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Our organization was founded on the belief that animals are entitled to kind and respectful treatment at the hands of humans and must be protected under the law. Headquartered in New York City, the ASPCA maintains a strong local presence, and with programs that extend our anti-cruelty mission across the country, we are recognized as a national animal welfare organization. We are a privately funded 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, and are proud to boast more than 2 million supporters across the country.
The ASPCA’s mission, as stated by founder Henry Bergh in 1866, is “to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States.”
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Westimo Hybrid Description
The Westimo is not a purebred dog. It is a cross between the American Eskimo Dog and the West Highland White Terrier. The best way to determine the temperment of a mixed breed is to look up all breeds in the cross. It is possible you can get any combination of any of the characteristics found in either breed. Not all of these designer hybrid dogs being bred are 50% purebred to 50% purebred. It is very common for breeders to breed multi-generational crosses. Please review individual breeds for potential health issues.
American Eskimo Dog Breed Description - Cross #1
The American Eskimo is a beautiful, small to medium-size Nordic-type dog that looks like a miniature Samoyed. The American Eskimo has a wedge-shaped head with muzzle and skull about the same length. It has erect triangular-shaped ears, and a heavily plumed tail curled over the back. Its neck is well carried and the topline good and level. Good legs and feet allow the Eskie to trot with bold energetic action. The profuse coat is always white, or white with biscuit or cream markings. Its skin is pink or gray. Black is the preferred color of its eyelids, gums, nose and pads. The coat is heavy around the neck, creating a ruff or mane, especially in males. The breed is slightly longer than it is tall. The coat of the American Eskimo should not curl or wave; the undercoat should be thick and plush with the harsher outer coat growing up through it.
There are three varieties: toy, miniature and standard. That means there is an Eskie for all interests and house sizes:
The American Eskimo Dog is intelligent, alert and friendly, although slightly conservative. It is never overly shy nor aggressive. At home it is an excellent watchdog, sounding a warning bark to announce the arrival of any stranger. It is protective of its home and family, although it does not threaten to bite or attack people. The American Eskimo is a charming, affectionate and loving dog. Hardy and playful, they are excellent with children. Highly intelligent and willing to please.
The thick snowy white coat is easy to groom. Brush with a firm bristle brush twice a week. It should be brushed daily when it is shedding. This breed is an average shedder. American Eskimos will do okay in an apartment if it is sufficiently exercised. It is very active indoors and a small yard will be sufficient.
Health testing should be performed by all responsible breeders and anyone purchasing a puppy should be aware of the genetic problems which have been found in some individuals of the breed, such as PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy), luxating patella, and hip dysplasia). None of these problems are common and the breed is generally very healthy. In addition to the rarer problems mentioned, the breed can have a tendency towards allergies and most commonly, tear-staining. This breed also is known in some cases to have dental issues.
West Highland White Terrier Breed Description - Cross #2
Commonly, Westies have bright, deep-set, almond-shaped eyes that are dark in colour. Their ears are pointed and erect. Members of the breed typically weigh between 15 and 20 pounds, and the average height is between 10–11 inches at the withers. The body should be shorter than the height of the dog at the shoulder.
They also have a deep chest, muscular limbs, a black nose, and a short, closely fitted jaw with "scissors" bite (lower canines locked in front of upper canines, upper incisors locked over lower incisors). The Westie's paws are slightly turned out to give it better grip than flat-footed breeds when it climbs on rocky surfaces. In young puppies, the nose and footpads have pink markings, which slowly turn black as they age. Westies also have short and sturdy tails. Some sources suggest that due to their history as rodent catchers, their tails were bred to be thick so that a Westie trapped in a hole could be easily pulled out by the tail.
They have a soft, dense, thick undercoat and a rough outer coat, which can grow to about 2 inches long. The fur fills out the face to give a rounded appearance. As puppies develop into adults, their coarse outer coat is normally removed by either "hand-stripping", especially for dog-showing, or otherwise clipping. Most Westies are pure white, although there are some light wheaten color variations.
The temperament of the West Highland White Terrier can vary greatly, with some being friendly towards children, while others prefer solitude. It will not typically tolerate rough handling, such as a child pulling on its ears or fur, and can frequently be both food and toy possessive. This makes regular training from a young age of particular importance. It is normally independent, assured, and self-confident, and can make a good watchdog. It is a loyal breed that bonds with its owner but is often on the move, requiring daily exercise (15–30 min though ideally, at least an hour). The Westie is highly social and is the most friendly and jolly of all the Scottish breeds of terriers.
It is a hardy breed, and can be stubborn, leading to issues with training. A Westie may need to have its training refreshed on occasion during its lifetime. Having a typical terrier prey drive, it tends to be highly interested in toys, especially chasing balls. It does retain the instincts of an earth-dog, including inquisitive and investigative traits, as well as natural instincts to bark and dig holes. It is ranked in the average range as 88th in Stanley Coren's The Intelligence of Dogs.
This little dog adjusts well to life as a house dog provided he gets long walks. Daily brushing is required. Maintaining the white coat requires special care. Professional grooming is unnecessary unless the dog spends a lot of time outdoors.
The breed is predisposed to conditions found in many breeds, such as abdominal hernias. Westie puppies may be affected by Craniomandibular osteopathy, a disease also known "lion jaw", and is sometimes also referred to as "westie jaw". The disease is an autosomal recessive condition and so a puppy can only be affected by it if both its parents are carriers of the faulty gene. The condition appears across many breeds, including several different types of terrier, as well as other unrelated breeds such as the Great Dane. It typically appears in dogs under a year old, and can cause problems for the dog to chew or swallow food. Radiographic testing can be conducted to diagnose the condition, in which the bones around the jaw thicken; additionally the blood may show increased calcium levels and enzyme levels.
Westies are prone to skin disorders. About a quarter of the breed surveyed are affected by atopic dermatitis, a heritable chronic allergic skin condition. A higher proportion of males are affected compared to females. There is an uncommon but severe breed-specific skin condition that may affect West Highland White Terriers affecting both juveniles and adult dogs. This condition is called Hyperplastic Dermatosis. Affected dogs can suffer from red hyperpigmentation, lichenification and hair loss. In the initial stages, this condition can be misdiagnosed as allergies or less serious forms of dermatitis.
An inherited genetic problem that exists in the breed is globoid cell leukodystrophy. It is not breed specific, and can appear in Cairn Terriers and other breeds including American Eskimo Dogs and Pomeranians. It is a neurological disease where the dog lacks an enzyme called galactosylceramidase. The symptoms are noticeable as the puppy develops, and can be identified by the age of 30 weeks. Affected dogs will have tremors, muscle weakness, and trouble walking. Symptoms will slowly increase until limb paralysis begins to occur. Due to it being a hereditary condition, it is recommended for owners to avoid breeding affected animals in order to eliminate it from the breed. Another genetic condition that affects the breed is "White dog shaker syndrome". As this condition is most commonly found in Westies and in Maltese, the condition was originally thought to be connected to the genes for white coats, however the same condition has since been found in other non-white breeds including the Yorkshire Terrier and the American Eskimo Dog. The condition typically develops over one to three days resulting in tremors of the head and limbs, ataxia and hypermetria. Affected males and females can be affected for different lengths of time, with symptoms in females lasting for between four to six weeks, while males can be affected the rest of its life.
Other less common conditions which appear in the breed include hydroxyglutaric aciduria, which is where there are elevated levels of alpha-Hydroxyglutaric acid in the dog's urine, blood plasma, and spinal fluid. It can cause seizures, muscle stiffness, and ataxia, but is more commonly found in Staffordshire Bull Terriers. A degeneration of the hip-joint, known as Legg–Calve–Perthes syndrome also occurs to the breed. However the chances of this condition occurring are much higher in some other breeds, such as the Australian Shepherd or the Miniature Pincher.
"Don't Shop ... Please Adopt"
If you can’t find the pet you’re looking for on Petfinder, don’t give up. Some shelters maintain waiting lists for specific breeds, so don’t be afraid to ask! There are also breed-specific rescues for just about every breed, and most of them post their pets on Petfinder. (Petfinder can even e-mail you when a pet that fits your criteria is posted — just click “Save this Search” at the top of your search results page.)
Jeff Gold, Founder, Rescue Me! Animal Rescue Network
Jeff Gold lives in Watkinsville, Georgia on the same property as Rescue Me's Animal Rehabilitation Center, with 18 rescue animals. Shown with him in the photo to the left are Maggie, Izzie and Cortez. In 2003, after learning there was nobody doing boxer rescue work in Georgia, Gold founded Boxertown, an organization which helped find homes for over 500 boxers during its first two years. Based upon this success, Gold came up with the vision for Rescue Me! ― a network which helps all breeds of dogs, cats and other animals find good homes, anywhere in the world. RescueShelter.com is also a free service of Rescue Me! and provides the world's largest and most up-to-date directory of animal rescue organizations for all breeds of dogs, cats and other animals, including a comprehensive directory of wildlife rehabilitators in over 150 countries.