DOG E-news, February, 2006

Labs still #1, Christmas puppy training help and other news

Good grief! We sure are lax in getting these E-newsletters out. No excuses, though, just a New Year’s Resolution to be more prompt.

This DOG E-news contains:

No surprise here: Labs are still Numero Uno!

For the 16th year, the Labrador Retriever is AKC’s number one dog in individual and litter registrations with numbers that dwarf the totals of the second place Golden Retriever. A total of  137,867 individual Labradors were registered in 2005, down a bit from 146,714 in 2004.

Remaining breeds in the Top 10 were: Golden Retriever, 48,509; Yorkshire Terriers, 47,238; German Shepherd Dogs, 45,014; Beagles, 42,952; Dachshunds, 38,566; Boxers, 37,268; Poodles, 31,638; Shih Tzu, 28,087; and Miniature Schnauzers, 24,144.

This is the Yorkie’s first time in the number three spot; the little terrier jumped from fifth spot in 2004 to pass both the Beagle and the GSD.

AKC registers 154 breeds of dogs. In sharp contrast with the Top 10, the bottom 10 may as well be categorized as rare breeds. Here are their stats beginning with the Komondorok in 145th place with 76 registrations. Sealyham Terriers and Canaan Dogs had 75 registrations each; Finnish Spitz had 61; Dandie Dinmont Terriers, 51; Glen of Imaal Terriers, 49; American Foxhounds,  48; Otterhounds, 44; Harriers, 42; and English Foxhounds, 22.

Overall registrations were down from 958,641in 2004 to 920,804 in 2005 but are higher than the 2003 total of 915,671.

To learn more about Labs and Yorkies, check out “Labrador Retriever: A good family dog for an active household” ( and “Yorkies, Silkies, and Aussies: A tale of three terriers” (

Training help for those holiday puppies

We’ve said it before and are saying it again ... The luster of new puppies often flags at the end of January. The kids don’t want to leave their computer games and DVDs to take the pup outside, especially if it’s cold and rainy. Mom and Dad thought the kids would take care of puppy chores and are tired of nagging, cleaning up puddles or piles, and scolding a pup that chews the furniture and steals things. Everyone is frustrated that the pup isn’t housetrained, jumps on visitors, begs at the table, and tries to escape out the door.

Help is here, so relax, take a deep breath, and browse the Dog Owner’s Guide training articles at Whatever else you read, be sure to check out “The first six months Puppies are never too young to learn” ( and “The joys and frustrations of new puppies: It's not ALL fun and games!” (

Legislative news from around the country

January starts a new legislative season in many states, and lawmakers are eager to solve real or perceived problems and get their names on new bills before election time rolls around. Unfortunately, many of these bills adversely affect dogs and dog owners.

This year is no different. While SB 1139, the federal bill to license home breeders of dogs awaits amendments in the US Senate, various state and local legislatures are examining bills that would ban ear cropping, restrict or ban breeds, or subject dog breeders to licensing. Some of these bills are introduced at the request or with the backing of groups that oppose dog breeding or consider animal husbandry practices such as ear cropping and tail docking to be cruel. Others result from serious animal control problems confronted by communities that have failed to enforce reasonable laws that hold owners responsible for the actions of their dogs. 

S1139 requires that all breeders of more than six litters and all sellers of more than 25 dogs purchase a federal license to continue to pursue their hobby. The American Kennel Club is trying to negotiate changes in the bill that would clarify the language and allow it to do the inspections, but even with the changes, it is a bad bill. For more information, see the July 2005 E-news (, visit the National Animal Interest Alliance action alert at, and check out the NAIA Trust alert at

In addition to the federal bill, dog owners in the following states are facing serious attempts to curtail their rights and their opportunities to own or breed the dogs of their choice.

The California legislature passed a law allowing cities and towns to restrict dogs by breed, and many local governments are hurrying to list breeds they don’t like and require that all dogs of those breeds be sterilized.

The Illinois Legislature is looking at several dog bills, including statewide breed restrictions (HB 4213) and an increase in punishment for intact dogs that behave aggressively (HB4238).

Vermont lawmakers are considering S250, a bill to ban ear-cropping.

Virginia dog and cat breeders face S55, an onerous breeder licensing bill that requires an annual license of $150 for everyone who sells a dog, cat, non-human primate, Guinea pig, hamster, or rabbit as a pet.

Hurricane aftermath: More puppies; more attention to disaster plans

Hurricanes Katrina and Rita highlighted the need for a national disaster plan for animals, and the American Veterinary Medical Association established a core committee to conduct a summit meeting to address the issue. Participants will be the AVMA, including representatives of its four veterinary medical assistance teams; veterinary colleges in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas; federal departments of agriculture and emergency relief management; the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals; and the Humane Society of the US.

The relief effort to save dogs and other animals made homeless by these devastating storms was monumental. Groups that responded were immediately made aware of the lack of resources and training for handling thousands of animals that needed food, medical attention, and a dry place to sleep. Ultimately, thousands of dogs and other animals were moved from the disaster area to shelters, rescues, and foster homes throughout the US. Many were eventually reunited with their owners, but most were released for adoption to new families. The cost of transportation, medical care, housing, and food was borne by individual shelters and foster families and by donations to HSUS and the ASPCA.

Meanwhile, because spay and neuter campaigns and services are lacking in the region, many dogs remain in the storm areas, fending for themselves and producing the next generation of shelter puppies.

State-of-the-art diagnostics available for pets

The Iams Company opened its third magnetic resonance imaging center in Redwood City, California, in September 2005. The other centers opened in Vienna, Virginia, in 2002 and North Carolina State University in 2004.

Magnetic resonance scanning uses magnetic energy and radio waves to create detailed images of tissue that enable accurate diagnosis of disease and injury. MRI is non-invasive and painless.

A veterinary referral is necessary to have the procedure done. Cost of an MRI for a pet ranges approximately from $1500-1800, and pet insurance policies may pick up part of the cost.

Iams partnered with ProScan International, a leading provider of technical assistance for MRI diagnostics used in  human medicine.

For more information about MRI technology, visit To check on pet insurance policies, go to To learn more about the Iams MRI centers, go to and search for “Pet Imaging Center.”

Norma Bennett Woolf

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