Posts Tagged ‘pets’

Dachshund X Labrador = Dachsador!

July 29, 2012

Years back there was a car called the Chevy Vega.  It had a nice looking body, but was built with a gutless, underpowered, cheap engine.  What could have been a real nice car and even a bold step in the direction toward smaller and more fuel efficient cars that history shows that GM needed to go in was instead one of the worst cars in the history of GM.

Until the cars started ending up on the trash heap and kids started putting 350 V-8s under the hood.  What you ended up with was a subcompact car with muscle car oomph.

The same principle was carried out more professionally with the Shelby Cobra: you take a little car body and cram a 427 inch Corvette RAT engine in it and you get something special.

Heck, it works great with cars; why not try it with dogs?

There are all kinds of breeds of dogs out there, of course.  And then when you add in the fact that dogs have a way of ignoring the rules and creating their own breeds of “mutts,” well, it truly takes all kinds to make up a world.

I’m here to talk about what happens when you take a “big block Labrador” and put it into a “compact Dachshund body.”  You get this:

Aint she pretty?

I love dogs, and have always found them to be incredibly beautiful creatures to go along with the fact that they are world-class athletes.  If dogs were allowed to compete in the Olympics, they’d end up with pretty much all of the medals for pretty much all of the track and field and swimming events.

I’ve always particularly loved the big dog breeds, such as the Rottweilers that I’ve had.  There is simply nothing like watching a big dog running with the big dogs.

But this 42 lb Dachshund-Labrador mix has truly opened my eyes to the middleweight class of dogdom.  In the case of this one, she’s basically an “atomic Dachshund,” complete with webbed feet like a Lab, a weight that’s right near the middle between a 20 lb Dachshund and a 60 lb Labrador Retriever female, and legs that are about twice as long as a Dachshund’s but about 3/4s as long as a Labrador’s.

This is a dog that might have happened “by accident,” or might have been the result of “designer breeding.”  When I finally figured out what my little darling was, I discovered that “Dachsadors” are a designer breed.  You’ll have to “ask an expert” how you breed a Dachshund with a Labrador.  And if you find out, please tell me so I can finally have an answer for all the people who have asked me just that very question.

She is a high-speed, low-drag low-earth orbiting ballistic missile system when she’s in full-pursuit of a rabbit or squirrel.  And this is a dog that has now caught a jackrabbit – and believe me that aint exactly easy! – in addition to a few cottontails (it turns out neither rabbit species particularly like to be caught and literally SCREAM until I make her put them down).  She’s got a combination of speed and agility that has to be seen to be believed.  I call it torque; she’s got those powerful leg muscles and that short running stroke to get going fast REAL quick.  It is not unusual at all to see her run with both sets of legs parallel to the ground at the same time.  It’s almost like she’s flying, and all she needs is a little superdog cape:

She’s a very athletic thing that loves to jump as much as she loves to just plain flat-out haul ass:

I often just find myself simply admiring her exquisite musculature and shape:

I find her to be a beautifully muscled and beautifully proportioned dog.  I love watching her trot along so easily and gracefully with her beautiful wheaton coat gliding over her ribs and muscles:

And of course she has been since the day we brought her home as a little puppy:

She’s just been a tremendous little dog, and I love her dearly.

A few extra details about her:

She is without question the most joyful dog I have ever been around.  She will wag her tail if you just LOOK at her.  She loves to play and can keep herself quite entertained by throwing one of her toys into the air and catching it.  And frequently she’ll just get a little bee in her bonnet and start racing through the house at top speed with a happy-to-be-alive gleam in her eyes.  She’s got a few different courses to race on.  And the more I laugh the more she runs.  When I adopted her, she was a nearly 10 week-old puppy in a glass cage at a shelter, and had been in the cage for close to 2 weeks.  When she was introduced to her back yard she ran like a happy little fool and just never really got over her love of running.

She is also the most remarkable dog I’ve ever seen in remembering where things were and any kind of change.  If anything in the house gets moved for any reason, she KNOWS about it and zeroes right in on it.  If she’s out in the desert and something new got blown or placed or built or dumped anywhere near her domain, she is instantly aware of it.

And she likes to watch TV more than any dog I’ve ever heard of – especially if there are animals on.  I’ve had on the Westminster dog show and she has watched enraptured for a good half hour straight.  When one of her “shows” comes on in the form of a commercial, she recognizes it by the music jingle and looks up on cue just when the dogs appear.  She will wag her tail at certain times, perk her ears at certain moments, etc.  She loves to watch horses, but is quite interested in just about anything that has just about any kind of animal.

When I got her and figured out what she was (the shelter labeled her as “a red and white hound mix”), I discovered that people were intentionally breeding these “Dachsadors.”  You can easily understand why when you think about it.  Labradors are and have been THE most popular breed of dog by AKC registration because of their many fine qualities.  Dachshunds have been slipping, going from as high as the fourth most registered breed of dog in 2004 to the sixth most in 2006, to the eighth most in 2010 and the ninth most last year.  But obviously a lot of people see a lot of positive traits in both breeds of dog.

So why not put them together?  What you end up with is a medium-sized dog of excellent temperament and intelligence.  And if you really want a Labrador Retriever but can’t have a dog that large, well, why not shrink it down?

The people who know dogs that look at my little darling see a Labrador face from the front and a Dachshund face from the side.  And I always enjoy being around dog lovers who will come over and tell me they’ve never seen anything like her, and how beautiful she is and what a great shape she has.

I’m glad she’s female because while my Rottweilers were “macho dogs,” this one is definitely “daddy’s little girl.”

P.S. I mentioned that I’m a Rottweiler lover.  It’s amazing how different dogs can be and how wonderful they are at being the incredible things they were bred to be.  My last Rottweiler was HUGE by Rottweiler standards – standing nearly 32″ at the shoulder (in the realm of Great Dane height!), weighing in at nearly 200 lbs, and standing about 6’6″ on his hind legs (I’m 6’2″ and he could jump up with his front paws over my shoulder and look me right in the eye – and he was leaning at an angle).  He was the product of very large parents which led to a 3-puppy litter that allowed him to get as big as the genes from already large parents would allow him to get.  He was incredibly smart and impossibly strong.  That dog could easily knock a big, strong man down and that man wouldn’t get up unless and until that Rott wanted to let him get up.  Before him, we had two brothers who were what we called “muttweilers” being the result of a purebred female and the neighbor’s 3/4 Rott-1/4 German Shepherd who jumped the fence.  I used to go backpacking in the Willamette National Forest and reuglarly went on 3 day outings.  I would hike from 10-15 miles a day, depending on the leg, while the dogs chased each other off the leash.  I kid you not, those dogs would run at least 150 miles a day each of the three days.  No human being who ever lived could have begun to do what those dogs did EASILY.  One year I took one of them to visit my parents and my father and I went hiking.  That dog loved to walk ahead, but he didn’t know which way we would go at one point where the trail split.  And when my dad took the uphill path, the only way the dog could get ahead of him was to jump up a rocky outcropping that we figured was easily 8′ high.  That Rottweiler mix took one step back and MADE that jump; at the very top he had to pull himself up with his front legs with an effort my dad found as amazing as the jump itself.

Dogs are just amazing, aren’t they?  And the only thing they do better than their many amazing feats of speed, agility, leaping, strength, endurance, etc., etc., is be the best companions in the world.

Hope you enjoyed my show-and-tell about my dog!

Do Our Pets Make Us Republicans?

August 29, 2008

Came across this touching little story.

Polls show that if the election were up to pet owners – (and especially dog owners) – McCain wins.

Do our pets’ constant faithfulness and steadfast devotion turn their owners into Republicans?

A Dog’s Purpose (from a 6-year-old)

Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish
Wolfhound
named Belker. The dog’s owners Ron, his wife, Lisa, and their
Little boy, Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were
Hoping for a miracle.

I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family we
Couldn’t do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia
Procedure for the old dog in their home.

As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be
Good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure.

They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience.

The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker ‘s family
Surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last
Time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few
Minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away.

The little boy seemed to accept Belker’s transition without any
Difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker’s
Death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter
Than human lives. Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, “I
Know why.”

Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned
Me. I’d never heard a more comforting explanation.

He said, “People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life
— like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?” The
Six-year-old continued, “Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they
Don’t have to stay as long.”

Live simply.
Love generously.
Care deeply.
Speak kindly.

Remember, if a dog was the teacher you would learn things like:

When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.

Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.

Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.

Take naps.

Stretch before rising.

Run, romp, and play daily.

Thrive on attention and let people touch you.

Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.

On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.

On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.

When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body.

Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.

Eat with gusto and enthusiasm. Stop when you have had enough.

Be loyal. Never pretend to be something you’re not.

If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.

When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by and nuzzle them gently.

Be always grateful for each new day

Today, I wish you a day of ordinary miracles: May joy dance in your soul, may love fill your heart and may peace reign in your home.

Mark Twain had a few things to say about our dogs:

I have been studying the traits and dispositions of the “lower animals” (so called) and contrasting them with the traits and dispositions of man. I find the result humiliating to me.

Heaven goes by favor. If it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in.
– Mark Twain, a Biography

If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man.
– Pudd’nhead Wilson’s Calendar

A composite dog is a dog that’s made up of all the valuable qualities that’s in the dog breed–kind of a syndicate; and a mongrel is made up of the riffraff that’s left over.
– Mark Twain in Eruption, p. 222. Used in “His Grandfather’s Old Ram” speech.

I happen to have a Rottweiler.  He is a firm believer in passionate defense of life and property.  He definitely wants criminals to get what’s coming to them.  He would rather die than “cut and run.”  He loves to work and run hard for his daily bread.  You do NOT want to take his possessions away from him.  And I always know the tougher things get, the more I can count on him.

Sounds like a Republican to me.

P.S. Some dogs might make you more Republican than others.  For instance, Gene Simmons, telling someone why he was voting for George Bush over John Kerry, said:

“In time of war, if you go through a bad neighborhood, I don’t want a little French poodle, I want a rottweiler on my hands.”

My dog couldn’t agree more.