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Feline Breed Spotlight: Korat

The Korat!

History

The Korat (also known as the Si-Sawat cat) is an ancient breed of cat from Thailand. All Korats can be traced back to their Thai roots, as there has never been any out crossing done during the development of this breed. The Korat is considered a lucky charm had been known to be associated with prosperity and fertility. Because of this they were commonly given as gifts (in pairs), especially to brides. The Korat made its way to North America in the 1950s, and the Korat breeders founded the Korat Cat Fanciers Association to promote the breed. The Korat is a silver-tipped blue cat with a coat that seems to “shimmer”. The eyes can start out amber or yellow/green which gradually become peridot green in an adult cat (by the time they are 4 years old).

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Temperament

The Korat is generally a quiet cat that likes a calm environment. They are known to be a great lap cat, they like to stay close to their owners and prefers the company of the people they know; they can be wary of strangers. They do best with companionship of either people or another cat (hence why they were usually given as gifts in pairs in Thailand) and can develop separation anxiety if ignored or left alone for long periods of time. They are a very intelligent cat with a good memory and like to learn tricks and can be trained to walk on a leash.

Health concerns

Both pure-bred and mixed-breed cats have varying kinds of health problems that may be either influenced by genetics or environmental factors. Here is a look at some health concerns that are commonly seen in the Korat.

The Korat is prone to a  genetic condition called gangliosidosis. There are 2 forms of this condition recognized in cats, GM1 and GM2 and the Korat can be affected by either form. This disease is fatal and cases the buildup of lipids in the central nervous system leading to ataxia, tremors and nystagmus, leading to overall body weakness, seizures and death. Most kittens die at 8-10 months of age.

They tend to be a lean breed of cat with a low percentage of body fat.  This does make them a slightly higher risk for anesthetic and makes them a bit more susceptible to hypothermia.
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Canine Breed Spotlight: West Highland White Terrier (Westie)

A look at the West Highland White Terrier (Westie)

Dog breed group: Terriers

Average life span: 12-17 years

History

The Westie shares a lot of history with many of the terriers from the same region, including the Dandie Dinmont, Skye and Carin Terriers. This breed was originally bred for hunting fox, badger, otter and rats. One story of this breed’s origin states that one day while hunting fox with his sandy colored terrier, the hunter accidentally shot his dog when he mistook him for a fox due to his coat colour. After that the hunter began to breed only white dogs so that they would not be confused with foxes. These dogs were called Poltalloch Terriers and as years progressed they may have have been interbred with Pittenweem Terriers, resulting in what we know today as the West Highland White Terrier.

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Canine Breed Spotlight: Great Dane

The Great Dane!

Dog breed group: Working dogs

Average life span: 7-9 years

History

The ancestry of the Great Dane dates back to long, long ago.  Drawings of giant dogs somewhat resembling Great Danes can be seen on Egyptian artifacts. These dogs spread through trade where they were eventually developed in Germany into a working dog called a Boarhound, as they were bred to hunt boars. Throughout the years the breed name changed a few times- German Boarhound, English Dogge, German Mastiff, then the Great Dane. The look of the dog also changed to a more slimmer version, as we know them today.

dog-2514968__340Temperament

Great Danes are considered a gentle giant, but they can be protective when the time calls for it. They are good family dogs and are good around other pets and children. Children, especially small kids should be watched around Danes, as it takes nothing for this big dog to accidentally knock one over or hit them with their tail unknowingly. As puppies they are an active breed, but to tend to mellow out and become more laid back as they enter adulthood. Usually they are easy to train, however some can have a stubborn streak.

Is this breed right for you?

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  • Is your space large enough? Great Danes make great house dogs, but they do need space to move around and space to sleep. Table and counter tops are always with in reach for these dogs, so making sure nothing potentially toxic is left out around the house is important.
  • Everything is bigger with a giant breed dog. Bigger beds, collars, feeding requirements, and of course more poop to scoop.
  • Due to their large size, they take longer to grow to their full size. Caution must be taken when they are young that they don’t jump of rough house too much to avoid unnecessary stress on the growing bones.

Health concerns

Both pure-bred and mixed-breed dogs have varying incidences of health problems that may be either influenced by genetics or environmental factors. Here are some health concerns that more commonly affect the Great Dane.

Hip and elbow dysplasia is a congenital disorder where these joint sockets are abnormally loose. Dogs inherit the condition from their parents. Dysplasia will cause your dog to experience joint pain or laxity.

Gastric Dilation-Volvulus (GDV)/ Bloat/ Torsion is when your dog’s stomach twists on itself, trapping air inside. Great Danes are more prone to this medical condition than any other giant breed dog. This situation is a medical emergency and your dog needs to go to surgery immediately to relieve the torsion and save their life.

A common health problem in older giant breeds is cardiomyopathy. This is a situation where the heart becomes enlarged and is unable to function properly. This ultimately leads to chronic heart failure as the heart becomes overloaded and overworked.

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Feline Breed Spotlight: Persian

The Persian cat

History

The Persian is a very, very old breed of cat; there is evidence of long haired cats seen in hieroglyphics. The first cats of this kind were imported from Iran (Persia) to Italy as early as 1620. The popularity of this breed spread when they were brought to Europe, and many breeding programs started in Italy and France. They were represented in the first organized cat show in England in 1871, then they made there way to North America in the early 1900s. They are currently the most popular cat registered by the Cat Fanciers Association.

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Feline Breed Spotlight: Tonkinese

History

“Chocolate Siamese” cats were the original Tonkinese cats, however these cats were not bred deliberately.  The deliberate crossing of the Siamese and Burmese- the actual creation of the Tonkinese was done by a breeder in Canada. These cats were considered a crossbreed for quite sometime before the Canadian Cat Association began registering them as an established breed. The name may be a reference to the Bay of Tonkin in Vietnam, even though these cats have no connection with the area.

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