Are Horses Just Big Dogs

James Smith
• Sunday, 18 October, 2020
• 14 min read

Written by Katherine Blockader There's no doubt about the mystique of horses. They seem to capture our imagination and are a symbol of strength and freedom.

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There are a lot of traditions and lore around horses, and some information we hold onto may no longer be true. It's fun to think that your horse or pony likes doing the same thing you do.

When have you ever seen a horse run barrels, jump a course of jumps, or execute a perfect 20-meter circle spontaneously with no human prompting? A horse may have qualities that make them more suitable for a certain sport but that doesn't mean it likes it more.

You both like a warm bed, the same kinds of food (to an extent), humans and dogs can survive by hunting, and both humans and dogs live in 'packs'. Horses are prey that hunters might like to eat, but they are herbivores and their social structure is quite different from dogs (and humans).

Although many people believe their horses are companion animals, they are not the same as dogs. Horses quickly sense which riders are clear communicators and make their cues irresistible.

But they don't carry on a conversation the way you sometimes see in the movies, with the constant stream of screams, squeals, and nickers. But it is really a complex structure of different materials including keratin, blood-rich tissue, and bone.

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Wonderful riders make riding look easy. Watch racers or dressage riders and it seems the horse is going through the patterns on its own accord.

It may look like sitting but riders use their legs, arms, weight, hands, balance, and brains to ride. Throughout history, there have been some epic quotes about horses.

For example, one thinks of the old “The outside of the horse is good for the inside of a man” quote that’s been attributed to Winston Churchill, Will Rogers, and probably a bunch of other folks. You could probably claim your great uncle said it and impress a lot of folks.

There are had been some pretty famous individual horses throughout history, too. Bucephalus, the horse of Alexander the Great, comes to mind.

They were undoubtedly a symbol of wealth, power, and prestige, but for most history, most horses were treated as just another stock animal. While equips are certainly important as working animals in many areas, in most of the developed world, horses are no longer necessary as means of transportation, or particularly as useful engines to transport goods for the economy.

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Most folks don’t rely on horses to get to work, deliver messages, plow fields, or pull carts and buggies (at least, not unless you’re Amish). Instead, horses have mostly morphed into leisure and recreational vehicles.

Now, in many cases, they are almost as much a companion animal as they are a beast of burden. So, for example, car enthusiasts may spend a lot of time applying wax to their car’s hood, so it will have that special shine; gardeners find that digging in the dirt is something to look forward to, with a prized tomato, or a blooming rose, as one of the emotional rewards.

And, just like anywhere else that people choose to spend free time, horse people put a lot of emotional energy into their horses. Horses are very special, for, among other reasons, they let us do all sorts of things to them.

Only one other animal lets us dote upon it as much as does the horse: the dog. Dogs can really put an emotional choke hold on your heart.

The point that I’m trying to make, however, is that while dogs and horses share some things in common, there are some notable differences. It’s a good thing to remember that horses are not dogs, because they do and can act very differently.

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So, for your consideration, here’s a list similarities and differences between horses and dogs. In the wild, both dogs and horses tend to travel in fixed group with an “alpha” (lead) animal in charge.

This can be detrimental to the health of both people and dogs (see the preceding). This can make for serious health problems for dogs that get kicked by scared horses, and for horses that get bitten by aggressive dogs.

People, of course, get the distinct displeasure of having to deal with both of them after they get hurt. Horses want to get back to their stalls and eat.

View Entire Discussion (3 Comments)More posts from the funny community LIFE With no offense meant to the awesomeness of tiny- dogs, I am a big -dog person.

They might not have a good grasp on just how big they are, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. Share these lovable big pooches with your friends who love animals.

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Originally bred to herd cattle, sheep, and horses, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi is an active and intelligent dog breed. Easy to train and eager to learn, Pembroke's are great with children and other pets, and you can find them in four different coat colors and markings.

Adaptable and loving with the whole family, Corgis can fit into just about any household, whether it’s an apartment or large home with a yard. For humans who can meet the breed’s needs, the Pembroke will make an excellent family companion, even for novice pet parents.

See below for complete list of dog breed traits and facts about Pembroke Welsh Corgis! Being quiet, low energy, fairly calm indoors, and polite with the other residents are all good qualities in an apartment dog.

You may also want to consider adopting a senior dog, as they tend to be less demanding of your time and energy. You can keep your senior dog active well into old age by providing them with joint supplements to fight the symptoms of arthritis.

Adding Clyde Mobility Chews to their routine can help their joints stay healthy. Some dogs will let a stern reprimand roll off their backs, while others take even a dirty look to heart.

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Some breeds bond very closely with their family and are more prone to worry or even panic when left alone by their owner. Breed isn't the only factor that goes into affection levels; dogs who were raised inside a home with people around feel more comfortable with humans and bond more easily.

Dogs from any breed can be good with children based on their experiences, training on how to get along with kids, and personality. Young children and dogs of any breed should always be supervised by an adult and never left alone together, period.

Daytime participates in the Chewy affiliate program to earn fees for linking to products on Chewy.com. Drool-prone dogs may drape ropes of slobber on your arm and leave big, wet spots on your clothes when they come over to say hello.

If you've got a laid-back attitude toward slobber, fine; but if you're a beatnik, you may want to choose a dog who rates low in the drool department. Some breeds are brush-and-go dogs ; others require regular bathing, clipping, and other grooming just to stay clean and healthy.

Consider whether you have the time and patience for a dog who needs a lot of grooming, or the money to pay someone else to do it. If you're adopting a puppy, it's a good idea to find out which genetic illnesses are common to the breed you're interested in.

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You may also want to ask if your shelter or rescue has information about the physical health of your potential pup's parents and other relatives. Ask your vet about your dog's diet and what they recommend for feeding your pooch to keep them at a healthy weight.

Dogs who were bred for jobs that require decision-making, intelligence, and concentration, such as herding livestock, need to exercise their brains, just as dogs who were bred to run all day need to exercise their bodies. If they don't get the mental stimulation they need, they'll make their own work--usually with projects you won't like, such as digging and chewing.

Mouthy dogs are more likely to use their mouths to hold or “herd” their human family members, and they need training to learn that it's fine to gnaw on chew toys, but not on people. Mouthy breeds tend to really enjoy a game of fetch, as well as a good chew on a toy that's been stuffed with kibble and treats.

Dogs who were bred to hunt, such as Terriers, have an inborn desire to chase--and sometimes kill--other animals. These breeds generally aren't a good fit for homes with smaller pets that can look like prey, such as cats, hamsters, or small dogs.

If you're considering a watchdog, will a city full of suspicious “strangers” put your pup on permanent alert? Nordic dogs such as Siberian Huskies were bred to range long distances, and given the chance, they'll take off after anything that catches their interest.

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And many hounds simply must follow their noses--or that bunny that just ran across the path--even if it means leaving you behind. Originally bred to perform a canine job of some sort, such as retrieving game for hunters or herding livestock, they have the stamina to put in a full workday.

They need a significant amount of exercise and mental stimulation, and they're more likely to spend time jumping, playing, and investigating any new sights and smells. When picking a breed, consider your own activity level and lifestyle, and think about whether you'll find a frisky, energetic dog invigorating or annoying.

These dynamos need lots of training to learn good manners, and may not be the best fit for a home with young kids or someone whose elderly or frail. Others need daily, vigorous exercise, especially those that were originally bred for physically demanding jobs, like herding or hunting.

Without enough exercise, these breeds may put on weight and vent their pent-up energy in ways you don't like, such as barking, chewing, and digging. Potential For Playfulness Some dogs are perpetual puppies -- always begging for a game -- while others are more serious and sedate.

Adding Clyde Mobility Chews to your senior's routine can help fight the symptoms of arthritis and keep your old dog active and playful. Herding Dogs 10 to 12 inches tall at the shoulder Welsh Corgis come in two varieties: the Pembroke and the Cardigan.

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Both have similar heads, bodies, levels of intelligence and herding ability, but the Cardigan is slightly larger and heavier boned than the Pembroke. The official AKC breed standard is maintained by the Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club of America.

Their strong herding instinct may cause them to nip at the heels of children when they are playing. Even though they are small dogs, Pembroke's have a lot of energy and need a healthy amount of exercise each day.

Look for a reputable breeder who tests her breeding dogs to make sure they're free of genetic diseases that they might pass onto the puppies, and that they have sound temperaments. Originating in Pembrokeshire, Wales, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi is an enchanting dog whose background is steeped in folklore.

As the legend goes, one day two children were out in the fields tending to their family's cattle when they found a couple of puppies. As they grew, the dogs became treasured companions and learned to help the children take care of the family's cattle.

For those who don't believe in fairy tales, there are historians who say that the Pembroke Welsh Corgi is descended from Hellhounds, Swedish cattle dogs that were brought to Wales by the Vikings in the 9th and 10th centuries. Others think they may have been descended from dogs that were brought to Wales by Flemish weavers in the 12th century.

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They're also popular with Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II of England, who received her first Pembroke Welsh Corgi from her father (King George VI) in 1933. The puppy's name was Ravel Golden Eagle and was a playmate for Elizabeth and her sister, Margaret.

In Pembroke's, you should expect to see health clearances from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (Of) for hip dysplasia (with a score of fair or better), elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, and on Hildebrand's disease; from Auburn University for thrombophilia; and from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF) certifying that eyes are normal. Some dogs show pain and lameness on one or both rear legs, but others don't display outward signs of discomfort.

Cataracts: This affliction causes opacity on the lens of the eye, resulting in poor vision. Cataracts usually occur in old age and sometimes can be surgically removed to improve vision Cutaneous Athenian: Also known as Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, dermatosparaxis, or dominant collagen dysplasia, this condition causes defective connective tissue in the skin to become fragile, loose, and stretchy.

Cystinuria: This is a condition where high levels of a protein, called cysteine, are excreted in the urine, and may indicate stone formation. Degenerative Myelopathy (DM): This is a progressive degeneration of the nervous and supportive tissue of the spinal cord in the lower back region.

It causes rear leg lameness, weakness and eventual paralysis and is often misdiagnosed as disk disease. It can cause mild or severe seizures that may show themselves as unusual behavior (such as running frantically as if being chased, staggering, or hiding) or even by falling down, limbs rigid, and losing consciousness.

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Seizures are frightening to watch, but the long-term prognosis for dogs with idiopathic epilepsy is generally very good. It's important to take your dog to the vet for proper diagnosis (especially since seizures can have other causes) and treatment.

Symptoms include unsteadiness, problems with going up or down stairs and furniture, knuckling over of limbs, weakness, and paralysis. Pulmonary hypertension is high blood pressure within the lungs and is a rare part of the PDA disease.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): is a family of eye diseases that involves the gradual deterioration of the retina. Many affected dogs adapt well to their limited or lost vision, as long as their surroundings remain the same.

On Hildebrand's Disease: Found in both dogs and humans, this is a blood disorder that affects the clotting process. However, it can be managed with treatments that include cauterizing or suturing injuries, transfusions before surgery, and avoidance of specific medications.

This marking, which is caused by a change in thickness and direction of a strip of hair, gets its name from legend: According to one, fairies rode Pembroke's in their home country of Wales. Brush your Pembroke's teeth at least two or three times a week to remove tartar buildup and the bacteria that lurk inside it.

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Daily brushing is even better if you want to prevent gum disease and bad breath. Trim his nails once or twice a month if your dog doesn't wear them down naturally to prevent painful tears and other problems.

As you groom, check for sores, rashes, or signs of infection such as redness, tenderness, or inflammation on the skin, in the nose, mouth, and eyes, and on the feet. Your careful weekly exam will help you spot potential health problems early.

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