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Archive for June, 2012

This large black dog was not a Newfoundland– at least as we know them today.

However, it did derive from the Newfoundland.

World War II was a disaster for the Soviet Union in so many ways.

It was also disaster for dog breeding in the country. Private breeders of improved working breeds were virtually nonexistent, and purebred working dogs were almost impossible to find.

The Soviet government knew that it needed to create strains of working dog for its military installments, but it also knew that it couldn’t just inbreed from whatever dogs it managed to get into its breeding program.

So the Soviet Army set up Central Military School of Working Dogs (“Red Star Kennels”) to begin several experimental breeding programs that were designed to improve working dog breeds.

One of the breeds created in this breeding program was the Russian Newfoundland, a cross between the German shepherd and the Newfoundland. At the same time, another breeding program in Belarus managed to produce a Soviet improvement on the German shepherd, which is often called the East European shepherd or Byelorussian shepherd.

It was decided to start another strain of working Soviet Newfoundland in Belarus.

They bred the Newfoundland to the East European shepherd, and then they bred the crosses to the Caucasian ovtcharka.

The resulting dog was even more cold tolerant than the Newfoundland, and it was very adept in the water.

However, the Soviets had intended to produce a water rescue dog from this particular strain, and the resulting breed was just too aggressive for the job.

They often attacked people in the water rather than rescuing them!

Now, an amphibious attack dog might make some sense, but it was decided that this particular strain wasn’t going to be of much use.

However, it did serve a good purpose.

About the only distinct breed that was produced through the Soviet army’s breeding program was the black Russian terrier, a dog that started out as a cross between the multi-purpose Airedale from England and the multi-purpose giant schnauzer from Germany.  Rottweiler was also a major source for the breed.

However, it is also well-known for its love of the water, and although it could have received this hydrophilia from the Airedale, it also got it from the Moscow diver, which is also one of its ancestors.

The Moscow diver may not have been all that useful, but its black Russian terrier descendant has become an international success.

So even though it was a failure, it did produce something of value.

 

 

 

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The bad storm came last night just before sunset, and it started to leave just as the sun was going down.

This resulted in what is easily one of the most breath-taking sunsets I’ve ever witnessed.

Note that young white pine toward the center of the photograph.

This is what happened as the sun went down:

It’s like the pine tree is on fire!

Yesterday was a very strange day.

The mercury was reading into the 90’s before ten o’clock in the morning, and by the afternoon, I saw one bank thermometer read 98 degrees Fahernheit.

Hotter than, as my grandpa would have said, the hubs of hell (whatever that means).

In this part of the world, any heat is almost automatically amplified with high levels of humidity.

So yesterday, the land just appeared to boil.

The air had the feel of an ulcerated, festering wound. The heat was like the infection got worse and worse as the day progressed.

And it boiled and boiled until the clouds drew in upon the sky.

And the wind began to blow.

Just a little breeze at first.

The trees began to quake.

The branches and leaves started swirling through the sky.

It was a good thing I was inside!

The sky blackened darker and darker until it was almost as black as midnight.

And the rain came gushing from the sky.

The thunder was like something out of an ancient myth, like a great roaring demon that sudden been awakened from its lair.

And the lightning tore through the clouds like some ethereal knife.

The storm lasted about 45 minutes,and then it was gone.

But as it left, a cool gentle breeze came flowing in.

I’ve never felt a nicer breeze.

With no power, the house was becoming quite hot, and I was sweating profusely.

It just felt good to feel the cool air on me and watch this amazing sunset, as the water dripped off the trees and the little crickets made noises all around me.

Source.

Nature is still more marvelous than anything we’ve been able to contrive.

I’ve never see any human performance that can match a sunset like this one.

We might try, but even the best Hollywood special effects artists couldn’t match this one.

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Technical difficulties

There was a bad storm last night, which took out the power.

 

No chat room this evening either.

 

Back in business.

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The Iberan wolf (Canis lupus signatus) is often a lovely red color.

One of the most interesting stories about a pet wolf I’ve come across is the story of Captain Hare’s Spanish wolf. The story is a beautiful testament to the loyalty that wolves can exhibit toward those with whom they have bonded, and it is also a tragic tale of what happens when a misunderstood wild creature is brought into captivity.

Captain Hare was an officer in the British army during the Peninsular War, which was one of the Napoleonic Wars. It happened when Napoleon used a coup d’etat to get his brother seated on the Spanish throne and then invaded the Iberian Peninsula in hopes of conquering Portugal, which remained neutral and still traded with Britain.  When Napoleon’s troops invaded Spain, they were initially greeted as liberators, then a brutal guerrilla war ensued. Britain sent its own troops in to the Iberian Peninsula to assist the uprising.

Captain Hare managed to tame a wolf pup while in Spain, and it became his comrade- in-arms.

The account of this tame wolf comes from The Eclectic Magazine  (January 1864).

Early in the Peninsular War, Captain Hare, of a well-known Devonshire family, came home on absence or from wounds, bringing with him a tame Spanish wolf, caught young in the Sierra Morena, which, by constant familiarity, had become tame as a dog. During many a mountain bivouac, the soldier, his charger, and his pet wolf lay huddled together beneath a spreading cork-tree, or in the sheltered ravine, sharing between them the scanty supply of coarse biscuit, too often the whole of the military rations. During Captain Hare’s sojourn at Bristol, the beast followed him unmuzzled in his daily promenades, to the no small terror of Bristol citizens; and it was amusing to notice what a wide birth they gave him in passing, and how they turned, and at a respectful distance followed him the whole length of a street. But Paterfamilias presently began to murmur at the insatiate maw possessed by his son’s Spanish follower. After many a regretful struggle, the captain therefore transferred his old comrade to the keeping of Sir Hugh Smith, of Ashton Court. There, secured to a wooden dog-house in the kennel-yard, he spent nearly the whole summer’s day in pacing, to and fro at the full range of his tether, in a sort of ambling trot, plainly indicating his impatience of captivity, and sorrow at the abrupt disseverance of old associations. Gifted, like all his species, with a power of scent even beyond that possessed by the blood-hound, he winded a stranger’s presence the moment he got within the precincts of the park. Now the monotonous jog-trot is at once arrested; with ears erect, dilated, quivering nostrils, and flashing eyes, he stands motionless till the expected visitant comes in sight. Satisfied at length that it is not hia much-loved master, he hastily retires into bis lair, where, couchant at full length, with head between his paws, and closed eyelids, he feigns sleep. Rarely does this stratagem succeed, for the wary stranger stands gazing at a very respectful distance. Master Wolf now shakes off dull sleep, rises, shaking his hide and his ponderous chain, recommences his perambulations, but this time far within his limits, the chain lying in a zigzag coil beneath his feet. Still unsuccessful in deluding within his range his wished-for prey, the excited beast, with a hideous snarl, bounds sidelong to the full extent of his tether, and of course is dashed to earth by the recoil. Disappointed and humbled, he hastily retreats far into his dog-house, concealed from view. I noticed that the cunning animal never repeated this his favorite ruse a second time on the same person, but every fresh arrival induced him to repeat the assault (pg. 91).

During the war, the wolf and soldier were largely free.

War is not a beautiful thing, especially a nasty guerrilla war like the one that went on in Spain at this time.

The wolf likely gave Captain Hare a lot of comfort in a place where no one could really be trusted.

But while they were fighting in the war, they ran around in the mountains together, covering great distances as wolves like to do.

That’s why it is such a shame that this poor wolf wound up on a tether. Not only did he lose the person he loved, this poor wolf lost his mobility entirely.

A life on a tether isn’t a particularly good life for a dog, unless it’s given regular exercise and liberty from its bondage.

I can see this poor wolf running out to the end of his chain when a stranger approaches.

His nostrils would be flaring to catch the scent while his ears would perked forward to catch hint of the familiar voice.

And then that hope would be dashed when it became known that the person approaching wasn’t his beloved captain after all.

Pet wolves and dogs that happen to bond very intense with just a few people require owners that are willing to make a lifetime commitment to them.

They can never be truly satisfied living with someone else, and it is almost a great cruelty to expect them to do so.

Especially if they are forever exiled to the end of a chain.

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Fall of the red wolf

By Dark Hyena/Shah.

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The answer is shocking.

The Answer.

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