AKC Group: Miscellaneous

Originating from the Sahel region of Africa, the southern Saharan nomadic tribes used Azawakhs as hunting, guarding or companion dogs. Guarding Azawakhs fall asleep on the straw roof of their home.  As a predator approaches, the Azawakh jumps down and is joined by other Azawakhs that form a pack to chase away or attack the predator.

Size: 25 to 30 inches, 30 to 55 pounds.

Color: Black, blue, brindle, brown, fawn, gray, grizzle, red, sandy or white. Can have white markings or a black mask.

Life span: 12 years.

Health problems: A relatively healthy breed, Azawakhs heal very quickly from injuries.

Azawakhs are tall, regal sighthounds. They have short, flat backs with long legs. They are thin dogs with almond-shaped eyes. They move around like a cat. The coat is short, the body is muscular and clearly defined.

Azawakhs develop a very close bond with their owner. They are gentle and very affectionate. With strangers, they are very reserved and prefer not to be touched, but show no signs of aggression. Though bred to protect livestock, Azawakhs are not an aggressive breed. They only attack if they feel threatened.

If you’re a runner, your Azawakh will happily come along. They even adore running in 100 degree (plus) weather — they are desert animals. They won’t come along in rainy or cold weather though.

Azawakh are pack oriented. They have excellent memories and can recall companions after long periods of separation. A group of Azawakh dogs are often found sleeping in a heap (for warmth and companionship).

The smooth, short coat requires little combing or brushing. Only use dry shampoo when necessary.

Australian Terrier

Group: Terrier

If you have a rat problem and aren’t a cat lover (or are allergic), an Australian Terrier may be the perfect dog for you. These hybrid terriers were bred for the purpose of killing rats and snakes in 19th century Australia.

Size: 10 inches tall, 10 to 15 pounds.

Color: Black and tan, solid sandy or solid red.

Life span: 11 to 14 years.

Health problems: Nothing of note; Australian Terriers are generally healthy dogs that live long, full lives.

Australian Terriers descended from European terriers, therefore, they can come in a wide variety of colors: black like the Scottish Terrier, black and tan like a Yorkshire Terrier, silvery like a Cairn Terrier or pure white like a West Highland Terrier, or any of these color combinations. The constant is their coarse outer coat over a soft undercoat. Their double coat helps them during inclement weather.

Australian Terriers are friendly, fun-loving and a bit cheeky. They may be a small dog, but they haven’t figured that out. Loyal to a fault (they can do well on a farm as long as they’re allowed to be near you), energetic and intelligent, Aussies are responsive and protective companions. They have keen hearing and eyesight which help them to be inquisitive too. Aussies aim to please and love obedience classes!

Aussies do have a tendency to bark so you’ll need to engage in some training for that. They have a tendency to snap at overeager children or small animals outside their home, making socialization an important training skill set as well.

A brushing several times a week will suffice to take care of the Aussie’s beautiful coat. These brushings will bring out the natural oils and give the coat a high gloss sheen. Bathe your Aussie once a month — never more than that. Brush out the coat as it dries. Regularly trim around the eyes and ears. Aussies shed very little hair.


Chartreux cats have a gorgeous, plush blue coat that has lightly brushed silver tips. Chartreux have an undercoat beneath a protective topcoat. Mature males sport the heaviest coats. Female and kittens under 2 years of age sport a thinner, silkier coat.

Chartreux are muscular cats with a medium-long body and has broad shoulders and a deep chest. Males are like Rambo, females are more “Rubenesque.” Males weigh 10 to 15 pounds while females weigh 6 to 11 pounds. Chartreux were cross bred with Persians after World War II. If both parents carry a recessive gene for long hair, long-haired Chartreux kittens will be born.

The breed is said to be named after the liqueurs of Carthusian monks in southeast France. The modern Chartreux breed was discovered in the 1920s, by two sisters who found a colony on Belle Ile off France’s Brittany coast. Chartreux cats have a long history of free-roaming. World War II ended that. Remaining Chartreux cats were bred with blue British Shorthairs or Persians and Russian Blue cats. The first Chartreux was imported from France in 1970.

Chartreux make loving, gentle companions that are quite quiet. (They had to be so as not to disturb the monks, you know.) Chartreux enjoy jokes (not at their expense though) as well as snuggle time. They will acquiesce to be in your lap. They form strong bonds, yet won’t be on top of you 24/7. They make great family pets, being able to share their love even if they really prefer just one person.

In times gone by, Chartreux rid France of rodents. Today that prowess remains inside them. They adore toys that move (preferably if it’s moved by their people); they love playtime! Some Chartreux can be trained to fetch. They are quick learners and will come when called.

They do very well with other cats and even cat-loving dogs. Just remember to keep the introduction to the family dog at your Chartreux cat’s pace; don’t force them to be together.

A final note: yes, Chartreux cats naturally smile.

Australian Kelpie

AKC Group: Foundation Stock Service

Australia’s Outback was too rough for Border Collies. In the late 1800s, a mix of English working dogs were combined to create the Australian Kelpie. Today, Kelpie dogs remain the most popular working dog in Australia.

Size: 20 inches, 30 to 45 pounds.

Color: Black, black and tan, chocolate, blue or fawn.

Life span: Up to 14 years.

Health problems: Hip dysplasia or eye problems.

Australian Kelpies tend to bond to only one person, they remain cooperative and playful with all other family members. They are devoted, friendly, intelligent and independent dogs. As long as you provide your Kelpie with a task, you’ll see the best of him. Any time they herd your children, they will do so gently. If you’re a runner or a jogger, take your Kelpie with you; these guys will be able to out0run you. Their stamina is amazing!

A Kelpie will not do well if left alone too long or left in the house. They need to run, they need attention and they require a lot of daily walks!

These muscular dogs have coarse, waterproof coats. Don’t bathe your Kelpie too often or you’ll remove his natural weatherproofing. They have long, narrow heads, round skulls, pointy ears and adorable brown, almond-shaped eyes.

Australian Cattle dog

AKC Group: Herding

A cross between Australia’s dingoes and collies or other herding dogs, Australian Cattle dogs were developed in 1840. The cattlemen of Australia were impressed with the dogs and they quickly began using them to herd cattle. Today, Australian Cattle dogs remain popular with farmers, ranchers and have made the transition to a popular pet breed.

Size: 20 inches tall, 30 to 35 pounds.

Color: Blue- or red-speckled, both can also have dark or tan markings.

Life span: Up to 15 years.

Health problems: Eye problems, deafness, hip dysplasia.

Australian Cattle dogs are high energy! They will not sit around the house for hours on end doing nothing. They need to exercise, to play and to work. An apartment will not suffice for them; they need an adequate yard or they will turn destructive. Any toy that you give an Australian Cattle dog needs to be durable; they are known to be tough on their toys. Australian Cattle dogs tend to nip (this is due to their natural herding instincts). They typically bond to one person, but won’t overwhelm you with a constant need for affection; they’re very independent. Quite tough, they still appreciate praise and genuine love from dog owners. They don’t tend to be a loud dog, but still make a good watchdog. If you live with an Australian Cattle dog, you’ll need a good leash and to invest in proper leash training. These dogs are curious and fast.

Australian Cattle dogs are solid, compact, sturdy dogs with muscular legs and strong necks. They have a dense, weather-resistant coat. Pointy ears sit atop slightly round heads. Their tails are curved and hang down.

Cats and the Common Cold

Cats can get both the common cold and the flu, but not the human versions; they have their own feline viruses. The symptoms to look for are described below. If your cat experiences any symptom for more than a day or two, he may have a cold.

Common Cold Symptoms: Sneezing, runny nose, coughing, wheezing, mouth or nasal discharge, respiratory problems, oral ulcers or conjunctivitis (eye discharge).

Like with us, upper respiratory infections are extremely contagious and it’s quite probable that all cats in a household will be infected at the same time. In the air, the virus lasts between a few hours or a few weeks. In a cat, the virus can last a lot longer in latent or potent form. In fact, many cats carry the virus for their entire lives, experiencing flare-ups during times of stress or when their immune system is weak.

Treatment: If you suspect that your cat has a cold, you must take him to the vet immediately. It’s not necessarily the cold that’s the problem, but cats are extremely vulnerable to picking up a secondary infection that can be more serious and/or lead to a chronic illness. Many cats with a cold will have decreased appetite. Cats that don’t eat for a day or two are at risk of hepatic lipidosis, a very serious illness.

The popular treatment is usually a coarse of drug therapy (antibiotics, decongestants or antiviral medications), rest, foods and liquids. You may be advised to take your kitty into the bathroom with you to use a humidifier.

If, after a few weeks, your cat is not feeling better, or if the meds have finished but he’s still experiencing symptoms, he must go back to the vet for more tests. He may need X-rays of the skull to determine whether there has been damage to the nasal passages from the infection. A nasal flush will be undertaken to collect matter from the nasal cavity to be analyzed to determine what is causing the prolonged infection.

Prevention: Keep your cat inside and away from sick animals. Keep your pet’s food and water bowls clean. Keep your home as clean as possible. Keep the temperature of your home above 70 degrees. If your cat gets wet, dry him off and ensure he stays warm as he dries. You can also talk to your vet to see if there are vaccinations that can prevent infections.

Anglo-Francais de Petite Venerie

AKC Group: Not recognized by the AKC. (This breed is too rare.)

Developed in France by combining French and English hounds, the Anglo-Francais de Petite Venerie remains a rare breed of dog. Its name translates to “Anglo (English)-French of Small Hunting.” These hound dogs were bred for scent hunting.

Size: 15 to 20 inches, 35 to 45 pounds.

Color: White and black, orange and white or tri-color.

Health problems: Few, but it’s a rare breed, so not too much is known.

When your Anglo-Francais picks up the scent, the dog will not relent. These guys were bred to do this and they love to work! As long as your yard is securely fenced, you can leave an Anglo-Francais outside during the day (as long as he also has a doghouse). Anglo-Francais don’t make the best family pets, they are gentle with children, but they prefer to work, rather than play. They can also be a bit stubborn — training will be difficult. The other living arrangement to consider is that they have the typical hound “bay.” They do better in the country where they won’t disturb so many neighbors.

Grooming is minimal. Its ears require the most attention. They droop, do you’ll need to clean them often to avoid infections. After time in the bush or fields, you should check your Anglo-Francais for fleas and ticks. Thankfully, they have a short coat, so this isn’t too difficult a task.

Their heads gently slope to a muzzle. They have prominent noses with wide nostrils. The eyes are large and soft. Legs are long and straight.


Anatolian Shepherd

AKC Group: Working

Anatolian Shepherds came to be in Turkey around 5,000 years ago. They were used as nomadic herders that watched and guarded the flocks. They were adapted to be able to handle the harshness of the Turkish terrain.

Size: 25 to 30 inches, 9 to 150 pounds.

Color: Any color.

Life span: Up to 14 years.

Health problems: Hip dysplasia, eye problems, hypothyroidism.

Protective and always alert, Anatolian Shepherds will keep a safe eye over your property. Gentle and playful, they make a great companion for children. However, due to their size, an Anatolian Shepherd is a better choice for families with older children. Extremely intelligent and eager to learn, you’ll have no problem training your Anatolian.

Anatolian Shepherds are large, muscular dogs covered with a short coat that requires little attention (except during shedding season). The large head has a square muzzle, V-shaped ears that hang down and almond-shaped eyes. A thick tail curls slightly at the end.


Burmese are powerful, compact, medium-sized cats with a rounded chest. Adult males come in at 8 to 12 pounds, females are 6 to 10 pounds.

Burmese have round heads and full faces that lead down to a firm, rounded chin. Burmese eyes are round and large.

The coat is short, glossy, feels like satin and lays close to the Burmese’s muscular body. The Burmese coat is mostly sable, champagne, blue or platinum colored, though chocolate, lilac, red, cream or tortoiseshell exist as well.

In 1930, a female cat named Wong Mau was brought to the U.S. from Burma and given to a Siamese breeder. Wong Mau was a small, walnut brown colored cat that had darker brown points. In an effort to recreate Wong Mau’s astonishing beauty, she was bred to a Siamese male. The resulting kittens were bred out to establish the responsible genes until the Burmese was perfected. About thirty years ago, there became two distinct head shapes and now two distinct Burmese types: the Contemporary and the European Burmese (the European will be discussed at length in its own posting, this is about the Contemporary Burmese).

Burmese cats are all about people and all about performing. If you teach them a trick, they’ll put on a show. If you don’t pay adequate enough attention, they’ll be in your lap to ensure that you start. Burmese cats are very determined. They only pause their show for dinner and naptime. They remain vigilant entertainers well into their old age.

They are a pretty vocal breed, but not as much as their Siamese cousin. A Burmese left to his own devices is not a happy kitty; they become unhappy and depressed when too often left alone. If you are often away for extended periods, you’ll need to get your Burmese another cat companion or even a cat-loving dog. If you work fulltime and can only have one cat, you’ll have to consider getting a different breed of feline.

Cooper’s Collection

This past summer, Cooper and his family went camping in McGregor Point Provincial Park. Tethered on a rope between two trees, he was able to run the entire back of the campsite. There was a small ditch that ran behind the site as well and it was filled with small branches and twigs. Over the 5 day trip, Cooper pulled out every stick from the ditch that he could find. Interestingly, he was very neat about it. His collection was divided into 4 different piles. He would chew on his find for a couple of minutes then add it to a pile. If you took one, he would try everything he could to get the stick back, either by barking at you or he’d sneak up behind you. Then once he had his stick back  it was again added to his collection.

Cooper's sticks Cooper looking