Breed of the Week: Pomeranian

I know this is late (I blame my cold 😷), but I give a big thanks to Patricia for her help in compiling the info I needed for this post while I finished Luna’s birthday post.

This week we’re looking at the little fluff balls known as Pomeranians partially because our grandma’s dog, Nanu, is half Pom and because many of my Instagram followers (shout out to all the followers of OurFluffyFam on Instagram, we love you guys!) have or are fans of this adorable little dog 😄

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Nanu

Descended from large sled dog breeds, the now-tiny Pomeranian has a long and interesting history.  Pomeranians are often referred to as “the little dog who thinks he can.”  Much like Chihuahuas, Poms have large personalities and are not deterred by their small size.  They are bright-eyed, foxy-faced, solid little dogs with an active personality and the drive to compete in sports like obedience, agility, tracking, and flyball.

Their intelligence has prompted people to train some Poms as hearing assistance dogs.  They also make excellent therapy dogs and bring delight and comfort to the sick and elderly in hospitals and nursing homes.

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Queen Victoria

Also known as Zwergspitz, Dwarf Spitz, Loulou or, affectionately, Pom or Pom Pom.  They were originally developed, though not perfected, as a breed in the Pomerania province of Germany.  They descended from larger Spitz breeds, specifically the German Spitz.  They used to be much larger, weighing in around 30 lbs.  Queen Victoria fell in love with a sable and red Pomeranian named Marco who weighed only 12 lbs.  She went on to breed more Poms and, because of Marco, she and others bred for smaller and smaller Poms.  The size of Poms dropped by half during her reign even as the breed’s popularity rose.

At only 3 to 7 pounds, Poms are the smallest of the Spitz family, which includes the Samoyed, Norwegian Elkhound, German Spitz, Schipperke, and American Eskimo Dog.

 

Pomeranians are intelligent and loyal to their families.  They do, however, sometimes bite off more than they can chew by challenging a larger and stronger dog with the mistaken impression they can win.  Such rash and dangerous behaviors can be curbed by early and frequent socialization with dogs and other animals.

With a powerful bark much bigger than their actual size, Poms make excellent watchdogs.  Due to their tendency to bark excessively, though, they should be trained early on to be quiet on command.  They tend to be wary of strangers, but will be perfectly friendly once properly introduced.

Poms don’t need a lot of exercise, only one or two daily walks or play sessions.  Their intelligence means they get bored easily.  This can be mitigated by introducing new games and tricks for them to learn.  Puzzle toys are also a great way to keep them entertained.  Training should be kept short and fun with plenty of treats, pets, and praise as Poms are known to have a short attention span.

Pomeranians adapt well to apartment living and can live comfortably in both small or large households.  Not overly dependent upon their owners, Poms can be left alone for moderate amounts of time without worry.  Small children are not recommended as they can accidentally hurt these little dogs with their small frame and thin legs.

They come in a wide variety of solid colors, with red, orange, white or cream, blue, brown, or black being the most common.  Rarely, you might see a white Pom with colored markings (called parti-colored), or a black and tan one, or even an orange and sable one.

 

Although they have a double coat, it is easy to take care of and usually only requires a regular, weekly brushing, perhaps less if they spend most of their time indoors.  Because of their double coat, they do pretty well in the cold, but one should still keep an eye on them.  Hot temperatures can be a problem because of their thick coat.  They can overheat easily, and owners should keep an especially close eye on them on hot days.  It is recommended they not be left outside alone for extended periods of time.

Discipline is important for Poms.  They are good at learning tricks, but will take over the leadership role if no one else steps up.  This behavior should not be encouraged as they can then become snappy and difficult to control.  They can be hard to housetrain, and crate training is highly recommended.  Once housetrained, it shouldn’t be difficult to train them to potty on puppy pads if one lives in a high rise apartment.

If you are interested in adopting or purchasing a Pomeranian, please do your research.  Without the proper training and socialization, Poms can be headstrong, yappy, and difficult to control.  If they have the right training and frequent socialization, however, these little dogs can be wonderful companions for just about anyone!  They’re intelligent, loyal, loving, active, and floofy dogs with a personality to match!

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Fun Fact:  2 Pomeranians were among the 3 dogs that survived the sinking of the Titanic in 1812.

Do you or have you owned a Pomeranian? Please tell us about him/her in the comments below!  I’d love to hear about your experiences with the breed.

Have suggestions?  Comment below!

Have a breed you’d like to see featured in our next Breed of the Week?  Leave your suggestion in the comments below!

If you liked this post, please consider becoming a part of our Fluffybutt Family by liking, sharing, and/or following our blog.  We’d love to share our journey with you!

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Happy Birthday!!

Guess whose birthday it is today!  That’s right, our very own Luna Persistence Lovegood!  She is officially 2 years old as of today 😁

In celebration of this special fluffybutt’s birth,  let’s go back and take a look at some of her memorable moments.

Me & My Luna Sleeping TogetherMe & My Luna Sleeping Together 1

Here she is taking a nap with Patricia soon after we brought her home 😄  She was such a tiny thing and almost immediately fell in love with her new owner/pack leader.

Learning to play tug-of-war 😁

Luna ready to fetch

The beginning of her obsession with fetch 😐

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Taking lots of naps 😴😴

Going to the dog park for the first time 😀

Playing in the snow for the first time and learning she’s a bit of a scaredy cat 😲

Learning to play nicely with Pixie and that Pixie is no pushover 😃

Staying out of the kitchen with the other fluffybutts 😊

Luna in Her ConeLuna Happy Play Face in Her Cone

Getting spayed and being put in the cone of shame when she refused to leave the incision site alone 😑

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Switching her over to raw food because her stomach can’t handle kibble 😏

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Spending as much time outside as she possibly can (except when it rains) 😎

Trying to catch frisbees 😆

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Doing a fabulous job posing for pictures 📸

And just being her cute, lovable, goofy self 😄

Happy birthday, Luna-lu!!

If any of you are interested in the videos we’ve taken of Luna in her early years through to adulthood, you can take yourselves over to Instagram and find us under ourfluffyfam, Twitter under OurFluffyFam, or Tumblr under fluffybuttsfamily to view them 😁

Enjoying this post?  Please consider becoming a part of our Fluffybutt Family by liking, sharing, and/or following our blog!

Can you pick out our mini panther?

In celebration of National Black Cat Day, I’m going to throw up some images of black cats with only one of our black cat, Bagheera.  Can you pick him out of the crowd?  May the odds be ever in your favor 😋

 

 

The answer will be at the end of the post 😁

Now that we’ve had our fun, let’s discuss black cats and the misconception that they’re bad luck.  That’s exactly what it is, a misconception.  Black cats are no more bad luck than any other cat, if in fact you believe cats in general to be bad luck.  I personally love black cats (and black dogs, but that’s another post entirely).  Take Bagheera as an example.  He is fully and completely a black cat (with a few tiny white hairs mixed in that you can barely see unless you’re really close), yet he is one of the friendliest and most loving cats I’ve ever known.  He loves all people, he even loves dogs, and he will beg attention from any and all of them.  That’s exactly the reason we worry about him, in particular, around Halloween and bring him inside the day before, the day of, and the day after Halloween.  Halloween just seems to bring out the crazy in people and black cats are often targeted for their “bad luck” stigma.  They get shot at, hit, kicked, doused in gas and set on fire, tortured, and even killed.  I can just imagine Bagheera with his super friendly personality strolling right up to someone who means him harm and getting injured or killed by them through no fault of his own.  So I don’t risk it, even though he doesn’t like being cooped up inside.  Better he be unhappy than injured or dead.

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As another example of why black cats are not bad luck, Bagheera has crossed my path over and over again and not once have I noticed an increase in bad luck.  So, where does the superstition come from?

In Europe during times of plague and epidemic, it was believed that a black cat crossing one’s path under the moonlight meant that person was going to die by epidemic.  Rather silly, in my opinion.  I think people were scared and were just looking for something convenient to blame.  It doesn’t help anything that for many centuries witches were thought to be able to change into cats and often those cats were depicted as being black.

And black cats are still associated with witchcraft.  Even in modern times, the superstitions, myths, and stigma remain.  In fact, many shelters have stopped adopting out black cats around Halloween as it was discovered some of them were adopted by people who wanted to torture or kill them either in a ritual or as a sacrifice to keep the Devil away.  As I said, Halloween seems to bring out the crazy in people.

M0005491 Egyptian figure of a cat.

Did you know there are also good superstitions surrounding black cats?  No?  Sadly, these superstitions are not as frequently talked about as the bad ones.  Black cats were, in fact, considered good luck when brought aboard ships.  They were even kept by sailors’ wives to influence the safe return of their husbands.  They were so highly sought after by sailors and their wives that the cost of buying one skyrocketed so high only the well off could afford them.  In Rome, black cats were considered sacred.  But if we go even further back to ancient Egypt, you’ll find black cats were held in high esteem and to harm one was considered a capital crime.  Cats, perhaps especially black cats, were thought to be the manifestation of Bast, the goddess who protected her followers from evil.  When an Egyptian family’s cat died, they were mummified and the family went into mourning.  They were that highly valued!  Truly superstitions surrounding black cats vary from country to country.  For example, in Japan and Britain a black cat crossing one’s path signifies good luck, whereas in the US, and several other European countries, a black cat crossing one’s path means bad luck.

I know I can’t be the only one that finds these superstitions to be ridiculous.  Regardless of how ridiculous it is, though, it’s a fact that black cats are harder to adopt out when compared to cats with more vibrant colors.  They’re the last to be adopted, which means they’re more often than not the first to be euthanized.

Please, please, if you’re looking to adopt a cat, consider adopting one of the less looked at black cats.  They deserve loving homes, too!  They can be, and often are, just as affectionate, just as playful, and just as pawsome as cats of any other color.

Now, the answer to the above question.  Number 6 is our Bagheera!  How many of you guessed right?  Let us know in the comments!

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Like this post?  Please consider becoming a part of our Fluffybutt Family by liking, sharing, and/or following our blog!  We’d love to share our journey with you!

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Until next time, lovelies!

Breed of the Week: French Bulldog

Due to so many of my followers on Instagram having or being fans of the French Bulldog, this week we’re going to be delving into what makes the French Bulldog a French Bulldog and why it may or may not be the dog for you!

Bull Baiting (oil on paper laid on panel)

Despite what the French Bulldog’s name implies, the breed originated in England after bull baiting was outlawed and the larger Bulldogs found themselves jobless.  These Bulldogs were then bred with terriers, ratters, and Pugs to decrease their size for a better companion dog, and started on its way to becoming the French Bulldog so many love in the present day.  These “toy” or “miniature” Bulldogs were then transported by lace workers to France when the Industrial Revolution left them as jobless as the bull baiting Bulldogs.  The dogs quickly gained popularity in France, so much so that almost all of these miniature Bulldogs were transported out of England and into France.  They were given the name Bouledogue Francais.

Not long after gaining popularity in France, the Bouledogue Francais found popularity among Americans.  They nicknamed it the “Frenchie.”

Frenchies are easygoing dogs that love to play but also love to relax with their people.  They don’t require very much exercise, just a little playtime in the backyard or a quick jaunt around the neighborhood once or twice a day.  The only time more exercise might be needed is if they’re overweight.

These dogs are, first and foremost, companion animals.  They love their people and want to be with them as often as possible.  In fact, many Frenchies suffer from separation anxiety if left alone for more than a few hours at a time.  If left alone longer than that, they may engage in destructive behaviors like chewing on things they shouldn’t or going potty in the house. This can be especially prevalent when the Frenchie is young, though it can be minimized somewhat with the right training.

In general, Frenchies get along with everyone, including children.  The females, in particular, may become protective of any children in the home.  One should, however, make sure they are socialized early and often with other dogs as they can become possessive of their people, especially as they like to be the center of attention and may not like it if the spotlight is taken away from them by another canine.

Although Frenchies are intelligent and learn commands quickly, they are also free thinkers and, if training isn’t interesting enough, they’ll find something else to occupy themselves.  Training, therefore, should be consistent, firm, and patient.  One should try to make it a fun experience or turn it into a game to keep them engaged.

Frenchies are ideal for apartment living as they do not need a lot of space nor do they bark without cause.  They’ll bark to let their people know that someone is approaching the door or that something’s wrong, but they won’t bark incessantly just to hear themselves “talk” as other breeds might.

Bulldog Dog SnowBe aware that with the Frenchie’s squished nose, they are not able to cool themselves adequately in high temperatures and, therefore, need to be kept in a cool, comfortable environment.  This usually means inside where the air conditioning is.  Frenchies cannot be left outside all day like certain other dog breeds.  In the summer when temperatures are high, they’re susceptible to heat exhaustion, and in the winter when temperatures are low, they’re susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia.  Even indoors, Frenchies may require a sweater in the winter time due to their short, thin coat.

Their fur should be short, smooth, and fine.  It should have a soft texture, especially around the shoulders and head where the skin wrinkles most.  Grooming is quick and easy and should only be needed once every 2-4 weeks, perhaps even less if they’re indoors most of the time.  Frenchies do shed, but not excessively.

Frenchies’ coats come in several different colors such as, fawn, cream, black brindle, tiger brindle, and brindle pied, which is brindle and white.  While there are “blue” Frenchies, they are not accepted in the show ring due to the health issues that tend to come along with the blue coloring.  One such health issue is alopecia, which is when the color pigment becomes clumped in the hairshaft, itself, and causes it to weaken and fall out.  The condition alopecia, sometimes called “Blue Dog Alopecia,” causes baldness.  Beware breeders that claim that a particular color is rare and worth more money.  These are not reputable breeders and are likely selling puppies from a puppy mill or backyard breeder.  No color is more rare or worth more money than any other.

 

If you’re considering purchasing or adopting a French Bulldog, please do your research.  While wonderful companion animals, Frenchies do have their quirks and idiosyncrasies.  One such thing, is their tendency to develop separation anxiety if left alone for longer than a few hours.  They are also prone to drooling and may be a little bit “gassy.”  If those quirks and idiosyncrasies don’t bother you and you want a companion that will love on you as much as you love on them, that will protect you with all their little heart, and will make you laugh with their silly antics and mischievous nature, the French Bulldog may just be the dog for you!

Frog Dog

Fun Fact:  The French Bulldog is sometimes called “Frog Dog” in reference to the unique way they sit with their hind legs spread to either side of them.

Do you or have you owned a French Bulldog? Please tell us about him/her in the comments below! I’d love to hear about your experiences with the breed.

Have suggestions? Comment below!

Have a breed you’d like to see featured in our next Breed of the Week? Leave your suggestion in the comments below!

If you liked this post, please consider becoming a part of our Fluffybutt Family by liking, sharing, and/or following our blog. We’d love to share our journey with you!

Forget-Me-Not Friday

Forget-Me-Not Friday is about pets we have lost, whether they’ve passed over the Rainbow Bridge, got lost and were never found, or had to be given up for one reason or another. Most of my posts will be limited to cats and dogs as they are what I know best. Tell me about your beloved dog, your adorable cat, your favorite horse, your silly goat, your pet pig, your mischievous ferret, and send a picture with your story to FluffybuttsFamily@mycompanymail.com and I’ll post one picture and one story every first Friday of the month in memory of those pets.

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Coconut Baby

The first Forget-Me-Not Friday will feature Coconut Baby (Coco), my baby girl. This is not an easy story to tell, but I feel it needs to be told.

My dad got Coconut Baby as a 2-month-old puppy, free even though she was purebred because she was the runt of her litter. She was a beautiful Chocolate Lab, and so smart. It wasn’t long before she learned not to bite, before she learned to sit and lay down and stay, before she learned how to play fetch and drop the ball for us, before she learned to “heel” and “lead” in turn. She never grew to be as big as most other Chocolate Labs, but we didn’t care about that. She was our family dog. And she was my baby girl. She slept in my bed most nights. We played together in the empty lots beside our house. We went on long walks together. She was there when I was lonely, there when I was sad, there when I was happy, there when I came home from school, she was just always there. I loved her more than words can express, even if she did sometimes chew on our toy horses and dragged our underwear about if we didn’t put them away properly.

My dad intended to breed her one day so he never got her spayed; however, before he actually decided to breed her, she ended up pregnant twice. She’d managed to get out while she was in heat and came back a day or two later with a semi-expected surprise growing in her belly. The first litter was a litter of seven puppies. In our little house, cramped even for the ten humans living there, it became even more cramped with seven puppies running around, getting into things, soiling the carpets, and generally getting underfoot. Just as I loved Coco, though, I also loved her puppies. Even so, we couldn’t keep them. We just didn’t have the room and didn’t have the finances to care for another dog, not to mention several. So my dad took us to Walmart and set up signs that we had mixed breed puppies for sale (believe me, if I had known better at the time, I would have never agreed to sell them that way). A couple went that day, and more other days, until at last they had all found homes. For several days, Coco searched for her puppies, but eventually, as most do, she settled down and life went on.

Her second litter came after we moved into a larger house with a much larger yard and chain link kennels outside. When she turned up pregnant yet again in the cold fall months, we fashioned a house for her out of straw that would help hold in heat and keep her and the puppies warm. The litter this time was larger. Nine in all. They were mostly black, though some were mottled with Coco’s brown and spots of white. They were, in a word, adorable. With more room we were able to keep them longer and search for good homes for them. They were between 2 and 4 months when our dad finally managed to find homes for all of them. I don’t know how or where he found the homes and, again, if I had known better at the time I would have insisted we go about it a different way.

In any case, after that we were able to prevent her getting out to stand for whatever male dog was in the area. I am ashamed to say my dad did not see her as a member of the family, not like I did in any case. As times became tough and financials were strained, he saw her more as a way to make some quick cash. By this time he and my mom were divorced, but he’d kept Coco as she was, technically, his dog and the house we’d moved into would only allow one small dog, which was my grandma’s Schipperke/Pomeranian mix. Coco was almost ten years old when he paid for a purebred Chocolate Lab to impregnate her. It was a phenomenally bad idea. Even as little as I knew back then about properly caring for a dog, I knew it was bad. The dog was much bigger than her and already she was suffering from arthritis and possible hip dysplasia. Even so, she fell pregnant. Old as she was, the pregnancy was hard on her. She started losing fur. Her skin was dry and itchy. She didn’t have much energy, and though she greeted us with a wagging tail when we visited, her eyes weren’t as bright as they used to be. My heart hurt to watch her and know I could do nothing about how she was being treated. I was trapped by my feelings for my dad, for he was a good dad despite the way he treated our dog, and the desire to help Coco.

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Coconut Baby with puppies Gidget and Gizmo

Finally, she gave birth. Only two puppies survived. Gidget and Gizmo. One male and one female. Coco had two months with them before they were sold. The male for $200, and the female for $250. In that moment, I was beyond disappointed with my dad and furious at the way he’d used our family pet. My baby girl.

From there, things only got worse. He didn’t breed her again, thankfully, but neither did he care for her very well, especially post-pregnancy. She looked unkempt, covered in dandruff, fur falling out, and thinner than she should be.

Then he left. He said he was moving down to Utah or Texas to get a job as a truck driver. He said he’d found someone to take Coco and then left her there at the house. Coco was lost and alone. She sat at the front door and waited for him to come back, for although he treated her poorly, she loved him as only a dog could. She was loyal to a fault. For days she sat by the front door and waited. I tried to bring her to our house. The landlady wouldn’t allow her to stay inside, so she had to be outside. Every day she would disappear and I’d drive back to my dad’s house to find her sitting at the front door waiting for him.

Until, one day, she wasn’t there. The woman cleaning the house told me a man in a green truck had picked her up and taken her away. I searched, drove all around the area, but couldn’t find her. At the time, I had no idea how to find a lost dog, that social sites specifically for lost dogs existed, that I could post on Craigslist and Facebook and shelter sites that we’d lost her. All I knew was that we might be able to put an ad in the newspaper, but we lived out in the country and the closest city with a newspaper was 15-20 minutes away, out of the area I thought she might be. Plus, it cost to put an ad in the paper and we were already financially tight since now our only income came from what my mom could make as a newby and temp worker at her company.

Coco was about 12 years old when she disappeared. I hope and pray she lived out the rest of her life in comfort with someone who appreciated her and loved her as I loved her.

There are many things I wish I did differently. I wish I insisted on vetting the people that wanted to buy Coco’s puppies. I wish I insisted she stay with us when my parents divorced and we moved out, even if it was against the wishes of our landlady. I wish I would have had the courage to call someone to take Coco away from my dad and penalize him for her neglect. Most of all, I wish I could have been with her as she lived out the rest of her life. I miss her dearly and still think of her daily.

This post is in memory of my Coconut Baby. May she never be forgotten.

Remember, you can send in a picture and the story of your beloved pet to FluffybuttsFamily@mycompanymail.com and have them featured on Forget-Me-Not Friday

Breed of the Week: The Mutt 😋

Because today is Mutt’s Day, I’ve decided to take a little break from our Breed of the Week to celebrate all those wonderfully unique mutts out there!

Here’s our mutt, Luna Lovegood, playing with our neighbor’s mutt, Shadow!  Luna, as many of you know, is 1/4 Border Collie, 1/4 Boxer, and 1/2 Whippet 😄 which is an adorable combination if you ask me!  Shadow is 1/2 black Labrador Retriever and 1/2 American Pitbull Terrier, and he is the biggest, mellowest, gentlest goofball I’ve ever seen!  Besides that, he’s 2 years old, just like Luna will be next month 😊

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And here’s my Pixie who is 1/2 Chihuahua and 1/2 Dachshund.  Isn’t she just adorable?

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We can’t forget Grandma’s mutt, Nanu, who is 1/2 Pomeranian and 1/2 Schipperke, a very cute, though sometimes grumpy old man.

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Don’t forget, if you’re in the market for a dog, mutt or otherwise (you’d be surprised how many purebred dogs end up in shelters and rescues), check out your local animal shelter or rescue first.  They have some wonderful canine friends there that would just adore having a furever home and will love you forever for providing it!

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