Alll of the Swiss mountain dogs, except for the St. Bernard, are black and tan dogs with white points as their standard color, but every once in a while a recessive red and white pup is born into one of their litters.
Archive for the ‘dog breeds’ Category
It talks about black water dogs in Newfoundland, but instead of calling them St. John’s water dogs, as I do, it is referred to as a Cape Shore water dog.
After a careful search on the Googles, I found that a Cape Shore water dog is also called an “eider dog,” probably because they used to retrieve shot eiders and other sea birds.
And of course, that is what the St. John’s water dog was used for in addition to being the fisherman’s dog.
From that blog post, we see that this breed is found on Newfoundland and on the French islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon, the last vestiges of France’s North American empire, and there is a strong relationship between the Basques and these dogs.
I don’t know if the dogs in Spain that are featured are actually of an endemic Spanish water dog breed or if they are derived from Spanish imports of St. John’s water dogs from back in their heyday.
I think these dogs actually are St. John’s water dogs, though they probably have more than a bit of modern Labrador retriever ancestry. Labrador retrievers are, of course, derived from the St. John’s water dogs as are all the other retrievers but the Nova Scotia duck-tolling retriever, which mostly of spaniel and collie extraction.
I think part of the problem in recognizing these dogs for what they are comes from two problems:
One is nomenclature. The dog was called the St. John’s water dog, because that is where they were imported from. However, the breed was spread all over Newfoundland and Labrador and on St. Pierre and Miquelon. Its last redoubts as a “pure” strain– that is, unmixed with Labrador retriever blood–were in isolated outports (“fishing villages”) on Newfoundland’s Sou’west Coast.
But there are so many different names for this dog: Newfoundland, wavy-coated retriever, lesser Newfoundland, true Newfoundland, black water dog, Labrador dog, small Labrador, and St. John’s dog (minus the “water”).
When you read histories of retrievers, you always see mention of Newfoundlands and Labradors, and when you see depictions of the dogs, some look like the big Newfoundland dog, which I think is almost entirely a creation of the British pet market, and dogs that look somewhat like black golden retriever or black Labradors with white markings on them.
If we could agree on the name for this dog, I think would be much clearer whether we should regard this landrace as extinct.
Yes. This type of Newfoundland dog is a landrace, and that brings us to the second problem. Most dog authorities, including the great Richard Wolters, who wrote a history of Labrador retrievers, believe the last two St. Johns water dogs were two male dog that were living at Grand Bruit in the 1970s. These two dogs were said to be free of any Labrador retriever ancestry, but there definitely were dogs around that had mixed with their British descendant.
I define a landrace as dog that exists as a clearly defined type with in defined purpose and cultural context. However, it differs from a breed in that breeds have closed registries with a very narrowly defined set of physical characteristics. A golden retriever is a breed, but the water dog from which it descends never was.
So if we call the St. John’s water dog a landrace, then all the dogs who are mixtures of St. John’s water dog and Labrador retriever are still St. John’s water dogs.
They just aren’t free of the globalized Labrador retriever blood.
And because it’s a landrace, I don’t think we should get all worked up about these dogs potentially having a bit of Labrador retriever in them, and if we are willing to admit that it is okay that that these dogs aren’t extinct.
Now if any readers from Newfoundland know anything more about this sort of dog, I would be happy if you passed this along.
I don’t think we are getting what this dog actually is because the nomenclature is not lining up. This is the famed Newfoundland dog that everyone wrote about all these years.
Of course, we need DNA samples.
These old outport dogs have been ignored for too long. I think they may have a lot to tell us.
There is some debate as to the exact identity of this dog’s breed.
One could also claim that it is a depiction of a Welsh springer, or you could point out that it was one of those old red and white spaniels that were once common in the UK, which then replaced by the liver-coated English springers and Norfolk spaniels.
However, the gallery that displays the painting in Lincolnshire claims that it is a “lemon and white water spaniel,” which just happens to resemble a Clumber.
Henry Burton Chalon painted a very similar looking water spaniel in 1797, so it’s very possible that there was once a breed of red and white, somewhat robust water spaniel in England that was relatively common at the end of the eighteenth century.
We want to say this dog was a Clumber or a Welsh springer.
The truth is it was neither, but dogs like this are most likely the ancestors of both of these breeds.
This sort of dog would have also been crossed with St. John’s water dogs and other offshoots of the Newfoundland to make retrievers.
So it may be been a red and white English water spaniel.
This sort of spaniel just isn’t bred anymore, and both Welsh springers and Clumbers, which represent older spaniel lines, than the others have fallen from favor.
But it’s very likely that they derive from dogs like this one.
We just don’t have a complete record of these animals.
We see ghosts in the paintings, and they lure us into speculation.
Maybe it’s this.
Maybe it’s that.
We just don’t know.
But it sure is beguiling.
This dog is supposed to be an elkhound.
The dog is a sable spitz, though it is not gray or “wolf sable.”
And its coat is long and feathered, unlike any of the three (or four) breeds of modern Swedish and Norwegian elkhounds.
One could be forgiven for calling this dog a wolfsspitz or Keeshond, and it was well-known that the Prince of Wales at the time, who became George IV, was a lover of spitz-type dogs. The House of Hanover to which he belonged was very German, and he would have had easy access to the various German spitzes, including the dogs that English-speakers always called Pomeranians.
I cannot find the exact story on this particular dog. If it had been an elkhound, surely someone would have mentioned it coming from Scandinavia.
If it is a Scandinavian dog whose ancestors were used to bay up moose, then this clearly shows that our concept of elkhound and herding spitz as distinct identities is clearly a very recent one. Most of the herding spitzes that are used on reindeer are long-coated dogs, while the elkhounds are technically smooth coated dogs with lots of undercoat.
If this dog were indeed an elkhound, then there isn’t really a long history of separation between hunting spitz and herding spitz.
They likely come out of the same generalist landrace, just as the Russian laikas do.
It could also explain why my grandfathers last Norwegian elkhound loved to herd horses as much as he loved to tree squirrels.
Pavel’s pretty much grown up.
This is a Karelo-Finnish laika, which some think is the same thing as the Finnish spitz.
It probably is.
In Russia, parts of Eastern Europe, and Finland, the dog used to retrieve shot waterfowl was almost always a dog like this one.
It was only when “improved” retrieving breeds from Western Europe became popular that they began to use those instead.
When I was a child, I was a connoisseur of all breed dog books. (I am sure that shocks you all).
I often had a hard time pronouncing names. For example, I called the papillon “the pap-pillion.”
And I called the white Russian herding spitz a “Samoid.”
After all, doesn’t that sound like a more reasonable pronunciation of a word that is spell “Samoyed.”
But Samoid sounds like some kind of disease you might catch, so I always thought it was a bit strange.
I knew from the breed books that this name meant “self-eater” in Russian, but virtually every book mentioned that the name was wrong. The Samoyed was a nice dog.
However, one day, I learned that the actual pronunciation is “Samma-yed.”
I thought nothing of the name after that.
It was only when I started discussing laikas breeds with Dave that I asked a very simple question:
Where did the Samoyed come from? I thought there was some connection between the word Samoyed and the Sami people of Fenno-Scandinavia and Russia’s Kola Peninsula.
Through a little Google search, I discovered that the both Nenets and Sami spoke a Uralic language.
And that was enough for me.
However, I wondered about the Russian word “Samoyed” that meant “self-eater.”
It was only when I did a little more research that something disturbing hit me.
Samoyed is word that does apply to the Nenets.
However, it is a word that applies to the Nenets in much the same way the n-word applies to African-Americans.
The Canadian broadcaster and etymologist Bill Casselman writes about this word:
Samoyed was the Russian word for these peoples [the Nenets and their close relatives, the Selkups, the Enets, and the Nganasans] and their group of languages. It had entered Russian as a word by the 16th century, and is certainly never used by these peoples themselves or by educated Russians today, since Samoyed means self-eater or cannibal in Russian. Many English speakers forget or never knew that Slavic languages like Russian descend from the same ancient source as English, namely a language called Indo-European or sometimes Proto-Indo-European. In the word Samoyed, the Russian root samo ‘self’ is directly related to the English word same and the Russian verbal root yed- ‘eat’ is a cognate of the English verb to eat.
So all this time, we’ve been calling this dog by the racial epithet bestowed upon them by their colonizers.
The dog we call the Samoyed is, of course, entirely a Western invention.
The Nenets herding laika comes in many different colors, not just white and “biscuit” or cream-colors.
If one would like to see photos of Nenets herding laikas in their natural habitat, check out these photos by Bryan and Cherry Alexander. These photos were all taken in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug in Siberia, the same place where the dogs that founded the Western Samoyed breed originated.
The Russian-American dog expert and zoologist Vladimir Beregovoy traveled to the Yamal Peninsula in 1961, where he encountered the Nenets and their dogs. He writes about how they were used:
In the Arctic Ural area, Yamal Peninsula and further to the east longhair aboriginal dogs similar to the Samoyed are used for herding reindeer. When herding, these dogs help to keep deer herd together on the move to better pastures. In winter, dogs help to trail and find lost reindeer. When dogs find stray reindeer far away from people they stay with them for a long time, sometimes even for few days without food guarding the deer. Dogs are barking a lot that helps their master to find where they are. Endurance, courage and determination of these dogs are amazing.
Another common form of using of aboriginal dogs of Nenets people is hunting. When hunting, these dogs act like bark pointers helping to find and tree grouse, squirrel and other small game. Despite the long coat, some of these dogs are trained and work well as duck retrievers. They do not hesitate to swim or wade in water at a subfreezing temperature. I purchased a two year old male who made an excellent hunting dog.
So these dogs are not entirely different from the other laikas of the region. They were used for a wide variety of tasks– almost all of which were life and death for their owners. (Beregovoy includes photos of a white laika named Noho. Noho’s name meant “Hunter” in Nenets, which tells you he wasn’t just rounding up the deer for his people.)
The history of the Western Samoyed breed begins with a British timber magnate named Ernest Kilburn Scott.
Scott imported the first dogs from Russia and exhibiting them at dog shows, and it was he who made the decision that the breed should be white, cream-colored, or “biscuit.” It was his wife, Clara, who essentially created the breed as we know it the West.
The founding population of these dogs was not particularly large, and this might go a long way to explaining why this breed has several issues with autoimmune disorders and a peculiar renal disorder called Samoyed Hereditary Glomerulopathy. The breed had issues with genetic diversity for most of its time as a fancy breed, but now through more science-based breeding practices, the inbreeding coefficients have been reduced.
However, it doesn’t change the fact that these dogs were founded by a finite number of founders, and the only genes in these dogs are those of their founders.
When I suggested to a Samoyed breeder on Facebook that she consider breeding her dogs to Nenets herding laikas, she was apoplectic.
She claimed that I was telling her to cross two different breeds!
Which is cardinal sin in the blood purity cult that is the modern dog fancy.
Never mind that these dogs and the Nenets breed are exactly the same breed. They are about as different as European golden retrievers that have been bred for the bench are from those that have been bred for hunting.
But of course, the Nenets dogs come in more colors besides white and cream, and therefore, they aren’t the same dog.
Never mind that the Nenets were breeding these dogs for centuries before the so-called dog fancy cult got its mitts on them. The Nenets were breeding their dogs to do things and live in much harsher conditions than you can find in the United States or Western Europe.
With aboriginal dogs, there is always the assumption that the European-based dog fancy was always superior to their “barbaric” owners in their motherlands.
Of course, in the West, most Samoyeds don’t do anything resembling what their ancestors did or what their cousins still do for the Nenets.
One could count on one hand the number of fanciers at dog shows all the dog shows in history who have ever relied upon dogs for survival.
So with this breed, we have everything that is wrong when Western cultural imperialism runs headlong into the world of dogs.
Here have a dog breed that is given a name that is a racial epithet for their original breeders and that has been selectively bred out of a much more diverse landrace based upon one European couple’s ideal of beauty is.
And as if to add poetry to all this racialism, the preferred color of this dog is white.
The Western Samoyed is really a white power dog!
I think the first thing that has to be changed about this dog is its name. The alternative name for this breed is “bjelkier.”
I’d prefer to call it the Nenets laika.
But I know now that I will NEVER use the word “Samoyed” for this breed.
In recent years, the oldsquaw duck has disappeared from bird books.
You cannot find it.
The current name is “long-tailed duck,” and the reason why the name was changed is because the word “Squaw” is offensive to Native Americans.
Now, I know that political correctness has run amok among our discourse as a society, but if you’re part of a club that is being attacked for racialism– as the Western dog fancy clearly is– you’d think you’d try to clean up names like Samoyed.
But because being a reactionary turkey brain is a very common condition among Western dog fanciers, I bet that many don’t care. I bet some of them even like that they call this dog by a racial pejorative.
That might be the reaction, but it’s not good PR.
I happen to like this breed very much, but I think as it exists in the West is a caricature of what it actually is in its homeland.
I would certainly hate if other laika breeds went this road, and this story should be a cautionary tale to anyone wanting to bring aboriginal breeds into the West.
The Western fancy isn’t designed for dogs like these.
It wants to sequester gene pools and standardize everything.
An aboriginal dog cannot exist under such a regime. Not a single one of these aboriginal dogs was founded in the way that the Western fancy founds breeds, and not a single dog is maintained the way aboriginal strains are.
So let’s hope that the West Siberian laika and the Telomian stay way from this bunch.
The Samoyed as it exists now has a sustainable gene pool now, but the breed as it exists now is a fiction.
A fiction that is easily debunked once one reads something about the Nenets and their amazing dogs.
A few days ago, this image was posted to my Facebook timeline, and I didn’t really look at it too closely.
This was clearly an image from a nineteenth century German boar hunt, and the dogs used in the hunt were bullenbeissers.
Bullenbeissers were the rough bulldogs of Germany that were used in much the same as their English counterparts were. (Somewhat heretically, I don’t believe the bullenbeissers are extinct, but I will leave that to another post.)
England had to transform its native bulldogs into “civilized” creatures relatively early on. Bull-baiting and dog fighting were made illegal in the early nineteenth century, and there was no practical purpose for having the rough bulldog type around.
Of course, Germany held onto its big game for far longer than Great Britain did, and in the old days, many German nobles would go on boar hunts like this one. These rough bulldogs had a much longer life as working dogs than their British counterparts.
This particular kind of hunt is called Sauhatz.
I knew that Sau was a cognate that means female pig (sow).
Hatz, however, was a word that had me a bit confused, so I contacted my resident German language expert. She believed the word Hatz was derived from “hetzen,” a word that means to bait, hound, or tear into.
I thought Hatz was more appropriately translated as coursing, and my German language expert found that Hatz does mean coursing.
What we call hog hunting with catch dogs is called “sow coursing” in German!
So now we know what the caption, but what about the creatures in it.
As I noted earlier, the vast majority of the dogs in the image are bullenbeissers, but there are two dogs that are shaggy.
The exact identity of these dogs is actually even more interesting than bullenbeissers.
These dogs are Saufinders, (“sow searchers”).
They are sort of a rough schnauzer or terrier type dog that may have played some role in the development of the giant schnauzer and the Airedale.
The saufinder was described in Charles Hamilton Smith’s The Natural History of Dogs (1839) as follows:
In Germany, the Saufinder, or Boarsearcher, is a large rough terrier dog, employed to rouse the fiercest beasts of the forest from their lair in the thickest underwood, and they never fail to effect the purpose by their active audacity and noisy clamour. They are usually of a wolfish grey-brown, with more or less white about the neck and breast, and a well fringed tail curled over the back; having in all probability in them a cross of the Pomeranian dog, which may have increased their stature and their caution (pg. 207).
It seems the saufinders would have flushed the boar from the undergrowth, where the bullenbessers would have run it down. Bullenbeissers, like all true bulldogs, were bred for their gameness, and they would have thought of nothing as they charged the boar.
I should also note that the “Pomeranian dog” that Hamilton Smith mention here is actually not the little spitz we call Pomeranians, but the relatively large spitz that is the ancestor of that dog. It used to be common in Baltic region of Germany, where Pomerania is located.
These sorts of hunts speak to a time when Europe was much wilder than it is now. Germany, which always lay between Eastern and Western Europe, is always exposed to wild creatures wandering in from Poland or the Czech Republic.
Great Britain and Ireland could massacre all their wolves, bears, and boar, but Germany is on the same landmass as Russia, one of the wildest places in the world.
So big game hunting remained a past time in Germany many, many years longer than it did in the British Isles.
The British did their big game hunting in the colonies. The Germans did theirs in their forests.
Breeds that became refined and the deformed by the dog fancy in England remained functional across the North Sea.
So while the British were doing bizarre walking races with their bulldogs, the Germans were killing boars with theirs.
The following story is the tale of a race between two bulldogs named King Orry and Dockleaf. The two dogs were show bulldogs from the late nineteenth century in Britain, and even at that time, there was a huge controversy about the conformation of these dogs.
Dockleaf had been condemned as a deformed “cripple,’ yet he kept winning prize after prize at dog shows. Despite his success in the ring, many fanciers were still lambasting him and his owner, a Mr. S Woodiwiss, at every opportunity.
Tired of the criticism, Mr. Woodiwiss agreed to have an endurance race between Dockleaf and a more lightly built dog named King Orry.
Rawdon Lee describes this 1893 race in The History of the Modern Dogs of Great Britain and Ireland (Nonsporting Division) (1894) :
I must write of dogs as I find them at the present time, and, to show the state to which an endeavour to breed for exaggeration in certain points has brought the bulldog, reproduce the following account of a walking match between two crack bench winners, which took place in the summer of 1893. There had been a brindled dog shown with extraordinary success at that time, for which his owner, Mr. S. Woodiwiss, was reported to have given £250—the greatest amount of money ever paid for a dog of this variety. In the opinion of many persons he was so much a cripple as to be unable to stand properly in the ring, which was a fact. However, the judges under whom the dog in question came, appeared blind to his defects, and time after time he was placed over more perfect animals. Then a match was made between Dockleaf, the dog above alluded to, and another well-known prize-winning bulldog, called King Orry, owned by Mr. G. R. Murrell.
The novelty of the contest caused considerable interest to be taken therein, and it was arranged under the following conditions: “Each dog to be led and make the best of the way from the Roebuck Hotel, Lewisham, to Bromley Town Hall and back, the distance being about ten miles. The competitors might have as much rest as appeared desirable, but ‘lifting’ from the ground was disqualification. At seven o’clock, when the start was made, a big crowd was in attendance, a portion of which accompanied the dogs on their journey. King Orry went off with the lead, and was nearly 400 yards ahead when a mile or more had been traversed. Soon after Dockleaf showed signs of fatigue, but continued on his journey to a couple of miles from the start, when, being fairly beaten, Mr. Woodiwiss withdrew him from further competition; his opponent was then far in front, and ‘going well.’ Mr. Murrell’s dog, after a rest of seven minutes, arrived at Bromley Town Hall, and then set off on the return journey, Lewisham being duly reached at 9.25 p.m. Both animals had been in training for the match, and the winner showed no signs of distress after the accomplishment of what some modern admirers of the bulldog consider a great feat, but which we consider any bulldog ought to do equally satisfactorily. The loser occupied a trifle under forty minutes in covering his two miles, and, exclusive of stoppages, the winner progressed at the rate of some four and a half miles in the hour.”
So much for the activity and working capacity of a bulldog that has been pronounced by some parties to be one of the best of his race ever exhibited. However, all bulldogs are not so unable to walk at a fair pace as was the case with this dog; still, he must be given as an example of the evil of breeding for certain exaggerations which nature could never have produced without human assistance, and of the curious decisions that often take place in the show ring (pg. 208-210).
The Kennel Club was only twenty years old when this walking race was held between Dockleaf and King Orry, and in those twenty years, the bulldog was already being developed into a grotesque creature.
The bulldog’s health problems that are associated with its poor conformation are not new.
They were already in place by the 1890′s.
Bulldogs are now one of the most popular breeds in the United States, and very little has been done to make them better from the days of poor knackered Dockleaf.
The animal is a caricature of the catch dogs of yore.
The breed standards still reward dogs that are not much fit for anything, but because the type is so institutionalized, too many bulldog breeders assume that nothing is wrong with it.
And if you say anything, they get very defensive.
No one wants to change anything, but of course, when Dockleaf was winning prizes, there were enough people to complain about it for someone to suggest some sort of empirical proof that he was not a poorly constructed animal.
There plenty of loudmouth bulldog fanciers on the internet. I wonder if they would subject their dogs to simple walking race like this one.
I somehow doubt it.
Bulldogs are really about symbols.
No one wants reality to crush any fantasies.