Border Collies are consistently among the top ten on those “smartest dog breed” lists, and they often rank number one depending upon who put the list together and the criteria used to assess canine intelligence.
What would happen then, when a Border Collie puppy gets adopted by a retired psychology professor with a penchant for scientific research and new discoveries in canine intelligence? Add to that, the man’s desire to help his smart dog unlock her full potential, so much so that he’s willing to devote four to five hours a day on training and teaching her?
The result is Chaser, a dog who knows more than a thousand words; that’s more than any other animal except human beings! Her trainer and constant companion is John Pilley, and he’s written a wonderful account of his experience with this incredibly intelligent dog in the book Chaser, Unlocking the Genius of the Dog Who Knows a Thousand Words.
I’ll never forget the day we met. I was living in that noisy place with lots of other dogs, sleeping on concrete. Lots of people came to that place. Most of them would look at me behind those bars and pass right by. Then on that fateful day, one of the workers came and took me out in the yard. He told me, “Petey (that’s what they called me there), we’ve got someone we want you to meet. Come on, big boy.”
And there you were, already out in the yard. You looked so pretty and white and dainty. And you smelled really good. You were fun to play with, too. Friendly, but you didn’t take any guff. You quickly let me know who was boss, and that was okay with me. We got along from the very beginning.
That was the best day ever. Meeting you has changed my life.
I love being your boyfriend. Your house is warm and you let me get up on the soft furniture. The food is good here too. I know you like me to wait until you have finished eating your CANIDAE before I start. It’s clear that you are the boss of me. That’s fine. There is always plenty to eat and drink. You are so good to me.
One of the best things about living with you is those two people who work for you. They feed us and pet us and clip our toenails. They take us for walks and car rides and runs in the woods. We even get to sleep in their bed. No more concrete floors! Thanks for letting me share them. I love you and our life together, Frosty. Thank you for everything.
A Valentine Message from Frosty to Al:
You’re a big, clumsy, stinky mess… but you’re my stinky mess. For many years it was just me, the humans and the cat. I didn’t mind being single, but being your girlfriend is more fun. When our people leave the house, I’m not alone. Well, I wasn’t really alone before but I can’t count the cat. He doesn’t like to play the same way that you and I do. See, that’s the thing: I like having someone to wrestle with and boss around. The cat won’t let me do that.
My favorite time together is when you and I are running free in the woods, racing each other at top speed. The wind blows our ears back while we playfully body slam each other, good-naturedly growling and snarling and yapping. Good times.
One thing I’d like you to work on, however, is your neediness. When the humans are petting me, you always run up and butt in. You push me out of the way and shove your head under their hand. And when I’m sitting on the couch curled up against one of them, you try to wedge in between us. Why must you be so desperate, Al? I find that a bit unattractive.
Otherwise, I appreciate you. When I hurt my leg you took such good care of me. You were attentive and concerned, you wouldn’t leave my side. When I tried to stand up and get around on three legs, you were right there, encouraging me to keep trying. You didn’t want to do anything that I couldn’t do. You didn’t even want to go out in the yard if I wasn’t there. I’m glad my leg is getting better but it certainly showed me how much you love me. You are a good dog, Al, and I’m glad to be your girlfriend.
Once a dog breed has met the criteria and been officially recognized by the American Kennel Club, they are eligible to compete in the king of dog shows, Westminster. The 2015 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show will debut two new breeds, one known as the royal dog of Madagascar, and a hunting breed from Hungary; this will increase the breeds shown at Westminster to 180.
Coton de Tulear
Pronounced coe-TAWN day two-LEE are, this rare breed originated on the island of Madagascar. The fourth largest island in the world, Madagascar lies off the southeastern coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean where sailors, traders, slave traders and pirates were frequent visitors. The breed’s name means “cotton of Tulear” which comes from their long cotton-like coat and the port city of Tulear where the dog began.
The Coton de Tulear is a member of the Bichon family of dogs, and early ancestors of the breed traveled with Spanish explorers in the 1400s and 1500s, working as ship ratters and providing companionship for sailors. The coastal city of Tulear was an important trading port and a favorite stopping place for pirates who found shelter and provisions in the city.
Dogs have become famous symbols for many different brands. Some are so connected to the brand that their image instantly brings to mind the product or business it represents. With clever marketing and advertising, these dogs have made a huge impression on their viewing audiences, sometimes even taking on an almost cult-like following that shadows the original product they represent.
RCA Victor: Nipper
One of the classic icons of advertising, Nipper was shown sitting next to a large old-fashioned cylinder phonograph by Edison Bell. Nipper was first seen in a painting done by Francis James Barraud, the brother of Nipper’s original owner. Named for his habit of trying to nip visitors in the legs, the white Terrier with dark ears was born in 1894 and only lived for a year. His painting was done three years after his death.
Nipper became registered as the image of RCA for use in the United States in 1900. He represented RCA Victor Talking Machine Company, HMV, JVC, His Master’s Voice, and then RCA Victor. In later advertisements starting in 1991, a puppy companion named Chipper was added to some of the pictures.
A good hunting dog is an asset for hunters who need an able canine to work alongside them. Many different breeds have been used for centuries to find game – from terriers, curs and feists to spaniels, pointers and retrievers. A versatile hunting dog is capable of tracking game, pointing it out to his handler, and retrieving it on land or water. He must be able to track wounded game and be willing to work with enthusiasm. The North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association (NAVHDA) is a non-profit organization that tests these special hunting breeds to protect, promote and improve versatile breeds. All of the unique hunting dogs below were developed in Europe.
Bracco Italiano – Italian Pointer – UKC recognized
The Bracco Italiano, pictured above, is one of two gundog breeds native to Italy (Spinone is the other). The breed is considered one of the oldest gun dogs and is an ancestor to many modern sporting breeds, especially European pointing dogs. Paintings and writings about the Bracco Italiano date back to the 4th and 5th centuries BC. Hunting during the Middle Ages and Renaissance era was much different than it is today. There were no guns and dogs were used to drive game into nets. Falconers used dogs to flush out game for falcons to hunt. The role of the Bracco Italiano changed after the invention of guns. Instead of driving game into nets, they became accomplished at locating, flushing, pointing and retrieving game.
Braque du Bourbonnais – UKC recognized
Native to France, the Braque du Bourbonnais (pronounced brock-do-bor-bon-NAY) is an ancient breed and considered one of the oldest European pointing breeds. Writings describing the breed date back to the late 1500s. The different pointer breeds developed in France were named after the region where they were developed. The Braque de Bourbonnais comes from the province of Bourbon in central France. Like the Bracco Italiano, it’s uncertain which dog breeds were used to create the breed, although most experts agree the Braque Francais and local hunting breeds from the region of Bourbonnais were used.
Braque Francais – French Pointer – UKC recognized
Native to France, Braque Francais actually refers to two distinct breeds similar in appearance and purpose, differing only in size and hunting style. One of the oldest pointing dog breeds, the Braque Francais is considered to be the ancestor of many European pointing breeds. The Braque Francais Gascogne, developed in the 1600s, is the larger and oldest breed. This dog was popular with wealthy hunters who had the means to care for a large dog, but the turmoil of the French Revolution (1787-1799) stripped land, power and wealth from the upper class, and the population of dogs quickly declined. During the Industrial Revolution, there was a shift from rural to urban life and a smaller version of the breed was developed in the Pyrenees Mountains – the Braque Francais Pyrenees, which is the more popular breed today.
Deutsch-Drahthaar – German Wirehaired Pointer – UKC and AKC recognized
During the 1800s, social, political and economic changes throughout Europe created a new middle class that owned land. Hunting became more of a sport and improvements in firearms created a need for more specialized hunting dogs. The Deutsch-Drahthaar (pronounced DROT-har) was developed as a versatile hunting breed to track, point and retrieve waterfowl and upland birds from land or water. The dog was also capable of hunting fox, wildcat, boar, deer, hare and squirrels over any terrain. Hunters wanted a dog with a weather resistant coat for protection from dense underbrush and harsh weather condition. The German Wirehaired Pointer is native to Germany and remains extremely popular there.
Pudelpointer – UKC recognized
Native to Germany, this rare breed was developed in the late 1800s. A cross between the Poodle and a variety of pointers, the Pudelpointer was first brought to America by Sigbot Winterhelt. In an effort to protect versatile breeds, he founded the North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association.
Versatile gundogs were developed as multi-purpose dogs for hunters who couldn’t afford more than one or only wanted one dog. The goal was to create loyal dogs that could work all day on land and in water, be a patient and affectionate family pet when the day was done, and guard the family and home. These breeds are intelligent, easy to train and good family pets for the right owner.
Versatile breeds recognized by the NAVHDA include the above dogs as well as the Braque d’Auvergne, Brittany, Cesky Fousek, Drentse Partridge, English Setter, French Spaniel, German Longhaired Pointer, German Shorthaired Pointer, Gordon Setter, Irish Red & White Setter, Irish Setter, Large Munsterlander, Picardy Spaniel, Pointer, Portuguese Pointer, Slovakian Wirehaired Pointer, Small Munsterlander, Spinone, Stichelhaar, Vizsla, Weimaraner, Wirehaired Pointing Griffon, and Wirehaired Vizsla.
Our blog’s 6th anniversary (“blogiversary”) is coming up in one week, which naturally got me thinking about the principle of responsible pet ownership. CANIDAE chose that phrase as the name for this blog because it’s a perfect fit for the company philosophy. Responsible pet ownership is not only a fundamental value of the company founders, but every employee as well.
As such, I like to discuss it here once in awhile to serve as a gentle reminder of what the term means, what it entails and how we can all be the best, most responsible pet owners possible. We are, after all, the ones in charge of every aspect of our pet’s wellbeing. Their health and happiness is in our hands. This is always at the forefront of my mind; I want to make good decisions, because my cats’ lives depend on it…and on me.
Many people – myself included – think of their animal companions as family. We want the best for them, just as we do for the important humans in our lives. The difference is that the humans can do many things for themselves that will make a positive impact on their quality of life. Our four legged friends can only rely on us, which is why being a responsible pet owner is so important.
In a perfect world, that would mean no one would ever be allowed to adopt a pet unless they agreed to take care of it for life, not “until.” You know…until the baby comes, until they have to move, until the pet becomes too old or inconvenient. Sadly, our imperfect world is filled with people who abandon their animal companions for one reason or another.
The personal opinions and/or use of trade, firm, corporation or brand names, in this blog is for the information and convenience of the reader. Such use does not constitute an official endorsement or approval by CANIDAE® Natural Pet Food Company of any product or service to the exclusion of others that may be suitable. All opinions in this blog are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® Natural Pet Food Company.