Dog Owners vs an increasingly Shut in Society.

Have you noticed a growing trend in your local community of more and more houses being completely fenced in? Houses that were once open with flowing gardens and front lawns now cut off by fences replete with security cameras and other equipment? If so you are hardly likely to be alone, as this seems to be well and truly the growing trend in many modern neighborhoods.

The sad fact is that propelled by fear perpetuated by the media, many people have resorted to almost barricading themselves in their homes to protect against much of what is publicized in the media. Many of the same people don’t know their next door neighbors nor any of the people living in their street. I suspect a very different scenario from the time that we may have grown up in. It is truly truly sad to see that so many people do in fact lack friends and human contact in our increasingly technologically dominated community.

Its not simply in our homes, when people do venture out, say at the bus stop for example the common thread is heads down into the phone and certainly don’t speak nor even look at anyone appears to be the given rule.

Yet in the midst of this we then we have a rather interesting group of people simply known as Dog Owners…

Dog Owners seem to have some things in common, they seem to be happy enough to leave their homes at a wide ranging group of hours in the day and head out with their dogs through the streets and local parks, perhaps even to the beaches for a walk with their beloved dogs all seemingly unaware of the potential dangers of interacting with the general public…

What I have found and perhaps been so pleasantly surprised by in becoming a dog owner is the sheer number of people that say hello to one another on dog walks and those that are only to willing to stop for a conversation and to allow their dogs to also say hello and to interact. On walks near my home in the local parks I have met a number of very friendly and interesting people, some of these people I will see on a regular basis as we go walking and there is always a friendly greeting and recognition exchanged.

Another thing I have also noticed is that many dog owners love other dogs and in my case I am often stopped and asked what is the breed of my dog – as per the title photo, she is a Murray River Retriever and still very much a playful older puppy. Many love to tell me about their dogs and I do enjoy looking at a dog and guessing the breed as it approaches,

The point is that its unwise to be heavily influenced by the media in what you choose to do. The majority of people are in fact good people irrespective of what race or background they are. There is not a great deal to gain by building walls around you and closing yourself off to society. There is plenty to gain by putting yourself out there, and even potentially saying yes to more things more often.

Perhaps you should even consider getting a dog of your own? Many dogs like the Murray River Retriever and others are transitioning from traditional roles into being very good companion dogs. Owning a companion dog is proven to have a number of health benefits including reduced anxiety levels among a number of other benefits.

If you own a companion dog, the dog will be a lot of good to you, if you re-home a rescue dog from your local shelter or group, you could well prove to be some good to the dog also.

There is a time to have your own space, and there is also a time to be the kind of person that invests back your talents into your local community. Maybe its time to have another think about what you could really be doing in yours?

 

 

 

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The Dalmatian, Facts vs Fiction.

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Recently I had the privilege of watching the recent film “A Dogs Purpose”, I loved the movie, yet I have to say that I was very relieved when I realised that Hollywood had decided not to go with a Dalmatian in this particular film. Most are familiar with the various versions of the popular film “101 Dalmatians”, what you may not be familiar with is how this then caused the Dalmatian breed to experience a rapid rise in popularity and how animals were quickly bred for profit and sent to homes that were totally unprepared for and unsuitable for a Dalmatian. The result was a massive increase in poor quality animals from unscrupulous so called ‘breeders’ and many Dals flooding into rescue shelters. As the popularity of the film receded, so to has the bubble in Dalmatian numbers. As a result many Dalmatian enthusiasts around the world have breathed a quiet sigh of relief as people moved on to the next breed sold to them through the media as the latest one to get.

Clearly I am totally and utterly biased.., but Dalmatians have always been my favourite breed of dog and it has been my sheer privilege to have grown up with them and owned one myself over the years. For me it just seems that they are the breed that I connect with and as much as I love dogs in general, Dalmatians just seem to be that one breed of dog that I can just never get away from.

Over the years I have enjoyed studying and researching this breed, I have put together a small list exploring some of the facts and the fiction about the Dalmatian dog breed. Some you may be familiar with and others perhaps not, but read on and enjoy anyway!

#1 Dalmatians don’t “Originate from Croatia”. There is absolutely no proof of that whatsoever. Sites that detail history on dogs that fact check before they print there details will simply tell you that the actual history of the origin of the Dalmatian is unknown. Lazy research simply suggests that this breed must have originated in Dalmatia Croatia because of the name.

#2 Dalmatians are an older continuing breed than most. Some modern breeds can trace their breeding back a few hundred years at best, many less than that. Most of today’s breeds were created for a specific purpose and the breeding standard adjusted and conferred as required. Many breeds have come and gone into extinction in this time and a number more are considered endangered due to low numbers of breeding stock. In terms of Primary Documents we have artists painted works of the Dalmatian dating back from the 16th Century. Spotted dogs appear prior to this but are not guaranteed to be Dalmatian pictures. This picture by Francesco Di Cosimo II dates from the early 16th century and places the Dalmatian in Italy at this time.

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#3 Mistakes and false information have been published on the genetic origin of the Dalmatian. The blunt fact is that research is ongoing and the origins of the Dalmatian remain a mystery. An early Genome study suggested a link with the Istrian Hound which has since been dis-proven. Research currently resides around isolating the Genome responsible for the Spots both Black, Liver and the rare Lemon pattern (below) which can occur in some cases. Another study is looking into a possible relationship between the ancient Deer Hounds and the Dalmatian but has yet to prove any such link.

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#4 Dalmatians haven’t always been called Dalmatians, some early dog books and papers list the breed as “The Bengal Harrier”.

#5 Like the Basenji, Dalmatians have cat type feet. Like a cat, Dalmatians are also self cleaning.

#6 The Spotted / Patched Great Dane is not a relative of the Dalmatian. His spots are called ‘Harlequin’ and are genetically different to the Dalmatian. (Still is a magnificent looking dog though!!)

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#7 English Bull Terriers and the Australian Cattle Dog both were bred with the Dalmatian as a part of their family pedigree.

#8 Along with the Rhodesian Ridgeback, Dalmatians are often placed into the ‘Hound’ category or as an appendix to the Hound category in dog encyclopedias. As discussed there is no evidence that links the Dalmatian to the Hound group. Dals are simply put into this category because its the best possible guess they can come up with.

Owning a Dalmatian for me has been a real privilege to have been associated with such a wonderful breed of dog. I can not really speak highly enough of them. If you are lucky enough that a Dalmatian has found its way into your family, enjoy! You have come across a breed that has a fine heritage and will serve you loyally for many years to come.

Murray River Retriever? – Isn’t that a Labradoodle?

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Have you ever heard of the dog breed called a “Murray River Retriever”?

This breed is an older breed developed in Australia in the 1800’s. Primarily used for duck hunting and retrieving ducks from the waters of the Murray River, Australia’s largest river that runs through three states from New South Wales through to South Australia.

Its unknown how the breed came about and much of its history still remains in speculation. DNA testing has been undertaken and although results are in the early stages, DNA that has also been located in the American Water Spaniel and the Chesapeake Bay Retriever has been detected. Note though that this does not mean that the Murray River Retriever has been bred from these breeds, but suggests that these breeds have similar DNA lineages from parental generations. What we do however know is that the Murray River Retriever is in fact a gun dog in its own right.

It has been my experience that the Murray River Retriever is a breed that is often misrepresented in Pet Stores and pups are routinely sold as Labradoodles. One issue is that despite the age of the breed, Murray’s have always been working dogs and historically there has never been a breed association for the Murray until recently when the Murray River Retriever Association was formed up to preserve and to promote the breed. Despite their rich history, Murray’s remain unrecognized by the Australian Kennel Body and the MRRA are working to correct this.

The question that I would like to put to Labradoodle owners, is if your Labradoodle came from the local pet store, have you really gotten what you paid for? A Labradoodle in my opinion is a magnificent looking dog and there were some good reasons for breeding it. The breed came into existence by after the Australian Guide Dog Association recognized the need to provide guide dogs for blind people that were allergic to dogs, the cross breed of the Labrador and the Standard Poodle proved a success and as the need for hypo allergenic dogs became more and more recognized, the Labradoodle became a success and has brought dog ownership into many families that perhaps may never have had that privilege before.

If your primary reason for owning a Labradoodle is that you need a dog that is Hypoallergenic, then its important to ensure that you have got what you paid for or the results can be catastrophic and currently it appears that there is no real penalty for a pet shop selling a dog as whatever breed they choose to label it as opposed to what it actually is. If you have any doubt you should undertake a DNA test to be sure. The DNA company “Orivet” is one firm that can recognize DNA consistent with a Murray River Retriever.

One of the reasons that it can be hard to tell the differences apart in puppies is that Labradoodles are not yet bred in any numbers from existing Labradoodles and are cross bred from Standard Poodles and Labradors, the result is that the offspring can vary in stature from the body of the Poodle to the Body of the Labrador. Whilst those that take on the stature of the Poodle can be easily recognized as not being Murrays, those that take after the Labrador are not as easy initially to recognize to anyone outside of people that are familiar with both breeds. The reason for this is suspected to be that both the Labrador and the Murray River Retriever also share some DNA from a now extinct breed formerly known as the St Johns Water Dog. in both cases this often results in the white patch that both breeds can come up with on the front of the chest which can range from a few white hairs to quite a large patch in different animals. Interestingly the Curly Coated Retriever and some of the other dogs in the Retriever family can also have examples of the same white patch and likely for the very same reason.

For whatever excuse you may be given by a puppy seller, it is not acceptable to take any breed of curly coated dog and misrepresent it as a Labradoodle and especially not to add another $500 onto the price for doing so. With the current advances in DNA Technology, don’t be surprised to see both consumer affairs groups taking action in this regard accordingly. If you believe that you have not got what you paid for, then you probably should be making contact with the consumer affairs authority along these lines.

On the other hand however, if you love the look of the Curly Coated dogs and are keen on getting a truly amazing Gun Dog, then could it be that a Murray River Retriever is a breed that you should be taking a closer look at? Many dogs are frightened of Thunder storms and Fireworks, Murray’s on the other hand don’t bat an eyelid and simply fall straight asleep in the middle of the fiercest storm. The Murray River Retriever is highly intelligent, energetic and directed. The capacity to retrieve makes this a great family dog for an active family with an animal that can not only be trained, but one that can and will excel in training at the highest level.

For more information on the Murray River Retriever, you can always look over the Murray River Retriever Association page at – http://www.mrr.org.au or alternatively check out the facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/Murrayriverretriever/

 

 

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