Wednesday 3 August 2016

Got an oldie? The Royal Veterinary College needs you!

The Royal Veterinary College is looking for older dogs to take part in a survey that is exploring the impact of health and training on behaviour.

They've had a fantastic response (almost 5000 so far!) but they are short of dogs eight years or older. So if you have an oldie - purebred or cross and wherever in the world you are - they would be very grateful if you could find a few minutes to complete the survey.

You can find the Mature Dog Survey here.

I've already submitted info on my amazing oldster, Jake.  This video comprises footage of him shot in the past few weeks. He is 14 years old - a GSD/Dobermann x with a sprinkling of English Setter.


  1. Done! Thanks for sharing. My Heinz 57 mutt is nearly 10 and still walking and enjoying exercising for up to 2 hours per day. Not arthritic, no medication. Not o fetch or ball mad as she was as prefers scent work and much more sniffy type walks these days...

    Jake is an utterly beautiful boy. Think Curly Girly thinks so too! Just a great example of how our dogs should really be living with us and other dogs and lovely to see...

  2. Just did this for my 12 yr old Lab. . . still healthy, still runs with me daily, still plays with the other dogs, no arthritis . . . but sleeps a lot and shows mild night blindness. Pedigree dogs can also live long healthy lives ;)
    I was confused by the survey, as it didn't seem to be looking at behavior at all. Did I miss something?

    1. Lots of questions on training and behaviour??

  3. I submitted my sweetie, she's 14 too but unfortunately not active as Jake but apart from that she has no health problems.

  4. Wish I could post photos or videos here. I have a 14 1/4 yr. Border Collie that just performed a trick show for a charity fundraiser a few weeks ago. He even danced on his hind legs, and still performs all his tricks at a gallop. For his 14th birthday, I rented sheep and he spent 20 minutes gathering them and herding them through obstacles. Just before his 9th birthday, he became #2 disc dog in Turkey and made it to the semi-finals of Turkey's Got Talent (3rd largest franchise after the USA and UK). And at 10, after 6 years without ever doing an obedience training practice, he came out of retirement and earned the most advanced obedience title that the AKC offers with scores in the 190's/200. I wouldn't say he has great genes (hypothyroid and recently developed Cushings), but I do think a combo of decent genes and lifelong exercise does help a lot.

  5. Whoops, I just checked my records, and he was actually a couple weeks shy of 12 years when he came out of retirement and earned the advanced obedience title; and 13 when he qualified for the National Championships in the highest level of Rally obedience.

    I'm doing the survey now. I hope they make the results public--I'd love to see them.

  6. Done. For my 11 1/4 GSD rescue lady.

  7. What's amazing about Jake is, cross two inherently unhealthy breeds and create a healthy dog. I wonder if a straight GSD/Dobermann cross would have produced dogs with such hybrid vigour - especially as GSD was used to create the Dobermann - or whether the addition of other genes (setter) had more impact than we think. As a comparison, crossing two retriever breeds probably helps with hybrid vigour, but I don't think you'd see such a massive improvement.

    Lurchers tend to be robust, healthy dogs, and I'd be curious to see how they fair, health-wise, with a straight purebred sighthound to purebred sighthound cross.

    1. Hmm, I know Silvia Trkman who is well known in the agility circle who I, or perhaps someone else, i cant remember, had a pyrenean shepherd competing in world championships at the age of 13, and the oldest lived dog was an ACD that lived to 29. Breeds such as wl border collies can live a very long time too.
      So I am hesitant to say that purebreds can't be long lived or anything, it depends on the lines and how they have been bred. GSDs, setters and Dobermann are all shorter lived though so mixing them seems to have a great result for longevity.

      I think people have messed up when breeding purebred dogs. Diversity, health, robust genetics, its all far more important than BOB, just open the registers of all breeds and implement regular, controlled outcrosses with other breeds.
      Purebreds are useful and a really helpful and brilliant concept, but breeding them is whats killing them.
      Though that being said, i'd probably always own a purebred from a breeder, though all will be working line, and so far I have not had any health issues in my dogs. Because I look for something very specific, and while I would adore a springer spaniel x border collie, or border collie x whippet, and the potential of such a mix is outstanding, there are traits that I dislike from each breed that could either end up with the perfect dog with the best from each breed, or a dog with the worst from each breed.

      Though what I look for as a performance dog owner is completely different to what the average pet owner is looking for, but for me, breeds are extremely useful, as well as those looking for a working dog.
      A heinz57 mix will be extremely unlikely to be able to make the cut as a police dog, and shepherds need the Border Collie, ACD, Kelpie, Aussie, etc.

      With sighthound x sighthound, it entirely depends on what breed. A whippet x greyhound would be very different to a whippet x basenji, or whippet x rhodesian ridgeback. The afghan hound is one of the oldest breeds in existance, but it would be very different to have a show-bred afghan from the uk as opposed to the landrace sighthounds with no pedigree still found in arabic countries.

      Working lines and show lines themselves can be as genetically different as entirely separate breeds, bare in mind.

  8. that video just made my day a good one. thank you.

  9. Filled this out for my 10.5 yr old mutt. He is a Heinz 57 but mostly GSD/Border Collie can be distinguished from his appearance.

    At 10.5 he is at a good body weight, has good energy,can still go camping and hiking with me and will gladly hike for hours, with me being the one forcing him to take breaks.

    He's still sharp as a tack, very responsive to commands and will still do anything to earn a food reward.

    He has developed an unknown type of primary necroinflammatory hepatopathy that I've extensively spent several thousands of dollars on investigating and trying to control. Never quite got to the bottom of it but given his age and the fact that he's not having clinical symptoms, I'm just going to stop poking and prodding him and let him live out his happy senior years as long as he's happy.

  10. We sadly lost my Kerry Blue terrier Izzy at 14 years and 7 months old in April this year. When she was in her element (on the beach!) she could still keep up with my 18 month old Kerry! She had no health problems apart from hearing loss but sadly developed bladder cancer which is why we had to make the horrible decision to put her to sleep to save her from suffering. Izzy was my "demo dog" at the dog training club I helped out at and always loved to learn things. I also brushed her teeth regularly and gave her home-made dog food to a "Lily's kitchen" recipe. She was a great Kerry Blue excelling in obedience and a great companion. Stephanie