Archive for March, 2011

I am not wading into that Balkan war that is fought over the identity of these dogs, so please leave that discussion off this blog. I gives me terrible headaches.

But Stonehenge makes mention of this dog in The Dogs Of Great Britain, America, And Other Countries (circa 1880):

The Albanian dog is said to stand about 27 or 28 inches high, with a long pointed muzzle, powerful body, strong and muscular limbs, and a long bushy tail, carried like that of the Newfoundland dog. His hair is very fine and close, being of a silky texture, and of a fawn color, variously clouded with brown. He is used for hunting the wild boar and wolf, as well as for the purpose of guarding the sheep-fold from the latter; but the accounts of this dog vary greatly, and are not much to be relied on.

This sounds like the dogs we call Šarplaninac or Illyrian shepherds.

My guess is that Stonehenge knew little about them. These are traditional livestock guardian dogs, which have been known to kill wolves. From my understanding of that footage, the shepherds penned up the sheep in an enclosure that allowed the wolves easy access to them. The wolves show up, and they turn their dogs loose on them.

I’ve not heard of these dogs being used to hunt wild boar.

It’s possible, but it doesn’t sound like a livestock guardian breed behavior.

Unless the boars were threatening the sheep.


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Rabbit beagles

Rabbit beagles-- Giant and Ringlet.

I grew up in rural West Virginia, where archaic English phrasessometimes persist in the vernacular.

When I was a kid, I never heard anyone ever say the word “beagle” by itself. It was always “rabbit beagle.”

As I got older, I decided the name was redundant.  Beagles were used to hunt only rabbits and, at higher elevations, snowshoe hares.

I saw no purpose behind calling them “rabbit beagle,” so I just dropped it.

Well, it turns out the this phrase does have a particular meaning, but the context in which it was used in late twentieth century West Virginia was not the same as it was in the nineteenth century.

In Stonhenge’s The Dogs of Great Britain, America, and Other Countries (circa 1880):

The dwarf or rabbit beagle is a very small and delicate little hound, but with an excellent nose, and much faster than he looks. Some sportsmen have carried their predilection for small dogs to such an extent, as to use a pack of these beagles which might be carried about in the shooting pockets of the men; and in this way have confined their duties to the hunting alone, so that they were not tired in trailing along the road from the kennel to the huntingfield and back again. The average hight of these may be taken at 10 mches, but their bodies are disproportionately lengthened Patience and perseverance are stil” more necessary in these hounds than in their larger brethren, and without them they soon lose their hare, as they must be content to hunt her at a pace with which a man can readily keep up on foot, horses being quite out of place with such a diminutive pack.

A pack of rabbit-beagles, the property of Mr. Crane, of Southover House, England, we believe to contain the best “patterns” we have ever known. We have seen them on a cold bad scenting day work up a rabbit and run him in the most extraordinary manner, and although the nature of the ground compelbd the pack to run almost in Indian file, and thus to carry a very narrow line of scent, if they threw it up, it was but for a moment (pg 65-66).

In nineteenth century Britain, “rabbit beagle” referred to the smallest beagles imaginable. These dogs were around 9 inches tall at the whithers.

Now, the dogs called “rabbit beagles” in West Virginia were not that small. They were the “medium-sized” beagles that Stonehenge mentions. These would be within the 13-inch and 15-inch beagle varieties that the AKC recognizes. Stonehenge also mentions a rough-coated beagle, which would be something like a griffon, and the Kerry beagle, which is much larger dog. I have known unregistered working-type beagles from West Virginia that were more or less harriers. I don’t know their exact ancestry, but these dogs were all used for hunting rabbits.  I don’t know if they had foxhound in them or if they represented a distinct harrier-type hound that is endemic to West Virginia.

The tiny beagles were something of legend. I remember hearing stories about “pocket beagles” that would fit in a man’s coat, which Stonehenge mentions in his account of the “rabbit beagle.”

But “rabbit beagle” always referred to the normal beagle in West Virginia, and the pocket beagle was a creature of legend.

Not only are we two people divided by a common language, we are two people divided by a common language that evolves with the times.

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The Fila Brasileiro:


See my post on the ojeriza temperament for exactly what I’m talking about.

This temperament makes sense in parts of Brazil, where the crime rate is insane.

In America, it’s a lawsuit on four legs.

Very few people think it’s such a great idea to breed for super aggression, even breeders of protection dogs.

When this level of aggression becomes the defining characteristic of the breed, you have a problem.



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We don’t need the kennel records from Guisachan.

This picture says it all.


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(Source for image)

See more at the Kennel Jacklaine’s blog, working-type goldens in Denmark.

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I love this photo of her, which was taken last spring.

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Demon Miley

I found this photo while looking for another photo to use for the header of this blog.

Miley is possessed!

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