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Tag: official

Take two dogs and call me in the morning

Call it an “aha” moment for the AHA: The American Heart Association has finally, officially, recognized that dogs are good for the ticker.

Last week, the organization issued a statement saying enough evidence now exists to make that assertion, and it didn’t even recommend dogs be taken in moderation, or consulting your doctor first.

Heartening as the news release was, the statement was overdue, or at least a few beats behind the thinking of those of us who already knew, and didn’t need studies to tell us, that our dogs are good for the heart, by which I mean the organ and more.

Dog owners are more likely to get exercise. Stroking a dog lowers blood pressure. Stress is handled better by dog owners — even when their dog isn’t with them. Studies have proven all those things.

But the mysteries of what dogs do for the heart, and the soul, have only begun to be unraveled. And on top of all the benefits to humans that can be scientifically confirmed and quantified, there’s much more dogs do for us — much of it undetectable by microscopes and double-blind studies, and part of me hopes it always will be.

Being humans, we can sometimes get so wrapped in measuring something that it interferes with treasuring that something. We can get so intent on delving into something’s complexities that we fail to savor its simplicity.

Dogs, could they speak, would tell us that, and they’d likely advise to look for the simple answer first.

How important, heart-wise, is the simple fact that a dog can give us reason to live, and love? While I am not a medical professional, or even a medical amateur, I think a heart that’s engaged and occupied is more likely to keep running smoothly than one sitting empty in the garage, getting dusty.

“Perhaps when one owns a pet one tends to be happier,” said Dr. Glenn Levine of Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, who led the committee that wrote the statement. “Pet owners might be more likely to take their medications and eat healthier meals.”

Pharmaceuticals and spinach, important as they may be, don’t make you happy to be alive, though, and want to continue in that state.

Dogs do.

The AHA isn’t saying everyone should go out and adopt a dog to lower their risk of heart disease. The statement emphasizes there’s much more involved in keeping your heart healthy, according to an NBC Today report.

“We did not want people to see this article and just go out and adopt or rescue or buy a dog …while they continue to just sit on the couch and smoke cigarettes,” said Levine, himself a dog owner.

In one study cited by the committee, researchers signed up 30 people with borderline high blood pressure who were about to adopt dogs from a shelter.

Then they persuaded half of them to wait — in the best interest of the study, if not the dogs.

Those allowed to adopt dogs right away had lower blood pressure two and five months later than those who had not adopted.

And once all the study participants had adopted dogs, systolic blood pressure was found to be lowered in the deferred-adoption group as well.

The study didn’t say whether those that adopted had lower blood pressure than those who bought dogs. Nevertheless, and even though I’m not a doctor, that’s what I’d prescribe.

(Photo: ohmidog!)

New York’s state dog could be the mutt

Two New York state legislators plan to introduce a bill today to name an official state dog — and they’re suggesting it be the mutt.

Assemblyman Micah Kellner, an Upper East Side Democrat, and State Senator Joseph E. Robach, a Rochester Republican, are proposing the legislation.

If passed, New York would join about a dozen states that have named state dogs, including the Chesapeake Bay retriever in Maryland, the Great Dane in Pennsylvania, the and the Boston terrier in … take a wild guess.

(If you think you know your state dogs, take this quiz — or, if you’re a cheater, go straight to the answers.)

No state has chosen the mixed breed — that most prolific of all dogs — to represent its state.

In New York, a spokesman for Kellner said the assemblyman would choose a rescue dog — as in rescued from a shelter — to symbolize the need for people to adopt pets from animal shelters and animal protection groups. Kellner has no dogs of his own, but he has provided foster care for several.

“He’s a huge advocate for animals in need,” the spokesman told the New York Times.

Also appearing at the announcement of the proposed bill will be Kim Wolf’s dog, Sarge Wolf-Stringer, a Philadelphia dog who was rescued in 2009 from an abusive owner by the Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and who now works with the elderly and hospital patients as a certified therapy dog.

(Photo: A Baltimore mutt named Martini)

Know your state dogs — the answers

Chesapeake Bay retriever

Chesapeake Bay retriever - Maryland

Here are the answers to yesterday’s quiz (which you can find here) on state dogs.

Surely, if you live in Maryland, you got the first one right. Maryland designated the Chesapeake Bay retriever as the official state dog in 1964. The breed came to be after Newfoundlands rescued from a shipwreck off the Maryland coast were bred to local retrievers, including the English otter hound and flat and curly coated retrievers.

Boston terrier

Boston terrier - Massachusetts

The other one I’m betting most everyone got is the Boston terrier, recognized by the Massachusetts legislature as official state dog in 1979.

It’s actually a cross between an English bulldog and an English terrier, and is considered by some to be the first “purebred” dog developed in America. It was originally developed, after the Civil War, as a fighting dog.

Plott hound

Plott hound - North Carolina

North Carolina designated the Plott hound as the official state dog in 1989. The breed was developed in the mountains by German immigrant Jonathan Plott around 1750 to help hunt wild boars.

It was recognized as a purebred breed by the American Kennel Club in 2006. If you own one, and it gains weight, you can say “the Plott thickens.”

Catahoula leopard dog

Catahoula leopard dog - Louisiana

Louisiana designated the Catahoula leopard dog as its official state dog in 1979. Leopard dogs are believed to be a cross between the Carolina dog, or American dingo, domesticated by native Americans, and a Spanish “war dog” that was brought into the U.S. in the early 1500′s.

They come in all colors but are best known for a blue-grey coat. Often their eyes are two different colors.

boykinspaniel

Boykin spaniel - South Carolina

South Carolina designated the Boykin spaniel as official state dog in 1985.

Known for their mild temperament and hunting abilities, the breed was developed in South Carolina in the early 1900s by L. Whitaker Boykin.

The breed, originally used to hunt wild turkeys, received AKC recognition this year.

Blue Lacy

Blue Lacy - Texas

The blue Lacy was designated the “official state dog breed of Texas” in 2005. Originating in Texas in the mid-1800′s, the blue Lacy was named after the Lacy Brothers of Burnet County (Frank, George, Edwin, and Harry Lacy).

The Lacy brothers noted the dog to be a coyote, greyhound and scenthound mixture.

Great Dane

Great Dane - Pennsylvania

The Great Dane was designated the official state dog of Pennsylvania in 1965. Why? Because the state’s founder, William Penn, had one. A portrait of Penn and his dog hangs in the governor’s reception room.

When a vote on naming the Great Dane state dog was called for, legislators responded with barks and yips, and the Speaker of the House declared, “The arfs have it.”

American foxhound

American foxhound - Virginia

Virginia designated the American foxhound as the official state dog in 1966. Known for their loyal disposition, and ceaseless energy, American foxhounds were developed in colonial times by landed gentry to help them hunt foxes.

George Washington, in addition to being the father of our country, is considered the father of the American Foxhound. He ran a breeding program and often referred to his hounds in his journals.

American water spaniel

American water spaniel - Wisc.

The American water spaniel was designated the official state dog of Wisconsin in 1985 — the only official state dog, I’m pretty sure, to be chosen by citizens.

An active and muscular breed, with a tightly curled or wavy coat, the American Water Spaniel was developed  in the Great Lakes region of the United States in the mid-1800’s. It’s a mix of Irish water spaniel and curly-coated retriever. A hunting dog, it was particularly valued for its ability to retrieve game from a boat.

chinook

Chinook - New Hampshire

And one more — not included in our original quiz:  The most recently proclaimed state dog is the Chinook in New Hampshire. The breed is said to have originated in New Hampshire. The bill was the idea of a group of seventh graders at the Ross A. Lurgio Middle School in Bedford.

(Photo credits: American Water Spaniel by Norm and Mary Kangas, via Flickr; Blue Lacy by Brooke Shaw on Wikipedia; Catahoula leopard dog from PetsFact.com; Chesapeake Bay retriever by Mary Bloom, American Kennel Club;  Plott hound, Boykin Spaniel, American foxhound, courtesy of American Kennel Club, great Dane and Boston terrier by John Woestendiek, ohmidog!)

Know your state dogs — a quiz

Chesapeake Bay retriever

Chesapeake Bay retriever

Boston terrier

Boston terrier

Plott hound

Plott hound

Catahoula leopard dog

Catahoula leopard dog

boykinspaniel

Boykin spaniel

Blue Lacy

Blue Lacy

Great Dane

Great Dane

American foxhound

American foxhound

American water spaniel

American water spaniel

Sure, you may know your state capitals, but do you know your state dogs?

With Missouri poised to name the Newfoundland its official state dog — possibly an attempt by what’s been called the puppy mill capital of the U.S. to gain some good doggie PR — there could soon be 10 states with their own state dogs.

Perhaps there’s some purpose to naming a state dog — other than as a favor to friends or supporters, other than providing a little fun for state legislators — but I don’t immediately see it. I do see an opportunity for a quiz, though. So here’s your challenge:

Match the nine breeds to the nine states that have designated them as their state dogs. The first two are no-brainers, but after that they get a little harder. If you get all nine right, you win …

My admiration.

For the answers, click here.

And if your wondering why a state like Missouri would opt to pick as its official  breed a dog most often associated with the icy northeast coast, think Lewis and Clark.

The explorers, on their expedition of the new territory acquired by the United States through the Louisiana Purchase, were accompanied by Seaman, a Newfoundland.

wisconsin

louisiana

south_carolina

maryland

texas

north_carolina

massachusetts

virginia

pennsylvania

  

Update: New Hampshire declared the Chinook its state dog in Aug. 2009. A sled and work dog, the Chinook is the only breed to have originated in New Hampshire. The breed was started by Arthur Walden in Wonalancet NH in 1917. The bill designating the state dog was the idea of a group of seventh graders at the Ross A. Lurgio Middle School in Bedford.

(Photo credits: American Water Spaniel by Norm and Mary Kangas, via Flickr; Blue Lacy by Brooke Shaw on Wikipedia; Catahoula Leopard dog from PetsFact.com; Chesapeake Bay Retriever by Mary Bloom, American Kennel Club;  Plott hound, Boykin Spaniel, American Foxhound, courtesy of American Kennel Club, Great Dane and Boston Terrier by John Woestendiek, ohmidog!)

 

Bluetick, Redbone gain AKC recognition

lg_bluetick6The bluetick and redbone coonhounds — along with the Boykin spaniel — have been officially recognized as breeds by the American Kennel Club.

The acceptance of the three new breeds brings to 164 the number of breeds fully recognized as such by the AKC.

The Boykin spaniel will join the sporting group while both the bluetick coonhound and redbone coonhound will join the hound group.

The new breeds will be eligible for full AKC registration and competition in their respective groups at conformation shows held on and after December 30, 2009.

The bluetick coonhound gets its name from its coat pattern, which is dark blue in color and covered in a ticking or mottled pattern. The bluetick is noted for its skill in trailing and treeing raccoons and other small animals. The breed has origins in the English coonhound. In 1945, bluetick breeders broke away to form their own slower-working dog that could pick up older scent trails.

RedboneThe redbone coonhound is noted for its speed and agility and its ability to hunt and swim over a variety of terrain. The redbone dates back to red foxhounds brought to the U.S. by Scottish immigrants in the late 1700s and red foxhounds imported from Ireland before the Civil War.

Boykin_Simmons3The Boykin Spaniel, in addition to being the official state dog of South Carolina, is a medium-sized hunting dog with a cheerful, energetic personality. The breed was developed in South Carolina in the early 1900s by L. Whitaker Boykin, originally to hunt wild turkeys.

The road to full AKC recognition requires non-recognized breeds to first gain acceptance into the AKC Foundation Stock Service. After a breed has been in FSS the recognition process begins with a written request to compete in the miscellaneous class from the National Breed Club.  While there is no established timetable for adding new breeds, dogs typically compete in the miscellaneous class for one to three years.  More information on the process can be found at the AKC’s website.

The next breeds in line for full recognition by AKC are the Icelandic Sheepdog, Cane Corso and Leonberger.

(Photos courtesy of American Kennel Club: Bluetick/by Diane Lewis ©AKC; Boykin Spaniel/by Bill Simmons; Redbone/by Christine Smith)