On Saint Patrick's Day we turn our attention to all things Irish: shamrocks, the Blarney Stone and, of course, things green. The Emerald Isle has also brought us a wonderful selection of dogs. Back in the time of Saint Patrick, breeds like the water spaniel, wolfhound and the beagle were reserved for nobility; commoners had to be content with terriers.
The popular and easy to care for molly, platy, guppy, and swordtail all belong to a family collectively known as live-bearing tooth-carps, or Poeciliidae . These fish closely resemble killifish and minnows. They are all natives of the tropical and sub-tropical regions of the western hemisphere, from Central to South America, where they live in small streams.
The mutt is the all-American dog. Call him a random-breed, a mixed-breed or a mongrel, at his best he's loyal, healthy, smart and friendly - a virtual melting pot of positive canine characteristics. For many animal lovers, owning a mutt is a badge of honor. Many come into the world as "surprises," born of a homeless stray or a roaming house pet, then sent off to an animal shelter.
The chantilly/tiffany, a dipped-in-chocolate brown feline breed with a confusing name, is prized for a beautiful semi-long coat, long, semi-foreign body style, and gently pleasing personality. While currently rare, the breed has a small but devoted group of cat fanciers with a taste for chocolate. In fact, this breed is billed as the chocoholics delight.
Noted in the Guinness Book of World Records as the smallest breed of domestic cat, Puras, as they are affectionately called, are gaining fans for their appealing personalities and affectionate natures. While still rare, partly because of the controversy surrounding their origins, these feisty little mouse warriors are the cat's meow, say fanciers.
The Abyssinian, possibly descended from cats worshiped by the ancient Egyptians, is a colorful feline known for her energy and striking ticked pattern. The Aby is popular with cat lovers who enjoy busy, active, playful cats. Life with the Aby is never boring - fanciers claim that you won't find finer home entertainment than one of these dynamic couch cougars.
The cocker spaniel is a very popular pet, available in two distinct versions. The American cocker is typically known as a companion pet and is a little smaller. The English cocker is more often used to hunt and has a little more pleasant disposition. Often ranked as one of the top dog breeds, the cocker spaniel is the smallest member of the sporting dog family and was accepted by the American Kennel Club in 1892.
Lively, tenacious and independent are words commonly associated with the Parson Russell terrier. Originally bred to assist in fox hunting, he still retains much of his hunting characteristics. The Parson Russell terrier (previously Jack Russell Terrier) is quickly becoming a popular breed, helped no doubt by the hit sitcom "Frasier," which features a terrier named Eddie.
The only natural breed of spotted cat, the Egyptian mau is an agile, strong cat with a beautifully spotted short coat. Unlike the spotted Bengal, however, the mau is pure feline - it possesses no wildcat blood in its ancestry. What it does have is a long, fascinating history that may even go back to the time of the cat cult in ancient Egypt.
Also known as the longhaired Manx, the Cymric is a plush, huggable breed with the unique qualities of the Manx plus a dense, semi-long coat. Like the Manx, the Cymric is one tail short - the defining characteristic of the breed. While some unenlightened souls think that a cat is ill-dressed indeed without an elegant tail, Cymric fanciers believe a cat should not be defined by its tail any more than humans should be defined by the style of their clothes or the color of their skin.
Also called the Sacred Cat of Burma, the Birman has been around for centuries. Its true origin is shrouded in mystery; few breeds have the aura of enchantment that this breed enjoys. The Birman's beautiful colorpoint pattern, long, silky fur, brilliant blue eyes, and pure white gloves make the breed a lovely addition to the cat fancy.
Called Wegies (Wee-jees) by those who know and love them, Norwegian forest cats have been found in their native land of Norway for hundreds of years, perhaps thousands. Large, longhaired and lovable, Wegies are one of the biggest purebreds, so it's a good thing that they have gentle temperaments. According to some accounts, Norwegian forest cats were companions to the Vikings and traveled the world with Leif Erickson to keep his ships free of rodents.
Illiger's macaws are small green birds (about 15 inches long) similar in appearance to severe's macaws except for a small spot of red on the forehead. The birds - also called blue-winged macaws - have red belly patches and long, tapered maroon-and-blue tails. Their naked facial skin is white, with rows of black feather lines.
When you first encounter the Cornish rex, you might think you're looking at something that beamed down from the Mother Ship. The breed's willowy contours, curly coat, satellite dish ears and large soulful eyes give it an unsettling otherworldly appearance. Once you get to know the breed, however, you'll realize these cats are pure feline.
The Newfoundland has a long history of close companionship with people. A working dog, this breed is often used in water rescue operations. The Newfie is a big, sweet, lovable family protector, confidante and, sometimes, savior. History and Origin The exact origin of the Newfoundland is uncertain. Ancestors are thought to have arrived to the country of Newfoundland with fisherman from Europe.
Morkie? What is a Morkie? It is an adorable, unique dog derived from the Maltese and the Yorkshire Terrier. Though gaining in popularity, these mixed breed dogs, also referred to as designer breeds or hybrids, are not recognized by the American Kennel Club. Because Yorkiepoos are not purebred, there is significant variance in the dogs' traits, as they can have any combination of the Yorkie's and Matese's characteristics.
If you have never seen one before, a trimmed Bedlington terrier may look a little strange. With a quick glance, he may be mistaken for a lamb. Long legged, with a characteristic topknot trim, the Bedlington is an excellent house pet as well as an eager hunter. History and Origin Prior to 1820, the history of the Bedlington terrier is shrouded in mystery.
The basenji is unique among dogs, and not just because the breed pulled off an upset at the 2001 Crufts Dog Show. The basenji is called the "African Barkless Dog" because the breed cannot bark; instead, the dog makes a sort of chortling sound. Native to the African continent, the basenji can still be found hunting with his tribal masters deep in the forests of Zaire.
For centuries, the poodle has been one of the most popular breeds in the world and a symbol of elegance and opulent luxury. The poodle is associated with France, but many countries have laid claim to the breed. Available in three different sizes and many different colors, there is a poodle for every taste.
The Boston terrier is one of the few truly American breeds. Developed in Boston, Mass., the Boston terrier has steadily increased in popularity since the late 1800s. Though not one of the top dog breeds, the Boston's characteristic coloration and appearance make the dog readily recognizable. History and Origin The Boston terrier was originally developed as a cross between the English bulldog and English terrier and called "round heads" or "bull terriers.
The Yorkshire terrier, well known for long flowing tresses, is a tiny but tough breed. Originally used to hunt rats, the Yorkie is a popular active pet. The Yorkshire terrier has been one of the top breeds based on the American Kennel Club (AKC) tallies. History and Origin As Scottish weavers migrated from Scotland to England in the mid 19th century, they brought along various terriers used to hunt rats.