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Dog Breeds V: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly e.g. Shorty Get Down

23 Mar

Time for more breed profiles, we know, we’re overdue. Tough Titties. This time we’re tackling the breeds whereupon it’s easy to believe there is in fact  a connection between pleasantness and length of leg. That’s right kids, it’s time for the Achondroplastic (There’s a Scrabble word for you) breeds per our selection. Brace yourselves for a lot of short jokes.

Pemmies, Cardis and for funsies their peasant cousin, the Vallhund (Sort of)

Okay, so technically a Vallhund isn’t a Corgi but it has the same shape and can also be a big dirty asshole, so we’re lumping it in, so ha.

The Good:

-Want a sport dog? Drive a compact car? We’ve got the dog(s) for you. There’s a reason you see a ton of corgis at dog sports. They’re good at it, despite the length of their legs. They are generally good with kids and make great junior dogs, in conformation or performance.

-These are dogs bred to take a kicking and keep on ticking (literally). Both breeds of Corgi are dogs that can run with you or go for a long hike and come right back in and snuggle down in your apartment. They’re hardy and fairly healthy. Certainly not frail dogs.

 

-Owning a Vallhund means that you can own a rare breed without people thinking you are a snob.  The flip side of this is that you will spend a great deal of time convincing people your dog isn’t some sort of Corgi mix.

The Bad:

Before we dive in to the bad, we’ve gotta split these guys up. First off, the Cardigan is the one with the tail, the Pembroke is the one with the queen and the Vallhund is the one with the vikings.

-The Pembroke is spitzier (Cardigans have rounder ears and softer personalities), and everything that comes with that. They can be sharp and reactivity is not uncommon.

Similar to the Kraken, but longer.

 

-Corgis love to get fat. Real fat. They’re easy keepers and usually very food driven, always a dangerous combination. Combine that with their short legs and long back and you’ve got a recipe for the bad back mentioned below.

The Ugly:

-Like every other breed on this list, Corgis are prone to back problem because of their length of back. That’s an expensive surgery, lots of rehab and a long time to keep a normally active dog fairly still and calm.

-The hair. So. Much HAIR. These dogs walk into a room, puffs out their cheeks and Poof! Blows hair on every surface. Honestly, it’s almost magical if you don’t have to be the one vacuuming it all up.  Get used to find  wafting balls of hair in corners and under furniture.   And on your clothes.  And in your food.  And in other places we dare not mention.

Dachshunds

The Good:

-These tiny creatures are a bundle of fun (albeit not always in the way you would want them to be).  Full of spirit and energy, prepare to be kept on your toes by owning one.  They are attention-loving clowns who will steal the show whenever they can.  If you are someone who can find the joy in your dog stealing baby Jesus from a Christmas display (seriously, BusyBee has a friend whose dog did this), then you might be well-suited for this breed.

 

Loyal to the core, Dachshunds bond strongly with their owners and are almost underfoot (literally).  Dachshund owners will tell you that they are sweet, affectionate, and cuddly with those that they deem acceptable, but may not be so with strangers.

Blanket Burrower: Expert

 

The Bad:

Ever heard of Doxie World Domination? Well, it’s a real thing.  Many Dachshund owners can attest that these dogs are cute, they know it, and they aren’t afraid to use it to manipulate you.

 

-Barking is actually bred into this breed. They were bred to hunt small game and bark to alert his human. If you want silence in your home, don’t get a Dachshund.

-They’re like pringles, you can’t have just one.  Seriously, most Dachshund owners start with one and then slowly (or not so slowly) start adding to the herd.   While this may not seem like a bad thing, imagine some of the less desirable traits in multiples.  You might want to invest in some ear plugs.

 

The Ugly:

It should be no surprise that these feisty little creatures are prone to back injuries.  Add in a propensity to be overweight and a love of dive-bombing off of furniture or anything else they can climb up on, you have a recipe for disaster.

 

-If you are looking for a highly biddable dog, you should look elsewhere.  Dachshunds tend to have a mind of their own. They believe they are in charge at all times. They like to decide where they are going, when they are going there and what they’ll do when they arrive.  That isn’t to say they can’t be trained, but it will take a lot of patience and a sense of humor.

 

Basset Hounds

The Good:

Just seeing one toddling along is enough to make anyone smile.  They tend to approach life with a certain joie de vivre that can be contagious.

Herp-a-derp

 

-If you’re looking for a dog that just wants to hangout, take casual walks, and chill out on the couch you don’t need to look much further. Most Bassets are pretty Bro-ish dogs. They’re cool to go on a weekend warrior hike, or hang out and drink some beers., Whatever dude.

 

The Bad:

– Although they are short haired, Basset Hounds shed more than you might expect, and tend to drool after they eat or drink. A Basset Hound may not be a good choice for someone who likes a very tidy house or doesn’t like slobber hanging from their lamps…and their furniture…and their ceilings. 

If you live in a city, or have neighbors who are looking for any reason to hate you, the vocalizations of a Basset will not win you any friends.  They’re a breed of dog made to make noise, and they’re very good at that. People that love them tend to love the baying but not so much their upstairs neighbor.

The Ugly:

-Bassets just aren’t healthy dogs. Yes, yes, we know you have an uncle with a pack of hunting Bassets that are healthy as horses. We’re not talking about those. They’re prone to numerous genetic issues, allergies, and of course the back issues of all the other breeds on this list. Their ears alone are a nightmare, thanks to their general droopiness. They are also another breed that tends towards fat.

-The basset is a breed pretty heavily impacted by BYBs, because of their cuteness. As always, one should be careful where one gets their Basset.

Probably not to standard

 

-Hound Stank is also a very real thing.

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Dog Breeds IV: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly e.g. I don’t need it but I want it anyway

7 Jun

Time for more breed profiles!  This time each of us chose a breed that we love and not-so-secretly covet, but likely will never own for various reasons.  Sometimes being an adult and realizing our limitations sucks, right?  But alas, here are our “want but can’t have” breed profiles:

 

BusyBee–Rhodesian Ridgebacks

I’ve loved Rhodesian Ridgebacks as long as I can remember.  As much as I would love to have one, I’m woman enough to know that they are probably not the best match for me.  That being said, I still plan on ogling every Rhodie that crosses my path.

The Good

1) I’m pretty sure people universally agree that they are a gorgeous dog.  From their regal stature, their big brown eyes, to their muscular builds, a well-bred Rhodesian Ridgeback is a sight to behold.  Plus, let’s be honest, the ridge is pretty freaking cool.

Photo courtesy of Vanessa Macgill, Mikozi Rhodesian Ridgebacks

Photo courtesy of Vanessa Macgill, Mikozi Rhodesian Ridgebacks

2)  They are pretty much “wash and wear” dogs because of their short coats.  Their short, shiny coat was developed to withstand any climate and environment and developed to not hold odor.  You know what that means?  No wretched hound stank.  Praise sweet baby cheesus for that.

3)  Ridgebacks are fiercely loyal family members and bond very strongly with their people.  Owning a Ridgeback pretty much ensures that you will have a dog who wants to be touching you, whether it’s leaning against you or trapping you on the couch while playing “lap dog”.

If it fits, I sits! (Photo courtesy of Phil Miller)

If it fits, I sits! (Photo courtesy of Phil Miller)

 

The Bad

1) Although not necessarily a bad thing, I am not sure I would like the general aloofness of Ridgebacks around people other than their family.  I tend to be drawn to the more social butterfly type dogs and honestly, Mr. T’s eagerness to be everyone’s best friend is one of the things I love most about him.  Living in a big city, it’s nice to have a dog who thrives on the crowds of people rather than tolerates it or deigns it.  Obviously this natural aloofness can be mitigated in part by socialization, but I don’t know if a dog who is naturally wary of strangers is a good fit for me.

2)  They are a strong-willed dog breed and not for handlers who tend to be pushovers (read: me).  Naturally independent thinkers, Ridgebacks often have their own agenda and it’s not always in alignment with yours. It’s no coincidence that my friend who has owned Rhodesians for years has named his most recent two Stubborn and Stroppy.  With the right owner, these dogs can be amazing, but I’ve seen too many people completely at the mercy of their Rhodies, and I’m self-aware enough to know that I would likely be one of those people too.

 

Stroppy, Mr. T’s bestie doing his best circus poodle impression (photo courtesy of Adam Braun)

Stroppy, Mr. T’s bestie doing his best circus poodle impression (photo courtesy of Adam Braun)

3) Most Ridgebacks are not fussy eaters and have cast-iron stomachs.  While this may sound like a good thing, I assure you, it’s not.  It means that they will attempt to eat anything that doesn’t eat them first. They are master counter-surfers and will hunt down every last morsel of food they can get to, even if that means chewing through jacket pockets to get to it.  Don’t let those big brown eyes fool you either, a Ridgeback always thinks it’s hungry.

 

Pure. Torture.  (PURE TORTURE (Photo courtesy of Corey Turner, Semper Fidelis Rhodesian Ridgebacks)

Pure. Torture. (Photo courtesy of Corey Turner, Semper Fidelis Rhodesian Ridgebacks)

The Ugly

1) Given my tendency to be annoyed by stupid people, I’m pretty sure I would tire quickly (like…immediately) of everyone and their mother with a slightly-reddish dog telling me that their dog is a Ridgeback mix.  Pro tip:  That thing that only appears on your dog’s back sometimes?  Yeah, those are hackles.  STFU.

h7E236EB3

 

Fang–Chinese Crested

 

What do Cattle Dogs, Malinois, Jack Russel Terriers and my ex-boyfriend have in common? They’re all assholes. That’s right. I have a type. I love the pushy, bossy, rule-creating and not afraid to back it up, tried and true, assholes*. So it surprises me, likely as much as it surprises you that my true toy-breed love is the Chinese Crested. I had never truly considered one until cuddling with one of these tiny naked alpacas and then it was love at second hug.

 

There may have been wine involved (Photo courtesy of Dee “Déjà vu One Hot Habanero”

There may have been wine involved (Photo courtesy of Dee “Déjà vu One Hot Habanero”)

 

 The Good

1) They are crazy smart. Helpful smart, not so much, but if you need to plot a cat burglary, these guys are in, and would probably ask to run the explosives.Our professional opinion is “For the love of God don’t let them”. While not a traditional performance breed, Cresteds can and do excel in agility and obedience.

 

I fetch.  What can you do, asshole?

I fetch. What can you do, asshole? 

2) A wardrobe is a legitimate and necessary thing to spend money on and the options are absolutely hilarious and adorable.

3) Want to have a pun as a registered name? The Crested is your breed. You will hear more variations of nudity puns than you ever knew existed. The dirtier the better.

 4) If you want a small dog who’s game for anything but isn’t a terrier, a Crestie could be your dog. These dogs are just plain fun. Entertainers by nature they want to interact with you and be your constant companions.

 

Surfs up, moondoggie!

Surfs up, moondoggie!

 

The Bad

 1) You know how I said they were smart but not necessarily helpful? While they may not be evil geniuses they certainly know how to make their owners dance. From unstuffing couch cushions by way of zipper-opening skills, to escaping out of ex-pens and into an alleyway just because it seemed like a good idea at the time,a Crestie will keep you busy and not necessarily in the ways you expect.

2) One of the downsides to their lithe lean little bodies is their overall fragility. While they think they’re big and bad, they’re well, not. Bones can break and crazy falls from ridiculously high places they never shoulc have accessed in the first place are not unusual nor unheard of. As small dogs they’re also very very sensitive to minor weight changes. Three days of not-eating isn’t great for your Dane but it can mean massive weight-loss for your Crested.

 

I'm so broken

I’m so broken

 

3) Dislike the smell of sunscreen? Not overly fond of bathing your dogs? Then you don’t need this breed. Acne, sunburns and general contact allergies plague the breed. Their skin is a constant chore and it will never ever get easier.

 

Fun fact.  Cresteds tan.

Fun fact: Cresteds tan..

4) Puppymillers have begun to see the appeal of the little naked bastards. It will only continue to get harder to find well-bred healthy dogs.

 

The Ugly

 1) A paragon of health the Crested really is not though compared to many equivalent toy breeds, they’re in much better shape. Eye, teeth and joint issues tend to be the big problems though about half are genetic recessives and can be tested for and bred away from. The others can be painful for both your dog and your wallet so be prepared to ask your breeder a metric fuckton of questions on not only the parents of the litter you’re interested in, but their parents parents and so on and so forth.

2)  The main reason I don’t have 40 cresteds and live in a shoe right now is that people are assholes. Every twatface on the street has some smartass comment or stupid questions while groping the dog and frankly, I can’t take that kind of human interaction on a daily basis. I can barely handle it with the more traditional looking dogs I have already. There are also the reactions of friends and relatives to think about. More than one owner has been surprised by the vehement dislike people have had for their new naked. While I have no problems cutting off people who have nothing pleasant to say about my dogs, other people may have some reservations on that front.

*My ex was only one of those things. Guess which one.

 

Potnoodle–Bull Terrier

I have a type when it comes to dogs. I can admit that. I like them lean, tall and elegant. Then there is my weakness… the Bull Terrier. I don’t care what color, I don’t care what size… I love them. I’m also smart enough to realize that special brand of bull headedness would probably drive me crazy. After all, the AKC standad says the BT is “best described as a three year old in a dog suit”. Still, Every single one I meet makes me want one even more.

Catfish, credit to Hannah Bauchat

 

The Good

1) The drive. Seriously, there are some awesome bull terriers out there doing some awesome things. Obedience, Agility, whatever. If you know how to motivate them, they can probably do it. (Jane Killion, anyone?)

Catfish, again. You guys should have sent us more BT photos. I’ve just resorted to stealing these. Credit to Hannah Bauchat.

2) LOOK AT IT. If you don’t want to squish that egg head, something is wrong with you. The awesome part?. The bull terrier is totally down with you squishing his face. They’re a full contact dog, for the most part. While they don’t always know their own strength, the BT is a pretty sturdy dog with a friendly temperament.

3) Another thing mentioned right in the AKC standard, they’re total clowns. I have poodles, so obviously I appreciate a good sense of humor in a dog and there’s something about a bull terrier that just exudes “Joke’s on you!” but you just can’t help laughing along. Do us a favor. Go to youtube and search “bull terrier hucklebutt”. It’s okay, we’ll wait. Is your day now 30% better? You’re welcome.

3 ½) I’m sort of obsessed with the weird way their legs just stick out of their body. I can’t describe it, I just love it.

The Bad (  It’s a really good thing we’ve moved on to the bad because I have totally talked myself in to a BT at this point)

1) Destruction. You may have noticed in those videos you were stuck watching for like an hour, bull terriers are sort of… extreme. They’re like… frat boys. They don’t really mean to destroy everything they come in contact with… it just sort of happens. The owner of the lovely Catfish above calls him a “Bull Terrorist” and it’s isn’t inaccurate.

Credit to Donna Darnell

Credit to Donna Darnell

 

2) You may have noticed I mentioned Jane Killion above. She trains and breeds some really lovely bull terriers. For those of you not familiar with her work, the title of her book is “When Pigs Fly: Training Success with Impossible Dogs”…. and there’s a reason for that. Bull terriers can be a bit pig headed but once you clue in to how they learn well… refer to above.

The Ugly

1) Same sex aggression. Like most Bully breeds, the BT can be SSA. That doesn’t mean all of them are, in fact a lot of them seem not to be but same sex aggression isn’t something you can really spot until the dog approaches maturity so it’s a bit of a toss up when buying a puppy. While this is less of a big deal to some people, it’s pretty much a deal breaker for me… for now.

 

**What breeds do you love but can’t have?  Share below!**

Dog Breeds II: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly e.g. My Neighbor has one of those.

6 Jan

Back, by popular demand, is the Dog Breed Profile. This time around, we thought we’d hit the big three. That is, the breeds AKC declares most popular every year circa 2011 (Shhh, we like to pretend Goldens don’t exist sometimes. Then we go to obedience trials and cry a little bit). This is, of course, according to their registration and has very little to do with what dogs are actually sitting (More like humping) at the popular table, but we’ll ignore that.

Pretty much.

Labrador Retriever

Eww. They’re recessive…

We’ve been harsh on labs in the past, we can admit that. We may have called them dumb, over friendly, oafish. There is no denying it though, America loves them. They’ve been the number one breed in America for… a long long time. We don’t do actual research for these blogs so we don’t know how long. It’s been a while, just stick with us.

The Good:

1. Labs are genuinely nice dogs. The vast majority of the time, they’re pleasant to be around. They’re that iconic bro dog, sort of easy going but ready to go when you are. They make great exercise partners, love to play fetch and they can be great family dogs. They’re pretty much the dog everyone thinks about when you hear “I want a puppy” from the mouths of children. For an active family or individual there is a labrador for all seasons from the heftier plough horse Labradors to the sleek seal-like field-breds.

i gots a buuurd.

2. If you want a general bird retrieving buddy, there’s no reason to look any farther than a good lab. Even the worst bred among them still has that instinct, even if he’s destroying what passes for his hips doing it. We’re kidding. Labs actually have better hips than a lot of breeds, but given the sheer number of them out there… Good luck telling that to your vet. There’s a reason the go to dog for most hunters is a Lab. They do the job, they do it well and they do it with a good attitude.

The Bad:

1. Popularity comes with a price. See above mentioned lousy excuse for hips. Also, do us a favor. Open a new tab. Go to your local shelters page. Now look at the breeds. How many of those are lab mixes? Hell, how many of those are purebred labs? The shelter is overrun with black labs and mixes. Indiscriminate breeding has been hell on the breed. If you just want a companion, please do not pay $300 via Paypal for a ‘purebread silver lAbrader’.

2. We did call them dumb, yes. Really though… it’s more… oafish. Herding dog people may find this particular quality more obnoxious than others. Labs assume everyone is their best friend and it can get them in trouble most notably with other dogs but also with cows, vehicles, electric fences and car interiors.

The Ugly:

1. This is the part where we talk about breed splits again. Labs are the original split breed. You have your blubbery show line labs that can sort of waddle around the ring, you have you crazy high as a kite field line labs that are like living with a border collie with an oral fixation, and then you have something in between that is mostly produced by BYBs and that’s the lab that lives in most of America’s living room.

If you put it down , it’s fair game.

2. There’s a solid chance your lab will eat your house in the first two years of his life. Seriously, they are notoriously naughty puppies who must taste everything… and we mean everything. .

Beagle

Beagles are one of the most recognizable breeds out there, and it’s been our experience that people either love them…or hate them.  Beagles tend to be amiable little fellows with a lot of character and it certainly can’t be said that they are boring.  This breed is known for its irresistible floppy ears, expressive eyes and merry, happy-go- lucky character that transmits happiness and joy.  Plus…Snoopy.  Everyone loves Snoopy.

Still not cuter than Uno.

The Good:

1.  They love their people.  Beagles tend to be people-oriented and can make great family pets.

2.  They’re a small dog that isn’t fragile.  Beagles are kind of like crossover SUVs.  Slightly lower to the ground, sturdy, and good for many purposes.

3.  Beagles are awfully cute.  Their big brown eyes are incredibly soulful and expressive and seemingly get them out of a lot of trouble.  Beagle owners will tell you that they are hard to stay mad at.

The Bad:

1.  As a general rule (and yes, we know there are exceptions) Beagles are not great off-leash dogs.  They are scent-hounds after all.  When a Beagle catches a scent, their nose will hit the ground and they will go after with the intensity of a fat kid trying to find a cupcake.

2. To a Beagle, your home is nothing more than a giant buffet.   Don’t be surprised if you find your Beagle “shopping” in your home to find their next snack.  Trash, food, that old sock..nothing is sacred to a Beagle. And that pizza you left on the counter while you answered the phone?  Forget about it.  Just be glad if the plate wasn’t consumed too.

3.  Beagles are very intelligent dogs, but they’re not necessarily eager to please, which makes them more of a training challenge. In fact, Beagles can be downright ornery if his priorities conflict with yours.

The Ugly:

1.  Arooooooooooo.  While many owners of Beagles find their distinctive voice charming, rest assured that most of your neighbors will not.  Especially at 6 am when they spot a squirrel in the backyard or just want to let you know how happy they are that it’s breakfast time.

2.  Beagle Stank.  To be fair it’s more of a collective hound-breed stank. It’s a real thing.  Beagles, despite having short fur, are known for being both high-shedding and rather odorous. It’s a stank that just don’t come out.

3. Their “The world is my oyster… Let’s eat it” attitude makes them more than a little prone to obesity. They have the ‘Fat and happy’ mindset down to a science and keeping them thin is a science unto itself.

German Shepherd

How badly do you want this ball back?

How badly do you want this ball back?

America’s favorite since Strongheart (Pre-Rin Tin Tin. Look it up.) graced the silent movie screen, German Shepherds are still the perennial “Protective Dog” for the masses. Theoretically every German Shepherd should be brave, protective, active family companions with the brains and the power to do just about any task set forth. In practice… well… let’s just get to the list.

The Good:

1. They are hard working. No one can say your GSD is really a dummy. While they may not be the smartest brains of the class when only compared to Border Collies and Poodles, they’re certainly willing to put in the effort and the hard work to get that ‘A’. What they don’t have in raw brain power, they make up for in worth ethic. Even then, the brain power can be pretty impressive….

2. Well-bred, well-socialized shepherds with training are wonderful active companions and all the better with a job. They crave work and a purpose. It’s always a little surprising German Shepherds aren’t more popular in the obedience ring. Unsurprising is that they have their own sport (IPO) that showcases the qualities of a good German Shepherd.

3. Eager to please doesn’t even begin to cover it. Not only has the good GSD read the rulebook, they keep a copy handy in case you need to change some rules and they can be prepared for other rule changes in the future.

4. They do make for an imposing picture. Not that we recommend walking through a meth-lab with them and expecting no harm to come to you, but the fact remains that many people will cross the road to avoid “Police Dogs”

The Bad:

1. Health issues abound in the popular breeds. From allergies to dysplasias, DM to chronic ear infections, German Shepherds do not have the best track record in terms of overall health. It’s not all doom and gloom, but it’s not awesome either. Thankfully a lot of it can be avoided through careful breeding and research.

2. German Shepherds are going to make you prove it. “What is this ‘it’” you ask. ‘It’ is everything. if you lack consistency or the ability to lay down rules with fairness and authority this is not a dog for you. Adolescence with a German Shepherd is hell. German Shepherd puppies can be incredibly trying to raise. Aside from the “fear periods” (Which seem absurdly out of proportion to other breeds) at a certain point the “I don’t want to you can’t make me AAHAHHHHHHHHH! *bite* *snap* *hiss*” of sexual maturity begins, and everything you did as a puppy is seemingly forgotten as some hell-monster comes to live where your reasonably okay GSD puppy once resided. If you aren’t prepared to handle that with dignity, calmness and tequila, this will not be the breed for you. Also, be totally prepared for strangers to think you’ve been beaten by your spouse…Bruises, scrapes, black-eyes (No we’re not kidding). If Malinois are Maligators, than GSDs are the Landsharks.

3. Oh my Sweet baby Jesus the shedding. German Shedders is a not-funny or remotely amusing “joke” that merely describes the sheer horror of 70lbs of undercoat all coming out all the time.

4. Every asshole has had one. “It was 300lbs, vicious but rescued a kitten from a tree.” These people are incredibly annoying.

The black and tan bandersnatch! Wait no, sorry. GSD.

The black and tan bandersnatch! Wait no, sorry. GSD.

5. If you have anything but a Black and Tan with the saddle marking, be prepared to be asked about your ‘Coydog’/’Wolf/Husky/Mutt at regular intervals. Your “No, he’s a German Shepherd” will be met with weird looks, snorts of derision and even people calling you a moron not-so-under their breath. If you don’t love the irony, stick to a different breed.

6. Much like labs, these dogs should have a working temperament which is not conducive to spending all day, every day in a crate. They are physical dogs who can have the youthful ‘Bull in a China Shop’ mentality. These are not appropriate dogs for your 90 year old Nana.

7. Do you like having insurance? Well your premium probably just went up. GSDs are frequently included in BSL which can make owning one a headache.

The Ugly:

1) Want to get yelled at in multiple languages from ten different directions by strangers on the internet? Start talking about German Shepherds. German Shepherds are at the heart of every dog debate that exists ever. Structure? Bloodlines? Work Ethic? German? Dutch? Czech? Showlines? We won’t go into details, just wander onto a dog forum and you’ll see pages from both sides. It is equal parts understandable and ridiculous.

2) You know how we called Labs the ‘original breed split’? Well, we lied. This is the big one folks and it’s a doozy. In layman’s’ terms, there are functionally three factions, four if you count useless BYB type. The first faction is the American Show Lines. The second are the High Lines, so think German show dogs. The third are the working line dogs. Each of these have further subdivisions and so on and so forth until each side only support one dog at one kennel ever, but you get the gist. Each side criticizes the other for temperament, health, angulation, “true working ability” etc and if you are unfamiliar with pedigrees or general faction alliances you can get yourself tangled up in an argument you didn’t even know you started. We have no vested interest in who you pick or why, but do yourself a favor and really really do your research. You can be burned badly if you don;t.

3) Finding a breeder who is A) Quality and B) Will give you a nice pup is a huge undertaking. See Ugly Section 2 for details.

4) Lastly, and most glaring is the total lack of consistency in the breed as a whole. We can not conclusively say that the average German Shepherd you run across won’t be a bundle of nerves, insecurities and teeth willing to bite the hand that passes by, nor can we guarantee they won’t be so bold and social their interest in other people borders on labrador-like.. The best you can really hope for is finding a type that appeals to you and researching the snot out of it. Mentors in this breed are worth their weight in gold, but make sure to keep an open mind to what characteristics you want, not just what someone tells you to want.

As always we highly recommend looking into performance oriented clubs and sports to help guide you to someone who may have the dog for you. If they have to see you every day, it’s not likely they’ll give you a crappy one. As always, you’re welcome.

Dog Breeds: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

23 Aug

By popular (and by popular we mean ours because really, we’re the popular ones here. Don’t get uppity) request we’ve brought back our Dog Breed pros and cons. These are just a general look at breeds we’re familiar with and some things you may not be aware of.  We’ll share the good, the bad and the downright nasty. We’re entirely aware that breed traits are by no means universal. Every dog is an individual, however breeds being breeds there are some traits we feel you should be aware of in choosing your next canine companion.  If you don’t like sweeping generalizations, then you should probably back away slowly from our blog.   For our first installment of what we hope will be a regular feature, we’ll cover the Sheltie, Malinois, and Border Collie a.k.a. The Herder Cabal.

Shetland Sheepdog (Sheltie)

Looking for an incredibly intelligent, loyal, and eager to please dog?  The Sheltie definitely fits that bill.   They make both excellent family pets as well as performance dogs and will certainly turn heads when you walk down the street.  However, if you rage whenever you hear a dog bark, you might want to reconsider bringing home a Sheltie.

Other breeds typically owned : More Shelties… Occasionally you may get a branch out into Border Collies or Aussies but Shelties are the potato chip herder. Usually you won’t find just one.

BusyBee’s mutant (read: way larger than standard) childhood Sheltie, Dusty.

THE GOOD

-Shelties are incredibly intelligent and easily trainable and as such excel in obedience, agility, and other dog sports.

-They are one of the easiest breeds in terms of personality. They don’t just want to please you, they need to please you with a burning passions that at times borders on the scary. They’re often the starter performance breed and generally an excellent choice for that purpose.

-It will often seem like they’ve trained themselves mostly due to a deep personal dignity that most Shelties value. They take what you say seriously and to heart.

-They really are pretty. While most of us are familiar with either the merles or the sables, bi-colors also occur with some regularity in performance litters. Their fluffy coats, sweet faces and striking color patterns make them a perennial favorite.

-Personality plus. Shelties do it all with flair. They know what they want, and it’s their goal to get you to help them achieve it.

-They want to do things with you. If you want an interactive companion, these guys are up for anything except maybe swimming.

THE BAD

-The joys of a double coat.  These are dogs that require regular grooming and will literally blow enough coat to create a whole new dog.

-People will forever refer to your Sheltie as a “mini-Lassie”.  Learn to deal with it.

-Prone to anxiety (Separation and general).

-They bark. A lot. This is not a breed who is at all retiring. They don’t just like the sound of their own voice, they love it.

-Shelties are sensitive, probably more so than a lot of other herding breeds. They will get their feelings hurt easily and generally aren’t incredibly tolerant to mistreatment… basically subjecting them to an untrained toddler is unfair and probably won’t end well.

THE UGLY

-Barkbarkbarkbarkbarkbarkbarkbarkbarkbarkbark… Did we mention they bark?

-They will try to herd everything if left to their own devices. Herding involves teeth. Hope you weren’t attached to your pants.

 

Belgian Malinois

Do you have a need for speed and a worrying lack of concern for your personal safety? A Malinois may be for you, or actually, it probably won’t be. It’s not you, it’s them. Really, these are a terrible ‘pet’ breed in general and we cringe when we see them owned by the rank novice dog person. This breed does best when owned by an experienced (and we mean real experience not ‘I took a class at <Bloated pet chain>’ experienced), active, consistent owner who loves to train and work their dogs as a primary hobby. They are not a breed for the casual enthusiast.

Other Breeds Typically Owned: Other Belgians, both Corgis and Australian Cattle Dogs in the herding breeds. You will occasionally see a terrier (Border or Jack Russel usually) because you might as well round out the madhouse.

I may have eaten the bolts in the shed… maybe.

THE GOOD

-If you need a dog with endless energy and drive you don’t need to look much further than a Mal. There’s a reason they’re the top choice for many working dog venues including but not limited to: law enforcement, customs, detection, military and the bite sports. They are incredibly easy to motivate.

 -They really can be a stunning looking dog. While in the US they are considered separate from the other Belgian varieties their shared genetic heritage causes some gorgeous coat variation within single bloodlines.

-They are endlessly devoted and loyal to their people or person. They desperately want to be with their families and would be completely content to share a skin with you.  They want to be right in your pocket and will make  it happen if they can.

-They are extremely smart and learn incredibly quickly.

-They are very protective. Naturally somewhat suspicious of strangers, the Belgian varieties on the whole can be viewed with some caution by strangers.

 THE BAD

-Their neediness can transition to severe separation anxiety.

-If not instilled early their busy-ness in the house can become problematic. While it’s a myth Malinois don’t have an “off-switch” it does need to be taught and enforced regularly.

-Their protective instincts can become a problem very quickly. You may accidentally turn your new best friend into your only friend.

-They’re mouthy. They love to play but are rather prone to forgetting that their humans can’t tolerate teeth on their skin like another Malinois can. Those jaws are incredibly strong and as a rule they love to alligator snap and prance. If you had to watch your pants with shelties, watch your femur with Malinois.

-While smart, Malinois are not a ‘thinker’ as it were. Their first instinct is always going to be “do” rather than ‘pause and reflect’. They can be difficult to train in that respect as well as putting their own safety at risk. Obedience and extensive training is not optional on this breed.

THE UGLY

-They are high energy. Really, we’re not kidding. Their energy is boundless, exhausting and it needs an outlet. If you don’t give them one, they will make one and we can almost promise you, you won’t like it.

-They’re the sport/macho dog du jour right now. Unfortunately their versatility and outright power has gathered some notice from people who really can’t handle and shouldn’t have the breed. Many many misguided novices wander into the breed completely unprepared for what they’re up against when transitioning from one of the more easy-going breeds, thinking that their new high-powered canine will help them win.

-Pathological shyness occurs in some lines with regularity.

-We don’t know when, we don’t know where, we don’t know how but somehow they will hurt you or themselves accidentally. They are not a graceful breed.

Strange Breed Quirks:

– There’s something referred to as the Malinois Head Stand. It’s usually against your body as the dog shoves their head into you to the point of nearly falling over on themselves.

-Teeth snapping during play alarms some people but it’s just how they play. Alligator snapping and prancing is totally normal and typical.

 

Border Collie

The kind of people that do well with Border Collies are incredibly active and if not smarter… at least as smart as the dog. A Border Collie is not a dog for someone that wants to hang inside and go on occasional hike. They are a full time commitment that will amuse themselves if not supervised.

Other Breeds Typically Owned: Other Border collies, Papillons, occasionally an ancient Sheltie or a jerky terrier (Typically Jack Russell or Jack Russell mix).

You wil bend to my will, giant naked sheep.

The Good

-Nothing’s smarter than a border collie, according to that obnoxious little list that comes out every year. No one can argue that Border Collies don’t have weird savant style intelligence.

– A well bred Border Collie is a striking dog, whether merle, red, blonde or black and white… they are certainly appealing dogs.

-Athletic. Do I even need to go on? There is a reason you see so many Border Collies in performance sports, They’re fast and they’re accurate.

THE BAD

-That’s a lot of energy. A Border Collie is a dog that keeps going and going and going. We know this is something a lot of Border Collies treasure in the breed but we find it hard to believe that they never wish for an off switch.

-Obsessive. A Border Collie is a dog bred for generations to keep things in order. Things being sheep. Most Border Collie owners don’t have a couple hundred sheep to keep their dogs occupied so the dog’s obsessions often turn compulsive. They herd flashes of light, they herd cats, they herd leaves blowing across the lawn.

THE UGLY

-Holy crap, can you say breed politics?!? There isn’t a breeder in the US that you can buy a dog from that won’t have the other half of the Border Collie community snickering and gossiping behind closed doors. Barbie collies, working line, sport bred… it’s enough to have your head spinning.

-Border Collies can be… snappish. It’s less an aggression issue and more a control or fear issue, especially in the badly bred ones. That tendency combined with speed and intelligence often leads to a dog that can bite before anyone knows what is going on.

Thoughts?  Share below!