Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

A Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever.

Image via Wikipedia

The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is the smallest of the retrievers. There was one at the vet hospital yesterday who’d gotten a bath. I had the honor of brushing him out. Talk about the sweetest dog ever. He was really good for me when I was working on the matting on his legs and even went so far as to roll over on his back for belly rubs. He’d just been adopted, and I’d say his family is pretty lucky.

This breed was developed in the early 19th century to lure and retrieve waterfowl. The act of them playing around the water would lure the ducks within shooting range (called “tolling”). They’re an intelligent and loving dog who would do better if given some sort of job. Maintenance for their water repellent coat is low (occasional baths and brushing).

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers are generally a healthy dog. Their lifespan is about 12-14 years. They do face some genetic disorders, possibly due to a small gene pool. Disorders include:

  • Addison’s disease
  • Progressive retinal atrophy
  • Hip dysplasia

If you’d like more information on the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, you can visit the AKC website.



  1. AKC – Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever
  2. Wikipedia – Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

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

Bearded Dragon (Pogona vitticeps)

Archie his first day with me

I thought a good first post would be to give a little information on Bearded Dragons (Pogona vitticeps) in general and my beardie, Archipelago.

Archie is about 8 inches long right now, which, based on some of the things I’ve read would put him around 2 or 3 months old. He can grow to be about 24″ long and, with good care, can live upwards of 10 years. To go about sexing a dragon, there are bumps (one for female or two for male) underneath the tail above the vent. The younger they are, the harder they are to sex which could very well mean that in a year I could look again and have to find a female equivalent of “Archipelago” as a name.

(ADW: P. vitticeps) The taxonomic breakdown of Pogona vitticeps is as follows:

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Subphylum: Vertebrata
  • Class: Reptilia
  • Order: Squamata
  • Suborder: Iguania
  • Family: Agamidae
  • Genus: Pogona
  • Species: Pogona vitticeps

Bearded dragons are named for their spikey throat pouch referred to as the beard, which can be used in both mating and aggression displays. They also have a broad, triangular head, a round body, stout legs and other common features. They reach sexual maturity around 1 or 2 years of age and mate during the Australian spring and summer months (Sept-Mar) unless captive bred where they mate year round. An interesting behavior, that I hope Archie learns, is arm waving. It may be used for species recognition and/or submission. Beardies are opportunistic omnivores with large stomachs. You can see Archie displaying his appetite here. They’re a generally docile reptile and tend to be inquisitive. Archie is in a stage where he has bursts of energy and will just leap into the air from my arm or shoulder and try to run off somewhere.

For more information on beardies, check in to ADW and if you have any questions about Archipelago or anything else, don’t hesitate to comment!

::Plan for the next post – extra digits on animals::