What Royal Wedding? Bring on the Royal DOGS!

While the world watched with baited breath as Great Britain’s Prince William said his vows to long-time love Catherine Middleton today, we here at DogWatch Hidden Fences find we’re a bit more intrigued by the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel than all the Royal Wedding hoopla. While today will certainly go down in royal history, we’d like to bring the focus to some dog breeds that have made royal history of their own! Introducing . . . the Royal Dogs!

SalukiThe Saluki: Perhaps the oldest pure dog breed still in existence, the sleek and elegant Saluki has been discovered in carvings in Sumerian tombs dating as far back as 7000 B.C., and Egyptian tombs dating back to 2100 B.C. Thought to be named after the ancient town of Suluk, Libya, the Saluki was considered the royal dog of Egypt. So beloved by the Egyptian royals, they were frequently mummified along with their owners, and several depictions exist of King Tutankhamen with his favorite Salukis. The Saluki is thought to have been brought to Europe during the Crusades in the 12th Century, and arrived in England in the mid-1800s, and America in the early 1900s.

Lhasa Apso

The Lhasa Apso: One of the most ancient dog breeds, the lion-like, black-lipped Lhasa Apso is thought to have existed as far back as 800 B.C. Lhasas originated in the sacred city of Lhasa in the Himalayan Mountains of Tibet, and were bred by holy men called Lamas. Referred to in Tibet as “Apso Seng Kyi,” or “Bearded Lion Dog,” the Lhasa was primarily used as a watchdog in temples and monasteries, as well as in religious ceremonies. It was believed that the souls of deceased Lamas could enter the bodies of Lhasa Apsos, where they remained as they awaited reincarnation. A highly-prized dog, Lhasas could neither be bought nor sold; they could only be given as a gift. Lhasa Apsos made their way to Great Britain and the United States in the early 1900s.

The Pekingese: The royal dog of China, these little dogs with a lion’s mane took Pekingesetheir name from the ancient city of Peking (now Beijing) over 2,000 years ago. In ancient China, Pekingese were considered sacred and believed to drive away evil spirits. Bred and guarded in the Imperial Palace, so prized were these little “lion dogs” that only royalty was permitted to own them, and the theft of a Pekingese was punishable by death! In 1860, the British overtook the Imperial Palace of China; during the seizure, five Pekingese were captured and brought back to Great Britain. They were given to British royalty, including Queen Victoria, as spoils of war, and were then interbred, thus beginning the British line of Pekingese. In the early 1900s, the Chinese Dowager Empress Cixi began gifting the dogs to influential Americans, beginning the line of the modern American Pekingese.

PugThe Pug: An old breed of Chinese descent, dating as far back as 400 B.C., the snub-nosed, smush-faced Pug is believed to be a relative of the Pekingese. Imported to Holland by the Dutch East India Company in the 16th century, the Pug rose to Dutch popularity under William, Prince of Orange, after one saved his life in 1572 by sounding the alarm that the Spanish were approaching, thus allowing him time to successfully flee their assassination attempt. So the intrepid little Pug became the official dog of the House of Orange, and one hundred years later, when William II ascended the throne in England, he brought his beloved Pugs with him, establishing their following in Great Britain. This following grew to include the likes of the ill-fated Queen Marie-Antoinette, as well as another less-than-fortunate Parisian, the Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte.

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The Best Dog Movies

We’ve had movies on the mind at DogWatch headquarters ever since the Oscars were given out last month in Los Angeles. In addition to catching up on last year’s award winners, the DogWatch Hidden Fences team have been coming up with our list of favorites. Sticking with what we know best, Dog Tails presents the results of our survey of the best dog movies. These 11 films cover a wide range, but all feature unforgettable dogs who have touched our hearts and tickled our funny bones.

The Classics

Lassie Come Home movie posterLassie Come Home (1943) [G]

Film’s most famous dog made her movie debut in this MGM classic. This version, based on the 1940 novel, takes place in Depression-era rural England. Having fallen on hard times, the Carraclough family is forced to sell their beloved rough collie to a Duke. The family’s young son Joe (Roddy McDowall) is determined to retrieve Lassie, and enlists the help of the Duke’s young niece Priscilla (eleven year-old Elizabeth Taylor). Lassie is played by Pal, the first in a long line of canine actors to portray this loyal family pet. Lassie Come Home is an historic dog film, and one that will still delight the whole family.

101 Dalmatians (1961 and 1996) [G]

Disney has introduced numerous dog characters, but one film stands alone for the sheer number of canine cast members. This film also features the unforgettable villain Cruella De Vil, who wants to steal the titular pups to make a fur coat. Viewers can choose between the 1961 animated classic, or the 1996 live-action version, featuring Glenn Close as De Vil. Either way, you’re bound to enjoy watching these famous spotted dogs outsmart the devilish fashionista and steal your heart in the process.

Old Yeller (1957) [G]

Based on the 1956 book by Fred Gipson, this movie is a classic tear-jerker centering on a boy and his beloved Labrador retriever/mastiff mix. Parents will remember this movie from their childhood, and children seeing it for the first time will never forget it.

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Dog News Review 2010

As we begin an New Year (and a new decade!), it seems like a good time to review some of the 2010 highlights. We saw economic struggles, a Winter Olympics, the oil spill in the Gulf, the health care debate, the continued rise of Facebook, and many more unforgettable events. And since there aren’t enough lists at this time of year (just kidding!), we have compiled our own. In the first DogTails post of 2011, DogWatch Hidden Fences gives you our first annual “Dog News Review,” featuring the most memorable dog stories of the past year.

January

Birthday dogOne of our favorite dog photos of the year first premiered way back in January. That’s when Maureen Ravelo snapped a photo of her Bichon Frise-poodle enjoying a special treat on his birthday. The resulting photo (shown at left) captured an unbelievably expressive and contented smile on the one year-old dog’s face. The image quickly became a sensation after a friend posted it on the sharing site Reddit.com. For more info on the story, and to see Riley in action, click on the photo to watch a video of the famous dog and his owner on NBC’s “Today” show.

February

One of our favorite parts of Super Bowl XLIV did not actually take place in Miami. While we applaud the New Orleans Saints’ victory, we confess that we didn’t watch all of the pre-game coverage. Instead, we switched over to Animal Planet from 3-5PM, when it aired its sixth annual “Puppy Bowl.” The event, which is even cuter than it sounds, features lots of adorable puppy playing, aerial coverage of the “field”, rabbit cheerleaders and a kitty halftime show. We can’t wait for Puppy Bowl VII – oh, and Super Bowl XLV, too.

March

It was the chomp seen ’round the world. Winston, a Pit Bull-Boxer mix, got loose from his yard and attacked a police car, eventually chewing off the entire front bumper. And it was all caught on tape! The amazing video made headlines around the world, and sent Winston to the shelter for a few weeks before being released to his family. The trainers supported his owners’ claim that Winston is a “sweet dog,” but a judge did order obedience training for the powerful pup. Winston’s owner promises that Winston will be “a model citizen” from now on – but just in case, he will add some extra protection in his yard in case a police car drives by again.

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Dog Days of Summer Reading List

dogbookA trip to the beach is not just a chance to soak up some sun and dig your feet in the sand; it is also a place where you can relax and finally catch up on your pleasure reading.  Even if you are not headed to the beach, these books are a good addition to your summer reading list.

While individual tastes in books may differ, the DogWatch Hidden Fence team loves good beach reads, especially those that feature our favorite subject – dogs!  So for this week, we are sharing with you our favorite dog-themed books.  Check out our list below, and visit our own Amazon store to purchase any or all of the titles!

The Dogs of Babel, by Carolyn Parkinson

A tragic yet redemptive tale of love and loss, Parkinson’s novel is a best-seller and a New York Times Notable Book.  The book centers on Paul, a linguistics professor who is mourning the recent death of his wife Lexy.  Lexy’s death was ruled an accident, but Paul is suspicious.  To find out the truth, he attempts to train his Rhodesian Ridgeback Lorelai – the only witness to his wife’s death – to speak.   This emotional mystery is sure to draw you in and keep you engrossed until after the sun sets.

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