Save the Beagles!

Neha Panchamiya

Dogs, especially Beagles, are a favoured species in toxicology studies. They undergo a lot of stress and toxins during their tenure at laboratories. But animal lovers are now endeavouring to rehabilitate, re-home Beagles because only love can bring joy in the lives of these animals.

In January this year, Pune-based ResQ Charitable Trust brought home 21 Beagles from a laboratory. They were being tested on for six years and this was the first time in their life that the animals experienced sunlight and felt grass beneath their paws. After weeks of being treated, nourished and loved by the team ResQ, they have become a bundle of happiness now and are ready to be adopted. Since its inception ResQ Charitable Trust has been responsible for onsite rescue service for injured animals in the city with a full-fledged animal rescue centre and a hospital. Neha Panchamiya, co-founder of ResQ Charitable Trust along with Sachin Ramesh Shinde and Tina Mohandas, co-founders of Darkside and Bikerhood India recently organised ‘A Day at ResQ’, a one-of-its-kind event for the animals and all animal lovers in Pune. It was a fundraiser to aid ResQ with the rehabilitation and rehoming of not only Beagles, but also hundreds of other injured, sick, and abandoned animals.

Why are Beagles used for laboratory tests?
Beagles are used for lab testing because they are small in size and are friendly and docile. Besides, many genes of Beagles are quite similar to those of humans. Biomedical laboratories use them for cardiovascular and pulmonary studies, cancer research and testing of prosthetic devices.

Ordeal of laboratory Beagles…

Laboratory Beagles are used for pharmacokinetic and toxicological research studies by multinational pharmaceutical companies. They are kept indoors in controlled environmental conditions which are standardised in order to correlate with studies across the world. Since we are unaware of the exact studies they were involved in, it is not possible to state what exactly they went through. What we do know after a thorough medical check up is that their lives are stressed, they have behavioural problems, they are not used to the outside world or anything that resembles normal pet behaviour.

Rehabilitation process…
The Beagles are put through an acclimatisation period where they are made to understand different outdoor scenarios, learn toilet training, leash walking, understand how to deal with ‘regular’ non-lab-uniform people, children, learn new sounds, vehicle etiquette and all other things that a pet deals with in a home. Since these dogs need special care, the potential adopters are prepared and well briefed of their differences in behaviour and informed decisions are taken about adoption. These dogs may look like Beagles, but they don’t behave like what a typical Beagle does. They require additional love, care and security.

Welfare programme spreads…
Other animal welfare organisations like Blue Cross are also helping such Beagles find homes. They have rescued 50 laboratory Beagles and 50 more likely to salvage soon. While, five dog lovers from Ahmedabad rescued 11 Beagles from a laboratory in Vadodara, who were slated for euthanisation after they outgrew their usefulness in laboratory. With such genuine dog lovers around, we can be sure of making world a better place for these wonderful Creatures of God.

(Neha Panchamiya is co-founder and president of ResQ Charitable Trust, one of the largest animal organisations in Pune, which rescues more than 500 animals every month).

Dogo Argentino – the white hunter of pampas

A Dogo Argentino is a treat to the eyes – he strides with pride, looks regal, confident, determined and courageous. This muscular and confident dog will come up to you, make an eye contact and then lovingly lick up your face – a perfect blend of power and gentleness.


Powerful, agile, intelligent dog who can hunt cooperatively with other dogs with great speed and stamina and virtually no inherent aggressive tendencies toward people or other pets…that’s how a Dogo Argentino is!


The Dogo Argentino or Argentine Dogo originated in Argentina and is the only national dog of Argentina. Around 1927, the creator of the breed, Dr Antonio Nores-Martinez, MD, saw the need for an animal who could hunt the large game predators like Russian boar, jaguar, red fox and puma, who were destroying the local livestock. His vision was of a large dog who was not just pleasing to the eye, but also capable to huge strength and power. His brother Agustin outlined how the dog would be like. Antonio began his work of developing the Dogo by using the ‘Cordoba’ or the fighting dog of Cordoba (now-extinct) for foundation stock. But, certain changes were necessary to make a good large game hunting dog. Together, ten different breeds were used to make dog we know today as the Dogo Argentino – the English Short Hair Pointer and Irish wolfhound (for scenting, sighting capabilities and wild game hunting instincts respectively); Great Dane (to improve head shape and height); Bulldog (for boldness, obedience, broad chest and high pressure jaws); Dogue De Bordeaux (for powerful, relentless jaw strength as well as good muscle structure and strength); Boxer (for vivacity and dexterity for the hunt, and the desired gentleness and docility expected of a family companion); Great Pyrenees (for vigour and dense white coat, strength and substance); Bull Terrier (for fearlessness, agility and aggressiveness); Spanish Mastiff (for raw power, a menacing scowl and additional size). After several generations of trial and error, came a solid white dog, with a short, dense hair coat who has the distinction of being the only white dog of his size developed to be a silent large game hunter.
As the Martinez brothers envisioned, the Dogo Argentino came to be a dog with tremendous endurance and hunting talent. Dogos can track a predator across vast plains, corner it and then attack and hold it in a death grip for the hunters who follow close behind. Dogos are capable of dazzling bursts of speed over short distances, but they are best at covering long distances at a rolling lope.


Smart and handsome…
The Dogo Argentino is a large, white, short-coated dog with a smooth, muscular body, displaying both power and athletic ability. The length of body is just slightly longer than tall, but females may be somewhat longer in body than male dogs. The head is powerful with a broad, slightly domed skull and a powerful muzzle that is slightly higher at the nose than the stop, when viewed in profile. Ears may be cropped, or hang naturally, close to the skull.


Tiger and Heyna

Tiger and Heyna

Temperament –  eager to please!
The Dogo Argentino has a very strong temperament, great intelligence and like most dogs, works very hard to please his master. This makes the breed ideal for obedience training as well as training for practical use, such as jobs around the home or farm. Do not be fooled by the cold, hard, intimidating stare that is characteristic of the breed; this look was never meant for human beings. Quite the contrary, the Dogo is a very sensitive breed who does not react well to harsh treatment from its master. These dogs are very receptive to positive reinforcement styles of training and learn very quickly with this kind of handling.


Groom him regularly…
The Dogo Argentino has a smooth white coat that sheds heavily. Brush him at least once a week to remove dead hair and keep the skin and coat healthy. Clean the ears and trim the nails as needed, and bathe Dogo on rare occasions when he’s dirty.


Exercise him regularly!
The Dogo has a high activity level and needs a job to do, which can be anything from being your on-leash jogging companion to his traditional role as hunting dog and home guardian. He will not be satisfied to lie around and do nothing. The Dogo has a high prey drive, a strong protective instinct, and a territorial nature, so he needs a strong, high fence to keep him on his own property.


Living with a Dogo…
The Dogo Argentino is a people-friendly breed and builds a long lasting bond with his master and family. The Martinez brothers worked very carefully to instill this trait into the breed and today the results are clearly apparent. Talk to any pet parent of Dogo and you will hear the same things. “He doesn’t lie at my feet, he lies on my feet!” “He constantly wants me to pet and hug him!” “He is like my shadow, I can’t go anywhere without him following!” Indeed the Dogo longs for human contact, both physical and emotional.
Dogo Argentino bonds to master and family and you can count on protection from the dog should you encounter an attack or some other trouble. With his strength tenacity and intelligence, the Dogo is a guardian, who will rush in to protect you without regard to his own well-being. You can feel safe taking your Dogo for a walk down a lonely street in the middle of the night.


Life expectancy
The Dogo Argentino can be expected to live about 10-12 years.


On a concluding note…
Today, Dogos are active in many activities beyond hunting. They have worked as military and general police work including narcotics detection, guide dogs, therapy dogs, and search and rescue dogs and have participated in obedience, schutzhund, and tracking events. The Dogo Argentino Club of America was founded in 1985. The breed is currently a member of the American Kennel Club’s Miscellaneous Class, the final step before full AKC recognition. The United Kennel Club (UKC) recognised the Dogo Argentino in 2001.
(Paramjeet Singh Dhesi runs Elite Squad Kennel ( in Ludhiana, Punjab. He is an avid dog lover who imports rare breeds to India.)

Desi breeds & their global connections

India is the birthplace of some popular dog breeds. And these desi breeds have their origins in foreign soils. Let’s find out some Indian breeds who have strong connections to some of the popular breeds of the world.


Pallavi Bhattacharya

Pallavi Bhattacharya

Indian Pariah: This native Indian dog bred naturally on Indian soil since time immemorial was initially thought to have originated from the Australian Dingo. But some Swedish scientists who conducted a DNA study on the dog however refuted this claim. Their study pointed to the fact that this breed had taken birth in China. The African Basenji Singing Dog from New Guinea, the Cannan Dog from Israel and the Dingo in Australia are said to be the relatives of this dog.


Bakharwal: This dog breed came into being in the Indian Himalayan range. The Molosser dog is regarded as its progenitor. The Gujjar and Bakarwal nomadic tribes in Jammu and Kashmir have bred this dog for hundreds of years to serve as a protector of settlements and a livestock guardian dog.


Bully Kutta: Some zoologists feel Bully Kutta, which is attributed to Pakistan, is originated from the old Persian Alaunts, Sage Koochee, Indian Mastiffs, Afghani Gawi Bulldogs, Assyrian Mastiffs and other canine breeds inducted into the Indian subcontinent by Alexander the Great. Other scientists assert that German Pointers, Great Danes, Bulldogs and English Mastiffs were crossbred into the Bully Kutta.


Chippiparai: This Hound of South India, is thought to be descendants of the Saluki. The aristocratic families of Tirunelveli and Madurai bred these dogs who served as hunting canines. Even in the present day, they are used for hunting purposes in South India.


Combai: The most prevailing theory is that the Combai owes his lineage to Indian Sight Hounds. They may also have developed from Mastiff-like dogs or by crossbreeding the Sight Hound and Mastiff. They may have Pariah Dog blood as well. Viewing the hair ridge of the dog’s back leads to speculations that they have a link with the Khoisan Dog and Thai Ridgeback. Others say that the Combai is the progenitor of the Ridgeback.


Gaddi Kutta: Mahindant, king of Madurai, created this breed by crossbreeding untamed Hounds, resembling Untitled-13Dingos with Tibetan Mastiffs for hunting reasons. Himalayan Shepherds say that the breed was formulated by breeding tigers with dogs, but this theory seems to have mythical connotations. This dog breed is intrinsic to Himalayan life.


Indian Spitz: This breed was gifted by the British who bred them from German Spitz. Unlike their foreign counterpart, they were of smaller dimensions and had less dense coats. These dogs genetically acquired the prowess to endure the sultry weather conditions of India.


Kaikadi: This dog was named after a nomadic Maharashtrian tribe with the same name. They are adept watchdogs and great hunters of jungle rats, monkeys, rabbits and other mammals of small size. Some scientists feel that the Kalkadi and Caravan Hound have the same ancestor.


Kanni: This Mudhol Hound is the forefather of the Kanni. The dog’s ancestors were hunting canines. The dog was given as dowry to the bridegroom. This breed which is on the brink of extinction is raised by farmers who don’t sell them but may gift them. They are regarded as special pets who aren’t allowed to wander on the streets.


Kumaon Mastiff: The Sindh Mastiff is considered to be this dog’s ancestor. Others theorise that they stemmed from the Molossers from Greece introduced by Alexander the Great. This Mastiff guarded the old Kumaon tribes in India. The breed is now an endangered species in the country.


Mahratta Greyhound: This Sight Hound, which is believed to be originated in Mahratta in India, is of uncertain origin. The very fact that he’s smaller than other Indian dogs and looks like the Saluki indicating that he is either descended from the Saluki or is of unadulterated Indian origin.


Mudhol Hound: This breed was an Arabian or Central Asian input to the Deccan Plateau. The Tazi or Saluki is thought to be their ancestors. This breed flourishes around the Mudhol lake of Karnataka. Shrimant Rajesaheb Malojirao Ghorpade caught sight of the fact that the Beda tribe was making use of this hound for hunting purposes. Abiding by the means of selective breeding, he gave this breed a new impetus.


Rajapalayam: The Nayak dynasty of Tamil Nadu brought forth this hound by breeding. These dogs were used in the Polygar and Carnatic wars. These canines have kept a watchful eye on homes, farms and rice fields. Historical records say that four of them together slayed a tiger together.


Rampur Greyhound: The Rampur Hound originated in Rampur was developed under the rule of Royal Highness Ahmed Ali Khan Bahadur in the preliminary twentieth century. He had wanted to create a swift and fierce breed capable of hunting wild boars. The breed was created by crossing Tazis, English and Afghan Greyhounds.


Sinhala Hound: The native home of this dog is Sri Lanka. The skeleton residues of these canines from Bellanbandi Palassa and Nilgala cave, going back to the Mesolithic era in 4500 BC, indicate that the Balangodas may have raised these dogs to drive game. This hound has uncanny resemblances with the Dingo, Kedar Dog and New Guinea singing dog.


Vanjari Hound: This greyhound is regarded as his predecessor. He’s a hunting dog used by the nomadic Vanjari tribe. He serves both as a herding and guard dog. Interbreeding with other canines is fast diluting the intrinsic features of this species.

Nothing like mother’s love

Few things in life are as heartwarming as watching a mother dog interact with her puppies. From the moment of their birth to days after they go to their new homes, a mother dog’s focus is on her young charges. Some call it ‘instinct’, but dog lovers know better. Here’s more on this unique bond between a mother dog and her pups.


Zoya with one of her pups

Zoya with one of her pups

Moms not only give birth, they nurture them. About three weeks before puppies are due, an expectant mother dog may become a bit broody and rumple up covers, preparing a nest. This is roughly equivalent to a human mom preparing a nursery for her anticipated bundle of joy.


A bond from birth
Pups are born blind and deaf as their eyelids are tightly shut and their ear canals are closed. The young ones are completely dependent on their mom. However, they know enough to stay close to their mom and her milk bar. Each puppy is born with what you might call, ‘built in’ heat sensors in their noses. So, when seeking warmth, they are naturally attracted to the warmth of their mother. She instinctively nuzzles and licks her newborn pups to clean them and direct them to her ready and waiting milk bar. Such interactions between a mother dog and her offsprings have been shown to be essential to the physical and emotional health of both. As her newborn puppies knead and suckle, she curls her body around them for protection and warmth – hearts beating in unison. Every lick, which is a doggie kiss, reinforces the mother-puppy bond.
Licking her young ones after feeding stimulates the urinary and intestinal tracts of the newborns to release urine and faeces. Licking also grooms, promotes bonding and hastens maturation of the nervous system. Puppies deprived of maternal licking fail to thrive or survive. Most mother dogs will not leave her puppies for 24 hours.

Pup protection is primeUntitled-12  Untitled-14
If a pup is separated from his mom, she will retrieve him. If he cries, she will attend him. If he is hungry, she will feed him. When necessary, a mother dog will put herself between her puppies and danger. She won’t let strange dogs approach, and if she senses that a human might harm her little ones, she issues a warning growl. A mother dog also whines to alert her humans if she’s separated from her puppies.


Care all the wayUntitled-13
Pups primarily suckle milk and sleep for 10 to 14 days until their eyes and ear canals open. It takes a while longer before their vision is truly as sharp as he will be as an adult, but hearing is quite acute at that time. A whole new world is opened, and the offsprings begin to explore their surroundings under the watchful eye of their mom. The pup’s trust and reliance develop quickly as mom invariably finds a way of providing for the youngster’s every need. This mutual interaction brings satisfaction and relaxation to both the mother dog and puppy.


How mother-pup bond helps?
The original bond a pup has with his mom is the most important one he will ever have. If, when the pup cries, his mom routinely responds, he will develop confidence. If she grooms him regularly, his nervous system will positively sprout. If she’s always there when the pup turns around for assurance, he learns trust. Well-tended pup has higher self-esteem, is smarter, and seems to regulate his emotion better.  He will be a ‘functional’ pup – one who can make his own way in the world. Over time, a pup’s relationship with his mom progresses from one of extreme devotions to a more voluntary affair. Their association becomes more like an enjoyable friendship between two individuals who seek each other’s company for the pleasure it brings.

Mother dog continues to care for her pups but gradually encourages them to become more self-sufficient. At about four weeks of age, pups start to eat solid food and mom begins weaning them. Yet, as they grow the mother will still provide milk for her puppies for another three weeks, and at times will regurgitate food for her puppies as she introduces them to solid food. She will accommodate them with all the creature comforts of ‘puppy hood’, by being kind, gentle and just naturally knowing what her newborn puppies are in need of. She will soothe them by allowing her puppies to suckle, and that in turn will provide them with a sense of security.


Cuddles and fun
A mother dog nuzzles her pups, placing her face close by or lying very still when one of her little ones wiggles into the crook of her neck for a nap. As her offspring grows, she will still seek their company, and it isn’t unusual to find a mother dog and weaned puppies still snuggling together. Dogs smile with their tails. During playtime and upon greeting her pups, a mother dog wags her tail to show her affection and happiness.


Somewhere along the development road, usually between three and six weeks of age, pups develop relationships with their siblings and begin to learn social etiquette from their playful interactions. They will also be able to leave the warmth of their mother, and experience the area around them. This emergence from the litter is a gradual and continual learning experience. During this stage of development, puppies learn basic behavioural patterns specific to dogs. While playing, they practice different body postures, learning what the postures mean and how they affect their mother and litter mates. They learn what it is like to bite and be bitten, what barking and other vocalisations mean and how to make and use them to establish social relationships with other dogs. Such learning and activity tempers their own biting and vocalising.Puppies who are removed from the nest too early tend to be nervous, more prone to barking and biting, and less responsive to discipline. Often they are aggressive with other dogs. Generally speaking, a puppy taken away from his mother and littermates before seven weeks of age, may not realise his full potential as a dog and companion. To maximise the mental and psychological development of puppies, they must remain in the nest with their mother and littermates until seven weeks of age.Pet parents can at this time, start handling them. They can interact with the newborn puppies to start forming that ever important bond. One can also start some puppy training and teach them with the most basic command, ‘Come when called’. At this time, pet parents will also be introducing ‘Early socialisation’, which is another important area that a newborn puppy should learn as you start puppy training. The pups will get used to your voice, your touch, and your smell. The newborn puppy will learn most from his mother and his siblings on how to be part of ‘the pack’, but the early bonding and training that we give them, will make it easier not only for the puppy, but for pet parents too, as they teach or train them to do more in the future, as they age.


Life’s little lessons
From the age of five weeks, the mother teaches her puppies basic manners. They learn to be submissive to her leadership and what behaviours are acceptable.  Like any mother with misbehaving children, if necessary, she growls, snarls, or snaps at them as a form of discipline, if they play too roughly. A mother dog’s love for her puppies extends to their education. In the wild, a mother dog will hunt and bring home food for her young ones. Domesticated mother dogs don’t have to hunt but they will carry a cherished chew toy or stuffed animal to the nursery area and leave it where their offsprings can enjoy it.When weaning the litter, for instance, the mother will discipline her puppies so that they will leave her alone. Because the mother disciplines them in a way that they clearly understand, after a few repetitions, the puppies will respond to a mere glare from her. The puppies are no longer nursing as they are now eating solid food. Mom’s job at this point has changed from physically nurturing the puppies to giving the puppies their first lessons in submission, compliance, social order, and social ranking.
Puppies who once climbed all over mom, nibbled and chewed on her, and hung and swung from her ear by their teeth, are now physically shown that this behaviour is less tolerated. For the very first time in their lives, the puppies have behavioural expectations placed onto them by a dog that out ranks them socially.


Mom as disciplinarian
and boss
At this stage, very attentive moms can be seen flipping puppies over onto their backs and asking them to submit to her. The puppy is asked to submit and just lie there in submission for no other reason than, “Mom said so and Mom is the Boss.” This is the very first situation where puppies learn to deal with being asked to comply and submit. If a pup has not learned to accept leadership (and discipline) in his early interactions with dogs, his training will be
more difficult.A mother’s heart…
Mother dogs do not have the long-term commitment to their young that humans have, but her love is strong. When the puppies reach eight weeks of age and are independent and ready to leave mom for a new forever home, their mother, who feels lost without her litter, can show signs of depression. She might search for her missing babies, whining for her pet parents to help her. In a few days, she’ll perk up and if she has another litter, she’ll love and care for them just as much as she did her last litter.


On a concluding note…
Remember that your dog needs you to play a role in his development and you can do that with knowledge and commitment to training. Learning plays a significant role in a dog’s development. Through training, you actively take part in that process. Let his mother prepare him to be your significant family member and a friend for life.


(Paramjeet Singh Dhesi runs Elite Squad Kennel ( in Ludhiana, Punjab. He is an avid dog lover who imports rare breeds to India.)

Portuguese Podengo: Powerpuff breed!

Meet Portuguese Podengo, a friendly, agile and fearless breed. Truly a companion dog, a Podengo is an easy-to-maintain breed, suitable for most households.


A Portuguese Podengo is an all-in-one package, with the best qualities you can think of in your pooch. He is agile, alert, lively, friendly and easy to keep.


Sturdy appearance…
The Portuguese Podengo is the Portuguese national breed. He is very fast and agile and extremely durable. Podengos exist in three sizes – small, medium and large. Each has two hair types –

Miguel Sabino

Miguel Sabino


smooth haired and wire haired–for a total of six varieties. The Podengo Português Grande (big) height: 55-70 cm; the Podengo Portugues Medio (medium): height: 39-56 cm, weight: 16-20 kg; and the Podengo Portugues Pequeno (small) height: 20-30 cm, weight: 4-5 kg.
The Podengo Pequeno’s (small) height at the shoulder is only 20-30 cm which makes him a very handy dog, and yet he is a hardy hunter. This smaller variation of the Podengo Portugues Medio (medium) was bred for hunting.
The smaller Podengo is a variation of the medium sized Podengo but without losing any of his other characteristics. Not much attention was paid to colour or tone of coat. The Podengo may be uni-coloured with occasional white markings, and his colour can vary from a rich red to a light sandy colour or even black. His coat may be short and shiny or longer and rough.


Journey down the lane…
The breed goes back as early as the ancient times. The Pequeno was originally used for catching rats and other small animals. Later he was used in combination with the medium. Even though the Pequeno is still being used for hunting, it also has been regarded as a household pet for as long as three centuries.
Of the several theories regarding the origin of the Podengo, the most probable to defend is that the breed, along with other similar breeds of the Mediterranean, descends from the Pharaoh Hound of high old Egypt. It appears to be one of the first differentiated breeds made by the functionality. This type of dog dispersed from Asia Minor (original area of the Phoenicians in 700 BC) to the north of Africa and the Mediterranean coast. The Phoenicians introduced the breed to Portugal and the entire Mediterranean region. Later, the Portuguese spread the breed to Brazil, central Africa and India.
The Podengo Pequeno has a special aptitude for hunting under the soil, pursuing badgers, foxes and bag-tails. The breed was used to enter in the burrows and frighten the quarry, or to kill them directly. That’s why he is courageous, smart and lively. But above all, the Podengo is a fearsome rabbit hunter, often used in impenetrable areas, sneaking out from among vegetation and rifts in the rocks. It is known as a ‘last-resource,’ exploring where other dogs won’t go.


Sweet disposition…
The Podengo is a happy, attentive, agile, friendly as well as fearless dog. He is easy to keep, only barks occasionally, is very attached, and friendly with children and other dogs. He requires Untitled-8exercise and attention and likes to play. He is also a very fast learner. The Podengo is adapted perfectly to the climate, as well as to the form of Portuguese life. He has a lively character and a resistant and healthy body.


Living with a Podengo…
The Podengo Pequeno is today used as a companion dog, with excellent results, thanks to his obedient character and affectionate nature. The Podengo maintains a great resistance to diseases or genetic defects and demands very little maintenance. The hair has only one layer and presents obvious advantages during shedding. Because of his size, health, coat and personality, the Podengo Pequeno adapts easily to apartments and to the city as well as country living. This is a distinct advantage when compared to the more traditional companion dogs.
So, bring home a Podengo and love this powerpuff breed.


(Miguel Sabino is breeder who runs Viamonte Kennel at Leiria, Portugal.)

Chow_chow The Dog of Tang Empire -by Bernice Leroy

Active, impressive, square dog with a blueblack tongue, Chow-Chows are an epitome of loyalty and love towards their pet parents. 


Bernice Leroy

Bernice Leroy

Spitz type, active, compact, square, well balanced, leonine in appearance, proud, dignified bearing; good muscle tone; tail carried over back—that’s how a Chow-Chow looked! He should always be able to move freely with a pendulum type swinging of the back legs. A characteristic feature of this breed is his bluish black tongue.


Apart from the bluish black tongue, other distinctive feature of Chow-Chow is his curly tail with thick hair and always lying curled on the back. Chow-Chow is considered to be the only dog breed with bluish colour lips and oral cavity while other breeds normally have black or piebald patterns of skin in their mouths.

In the history…
Origin of Chow-Chow is traced back to northern China where the breed is locally called Songshi Quan, meaning ‘puffy lion dog’. Another local name of the dog is Tang Quan, which means the ‘Dog of Tang Empire’. In the history, it is believed that Chow-Chow was one of the native dogs in China who was used as the model of Foo Dog – the symbolic traditional stone guardian put up in front of Buddhist temples and gates to palaces. Chow Chow is one of the ancient dog breeds still in existence all round the world.
United colours of coats…
Their coat is smooth (in short-haired) varying between 2-6 cm in length while it is rough (in long-haired) with a distinctly fluffy tail, ‘trousers’ and a mane (longer hair around the neck). Both coat varieties have a layer of short undercoat (which is shed twice yearly) and a layer of longer, shiny coarse guard hair. They are found in various colours like Black (can have grey hair in tail), Cream (varies from reddish cream to near white), Fawn (also known as cinnamon – varies from a beach sand colour to the colour of spice – some have lighter shades on tail), and Red (varies from a solid dark red to light red with light shading on tail and ‘trousers’).
Pleasant temperament…
They are good way watchdogs and natural hunters. Well bred, they have correct temperament, which is Untitled-3independent and cat-like, i.e. they choose whom to be friendly with and when to obey. A Chow-Chow is playful and loving with his pet parent and his family, but aloof with strangers. They are extremely loyal to their pet parents.
Living with them…
They view their humans as ‘part of the family’ and need to be near them and involved daily. They do not do well as kennel dogs. It is easy to live with them if you understand and like their temperament (independent – don’t easily obey) and if you don’t mind the regular coat maintenance. They are neither destructive nor noisy. They accept family’s other animals but will hunt strange animals off properly. A well-bred Chow-Chow of correct temperament is exceptionally good with children but both dog and child must be trained—as with any breed.
Pup care…
They need regular vaccines and deworming. Teach them to stay still for daily brush time from very young age and take them for puppy socialising classes for at least one year.
Exercise needs…
It varies from individual to individual. As adults, some don’t need much (short daily walks), others need long walks (3+ km) at least three times a week. Regular exercise is very important for a healthy body and mind, but do not over-exercise a puppy.
Grooming needs…
Regular brushing—minimum two times a week—even on the short-haired variety is recommended It is essential to remove hair when shedding to prevent coat problems. Never shave a Chow, even in hot weather. he will lose his undercoat, which can be damaged and may never grow back! They shed hair two times a year (females with their cycles/seasons).
Games they play…
Some play more than others. In a multi-Chow household, they like playing with one another. They enjoy games which involve their hunting instincts. They enjoy times spent with their pet parents walking or going
for a drive in the car more than playing games.
Some of the hereditary problems of Chow-Chow include hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, entropion, skin sensitivity (could be related to poor feeding by pet parents. Be careful of every heavy headed/boned dog’s health as they can have breathing difficulty, hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, knee weakness, etc.
(Bernice Leroy is Johannesburg-based breeder of Chow-Chow breeds at Ciao Chows.She strives to maintain the essence of the breed’s ancient legacy).

Rat Terrier: Merry, Happy Pal…

Active, energetic, obedient, compact, sturdy and good looking – a Rat Terrier is a miracle in a small package.


Stacy McWilliams

Stacy McWilliams

The Rat Terrier was originally bred for ratting and farm work – a multipurpose companion dog who is capable of hunting rodents and vermin above and below ground as well as coursing small game.


Small and elegant…
A Rat Terrier is a sturdy, compact, small-to-medium sized parti-coloured dog giving the appearance of elegance and fitness, denoting speed, power and balance. You will love his intelligence, bright eye, and strong body build which is elegant and designed for working.
There are two varieties of Rat Terrier – Miniature (10 to 13” in height) and Standard (over 13” to 18” in height). There are many accepted colours and patterns for the breed, but Merle and Brindle are never allowed. They can be tri-coloured or bi-coloured and must have white as one of those colours.


Lovely demeanor…
Keenly observant, devoted, full of energy, yet easily trained and obedient to command, a Rat Terrier is loving, gentle, loyal and smart. The prey drive ranges from strong to weak and if looking for a family pet, you should connect with a breeder and ask about the prey drive of their lines. The temperament is generally aloof with strangers at first, but quickly warms up to new people they are introduced to. They tend to be extremely loyal to their family members.


Living with them…
If the time is taken to train a Rat Terrier properly, he can be a great addition to your family. A Rat Terrier will need a great deal of training and socialization with other dogs and people. He can be great pal to children if properly trained and socialized.


Exercise needs…
Rat Terriers are active breeds and do best with a family who enjoys the outdoors. They love to hike and swim (if you teach them early). They can hike for long period of time. They do demand exercise a few times a week. Teaching them to fetch a ball or frisbee can really help a family manage their busy lifestyle. The Rat Terrier tends to be less active with age, often we see after two years of age they don’t need as much playtime.


Pup care…
Puppy care is very important; puppies do very well with a little job assigned to them each week as they mature. The Rat Terrier likes challenges to build confidence and an outgoing nature. Crate training is very important and can help with house breaking your Rat Terrier. Teaching the puppy to walk without pulling on the leash as well as a strong recall is very important in the breed. Often as the puppy gets older, the prey/hunting drive grows. It is best to have a secure fenced in yard.

Grooming…just the basics
Rat Terriers do not need extensive grooming … Typically a bath as needed and toe nails clipped weekly is all they need. They don’t take long to dry and usually just a rub down with a bath towel works great. Brushing the coat weekly helps keep the shedding very low.


Games to play…
Rat Terriers are so smart and intelligent that they can be taught a lot of tricks. They can do almost anything you can imagine from frisbee, soccer ball, agility, fly ball, hide-n-seek, etc.


Rat Terriers can suffer from hereditary problems like Primary Lens Luxation and Luxating Patellas. Be sure to look for a breeder who is health testing their dogs prior to any breeding to help ensure you are getting a healthy family member.


Message to pet parents…
To ensure your Rat Terrier fits nicely into your family, spay and neuter as sometimes Terriers can be ‘more terrier’ with age if left unspayed or unneutered.


(Stacy McWilliams runs River Ridge Rat Terriers in Telford, Pennsylvania, USA. She has been breeding Rat Terriers over the last 12 years).

Dream come true! Coton de Tulear

A Coton de Tulear possess many endearing qualities. The extraordinary intelligence, versatility & spirit of the Coton de Tulear will never cease to amaze you!


E B Narieka

E B Narieka

The Coton De Tulear is a member of the Bichon family of dogs. They share ancestry with the Bichon Frise, the Maltese, the Havanese and the Bolognese.The gentle spirit of the Coton de Tulear shines through in their beautiful face and expression. Their soft cottony coat invites you to come and cuddle. You’ll instantly fall in love with these lovely beings.


General appearance…
The Coton de Tulear is a sturdy small dog and never appears fragile. The head is short and triangular in shape when seen from above while the neck is well-muscled and slightly arched. The body is longer than its height. The front legs are upright while the lower arms are vertical and parallel. They are well-muscled with good bone. The feet are small and round, with tight arched toes. The pads are completely pigmented in shades of black.
The range of weight is approximately 8 to 13 pounds (3.6-5.9 kg) for females and 9 to 15 pounds (4.8-6.8 kg)for males. Their height is approximately 8.5 to 12 inch at the withers. The ground colour of the coat is white. A few light shadings of light grey colour (mixture of white and black hairs) or of light tan colour (mixture of white and fawn hairs) are permitted on the ears. A Coton, however, is often born with heavy markings of dark colour on the head and body. This colour usually fades as they grow.


Happy go lucky…Untitled-11
Cotons exude a happy temperament. They are stable, and very sociable with humans and other dogs. They are extremely affectionate, playful, alert, inquisitive and sturdy. As a family member, a Coton is a dream come true! They’re happy, loyal and adapt well to every activity. Their talents extend far beyond the joy of being your best friend. A Coton will delight you with their ability to participate in a multitude of activities… and excel at everything they do.


Exercise needs…
The Coton requires a mo d e r a t e amount of exercise. Daily walks and playtime filled with activities, such as playing fetch are ideal. When trained properly, they make wonderful companions for long walks, jogging and hiking. The Coton excels in agility and obedience pastimes.


Pup care…Untitled-10
A Coton de Tulear is a very intelligent dog. That characteristic makes them easily trainable. Early socialisation and training classes for young puppies are encouraged to develop a well balanced dog. Particular attention will be needed with the coat between the age of 9 to 14 months when the adult fur is coming in. Consequently, it is very important to teach the puppy good ‘grooming table’ manners at an early stage so that when this critical period starts, your fluffy friend will cooperate fully during the brushing sessions or visits to the groomer.


Grooming needs…
The Coton de Tulear’s hair is soft and fluffy to touch, non-oily, and light as the cotton flower. Gentle brushing three or four times a week with a special pin brush (without balls at the end of the pins which tear and damage the coat) will help alleviate matting that can occur especially behind the ears, legs and elbow region. Because of minimal shedding and no dander, the Coton is a good choice for people with allergies. A Coton is considered “hypoallergenic.” But that’s not panacea for all!


Games they love…
Cotons enjoy a good game of catch and any activity that encourages them to engage in the use of their curious and sharp mental skills. They love the opportunity to learn something new and fun.


Healthy breed…
A well-bred Coton is relatively a healthy dog. As with all animals, they do have genetic issues, but no single issue is widespread throughout the breed. Testing of parents for patella, heart, and eye certifications help assure the good  health of the puppy.


On a concluding note…
A Coton de Tulear is an extraordinary breed. Please carefully research your breeder to insure the quality of temperament, health and beauty that you should expect from a well bred Coton.


(Eileen Boyer Narieka is a member of the Breed Education Committee of the United States of America Coton de Tulear Club, AKC Parent Breed Club. She as been actively involved with Cotons for over 16 years. Her achievements include owner, breeder handler of top Cotons in Rare Breed Show Systems and Coton de Tulear Clubs in USA).