A personal, self-indulgent post today about some of the dog breeds that don’t get enough love from the public. I’m talking about the breeds who are the canine equivalent of Cinderella, they have so much to offer and seem to get overlooked. This is a piece based on my personal experience of dogs of each breed so if you’re expecting a scientific appraisal, you’re in the wrong place today…….
To caveat this piece, I am writing this from a perspective of the dog breeds I have met and possibly trained at some point. It does NOT take in to account health issues – when researching dog breeds always speak with as many vets as you can before deciding which breed or crossbreed to buy or adopt. I recall the best advice I ever got when choosing a car came from a roadside recovery contractor, he was able to tell me which cars he was called out to, broken down on the side of the road, the most. Who better to get a REAL review from than someone who sees the less polished side of the motor industry? Equally, speaking to vets will give great insight in to which breeds they are seeing regular problems with and you should be in with a better than average chance of getting some guidance, free of breed bias.
Before I start with the list, I’d like to give an early mention to the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. By no means an overlooked breed, in fact I’m willing to bet if you were to count all the Staffies and Staffy crossbreeds in the UK they’d be giving the Labrador a run for its money in the popularity stakes – but it is a much maligned and heavily abandoned dog breed. Visit ANY UK dog shelter and I can guarantee you will see a Staffy within the first 10 or 20 dogs you encounter. They are an incredible dog breed, truly legendary. So, not overlooked but they deserve more love. Add to this description, the Greyhound. A much misunderstood breed that deserves a better deal.
5) Bedlington Terrier – Why, I ask myself, does the Bedlington Terrier not seem to find its way in to more pet homes? As a nation, we love our Terriers and we love our pet dogs, the Bedlington is easily one of the best pet Terriers I’ve ever encountered. They are BURSTING with personality but don’t have some of the challenges that come with some of the more fire-brand Terriers that we know and love. They are gentle, but playful and I am amazed that more people haven’t discovered just what a beautiful dog breed this is for anyone looking for a companion. I’m not going to use this piece to criticise any other breeds but I’m happy to put it on record that the Bedlington would be one of my choices ahead of quite a few of the ‘popular’ Terriers.
4) Pharaoh Hound. They awe me. They are stunning dogs. Stunning dogs to take out, stunning dogs to work with and they are one of the most beautiful animals to look at in the world. In my living room I have photographs on my wall which exclusively feature my own dogs – obviously – but the biggest print of a dog in my home is of a Pharaoh Hound. They’re a work of art, in every respect. They’re ancient, prestigious they have an X-factor about them which is hard to match.
3) The Sprocker. Oooh, get me – advocating ‘designer dogs’. Whatever. I’ve worked with a number of Sprockers, deliberately bred, and found them to be wonderful dogs who do, as it happens, bring something different to the table than the Springer and the Cocker. Don’t get me wrong, no person alive will ever convince me that the Springer is not the most complete, working dog ever created (so don’t even try, I’m not for turning!) but I have such a massive soft spot for Cockers it’s untrue. So here, the best of both worlds in one bundle. Let’s not get precious about it, the Cocker originated from the Springer but it has undoubtedly got its own identity now. The Sprocker is a beautiful throwback which, in my experience, doesn’t quite have the intensity of the Springer but retains the air of unique character that makes the Cocker so attractive. I’ve probably trained about 10, I loved them all.
2) Leonberger. Have you ever seen a Leonberger puppy? If you haven’t, you NEED TO – they are crazy cute. Yes, yes I know, ALL puppies are cute, but these are on another level. So, am I sat here truly extolling the virtues of a dog breed based on the passing cuteness of its young? No. And it’s fair to say a dog of this size is certainly not for everyone – but I have a theory, if you DO have room and lifestyle for a dog of this size, just what exactly are you doing NOT having a Leonberger in your home? Huh? I mean, that’s like having room for a helicopter landing pad in your back garden but instead choosing to have a fish pond. Come on, priorities people. If you can have a Leonberger, you should! I’d happily pay an admission fee to my local park just to get some face time with the Leonberger who can occasionally be seen there.
1) Border Terrier. In a previous edition of K9 Magazine we did a big survey of vets, owners and pet insurers in an attempt to find the healthiest, hardiest pedigree dog. Who came out on top? The brilliant Border Terrier did. Does it help you to know that they are also absolutely, undeniably AWESOME too? Well, they are. Healthy, funny, full of character, you really couldn’t ask for much more in a dog.
There. As promised. No science, complete self indulgence and probably little in the way of anything remotely useful to you. My apologies.
Photo by Sam Cockman