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The dogs do bark
inamac and I went to Discover Dogs at Earl's Court yesterday. We did have a purpose in mind. We are considering adding a couple of dogs to the large number of cats we have at home. Ina has already made up her mind - she wants an English Toy Terrier (the toy version of the Manchester Terrier, both of which are descended from the English Black and Tan terrier, now extinct.) British convention-going fans of long-standing may remember Fang-the-Wonder-Dog, who was a splendid ETT, and who occasionally commented at the Masquerade... I like ETTs - nice, elegant, uncomplicated litte dogs - but I admit that I want something larger and trainable to a high standard. I might well go for a Malinois - except for the fact that it is many, many years since I trained a dog, and Malinois can be nearly as hyper as Border Collies. (Though some of us remember a certain Border Collie who wouldn't walk further than the end of her owners' garden...)

I keep coming back to my first choice, which is the Smooth Collie. Unfortunately, even more than the ETT, they are an 'endangered' British breed, and there are not a lot of them in the country, and puppies are quite rare. However, the nice thing about Discover Dogs is that you can get really good advice from experts, and now I have made contact with the keeper of the puppy list, I shall probably put my name down somewhere for a pup, and expect to wait months...

We also met a good many breeds that we (or, at least I) hadn't met before, including some Mexican Hairless, a lot of Italian hunting dogs, of various kinds, and the Bassett Bleu De Gascoigne ... which gives me hope that someone will eventually start importing the Petit. We also got a chance to watch the estimable Mary Rae give a class on how she trains her dogs for heelwork to music.

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A terrier is not a great idea with cats. They chase things that move, and they can kill rats as large as some of your cats. You really would be *much* better off with a hound. They sleep by the fire, barely raise an eyebrow, are quite willing to be bullied by cats, and like slow, steady walks.

If you want a terrier looking dog, with a hound temperament, I can recommend this: or there is another one with sandy wire hair that I can't remember the name of (but can look up).

One thing we did learn yesterday is that everyone has their own 'ideal dog' and mine is the ETT (actually, it's the Dobermann Pinscher, but an ETT is the nearest I can get to that given the size of our house. Hounds, beautiful though they are, (especially the sighthounds) are untrainable and chase everything). Far from looking for a 'terrier-looking' dog I want something sleek and elegant - but tough and at least marginally trainable.

The breeder from whom I expect to get my ETT also breeds Siamese, so his dogs are well aware from puppyhood what will happen if they cross a cat - and any puppy brought up with our cats (especially as one of them is Madame Pyanfar) will quickly learn its place in the heirarchy.

Cool. Yes, brought up with cats makes a huge difference.

I'm sorry, but many hounds, particularly the sight hounds, are far worse than terriers about cats. (Bull Terriers, in particular, are supposed to be bad with cats, but I've lost count of the number of rehoming adverts that say something to the effect of "good with children and cats - but must be only dog.) They are all hunting dogs. Mind you, the worst cat-killers are Great Danes (also originally a hunting dog) and the sledge dogs, particularly Siberians and Malamutes, both of whom are utterly wonderful 'people' dogs without a single guarding instinct between the them.

An ETT will be smaller than Ross, even when full grown - and we have yet to speak to an ETT owner/breeder who did not also keep a cat at one time or another, and the cat was always boss.

My former neighbor had a Malinois (Shep). It was as hyper as a glue-sniffing squirrel but it was also a very sweet, very smart dog. In fact, I wish the current neighbors had Shep rather than the fence-hopping, fang-toothed goat-dog they have now. Yikes.

Happy puppy shopping.

Yes, that sounds exactly like the standard description of any of the BSDs. Some of the most highly trained and smartest police dogs are Malinois (preferred to the other BSDs because of their shorter coat and the fact you can't get Lakinois over here.) I think I'll go for something a bit steadier!

When I was a kid I always fancied having an Irish Terrier, but we were not a pet-owning family, so it never happened. The ETT sounds cool :-)

The Irish Terrier is also on the threatened list of native breeds...

Judy occasionally says something about getting a dog once one or the other of us has retired (her, probably, since I don't see how I'll ever be able to), to which my invariable response is "They need walking. EVERY DAY. Sometimes twice." I am of the opinion that we should practise doing the walks before the dog arrives, to see whether we can do it.

My parents had Jack Russell Terriers for years and years, and I was very fond of Robbie, the Westie at the Bookshop That Shall Not Be Named. But I don't really know enough about dogs to judge.

The only reason we have not had a dog is the commute and having to leave the animal alone - but I retire next year, and Ina has retired. Having had to walk a big dog every day as a teenager I am thoroughly aware of the work involved. It will do me good.

As I remember it, the last dog trained both of us...

I always remember Pete Walker trying to figure that why, when you walked fingers up his back, Sandy grabbed your hand in his teeth. When Pete did it, Sandy ignored him.

What's more, Sandy never did what you told him. Sometimes, he would obey me...

Sandy and I had a deal, we negotiated which commands he obeyed.

When we were out he wouldn't sit fully down if it was wet.

He would walk nicely on the lead provided I held the clip end and he held the handle.

And most importantly, when we encountered other dogs we had a deal about whether he could go to them. Only when I screamed did he follow my orders, anything less just slowed him down.

The hand thing was all about playing the game, he knew I was teasing him and that made the difference.

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