Dog people are crazy.
Now, I make a distinction between “dog owners” and “dog people.” You can be a dog owner and not a dog person. Dog owners often call other dogs “it” instead of “he” or “she.” Dog owners are people who just have a dog kicking around the house. Usually it’s a lab. Maybe they walk it, maybe they don’t.
Close to the other end of the spectrum is the dog person.
They’re people like me who host birthday parties for their dogs, dress them in costumes, that sort of thing. They’re crazy about dogs and often do, uh, irregular things to show it.
There’s only one more extreme step on the dog craziness spectrum: the dog breeder. They’re especially nuts. I have known a number of them over time, and it’s amazing to me that they tend to believe their breed, the one they center their lives around, is the absolute best breed in the world. Actually that’s probably not extreme enough–they tend to think their breed is the best thing in the world.
It always amazes me that anyone would think a single dog breed could somehow be the best dog for everyone, but I hear that a lot from people who should know better.
German Shepherd people say shepherds are the best. Labrador people? Labs are the best. Of course, they might prefer a color (light or dark) and they’ll definitely say they’re the best dogs for kids. Golden Retrievers are the best, if you talk to “Golden” afficionados.
The crazy Chihuahua lady (whose trailer house was filled with about 30 Chihuahuas and Chihuahua mixes and smelled like an especially pee-soaked exhibit at the county fair) went on about how Chihuahuas are the most lovable, smartest, most fun to cuddle dogs around. Obviously she had never met Poncho, my great-aunt’s Chihuahua. He was a nasty little bastard who seemed to hate everyone except her. (I loved Dulce, our Chihuahua, and I like the breed quite a bit, but they aren’t for everyone).
The Great Dane maniacs I talked to before we found Clyde? Same deal. The Yorkie people? Same thing.
These people also, without exception, filled their houses with pictures and statues and paintings of their special breeds. They wore Great Dane shirts and Yorkie hats and had dog-themed cookie jars and neck ties–pretty much everything under the sun.
Karen, the really cool lady we bought Ivan (our Doberman) from, used to wear all Doberman stuff all the time (from her earrings to her shirt, to her socks, she was always decked out in Doberman gear). I love her, but she’s nutty as hell about Dobermans.
So what’s my point with all this? Well, I’m going to discuss the relationship between humans and dogs quite a bit in this blog, but for now, I have been considering the fact that so many dog maniacs believe that their breed is somehow the best dog for everyone.
But I have some news for you: there is no best dog breed.
It’s common sense, right? I’d think so, but it’s amazing how often people try to convince me that their breed is best.
Everybody has different lifestyles. We do different things. And not every dog breed excels at everything–in fact, that’s why humans developed different kinds of dogs–they all play different roles. I love Great Danes (at least I love Clyde, anyway, and I admire the breed for their gentle strength, among other things), but I’m sure not going to say they’re for everyone. They’re not. They might be statuesque and powerful, sleek and friendly, but they can reach pretty much anything they want throughout your house (including the top of the fridge).
And big dogs are dangerous. Clyde is careful around Gretel, Sally, and Gianna, but if he manages to step on one of them . . . well, he weighs 150 pounds.
Plus Great Danes eat and poop a lot! They’re expensive to feed, vet bills aren’t cheap. You get it.
Same deal for Chihuahuas, Yorkies, and other micro dogs (that’s what I call my tiny dogs). Many people assume they would be excellent kid dogs since they’re little and cute and kids love them. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Micro dogs have thin little bones and can easily be hurt by kids, so they often preemptively defend themselves by biting kids.
Of course we’re raising Gianna among our pack of 3 dogs, and she’s learning fast which dogs not to mess with. Sally bit her a few days ago when she tried to manhandle the poor old dog. Gianna cried and pulled her hand away, and now she’s a lot more careful about grabbing Sally. She’ll still just grab Clyde, but that’s fine since he doesn’t really care.
Okay, enough soapboxing for one morning. The next time someone says their breed is the best one, you know where this dog maniac stands. What about you? What’s your favorite breed? Why? Do you think I’m wrong?