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Archive for July, 2008

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Burmese pythons are giving alligators a run for their money in Florida. This pyton swallowed a small alligator, only to have it bite a few holes in the snake from the inside, killing it. These snakes are going to live as far north as New Jersey and Washington State if climate change models are accurate.

Burmese pythons are giving alligators a run for their money in Florida. This python swallowed a small alligator, only to have it bite a few holes in the snake from the inside, killing it. These snakes are going to live as far north as New Jersey and Washington State if climate change models are accurate.

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A federal judge issued a preliminary injunction against the proposed wolf hunt in Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho on Friday.

I support controlling wolf numbers if they become high enough to warrant a cull. I do not support gunning them from the air, however.

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Here, I explain something that often gets dog historians in trouble. In historical texts, the ancestor of the retrievers is described as Newfoundland.  This confuses most people, because they assume that this is exactly the same breed that we call Newfoundland today.  The breed they are talking about is the St. John’s Water dog, which more like a retriever and not like the modern breed at all. The big Newfoundland might have never existed on Newfoundland at all, and may actually descend from that dog crossed with mastiffs in Europe. This has long been a debate among people who are interested in the Newfoundland dog’s history. It has started more than one or two fights.

However, it is misleading to say the Flat-coat descends from the Newfoundland. It is the St. John’s Water dog from which it descends.

It is also misleading to say that the golden retriever derived from the flat-coat. In reality, both derived from the wavy-coated retriever. The golden was a strain of wavy-coat bred for yellow or reddish color. The flat-coat derived from wavy-coats that had the wave bred out of their coat. This tendancy to breed out the wave also affected the golden retriever. In fact, when the two breeds separated, the only real difference between the two in conformation was the color. High quality show champion goldens were much rangier and lightly built,with far less coat. Flat-coats were a little stockier with a bit more coat. The heads of both types were moderate. Blocky heads were not favored in golden retrievers, and very narrow heads were also not favored in flat-coats. Many flat-coats carry golden retriever genes, because one flat-coat sire, who was influential in the breed, Don of Gerwn, was actually of Tweedmouth’s yellow wavy/flat-coat strain. He was black, and, there for a flat-coat, but he carried the genes for yellow or reddish coat.  The golden has both wavy and flat-coat types in its genome, while it’s not unusual to see a little wave in the flat-coated retriever breed even today.

It is impossible to write the history of the golden or the flat-coat alone, because the two have very similar histories. To ignore Tweedmouth’s strain in both breeds is short-sighted.  1st Baron Tweedmouth did not start the golden retriever, as is common claimed. He started a line of yellow wavy-coats.

It was only through the efforts of a few yellow flat-coat fanciers that the golden retriever was separated from the flat-coat. Incidentally, goldens, flat-coats, and Labs were all interbred. All Labrador experts recognize that the flat-coat was an important outcross in their breed. Even wavy-coats were crossed in the nineteenth century. What is ignored is that flat-coats at this time also meant goldens, so the three breeds’ history and ancestry is quite interwoven.

This Flat-coat is more moderate in frame than the very lightly built dogs we often see in the breed today. Goldens have the exact opposite problem-- too cobby to be of any use. This dog could pass for a working-bred golden, if it were gold in color. Both breeds descend from the Wavy-coated retriever.

This Flat-coat is more moderate in frame than the very lightly built dogs we often see in the breed today. Goldens have the exact opposite problem-- too cobby to be of any use. This dog could pass for a working-bred golden, if it were gold in color. Both breeds descend from the Wavy-coated retriever.

The dog above is a Flat-coat that has some waviness to its coat. It looks somewhat like a working-type golden, except for color.

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This program is about the Dire Wolf and the comparison between that animal and the modern wolf. The shepherd breeds are meant to show the lighter modern wolf’s attack style. The Dutch shepherd attacked the same way that the Fila Mastiff and the American Bulldog did. It’s funny, but the Dutch Shephered is often judged by the same standard as the Malinois. I wonder if a really hardcore Malinois were used, one that came from heavier breeding, that the results might have been different.

The Dire Wolf had a bigger head than a modern wolf and much more massive teeth. It may have been slightly dumber than the modern wolf, because many of these animals were killed in the La Brea Tarpits. But that’s horrible speculation.

Head sizes are key to dog bite strength, as this video points out.  Wolves, for example, have a bite strength twice that of a similar-sized German shepherd. Wolves have massive heads, especially those races of wolf that have evolved to hunt large game like Moose. Mastiff dogs often have very strong bites. I know this because I had a cross between a golden and boxer, with the boxer predominating. When we fed our dogs bones, the boxer cross could crunch the strongest bones, while her retriever friends could not. Working retrievers don’t have large, muscular heads when compared to the Molosser breeds. (They probably have bigger brains, though!).

This program is excellent. If it’s ever on National Geographic, I highly recommend it.

No dog or wolf alive, though, has the bite of the Dire Wolf. Even our big mastiffs and big wolves can’t equal that bite force of that animal. It must have been a site to behold! (BTW, the Dire wolf was only about a hundred pounds in weight, roughly the size of the average male wolf from the Northern and Western subpecies).

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Newfoundland and Pug.

I hope you enjoy them!

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Another of my articles on Cockers.

It’s just a short overview, though.

English cocker spaniels often come in this red color. Dogs of this color and breed sometimes develope "rage syndrome," in which they attack for no reason. I still think the English cocker is the prettier of the two breed, though.

English cocker spaniels often come in this red color. Dogs of this color and breed sometimes develope "rage syndrome," in which they attack for no reason. I still think the English cocker is the prettier of the two breed, though.

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Danish working goldens!

I thought all Scandinavian goldens were “white” and “mellow.” I guess not!

This has really good advice on deciding to get a retriever of this type.

Excellent site.

And another one with lots of links to other breeders in Germany and Scandinavia. It seems that the working golden has some real dedicated breeders in this part of the world.

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