Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Shar Pei ~ Wrinkles Galore!

The Shar Pei, or Chinese Shar-Pei, is a breed of dog known for its distinctive features of deep wrinkles and a blue-black tongue. The breed comes from China. The name (沙皮, pinyin: shā pí; English name probably derived from British spelling of the Cantonese equivalent, sā pèih) translates to "sand skin" and refers to the texture of its short, rough coat.  The plural for Shar Pei is Shar Pei which was really interesting to me.
As puppies, Shar Pei have numerous wrinkles, but as they mature, these wrinkles loosen and spread out as they "grow into their skin". Shar Pei were named in 1978 as one of the world's rarest dog breeds by Time magazine and the Guinness Book of World Records, and the American Kennel Club did not recognize the breed until 1991.

Western Shar Pei come in many different colors, such as fawn, red (rose), sand, cream, black, lilac and blue. They resemble the Chow Chow due to having the same blue-black tongue.
There are over sixteen recognized colors in AKC. The coat must be solid in color, and any Shar-Pei with a "flowered coat" (spotted) or black and tan in coloration (i.e. German Shepherd) is a disqualification. Colors include black, cream, fawn, red-fawn, lilac, (The lilac is the hardest color to describe - it is like a purple mocha), red, sable, apricot, chocolate, isabella, (The isabella color is a light color - kind of a very, very light Khaki color. It is hard to see it in the pictures as the lighting often casts a yellow tint to the photo. It is like a platinum with a hint of taupe. It is related to the blue line), and blue. The nose may be black or brick (pink with black), with or without a black mask.

A Shar-Pei can also have what is called a "dilute" coloration. Meaning the nose and nails of the dog are the same color as the coat (i.e. chocolate coat with chocolate nose and nails). All of these color variations are acceptable and beautiful, but the coat color must be solid and well blended throughout the whole body of the dog.
Shar Pei usually come in two varieties. One is covered in large folds of wrinkles, even into adulthood (the Western type and mainly brush coat). The other variation has skin that appears tighter on its body, with wrinkles just on the face and at the withers (the original type and horse coat).

The Shar Pei is often suspicious of strangers, which pertains to their origin as a guard dog. In general, the breed has proved itself to be a loving, devoted family dog. They are also a very independent and reserved breed.

Nevertheless, the Shar Pei is extremely devoted, loyal and affectionate to its family and is amenable to accepting strangers given time and proper introduction at a young age.

If poorly socialized or trained, it can become especially territorial and aggressive. Even friendly and well-socialized individuals will retain the breed's watch dog proclivities (such as barking at strangers). It is a largely silent breed, barking only when playing or when worried. The Shar Pei were originally bred as palace guards in China. This breed is also very protective of its home and family, a powerful dog that is willing to guard its family members. The breed is amenable to training but can get bored from repetition.

Overall, the Shar Pei is a dog that is loyal and loving to its family while being very protective and independent.
It was believed in ancient times that the dark mouth, exposed when barking, helped to ward off evil spirits.

At one point, the Chinese Shar Pei served as a guardian to the Royal Chinese Family before becoming virtually extinct under the rule of Communist leader Mao Tse Tung. Under the rule of the Communist leader, the Shar Pei was considered a burden because of the "wasted" food used to feed the dog. In addition, prior to the Communist takeover, Shar Peis were considered pets of the wealthy, a theory that is no longer valid or true under the new Communist regime.

The Shar Pei had become so rare at one point that it was named the "rarest dog in the world". But by the late 1960s, its popularity began to pick up, and currently, the Chinese Shar Pei is the thirty-fourth most popular breed of the 134 listed by the American Kennel Club (AKC).
Here are some famous Shar Pei ~
  • Lao-Tzu, Martin Prince's dog in The Simpsons, appeared in two episodes: "Bart's Dog Gets an F" and "Two Dozen and One Greyhounds".
  • Fu Dog from the Disney cartoon American Dragon: Jake Long is a Shar Pei.
  • Kimmy Gibbler from "Full House" had a Shar Pei named Sinbad and a litter of Shar Pei puppies in one episode.
  • Satchel, from the syndicated comic strip Get Fuzzy, is half yellow lab and half Shar Pei.
  • In a British television advert for a Garnier anti-wrinkle cream, a Shar Pei puppy is featured.
  • In Australia and New Zealand, a Shar Pei puppy named Roly has been used for many years in television commercials for Purex toilet paper.
  • Zac Lichman from Big Brother had a Shar Pei named Molly, who undertook a task on Day 55 and was also reunited.
  • G-Dragon from the popular Korean hip-hop group Big Bang has a Shar Pei puppy named Gaho. Gaho is featured several times in a documentary, GDTV, from Mnet as well as more recently in the lyrics and video of the song KNOCK OUT[9] on the GD & TOP album by G-Dragon and T.O.P (entertainer).

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Wire Fox Terrier ~ Show Stopping Pooch

One of my favorite terriers is the Wire Fox Terrier.  With the fun, friendly personality and great show stopping looks, they are amazing to see!  This was the breed that won the 2011 National Dog Show dog’s name was GCH CH Steele Your Heart.  I think that he is one of the most fun to watch show dogs I have ever seen!

Ch. Matford Vic, a Wire Fox Terrier, is one of only five dogs to have won the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on more than one occasion. He won the competition twice, in 1915 and 1916. The only dog to win it on more occasions was Ch. Warren Remedy, a Smooth Fox Terrier, who won it on three occasions between 1907 and 1909.

Although it bears a resemblance to the Smooth Fox Terrier, they are believed to have been developed separately.

Two of the Wire Fox Terriers' most distinctive traits are their enormous amount of energy and intelligence. They have a low threshold for boredom and require stimulation, exercise and attention. Indeed, once absorbed into the family, they are an inquisitive pet with a nose for everybody's business. 

They particularly enjoy comfort time on the couch or in bed in the evening. The wire fox is a true companion animal. Most of them love water and are always up for a swim. A life jacket is recommended for them.
The Wire Fox Terrier should be alert, quick and ready to respond swiftly with enthusiasm. However, they should also be friendly, communicative and exceedingly playful if they receive the proper care and exercise. Bred to be independent thinkers, they are capable of tactical maneuvering for vermin and other sport. Their stamina, energy and level of intelligence are unusually high. But before being seduced by these clever antics and independent ways, prospective owners should attempt to understand the breed's willful nature. 

Often, Wire Fox Terriers are abandoned or surrendered for reasons that may include running away instead of coming on command, chasing cars, bicycles, etc., taunting and then attacking other animals, including a household's cats and other dogs -- and they are sufficiently strong with more than enough bite pressure to do serious damage.
But these are actually normal behaviors for a breed designed to hunt not only foxes but also badgers and boars, with no more fear of cows or buses than they have for small prey. With a firm owner to control and redirect these prey instincts and provide them with enough exercise and diversion, Fox Terriers are amusing, exciting, long-lived companion animals -- but they are not for everyone.

Although it is said Queen Victoria owned one, and her son and heir, King Edward VII of Great Britain did own the wire fox terrier, Caesar.  At the foot of the tomb of Edward VII in St George’s Chapel can be seen the curled up figure of Caesar, a wire-haired fox terrier and the King’s favourite dog.  Caesar was Edward VII’s constant companion, following him everywhere and travelling the world with him. His collar read “I am Caesar. I belong to the King”. Such was Edward’s love of his scruffy sidekick that he had Faberge make a trinket of Caesar, which was given to Queen Alexandra. Caesar might not have been popular with everyone, but Edward loved him.

The wire fox terrier was not popular as a family pet until the 1930s, when The Thin Mans series of feature films was created. Asta, the canine member of the Charles family, was a Wire-Haired Fox Terrier, and the popularity of the breed soared. Milou (Snowy) from The Adventures of Tintin comic strip is also a Wire Fox Terrier. 
Here are some noteworthy Wire Fox Terriers!
  • Archie, owned by Gill Raddings Stunt Dogs starred in ITV's Catwalk Dogs.
  • Asta, from The Thin Man films adaptation (the novel's breed was a Schnauzer)
  • Bob, from the Hercules Poi rot episode Dumb Witness
  • Bunny, from Hudson Hawk
  • Caesar, the companion of King Edward VII of the United Kingdom
  • Charles, brought to Ceylon by Leonard Woolf in 1905
  • Chester, in the film Jack Frost
  • Dášeňka, the dog of Czechoslovak writer and journalist Karel Čapek - also featured as main hero of "Dášeňka čili život štěněte" book.
  • George, from Bringing Up Baby
  • Ike Larue, from the Ike Larue series, written and illustrated by Mark Teague
  • Moll, from the book "Memoirs of a Fox Hunting Man"
  • Montmorency, from the book Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome
  • Mr. Atlas, from Topper Takes a Trip (played by Skippy)
  • Mr. Smith, from The Awful Truth
  • Nellie, inspiration for Nellie the Lighthouse Dog (Nellie was formerly known as Hockney) by Jane Scarpino; Nellie's owner, Robert Ensor, illustrated
  • Pan, the companion of A.L. Westgard, AAA pathfinder. Pan was the mascot of the dedication tour for the National Park to Park Highway in 1920.
  • Polly, a white rough terrier companion to Charles Darwin
  • Scruffy, the Muirs' Wire Fox Terrier on The Ghost and Mrs. Muir
  • Skippy, starred as Asta in The Thin Man, and other movies
  • Snowy (French: Milou), companion of Tintin
  • "The dog," from the Selchow and Righter board game "Mr. Doodle's Dog"
  • Van Gogh, Paul Meltsner's dog featured in his famous painting Paul, Marcella and Van Gogh
  • Wessex, the wire of British novelist ("Tess of the d'Ubervilles") Thomas Hardy
  • Willy, from Ask the Dust
  • Wuffles, the Patrician's dog in the Discworld Series

Asta, George, Mr. Smith and Skippy were all played by the canine actor, Skippy.