Discussing dog breeds, dog-adoption, and the human-canine connection.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Hunting Dogs: Weimaraner

When I was growing up my cousins had a very large grey dog named Friend. Friend was a Weimaraner. Friend impressed me for several reasons.
First, he was very handsome and very friendly.
Second, he was incredibly obedient.

When he wasn't in the house Friend had a pen in the back yard with a fence that was so short I could step over it. When I asked my aunt why such a big dog would stay inside such a small fence she said, "Because he knows I expect him too."

She also explained her reasoning for his name, "I thought some people might be intimidated by such a big, grey dog. But it's much harder to be intimidated by a dog named Friend."

I've known other Weims and I've found this to be a very likeable breed. This is a very athletic breed, designed to spend a day in the field hunting anything from boars to birds. Friend's good behavior owed a great deal to extensive training and exercise that my aunt provided.

Weims have a very low rate of hip dysplasia, particularly for a large breed. They also have a high prey drive, as one should expect with a breed that has hunted so many kinds of game for generations. This is a breed that does best with active people who put the time into training.

The pay off is a lovely dog who is devoted to their family, so devoted that they don't do well with too much separation. Sensitive, attractive, athletic -- does this sound like a dog for you? Adoption is an option for this breed; they are to be found in shelters and through breed rescue.

For some really fun and lovely Weim pictures search out the work of William Wegman.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Mother Day's Doggies

Mother's Day is just around the corner.
 A lot of has moms to be thankful for,

When you're lucky, mom plays a special role in your life.

 Mom who nurtured us in the early days.

Who taught us something about playing

Who taught us how to do important things -- like pay attention to our environment.

And taught us to get out and enjoy our world.

Who gave us someone to look up to.

 For some of us Mom was a role model.

Sometimes mom taught us how to get along with our siblings.

For a lot of us it is mom who organized the family gatherings.

Moms come in a lot of shapes and sizes.

The good ones are worth their weight in gold.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

My Favorite Bone Head Turns Four


So hard to believe it has already been four years since our bouncy, zooming, hip-checking, bird seed eating, role of tape chewing, neighborhood watching, Labrador wrestling little bundle of joy was born. Where does the time go?

  I tried to get a picture to mark the anniversary...but Gracie can't be bothered to stop long enough to pose. I need a faster camera I think, to keep up with her.

Bouncing at the neighbor dog, who has been watching her for over ten minutes but just suddenly became worth bouncing at.

Finding the first fresh grass of the season to eat, to better increase the likelihood of getting sick later in the day.

And keeping an eye on the goings on in the 'hood, cause when you live within a block of a church you never know what unsavory characters are going to pass by your front door, do you :-)

She is also a little suspicious of the birds that are showing up to eat the bird food out of the bird food feeders - she and sister Lil the Labrador believe they should be the only ones eating that bird food.

  Speaking of Lil, she got a little upset that Gracie and I went outside without her - because she makes it that much easier to take a picture don't you know - and we came back in to find that she could both bark loudly and rearrange furniture at the same time.

I was planning to wash the blankets and couch covers today anyway....

So here's to many more years with my lovely little bonehead. She may be a lot of unpredictable energy but I wouldn't trade her - even for a well behaved, predictable dog AND a bag of money! After all, what fun would that be?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Herding Dogs: Pembroke and Cardigan Welsh Corgis

If you need a herding dog for your farmyard, or a more compact dog for your agility or even flyball games, perhaps you should be considering the uncommon Corgi.

There are two type of Corgis.

Pembroke Welsh Corgi

Cardigan Welsh Corgi

Pembroke Welsh Corgi

Yes, this is the variety of Corgi that the Queen lives with.

It may be the Royal connection that makes this the more popular of the varieties.

The Pembroke is the "tailless" Corgi, although a Pembroke is occasionally born with a tail, which used to be docked.

 When comparing Corgi's the Pembroke has a shorter back, and straighter leg. In other words, this is the slightly smaller variety of Corgi.

 The Pembroke is supposed to top out at about 30 pounds (>14 kg.)

Cardigan Welsh Corgi

This is the variety of Corgi that is considered to be the first established - the tailed variety that is supposed to top out at about 38 pounds (17+ kg.)

To me the Cardigan is typically easy to spot because they just look longer. They are also uncommon, verging on rare. A big personality in a very manageable size, it is interesting that they have not known more popularity.

When my neighbor's German Shepherd Dog passed away, she decided she wanted an alert looking dog who took up less room; she'd moved from a farm into town and thought a smaller dog would suit her new lifestyle better.

Her choice was a Corgi. She could not however, find a Cardigan breeder within a days drive and ended up instead with a Pembroke.  Indeed, limited availability feeds into the growing rareness of this breed -- the less often people encounter a breed, the less likely they are to consider the breed when adopting a new member into their family.

If you decide that you want a Cardigan, you will have too look carefully and probably wait a while to get one from a reputable breeder. This is a breed however, that is worth the time and effort it takes to acquire.  And for those who like to live with an uncommon dog - this is a friendly, cheerful companion.

This is also a breed that comes in a wide variety of colors, including merles.

When I was studying in Canada, my Professor and his wife added a Corgi to their family so that they would have a smaller dog who would be tolerant of the grandchildren. This dog had one of the nicest personalities, was tolerant and entertaining. His whole body would wiggle in excitement when greeting people.

My neighbor Corgi, Earl, is one of the most delightful little dogs I have ever met. He is not "barky" he is perpetually jolly in appearance, he is willing to meet all other animals with an agreeable demeanor. He is just a very happy little fellow.

 If Earl had a tail I'm sure it would be constantly wagging. His predecessor, little Phoebe, was equally agreeable and possibly even sweeter.

If you like cheerful, friendly, sturdy dogs with a good work ethic, then Corgis are worth a second look. As always, despite the uncommonness of the breed, there are still members who end up in need of adoption after something happens to separate them from their first family. Even the delightful Corgi ends up in rescue - national clubs have a contact for rescue of the variety you are interested in.