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24 Pictures of Adorable Cats And Dogs From Meet The Breeds 2012

Each year, the American Kennel Club throws Meet the Breeds in New York City's Jacob Javits Center. More than 200 breeds of cats and dogs are available for cuddling and photo ops (if you can get them to sit still!). We hit the floor to bring you adorable pictures and interesting factoids about 24 breeds.

Abyssinian


Abyssinians have uniquely colored coats thanks to a dominant mutant gene that gives each strand of fur a base color, then three bands of darker colors. The hair is lighter at the root, and darker at the ends. The first cat to have its entire genome published was an Abyssinian.

English Springer Spaniel

In 19th and early 20th century Britain, a litter of spaniels would be divided up by size: The smaller dogs were used to hunt woodcock, and were called "Cockers"; bigger dogs were used to flush, or spring, game, and were called "Springers." The first English Springer Spaniel came to Canada from England in 1913.

British Shorthair


These cats get their teddy bear good looks thanks to a short but extremely dense coat, which creates a plush effect. Look familiar? The British Shorthair was the inspiration for Puss in Boots and the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland.

Beagle


Beagles can't be too tall: In the U.S., their height limit is 15 inches; in England, 16 inches.

Savannah


Savannahs are a cross between domestic cats and Servals, a wild African cat; they can weigh 20 pounds or more, and can be trained to walk on a leash. The breed was accepted by the International Cat Association in 2001.

Portuguese Pointer


This breed came from the Orient to the Iberian Peninsula as early as the 14th Century, and was brought to America by Portuguese bird hunters.

Sphynx


The first attempts at creating this breed began in 1966, when a hairless kitten was born in Ontario, Canada. That kitten, a male named Prune, was bred with other cats in an attempt to create more hairless kittens, but because hairlessness is caused by a recessive gene, those attempts had limited success. More naturally hairless cats were found in Minnesota and Toronto between 1975 and 1978, and these cats were bred with Devon Rex, another cat with little body hair. The Sphynx breed—so-named for its resemblance to the Egyptian Sphinx sculpture—traces its history back to those cats.

Cardigan Welsh Corgi


Known as "the corgi with a tail," this breed is descended from the Teckel or Dachshund family. They were not declared to be a separate breed from the better known Pembroke Welsh Corgi until 1934.

Bengal


These exotic-looking felines are a hybrid of domestic cats and Asian leopard cats, which gives their coats a distinctive marbled and spotted pattern. Bengals are only domestic breed that has rosettes—a spot with a center that is halfway between the color of the coat and the color of the spot—like the ones found on jaguars and ocelots.

Norwich Terrier


The ancestors of these dogs—who have a nose for rats and other vermin—came from England's East Anglia and Leicestershire regions, near Cambridge. In fact, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, breeders would sell these terriers to Cambridge University students (the dogs got rid of rats in the dorms).

Devon Rex


The founding father of this breed, Kirlee, was born in 1959. These cats are very intelligent, and can be trained to walk on a leash and perform tricks.

Chinese Crested


These dogs also come in a fully-coated variety called Powderpuff.

Toyger


Since the late 1980s, breeders have been trying to replicate the pattern and colors on the coats of tigers. Hence, the toyger. The cats that started off this trend were a striped domestic shorthair named Scrapmetal; a Bengal named Millwood Rumpled Spotskin; and a street cat from Kashmir, India, named Jammu Blu, who had spots between his ears instead of typical tabby lines.

Bull Terrier


Bull terriers go all the way back to 19th century England, when James Hinks bred existing bull-and-terriers (crosses between bulldogs and various terriers), his own white Bulldog Madman and White English Terriers (which are now extinct). The dogs, called White Cavaliers in that day because of their all-white coats, were crossed with brindle Staffordshire terriers in the early 1900s to create a colored variety.

American Wirehair


This breed is the result of a spontaneous mutation that occurred in a kitten born in upstate New York in 1966. The mutation has not yet been reported in any other country.

Border Terrier


Though this dog was not shown as a specific breed until the late 19th century, it can be seen in paintings of hunting scenes from the 18th century. Border Terriers were used by shepherds, farmers and poachers who needed a terrier who could keep up with the horses, go to ground to kill or bolt game, and fit in comfortably in their homes.

LaPerm Shorthair


These cats first appeared in 1982. Some of these cats are born hairless, then grow sparse, curly coats (some even have curly whiskers), but LaPerms can have straight fur, too.

Wire Fox Terrier


For 100 years, the fox terrier was shown in the United States as one breed with two varieties—Smooth and Wire. Separate standards were approved in 1985. The ancestor of the wire is thought to be rough-coated terriers of Wales, Derbyshire, and Durham.

Maine Coon

The Maine Coon gets its name from a widespread, by biologically impossible, legend—that the breed originated from matings between semi-wild domestic cats and raccoons. Another popular theory: the breed came from six pet cats sent to Wiscasset, Maine by Marie Antoinette as she was planning to escape from France during the French Revolution. Most likely, Maine Coons are a cross between domestic shorthair cats and longhairs brought to America by New England seamen or Vikings.

Pumi


There are only 100 Pumis—a Hungarian dog used for herding sheep and cattle—in the United States.

Ragdoll


The breeder who originally developed the Ragdoll breed claimed the matriarchal cat, Josephine, was genetically altered at a medical center where she was taken after she was hit by a car. Afterward, all of her kittens were born with the laid-back personalities this breed is known for (apparently all the kittens born before Josephine's hospitalization acted like normal kittens).

Nederlandse Kooikerhondje

This quiet dog helped kooikers (decoy men) lure ducks into traps. Its name means small Dutch decoy dog; the breed is not yet fully recognized by the American Kennel Club.

Selkirk Rex


This cat has a thick, plush, curly coat that actually comes from a dominant gene. The first Selkirk was born to a house cat in Montana in 1987, and was bred with a black Persian, creating three curly haired and three straight haired kittens.

Greater Swiss Mountain Dog


This dog is one of the earliest Swiss breeds; it was instrumental in the development of both the St. Bernard and the Rottweiler.

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Art
5 Things You Might Not Know About Ansel Adams

You probably know Ansel Adams—who was born on February 20, 1902—as the man who helped promote the National Park Service through his magnificent photographs. But there was a lot more to the shutterbug than his iconic, black-and-white vistas. Here are five lesser-known facts about the celebrated photographer.

1. AN EARTHQUAKE LED TO HIS DISTINCTIVE NOSE.

Adams was a four-year-old tot when the 1906 San Francisco earthquake struck his hometown. Although the boy managed to escape injury during the quake itself, an aftershock threw him face-first into a garden wall, breaking his nose. According to a 1979 interview with TIME, Adams said that doctors told his parents that it would be best to fix the nose when the boy matured. He joked, "But of course I never did mature, so I still have the nose." The nose became Adams' most striking physical feature. His buddy Cedric Wright liked to refer to Adams' honker as his "earthquake nose.

2. HE ALMOST BECAME A PIANIST.

Adams was an energetic, inattentive student, and that trait coupled with a possible case of dyslexia earned him the heave-ho from private schools. It was clear, however, that he was a sharp boy—when motivated.

When Adams was just 12 years old, he taught himself to play the piano and read music, and he quickly showed a great aptitude for it. For nearly a dozen years, Adams focused intensely on his piano training. He was still playful—he would end performances by jumping up and sitting on his piano—but he took his musical education seriously. Adams ultimately devoted over a decade to his study, but he eventually came to the realization that his hands simply weren't big enough for him to become a professional concert pianist. He decided to leave the keys for the camera after meeting photographer Paul Strand, much to his family's dismay.

3. HE HELPED CREATE A NATIONAL PARK.

If you've ever enjoyed Kings Canyon National Park in California, tip your cap to Adams. In the 1930s Adams took a series of photographs that eventually became the book Sierra Nevada: The John Muir Trail. When Adams sent a copy to Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes, the cabinet member showed it to Franklin Roosevelt. The photographs so delighted FDR that he wouldn't give the book back to Ickes. Adams sent Ickes a replacement copy, and FDR kept his with him in the White House.

After a few years, Ickes, Adams, and the Sierra Club successfully convinced Roosevelt to make Kings Canyon a national park in 1940. Roosevelt's designation specifically provided that the park be left totally undeveloped and roadless, so the only way FDR himself would ever experience it was through Adams' lenses.

4. HE WELCOMED COMMERCIAL ASSIGNMENTS.

While many of his contemporary fine art photographers shunned commercial assignments as crass or materialistic, Adams went out of his way to find paying gigs. If a company needed a camera for hire, Adams would generally show up, and as a result, he had some unlikely clients. According to The Ansel Adams Gallery, he snapped shots for everyone from IBM to AT&T to women's colleges to a dried fruit company. All of this commercial print work dismayed Adams's mentor Alfred Stieglitz and even worried Adams when he couldn't find time to work on his own projects. It did, however, keep the lights on.

5. HE AND GEORGIA O'KEEFFE WERE FRIENDS.

Adams and legendary painter O'Keeffe were pals and occasional traveling buddies who found common ground despite their very different artistic approaches. They met through their mutual friend/mentor Stieglitz—who eventually became O'Keeffe's husband—and became friends who traveled throughout the Southwest together during the 1930s. O'Keeffe would paint while Adams took photographs.

These journeys together led to some of the artists' best-known work, like Adams' portrait of O'Keeffe and a wrangler named Orville Cox, and while both artists revered nature and the American Southwest, Adams considered O'Keeffe the master when it came to capturing the area. 

“The Southwest is O’Keeffe’s land,” he wrote. “No one else has extracted from it such a style and color, or has revealed the essential forms so beautifully as she has in her paintings.”

The two remained close throughout their lives. Adams would visit O'Keeffe's ranch, and the two wrote to each other until Adams' death in 1984.

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Svetlana Ivanova, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 3.0
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travel
What It's Like to Live in Yakutsk, Siberia, the Coldest City on Earth
Svetlana Ivanova, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 3.0
Svetlana Ivanova, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 3.0

The residents of Yakutsk, Siberia are experts at surviving harsh winters. They own thick furs, live in houses built for icy environments, and know not to wear glasses outdoors unless they want them to freeze to their face. This is life in the coldest city on Earth, where temperatures occupy -40°F territory throughout winter, according to National Geographic.

Yakutsk has all the features of any other mid-sized city. The 270,000 people who live there have access to movie theaters, restaurants, and a public transportation system that functions year-round. But look closer and you’ll notice some telling details. Many houses are built on stilts, and if they’re not, the heat from the building thaws the permafrost beneath it, causing the structure to sink. People continue going outside during the coldest months, but only for a few minutes at a time to avoid frostbite.

Then there's the weather. The extreme low temperatures are cold enough to freeze car batteries and the fish sold in open-air markets. Meanwhile, a thick fog is a constant presence in the city, giving it an otherworldly aura.

Why do people choose to live in such a harsh environment? Beneath Yakutsk lies a literal treasure mine: Mines in the area produce a fifth of the world’s diamonds. Valuable natural gas can also be recovered there.

While Yakutsk may be the coldest city on Earth, it’s not the coldest inhabited place there is. That distinction belongs to the rural village of Oymyakon, 575 miles to the east, where temperatures recently dropped to an eyelash-freezing -88°F.

Snow-covered road.
Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna- CAFF, Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0

Road covered in snow.
Magnús H Björnsson, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Church surrounded by snow.
Magnús H Björnsson, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

[h/t National Geographic]

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