Traveling with your Pet – Online Directory

A handy online directory of all the info you’ll need when traveling with your pet – either by car or plane!  Everything from articles full of advice to direct links to pet policies at major hotels and airlines.


Pet Travel Policies

American Airline

British Airways




US Airways


Airlines JUST for dogs

Animalcouriers  (Check out their blog here!)

Pet Airways


Pet Friendly Hotels

Doubletree (by Hilton)

InterContinental Hotels Group 


Trump Hotels 

W New York P.A.W.


Articles on Pet Travel 

Top Ten Tips for Safe Car Travel with your Pets – ASPCA

Traveling with your Dog – American Kennel Club

Cesars’s Best Dog Travel Tips – Cesar Millan

My Advice for Traveling with your Dog – WAGS & WHISKERS BLOG!

Traveling with your Pet in the Trucking Industry – Express Freight Finance

El Perrito Pequeno – The Chihuahua

The arrival of Baby Sebastian has caused me to spend much more time at home…which equals spending much more time with my pups.  Yesterday  I found myself looking at my little Chihuahua Amigo and realizing I know very little about his breed!  Time to get down to business and educate myself about just where he came from and what his fellow Chihuahuas are like.

My Amigo (modeling one of Sebastian's baby hats)

My own Chihuahua, Amigo (modeling one of Sebastian’s baby hats)

Everyone knows that Chihuahuas originated in Mexico, but I was surprised to find that the history of their origin is often described as “puzzling” or “legend”.  Members of the ancient Mexican Toltec civilization had a companion dogs known as the Techichis, but little is know about that animal.  (Little is really even know about the Toltec themselves…they didn’t even have a written language!  All that we know about them comes from Aztecs.)  A “dog pot” thought to illustrate a Techichi was buried in a tomb in Mexico dates back to somewhere around 300 B.C. Wheeled dog toys thought to represent different varieties of Chihuahuas show up in Mexico around what is thought to be around 100 A.D.  In other words, no one knows when the Chihuahua as we think of it today showed up in Mexico…but it was a heck of a long time ago!

Another interesting historical fact about this breed – Christopher Columbus was probably responsible for bringing the Chihuahua to Europe.  He even references the itty-bitty dog in a letter to the King of Spain.

Unlike most breeds recognized by the AKC, the Chihuahua breed standard does not specify Chi Bodyheight but only weight – which cannot exceed 6 pounds.  (If you were wondering about my Amig0, he is not a pure bred, but what my husband likes to refer to as a “hybrid”…a.k.a. mutt/mix.  He tips the Chihuahua scales at 14 pounds!)  Other AKC qualifications include “muscular” hindquarters, a “slightly arched, gracefully sloping” neck, and a “saucy” expression.  (Yes…the official American Kennel Club stance on a Chihuahua’s expression is that is should be SAUCY!  I love that!!)

I think we all know about the temperament of Chihuahuas.  Unfortunately, they aren’t exactly well-known for their sweet, easy-going personality.  They tend to be very loyal to one member of the family.  They can also be easily provoked…which means they aren’t exactly patient with the poking and prodding of small children.  They are, however, much smarter than most of us give them credit for!  They often mimic the personality of their humans…so in the right family, they can be much more relaxed.


Look at those ears! (Picture from

I did not know that Chihuahuas actually prefer the company of other Chihuahuas in what is often described as a “clannish nature”.  They (allegedly) do not get along with other breeds.  (Although Amigo has yet to meet a dog he didn’t like…regardless of breed or size.)  I also found that Chihuahuas especially love their dens – which explains why Amigo can be found burrowed under all the sheets and blankets at the foot of our bed.Amigo Pillow

I feel like my little Amigo does possess some of those stereotypical Chihuahua attributes, but he is very much his own man.  As I mentioned before, he loves Sebastian…and despite many accidental kicks and punches by tiny fists, Amigo has shown absolutely no signs of snapping (or even being slightly annoyed!  He still just seems fascinated.)  The only thing that gets him worked up these days are the frogs that come out at night in our back yard.  He thinks himself quite the frog slayer.  For better of for worse, he has been a perfect addition to our family…as I write this, he is snuggling up to me with his head on my lap.  I can’t imagine life without him.

Czech Mates – The Cesky Terrier

Back in 1949, Frantisik Horak was just a lonely research assistant at the Czechoslovak Academy of Science.  Living in communist Czechoslovakia was no picnic…so he did what any lonely intelligent communist would do – he bred Scottish Terriers.  No seriously!

After a while, though, Frantisik decided to apply his research assistant skills to dogs instead of test tubes.  To create a dog that would be more suitable to hunt in packs and more aggressive at hunting bigger game than a Scottie (think fox instead of rat), he bred a Scottish Terrier with a Sealyham Terrier.  The result was the Cesky Terrier.  This terrier would go on to become a star in the Czech Republic – featured on postage stamps, television, and even on the big screen.  (An interesting side note: In Frantisik’s time, the popularity of his breed brought praise and a bit of fame….and a lot of mail from outside the country.  Unfortunately, communists frown on this sort of thing, so Mr. Horak was visited by the secret police of Czechosolvakia on more than one occasion.)

The Cesky Terrier is mellow….well, mellow compared with other terriers.  The Cesky is going to want to play a lot, chase a lot, and dig A LOT.  (Almost everything I read about this breed included a clause about making sure you have a “safe play area” or a “secure backyard” before inviting one into your family.)

Another interesting tidbit about this breed – they aren’t exactly easy going….unless you work at it.  Socialization seemed to be a key word that I kept reading over and over again.  They are fine with strangers as long as they get “continued socialization.” You must provide Cesky Terriers with “enough socialization” – exposing them to unfamiliar sounds, sights, and people – to help them overcome their natural cautiousness.   (Isn’t this true of any dog…any animal, really?)  These terriers (like all terriers) also need someone to discipline them.  They suffer from “small dog syndrome”….in other words, they are going to rule your house unless you show them who’s boss!

So you want a Cesky Terrier?  Well, I hate to break it to you, but they are hard to come by.  In an effort to discover how many of these little Czech guys and gals there are running around the U.S., all I could discover about their current population was ” The Cesky Terrier is one of the six most rare dog breeds worldwide.” (and that came from Wikipedia!)  Every source I checked, though, did confirm they were indeed “rare.”

As you already know from reading our post about the new AKC breeds, the Cesky Terrier made it’s official debut at this year’s Westminster Dog Show.  They also have their own club here in the states, the American Cesky Terrier Fanciers Association.

I don’t know if I will ever have the pleasure of meeting one of these terriers and getting the chance to judge their personality for myself….but there is one fact I’m sure of after my research.  The Cesky Terriers have the best beards in the world!!

A Presidential Hound – The American English Coonhound

The American English Coonhound might have only been formally recognized by the AKC last year, but their origins can be traced back to hounds brought to America by settlers as early as the 1600.  It’s seems fitting to be discussing this breed on Presidents’ day, as the American English Coonhound developed from “Virginia Hounds” imported to these United States by (among others) our first President, George Washington.  (Across the pond, they were known as English Foxhounds.) This breed can be described as loyal, athletic, loud, never shy, super smart, and energetic.

American English Coonhound - one good lookin' hound dog!

Sounds great!  So you want an American English Coonhound as a pet?  Well, you better be willing to provide high levels of exercise….and LOTS of attention.  And LOTS of exercise.  I found it amusing that a few sources warn against getting this breed as a pet if you are a person who does not want to have your pooch on your furniture or in your bed…as they are “incessant nesters.”  They are great pets, but might not be for you if you already have a small animal in your family.  They have a “strong instinct” to hunt.  In other words, don’t let them off leash if there are squirrels or kitties about!

An American English Coonhound "Treeing"

That strong instinct is what makes this breed (like most hounds) so popular with hunters.  That nose of theirs can track big and small animals alike.  I read about them hunting everything from raccoons to bears, foxes to deer, cougars to your neighbor’s cat.  Maybe the most interesting thing I learned when researching the American English Coonhound is that this breed is used for “treeing.”  Treeing is a method of hunting where a dog chases an animal up into a tree and does not stop barking until the hunter has shot the (poor!) animal down.  The American English Coonhound is tenacious (their main health problem they have is overheating due to the face they have a hard time pacing themselves.) Sometimes  they just won’t let up – even when they are mistaken and there is no prey….or the prey has jumped to another tree.  This is where the expression “barking up the wrong tree” comes from.  You learn something new every day!

Now that you’ve read up on just what it takes to be accepted into the American Kennel Club, you might be interested to know that the American English Coonhound joined the Miscellaneous Class on January 1, 2010 and official became part of the AKC’s hound group on June 30, 2011 (as the 171st breed.)

2012 Westminster Dog Show's American English Coonhound Best of Breed - GCH Alexanders Color Me Bad Ginn

New Editions to Old Traditions (New breeds & how they get recognized by the AKC)

As a dog lover, you would have to be living under a rock to not know that Malachy, the Pekingese, took the coveted Best in Show title at this years Westminster Dog Show.  I must admit, I’m not the biggest Pekingese fan.  (In all fairness, though, I haven’t met too many of them!)

You have to love the tradition of the dog show!  This year was  the 136th Westminster Dog Show…which means it’s the second longest continuously held sporting event in America.  (The Kentucky Derby holds the top spot; it was first held in 1875.)  Way back in its first year, the Westminster Dog show drew 1200 entries.  (Now held at Madison Square Garden, 2500 dogs are able to participate. )

All pup participants must be registered with the American Kennel Club.  The AKC now recognizes an incredible 185 unique breeds.  How does a breed become recognized by the AKC?  That’s a very good question!

First of all – you have to prove people are interested in your new breed.  That means you must have a breed club with at least 100 members.  Then you have to prove that there are at least 300 dogs with a three generation pedigree in your shiny new breed.  THEN you have to prove that your new breed (and its fans) are spread over at least 20 states.  Once the AKC reviews all this info – along with the breed’s standards AND all the details about your breed’s club – you still aren’t even recognized!  Now your breed is allowed to compete in the Miscellaneous Class.

Dogs of new breeds usually complete in the Miscellaneous Class for one to three years.  After the first year, the AKC follows up with the breed club and makes sure they are still hosting events and adding new members.  Once the AKC is confident the long list of criteria has been met, the breed is presented to the Board of Directors to be officially recognized.

Xoloitzcuintli - We suspect they are behind the phrase "so ugly they're cute"!

This year, six new breeds made their debut at the Westminster Dog Show: the American English Coonhound, the Cesky Terrier, the Entlebucher Mountain Dog, the Finnish Lapphund, the Norwegian Lundenund, and the Xoloitzcuintli.  Over the next week or so, we are going to be exploring these new (and strangely named!) breeds to find out what makes them different from the other 179 already established.  Stay tuned!

The Biography of your Best Friend (The Creating of dog breeds) – Part 2

In, The Biography of your Best Friend (The Evolution of the Dog) – Part 1, we learned all about how wolves became dogs…and just how long those dogs have been a part of human life.  All wolves pretty much look the same, though, and everyone knows that dogs come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, colors, temperaments, and energy levels.  So how the heck did that happen?

A modern day Siberian Husky - a close relative to the wolf (as if you couldn't tell by this picture!)

Evolution is an amazing thing.  Once the partnership between humans and dogs formed, some of the wolf-y qualities began to fade.  For the first time, dogs as a species began to take on their own characteristics.  Barking is probably the first to come to mind.  Wolves howl to communicate with each other.  Dogs would have developed barking as a way to warn their human counterparts at the sight or sound of something unfamiliar.

By the time humans began to increase their population and therefore spread to different areas of the world, dogs were already members of “society” – so they came along for the ride.  Just as our own species did, dogs had to adapt to the new environments while simultaneously adapting to fulfill our own changing needs.  Technically, though, this created new dog landraces not new dog breeds.  By definition, a landrace is a domesticated animal that develops because of its adaptation to a new natural or cultural environment.  In other words, humans were not forcing two dogs to mate to create new, more helpful creatures.  It was an organic process.

Of course, though, we humans couldn’t sit by and let nature take its course.  Over time, we began to create breeds (NOT landraces) to help accommodate our own needs.  Modern dog breeds were not recognized until the creation of the English Kennel Club in 1873.  The American Kennel Club was founded shortly after in 1884 and is now the largest purebred dog registry in the world.  (Now recognizing 173 breeds!  Woof!)

Even now…after all this time… some of our breeds are very closely genetically related to wolves.  Some of the most similar breeds?  The Siberian Husky, the Afghan Hound, the African Basenji, the Chinese Chow Chow, the Japanese Akita, and the Egyptian Saluki.  It’s really not surprising seeing as where these dogs hail from…surely the sites of some of our earliest civilizations.

Saluki - these dogs look like they jumped out of an ancient Egyptian relief!

But just what part did humans play in creating the “modern dog”?  Hmmmm….good question!  You will just have to check back in with the Wags & Whiskers blog for the third instalment of “The Biography of your Best Friend.”