Balinese

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Balinese cats are essentially long-haired Siamese. In fact, original Siam breeders were horrified in the early 1900s when long-haired kittens began to naturally appear. Quietly, these kittens were given away as pets. In the 1940s, a breeder in New York and a breeder in California decided to make the Balinese a true breed by using the existing Balinese and Siamese cats. It took another 30 years for Siamese breeders to come around and learn to appreciate that long hair. (It’s just hair!)

Long, lithe and muscular, Balinese weigh just under 10 pounds while females weigh about 5 to 7 pounds. Balinese have flat foreheads, wedge-shaped muzzles and almond-shaped beautiful blue eyes. The ears are large and pointed, the neck is slender, legs are long and thin and the tail is long and tapered.

Balinese have long, silky coats that nestles right up against the body, appearing shorter than it really is. The hair on the tail is semi-long and soft and spreads out in a plume. Without a downy undercoat, the Balinese doesn’t require a ridiculous grooming routine.

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Afghan Hound

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Group: Hound

In 19th century Afghanistan Westerners first discovered Afghan hounds. Originally they served as hunters and herders which they’ve done for several thousand years.

Size: 45 to 65 pounds. 24 to 29 inches.

Color: all.

Life span: Up to 14 years.

Health problems: Cataract, necrotic myelopathy, hip dysplasia.

Afghan hounds have narrow heads and are tall and slender, they’re covered in long, silky hair. Long necks lead down a straight back to upright, curled tails. (Underneath all that hair, they resemble Greyhounds.)

Afghans are described as “catlike.” They have an aloof personality and won’t always come when called. When they want attention, they will seek out whomever they want it from. Males are generally more aloof than females. They don’t like loud noises or sudden movements, and therefore do better with older children. They are very patient. Afghans are fine around other pets, but will chase strange animals out of their yard.

Afghans do need to live in a home, they don’t do well in apartments. You might also want to build a high fence; Afghans are great leapers. A good half-hour daily walk will serve your Afghan well mentally and physically. A daily brushing is ideal although your Afghan can stay beautiful with brushing every two or three days. If your Afghan gets dirty, bathe him before you brush. You’ll avoid extra tangles and hair breakage.

American Shorthair

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Originally called domestic shorthair, the breed was re-named American Shorthair in 1965. American Shorthairs were thought to have descended from the mousers that came over on the Mayflower.

These medium sized cats comes in all colors and patterns. The head (as viewed from the side) is as long as it is broad. Their eyes are large and wide set. The top of the eye is round while the bottom is almond-shaped. Muzzles are square and ears are medium sized and low set. American Shorthairs tend to have a slight “pouch” under the belly.

American Shorthairs are neither hyperactive nor sedate. They are not very vocal, in fact, some of them meow silently (they open their mouth but little to no sound comes out).

American Shorthairs prefer to get around under their own power (known as a “four-on-the-floor” cat); they don’t like to picked up excessively. Fear not, they do adore you. They probably will follow you from room to room.

American Curl

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American Curls are named for their ears. Their ears are curled back! It’s easy to confuse American Curls with the Scottish Fold, but an informed observer will tell you that each cat has a distinct body “shape” (meaning the cats aren’t the same size) and their ears each fold differently.

The very first American Curls were born to a longhaired black stray named Shulasmith whom herself had unusual ears. The curled ears are naturally occurring thanks to a dominant gene in the cat’s makeup. To keep the breed pure, American Curls are only bred with other Curls or (very infrequently) other domestic cats that align to breed standards.

Curls are medium-sized, slender, slightly muscular cats. They come in almost all colors and patterns.

Curl kittens are born with straight ears. At three to five days old, the ears begin to curl. They unfurl at about six weeks old. Between twelve and sixteen weeks, the ears reach their permanent “curl” state.

Curls are sweet, intelligent and curious. They adore their human family! Curls retain their kittenhood (behavior-wise) through their entire lifespan. They get along well with other pets and children.

Dog Tail Tales

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Tail communication can be very tricky. Not every wagging tail means happiness and not every tail that is tucked denotes fear.

Rapid tail wagging:

Most likely, your dog is very happy and excited. Any wagging that’s quick, wide or done in a circle means your pooch wants to interact — either for play and affection. Happy dogs tend to wag their tails more to the right. While, when they meet someone new, their tails tend to wag more to the left.

Tucked, Curled or Low-Hanging tails:

These tails indicate submission, fear or pain. If your dog’s tail is tucked around a person or another dog, something is wrong. Never touch a strange dog whose tail is tucked! If it’s your dog, the first thing to do is to make sure your dog is not hurt.

Tails Straight Out:

When a dog’s tail is horizontal from his body, he is in predator mode. When a dog suddenly extends his tail, he’s going to chase something. Dogs engage like this during play — or right before a fight occurs.

Tail Completely Erect:

A tail straight in the air indicates interest. (Hunting dogs raise both their tails and a foot.) However, it could indicate aggression. An erect tail that’s double in size with raised hackles (the hair on the back of the neck and down the spine) is an extremely aggressive stance; he’s trying to scare you off and will attack if provoked.

Slow, Short wags:

Your dog is uncertain. This often happens during a lesson of a new trick or even when you’re speaking to him. He’s interested (and listening), but confused.

Wagging just the Tip:

This is an indication of a dog who is about to defend himself. Be wary if this is a strange dog. If it’s your dog, he is in predator mode; either about to chase or about to fight. If two dogs are engaged like this, a fight is imminent.

Erect tail Wagging Rapidly:

This is the tail communication that is the most confusing because you may think he’s happy (his tail is wagging), but what it really means is that he is about to attack. If you’re a stranger to the dog, he is about to bite you. If it’s your dog, he’s about to chase down some “prey.” If it’s¬†between two dogs, a fight is about to start.

Cat Tail Tales

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Any cat owner can tell you that cats are one of the most expressive pets. They have over 100 different vocalizations. However, let’s talk about what they’re trying to tell us with their tails.

A curved or S-shaped tail says the cat is relaxed and content.

A tail that’s straight in the air with a slight curve at the end suggests kitty is curious or excited.

A fully erect tail that’s slightly swaying is a casual greeting.

A hanging tail that swings from side to side denotes impatience or fury.

A curved tail with a twitching tip shows annoyance.

A tail that’s lowered and tucked between the hind leg shows absolute submission.

A bristled tail held down means complete terror.

A curved tail that’s puffed out to double the size means aggressive fear. Be very careful, if continually provoked, this cat will attack!

A fluffed out erect tail means anger that could lead to aggression.

A tail that stands up in the air stiffly means that kitty is thrilled to see you.