow-amber eyes that nicely complement the coat and live between 10-13 years.

Chessies
Adorably cute Axel as a puppy

Chessies are more emotionally complex than the average gundog. They take well to training, but can have a mind of their own and can tenaciously pursue their own path. Protective of their humans as well as polite, they may not be openly friendly toward strangers. Chessies make excellent watchdogs and a well-socialized Chessie makes for a confident companion and hunting buddy.

Chessies

So how did this breed originate you ask? Seems that during the 19th century well-heeled owners of the duck clubs that lined the shores of the Chesapeake Bay  began breeding the breed we’ve come to know today. It’s believed that Newfoundlands, Irish Water Spaniels, and other hounds of undetermined origin were among the breed’s early genetic mix. By the time the AKC was founded in 1884, a definite “Chessie type” had been established.

To understand this breed, one needs to know a bit about the area from where they originated. Two key features to the 200-mile-long estuary surrounded by Maryland and Virginia factor into why Chessies were developed. First, the Bay is relatively shallow with a low capacity for storing heat allowing water temps to get down to around freezing in early winter and stay there until spring. Secondly, Bay’s location lies along the “Atlantic Flyway,” a flight path taken by ducks and geese to their winter homes. Every year the Bay hosts a good third of all migratory waterfowl wintering on the East Coast of the US.

Hunters used these features to breed a dog who is well-suited to the Bay’s frigid water and visiting waterfowl. The thick, oily, double coat of a Chessie  not only insulates, but it is waterproof as well. Repealing moisture much like  duck feathers do and broad chest acts much like a plow against ice floes while the powerful hindquarters with large webbed feet enable him to swim tirelessly against the Bay’s windy conditions. Ideally equipped for retrieving, Chessies are a reliable, indefatigable dog possessing a ‘soft mouth’ ensuring the hunter that his retrieved fowl will remain intact upon retrieval. I’m guessing the Ninja wouldn’t make a very good retriever since she manages to chew ears and feet off all my toys, despite her own breed’s soft mouth. *sigh

Chessies are real charmers being perceptive and sensitive and make excellent therapy dogs. With their strong ability to follow scents, they do brilliantly in search-and-rescue work or drug and bomb detection. Dashing good looks and athleticism definitely give these blokes a definite leg up in show rings as well as in a variety of dog competitions.

Chessies
Ruddy and Axel living the good life

Hope you enjoyed meeting mum’s ‘nephews.’ Have you encountered these athletic dogs before? Mum says if you are interested in featuring your own breed in the coming months, be sure to contact her. I’d love to tell all my mates about your good dog. Cheerio!

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ July 6, 2020

OES

Sometimes trimming the bangs is needed between grooms. Rocks in particular are grateful, aren’t they Norman?

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ June 29, 2020

How do you expect me to drink that…it’s not “Dog-pérignon.”

OES

Happy Monday. Here’s to a week of just the right stuff.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ June 22, 2020

Monday

We hope you enjoyed your weekend but can’t help but wonder if Mondays are really necessary?

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Meet the Breed ~ June 2020

NormanWell, well, well…would you lookee here. It’s time for another Meet the Breed Monday. Norman here. What breed shall we take a gander at this month? How about the ubiquitous and beloved Golden Retriever? More than a few of our readers are Golden owners but this month’s background was supplied by our friend, Michael over at Golden Kali. Michael has three “Golden Girls” and entertains us with wonderful posts so you might want to click the link to visit his lovely blog. So let’s get started and learn about this wonderful breed.

Golden Girls
Golden Girls

Developed by the first Lord Tweedmouth (aka Dudley Marjoribanks) during the years 1840 through 1890, the aristocrat sought a dog suited to the rainy climate and rugged terrain of the area, so he crossed his “Yellow Retriever” with the now extinct Tweed Water Spaniel. Irish Setter and Bloodhound were also added to the mix during the 50 year period. Thus the Golden Retriever we now know arrived as an enduring gift to the dog kingdom from a hunt-happy aristocrat.

The Golden, as affectionately known everywhere, was first shown at a British dog show in 1908.  The breed began arriving in America, by way of Canada, around the same time. Sport hunters liked the breed’s utility while show breeders loved their beauty and are impressed by their sweet, sensible temperament. Males generally weigh between 65-75 lbs. while females are somewhat smaller at 55-65 lbs.

Golden
Kali

There are three main types of Golden Retrievers.

  • The British type (like Kali) has a broader head and muscular chest with a usually lighter coat referred to as cream or blond with heavier ‘feathers.’  Their eyes are round and dark.
  • The American type (like Kloe and Koda) are less muscular with a red or golden coat and moderate feathers. They are very agile, have a powerful and well coordinated gate with brown but slanted eyes.
  • Canadian Goldens have a thinner coat than their American counterpart and may be mistaken for a Golden Lab.
Kloe
Kloe

Goldens are very versatile. While often known as bird dogs, they make excellent family members. Goldens are frequently used as service dogs for the disabled, search and rescue dogs and are even tempered, intelligent, and very affectionate. They love to play and will retrieve balls as long and as often as someone will throw it for them.

Koda
“Baby” Koda

We got ourselves another ‘foodie’ with this breed. The only thing Goldens love more than playing and romping is food. Being food motivated, Goldens are quite eager to please their owners thereby making them easily trainable and highly adaptive to most home environments.

Goldens do need lots of exercise, especially puppies and younger dogs.  A good 30 to 40 minute walk each day in addition to playtime and training will make for a content dog who is then less likely to get themselves into mischief.

Goldens are gentle with children, puppies and get along with just about everyone they meet. Goldens are not typically considered guard dogs but will bark to alert owners of trouble, or perceived trouble. They are more likely to show a burglar where the family jewels are hidden than to attack.

The Golden Retriever’s life expectancy is typically 11 to 12 years and sadly, more than 60% of the breed succumb to cancer. Hip dysplasia is another common medical problems Goldens face.

Golden retrievers shed and require regular brushing. Like all dogs shedding dogs, regular grooming helps minimize floating hair and mats.

Goldens are one of the more popular breeds in the U.S. Did you know that two Goldens occupied the White House-Gerald Ford’s dog, Liberty and Victory whose human was Ronald Reagan. More recently, Elizabeth Warren’s Golden “Bailey,” was a frequent visitor to her campaign events, and was caught on camera swiping a burrito from a staffer’s hand. Like I said, these dogs are definitely ‘foodies.’ While “Daniel,” the 2020 Westminster Dog Show audience favorite did not win Best in Show, he did win the Sporting Group. Goldens continue to be popular crowd pleasers and are regularly featured pets in commercials and movies.

Well there you have it. Many thanks to Michael for sharing background info on these great family dogs. Do you have any experience with these ‘golden’ beauties? Check back next month for another breed. If you’d like your good dog’s breed highlighted, please shoot us an email.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ June 8, 2020

Monday

No prob-llama. Hope yours is terrific with no drama!

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ June 1, 2020

S’up, peeps? Happy first day of June. Hope your weekend was extra swell. As you can see, Stormin’ Norman is feeling far more perky this week than last. The giant-sized donut collar arrived yesterday, and not a day too soon. I’m sure I heard the house give a collective sigh of relief. I know the back of my knees did. Norman actually gave a long extended butt wiggle when the dreaded cone came off. It’s good to see him happier and able to navigate without harming himself or his surroundings.

Norman

Here’s to having a ‘pawsome’ Monday. Stay cool…June seems to want to follow in May’s footsteps with toasty temps so rather than finding us poolside, we’ll be hanging out in the blissfully air-conditioned indoors. Besides we don’t have a pool.

Live, love, bark!  🐾

Monday Musings ~ May 18, 2020

So I was walking the dogs a couple of days ago and noticed a bunch of young guys had hopped the closed and padlocked playground at the neighborhood elementary school. They obviously have whistled past their ability to continue to deal with shelter in home restrictions. I just shook my head. Not sure what’s worse. Not wearing masks or ignoring social distancing rules.

Coronavirus

Even the pandemic’s official animal observes those protocols. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not making light of the current situation. It’s definitely serious and not a laughing matter but it seems that gallows humor is becoming more and more prevalent in dealing with these unprecedented times. Around the Ranch, we’re still observing social distancing and wonder if those who are wearing masks are smiling back at me or silently mouthing “stupid Boomer” while I hopscotch back and forth across the street maintaining social distancing. When you have a dog like Norman who simply invites being pet and totally enjoys it, it’s hard to act nonchalant while maintaining appropriate social distance. For his part, Norman doesn’t seem to understand why people can’t shower him with attention these days.

So how are you coping? Has your state ramped up relaxed restrictions? Has shopping for groceries become easier? Is life moving back toward the ‘old normal?’ The Ranch-hands want to know when passersby are going to start petting them again.

Norman & Elsa

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Meet the Breed Monday ~ May 2020

ElsaIt’s time for our monthly column “Meet the Breed.”  It’s me, Elsa, stepping up again this month ready to feature our latest installment of “Meet the Breed.”  So without further delay, let’s meet…the Shetland Sheepdog, more commonly known as “Shelties.”

When mom first started blogging, she became a follower and then friend with Dakota and his mom, Caren Gittleman who was especially helpful in showing her the ropes. Caren suggested loads of tips and tricks that would develop a readership for which she will always be grateful. And Caren was very inspiring to mom when she launched the e-shop. And she has one of the cutest guys in Blogville. I mean, just look at this handsome boy…hubba bubba, dude!

Sheltie

Dakota’s mom, is a free-lance professional blogger who writes blogs Dakota’s Den (about her cute boy) and Cat Chat With Caren and Cody (a blog about cats)  residing in Michigan with her husband, Sheltie Dakota and Cody the cat. While Caren isn’t blogging as much these days, she’s a powerhouse and accomplished blogger in mom’s eyes with Dakota, her beautiful and sweet Sheltie and his fur-brother, Cody the cat. Many thanks to Caren for providing  breed background info on these adorably cute dogs.

Dakota the Sheltie

Now pay attention, Norman and let’s get started by meeting this adorable breed. Often confused with the larger ‘Collie,’ The Shetland Sheepdog, or “Sheltie,” is actually NOT a “mini-Collie” as some people think, they are in fact a completely separate breed. 

Shelties were originally bred on the rocky Shetland Islands, on the northernmost point of the UK. They were employed by farmers to herd sheep, ponies, and poultry (the “Toonie dog” was an old slang name for Shelties, “toon” being a Shetland word for farm). Shelties’ long coat is harsh and straight, with a dense undercoat, and comes in black, blue merle, and sable colors, with white markings. That coat, along with a long, wedge-shaped head; small, three-quarter erect ears; and deep-chested, level-backed torso, give Shelties the look of a rough-coated Collie in miniature but there are significant differences. Shelties weigh about between 14-27 lbs.while Collies weigh 60-75 lbs. Shelties can be prone to  chubbiness, so their weight should be closely watched. There are height differences between the breeds as well:  Shelties run 13-16 inches tall; Collies are between 24-26 inches tall

Shelties do quite well in a large yard but also thrive nicely in an apartment or condo setting because of their much smaller size. Shelties are “alert, active and playful” and like to bark but tend to be reserved toward strangers. They make excellent watchdogs. Shelties will alert the household when strangers show up.  Shelties are high-energy and rank 25th of 195 breeds in popularity according to the AKC and are members of the herding group.

 “Dakota” recently celebrated his 13th barkday and is a brilliant, funny little clown on four legs. His mom tells us that he is a bit of a “thief” (watch your shoes, slippers, anything you don’t want him to have), is sensitive and intensely loyal to “his pack,” which includes mom, dad and tabby cat brother.

That trademark “Sheltie Smile” is quite compelling so if you are interested in an intelligent, active, playful, great family dog who will love you “to the moon and back” then  the Shetland Sheepdog could be just the breed for you.

Have you ever owned one or have stories to share? Next month we’ll showcase another breed. Who could it be? While I’m not giving any clues away, Norman tells me it’s definitely another favorite breed. We hope all you dog-moms had a Happy Mother’s Day and wish everyone a great Monday and ‘wagnificent’ week.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ May 4, 2020

We hope you had a great weekend. I don’t know about you, but suspect like me, you’ve been gravitating toward ‘feel good’ stories and smile inducing social media. If this 2018 America’s Got Talent entry doesn’t make you smile, then you’re either related to the notoriously famous sour-puss Simon Cowell or more likely, you have no pulse. Happy first day of the week. Keep smiling. With loads of shout outs to singing pooches everywhere, I present Oscar.

Live, love, bark 🐾