9.28.2012

Breed Love

As someone who has lived with a number of dogs over the years, starting in early childhood, I've often wondered why some people seem to be more, let's say open-minded for lack of a better word, in choosing their canine companions, while others are so passionate about their chosen breed, whatever it happens to be, that no other breed will do.

Certain breed devotees seem to be especially passionate about their breed of choice.  I've noticed, for example, that Boxer, Pug, and Bulldog owners seem to be particularly devoted.  A vendor I have often worked with over the last ten years just got a Boxer puppy a few months ago.  It's her third Boxer since I've known her.  She lost the last two to cancer, (I believe mast cell, which is very prevalent in Boxers), and when I found out that she had lost the most recent one, and offered my condolences, she had initially said she didn't think she could get another dog.  But when I talked to her again a few weeks later, she said she had news:  she was getting a puppy!  When I asked her what breed, she looked a bit sheepish and said  "A Boxer.  I know it seems ridiculous to get a third one after losing two in ten years to the same disease, but I just love them so much!" 

I told her it was silly to feel that way.  Love is a powerful thing, and it's often, as the saying goes, blind.  Why we love who and what we love is sometimes difficult, even impossible, to explain.

I have friends and family members who are the same way with their chosen breeds.  My best friend, J, has had three Beagles in succession.  My aunt & uncle had a procession of Bullmastiffs.  My grandmother and grandfather had four bulldogs during my growing up years, and even after my grandfather had passed away and my grandmother was really too elderly to physically handle a dog the size and strength of a bulldog, she chose not to have a dog at all rather than choose one of another breed.  She adopted a cat instead. 

I personally have never been all that invested in one specific breed of dog.  Growing up, from early childhood until college, I lived with a Lab, a Cocker Spaniel (mix), a Border Collie, and a German Shepherd (mix), all female.  All four were amazing dogs in their own way, and I am sure that the special affinity I feel to this day for Border Collies and German Shepherds was probably shaped at least in part by Missy and Reesa.  My first dog as an adult, though, was none of these breeds, but rather a male Malamute mix, with whom I shared an incredible, often adventure-filled, fifteen years.  

And then there are Tucker & Phoebe ...

It's bizarre to me how often I am asked by people on the street, vet's offices, etc. whether they are "mother and baby".  Aside from Tucker's gender making it impossible for him to be anyone's mother, it seems pretty obvious to me that they are not related.  Other than the fact that they are both little scruff-monsters, they could not look less alike.  The shape of their faces, bodies, the size and shape of their ears, the color and texture of their coats, the length of their limbs ... all very different.  

They do have certain similarities, also, but these are more to do with their temperament  than with any physical characteristics they have in common.   Take this photo, for example ... other than the fact that they are both freaking adorable (is it wrong that I say this about my own dogs?) I don't see much that would make me think they were related, do you?



I have mentioned before that when Tucker & I first found each other, his origins were unknown.  His confirmation suggested possible Italian Greyhound lineage, while his scruffy coat often prompted people to ask whether he had Jack Russell in him.  The truth was, though, nothing really fit.  I really had no idea, and I used to bemoan this fact incessantly, and say how I wish I knew what breed or breeds went into making him, so that I could breed more of him!  

I can't exactly remember, but I think it was about two or three years after I got him that I took him to be evaluated for his CGC, and it was then that I found out he was not some random mix of breeds as I had thought, but a Powderpuff Chinese Crested Dog.  The evaluator, who had also been a past AKC judge, was very sure of herself, and the breeders I contacted and send pictures of Tucker to confirmed it, although one who saw him in person said he was more of a hairy hairless.

Once I knew what he was, it was pretty easy for me to see, and for someone who considers herself to be pretty versed in dog breeds, I felt a bit stupid for not having recognized it.  Then again, if you Google Chinese Crested it's a little easier to see how I could have missed it.  Depending upon whether the dog's ears were taped as a puppy to stand erect or not, as well as the wide variation in coat types, from completely hairless to quite lushly coated, the difference in appearance from one to the other is often quite dramatic.  

Personality-wise, though, at least based on the comments of the Crestie owners I have talked to, they are much more similar.  And as adorable as he is, it is Tucker's personality that made me fall so hard and fast for him.  He is also the first dog I've ever had that has made me believe that, when the day comes that he's no longer with me, something I can't even begin to contemplate by the way, I may very well find myself unable to live without a Crestie in my life.  



Not that another dog, even another Crestie, could ever replace Tucker, nor would I expect him/her to.  But as crazy as it is for someone who grew up around working and sporting breeds of dogs, I am so nuts for this one dog that I just might be a Crestie-holic.  I mean look at that face ... can you really blame me? 




What about you?  Is it more about the individual dog, or is there a breed you are so passionate about that you can't imagine not having one in your life?

11 comments:

Heather Peden said...

Yes, Tucker is pretty adorable, I can see why you are so attracted to him. Phoebe is also adorable, in a rougher, more disgruntled sort of way. Super cute!

I did not have dogs growing up and never really thought about breeds per se when I did find myself around dogs. I'm not sure that I am breed specific. My dog experience has been varied and completely unpredictable. My first dog, Bear, is now 11 years old. She is a Lab and I love her more than anything, mostly because she and I connected early on a different level. I consider her my soulmate. When I've been asked if I would get another Lab someday I can't imagine it. Somehow it would feel like cheating on my beloved Bear, because there could only ever be one!
I was also so very lucky to share my life with a very special German Shepherd, Max, who I miss every day. Would I get another German Shepherd? I might, he was pretty amazing.
For a short time we also had a Border Collie mix, Quincy. I feel like we didn't fully get to know him before he disappeared one day, but he was a sweetheart.
As for my other dog.... Murdoch is a mystery. I found him on the side of the road and he is lovable only to me, I think. He is a handful and a half. Perhaps part Giant Schnauzer. A breed I never would have chosen. The only thing I did say when I first got to know Bear (a female) was that I wouldn't want a male dog, but all my dogs, except Bear have been male. Funny how things work out.

Old Kitty said...

I think it's so sweet people think Tucker and Phoebe are parent and child!! How lovely!! I think couples who were meant to be (friends, lovers, family etc) grow into each other and resemble each other as they grow together!! I think Tucker and Phoebe were meant to be a pair of pals! Take care
x

♥♥♥ The OP Pack ♥♥♥ said...

Well, whatever they are, we and Mom think Tucker and Phoebe are very sweet. Mom says your question would take a lot more space than this comment box will allow:) She always grew up with mixed breeds, with an occasional Golden Retriever or cocker spaniel, or wire-haired terrier. She wasn't breed picky at all, she just loved a nice dog. But Dad always wanted a pure white blue-eyed Siberian Husky, hence Dakota. Then Dakota needed a companion, hence Phantom. And the rest is history. Mom says she thinks some breeds like us require an owner who really understands the breed. Not everyone is cut out to handle a Sibe, or a Border Collie, or a Newfie. Once you have success and love for a certain breed, it almost seems like the natural thing to stick with the breed. Not sure if this makes any sense, but that's what MOm tried to tell us.

Woos - Phantom, Thunder, Ciara, and Lightning

Oui Oui said...

I am not the type to like only one kind of dog. I've had a female cocker mix, a male poodle, a male golden and a female lab/ Irish setter mix. My sister has a pit mix I think is pretty awesome. I pick pets based on personality. For devoted types, maybe its the smooshy faces?

Molly The Wally said...

Tucker and Phoebe look like they were always meant to be together. Me and Pip are the same. As for breeds we aren't bothered. We love them all. Have a wonderful Saturday.
Best wishes Molly

tubby3pug said...

This is an interesting question. I could never be without a pug. I agree pug owners are devoted to the max and their is just something about a pug, my husband feels the same way. I also adore my Norbert but of course he is a mutt and a totaly mystery at that. The thought of losing him, and he is getting pretty old for a big dog and has had some scary close calls, fills m with terror. In some ways I feel even worse about it because his a mutt and I know I cant get another of his "breed." I know that all dog are unique but I like the idea that when something happens to the Pugs I can get another pug and I know there are some similarities.

I also am quite fond of big dogs, like Norbert, but my husband prefers smaller breeds. So there are many breeds I love Mastiff, boxer, lab that I may never own. I know practically my husband is right we live in the city and do not have unlimited time for exercise and in reality we prefer a leisurely walk and cuddling on the couch with our dogs to miles long daily hikes. In addition a multi dog home with dogs if similar size does seem a safer bet. Plus as anyone who has dealt with a sick large breed knows, moving a big dog is no easy task.

I love Bob, the bulldog, too of course and I definitely plan on getting another bulldog. They are a bigger breed (but not massive) and I like that Bobs loud bark may ward of any potential intruders. Plus they are so darn cute!

So I will always have a pug and most likely I will always have a bulldog. There are lots of other dogs Im drawn too as well, the big guys I mentioned and then Clumber spaniels (big but not huge and my husband does like them despite the fact they break his size preference), standard dachsunds, and cavaliers are among my favorites. The perfect mutt would be great as well.

urban hounds

snoopy@snoopysdogblog said...

Phoebe and Tucker look like the cutest pair together :)

My Mum has had Jack Russell's and Golden Retrievers before now having me a Bearded Collie….. for her it's been more about the stage in life and environment that has determined the most suitable Dog (given they all have different personalities anyway despite the breed)…..

Right now having a young Beardie is perfect for our family, but I sure can imagine I wouldn't be the most obvious choice for a lot of families or people as I've got lots of energy and need a lot of grooming….

I think it's great that there are so many different types of us Dogs out there so we can be matched to the right forever home for us :)

Wags to all,

Your pal Snoopy :)

snoopy@snoopysdogblog said...

Phoebe and Tucker look like the cutest pair together :)

My Mum has had Jack Russell's and Golden Retrievers before now having me a Bearded Collie….. for her it's been more about the stage in life and environment that has determined the most suitable Dog (given they all have different personalities anyway despite the breed)…..

Right now having a young Beardie is perfect for our family, but I sure can imagine I wouldn't be the most obvious choice for a lot of families or people as I've got lots of energy and need a lot of grooming….

I think it's great that there are so many different types of us Dogs out there so we can be matched to the right forever home for us :)

Wags to all,

Your pal Snoopy :)

Kate said...

They are super cute together :)

Obviously I have a bit love for pitties and do a lot of work with them, but I think a big part of that has to do with their reputation and the added difficulties with finding them homes. Personality has always been the most important factor for me with choosing a dog. Regardless of breed or sex or appearance, they have to get along well in my home. I love all dogs and would happily bring home another German Shepherd or a mastiff or any other breed of dog :)

Scrappy said...

i am the second Yorkie - and small dog here. All the others have been Black Labs. I have no idea that I am small. or cute.

my peeps would love whatever

Taryn said...

Hi! Came over from the WW blog hop.
Another breed with a fierce and devoted following is the Welsh Corgi, both types...the Pembroke and the Cardigan. I have Cardigans and just adore their sense of humor and desire to entertain. I am also an agility addict and have decided Cardigans aren't the best physical choice for the sport. Their build just isn't ideal. If I am lucky enough to train another agility dog, it will most likely be a Border Collie.

Growing up rurally, we had whatever dogs got dumped off by our house. So a few mutts, a beautiful white German Shepherd, a lovely male shepherd we bought and 2 rough collies we also bought. Being raised with so many herders, I can't imagine not having one now....