One of the things I learned in rescue is that there are some really awesome, lesser-known dog breeds out there. Whenever we’d post one of these dogs, we’d get a slew of really good applications from people who love those breeds. They may come into rescue, but they don’t last long – they are simply that popular with the cognoscenti.
These dogs are athletic, obedient, friendly and loving. I don’t know why more people haven’t heard of them, because they are wonderful family dogs, and have sweet, gentle temperaments. They are so eager to please that they can accurately be described as solicitous of their humans. We’ve placed many a flat-coated retriever in first-time owners’ homes where the adopter has told us that they felt like the dog was helping them to make the right pet-related choices. Also, they are just beautiful dogs, with intelligent faces and glossy coats that actually aren’t any more high-maintenance than any other typical dog breed.
What on earth is a yellow dog? Well, broadly, yellow dogs are naturally selected dogs. They are what happens when nature takes its course rather than humans intervening in the breeding process. The type of yellow dogs you are most likely to see in the U.S. is the Carolina dog, also known (misleadingly IMHO) as the American Dingo. However, you can see some version of yellow dogs in countries all over the world. They are good-looking dogs – they look kind of like shepherds, but are typically a biscuit or buff color, and they have larger triangular ears that give them a slightly comical look from some angles. Yellow dogs are smart, independent and loyal beyond description. When they join a human family, they commit fully and will make themselves useful by taking on helpful roles – these are dogs who earn their keep. Perhaps not surprisingly, they are still in touch with their dog side – they typically have high prey drives and can dispatch small animals with great efficiency. They need a fair amount of exercise and cherish outdoor time. They also need socialization because they do have a tendency to be independent, but if you can give them the exercise and training early on, you’ve got a gem of a dog.
Black and Tan Coonhounds
I could rhapsodize about coonhounds for hours (and actually have, now that I think of it), but it’s not an enthusiasm that everyone shares, EXCEPT when it comes to black and tans. Like most hounds, they are emotionally sensitive, infinitely sweet, and world-class cuddlers. Unlike some of the other hounds, though, they are much more attentive, and easier to train inside. (Outside, though, the hound switch sometimes flips on and they need a lot more guidance.) But boy oh boy, you will have a hard time finding a dog who looks at you with as much love and admiration as a black and tan. They are truly pure of heart, and their priorities are so very simple: they like to love you, snuggle, sniff things, sleep, eat, and occasionally sound off at 2:00 AM until you break them of that habit. (It’s not really their fault, though. They were originally bred to hunt raccoons, and raccoons are most active at night, so it is their first instinct to be alert at night.) They also get along stupendously well with other dogs.
Papillons are not what you expect, not at all. They look so fragile, and physically they often are, but put them in a group of other dogs and you are extremely likely to find this “butterfly” dog becoming the leader with seemingly no effort. Anyone can tell you about how cute these dogs are – it’s almost preposterous how many attributes they possess on the cuteness checklist. Those feathery ears alone – unbelievable. But I digress. What Papillon owners will tell you, though, is how incredibly smart their dogs are, and how much dignity they have. It’s true. These cuties love being companions, but they are self-possessed in a way that other toy dogs aren’t. They are really good watchdogs because they will bark to let you know that there is something going on outside you need to know about. (They are not good guard dogs, though.) They need to be well-socialized in their youth or they can develop bad habits, like bossy or aggressive behavior around other dogs (seriously).
What about you, readers? Do you have a dog who might fall into the category of “cult” dog? Any observations on the breeds that I’ve mentioned?