Archive for the ‘golden retriever’ Category
Looks like someone just ended it:
Most golden retriever people are of an agreeable sort.
Do not assume that I am.
I’m really a contrarian. It’s my default position.
I often called it my “Prussian personality.”
But there are many things that bother me.
One of these is the problem with the golden retriever.
Miley is currently grounded due to lameness. I think it’s in her hip, and although she’s a very athletic sort of dog, she has some issues with her conformation.
One is that is she is a larger dog than a golden retriever bitch should be. She weighs anywhere from 73 to 77 pounds, which is actually on the upper end of what a golden retriever dog should be.
She has quite a bit of bone, though not as much as other golden retrievers, and although her legs are relatively short compared to her body size, she normally can move really efficiently and quickly.
But this lameness in the hip really has me bothered. I wonder if she had a lighter frame and a smaller body, if she’d be having these problems.
My old dog never had any lameness. She was built like a red rocket of a retriever. Soaking wet, she was 6o pounds of hard muscle,
She was of the old red retriever type that used to comprise the bulk of the golden retriever breed in the Midwest and much of the rest of the Flyover Country. She lived to the ripe old age 13, broke ice to swim in ice covered pond, and was the most annoying obsessive retriever that ever lived.
She was a good dog.
She is one of the muses of this blog.
I’d really like to have a dog like her again.
This old red dog haunts me, as do the photos and paintings of all the old red and dark golden retrievers of yore.
I still get nostalgic when I see the old Bush’s Baked Beans ad from 1996.
I get nostalgic when I see this photo of the first dual champion golden retriever in the United States, Dual Ch. Stilrovin Rip’s Pride:
These dogs are not cute.
The are comparatively harder to live with that the laid-baid, “sooky” type of golden retriever.
They are also annoyingly intelligent dogs, the kind that can open doors and train people to do their bidding.
The golden retriever has become domesticated, suburban animal.
The old type of dog doesn’t fit in that world very well.
But it’s still a good dog.
There is a sadness in me that so few people will ever know that there are golden retrievers like these dogs
There is also a sadness in me that is nothing more than I miss the old dog.
I never get over the loss of dogs or people. Over time, I just sort of get accustomed to their absence.
But I never let it go.
Her paws are a bit muddy.
A deer bone:
The internet is a place where people go to fight with strangers.
And because one can make one’s online identity virtually anonymous, one suddenly realizes that one has license to be as crazy and vindictive as possible.
The people who do this as a hobby are known as trolls, but even accounting for those people, the internet is still a decent place to have a discussion about issues that one normally wouldn’t discuss with others.
But there are some debates that I find tedious.
One that wears me out is the debate about which predator will best another in a hypothetical fight to the death. People even make Youtube videos about this crap, where they post things like clips of Sir David Attenborough claiming that Amur tigers eat brown bears or footage of a crocodile eating a bull shark (albeit a small one).
In that same vein, another debate that wears me out is the old golden retriever vs. Labrador debate.
I shouldn’t dignify this schism by calling it a “debate.”
It’s really a game of one-upmanship that involves people bringing up anecdotes and other good examples of what might be called confirmation bias.
Each camp will bring up bits and pieces of information that make their case: golden retrievers win more obedience titles than Labradors; more Labradors are guide dogs than golden retrievers.
And then we’d get anecdotes.
If I were to make my case, I’d say that I have lived with golden retrievers that have figured out how to open doors, get tennis balls thrown when a person passes a lawn mower over it, and find missing Christmas money and an errant beanie baby.
I would say that most of the Labs I’ve known have been big lunkers of dogs that remind me more of Jethro Bodine or Homer Simpson that the dogs celebrated in duck blinds and guide dog schools throughout the country.
But that’s because the golden retrievers I’ve known have all come from working lines or were partially derived from them.
The Labs were all giant pet line dogs, most of which had no interest in retrieving or swimming.
The truth is there is no way one can make any of these claims rationally.
Both of these breeds are derived from the same stock, and both were essentially developed in their current form in the United Kingdom. They also have been heavily interbred throughout their development. They really aren’t distinct “taxa” as people might assume. Golden retrievers have a well-known outcross to a yellow Labrador, and it is well-accepted that golden retrievers were crossed into yellow Labrador lines to lengthen the coat.
Labradors in the US have undergone selective breeding for our kind of retriever trial, which, of course, means they are superior at winning this kind of trial.
But both of these breeds are capable of doing what they were bred for.
Golden retrievers are just much less likely to have been bred for it.
But a golden retriever that’s been bred for it is going to best a Labrador that has not.
And to make things even more complicated, both of these breeds are so common that it is really foolish to make broad, sweeping statements about either.
There are so many of these dogs that exist in so many different lines that have experienced so many different kinds of selection pressures that you simply cannot make generalizations about them.
Except for two: golden retrievers tend to be a softer, more sensitive breed than Labradors, and Labradors tend to mature faster than golden retrievers.
Tendency is not the same as an absolute.
And when you ask people questions about what the best breed is you’re not going to get anything useful.
You’re going to get people who look at it from their own perspectives and experiences, which includes biases based upon anecdote and cultural mores.
You’re much better off meeting a dog as an individual.
And stay the heck away from internet forums and Yahoo! groups.