Tag Archives: dog breeds

Which Dogs are Sighthounds?

bark cover irish wolfhoundThe cover dog for the September/October Bark magazine is an Irish Wolfhound, which I was surprised to learn is a relative of the whippet! 

I’m awful at recognizing dog breeds, as I admitted in the article, “What Kind of Dog is That?” but figure I should at least attempt to learn our whippets’ sighthound relatives. My study sheet:

Greyhound, Whippet and IG (photo from Bring Fido)

Greyhound, Whippet and IG (photo from Bring Fido)

First up, for us the no-brainers:

 

Then, there are what I think of as the “Greyhounds with Hair:” 

  • Saluki, like a greyhound with fringe

    Saluki, like a greyhound with fringe

    Afghan (We had one of these when I was growing up. Oh my, what a handful! I can still picture my mom trying to drive with the Afghan sitting on her lap.)

  • Borzoi
  • Saluki  Not as fast as a greyhound, but has more endurance (and a lot more ear hair)
Introducing Olive! A Scottish Deerhound puppy owned by C.Square

Introducing Olive! A Scottish Deerhound puppy owned by C.Square

At the top of the food chain, as their names suggest, are the sighthounds with genuine, top of the line, built-in fur coats, such that Bob refers to one living across the street from us as “Chewbacca:

There are also foreign greyhounds, ostensibly their own breeds, but not recognized by the American Kennel Club:

  • Polish Greyhound (Chart Polski) – I had never heard of this until looking at Wikipedia today
  • Mari, the Galgo of Chilly Dogs  (photo by Suzanne Bird of Urban Dog Photog)

    Mari, the Galgo of Chilly Dogs (photo by Suzanne Bird of Urban Dog Photog)

    Spanish Greyhound (Galgo) – I know this one because the owner of Chilly Dogs coat company in Canada has a Galgo! 

Wikipedia lists four sighthounds I’ve never heard of, probably because nobody can pronounce them: Azawakh, Hortaya, Magyar Agar, Slughi. Two hounds I have heard of they don’t list as sighthounds but are in the AKC, so we’ll take them into the family tree:

  • A Pharaoh Hound: If I saw this at the dogrun, I'd probably think "Doberman." I really do need to spend some time in the dog house!

    Pharaoh Hound: If I saw this, I'd probably think "Doberman." I really do need to spend some time in the dog house!

     Ibizan Hound

     

     

  • Pharaoh Hound

 

Permalink for this article

Shortlink for this article:  http://wp.me/ptNqu-bu

3 Comments

Filed under Getting a Dog / Adding to the Family, Real House Whippets of NYC

“Is your dog a rescue?” Breeder vs. Shelter

 

Sesame, Picchu and C-Biscuit: Whippets by C.Square

Sesame, Picchu and C-Biscuit: Whippets by C.Square

The most common question we get about our whippets is, “Are they rescues?” 

We assume this is because people think whippets are greyhounds, and greyhounds usually are ex-racing dogs from a track – so much so that the group Greyhound Pets of America has the subtitle, “the greyhound retirement specialists.”

Greyhounds at Dewey Beach

Greyhounds at Dewey Beach

It’s delicate enough explaining that whippets are not track discards in need of a retirement home – I can only imagine how tricky this question is if you own a greyhound that is not “a rescue.” Implied is that the only acceptable way to get a pet is through a shelter or rescue operation.

We could make a case that our dogs are all “rescues,” in the sense that we did not buy them as puppies. C-Biscuit, raised as a show dog, went to one home for a few months and then was returned to the breeder. She was re-homed to us, and we like to think this was her destiny all along. Sesame is a retired show dog. He was treated very well by his breeders and now gets the royal treatment from us.

Picchu and Sesame: Enduring the hard life

Picchu and Sesame: Enduring the hard life

Machu Picchu went through several homes and was surrendered to Whippet Rescue before going back to the breeder and then to us. She would have found a home if we had not taken her in, but it would have been the home of people like ourselves, who want to share their lives with whippets. 

To insist that the only good dog is a rescued dog is to relegate our future with the canine species to random relationships in which humans are forced to settle for whatever renegade breeders produce and fail to care for.

– Judith Lewis, Los Angeles Times opinion essay

Some things to consider when thinking about rescued dogs vs. purebreds:

  • A dog from a reputable breeder doesn’t usually end up homeless. Potential owners have gone looking for a specific breed, presumably after thought and research, and they are personally screened. Responsible people should be able to get the pets they want, and love and care for them without public scorn – or inquiry, for that matter.
  • Would one ask a parent with a baby carriage, “Is your baby adopted?” Parents are not thought selfish for wanting a specific child (their own) rather than giving a home to a homeless child.
  • Our whippet pack enjoying Central Park

    Our whippet pack enjoying Central Park

    As I wrote about previously in the article, “Obamas & Bo – Why get a purebred pet,” I wouldn’t have gotten a dog from a shelter because I only wanted a whippet. Sharing your life with an animal is good for you and arguably good for society, no matter where it comes from.

I recommend reading a very thoughtful and informative opinion essay in the Los Angeles Times, “The Obama family dog saga,” by Judith Lewis, a woman who owns shelter dogs and also makes a case for purebreds.

Permalink for this article

1 Comment

Filed under Getting a Dog / Adding to the Family

Gentlemen Prefer Hounds

 

Is the beagle snoopy a manly dog? You make the call.

Snoopy: A manly dog?

When my sister and brother-in-law were deciding on what breed of dog to get, he insisted on one he is “not embarrassed to walk.” They decided on a beagle. My sister unabashedly explained, “Like Snoopy!”

Interesting choice.

red truck dogMy partner Bob has a pickup truck and is outdoorsy, so he thought a golden retriever or labrador would be a great choice for us. Of course, he couched these suggestions in terms of he “wants me to be safe when I’m out walking the dog alone.”

For men choosing a breed of dog, some questions to consider:

Regarding the maxim, "People look like their dogs," what breed would you call you?

Regarding the maxim "People look like their dogs," what breed would you call you?

 

Do you like to groom?

Is grooming a forte? Would you consider "metrosexual" to be a compliment, or an offense?

 

Do you have political aspirations?

Do you have political aspirations?

 

Even if out in nature, if someone asks your dog's breed, are you comfortable explaining, e.g., "They are Dandie Dinmonts"?

When someone asks your dog's breed, are you comfortable announcing, for instance, "They are Dandie Dinmonts"?

We got a whippet, C-Biscuit, who tries to run away from riding in the truck, won’t walk through puddles, when set loose to hunt the “bunny” at racing practice ran into Bob’s arms instead, and seems to be a fashion hound. When people ask about our dog, Bob loves to boast, “Whippets run 35 miles an hour!”

Bob adores Biski, but did request that our second whippet be: “A boy. A little bigger. A truck dog. Who can race.” But when we got to the whippet ranch, he fell in love with Machu Picchu. A borderline pocket dog. 

Bob loved little Picchu at first sight

Bob loved little Picchu at first sight...

 

Even a pocket dog can be a truck dog.

...and he found out that a pocket dog can make a great truck dog

Permalink for this article

Leave a comment

Filed under Getting a Dog / Adding to the Family, Real House Whippets of NYC

“What kind of dog is that?”

One of the first things I learned as a new dog owner was: When you meet a new dog, don’t guess the breed. 

Blue Tick Coon Hound

Blue Tick Coon Hound

My dad, a volunteer dog walker at two local shelters, had just called me excited about meeting a Blue Tick Coon Hound, so I looked up a photo. Then, like learning a new word and then immediately hearing it in conversation, I was at the dog park when what should I see, feeling so in the know, but what I thought was a…

“Oh!” I asked the lady owner of the two blueish-speckled hounds, “Are those Blue Tick Coon Hounds?!”

She looked at me like I’d just asked if her Hermes scarf was by Isaac Mizrahi for Target. “They’re English Setters,” she said pointedly.

English Setter

English Setter

What can I say? To a sighthound owner, they look like the same deal.

This reminds me of our friends telling us that passers-by once insisted that their fawn whippet, Algernon, was a Dalmation because “He has spots!” 

I’ve also learned – again the hard way – that when you are told the breed and do not understand it, simply nod and smile. A woman told me her big-eared little dog was a rat terrier. I thought I hadn’t heard her right. “What kind of terrier?” I asked. She repeated, “RAT.”

“Rhett?” I asked, “Like in Gone with the Wind?”

I could tell she wanted to say, “No, stupido, as in rodent of the night.” 

Few people have heard of a whippet, so the most common comment we get is, “Look at the greyhounds!” Or, “Are they puppies/miniatures?” Two women in Central Park who did not speak English still managed to ask, “Simpsons?”

The Simpsons' dog is a greyhound

The Simpsons' dog looks like a whippet but is a greyhound

When we were deciding to get a whippet, I saw a sign from the universe: A man with a giant whippet! I excitedly asked the question we now long to hear from strangers: “Is that a whippet?”

I am possibly the only person ever to make that mistake. “He’s a retired racing greyhound,” the man told me as he edged himself between me and his lanky hound.

Bob didn’t do much better. He called me from Central Park: “There’s someone sitting here with a whippet!” 

“I’ll be right there!” I said, and ran a mile to see the “whippet.” 

“It’s got long hair,” Bob told me. Uh-huh. It was, alas, an Afghan.

When it is your dog you are obsessed with, it seems perfectly and utterly clear: It is what it is, and could not possibly be anything else. In other cases, save other owners shock and awe at your ignorance (or maybe it’s just me…) and limit your comments to, “What a nice/beautiful dog!”

"I am not a whippet."

Ce n'est pas un whippet.

Permalink for this article

5 Comments

Filed under Getting a Dog / Adding to the Family, Real House Whippets of NYC