I love seeing different types of dogs on my travels. The Netherlands, which I visited last month, is home to several interesting dog breeds, some of which can be seen in North America. others are established. Here’s an introduction if you happen to see one in your area.
In Dutch, the word “stabijhoun” means “stand-by-me dog,” and they are indeed dogs who love to be close to their humans, says Ari Goerlich, DVM, who lives with her own Stabyhoun, likes the name of the breed is written in the United States. “They are very cuddly. I love their combination of sensitivity, stubbornness and intelligence.”
The medium-sized staff features a solid black head, black and white body, and white-tipped tail.
The Kooikerhondje — kooiker for short, pronounced “koy-ker” — has a handsome, silky, white and red coat accented by black “earring” tassels, a plum-white tail, and a lively and affectionate personality. Sensitive and intelligent, the spaniel-type dogs, originally bred to lure ducks, guard homes and kill vermin, are highly trainable and devoted to their families. However, they are not for novice dogs.
“The Kooiker can be a little fierce when alerting strangers and impulsive when their prey drive is activated,” says Betty Dalke Wathne, who has had Kooikers for nine years and currently lives with two of them.
To get the best results from this affectionate and athletic dog, a family should have some canine experience and be willing to invest time in consistent and positive training that will challenge them mentally and physically on a regular basis.
Dogs resembling the Markiesje (pronounced “mar-kees-juh”) are often seen in Dutch paintings dating back to the 17th century, but the dogs were not developed and recognized as a distinct breed until the 20th century. Romantically known as the Dutch Tulip Hound or sometimes the Black Pearl, the Markiesje is a small, elegant spaniel species with a silky, medium-length black or black coat with white markings and feathering on the ears, tail, and back of the legs. Cheerful and curious, they like to spend time with their people.
Whether in the police and military, on farms or in the dog sport scene, the Dutch Shepherd is a rising star. In appearance, the breed differs from German shepherds and Belgian shepherds in having a brindle coat and other physical traits. Originally, the versatile dogs not only herded sheep, but also worked as guide dogs, police dogs, and in search and rescue, all areas in which they still excel today.
Dutch people are busy, busy, busy and need a person who can match their intelligence and high activity level. Owner Robin Greubel says: “You need a job, or you invent one that you don’t like. They also require a level of situational awareness that most people are not willing to live with on a daily basis.”
Keeshonden (plural), also known as the Dutch barge dog, acted as a watchdog on barges transporting goods down canals. As befits their guard dog status, Keeshonden are barkers that you should definitely know about before acquiring one. The smiling Dutchman is another nickname for this fluffy spitz breed. The compact dogs have a double coat of a mix of grey, black and cream with small, dark, pointed ears; cream colored legs and feet; a lion-like ruff; a feathered tail that curls down the back and has a jaunty black tip; and distinctive “goggles,” markings and shading around the eyes that make them appear as if they’re wearing glasses, giving them a “smart dog” expression. A thickly hairy rump and hind legs give the impression that the Keeshond is wearing trousers.
Q: My cat keeps throwing up hairballs and I’m tired of stepping on them. Is there a solution?
A: Hairballs — also known as trichobezoars — are nasty, sticky, cigar-shaped clumps of fur that result from a cat’s grooming habits.
Cats clean themselves by licking their fur with their rough tongue. The tongue grabs loose hairs, and after that there’s only one way – down the hatch and into the stomach. But hair is indigestible and eventually forms a clump, your cat has a pecking attack — usually in the middle of the night when you’re trying to sleep — and then you step on it because it blends into the carpet.
But hairballs don’t have to be a normal part of living with a cat. Diet and care can both help prevent them. Plain canned pumpkin — not pumpkin pie filling — is high in fiber and helps ingested hairs find their way through the digestive system instead of coming back up and plopping onto your carpet. Regularly offer your cat a teaspoon of squash mixed with canned food or with a tasty liquid like some water from a can of tuna or clams.
Some cat foods are formulated high in fiber to reduce the occurrence of hairballs. You can also offer treats or hairball gels. Gels that lubricate the hair in the digestive tract to keep it from clumping should not be given if you are already feeding a hairball control diet.
Daily brushing is the best, easiest, and most natural way to prevent hairballs. Brushing removes loose, dead hair and reduces the amount of hair your cat can swallow during grooming.
Sometimes hairballs, or what looks like hairballs, are bad news. They can signal conditions ranging from asthma to heartworm disease. Learn more here: fearfreehappyhomes.com/hairballs. — dr Marty Becker
Have a pet question? Send it to [email protected] or visit Facebook.com/DrMartyBecker.
Budget accounting helps veterinarians, pet owners
• Vets and pet owners will benefit from the spending bill recently passed by Congress and signed into law by President Biden. It increases funding for the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program, which helps veterinarians pay off educational loans in exchange for practicing in areas with a shortage of veterinarians. The Veterinary Services Grants Program received an additional $500,000 to provide grants for the development, implementation and maintenance of veterinary services in rural areas. And $1 million for the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service will strengthen oversight of imported dogs. It also includes funding for veterinary diagnostic programs at the new National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility opening this year in Manhattan, Kansas.
• Did you wash your pet’s food and water bowls today? A recent study conducted by North Carolina State University found that fewer than 5% of respondents followed FDA guidelines for pet food handling and storage, which include washing hands before and after feeding and washing bowls and utensils with hot water and soap after each use. Poor hygiene puts animals and people – particularly children or those with compromised immune systems – at risk of disease when exposed to animal feed contaminated with pathogenic bacteria. The FDA has more information on purchasing, handling, and storing pet food here: fda.gov/animal-veterinary/animal-health-literacy/tips-safe-handling-pet-food-and-treats.
— Dust baths, hay, and a secure multi-level habitat are all must-haves for chinchilla happiness. Chins are fun little companions but have special needs. Specialty chinchilla dust, available at pet stores, keeps the fur from becoming greasy or matted and prevents irritation to the respiratory tract and eyes. In addition to commercially available feed pellets, they require good quality hay, leafy greens, and occasionally small amounts of dried apple or sunflower seeds as a treat. Finally, a good chinchilla habitat will have multiple levels of hiding places, a plastic floor to protect its paws, and shredded paper, cellulose, or pine shavings for bedding. — dr Marty Becker, Kim Campbell Thornton and Mikkel Becker
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