Friday, February 26, 2010

Where, Oh, Where Did Those Little Dogs Come From?

It's hard to believe but a new report indicates that scientists have pinpointed the origins of small dogs. The scientists believe that little dogs can trace their roots to the Middle East 12000 years ago!

Toy and small dogs are my particular interest even though I love all dogs (and cats, etc.) but I had believed conventional wisdom which indicated that most small dogs were bred down from large dogs. The irony in this that while Miniature Pinschers look like tiny Doberman Pinschers, the Miniature Pinscher is the older of the two breeds.

A new article in BMC Biology indicates that one gene is responsible for the size of dogs. Now, where I take exception to this is where the report indicates that they probably go back to the Middle Eastern grey wolf, which was smaller than other wolves, that those wolves were domesticated. However, dogs aren't wolves and wolves aren't dogs so that part of the equation would seem to be off.

It's a version of the gene 1GF1 that they believe determines the small size of dogs. Indeed, dogs did start out larger. Belgiam, Russia and and Germany would seem to be where the large dogs originated. It was thousands of years later that the smaller dogs appeared in the Middle East.

Confused yet? I'll be thinking about this for awhile...

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Have You Heard About The Toby Project?

Well, have you? Heard about The Toby Project? If not, perhaps you should. It's not unique but it is noteworthy. Founder Andrew J. Kaplan, D.V.M. is the person who is behind The Toby Project but it is a combined effort of people, including their advisory board.

The Toby Project is a mobile spay/neuter in New York City that is available in all of New York City's Five Boroughs. Not every dog needs to be intact. Only those owned by responsible breeders who show their cats or dogs, do proper health checks to rule out genetic diseases and show their cats and dogs to get objective opinions on whether or not they meet the standard for their breed should be intact. Those cats and dogs should also have the proper temperament before they are chosen for breeding.

Spaying before the first heat will eliminate mammary cancer; neutering prevents testicular cancer. There are other benefits to having a spayed or neutered pets including the lessening of roaming, a cleaner house since males won't mark indoors and females won't go through the messiness of heat and you won't have male dogs from miles away parked in front of your home, whining and carrying on.

The TobyProject offers free or low-cost spaying and neutering as well as rabies vaccinations. Free would be for Pitbulls as well as mixed breed cats and dogs. However, it's important to note that the fee for purebred dogs and pedigreed cats is more than reasonable, as is the fee for a Rabies vaccination.

Bringing the clinics to the owners means that there's really no excuse for not having a pet spayed or neutered, nor is there any excuse for not giving a pet the Rabies vaccination that is mandatory in every State. The Toby Project has expanded to include a feral cat spay/neuter program which will allow feral colonies to live out their lives in relative peace without creating more feral cats.

It costs $230,000. per year to operate a fully-equipped spay/neuter van. The Toby Project depends upon donations from caring individuals. No gift is too small because when put with other small donations, they can really add up.

For more information, including how you can help, visit