I’m a proponent of spending more time with your dog, and less with your computer, but here’s an interesting, and interactive, presentation from WNYC in New York, which has mapped out not just what breeds dominate the city’s neighborhoods, but what names as well.
Citywide, the top three female names for dogs are Bella, Princess and Lola; the top male names are Max, Rocky and Lucky and the top breeds are Yorkie, Shih Tzu and Maltese.
(Actually the most popular dog in New York is the mutt, and WYNC does report that elsewhere. Somehow they didn’t rate getting on the map, though.)
What’s the most fun though is scrolling through the boroughs to see where Lola tops Lucy, where Buddy beats Buster as the name of choice, and what breeds are, from neighborhood to neighborhood, most predominant. While Yorkies dominate most areas, there are enclaves where Labs and Chihuahuas and pit bulls are owned in the highest numbers. There’s a major English bulldog contingent in lower Manhattan, and pit bulls are the highest in number in Bed Stuy.
The list is based on information WNYC obtained from the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, which runs the city’s dog licensing program.
The feature has some other bells and whistles, too, including opportunities to play games and make a t-shirt.
Just after WNYC came out with its map, Gothamist put together an interactive map of its own – this back in January — claiming to show not where the dogs are, but where their poop is, or at least where it’s most complained about. The map shows what neighborhoods have the most barking dog complaints, too.
One wonders what would happen if those two interactive maps were to interact. Would that reveal large dogs named Brutus leave bigger droppings than Chihuahuas named Princess? That Sparky barks more than Snoozy?
Somewhere we have to draw line on all this interactivity with our computers — especially that share of it that’s presenting information that’s just everyday knowledge or common sense or entirely bogus.
In those cases, your time would be better spend interacting with the dog.
Posted by jwoestendiek April 23rd, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, barking, boroughs, breeds, bulldogs, chihuahua, complaints, dog, dog waste, dogs, gothamist, interactive, labrador retrievers, maltese, maps, names, neighborhoods, new york city, nyc, pets, pit bulls, poop, popular, popularity, shih-tzu, WNYC, yorkie
House Bill 956 would create a new “aggressive dog” classification for pit bulls, Rottweilers, mastiffs, chows, Presa Canarios, wolf hybrids and any dogs “that are predominantly” a mix of those, WRAL reports.
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Rodney Moore, D-Mecklenburg, said of those breeds, ”I don’t want to say those were the ones with the most incidents, but they were the most prevalent by the feedback that I’ve gotten.”
In other words, the proposed legislation doesn’t let facts get in the way.
Under the bill, prospective “aggressive breed” owners would have to undergo a criminal background check, apply and pay for a special state permit, notify their property insurer, and take a 4-hour education course before adopting, buying, or “otherwise taking possession of” one of the dogs.
Moore said the idea was brought to him by a concerned constituent.
“There needs to be some kind of accountability,” Moore said. “A lot of people breed them the wrong way. You have very harsh incidents of these dogs maiming children, maiming older folks, and sometimes even turning on their owner.”
The bill calls for county sheriff’s to provide the criminal background checks and report the findings to the state Department of Insurance. It would have the authority to deny a permit to anyone whose background check “is not suitable for the ownership of a dog belonging to an aggressive dog breed.”
The “aggressive dog permit” could cost as much as $25. Under the bill, the Department of Insurance could require additional insurance coverage be taken out by owners of the dogs.
“I’ve gotten a lot of feedback about it, saying I’m trying to blacklist these dogs, and that’s not the intent,” Moore said. “It’s just to let people take responsibility for owning those breeds.”
The representative’s email address is Rodney.Moore@ncleg.net
Posted by jwoestendiek April 19th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: aggressive, animals, background checks, bill, breeds, charlotte, chow, dog, dogs, fee, hb 956, house bill 956, insurance, law, legislature, mastiff, mixes, north carolina, ownership, permit, pets, pit bull, presa canario, proposal, representative, restrict, rodney moore, rottweiler, wolf hybrid
After a dalmatian owner showed some spotty behavior in Central Park, he has been sued by the man who claims he was attacked by him — aptly enough, the owner of a pointer.
The New York Daily News reports that Jeffrey Drogin, owner of a German shorthaired pointer who has competed at Westminster, is suing the owner of the dalmatian he says he was trying to save his dog from.
Drogin said he had just pulled the dalmatian off his dog when the dalmatian’s owner, Ralph Wachtel, 74, “cold cocked and pummeled” him “without provocation or warning,” according to a Manhattan Supreme Court lawsuit.
“His dog was on top of my dog, attacking my dog, and I lifted him off by the collar and was walking him away from the fight,” Drogin, a 59-year-old Manhattan engineer, told the Daily News.
Drogin said Wachtel punched him in the head, back and face, breaking one of his teeth. “I made a point of not hitting back. I didn’t want to hit a man that was 10 years older than me.”
Apparently there was some ill will between the dogs, and the dog owners, even before the March 8, 2012 incident, which the Daily News said led to assault charges against Wachtel.
Drogin said Wachtel’s dalmatians had previously gone after his dog Homer, and some of his puppies, too.
Drogin is seeking an unspecified monetary award.
The Daily News said no comment was offered by either Wachtel, or his wife — who the newspaper’s “puparazzi” confronted as she left the couple’s apartment to walk the dalmatians, Arrow and Target.
(Photo: Andrew Savulich / New York Daily News)
Posted by jwoestendiek March 8th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, assault, behavior, breeds, central park, dogs, fighting, german short-haired pointer, homer, humans, jeffrey drogin, lawsuit, leashes, new york, park, pets, prizewinning, ralph wachtel, westminster
Despite all we’ve done over the centuries to manipulate their shapes, sizes and appearance — even though Chihuahua, shar-pei and Afghan hound don’t much look like members of the same species — a dog knows a fellow dog when he sees one.
And, though we commonly give the dog’s nose all the credit, they can do so using visual cues alone, according to new research published in the journal Animal Cognition.
As summarized by Science Daily, the study by Dr. Dominique Autier-Dérian from the LEEC and National Veterinary School in Lyon in France, is the first to test dogs’ ability to discriminate between species and form a “dog” category — an impressive feat given the huge variability within the canine species.
Autier-Derian and his team explored whether — with 400 breeds and the greatest morphological diversity of any species — dogs have trouble recognizing other dogs as dogs.
On a computer screen, the researchers showed nine pet dogs pictures of faces from various dog breeds and cross-breeds, along with faces of other species, including humans.
The results showed all nine dogs recognized members of their species, strictly by looks.
“The fact that dogs are able to recognize their own species visually, and that they have great olfactory discriminative capacities, insures that social behavior and mating between different breeds is still potentially possible,” the study’s authors concluded. “Although humans have stretched the Canis familiaris species to its morphological limits, its biological entity has been preserved.”
(Image: Springer Science+Business Media)
Posted by jwoestendiek February 18th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, appearance, breeds, categories, cognition, diversity, dogs, morphological, pets, recongition, research, science, shape, size, study, variability, visualization
As that annual parade of the pedigreed known as the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show unfolded at Madison Square Garden, there has been a debate over purebred dogs going on in the pages of the New York Times, at least its digital ones.
It’s worth checking out, especially, in my view, two of the opinion pieces from two of my favorite dog experts.
Alexandra Horowitz, professor of psychology at Barnard College and author of “Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know,” hits on several important points in a piece focused mainly on the link between breed standards and inherited disorders.
She cites research showing that, among the most popular breeds, almost every one has developed some type of inherited disorder stemming from breed standards that prescribe how a dog should look.
Bulldogs and pugs have broad and shortened heads that lead to obstructions in breathing. Many large breeds have debilitating hip and elbow dysplasias. Shar-Peis, because of their wrinkly skin, are prone to eye ulcerations. The Cavalier King Charles spaniel may have a brain that grows too large for its skull, an extremely painful condition called syringomyelia.
By changing the breed standards — making them more health-contingent than looks-contingent, the health of dozens of breeds could be improved, she notes.
Horowitz also addresses the matter of personality. Although AKC breed standards make it sound like a dog’s personality is genetically determined, that’s not the case, she says.
” … A dog is not merchandise whose behavior (outside of a few hard-wired ones, like pointing) can be predicted ahead of time.
“While many owners may see breed-typical personalities in their dogs (we humans do tend to spot just the evidence which supports our theories), there is simply no guarantee that a dog will behave just so. Witness the cases of cloned — genetically identical — pets who have, to their owners’ great surprise, quite different personalities.”
Making it sound like the personality of all dogs can be predicted by what breed they are is problematic, she notes.
“When a dog does not behave in accordance with her ‘billing,’ owners call this a ‘behavior problem’ — the single greatest reason for relinquishment of a dog to a shelter. Thus, inadvertently, breed standards lead potential adopters to treat them more like products with reliable features.
“Dogs are individuals, and should be treated thusly.”
In another piece presented in the Times “Room for Debate” feature, James Serpell, the Marie Moore professor of animal welfare at the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and the director of the Center for the Interaction of Animals and Society, looks at what kennel clubs, dog shows and the breed standards they espouse, has led to.
For one, inbreeding, as a way to produce dogs that most closely fit the written standards, or in some cases the interpretation thereof.
“Not only were the original gene pools of many breeds very small to begin with, but breeders have also accentuated the problem by selectively breeding from relatively small numbers of “champion sires” and/or by mating together closely related individuals.
“Nowadays, many breeds are highly inbred and express an extraordinary variety of genetic defects as a consequence: defects ranging from anatomical problems, like hip dysplasia, that cause chronic suffering, to impaired immune function and loss of resistance to fatal diseases like cancer. The only sensible way out of this genetic dead-end is through selective out-crossing with dogs from other breeds, but this is considered anathema by most breeders since it would inevitably affect the genetic “purity” of their breeds…”
“When standards do more harm than good, they should either be revised or abandoned altogether. We owe it to the dogs.”
A compelling argument is also made by Mark Derr, an author who was among the first to bring attention to the problems that have been created in the quest for purity and predictability: “It is long past time to make changes to standards that improve dogs’ lives or discontinue their breeding,” he concludes.
Less in line with my thinking — but I”ll point you to it, anyway – was a piece submitted by Lilian Barber, who breeds, judges and writes about Italian greyhounds.
Barber, president of the Kennel Club of Palm Springs, Calif., argues that breed standards are about more than appearance.
“Breeding dogs that fit a written standard isn’t just about appearance. Different breeds have different traits. It’s like choosing a vehicle. In many cases a two-door sedan will suffice, but sometimes a truck is needed.”
She continues, fortunately shifting out of the motor vehicle analogy:
”Most breeders of purebreds support research regarding the genetic health of their breeds and plan their matings carefully to insure that the offspring will be healthy. It would make little sense to put time, effort, money and passion into breeding unhealthy dogs … Those dogs are a huge and vital part of our lives.”
You can find links to all the opinion pieces here.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 14th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: alexandra horowitz, animals, breed standards, breeds, cloning, debate, dog, dog shows, dogs, experts, genetic, genetics, health, inbreeding, inherited, james serpell, kennel club, mark derr, new york times, opinions, personality, pets, problems, purebreds, room for debate, standards, traits, westminster
The Labrador retriever has once again been proclaimed America’s most popular dog.
It’s a title — designated by the American Kennel Club, based on its registration statistics — that the breed has held for 22 years.
While labs maintain their grip on first place — at least when black, yellow and chocolate are combined — golden retrievers are climbing the ranks, having moved up from fourth to third.
Elsewhere in the top 10 breed list, the German shepherd maintained No. 2 position, the beagle slipped from third to fourth , and the Yorkshire terrier – third most popular two years ago — dropped to sixth place. Rottweilers, boxers and poodles all made the top 10.
Taken together, the statistics seem to indicate a growing appreciation for big dogs, said AKC spokesperson Lisa Peterson.
“Bigger breeds are making their move,” she said. ”The popularity of the pint-sized, portable pooch just gave way to a litter of larger breeds in the top 10. These predictable, durable, steady breeds, like Labs and goldens, are great with kids and offer the whole family more dog to love.”
The Lab’s 22-year reign as top dog ties that of the poodle, which was America’s most popular dog from 1960 to 1982.
The AKC says registration statistics also show mastiff-type breeds are becoming more popular, with the mastiff, bullmastiff, cane corso and Neapolitan mastiff all climbing over the last ten years. During that same period the bull terrier jumped from 79 to 51.
(Photo: John Woestendiek)
Posted by jwoestendiek January 31st, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: akc, american kennel club, animals, beagle, big dogs, black, breed, breeds, chocolate, dogs, german shepherd, golden retriever, labrador retriever, large, list, pets, popularity, top ten, trends, yellow, yorkshire terriers
Police in Baltimore shot and killed a family’s pit bull when the dog ran out of his home as police were chasing a suspect.
“He wasn’t just our dog. He was our family,” Stacey Fields said of the family’s dog, Kincaid. “It’s a horrible thing seeing your dog that you love laying on the ground dead and bloody.”
Fields said a suspect being chased down an alley ran into their basement stairwell, with police in pursuit.
Kincaid ran out of his home during the commotion, and Baltimore police say he charged at the officers.
WJZ reported the dog was shot three times, twice in the head
“He was just barking like ‘Hey, what are doing in my yard? Who are you?’” Fields said.
“If it was a Cockapoo or a Chihuahua it probably wouldn’t have happened,” she said. “If he had pulled his mace, Kincaid would still be here.”
Posted by jwoestendiek January 3rd, 2013 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, baltimore, breeds, charged, chase, city, dogs, killed, maryland, officers, pets, pit bull, pitbull, police, pursuit, shot, stacey fields, suspect
It’s not as if they’re on the verge of extinction, but old English sheepdogs are drastically dropping in numbers, at least according to kennel club statistics.
At the height of the high-maintenance breed’s popularity, in 1975, nearly 16,000 old English sheepdog puppies were registered by the American Kennel Club. In 2009, there were just over 1,000 registrations, according to figures supplied by the AKC to the Associated Press
Breeders blame the decline on the increasing popularity of smaller dogs, and the amount of care and grooming that sheepdogs require.
“People have more to do and less time to do it, and they have lost interest in old English sheepdogs,” Doug Johnson of Colorado Springs, president of the Old English Sheepdog Club of America, told the Associated Press.
Breeders in England are also concerned about the decreasing registrations. London’s Kennel Club registered just 401 sheepdog puppies in 2011, and has put the breed on the club’s watch list, a representative said.
The decline in numbers has been steady in the years since 1975, when an old English sheepdog won best in show at Westminster. But breeders and others don’t really expect the breed to disappear.
“There are too many of us old die-hards that will go ahead and keep this breed alive,” said Johnson, who operates Bugaboo kennel and has 22 sheepdogs.
The breed is believed to have originated in Sussex, England, where they drove sheep and cattle to market.
Pittsburgh industrialist William Wade introduced the dog in the United States in the late 1880s. The Old English Sheepdog Club of America says that by 1900 five of the country’s 10 wealthiest American families — Morgans, Vanderbilts, Goulds, Harrisons and Guggenheims — owned sheepdogs, and also bred and showed them.
As Johnson pointed out, caring for a sheepdog — whose hair can grow as long as 10 inches — is easy when you can hire someone to do it for you.
Sheepdog numbers grew in the 1960s, when they became a common sight in movies and on TV. They were featured in the 1959 movie “The Shaggy Dog,” and starred in two 1960′s era TV shows – ”My Three Sons” and “Please Don’t Eat the Daisies.”
Posted by jwoestendiek December 6th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: akc, american kennel club, animals, breeders, breeds, concerns, decline, decrease, dogs, england, numbers, old english sheepdog club of america, old english sheepdogs, origin, pets, puppies, purebreds, registered, registrations, sheepdogs, united states
Kos, rescued from an RSPCA shelter 18 months ago, is trained to detect drugs, currency and firearms.
On his first day on the job, with the Avon and Somerset Police, Kos found a lump of heroin in a car.
The 2-1/2-half-year-old dog was being cared for at the RSPCA’s West Hatch Animal Rescue Centre near Taunton before he was taken on by police, according to SWNS.com
“What is nice for ourselves and the RSPCA is Staffordshire Terriers get such a bad name but this dog is so lovely with people and other dogs,” said his handler, Lee Webb, with whom Kos lives. “There are other dogs out there that have potential we could use and it is a shame that people do not give them a chance sometimes.”
Webb says Kos seems as pleased with the arrangement as police are: “Kos was very excitable on his first day on the job – he absolutely loves it.”
Posted by jwoestendiek October 23rd, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, avon, breeds, britain, currency, department, dog, dogs, drugs, firearms, heroin, K-9, k9, kos, law enforcement, pets, pit bulls, police, rescue, rspca, shelter, somerset, staffordshire, staffordshire bull terrier, stereotypes, stigma, terrier, trained, uk
The Maryland General Assembly failed to pass emergency legislation that would have overruled a widely criticized court decision that labeled pit bulls as “inherently dangerous.”
Both the House and Senate, in a special summer session, approved versions of a bill that would have ended singling out pit bulls, but the differences were too “stark” to be worked out before the session ended, the Baltimore Sun reported.
“It will be difficult to come up with a compromise on dogs,” Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller said. Miller said the Senate would neither concur with the House changes nor go to a conference committee.
The attempt at new legislation came after the state’s highest court ruled that pit bulls are inherently dangerous, upholding a Maryland Court of Appeals ruling that imposed a higher liability standard on pit bulls than other dogs.
That stemmed from a 2007 dog bite case in which a 10-year-old boy’s family sued the dog owner’s landlord. The trial court judge threw out the lawsuit, ruling the landlord hadn’t been proven negligent. The Court of Appeals reviewed the case and decided no proof of negligence is necessary in the case of pit bulls.
Protests from pit bull lovers and animal welfare organizations led the General Assembly to take up the matter — along with gambling — in a special summer session.
Many say the court rulings have already led to landlords kicking out pit bull-owning tenants, or forcing them to surrender their dogs to animal shelters.
The Senate crafted legislation that required all dogs to be treated the same when it comes to determining liability in civil suits — but rather than mandating pit bulls be held to the same standard as other dogs, its proposal held all other dogs to the same standard as pit bulls. The Senate-passed law did away with the common law standard in Maryland that in effect allows a dog “one free bite.”
The House version maintained the “one free bite” rule, applying the stricter standard only in cases where dogs are running loose.
The Humane Society of the United States said it was disappointed the General Assembly failed to pass a bill before the special session adjourned.
“Due to their inaction, thousands of Maryland families may be forced to choose either their dogs or their homes in the next four months, until the General Assembly comes back in January,” said Tami Santelli, Maryland senior state director for The HSUS.
The HSUS said the court ruling has ”forced many Maryland residents to choose between their homes and their beloved pets, and has forced landlords and property managers to try to determine whether dogs are pit bulls or not. With the General Assembly’s inaction, these impacts are expected to multiply.”
Posted by jwoestendiek August 16th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, bill, breed-specific, breeds, dangerous, dogs, emergency, failed, fails, general assembly, house, hsus, humane society of the united states, inherently dangerous, insurance, laws, legislation, liability, limbo, maryland, pets, pit bulls, pitbulls, renters, senate, session, shelters, solesky, special, standards, tami santelli, tenants, types, versions