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First ever IVF puppies have been born to a surrogate mother after years of attempts, say scientists at Cornell University in New York.

The IVF success paves the way for conserving endangered breeds and could help in the fight against human and animal diseases, say researchers.

The seven beagle and cross-bred beagle-spaniel puppies were born to a surrogate mother.


They were from the same litter but have three sets of parents.

Frozen embryos were implanted in a female dog using techniques similar to those used in human fertility clinics.

Photo Cornell University

Photo Cornell University

Problems with freezing embryos have caused difficulties in the past, but the researchers say they have perfected this and other techniques.

Lead researcher Dr. Alex Travis, from Cornell’s college of veterinary medicine, said: “We have seven normal happy healthy puppies.”

He added: “Since the mid-1970s, people have been trying to do this in a dog and have been unsuccessful.

“Now we can use this technique to conserve the genetics of endangered species.”

The researchers say IVF (in vitro fertilization) is a powerful tool to help endangered species of dog such as the African wild dog.

It could also be used in the study of inherited human and dog diseases.

Dogs share many similar diseases with humans – almost twice as many as for any other species.

Dr. Alex Travis said the work was an important milestone.

The puppies were born on July 10, but their existence was kept secret until the findings were formally announced to the scientific world this week.

They have reportedly been named Ivy, Cannon, Beaker, Buddy, Nelly, Red and Green, and all but one has gone to a new home.

The research, published in the journal PLoS One, has been described as a “major step forward” in medicine.

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Two golden retrievers prove that dogs are clever animals by learning how to play a duet on the piano and a video of their performance became viral on YouTube with over 147,000 hits in three days.

The musical dogs enthusiastically play The Flea Waltz on an over-sized keyboard.

The duetting dogs aren’t quite clever enough to play the piece on their own, though.

The golden retrievers’ owner plays an ocarina to guide them to the correct notes.

The musical dogs enthusiastically play The Flea Waltz on an over-sized keyboard

The musical dogs enthusiastically play The Flea Waltz on an over-sized keyboard

Hundreds of YouTube users have left glowing reviews of the video, with “david007max” saying: “Bravo! Great job by your retrievers, they deserve a treat, so gifted.”

And “Ghostwhisperer2011” said: “This cannot be possible! I want those two goldens!”

The Flea Waltz  is a simple piano piece played all over the world – though its composer is unknown.

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Emperor, a Tibetan Mastiff, went on sale this week for a staggering 10 million Yuan ($1.6 million).

With his thick double coat, Emperor was one of more than 1,000 Tibetan mastiffs from across China appearing at a two-day dog trade show in Shijiazhuang, capital of northern China’s Hebei Province, this week.

The average price being asked for one of the dogs was around 1 million Yuan ($160,000).

The Tibetan Mastiff Emperor went on sale this week for a staggering 10 million Yuan ($1.6 million)

The Tibetan Mastiff Emperor went on sale this week for a staggering 10 million Yuan ($1.6 million)

The Tibetan Mastiff has become a status symbol in China because they are thought to be holy animals, blessing their owners’ health and security.

But his owner believes Emperor is a particularly handsome catch, offering him out for breeding purposes with a single mating costing half a million Yuan ($80,000).

The Tibetan Mastiff is an ancient breed of dog, originating from the nomadic cultures of Central Asia.

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A man from Essex, UK, who stripped down to his underwear and crawled across a frozen river to rescue his trapped dog, has been condemned by firefighters.

According to an eyewitness, the man fell into the River Stour, in Dedham, Essex, at about 10:00 GMT on Sunday but managed to climb out with the animal.

Fellow dog walker Paul Wenborne, who witnessed the incident, described it as a “foolish act of bravery”.

An Essex Fire Service spokesman said: “This was extremely dangerous.”

According to an eyewitness, the man fell into the River Stour, in Dedham, Essex, on Sunday, but managed to climb out with the animal

According to an eyewitness, the man fell into the River Stour, in Dedham, Essex, on Sunday, but managed to climb out with the animal

Fish porter Paul Wenborne, 52, of Rayleigh, Essex, said he was amazed at the man’s actions.

“I was with two friends and we couldn’t believe what we were seeing,” he said.

“He stripped down to his pants and started crawling across the ice.

“About a yard or so from the dog, he fell in but managed to get hold of the dog and put it on the ice.

“He then had to swim two or three yards and then crawl back on the ice to dry land.

“He put his clothes back on and carried on. It was a foolish act of bravery.”

Essex Fire Service confirmed it was not called to the incident.

Last week, Essex assistant divisional officer Stuart McMillan issued a warning about icy lakes and ponds.

“Even though this ice appears to be strong it can be eggshell thin and anyone who falls through into the water below could get trapped under the ice and would only be able to survive for minutes in the freezing water,” he said.

“The most common cause is people chasing their dogs out on to the ice, and I urge people not to do this.

“It isn’t worth the risk. Dogs will normally make it safely off the ice and back to the shore – the same cannot be said for people.”

Experts found that although chimps may be known as the brains of the animal kingdom, sometimes only dogs get the point.

Scientists pointed at one of two objects, asked for it to be brought to them, and counted up how many times their orders were obeyed.

In the study, the dogs did better than the chimps, despite the chimpanzee’s brain being the more similar to the human brain.

The research team, from the Max Planck Institute in Leipzig, Germany, placed pairs of similar-looking objects, such as a piece of hosepipe and a piece of rope, at the back of a room.

The researchers then pointed to the one they wanted, while order a dog or chimp standing with its back to the objects, to fetch the correct one.

If it did as asked, it was given some food as a reward.

Babies are capable of following such orders from the age of 14 months, suggesting the task is relatively simple, at least for the human brain.

In the study, the dogs did better than the chimps, despite the chimpanzee’s brain being the more similar to the human brain

In the study, the dogs did better than the chimps, despite the chimpanzee’s brain being the more similar to the human brain

Despite this, none of the chimps picked the object that had been pointed out at a rate that was higher than chance. However, more than a quarter of the dogs appeared to understand the task, the journal PLoS ONE reports.

The German scientists suggested their results could be explained by pet dogs being bred to follow orders.

The scientists said: “Dogs’ special receptiveness to human co-operative communication makes them the perfect social tool for certain activities like herding and hunting.

“One hypothesis is that dogs see human communication as imperatives and spatial directives, ordering them what to do and where to go next.”

Previous research has concluded that dogs make better pets than cats – but only by a whisker.

In the comparison of 11 traits from brain size to environmental impact, dogs came out on top in six categories to cats’ five.

But cat lovers may have the last laugh, with other research concluding that they are the top dogs for brains.

A British study found that people with university degrees are more likely to have a cat than a dog.