Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Break from Scheduled Programming - Dog Breed Misconceptions

Look at this face
If you were offered a lurcher-mix pup -
- would you picture this face?
Lurcher Staffy mix pup
He's a walking contradiction of nearly every dog stereotype around... but how could he be?

Archie was a recue dog. Dumped at a pound only a few weeks old he was fostered and put up for adoption when we found him at 3months old. All we knew then was he was a "lurcher mix". I knew the second I saw him that mix was a Staffordshire Terrier. "Staffy" "Bull Terrior" "bad dog". It was in the square jaw, the jowels and the colouring. But was that a problem? Did that mean he was going to be trouble? No.

There is no such thing as a bad dog. Only bad owners.

The only biting Archie ever did was chewing our fingers as a puppy. Today, at 10 months we can reach into his mouth and pull out sticks, sweet wrappers or anything else. No snapping, no aggression.

Staffordshire terriers are incredibly loyal, that makes them wonderful pets. Archie follows us around from room to room. Never wants to be anywhere except right by our sides. Mum especially. They say you shouldn't let a Staffy win at tug of war because they need to learn who's in charge. Every dog need to know who's in charge. They are pack animals, they will follow a natural leader. Leaders don't shout or hit the pack. Leaders provide the food - it's recommended you feed your pup from your hand every so often so they learn that the food it yours and you give it to them.

Lurchers, also get a bad rep. A prime example is living a few doors down from me. People think they're wild, need hours of exercise and will take up space. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Lurchers are incredible placid. They're perfect family pets. Think of the breeding - they were only bread to run. Not hunt, scavenge or guard. Just run. Once they've run, then they're done. 

Any lurcher or lurcher mix or any dog needs their walk. 20-30min in the morning and ideally another 15-20minutes (or a 5 min game of fetch or tugofwar) and they're set for the day.

Lurchers are lazy. Any dog person will tell you that. They take a hundred naps a day, lounge around on cushions or shafts of sunlight and just want their tummies tickled. Yes they're big dogs, but they curl up pretty small. And they'll be curled up most of the day.

A smaller dog, like a Jack Russell or a Yorkshire Terrier is higher maintenance than a lurcher. Yes, higher maintenance. They are all energy all the time. Ideally they need 3-4 20min walks just to take the edge off. That's why they're always vibrating with excitement, barking and running around. They don't relax like larger dogs do.

I guess what I'm trying to say is think before you judge a dog, or comment on someone's choice of breed. There are too many misconceptions out there - from irresponsible news reports to uneducated people ruining it for everyone else.

My dog is a lurcher-staffy mix and he's perfect. He's loyal and lazy. Likes to play chasing and wrestling with other dogs. He loves a game of tug after his dinner. He licks your face if you tickle his tummy.

Is that what you'd expect from a wild/evil breed mix?
So think again.


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