Pup links!

An epic greyhound. What a beautiful shot! Click for source.

Dog-related links from around the Web this past week:

Why We Must Drop Our Obsession with Coat and Color in AKC Dogs. Insightful comments about how truly silly it is that we breed dogs (and subsequently reject others) based merely on their coat color and/or markings. (Ruffly Speaking)

Size Matters. Patricia McConnell reflects on a study about the way people treat and perceive big and small dogs. She also considers why small dogs are usually less well-behaved or, really, just less well-trained, than bigger ones. Interesting stuff. (The Other End of the Leash)

Live Like Royalty: The Many Health Benefits of Dogs, Man’s Best Friend. The Atlantic ran a short piece online this week about something we now all well know: Dogs are actually good for you! Dog people have longer lifespans, lower blood pressure, and less stress than dog-less ones. (The Atlantic Monthly)

Drafting Dog. A German shepherd attends a drafting event near our current town. Looks like a great event for a strong dog! Has anyone ever participated in a drafting before? (German Shepherd Mom)

Dog Vaccinations: What Not to Do. Jana Rade’s opinions on vaccinating your dog. What do you think? I know it’s a touchy issue and it seems that it’s often a divided war between veterinarians and dog owners. I confess that I’m not really sure about many of these issues; I feel like I have a lot of research to do. (That Mutt)

First Diabetic Alert Dog in Scotland. Meet this sweet-faced spaniel who can accurately predict this Scottish woman’s diabetic comas. Pretty amazing. I imagine diabetic service dogs will become increasingly interesting to Americans, where diabetes is something of a national epidemic. (Dog Days)

Lupine Tail Feathers Collars and Leads. Pretty peacock design on this collar and leash set. Zoe has a Lupine leash and it is quite comfortable in one’s hand. (Dog Milk)

Robin + Fiona. OK, here’s a game: Guess the puppy breed! These are such sweet photos of a litter of white puppies… Any guesses as to what breed they are? I confess I feel stumped myself. Some kind of terrier? Or am I totally off-base and it’s just a scruffy-looking litter of white golden retrievers? I bet one of you can help me out here. Trickier, since the photos are all in black-and-white. (Cramer Photo)

A Big Batch of Bean and Friends. This, clearly, is not a pup link, but I don’t have anywhere else to share this, and I’m just enamored with these photos of a beautiful mama cat and her precious kittens playing together. Yes, they are cats, but they are really warming my heart this morning. (The Itty Bitty Kitty Committee)

The Comment Section for Every Article Written about PETA. Also not really dog-related, but animal-related: This made me LOL. It is so true. (The Hairpin)

Little dogs, big attitude problems

One of the reasons I’m not overwhelmingly fond of little dogs is that I’ve met very few well-behaved ones.

My theory is this: Little dogs are often extremely cute. If they misbehave, it’s easy to excuse their behavior as an adorable tantrum and not give them any discipline or structure. If a little dog jumps on you–or even growls at you when you try to approach it or take away its toy–it’s easily ignored. They’re so tiny! What could they do? This is not the case if you have a big dog. Big dogs demand obedience training, because they can’t get away with bad behavior as easily as little dogs. If your lab or a German shepherd is out of control, you need to handle that problem ASAP. If your chihuahua or yorkie bites people, well, it seems like no big deal. Because they’re so cute and their teeth are so tiny!

This is not to say that everyone who has a big dog trains him; if only that were true! Rather, my generalization is that people with little dogs, especially toy breeds, seem to have a tendency to skip obedience training altogether. The result is fluffy-faced miniature terrors who become behavioral nightmares, despite only weighing a little more than five pounds.

Case in point. I got really, really frustrated with a woman and her two bichons on Sunday when I was out walking Bo.

Bo is a big, handsome golden retriever. He’s friendly to everyone, but with other dogs, he’s usually quite shy. He always wants to go up and say hello, but he slinks around them. We were walking up the sidewalk and I saw a woman on her cell phone walking two bichons on retractable leashes. I noticed that one of the dogs crouched down in a predatory way as we approached and locked eyes with Bo.

I moved off the sidewalk to let them pass and stepped into the street, giving them quite a wide girth. However, as we passed, this predatory-looking bichon charged after Bo, snarling and snapping at him. The woman did NOTHING to rein her dog in, and since he was on a (#*!@) retractable leash, we had to keep running into the street to get away from him. The dog ends up biting Bo on the back leg as we keep trying to run away from them, made difficult by the dog on the line that won’t be reined in. She laughed and asked me, “Is your dog a puppy?” “What? No,” I said, distracted and still trying to get away from her and her white demons. “Weird. He usually attacks puppies! Isn’t that cute?” she said, and kept walking away. “No, that’s NOT cute,” I said, but she wasn’t listening.

People out there with dogs: How is this in any way acceptable? If I let Bo do that to other dogs (especially other people’s PUPPIES!), I would get written up. I really wanted to bless that lady out. Instead, I just kept walking, fuming. (I admit I was also imagining this scenario playing out if I had a dog who wouldn’t tolerate such nonsense from such a little brat…) Bo seemed fine after we kept moving on, but I was still riled up about it when I got home.

What would you have done in this situation? Is there anything appropriate to say to people with little dogs who don’t do anything to train or control them?

Breed Love: Cavalier King Charles spaniel

If this little face doesn't make you melt, you might be without a heart. Source: Flickr, user hong_songshu

As you can probably tell if you’ve been reading my Breed Love posts, I’m not a huge fan of little dogs. This could be because I have never met a lot of little dogs that I just loved. Maybe I just haven’t met the right one. But if I were ever to get a little dog, I would put my money–and a lot of it–on a Cavalier King Charles spaniel.

They’re incredibly popular, particularly among those who can afford them, and it shouldn’t be surprising. Look at those precious faces! At any age, a Cav is guaranteed to be 110% adorable. My well-off great uncle and aunt in Tennessee always had Cavaliers, who fit perfectly into their genteel, posh Southern way of life.

At Timberline Lodge
Handsome black tricolor and black-and-tan cavaliers. Source: Flickr, user kateinoregon

My mother often talks about getting a dog once she’s finally an empty nester and she’s developed a fondness for Cavaliers. One of her main complaints about Emma, our Aussie, was that Emma was not “cuddly;” Emma shared affection on her own terms. Cavaliers are renowned for being extremely snuggly and affectionate; they were bred, after all, to sit on ladies’ laps in drawing rooms for hours upon end. Cavaliers are also quite intelligent and gregarious for being a toy breed. Like most dogs, they take well to being spoiled, but they aren’t as insistent upon pampering as some other toy breeds. For these reasons, if space constraints demanded a small dog, I’d seek out a Cavalier. Wouldn’t you? Look at those faces one more time. All willpower is lost.

Cavalier links: