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Latest Message Board Topics

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)

Progressive Retinal Atrophy is a group of eye diseases of the retina, which lead to blindness. It has actually become a bit of a catch-all term for a variety of conditions, each with different specific mechanisms, affecting different breeds at different ages, but the common factor is the blindness that ultimately results from the diseased retina.

A brief discussion of the function of the retina will help in understanding PRA and its various forms. The retina is the innermost layer of the back of the eye, and it contains the cells that are sensitive to light ("photoreceptors") and the nerves structures that run from those cells through the optic nerve and, ultimately, to the brain. There are two types of photoreceptors: rods, which function in dim light, detect shape and motion, do not differentiate color, and are more concentrated around the perimeter of the retina; and cones, which function in brighter light, detect color, and are more concentrated in the central area of the retina.

The two major categories of retinal diseases typically grouped under Progressive Retinal Atrophy are (1) retinal dysplasia, where the key cells of the retina do not develop properly in the first eight weeks of life, and (2) retinal degeneration, where the cells do develop normally in the fetus and early puppyhood, but degenerate later in life. Additionally, some forms of PRA may affect only the rod cells or only the cone cells of the retina.
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Recent Visitor Comments
Irish Terrier
To Train or not to train. for an Irish Terrier puppy, it will be well advised to find an experienced terrier trainer. Balance with proper socialization early on in your puppy's life. Get your puppy accustomed to nail trimming and grooming now. You don't necessarily need to groom an I.T. puppy, but get them used to the feel of a smooth soft bristle baby brush (for example). If you wait until later, it will not go as smoothly.

Irish Terrier
Choosing an Irish Terrier puppy with a sweet temperament is important, but no guarantee forever. Be very wise when introducing to other dogs, make sure they are also very nice dogs. If exposed to aggressive behavior, an Irish Terrier will of course defend itself, and there will be no turning back. Avoid situations where your pup is forced to defend itself. That is your job, to keep your puppy safe at all times and in every situation.

Glen of Imaal Terrier
Recently we rescued of Glen of Imaal from our local SPCA. She is 4 yrs old and is a very focused little girl. A mind of her own, not real affectionate, but very loyal at the same time. She has trained me well.

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Featured Breed -

Bulldog

The Bulldog At a Glance
Recognized By AKC, CanKC, UKC, CKC, KCUK, FCI, AFDSB
Country of Origin Great Britain
Life Expectancy 10 yrs
Height Range 12 - 15 in
Weight Range 45 - 55 lbs
Colors White; Fawn; Red; Red
Brindle; Any above with
White markings; Piebald
(predominantly white)
Trainability Medium. Very attentive, but would rather learn what they can get away with.
With Children Excellent. Loves to play but not demanding.
With Animals Good except at feeding time.
Climate Suffers in heat
Indoor/Outdoor Predominantly Indoor
Exercise Reqd Low. Lazy.
Grooming Reqd Generally low, but requires ear, wrinkle, and dental care.
Bulldog Information
One of the most distinctive breeds in appearance, the Bulldog has changed dramatically over the years. Originally bred for bull- and bear-baiting, their origins have defined much of their appearance. Their strong jaws and short muzzle were perfect for hanging tenaciously onto a bull, and their front-heavy weight distribution and short back made it difficult for the bull to shake them. Although today's Bulldog retains many of those physical characteristics, the personality of the modern Bulldog is completely different. They are loving, gentle dogs who live for human attention but demand very little. They love to play, but rarely initiate it. Their docile, tolerant, and attentive nature makes them excellent with children, although older Bulldog puppies can be a little too playfully strong and clumsy for toddlers. As adults, they're more careful and passive about play, but they never completely grow up.

It is a widely-held misconception that Bulldogs are not very intelligent. In general, they are actually highly intelligent dogs who want to play, cuddle, or have their tummies rubbed, rather than learn some obedience trick. However, if you can keep it fun, they can learn the basic commands. Their true intelligence, though, is more subtle. They are masters at figuring things out... most especially figuring out how to get their way. In fact, they often think 'no' means 'wait until I'm not looking;' they are great at making you think they can't reach the table, or the bed... until you're not looking; and if all else fails, they're masters of the guilt trip. They seem to know that the sad, pouty face and the carefully-placed sigh can get them most anything. They truly have a human-like quality, and their feelings are easily hurt. But they're quick to forgive, especially with a treat and a hug!

The Bulldog is not a demanding breed by nature, but they do require a family to have a strong knowledge of the breed and its healthcare requirements. If you aren't willing to commit to possible frequent vet visits, then a Bulldog isn't for you. The breed is essentially man-made, and they have been bred for specific physical traits. Unlike most breeds, where nature has shaped their physical characteristics to fit their function and their environment, Bulldogs aren't built for thriving in any natural environment. So before welcoming a Bulldog into your home, the first step is to become knowledgeable about the breed, and the second step is to find a vet that is experienced with Bulldogs. That is not to say that Bullies can't be healthy... they simply rely on you to keep them healthy, and to care for them in general. One critical note: Anesthetizing any dog has its risks, but with Bulldogs, it is very serious. Because of their unusual airways and difficulty breathing, the muscle relaxation that comes with anesthesia can easily cause their airway to collapse. Sadly, many Bullies have been lost in simple, non-emergency procedures that involved anesthesia. That is but one reason for finding a vet that is very experienced with the breed. It is also a reason that breeding is undertaken by only the most knowledgeable, experienced, and committed families... over 90 percent of litters are born via Caeserian section, and care of the newborn puppies is extremely difficult.

Overall, the Bulldog can be a wonderful addition to your family, if you are willing to commit the time to learn about the breed and provide the proper health care. Equally importantly, they need your time, companionship, and love. In return, you will get unconditional affection (except for the occasional pouting) and a delightful, often comical friend.

Quote from the Bulldog Mind: 'I'm not a dog, I'm a Person!... only shorter.'
Click to find:   Bulldog Puppies For Sale   |   Bulldog Breeders   |   Bulldog Information

Dog Question of the Week

Some answers to last week's question:
What is your dog's strangest trick?
This Week's Question:
What is your dog's strangest trick?
My dog Katie will go get the newspaper every morning and take it out of the plastic bag!
Mary Beth from Detroit, MI, USA
We have a dog named Benjamin, and he won't take his vitamin unless we put it on his nose for him to flip up and catch.
Walt from MA, USA
I have trained my dog to jump rope and he loves it. Now he won't let my daughter jump rope by herself.
Jean-Paul from Nice, FRA
We taught Twinkie to carry a purse! Her treats are in there and she won't open the purse herself... she waits for us to open it and give them to her!
Ben from New York, NY, USA
Our dog Skipper pretends to fall off the sofa. He did once by accident and we cuddled him afterward so he started doing it over and over for attention.
Rhonda from Boulder, CO, USA
My dog learned how to skateboard! Well, getting there, anyway. She can ride it and push, but still working on steering...
Barrett from Norcross, GA, USA
Dog Question of the Week
What is your dog's strangest trick?
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