Alphabet Challenge :: X :: Xoloitzcuintli

Pitiful Posting and the Alphabet Challenge


Hairless and Coated Xoloitzcuintles side by side.

Hairless and Coated Xoloitzcuintles side by side. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Xoloitzcuintli, often shortened to Xolo, is pronounced show-low-eats-queen-tlee. They were removed from the American Kennel Club in 1953 then re-recognized in 2011. For AKC standards click here. Xolos are a rare breed that comes in three sizes; toy, miniature and standard. Hairlessness is a recessive trait, so some members of the breed can come out with a full coat. These dogs were initially used as healers since their intense body heat could soothe some ailments. Health issues for the Xolo revolve mainly around their skin.



Border Terrier – In Honor of Gunnar

~*~ Yesterday, one of my favorite dogs to come to the hospital had to go to doggie heaven. ;_; Gunnar, the border terrier, was a bit of a medical mystery. When I first met him, he’d come in on the surgery schedule. His surgery was eventually cancelled because his owner said he hadn’t eaten…for 2 weeks. The next time I saw him, he’d only eaten eggs and cheese for however long (which seems a little disgusting to me). He was boarding for a while, left to go to Internal Medicine, then came back to board. At the end of his stay, he’d been eating and seemed to be doing a little better. The doctor on his case suspected stomach cancer. The 2 ways in which to confirm this may have killed the little guy and were pretty expensive. I thought little Gunnar would be alright for a while until one of the receptionists came back into the treatment area yesterday to say his mom had called fearing that her little man was dying. He hadn’t moved on his own since 9pm the previous night but had eaten a few times. Poor Gunnar was weak and emaciated and just looking at him broke my heart. Several of us teared up when we knew what was going to happen. The doctor on his case was kind enough to let those of us who wanted to say goodbye do so. Saying it was a struggle to keep my tears at bay is an understatement. So today’s post on the Border Terrier is in honor of my friend Gunnar, who I hope is chasing sticks and getting belly rubs in dog heaven. ~*~

Red Grizzle - Groomed

Image via Wikipedia

The Border Terrier is a small breed (11.5-15.5 lbs) recognized in 1930 by the AKC. They were originally bred  as working terriers. This agile dog willingly squeezes into narrow spaces after prey. They possess a wiry coat and that super cute “scruffy old man” face. Borders are described as having an otter head. As far as coat maintenance, it is water-resistant and needs only occasional brushing. Hand stripping twice a year is recommended.

The breed “originated in the border country between England and Scotland, and may be one of the oldest kinds of terriers in Great Britain” (#1). In the 18th century, Borders had to find their own food on top of protecting their owner’s stock. They were built in such a way that they could keep pace with a horse as well as track down a fox. This hunting breed is affectionate in the home and require lots of exercise, as they are pretty active.

For a bit more information on the Border Terrier, here’s the Breed All ABout It segment:



  1. AKC – Border Terrier

The Corded Komondor

Hope you remembered to make your epic 11/11/11 11:11 wish! And also, maybe, cried a little inside (or outwardly) since the very last Harry Potter movie is released on DVD today. ;_;


Ch. Gillian's Quintessential Quincy (born Apri...

Image via Wikipedia

This gorgeous working dog, that I am DYING to see in person, is best known by the long cords that its coat forms with age. Originally a working dog of Hungary, the Komondor is used to guard sheep and livestock. Due to its protective instincts with livestock, it can extend the same mentality towards its owners and be wary around strangers. The lifestyle for which it was bred also adds to a need for moderate exercise.

The coat is dense and protects from attacks as well as letting them blend in with their charges. It attracts dirt and insects, and so, must be regularly inspected. Since it becomes corded naturally, brushing isn’t necessary but the cords must be pulled apart to avoid matting in the heavy coat.

The breed doesn’t face many hereditary issues but can be affected by the following:

They are more prone to parasites due to their coats and their ears can be easily infected since their is no air circulation in them. Coat maintenance spans out to the feet as well to prevent infection and/or matting in the fur between the pads of the Komondorok (plural form of Komondor, weird I know).

To see more about this breed and breed standards, you can visit the AKC site!




Image via Wikipedia

The Kooikerhondje is a spaniel type dog that is rapidly gaining popularity in the US (not yet an AKC breed). The breed almost went extinct after WWII. They are working dogs that were originally for duck hunting and tolling in the Netherlands. “They were used to lure and drive ducks into ‘kooien’ (cages in the form of canals with traps at the ends), where the hunter (the so called Kooiker) could easily catch the fowl.” (#1)

Kooiker’s are alert, happy dogs that seek to please their owners. They have waterproof coats (which help in duck hunting) that requires minimal maintenance.

In terms of health:

Here’s some more information on the Kooikerhondje courtesy of Animal Planet:


  1. Wikipedia – Kooikerhondje

The Vibrant Vizsla

Profile of a 5-month-old Vizsla with the AKC s...

Image via Wikipedia

The Vizsla (veesh-la) is a hunting dog with a short coat in a light rust color. To see breed standards click here. We had a female in the hospital yesterday suffering from neck pain and in need of X-rays. She was pretty even-tempered despite being pretty nervous.

The breed comes from  Hungary where they were used as hunting dogs and companions for the Magyar hordes. Depictions of the breed can be found as far back as the 10th century. Like the, Leonberger, Vizslas faced extinction around WWII. They had previously been overrun by Pointer breeds (English and German Shorthair) in the 1800s. Vizslas were rejuvenated from a mere 12 individuals. Post WWII, the breed came to the US where the Vizsla Club of America was formed to gain AKC status (official November 25, 1960). They were part of the development of breeds such as the Wire-haired Vizsla and the Weimaraner.

Vizsla life expectancy is 10-14 years. Illnesses they can suffer from (though they are a pretty healthy dog) include: (#3)


  1. AKC – Vizsla
  2. Wikipedia – Vizsla history
  3. WIkipedia – Vizsla health
VMCAS Countdown Deadline: 4 days

The Lovely Leonberger


Image via Wikipedia

The Leonberger is a gorgeous, large breed of dog, listed by the AKC as a working dog. (For breed standards, see the link below). They’re a very sweet dog and a great family companion. We had one Leonberger in the vet hospital who came up almost to my shoulder (I’m only 5’3″). She was SUPER sweet and the hair on her ears was crimped, which made her look even sweeter.

Leonbergers hail from Leonberg, Germany around the 1800’s where they were bred to be family, farm and draft dogs. They are reported to be a cross between a female Newfoundland and “a “barry” male from the Great St. Bernard Hospice and Monastery (which would later create the Saint Bernard breed). Later, according to Essig, a Pyrenean mountain dog was added, resulting in very large dogs with the long white coats that were the fashion for the time” (#2). “The breed caught the attention of popular German artists who used them as models, and they’ve even been featured on the stamps of various European countries as well” (#1).


After World War I and II the Leonbergers faced extinction. A mere 5 dogs survived WWI and 8 survived WWII. Many lost their owners and had to fend for themselves. Leos were also used to pull carts of ammunition.

They are a generally healthy breed. As hip dysplasia plagues large breeds, Leonberger breeders tend to screen their litters and leave dysplastic individuals out of the next breeding round. Other ailments for the Leonberger that they can develop or inherit include (#3):

  • heart problems
  • Inherited Leonberger Paralysis/Polyneuropathy (ILPN)
  • osteosarcoma
  • hemangiosarcoma
  • Osteochondrosis Dissecans
  • allergies
  • digestive disorders
  • cataracts
  • entropian/ectropian eyelids
  • progressive retinal atrophy (PRA)
  • perianal fistulas
  • thyroid disorders
  • bloat

The average recorded lifespan for this breed is 7 years as they can be affected by some serious diseases. 


  1. American Kennel Club
  2. Wikipedia – Leonberger History
  3. Wikipedia – Health

The Rhodesian Ridgeback

Examples of Ridges.

Image via Wikipedia

We’ve had a few of these super cute dogs come in to the hospital for various reasons. The Rhodesian Ridgeback is in the hound group according the American Kennel Club. They are also known as the African Lion Hound as they were bred as protectors and hunters. The most interesting feature of this dog is the strip of fur along the spine that grows in sz the opposite direction of the rest of the fur. The ridge is caused by a mutation that studies suggest is autosomal dominant (which basically means you only need one copy of the allele in the set to make the trait visible).

In my experience, they’re pretty obedient, laid back dogs but don’t really pay too much attention to strangers. They can have several health issues including the following:

“The Ridgeback ranks number six in terms of most affected breeds for thyroid problems recorded by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals” (#3).

With good care, the Ridgeback can live 10-12 years. They do require a good amount of exercise to avoid boredom and subsequent behavioral issues.



  1. AKC
  2. Wikipedia – Ridgeback ridge genetics
  3. Wikipedia – Ridgeback health

VMCAS Deadline Countdown: 18 days