Monday, February 25, 2013

Prevent Litter - Spay Your Critter!

February is considered the month of love. People think of Valentine's Day and their sweetheart. February is also known among those in the animal rescue world as Spay/Neuter Awareness Month. As we anticipate spring within the next few months, and numerous amount of “littering” that exists – in the sweet form of puppies and kittens – animal welfare groups throughout the world are reminding people to prevent litters and spay/neuter your critters!

Pet Overpopulation
Puppies and kittens are adorable, but happens to all of these little ones, and the ones yet to be born later in the year? Sadly, most lose their lives. Throughout the country, nearly four million dogs, cats, puppies and kittens are euthanized because there are not enough homes for them all. Pet overpopulation is a major problem in the United States and around the world. Therefore, animal groups take the month of February, and particularly the last Tuesday of the month, to remind people of this terribly sad world-wide problem. This year's recognition, known was World Spay Day, takes place Tuesday, February 26, 2013.

1+1 Equals Hundreds

One of the answers lies in spaying and neutering pets. This simple operation can “litterally” save the lives of millions of companion animals. Animal welfare experts estimate that one unspayed female and one unneutered male dog contribute to 512 additional dogs within 3 years and that one unspayed female and one unneutered male cat produce 382 more cats to the already high pet population.

Myths About Spaying and Neutering

Many myths exist about spaying and neutering, and most are just that: myths. If you have concerns about the surgery and its affect upon your pet, discuss these with your vet. No one is more knowledgeable about surgical procedures and the pros and cons than your veterinarian.

Here are some facts about pets that are spayed or neutered:
  1. They tend to be better behaved.
  2. They tend to be more affectionate.
  3. Spayed females don’t attract unwanted, aggressive males nor do they exhibit the nervous behaviors from hormonal changes and cry piteously waiting for a mate.
  4. Neutered males are less likely to mark territory (such as your couch!) and they are less likely to roam.
    Cesar Milan, the nationally-recognized and respected “Dog Whisperer”, debunks many spay and neuter myths on his website:
To learn more about spaying and neutering reasoning, myths and facts, visit

Be the Solution, Not the Problem

Lack of homes and pet overpopulation is a serious national, regional, state and community problem –so let’s fix the problem by fixing our pets! Animal shelters and rescue organizations are bombarded with animals; why be part of the problem when you can be part of the solution? So, please don't litter, spay or neuter your critter!

Monday, February 18, 2013

What is an Affenpinscher Anyway?

It's President's Day, and though the Portuguese Water Dog didn't take the top honor at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show (sorry, Bo Obama!), the breed did score Best of Breed and competed with six other contenders for the top title. It was Banana Joe, the Affenpinscher, who took the top prize in the famed Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show last week, and now you may be wondering, “What is an Affenpinscher anyway?”

According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), this small breed of dog (it stands only 9 ½ to 11 inches tall at the shoulder) came from a larger terrier-type of dog that was used on farms as a ratter. They were later bred down in size and used to control mice in homes. The name means “monkey terrier” in German, a nod to the facial features of the breed. The Affenpinscher weighs only 7 to 10 pounds. The coat, usually black, gray, silver, or black and tan, is wiry and requires regular brushing.

They are alert, active, independent-spirited little dogs that bond well with their people, and because of their small size, they make great dogs for apartment-dwellers.

They were recognized by the AKC in 1936, but have been around for centuries, most notably in Germany and France. This was the first year an Affenpinscher won Best in Show at Westminster.

In the recent AKC ranking of mostpopular dogs, the Affenpinscher came in at #138. The other breeds competing in last week's Best in Show were the Old English Sheepdog (which placed as the runner-up), German Wire-haired Pointer, American Foxhound, Portuguese Water Dog, Smooth-coated Fox Terrier, and Bichon Frise. Of all, the later ranks highest on the popularity chart, at #38.

The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is the second longest continuously held sporting event in the United States. The Kentucky Derby is the longest running, but only by one year. Millions watch the dog show on TV or online. More than 185 different dog breeds and varieties competed in this year's show, including two newly recognized breeds: the Russell Terrier (once called the Jack Russell Terrier) and the Treeing Walker Coonhound.

Just as the monkey-faced Affenpinscher took top honors for the first time this year, perhaps one of these newly-recognized breeds will receive Best in Show in the not so distant future.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Who's Top Dog at Westminster?

In light of the prestigious Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show returning to New York City this month and the recent release of the American Kennel Club (AKC)'s ranking of most popular dog breeds, I thought it would be interesting to review the winners of Westminster's Best in Show and compare those with the AKC's listing of most popular dog breeds.

 No Labs

Although the Labrador Retriever has been the most popular pup in America for more than a decade, a Lab has NEVER won Westminster's Best in Show! As recent as 2010, the Lab placed fourth in its group classification; that feat also happened in 2009 and 2003. The highest placement the breed has received was second in its Sporting Dog Group category, and the last time that was accomplished was in 1978. During the 1930s, Labs seemed more popular at Westminster – the breed placed second in group in 1933, 1934, and 1939. Labrador Retrievers were recognized as a breed by the AKC in 1917.

No Goldens Either

The Golden Retriever, ranked third this year on AKC's most popular dog breed list, has also not done well at Westminster, placing only three times, including one best in group (which took place in 2006). The breed placed second in 2009 and second also in 2005.

Winners in Both Categories

America's second most popular dog breed, the German Shepherd, has had one Best in Show placement at Westminster; that occurred in 1987.

The AKC's fourth most popular dog breed last year was the Beagle, and in 2008, Uno the Beagle, became the first of his breed to win Westminster's Best in Show. So, Lab lovers, there is still hope – perhaps this will be the year for the Labrador Retriever!

The Terrier Group has received the most number of Best in Shows at Westminster with 45 winners; terriers are also popular pets, with the Yorkie listed as sixth most popular pooch by the AKC this year the Boston terrier is number 23, and the West Highland White Terrier listed at 36.

The Sporting Group has achieved the second most number of Best in Shows at Westminster with 19 wins. Within that group, the English Springer Spaniel has placed Best in Show six times, and Cocker Spaniels have placed Best in Show four times, each breed receiving more nods for top dog than any other breed in the Sporting Dog category. These dogs are also popular as pets: Cockers rank #27 and Springers #29 on the AKC breed popularity list for 2012.

New Breeds in 2013

Two breeds that will be in this 2013 competition that have not been recognized at Westminster in past years are the Russell Terrier and the Treeing Walker Coonhound. Might one of these “newbies” receive the ultimate prize? We shall see.

Where will your favorite dog breed place at the 2013 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show? Tune in your television Feb. 11 and 12 and find out!
Statistics and other article sources:

Monday, February 4, 2013

Does Your Dog Win the Popularity Contest?

Recently the American Kennel Club (AKC) released its annual ranking of the most popular dog breeds in the United States.

As with previous years, a few surprises took place, but not surprisingly, the Labrador Retriever remains at Number 1, a position the breed has held for more than 20 years. Bulldogs moved to the #5 slot in the Top 10, up one position from last year. This breed has been gaining in popularity during the past decade; the bulldog sat at #18 ten years ago. The Rottweiler also moved up one place, from #10 last year to #9 this year, and the Golden Retriever moved from #4 to #3, replacing the Beagle, which moved from #3 to #4. Remaining at the Number 2 is the German Shepherd Dog.

The Yorkshire Terrier slipped in ranking once again, slipping from #5 to #6; the Yorkie was the second most popular dog breed just five years ago. Also slipping a notch is the Daschund; last year the breed ranked #9 in popularity, and this year it's #10. The Daschund ranked in the top 5 most popular breeds 10 years ago.

Below is the ranking of the top 10 dog breeds in America in 2012, according to the AKC.

  1. Labrador Retriever
  2. German Shepherd Dog
  3. Golden Retriever
  4. Beagle
  5. Bulldog
  6. Yorkshire Terrier
  7. Boxer
  8. Poodle
  9. Rottweiler
  10. Dachshund
The French Bulldog, like its cousin, climbed in popularity this past year. The breed ranks #14 this year, up from #18 last year, and significantly more popular than even five years ago when the breed ranked #34. The Chihuahua dropped from #14 last year to #18 this year. Pomeranians dropped two places during the past year, from #17 to #19 this year. Rounding out the top 20 is the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, up one place from #21 last year to #20 this year.

Larger dogs continue to gain popularity, as noted by the placement of the Labrador, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, and Rottweiler in the Top Ten. Larger breeds made some large strides in this year's rankings; for example, the Doberman Pinscher moved from #13 to #12 in the past year, replacing the Miniature Schnauzer, and the Great Dane breed gained two placings, moving from #19 to #17, and replacing the little Pomeranian in popularity.

A complete list of AKC's most popular dog breeds, including statistics for 50 U.S. cities, is available at The organization uses registration statistics to gauge dog breed popularity. They also rank the most popular dog breeds in various cities across America.

View the lists and find out where your favorite dog breed ranks. The breeds of my special dogs, Sage and Cody, retained their rankings: English Springer Spaniels at #29 and American Cocker Spaniels at #27. English Cocker Spaniels are down on the list at #64; they are more popular, however, than Italian Greyhounds, which rank at #66.


No matter what breed your dog is, whether in the top 10, top 20 or below, one thing all dogs have in common is that they offer great companionship to their humans!