Category Archives: Education/Awareness

Rarest Dog Breeds in the US


Rarest Dog Breeds in the US

Many of us can name the most popular breeds of dogs in the US.  When we think of popular breeds, we know that Labradors, Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds and Bulldogs top the list.  But how many of us know the rarest breeds in the US?  I own two Boerboels, which were only introduced into the US about 15 years ago.  A few years ago, I would have considered them rare.  They were accepted into the AKC in 2015, and they are already fairly popular and not considered rare anymore.

AKC just released its data from 2015, and the list of the 15 rarest breeds might surprise you.  We all recognize that the Labrador is the #1 most popular breed, but what is the rarest?  I know I was surprised.  Here are the rankings:

From left to right: #1 – Canaan Dog, #2 – Pharoah Hound and #3 – Dandie Dinmont Terrier (pictured below):


L to R: Canaan Dog, Pharaoh Hound and Dandie Dinmont Terrier

From left to right: #4 – Sussex Spaniel, #5 – Bergamasco and #6 – Skye Terrier:


L to R: Sussex Spaniel, Bergamasco and Skye Terrier

From left to right:  #7 – Pyrenean Shepherd, #8 – Chinook and #9 – Finnish Spitz:


L to R: Pyrenean Shepherd, Chinook and Finnish Spitz

From left to right: #10 – Cesky Terrier, #11 – Otterhound and #12 – American Foxhound:


L to R: Cesky Terrier, Otterhound and Amerian Foxhound are the 5th, 4th and 3rd rarest breeds respectively in the US

From left to right: #13 – Norwegian Lundehund, #14 – Harrier, #15 – English Foxhound (rarest breed):


L to R: Norwegian Lundehund, Harrier and English Foxhound

So there you have it!  The rarest breed in the United States in 2015 is the English Foxhound, based on registrations in AKC.  With over 180 breeds recognized by AKC, the English Foxhound is the rarest.

Full Ranking of Most Popular Breeds in America

Don’t forget to get out and enjoy your dog, whether he is a purebred or mixed.  The best dog is the one that sits by your side every night.


Dangers of Soy Protein for Pets


I read this article by Mercola recently about the risks and dangers of soy proteins for pets.  A friend had posted a product for dogs that promised to help your dog shed less.  Out of curiosity, I looked up the ingredient list on the product she was feeding to her dog.  The first named ingredient was soybean oil, followed by flax seed oil, fish oil, wheat germ oil and beef flavor.

I was concerned about the ingredients being mostly plant-based oils, with the exception of the fish oil.  With fish oil as the third named ingredient, it means the product could contain a small amount of fish oil compared to the plant-based oils.

Steer Clear of Soy Protein for Animals

Ouch!  The article from Mercola advises to stay away from soy products for pets. Many pet food manufacturers are starting to use soy protein as a way to build up the protein content in commercial pet foods and treats, and because it is less expensive than meat or fish proteins. 

“The majority of experts on pet nutrition agree soy isn’t good nutrition for cats or dogs. It is considered a low-quality, incomplete protein well known to create food allergies in pets.

The article states that that soy has also been linked to bloat in dogs.  For those of us with large and giant breeds that are susceptible to bloat, this is an excellent reason to start reading ingredients lists on pet foods and treats, and to steer clear from soy products.  Soy is also high in purines, and can be harmful to dogs that are prone to uric acid bladder stones, such as Dalmatians, Black Russian Terriers and Bulldogs. There has also been research done that shows that soybean products are linked to seizures in both dogs and cats.

Don’t risk the possible side-effects of feeding soy protein to your dogs or cats.  For shedding problems and to get a healthier coat, consider supplementing with salmon oil, sardines or sardine oil.  There are also natural treats on the market made from whole food sources like Wild Caught Salmon Jerky Treats for Pets that will provide animal protein with no other ingredients.


Environmental Factors can Affect the Incidence of HD in Dogs


I found this article very interesting as hip dysplasia (HD) is a topic of many dog owners, especially those with large breed dogs or breeds prone to HD. Most often the blame has pointed towards genetics, but this new study published by Science Daily points out that environmental factors may often be the culprit. Randi I. Krontveit’s doctoral research has studied the incidence of HD in four breeds of dog in Norway and examined factors in the environment where the dogs grew up that can have an affect on the number of cases.

A number of environmental factors can affect the incidence of hip dysplasia in dogs.

Here are a few highlights that I found most interesting from this study:

  • “It is particularly during the period from birth to three months that various environmental factors appear to influence the development of this disease.”
  • “Randi I. Krontveit’s research has shown that rapid growth and high body weight in the first year of the puppies’ life did not result in an increased risk of HD. On the contrary, she found that the breed that had the slowest growth rate — the Newfoundland — had the highest incidence of HD (36%). The Irish Wolfhound had the lowest incidence of HD (10%), yet had the fastest rate of growth.”
  • “Puppies born in the spring or summer and at breeders who lived on a farm or small holding, had a lower risk of developing HD.”
  • “The opportunity to exercise daily in parks up until the age of three months reduced the risk of HD, whereas the daily use of steps during the same period increased the risk. Overall, it would appear that daily exercise out in gently undulating terrain up until the age of three months gives a good prognosis when it comes to preventing HD.”
  • “Varied exercise had a positive effect and dogs that exercised on a daily basis on a lead and running free in different types of terrain were free of symptoms longer than dogs that were less active.”

As the owner of two large breed dogs, I am happy that research is underway to help combat this crippling disease. I am also happy that both of my dogs appear to be free of the disease, although neither of them has been formally tested through x-rays. They have always had free access to exercise on gently rolling terrain, as we live in an area called Sewickley Hills, Pennsylvania, known for its rolling hills and countryside.

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National Puppy Day

National Puppy Day

I just found out that March 23rd was National Puppy Day.  Happy belated National Puppy Day!  I had never heard of National Puppy Day, so here is what it is all about:

“National Puppy Day is a special day, recognized on March 23rd annually, to celebrate the magic and unconditional love that puppies bring to our lives.  But more importantly, it’s a day to help save orphaned puppies across the globe and educate the public about the horrors of puppy mills, as well as further our mission for a nation of puppy-free pet stores.”

I love what this day is all about — not only the celebration of puppies, but education about the horrors of puppy mills.  This is a very important mission, and one that deserves a lot of consideration.  The world would be a better place for all if we could shut down the puppy mills and backyard breeders who are ultimately leading the way to the needless destruction of endless numbers of homeless dogs throughout the world. is committed to helping homeless pets and Rescues on a daily basis, but the easiest way to do this would be to stop the mass flooding of new dogs into the world by puppy mills and backyard breeders.  Puppy mills and backyard breeders are the number one reason that we have overpopulation of dogs that usually end up in shelters or Rescues without a home.  It is a vicious cycle when backyard breeders continue to flood the marketplace with new puppies, often resorting to online classified ads to sell puppies.   

We are trying to do our part.  Last month we were able to spearhead a fund-raising drive that earned $473 in donations to Voiceless-MI on behalf of Tula, a female South African Boerboel that we helped pull from a kill shelter in Michigan.  Tula is currently with a foster.  She has some medical expenses, including heartworm that is currently being treated.  Through the generosity of others, Tula is well on her way to becoming heartworm free.  She is a lovely girl that deserved a chance.  Read more about Tula here:  Tula, a Female Boerboel up for Rescue.

Back to National Puppy Day, here are a few of my “favorite” puppy photos that I took of my young boy about 2 years ago.  He was a live one!  Jaf is a South African Boerboel, a mastiff breed from South Africa.