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Archive for November 2008

Where did our dogs come from?

How did one of the worlds most popular pets become so domesticated to the extent that many dog owners regard their animals as actual members of their own family?

We've delved into the history books, and found a short history on the domestication of the canine.

History
Dogs form part of the Canidae family, a family including wolves, coyotes and foxes, thought to have evolved 60 million years ago.

The Domesticated dog is a direct descendent of the wolf which entered villages in the Northern Hemisphere in search of food about 12,000 years ago. People gradually discovered that the wolves could be tamed (if young) and then used for such purposes as guarding, herding and hunting. Particular characteristics were selected, which has resulted in the huge diversity of breeds today.

Wolf - Origin of the dog

The first records of true domesticated dogs date back to the Egyptians where a breed of dog called the Saluki appears on the ancient tombs of Egypt from around 2100 BC and is thought to be the dog mentioned in the Bible. It is often found mummified along with the Egyptian Pharaohs in Pyramids. The ancient Greeks and Romans developed a number of breeds including the greyhound, mastiff and bloodhound. The Romans made sacrifices to the dog-like god Procyon.

Saluki - Ancient breed

Dalmatians were trained to run along with horse and carriages in the mid 1800s, and became known as carriage dogs. Their job was to guard from other dogs which would chase the carriage and frighten the horses. Fire departments also used dalmatians to guard their carriages and the dalmatian became mascot of the fire service.

Dalmation - Helping the fire service!

Labrador Retrievers originate from Newfoundland where they were trained by Canadian fisherman to dive into the icy waters off Canada to retrieve fishing nets and haul them back to the boat!

Distribution and Habitat in the wild
Canids are widely distributed and occur on all the continents except Antarctica. They occupy a variety of habitats including grassland, temperate forest, rainforest, desert, mountain regions and tundra.

Behaviour in the wild
One remaining wild descendent of the dog are Grey wolves (Canis lupus). They are carnivores and hunt large prey, such as moose, reindeer, elk and bison, using their strong sense of smell. They  hunt in packs of 7-10 wolves. They guard a large territory from other wolves and can travel long distances in their search for food. In a pack, there is an alpha male and female, which are the only members of the pack that breed. The hierarchical system means that the higher members of the pack eat first. Other members of the pack help with weaning and feeding the young.

 

 

Multi Cultural Pet Community!!

The Great thing about Vivapets is that there are so many members from different areas of the world!! In the forum in the section that says "off topic" I have added a new thread where I'd like everyone to write a little bit about themselves, and how their pet lives differ in different regions of the world!! Lets see if we can get a good selection of people from around the globe! Don't worry, if your country has been posted, as we'd still love to hear who you are!!

The new presidential pet.......or not?

After learning yesterday about all of the past dogs to take up the honour of being "First Dog", I was very excited this morning to find out who the new president would be............not because of the impact he may have on the future world economy and world politics, but because of the prospect of learning who would be the next dog to take up his spot on the couch in the Oval Office.

However, after reading one of today's campaign articles from the Reuters news agency, I was disappointed to discover that Barack Obama doesn't own a dog.

However, there is some good news, as part of his victory speech he promised his daughters Sascha and Malia, that a new puppy would be coming with them into the White House.

Any predictions as to the breed of dog he may choose? Will it be a big man-sized dog like a Great Dane or will he follow the tradition of many of his predecessors with sweet lap dog like a Cavalier King Charles?

 

Presidential pets

Seeing as there is election fever in the air and we are less than 24hrs away from finding out who the next president of the United States will be, I felt it fitting that today's blog entry should have a presidential theme. And seeing as this is Vivapets, what better to look into the history of some of the famous canines that have roamed the halls of the White House.

Here is a list of a few of them:

George Bush 2001-2008 - Currently in residence (but not for long!) are George Bush's two Scottish terriers, Miss Beazley and Barney. Barney was a birthdat gift to George Bush from his wife Laura. There was a third dog in the Bush household, Spot the English springer spaniel who passed away this year. He was a 2nd generation presidential dog, the puppy of George Bush Snrs dog Millie!

Miss Beazley and Barney Bush outside a snowy White HouseSpot, the English Springer Spaniel

Bill Clinton1993-2001 - Bill Clinton was renowned for his love of pets and owned a chocolate labrador called Buddy. Buddy sadly died after being hit by a car outside his family home in New York.

George Bush Snr 1989-1993 - George Bush Snr had 2 springer spaniels, Millie and her puppy Ranger who was born during his office!

Millie with Barbara BushRanger with George Bush Snr

Ronald Reagan 1981-1989 - Ronald Reagan had two dogs, a Bouvier de Flandres called Lucky that grew so big he had to leave the White House for life on a ranch. He was replaced by Rex, a King Charles Cavalier spaniel, famous for tugging the president away from the press whilst on a lead!

Reagan'd dog LuckyCrazy Cavalier Rex

Jimmy Carter  Gerald Ford  Richard Nixon

Also we have from 1977-1981 - Jimmy Carter's dog Grits, from 1974-1977 - Liberty, Gerald Fords Golden Retriever and 1969-1974, President Richard Nixon's 3 dogs Vicki, Pasha and King Timahoe (named after the Irish town!)

Grits, Jimmy Carters dog  Liberty, Ford's Golden Retriever  Richard Nixon's 3 dogs Vicki, Pasha and King Timahoe

Lyndon B Johnson 1963-1969 - President Lyndon B Johnson had 4 dogs during his time in office, including Beagle's Him and Her, Blanco, a white Collie and the his famous singing Mongrel Yuki, found at a Texas gas station by his daughter Luci!

Johnsons Beagles Him and Her  Blanco, the White Collie  Yuki, the howling mongrel from Texas

John F Kennedy  1961-1963 - J F Kennedy filled the White House with pets during his time in office. Apart from his dogs, he had cats, ponies, hamsters, a canary, parakeets and a rabbit to name a few.

His dogs included Charlie, Caroline Kennedy's Welsh terrier. Plus dogs, Pushinka, Shannon, Wolf, and Clipper. Finally, Butterfly, White Tips, Blackie and Streaker who were Pushinka and Charlie's pups!

Some of J F Kennedy's dogs

So........who will be the next dog to enter the White House?

Keep your eyes peeled!

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