Even though I watch them every year, I really dislike a lot about dog shows. I don’t like the idea that purebred dogs are somehow seen as superior to mutts, I don’t like the ridiculous criteria these dogs are judged by, and most of all, I don’t like the useless way they sort dogs into groups. Any group that compares a Dalmatian to a Standard Poodle to a Chow Chow has no credibility. (Also, it’s totally rigged — Big Poodle has used its influence to muscle other breeds out of competition.)
In reality, of course, dogs are defined by their personalities and motivations. Their ear shape doesn’t make them the best of their kind, their character does. With that in mind, I propose a personality-based categorization for dogs. I’ll be expounding on these “breeds” in future columns.
Here are a few important clarifications about this new system. First of all, dogs can be mixes of categories/groups. Second, any breed can belong to any group. Third, discard your notion of purebred dogs: a dog’s “purity” here just refers to how much their personality falls into a specific group.
The first, and most identifiable of these dogs are in the Greed Breed group. These dogs are motivated first and foremost by food and the pursuit of food. Easily trained and equally easily distracted, these dogs tend to be affable, manipulative, and, when stalking their prey, determined.
Physical breed standard: A Greed Breed will often be slightly sturdy, although not always overweight. They’ll have a shiny or abundant coat, assuming that they have a healthy diet at the center of their daily food consumption. Otherwise, size may vary.
In the show ring, Greed Breeds would be judged on their ability to:
- Remove an unattended pot roast from a table. Points are assigned for style, speed, and noise. Bonus points are assigned for consuming side dishes while on the table; automatic maximum points are assigned for returning to remove side dishes once the pot roast is retrieved.
- Steal a treat from a human’s pocket while the human is talking to someone else. Points are assigned for subtlety, lack of subtlety, persistence, and, of course, success. Bonus points are assigned for retrieving items from both pockets; automatic maximum points are assigned for chewing a hole in the human’s pocket.
- Placed in the center of a circle of 50 identical shoes, the greed breed dog must determine which one contains a smooched french fry in the toe within 30 seconds. Points are assigned for speed. Bonus points are assigned for finding additional food that examiners were not aware of. Automatic maximum points for finding and consuming NON-food that the examiners were not aware of.
Other Important Characteristics of a Greed Breed
Greed Breeds are among the most expressive of dogs, almost all of it centered around food. GBs excel in certain key expressions: reproachful, baleful, mildly resentful, woeful, and piteous when getting food; delighted, triumphant, and crazed when not. They are also great at doing a hopeful face when watching humans eat.
Greed Breeds rarely appear athletic; however, they are often possessed of a rough good health that gives them the energy to seek out food with such enthusiasm. They are surprisingly good at getting to things; even high counters will not stop them when they are in the food-stealing zone.
Is My Dog a Greed Breed?
This really is one of the easiest breeds to identify, but just in case you aren’t sure, here are some questions:
- If you were to die alone in your home, how long would it take your dog to eat you?
A. A few days; B. A few weeks; C. Never; D. Every time I get a cold, my dog gets out the barbecue sauce.
- Does your vet ever criticize your dog’s weight?
A. The vet says my dog could lose a few pounds; B. Yes, the poor thing can’t keep weight on; C. No; D. Yes, but ever since my dog tried to eat the vet’s stethoscope, we all admit we’re unlikely to make progress on this issue.
- Has your dog ever sustained a greed-related injury?
A. Does overeating count? B. Some of them might be indirectly related to greed. C. What’s a greed-related injury? D. What ISN’T a greed-related injury?
If your answers are mostly Ds, your dog might be a show-quality Greed Breed.