Wednesday, March 14, 2012

What's your style?

Just selected three traits for fun on a breed selector (low shedding, intelligent and agile) and got NO SUCH BREED as the result! That amuses me given that we live with a dog who, after a little work , fits the profile perfectly.

We have lived with many breeds (and mixes) of dogs over the years which entitles me to nothing but anecdotal reporting but I won't let that stop me!

Before I begin some of the dogs in some of the groups are just ODD! And the classic Non Sporting  Group is just wild. Thinking an American Eskimo, Boston Terrier  and  Dalmatian should be in the same group is mighty creative. (But, to be fair, what else do you do with the "leftovers"?) OK  - let's dive into the groups (I'm ignoring Miscellaneous group  - as it changes often and is currently dogs I don't know.)

When I look at the terrier group we have spent many days, even months with an Airedale (and known many others) and a jrt (and known many others). Funny to me that Dad and Mum, separately, ended up with terriers! I have enjoyed a couple of Westies too, and lived in terror of the Kerry Blue terriers up the street when I was a child. This actually kind of sums up how I feel about terriers. I love 'em but am always glad when they go home! While I'd never say never say never, I would be a little surprised if a full terrier ended up in permanent residence here. (Though I do love Schnauzers of all sizes!) Wilkie and Ben certainly let me appreciate the group tho - sweet tenacity!

Hounds are tough for us to live with. We do long off leash walks and hounds are well known for great noses and traveling long distances. Have loved a few hounds tho: a couple of beagles, a basset, a hound and an amazing whippet (Divo, of course) who, had there been any room at the inn, would have stayed with us. My grandparent's dachshund  was the first dog in my life. He bit me regularly and I loved him anyhow, or maybe that's why I loved him. He was certainly nothing like the other hounds I've known - much more terrier in attitude!

My exposure in a long term sense to the Working group is a bit limited. Laurice was a phenomenal dog (identified as a rotti x golden) and I believe it was the Rottweiler that made her so wonderful. We've also fostered huskies. The most notorious of which was Bacchus - it's tricky living with a dog who has never been in a house before. Standing on the dining room table was second nature to him! He also was a confirmed cat killer which made life at our house challenging too.

A fair few dogs from the Non Working group have been around us. Boston terriers, French Bulldogs, Shih Tzu, American Eskimos and poodle (mixes) are the ones we have had the most varied contact with. Cute, amusing, talented dogs .. and Brody clearly laps into this Non-Working Group - tho at 11 pounds you'd think he'd fit the toy category too. I can see always having a dog that, at least partly, fits into this group.

After many years of calling myself a "big" dog person the Toy group has stolen a piece of my heart. A little biting Maltese, Pablo, lived with us and then in our extended family for many years. A character through and through he taught us the trick of ignoring unwanted behaviour. Pomeranians (Lola was the first, Pompeii the most recent) helped me see that a tiny dog can have mighty heart.

Chihuahuas have been an ongoing part of our life for more than 10 years, and while I can see while people who have only seen the hand bag version might look down on them I suspect there may always be a chihuahua in our life.

Tom has always loved German Shepherds (Hank's Mom was a German Shepherd). We've also had the pleasure of living with the world's most beautiful  Aussie (yay Asparagus!) and a darling little Sheltie (turned out to be our first foster dog though at the time I thought she was a co-owned pooch).

Herding dogs are intense. They are, in our experience, a true working dog. They are smart, maybe too smart, and they are wildly entertaining when doing what you want. Every one I have lived with has been easy to teach and wanted to learn. Even deeply disturbed herding dogs learn from every interaction with them. (Which, let's be fair, means I learn from every interaction with them!) While I may not be able to find consensus on what breed of dog Sally is (we were told collie x lab) I will unequivocally state that she is a Herding Dog!

My first dog was an Irish Setter, and my aunt had a lab x setter at the same time. A deep love of Sporting dogs was born through knowing Kelly and Jenny. The love has been  furthered with loving Rufus and Lucy (golden), Laurice and Samantha (half golden), Maddy (lab), Frannie and Jake (cockers) and Sampson as well as a few lab mix fosters, most notably Sadie. On further reflection I realize that the only dogs in old family pictures were sporting dogs too. My grandparents had an Irish Setter Ricky and an English Setter Lady who were in most pictures of them with my mum and her sisters. What do I love about sporting dogs?  I love their humour. I love watching them in the field. I love their grace and beauty.

I am so very lucky I don't get to choose a dog, and that we get to live with a variety of dogs. They teach us so much if we chose to listen to them.  Every dog has taught us so much. some because of the breed, some because of the individual and I'm so grateful for this journey of learning and love.

(For this discussion I've only included dogs in residence 3 months or more or dogs we take have taken regular care of as well as a couple of family dogs).


Jenn said...

Doesn't surprise me that the dachshund is akin in spirit to the terrier. They were breed to do the same kind of work!

Never Say Never Greyhounds said...

Wow! You have had quite a variety!

andrea said...

We have had a variety - the joys of fostering for a all breed rescue!