Breed Descriptions - reading inbetween the lines

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Reading Inbetween The Lines: Understanding Breed Standards

Every breed comes with a breed description, that is written down and sounds glamorous. Your job as a new potential owner of said breed is to understand what they are saying.... Learn the art of reading inbetween the lines!

Here are some examples from an old breed book, which is slightly more honest than many current book. I will give my interpretation: (see if you can guess the breeds)

1) The purpose of the dog was to chase game until it became exhausted, and until the sportsman could come up with it and dispatch it. Translation: Will chase moving objects. Might bite moving objects. Will not come back when called, only when exhausted. 

2) The breed has a distinct personality marked by direct and fearless, but not hostile, expression, self-confidence and a certain aloofness that does not lend itself to immediate and indiscriminate friendships. Translation: Dogs will look at you and weigh you up to see if you are worthy. They won't be friendly with you until a) they know you and b) they decide you are worthy. 

3) This rugged stout-hearted dog will guard his master, his mistress and children with utter contempt for danger or hurt. Translation: Will attack anything if he feels it is necessary, and might get a Darwin Award in the process. 

4) Dogs move quickly behind the cattle, give a sharp nip and escape before the resultant kick could reach them. Translation: Bite and run, from behind. Movement makes them want to chase, so watch out for bicycles, jogger, and diaper-clad children. They have enough courage to go forward, and enough fear to know when to get out of dodge. 

5) His temperament, as with most of the large dogs, is that of a gentle giant. He has no vice, is absolutely friendly, and is one of the most faithful of all dogs. As a guard, he is supreme, as the instinct to look after his own territory and that of his owner is deeply imbedded in him. Translation: Darling, loyal, lug of a dog. But don't mess with his home or family... "Deeply Imbedded" means the voice of his ancestors will always put him in conflict with any training that says otherwise. When push comes to shove, it is a gamble who voice will be louder SO GET A FENCE.

Monique Anstee
Victoria, BC

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