The Manx cat is truly tailless. Unfortunately, the tailless gene is a shifty one and Manx cannot breed true. Therefore, four different tail types are produced. Rumpy are the tailless and are favored in the show ring. They often sport a dimple at the base of the spine where the tail should start. Rumpy-risers have a short knob of a tail that have one to three vertebrae connected to the last bone of the spine. Stumpy are household pets. They have a short tail stump often curved, knotted or kinked. Longie have tails almost as long as a regular cat’s tail. Most breeders will dock a longie’s tail at four to six days of age in order to help a longie find a home. (No one wants a supposed-to-be tailless cat that has a tail.) Apparently, the Manx gene can cause problems for longies when they reach five years of age. The intact tail can become ossified or arthritic and cause the Manx a lot of pain. It’s impossible to predict the tail type in a litter, therefore, all four tail types are found in all breeding programs.

Manx are solid, muscular, compact, medium to large cats. Males weigh 9 to 13 pounds while females come in at 7 to 11 pounds. Manx have a round appearance: the head and eyes — even the ears are rounded at the tip.

The Manx has a double, short, dense coat. The undercoat is cottony. The coat tends to thin in the spring after shedding season. A softer coat is found in white or dilute Manx. Manx come in all colors and patterns.

The Manx developed on the Isle of Man in England. The isle has no natural wildcats, meaning Manx were brought in and introduced by human settlers. The who, where and from is unknown. Many believe the Manx descended from British cats, though it’s possible that the Manx descended from a number of different breeds. The taillessness was a spontaneous mutation, though some believe the mutation happened elsewhere and was introduced to the Isle of Man cats. What is known is that the Manx is a very old breed. Due to the island environment, the dominant Manx gene spread like wildfire. The Cymric is classified by some cat fancy associations as a Longhaired Manx.

Manx are intelligent, playful, adaptable and even-tempered. Manx form strong loving bonds. They are the quintessential lap cat. They aren’t overly demanding of your attention. They tend to bond mostly to just one person, but make excellent family pets. They even get along with cat-friendly dogs. If you spend long periods of time away from home, you should get your Manx a companion.

Thanks to their powerful back legs, Manx are great jumpers. Their natural curiosity will keep your Manx off the floor. You should give him a tall, sturdy cat tree. Manx also have an affinity for water — especially running water. They don’t enjoy being in the water while it’s running though.

German Shorthaired Pointer

AKC Group: Sporting

The German Shorthaired Pointer was a cross between Spanish pointers and scent and tracking hounds. These combinations created a responsive, lean hunting dog with versatility from the kind of prey that they can hunt to the type or terrain they hunt on. Breeding was to focus on function, rather than form. Today, the German Shorthaired Pointer is still one of the most versatile of gun dogs.

Size: 21 to 25 inches high; 45 to 70 pounds

Color: Liver or combinations of liver and white.

Life span: 14 to 16 years

Health problems: Hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, thyroid problems, cataracts, epilepsy, entopion and von Willebrand’s Disease (vWD).

German Shorthaired Pointers are active, agile dogs that are tolerant, obedient and intelligent. They are quick to learn and some can have a stubborn streak, while others are overly submissive. Both temperaments can be improved by proper socialization. With an abundance of energy and a love of play; you’ll need to provide your German Shorthaired Pointer with plenty of mental and physical stimulation to stave off boredom and destructiveness. They can get along with children though they may be “too big” for small kids. They get along with other pets when socialized properly. If not, they’ll chase cats and may be aggressive with other dogs. Depending on their own innate personality, they may be friendly or reserved with strangers. German Shorthaired Pointers are a dedicated,
protective dog that are well suited for families or active singles/couples who can be confident and assertive.

The German Shorthaired Pointer has a short, close-lying coat that has a harsh texture. They are a sturdy, athletically-built dog with alert, intelligent expressions. They do shed seasonally and will require more grooming time during those periods. Otherwise, brush them occasionally to keep the coat in good condition.

Historically, German Shorthaired Pointers would work far distances from their handler. They need to know that the handler was in charge and to come when called. These dogs are easily trained for the gun dog role they used to play. If they aren’t being used for hunting, you may need to seek out formal training techniques, including puppy classes, obedience, agility and the like. If he is left untrained, he will probably be unmanageable because he’ll be bored out of his mind. It’s best to employ the NILIF (Nothing in Life is Free) method. Make him work to earn everything. Before mealtimes, play, go outside or walk him, then have him perform a command. This will help to reinforce that you are the pack leader and help to give his non-hunting life meaning.

Cats & Heartworm

Yes, you read the title correctly. Primarily when we talk about heartworm, it’s in relation to dogs, but heartworm can and does affect cats and it affects cats quite differently. In a dog, a natural host for heartworm, a dog can primarily coexist with heartworm (in small doses). For a cat, as a resistant host, a cat’s body instantly reacts and the inflammatory response is much more severe. (Being a resistant host simply means that heartworm is intended to infect canines but it will settle for a feline body.) The heartworm parasite is found everywhere throughout North America. Keeping your cat strictly indoors isn’t necessarily going to stop the spread of feline heartworm, as mosquitos (the carriers of heartworm) can carry the infective blood indoors.

Diagnosing a canine with heartworm is relatively easy. For felines, not so much. The same test that is quite reliable for dogs will time and time again produce false negatives in felines. Dogs are also usually rife with heartworm, but it can take as little as one heartworm to infect a cat. If you or your vet suspect a heartworm infection, he will likely perform an “antibody” test screen (though the results can’t show whether the infection is active or from a previous infection) and x-ray the chest. What to watch for? Heartworm disease mimics feline asthma. Your cat will probably be coughing or wheezing. In fact, if your cat has been diagnosed as asthmatic, get a heartworm check done too. Many cats are misdiagnosed.

There are no approved feline treatments for feline heartworm disease. Treatment will include supportive care with steroids to control the inflammation. It may include bronchodilators and/or antibiotics. Treatment will also include prevention of further infection or re-infection by administering a heartworm preventive medicine. Treatment for your cat will likely span several years as you’re going to have to wait for the heartworms to die of old age.

The best way you can help your cat avoid lung damage or death from a heartworm infection is to prevent it in the first place. When you’re taking your dog in for his heartworm prevention, take your cat too. Heartworm in felines is more common than we all think.

German Shepherd

AKC Group: Herding

The German Shepherd was adapted from the mountain sheepdog of Germany to work as a military dog around 1880. Captain Max Von Stephanitz is referred to as the “Father of the German Shepherd.” In April 1889, he registered a dog named Horan as the first Deutsche Schaferhunde, which translates to “German Shepherd Dog.” The popularity of the breed waned after World War II due to their association with Hitler. The British changed their name to Alsatian in order to remove the German stigma.

Size: 22 to 26 high; 45 to 70 pounds

Color: Black and tan; black; gray; silver; red.

Life span: 12 to 15 years

Health problems: Spinal problems, bloat, torsion, hip dysplasia or elbow dysplasia, epilepsy, osteochondritis dissecans (OCD), pancreas problems and eye problems. (When choosing a purebred German Shepherd, carefully do your homework on the breeder. Some breeders are just out to make a buck and do not care about the dog’s health — hence, the number of health problems German Shepherds can experience.)

One of the most popular dog breeds, German Shepherds are lively, loyal, intelligent dogs. Obedient, quick to learn and possessing an ability to be easily trained, German Shepherds often (still) find work alongside military or police personnel. They’re alert, active, lively, independent, high energy, confident, courageous dogs. Some lines can be aloof and serious while others are dominant and sharp. They do best with an experienced handler. They need plenty of exercise and mental stimulation; they will not do well with being isolated or neglected. They love children and love to please. They may chase smaller animals (so socialize early). They may be aggressive or dominant with other canines of the same sex. Some German Shepherds whine excessively.

German Shepherds are powerful, handsome dogs with a well-built, athletic body. His coat is straight, hard and medium in length. He has a dense undercoat and erect ears. Brush him every couple of days to control normal shedding. He does shed seasonally, so more attention will need to paid during those times. He tends to shed heavily year round though (this is why he needs frequent brushing).

Begin training at a young age with consistency and patience. Use firm training methods, without harshness. Being harsh will only make a German Shepherd stubborn. He will learn housebreaking early and easily. They enjoy mental challenges, so this is a breed that can learn almost anything. This is not normally an aggressive dog, unless he is taught to be; though he is protective. When someone (friend or foe) comes to your home, your German Shepherd will pick up on your feelings and react accordingly. German Shepherds love to play and will keep your entertained for hours. You’ll be able to engage in any activity — they also love to run. If you do too, take him with you.

German Pinscher

AKC Group: Working

German Pinschers can be traced back to the late 1700s, receiving breed status in Germany in 1879. German Pinschers are a combination of Doberman Pinschers and Schnauzers. German Pinschers were bred by German farmers to work as a larger ratter and protector. They were also used as a herder or livestock guardian.

Size: 17 to 20 inches tall; 25 to 35 pounds

Color: Isabella (fawn); red; stag red; black and tan or blue and tan.

Life span: 12 to 15 years

Health problems: Hip dysplasia or eye problems have been noted.

The German Pinscher is a spirited, courageous, bold, loyal and playful dog. They are ever alert and watchful, determined and protective. They can be strong willed and manipulative; they need an experienced handler. They’re a bundle of energy and will enjoy any athletic pursuit alongside his family. The German Pinscher is highly intelligent and learns quickly (good for training), but these qualities are offset by his strong mind. They adore soaking up the attention of his family. If you’re looking for a dog you can leave by himself, check out another breed; this living situation will not make a German Pinscher happy. They often bark and can be very possessive of their belongings. German Pinschers do best with older, considerate children, but early socialization will further aid a
love of children of all ages. When raised with another dog, he should do great, though he may try to dominate. With smaller animals, be mindful that they may stimulate his prey drive. With strangers, he’ll be extremely wary and mistrustful.

German Pinschers have a smooth, close-fitting, dense coat. If the ears are cropped, they will stand erect on the head. The German Pinscher is a medium-sized dog with a sturdy, athletic build that exudes power and agility. Brush him occasionally to keep his coat looking glossy and in good condition. For allergy sufferers, these guys are low shedders.

German Pinschers are made for obedience and agility events. They absolutely require proper socialization and training. To get the best out of a German Pinscher, you’ll need a good understanding of how to work with dominant dog breeds, otherwise he’ll never get that HE isn’t in charge. They need consistency and do best under positive training methods without using punishments. Corrections should be done with a firm tone of voice and by withholding the treat or positive attention until he completes the task properly. Socialization should be done by exposing him to as many dogs, people and other animals that you can. Without socialization, he may become aggressive and crazy possessive of his things.