Friday, May 02, 2008

Golden Retrievers....Caesar Boy

Having had Caesar for more than 3 years (Damn! I can't believe Caesar will be turning 4 this 31st August. Yup, as most of you know Caesar is a Merdeka Baby) I have never written about the breed he hails from. I have always loved dogs (in fact all animals), but the Golden Retrievers (GRs hereafter) have always had a special place in my heart. So, Caesar Boy, this is for you! "Caesar, bark?" "Woof woof!"

Here are some of the attributes of a GR:
Life Span: 10-13 years.
Litter Size:8
Group: Sporting
Recognized By: CKC, FCI, AKC, UKC, ANKC

The coat color of a GR can range from a light cream color, into the yellows, or even into darker golden or copper shades.

Hair Length: Long
Size: Large
Shedding: Moderate Shed
Male Height:23-24 inches
Male Weight:65-75 pounds
Female Height:21.5-22.5 inches
Female Weight:55-65 pounds

Living Area:
The GR does well in different living situations as long as their family takes the time to make sure they are well exercised. While a large fenced yard or a secure area that provides room to run and play is ideal, a GR can also thrive in an apartment environment. In this situation, it is important to check with local parks and public areas to determine what their rules are in regards to dogs and other pets, and see what would be most suitable for taking your dog to for play and exercise time.

Before I go into the description of GRs, let me give you a slight history about them. This highly intelligent and social dog has a history that traces back to the late 1800's, where written records indicate that Lord Tweedmouth of developed them. His desire was to produce a dog that was skillful in hunting and tracking, as well as retrieving waterfowl. In addition, he wanted a hunting partner that was beautiful to watch work. It is believed that the breed began by crossing a yellow dog with the now-extinct water spaniel, and through the years, the breed has evolved into a dog with popularity that has stood the test of time. GRs are not believed to have been brought to until the 1890's, and they were not presented in dog shows until the 1920's.

Are There Only One Type Of GRs?
Well, the GR is divided into two groups, primarily based on their appearance. The first group is the English, and they are shorter, bigger-boned, and tend to have longer coats that are lighter in color. The American group tends to be lanky with longer limbs, and have characteristics that are more similar to the origins of their breed.Their broad heads are connected to wide muzzles. They have brown expressive eyes and a black nose, and as they mature, their chests become broad and their bodies become muscular, and their tails are always wagging. Generally, a GR is filled with confidence and that comes through by the way they carry themselves. They appear strong and athletic, and their body is symmetrical. Their peaceful attitude and affectionate personalities are apparent in their posture and in the way they interact with their humans.

I have always wondered if Caesar only has one layer of fur coat. But I am come to realise that all GRs have double coats. The outer coat is soft, feathery, and can be straight or wavy. The undercoat allows the Golden to repel water and stay warm in extreme cold, and then will shed throughout the year, but more in the spring. This gives the GRs coat a versatile quality, since the coat allows for the Golden to be comfortable in virtually any season of the year. Shedding can be managed by putting some time aside throughout the week to keep up on grooming, and if your dog is likely to spend the majority of it's time indoors, it may be a good idea to invest in a good vacuum cleaner to clean up any hair missed in your grooming routine.

Looking at how huge Caesar is, everyone has asked me if he bites. Caesar, bites? No way! We wrestle all the time and most often, I win. LOL! Well, I presume it is just because he gets fed-up and just moves away.

What Is The Temperament Of GRs?
Outgoing and social, the Golden Retriever makes a loyal family pet. Their sweet dispositions make them patient and gentle with children and they are generally tolerant of other pets. It is important to remember that they are excitable as pups, and can accidentally knock children over while playing. Aggressiveness in well-bred GRs is not common, but improper breeding can raise the chances of aggression issues. Instead, these dogs are people lovers who prefer to have as much human contact as possible, and can tend to get themselves into trouble if they are frequently left alone. Being forced from their family members for long periods can result in a very unhappy GRs that could suffer from separation anxiety. GRs do not make the best of guard dogs. They will bark at strangers, but seem to be more interested in meeting and making friends with them than they are defending their family against them. They are affectionate, loving and loyal, and try hard to please their people.

GRs have a high energy level. These fun loving dogs enjoy nothing more than to play fetch or retrieve a stick during play, and their love for water makes for not only interesting play, but also plays a part in their strong hunting skills.Their high level of intelligence enables them to excel in obedience training. They are often trained and used as service dogs to the blind and disabled. Their friendly and affectionate personalities also make them ideal visitors for retirement homes and allow them to be effective therapy dogs. GRs are also very good with children. I remember, when I used to stay in Sec.14, PJ, there used to be this young mum who used to take her baby girl on walks around the housing area. They would always stop by at our house and the cute lil' girl will just put her hand through the gate. Caesar, will sit at the gate and continuously lick the girl's fingers. But if any other adults come by the house, he will bark initially. But of course, if he gets used to you, then he is your best friend.

Was Caesar Easy To Train?
Of course he was. GRs are known for being an easy breed to train. They are excited to learn, eager to please, and their high intelligence allows them to learn behaviors and tricks quickly. Most dogs from this size benefit from obedience training, and a good program that allows them to socialize with other dogs is an added bonus. GRs are easy to train to do jobs. GRs have been trained to work with Police to locate drugs, excel in agility training and enjoy learning how to perform tricks. GRs are popular candidates for training to become aid dogs. Their quick minds make them ideal for guiding the blind, and the training for this job begins when they are puppies. They are also trained to do other wonderful things for people such as uplifting the sick, and entertaining the aging. It is important to begin teaching basic commands such as sit, come, stay and heel. The sooner these basic commands are mastered, the easier it will be to manage your dog as it grows and as you are training progresses.

Is It Easy To Maintain A GR?
Caesar loves to bathe - in fact most GRs love the water. Whenever, I take him to the back tap of the house, he knows he going to have his bath. He will be jumping and spinning round and round.

The GR's double coat is important to brush on a daily basis. Many GR owners complain about how much their dogs shed, particularly in the spring months. A strong brush will be your most prized tool when combating dog hair on your furniture, clothes and carpeting. Trimming can be done on occasion.

Their nails should be trimmed on a regular basis. Long nails can be very uncomfortable for the dog, and painful if your dog happens to jump on someone. In addition, regular nail care can prevent uncomfortable issues with the shape of their feet. Sometimes a dog owner is lucky and has a dog with clear nails, making it easy to determine where the quick is. The quick helps you know how short the nail should be cut. If you are one of the many pet owners that have dogs with dark nails, the rule of thumb is to cut the nail even with the pad of the foot, and it is never a bad idea to make sure you have styptic in your first aid kit, just in case there is bleeding. If you are intimidated by nail trimming, make sure you ask your vet to do it for you.

GRs have floppy ears that fold over. This as well as the activity level of the dog can allow it to be susceptible to yeast and bacterial ear infections. Because of this, it is important to be on the watch for any signs indicating an infection, such as head shaking or scratching, and know how to clean their ears carefully. Be prepared to visit your vet for a diagnosis when an infection is suspected as this can be an uncomfortable condition that, if untreated, could cause long term issues with the ears or the hearing.

Shampooing with a mild shampoo is a great way to combat "doggy" odor. If you have a GR with sensitive skin or allergies, chances are, your vet can recommend a shampoo that can clean effectively yet prevent your dog's skin from being irritated. In fact, it is possible that there are shampoos available that can improve allergy discomfort!

What Are The Common Health Problems Found In GRs?
1. Hip Dysplasia
2. Cataracts
3. Elbow Dysplasia

Hip Dysplasia is a skeletal issue that leads to extreme discomfort, swelling, arthritis and even lameness. The high demand for this breed has often led to poor and unhealthy

Recent studies and surveys have indicated that cancer is rapidly becoming the most common cause of death for GRs, the most common types being hemangiosarcoma and Lymphosarcoma. While genetic factors also play a role in cancer illnesses in GRs, environmental causes are also a big cause of different cancers.It is imperative that you find a trustworthy vet in your area and be active in the health care of your dog. Keep up on the immunizations that are recommended, as well as any shots that are required by your community. Establish a strong relationship with your vet and good communication skills, and talk about changes that you can make in regards to care, lifestyle and diet that can help your dog live a long and happy life. Be informed as to warning signs of illness, as well as what steps you should take in case of an emergency with your GR.

Ratings Of A GR:
Energy Level: * * *
Exercise Needs: * * *
Playfulness: * * * * *
Affection: * * * * *
Training: * * * * *
Watchdog: * * *
Protection: * *
Grooming: * * *
Other Dogs: * * * * *
Cold Weather: * * *
Hot Weather: * * *

I have described in detail all that one needs to know if he/she plans to have a GR. Take it from me, you need a lot of time in your hands to be a 'parent'. During the early years, I did not realise it, but as Caesar grew older, I realised that he needs more love, more attention and more play. So, please think carefully before you even think of having a GR, in fact a pet for that matter. I'd rather have the pet go to a nice and loving home instead of going to a home where people merely buy pets for the sake of buying them - for showing off. When they grow older, they realise that they can't handle them anymore and then give them poor dogs up for adoption or worst send them to the pounds. In my eyes, these people should be stoned. The poor dogs get so attached to the family and then you just get rid of them. Remember, they are lives as well.

God bless you both Caesar and Vasco!

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