aka Your Favorite Dog Sucks
November 12, 2014 5:08 AM   Subscribe

 
Wait, so they calculated overall benefit as:

intelligence + longevity + ailments + costs - grooming - appetite ?

Aren't they arbitrarily mixing together pros & cons on the "positive" side? Why should higher ailments and costs produce a higher score?
posted by svenx at 5:12 AM on November 12, 2014 [6 favorites]


This graph should only have one axis and it should go from "who is the puppliest pupples YOU ARE" and "does someone deserve cuddles and skritches YES AND IT IS YOU"
posted by suckerpunch at 5:13 AM on November 12, 2014 [151 favorites]


I'm still waiting for a free-thinking breeder to take up the cause of building the perfect mutt.

I'd love to see a consciously mixed breed dog that exemplifies the best of canis lupus familiaris without all the downsides associated with the overbreeding for looks associated with purebreds.
posted by fairmettle at 5:14 AM on November 12, 2014 [33 favorites]


OK, looking at raw data it appears that they reverse coded ailments and costs for some reason (but not grooming & appetite). Makes for a pretty unintuitive formula...
posted by svenx at 5:15 AM on November 12, 2014


I like that there's a cat just thrown in there. However, I also hate this graphic because it shows a lot without saying anything.
posted by backseatpilot at 5:16 AM on November 12, 2014 [51 favorites]


As the owner of an English Setter, they are not overlooked treasures. She is a lot of work. I love her, but whoooo buddy no.

I feel the Pembroke Cogri got a bit shafted to due to its insane internet popularity. They really are great dogs. (I'm a bit biased as I love my Corgi more than I like most people)
posted by Twain Device at 5:18 AM on November 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


A friend of mine rescued seven, week-old very-mixed-breed puppies from a box left behind outside a WalMart. He invited me over to choose one. As I arrived there were seven puppies on his lawn. The grass needed to be cut, maybe four inches tall. Six of the puppies began bounding away, leaping over and disappearing behind waves of grass. One of them ran to me. I didn't see him on the graph.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 5:19 AM on November 12, 2014 [147 favorites]


Border Collies score strongly, which is inexplicable because as wonderful as those dogs are, they're a working breed which means they're going to be unhappy little holy terrors unless you have the time and energy yourself to train them and exercise them heavily every day. Or have a paddock of sheep that need herding.
posted by ardgedee at 5:20 AM on November 12, 2014 [44 favorites]


I'm still waiting for a free-thinking breeder to take up the cause of building the perfect mutt.

AKA every breeder of "doodles": goldendoodles, labradoodles et al.
posted by ImproviseOrDie at 5:20 AM on November 12, 2014 [8 favorites]


Yes, the best part of the graphic is that the fourth best kind of dog is a cat. And I say this as someone who is not a cat person.

This is sort of goofy, though. You go to the animal shelter, you fall in love with a doggie, and you bring it home. Searching the internet for data on the best kind of dog is sort of like searching the internet for data on the best kind of spouse.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 5:20 AM on November 12, 2014 [39 favorites]


Also, I can't find a Cardigan Welsh Corgi? (Not really complaining, Pembrokes fo lyfe.)
posted by Twain Device at 5:20 AM on November 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


Yay border terriers!
posted by phunniemee at 5:23 AM on November 12, 2014 [6 favorites]


IMHO the only ethical kind of breeding is that done purely for actual working dogs. If you have no need for a seeing eye dog or a sheep herder, just go to the pound or shelter. It's cheaper and better for your soul.
posted by Poldo at 5:23 AM on November 12, 2014 [24 favorites]


I'd love to see a consciously mixed breed dog that exemplifies the best of canis lupus familiaris without all the downsides associated with the overbreeding for looks associated with purebreds.

That basically describes the general purpose village dogs you see all over the world (often yellowish but widely varying), which when I was googling for descriptions I learned a new word -- landrace: "a domesticated species of animal or plant that has developed over time, through adaptation to its natural and cultural environment." They make fine guard dogs and pets and I've seen them used for herding as well. They mostly get zero veterinary care so a lot of the problematic ailments of purebreds don't become issues; the really aggressive ones either get killed or used for guard duty only.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:24 AM on November 12, 2014 [10 favorites]


(I'm a bit biased as I love my Corgi more than I like most people)

Preferring Corgis to people is a sign of objectivity.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 5:32 AM on November 12, 2014 [15 favorites]


Yes, the best part of the graphic is that the fourth best kind of dog is a cat.

And the cat silhouette, not unreasonably, looks a bit on edge.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:32 AM on November 12, 2014 [16 favorites]


There's a pug craze around where I live. I kinda get it, with that sad face and all. But I don't understand why it's in the 'good dogs to have' zone on this graphic. These dogs always have trouble breathing and inhalers are so expensive. They also don't move very well. Seriously though, one of my best friends has one and it is a very good natured dog - very friendly with kids.
posted by McMillan's Other Wife at 5:32 AM on November 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Couldn't find my mutt on there. Guess she's OFF THE CHART!
posted by blue_beetle at 5:35 AM on November 12, 2014 [29 favorites]


Where are my testicles, Summer?
posted by yoHighness at 5:35 AM on November 12, 2014 [16 favorites]


As kids, my brother and I had a pair of dogs, supposedly they were a mix of Walker and beagle, given to us by a neighbor while our mom wasn't looking. Didn't find Treeing Walker Coonhound on the chart. We also had a golden retriever. We lived way, way out in the woods in the Ozarks in Arkansas at the time, which is the perfect place for such a dog. At dusk, we could often hear them chasing deer or other game through the woods down in the valleys and up on the hills around our place, with the larger golden trying to keep up. Once, my little pup caught a squirrel, and ate the entire thing, fur, bones, everything. Was worried the poor little thing was going to burst.
posted by smcameron at 5:36 AM on November 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Heh, cost-benefit is for companies, not for friends.

Alkasite is not a breed. She saved a teenager from Roosters and lonliness.
posted by vapidave at 5:36 AM on November 12, 2014 [7 favorites]


I'm still waiting for a free-thinking breeder to take up the cause of building the perfect mutt.

the problem with any eugenics program is what to do with the substandards.
posted by ennui.bz at 5:41 AM on November 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


This chart seems to indicate that Bedlington Terriers and Clumber Spaniels are more popular than Greyhounds. Surely that's not accurate.
posted by Rock Steady at 5:43 AM on November 12, 2014


now do people
posted by mullacc at 5:48 AM on November 12, 2014 [44 favorites]


I'd love to see a consciously mixed breed dog that exemplifies the best of canis lupus familiaris

Turns out you can't do that, as in it doesn't work. The various -oodle and "designer" dogs are evidence of this. A few from a particular breeding effort in Australia aside, a labradoodle might be what's described. Or it might be basically a lab with a curly coat. Or it might be basically a poodle with an oily coat. Or it might be any random draw from characteristics of labs and poodles, because that's what it is. The only way to get reliable characteristics is to breed for them, which means at some point you stop mixing and narrow down the genetic pool so that the draws the characteristics of the "parent" breeds stop being random.

without all the downsides associated with the overbreeding for looks associated with purebreds.

As soon as it has a name and there's someplace to do it, you will find dipshits breeding it for bone and coat.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:48 AM on November 12, 2014 [6 favorites]


I'm relieved that my Softcoated Wheaten Terrier isn't even on the list. Flying under the radar is the safest place to be, in the long run. (Absolutely superb dog, though.)
posted by Benny Andajetz at 5:51 AM on November 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


Mongrels all the way. Imagine aliens invaded us and started breeding humans into distinct thoroughbred lines (Jock, Nerd, Neckbeard, Lanky etc) with all the inbreeding problems that result from it. Actually that would make a pretty good book.
posted by memebake at 5:52 AM on November 12, 2014 [19 favorites]


As soon as it has a name and there's someplace to do it, you will find dipshits breeding it for bone and coat.

Maybe we could have a eugenics program for dog breeders? It would improve the dogs we have, and there are really no ethical issues with discarding (after neutering, of course) substandard dog breeders.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:53 AM on November 12, 2014 [13 favorites]


There's a pug craze around where I live. I kinda get it, with that sad face and all. But I don't understand why it's in the 'good dogs to have' zone on this graphic. These dogs always have trouble breathing and inhalers are so expensive. They also don't move very well.

Dog Breeders Issue Massive Recall Of '07 Pugs
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 5:57 AM on November 12, 2014 [14 favorites]


Border Collies score strongly, which is inexplicable because as wonderful as those dogs are, they're a working breed which means they're going to be unhappy little holy terrors unless you have the time and energy yourself to train them and exercise them heavily every day. Or have a paddock of sheep that need herding.

I'm assuming the "ailments" category doesn't include behavioral issues, which most border collies will have if they're treated like a standard pet. Most people just aren't cut out to have border collies -- amazing dogs, but they are special cases.

Also, why are all the hounds but one considered dumb, but most of the sporting breeds are smart? I loved growing up with Irish Setters, but they were not the brightest bulbs.
posted by gladly at 6:00 AM on November 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Hmm wonder if this bears out my theory that smaller means brainless, unpleasant and yappy, and that the only dogs worth having are ones that come up past your knees ...
posted by GallonOfAlan at 6:00 AM on November 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


Seems like everyone who meets our Bulldogs says "oh, I've always wanted one, they're soooo cute!" Yes, they're cute, yes, they're sweet. And so many people who get one have no f***ing idea what they're getting themselves into, so the poor pup ends up in rescue. All of ours have been rescues, and they've all got stories ranging from "that's kinda interesting" to "heartbreakingly sad." Right now we're running a retirement home for them, it seems like. Having Bulldogs means the staff at the vet clinic knows us on a first name basis. They don't live long, which is the hardest part. So yeah, maybe if you're looking for a long term low maintenance companion then a bulldog isn't for you.

Doesn't matter. We can't help it. We're always going to have room for the little house hippos, especially the old and broken down ones. You can't quantify the simple benefit of one who was in a tough situation now spending days being the car's co-pilot or snoozing away a morning on the patio of a coffee shop or soaking up some sun on a nice day at the park.
posted by azpenguin at 6:01 AM on November 12, 2014 [38 favorites]


Hmm wonder if this bears out my theory that smaller means brainless, unpleasant and yappy, and that the only dogs worth having are ones that come up past your knees ...

Counterpoint: Welsh Corgis.
posted by Twain Device at 6:03 AM on November 12, 2014 [7 favorites]



Maybe we could have a eugenics program for dog breeders? It would improve the dogs we have, and there are really no ethical issues with discarding (after neutering, of course) substandard dog breeders.
posted by GenjiandProust


If you learn of things like kennel auctions and breeders buying and selling do-it-yourself c-section kits... you have no idea how much I'm on board with your idea.
posted by azpenguin at 6:06 AM on November 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


Rock Steady: This chart seems to indicate that Bedlington Terriers and Clumber Spaniels are more popular than Greyhounds. Surely that's not accurate.

I would suspect that they're going off of AKC registrations. Bedlingtons were ranked 137th, Clumbers 131st, and greyhounds 148th by number of AKC registrations in 2013. The problem with this, of course, is that there's another registering body for purebred greyhounds (NGA), and most pet greyhounds come from this pool, as retired racers.
posted by specialagentwebb at 6:09 AM on November 12, 2014 [6 favorites]


Not enough dimensions on this chart to find the intersection of clever, reckless, devoted and difficult that is the German wire-haired pointer. No wonder they aren't pictured.
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 6:10 AM on November 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Also, why are all the hounds but one considered dumb, but most of the sporting breeds are smart?

Because they don't mean smart (or dumb), they mean how easy or hard it is (on average) to train that breed. So dogs that are smart enough but not particularly interested in working closely with humans score poorly.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:23 AM on November 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


I think a better approach would be to determine which dogs are in the Pareto-optimal set- that is, which dogs are not dominated by any other dog in every criterion. So let's look at the raw data...

If you take the raw data and just look at the dogs for which there is data available on every variable, all dogs are in the Pareto-optimal set. There's a niche for every one of those dogs- a weighting of concerns that makes that dog the best for you.

For every breed, if you sum up, for every other breed, the number of variables that the first breed loses to the second breed (ties giving 0.5 point each), you can get an idea of which breeds might be generally worse than which other breeds.

The best dogs found by this method are:
1. English Cocker Spaniel
2. Siberian Husky
3. Border Terrier
4. Welsh Springer Spaniel
5. Clumber Spaniel

The worst dog breeds would then be:
83. Pekingese
84. Bulldog
85. Saint Bernard
86. Chow Chow
87. Alaskan Malamute

Note that this analysis leaves the Beagle at rank 61, so it is obviously flawed.
posted by Jpfed at 6:40 AM on November 12, 2014 [17 favorites]


Wait, how is every hound other than the Pharoah Hound considered dumb?

I can accept some of the Hound group being somewhat dumb (Afghans, Borzoi) although in general I've found Whippets, Salukis, and Greyhounds to generally be quite smart breeds. Not Border Colie smart but still smart.

But this chart list Basenjis as being dumb which is just flat out wrong as Basenjis are routinely described as being one of the most intelligent and sneaky breeds. And I'm not really a fan as it's definitely possible for a breed to be too smart for it's own good.
posted by vuron at 6:46 AM on November 12, 2014


I don't see a Leonberger on this chart, so it is clearly invalid. What can I say? I like big dogs, even if they don't have a good cost-benefit ratio.

A lot of the bigger spaniels are rated well, but my experience points to them being way too high-energy for most non-hunting families.

But actually, my breed of choice is rescue mutt, or Tucson brown dog. We have Pilar, who is a rez dog, and I suspect a descendant of many generations of mix going back. She's sturdy, powerful, can snatch a pigeon right out of the air, and was semi-feral when she came to live with us. And then there's Shaggy, who was listed as a Leonberger mix (ha ha) but is more likely a German shepherd/golden retriever mix. He was a case of severe neglect and cost us a small fortune in vet bills for the first year we had him, but we adopted him precisely because he was sick and already old, and we had the resources and time. His cost-benefit score by these metrics would be terrible but I really couldn't give a shit.
posted by Squeak Attack at 6:46 AM on November 12, 2014 [8 favorites]


Because they don't mean smart (or dumb), they mean how easy or hard it is (on average) to train that breed. So dogs that are smart enough but not particularly interested in working closely with humans score poorly.

Right. I used to walk deerhounds for a couple of my friends. They always want to do their own thing. When they *feel* like listening to you, it's all good. If they aren't into it that day, yeah, forget about it.
posted by gaspode at 6:47 AM on November 12, 2014


Ohh they make the assumption that trainability = intelligence. Yeah if that's the criteria then most sighthounds are basically airheads.
posted by vuron at 6:48 AM on November 12, 2014


Searching the internet for data on the best kind of dog is sort of like searching the internet for data on the best kind of spouse.

When I was little my mom, brother, and I desperately wanted a dog (my dad was a hardline no on the issue). It was mostly just a vague want until we got the internet and we could finally do research to find the best dog breed for us. Needed to be small, needed to be a bit of a braver dog so he could handle the big dogs who lived around us, needed to be low/no shed, needed to have a low incidence of health problems, needed to be easily trainable on a few basic commands...etc. That's when we discovered the border terrier, and then we started begging my dad for a border terrier instead of a dog.

Years later, when I was a grownup who could do whatever I wanted, I got a border terrier. He is dumb as rocks, scared of paper bags, sheds way more than he should, and currently has an ear infection because he likes the way his earwax tastes and spends half the day swizzling his toes in his ears, licking them, then swizzling his damp toes in his ears again. But he really is just about the best most perfect dog for me, and I have him because I researched him on the internet.

It should come as no surprise then that I am a big fan of online dating.
posted by phunniemee at 6:49 AM on November 12, 2014 [31 favorites]


Huskies also seem to rank high, and while I've not had one myself, my experience with the family member who professes to adore them is that, like border collies, they should not be owned by anybody who doesn't intend to work them hard basically year-round. They really seem overall to have ignored behavior in this, and that seems to be a pretty egregious omission, and then a lot of the dogs in the top left... it seems like they're just there because they're big.
posted by Sequence at 6:50 AM on November 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


But, if trainability = intelligence, why is the cat on there facing the "intelligence" direction?
posted by jillithd at 6:52 AM on November 12, 2014 [10 favorites]


Not sure that intelligence is an unmitigated plus point for all dogs. My parents had a collie-whippet cross who would use her undoubtedly large brain to work out ever more exciting ways to escape the house and make a dash for the beach. They would have had a much easier time of it with a slightly stupider dog. Or possibly one that didn't want to live on a beach.
posted by gnimmel at 6:53 AM on November 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


Most of the big big dog breeds either have extreme health issues you have to deal with (Great Danes) or just cost an arm and leg to feed and care for. If the cost benefit analysis is basically CapEx (how much it costs to buy) + OpEx (how much it costs to care for) then yes most big dogs (and obviously bulldogs) are going to be very much weighted towards being poor investments.
posted by vuron at 6:53 AM on November 12, 2014


Trainability is not the same trait as intelligence, and the lack of metric for "How much work does this dog require to keep it happy and non-destructive" is a major flaw. I may be able to train a border collie, but unless I'm putting a lot of daily effort into working with it, it's going to be an unhappy, probably destructive dog.

Maybe an "Easily Bored?" category.
posted by jaguar at 6:55 AM on November 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


One of the dog intelligence tests you can do is put a blanket over your dog to see how long it takes him to escape. If your dog takes this as a cue to lie down and start eating his own earwax, your dog might be an idiot.
posted by phunniemee at 6:58 AM on November 12, 2014 [30 favorites]


And I do think it's important for potential dog owners to understand what various types of dogs were bred for, because such things do affect a dog's needs. Adopting a border collie mix from the shelter and then expecting it to be a lapdog is a likely to cause a problem. The more mixed the dog, the less it's predictable, and all dogs are individuals, of course, but breeders have been encouraging certain traits in certain breeds for many generations.
posted by jaguar at 6:58 AM on November 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


Border Colies, Australian Shepherds and Jack Russel Terriers are all in my if you don't own a working farm or plan on doing agility training daily stay away from this breed category.

Yeah this definitely needs a how much daily exercise does this breed category because alot of the working breeds and gun dogs need daily walks of several miles which makes them horrible for most owners.
posted by vuron at 7:00 AM on November 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


"...a labradoodle might be what's described."

The boy child was allergic so we bought one of those thinking it woud be combination between a Poodle [with hair rather than fur so not activating the allergic reaction] and a Golden Retriever because they are funny and friendly and good with kids. It was a christmas present. We drove more than a hundred miles and I met the male, an American Standard Poodle and he was so nice and we met the female, a Golden Retriever that was chummy to the point of ridiculousness. We did the things that you are supposed to do when assessing a puppy, we put her on her back and made sure she wasn't too agressive and she wasn't. We paid five hundred dollars, drove home and dang the kids were so happy when we handed them Osa. It was christmas.

What we got was a dog that couldn't decide whether it was a Poodle or a Golden Retriever. This tiny dog growled at me. I speak dog so that ended quickly but rather than a positive Poodle/Golden Retriever combination what we got was a dog that was the worst of each. She was enthusiastic and aggressive. I had to go alpha on her once. Dogs don't mind that though, they hate not understanding their position in the pack.

The most difficult part was training the kids to be consistant.

I did like when she bit my sister-in-law who was a fucking asshole though.

So, breeds don't meld in my experiece.
posted by vapidave at 7:00 AM on November 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


One of the dog intelligence tests you can do is put a blanket over your dog to see how long it takes him to escape.

Obligatory
posted by Twain Device at 7:00 AM on November 12, 2014 [15 favorites]


How about dogs that intentionally look to cover themselves up with blankets? Covering up the average whippet with a blanket is basically an invitation to go to sleep immediately. Most of my whippets will only emerge from cover when the lack of oxygen or combined body heat forces them to poke a head free, pant for a couple of minutes and then disappear back under the warm warm covers.
posted by vuron at 7:07 AM on November 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


Also, why are all the hounds but one considered dumb, but most of the sporting breeds are smart?

Because they don't mean smart (or dumb), they mean how easy or hard it is (on average) to train that breed. So dogs that are smart enough but not particularly interested in working closely with humans score poorly.


Exactly. This is why it is vital to understand the purpose of the breed before you buy one instead of just going 'aww cute!'

Sighthounds were bred to hunt independently and bring prey down without much input from the humans. They are very clever dogs but they are not usually the sort who will do what you want unless you make it what they want, too. They also tend to freeze when confronted with unusual situations and think it through, which might make them look dumb if you expect a dog that doesn't want to puzzle things out before crashing in.

Greyhounds can be ridiculously expensive in vet costs and in care requirements generally due to their relatively fragile build, though, so I can't quibble with their ranking. Although as with any dog the amount of money you spend acquiring them is the cheapest part of having them.
posted by winna at 7:09 AM on November 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


But this chart list Basenjis as being dumb which is just flat out wrong

Looking at the wrong data, 'intelligence' is measured by repetitions needed to teach a command, and willingness to perform the command the first time it is given.

As a proud Basenji owner, I have to say based on that, Basenji's should indeed be on the bottom. By these measure, my dog is an idiot. What's missing in the data is that Maddie is so smart that while she clearly understands when given a command, she also understands it's just a dumb human trick and couldn't care less about doing what I ask.

Truly the cats of the dog world.
posted by Frayed Knot at 7:11 AM on November 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


/huffs

/snuggles our french bulldog

Don't listen to 'em. YOU ARE THE BEST, ZIGGY POP.
posted by Windigo at 7:11 AM on November 12, 2014 [13 favorites]


The problem with this, of course, is that there's another registering body for purebred greyhounds (NGA), and most pet greyhounds come from this pool, as retired racers.

Same with hunting breeds - I know many dogs with long pedigrees from NAVDHA, but no AKC membership at all.

How about dogs that intentionally look to cover themselves up with blankets?


My Vizsla (see profile pic) has mastered the art of slipping under the covers while I am sleeping and curling up near my feet. Ever go camping in cold weather ? This dog is a godsend.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 7:21 AM on November 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


Looking at the data pages: How does it cost 105 pounds sterling to cremate a cat? That seems like kind of a rip-off. I know a guy, he'll get it done for twenty. He'll get it done for a six-pack if you're okay with not asking questions.
posted by Greg Nog at 7:30 AM on November 12, 2014 [6 favorites]


Yeah this definitely needs a how much daily exercise does this breed category because alot of the working breeds and gun dogs need daily walks of several miles which makes them horrible for most owners.

Oh my god Brittany spaniels! All they want to do is get out and hunt. When I had them, we lived in the country and it was about a two hour a day minimum project to give them a baseline amount of activity, and that was on top of spending a lot of time in a fenced yard. Gorgeous dogs but I would never have one as a house pet.
posted by BibiRose at 7:32 AM on November 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm very much a cat person, but I make an exception for Shetland Sheepdogs. My parents always had Shelties, and they've always been great dogs (it helped that my parents were responsible dog owners). Smart yet biddable, sweet dispositions, and the ideal size - not "purse dog" sized but still small enough that you can pick them up if you have to.

On the whole, I feel the same way about dogs that I do about kids - they're great when they belong to someone else, and I can pet them and give them treats and then send them back to their parents when it's time for discipline or poop-scooping.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 7:33 AM on November 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


I agree with others that while this is interesting, what's important to this person, is not necessarily important to me. While I do care about longevity, I don't care about food, grooming or even vet bills, my dog is a family member, not a car payment. I've had lots of dogs, but I am really loving my French Bulldog. He loves everybody and everything, other dogs, people, cats, kids (no matter what they are doing to him, pulling his ears or whatever), doesn't bark unless he has dropped his bone behind the couch or there is someone at the door, and the only thing he wants in life is to be in the same room with me and hang out. If I am working all day sitting on the couch he is content to sit right there with me, that's a good day for him. Maybe their should be a sedentary dog for sedentary people axis on this graph. That being said, he'll go on walks as long as you want as long as it's not too hot, but this isn't a dog for a jogger.
posted by ill3 at 7:33 AM on November 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


Maltipoo! Maltipoo!

Who's a hypoallergenic super smart mutt that doesn't bark and loves belly scratches? You are!!!!
posted by Sophie1 at 7:43 AM on November 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


1. looked for but did not find shiba inu (doge).

2. am I imagining or did they sneak a cat profile in there to the right of the papillon?
posted by bukvich at 7:43 AM on November 12, 2014


We had a Brittany Spaniel. The breeder took his hunting. We took ours for long walks. If the door was ever left open without a human blocking the way for more than a millisecond, he was out like a rocket and bolted into the woods behind our house. Usually, he found his way to the people who lived up the street and had horses because he would roll in the manure. If you smell like manure, you don't smell like a dog and are a better hunter. Damn fucking breeding. On top of that, if he had his leash on outside, he went totally deaf.

Once when trying to track him down, I saw three deer leap over the gravel road in front of me as graceful as you can imagine, followed a second later by Louis, running full tilt, tongue hanging out of his mouth without a hope of catching up but grinning like an idiot.

Another time, I found that he had "caught" a box turtle. By this, I mean that the box turtle had sealed itself up in its shell and the there was a radius of 4 feet around him cleared of leaves by Louis trying to dig his way into the shell.
posted by plinth at 7:45 AM on November 12, 2014 [16 favorites]


Our dogs are freaks. The dachshund is Jack Russel Terrier levels of scary smart and the Scottish terrier is slightly... touched. And they are both at the right end of that chart so there.
posted by charred husk at 7:47 AM on November 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


Stopped in just to see where the French bulldog was, scoffed at the methodology, and moved on.

The Frenchie is the most impractical dog in the world and probably shouldn't exist from an ethical point of view (birth by Caesarean only? Really?). Yet I am so pleased that they DO exist, as, apparently, are so many others.
posted by Sheydem-tants at 7:47 AM on November 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Oh, and he was a leg humper. A completely dedicated leg humper. I can't see where that fits in as useful in any breed.
posted by plinth at 7:48 AM on November 12, 2014


Maybe their should be a sedentary dog for sedentary people axis on this graph. That being said, he'll go on walks as long as you want as long as it's not too hot, but this isn't a dog for a jogger.

I got a a Frenchie thinking she would be a sedentary dog for sedentary people, but I apparently got the sport model. Gertie loves long walks and goes running with me and my wife six mornings a week. We do have to schedule exercise time before the day gets too hot but she is unstoppable.
posted by murphy slaw at 7:53 AM on November 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


My eyes glaze over trying to pick out all the breeds on this chart, but I don't see Australian Cattle Dog, which we've been told is what our mutt is closest to. Reasonably smart, almost never had any health problems, though at ~11, she's beginning to show her age, and just incredibly gentle. We were nervous when we had our second child, and always hovered around, but she has never bitten anyone or anything, and almost never even growled/snapped--really only at the ferret.
posted by Four Ds at 7:55 AM on November 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


I see no Black Mouth Curs on this list, which is what Josie mostly is, I suspect. Probably some Pit in there, though compared to the local pits she's pretty lanky. I can't be certain, she's a found-on-the-side-of-the-road dog. Yes, just that one ear.

The BMC is as I understand it less a breed than a type, outcrossed with plenty of other dogs to throw in useful traits. They are used mostly for hog hunting but also squirrels and raccoons (apparently they are good at treeing). This means Josie is an obstinate shithead, because hunting dogs have their own Very Strong Opinions about doing things. I have to go out of my way to persuade her that what I say is more important. We're also going through that annoying adolescent phase where her body is fully grown and her brain is still out to lunch. I'm sure there's a solid dog in there, somewhere. Under all that crazy.

She's not what I would have picked, if I'd known in advance - she's not an easy dog to have. But she's mine, and I love her, and she adores me. Plus, she has that ear.
posted by cmyk at 7:55 AM on November 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


The graph has a section for dogs labeled "rightfully ignored" and now I am sad. I WILL FIND YOU, NEGLECTED DOGS. I WILL FIND YOU AND I WILL LOVE YOU.
posted by a hat out of hell at 8:03 AM on November 12, 2014 [28 favorites]


I think a better approach would be to determine which dogs are in the Pareto-optimal set- that is, which dogs are not dominated by any other dog in every criterion. So let's look at the raw data...

aaaaaaand now I'm going to be up late wondering if it's possible to compute an uncovered set of dogs.

So, breeds don't meld in my experiece.

They do, but only slowly. If you just breed a lab to a poodle, you're getting a full randomization of all their genes. There were people in Australia who were working to create a labradoodle breed, which meant initially crossing labs and poodles but eventually breeding crosses to crosses and further inbreeding to narrow the gene pool down to the desired mix of traits instead of a full randomization of them.

This is, incidentally, how all recently-created breeds (ie since 1800-1850 or so) were created. Older landrace dogs went through an approximation of the same process over a long time.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:06 AM on November 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


Belgian Malinois should be higher on the list. Smart, trainable, good temperaments. Our's is a rescue mix between Malinois and Shepard and she is the loviest of all lovey dogs. She does need the daily exercise (we try to do 3 miles every day with her - she would prefer 8!) But she's honestly the best dog ever.

Except for that time she destroyed my pearl necklace and tried to eat them. Or the time she walked too close to an epoxied door and had epoxy glue on her ear for three months and got mad when we tried to cut the glue out of her fur. Or the time she ate an entire tube of organic mechanical grease and her farts smelled like an automotive shop for weeks.
posted by Suffocating Kitty at 8:07 AM on November 12, 2014 [5 favorites]


I'm afraid that when the lone member of the North American Bixhound breed passed this summer, Peak Dog had been achieved. It's all downhill for you other dog owners from here. I'm sure you'll find something nice, though.
posted by biddeford at 8:07 AM on November 12, 2014 [5 favorites]


Yeah this definitely needs a how much daily exercise does this breed category because alot of the working breeds and gun dogs need daily walks of several miles which makes them horrible for most owners.

German Short Haired Pointer mix here. 2-5 miles every day.

Plinth: it sounds like we have the same pup.
posted by sourwookie at 8:39 AM on November 12, 2014


Border Colies, Australian Shepherds and Jack Russel Terriers are all in my if you don't own a working farm or plan on doing agility training daily stay away from this breed category.

Definitely. Most people know sheep dogs need a lot of attention, but will get a Jack Russell thinking they're just cute widdle puppies. They're not. They're the absolute worst. They're naturally aggressive and territorial, always "on," and finely attuned to detecting every little noise and just going absolutely bananas until they get to the bottom of it. That's why they're always barking madly at you from people's backyards as you walk by. That, and their owners can't stand to have them in the house. Leaving them alone in the house is basically unthinkable; they'd tear the place apart in five minutes. Also, when they bite, they bite to kill. That's a clamp down and a shake. Here's a fun google.

If you think you want a Jack Russell because the dog from Frasier is cute: NO.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:40 AM on November 12, 2014 [11 favorites]


However, I also hate this graphic because it shows a lot without saying anything.

That describes everything on Information is Beautiful.
posted by graphnerd at 8:44 AM on November 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


I've owned greyhounds and they are the sweetest, most easy-going breed I've ever had the pleasure to own. Their intelligence (they are classified as "dumb" by the chart) is quite beside the point - they are a joy to have around.

I'm very interested in the Cairn Terrier (images - cuteness abounds) so I'm pleased to see them in the under-appreciated side of the chart.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 8:44 AM on November 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'm still waiting for a free-thinking breeder to take up the cause of building the perfect mutt.

So, we have a mutt, Cash, that we got from a shelter. We're fairly certain he's a mix of a border collie and a black lab, once we have a couple bucks to burn, I really want to get his genetics done, because I'm really curious, and would love to know what to look for in future dogs. It doesn't really look like it in pictures, but when he stands next to a collie at the dog park, his whole build looks really similar.

He's the fucking best. He's been really healthy overall (most of his vet visits have been injury related, not sickness or health related). He doesn't have the 'fat-lab' gene, and people ask us all the time if he's just a lab puppy, even though he's four or five. He is fairly stupid, but smart enough to be trained. He doesn't require day-long sessions of fetch; he's just as happy to hang out in the house all day with us, but is equally happy to go on quite long hikes with us. He's really gentle with kids. Dude's the best kind of guard dog; barks like a hellion when someone knocks at the door, then immediately drops on the ground for tummy scratches or jumps up on you to give you some sloppy french ones (we're working on this…). He also has a really good sense of danger. There's a pretty big distinction in his bark when it comes to 'alert' barking, and 'back the fuck up motherfucker' barking…since we live in an area with a pretty large homeless population, it's actually really nice. Cash can spot a sketchy person wandering down the street way before we do. He's really, really protective of our son too (but he's very selective about it).

Really, the only downsides is that he sheds an insane amount, doesn't know how to keep water in his mouth after he drinks (just giant puddles all over the kitchen floor…jesus christ), and is smart enough to only sleep on our beds and the couch when we're not home. That asshole knows he's not supposed to sleep there, but we find perfect little nests everywhere.

There's a couple other boradors in our neighborhood (two of which are identical to Cash in every way, and are very gregarious, which gets a little confusing at the dog park) and their owners say the same things; super rad mix, really healthy, mega kind and super good companions.
posted by furnace.heart at 8:47 AM on November 12, 2014 [6 favorites]


This is clearly a bad data set, as he has Australian Shepherds categorized as dumb. How is that even possible? They're super smart, highly trainable, and so human-oriented that they want to do what their human wants them to do (most of the time. Sometimes mine decides she knows better than me, so clearly that's not infallible.)
posted by katemonster at 8:50 AM on November 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


Wow, that data is a mess. I can't even find the cites for the scores, although I did give up pretty quickly after looking at that mess.

For reasons, though, I have seen a lot of dog-related statistics in my time, and they're almost always fundamentally flawed to the point of being useless. It's safe to assume these are as well. (Well, I mean, it's obvious right when you get to the part about how they only included AKC recognized breeds.)
posted by ernielundquist at 8:52 AM on November 12, 2014


What we got was a dog that couldn't decide whether it was a Poodle or a Golden Retriever.

It must vary batch to batch, because one of my best friends here in AZ has a labradoodle who is one of the most stellar dogs I've ever met. He is sweet and smart and biddable (for her, probably not for anyone else), and a little shy but not at all aggressive (he tends to hide behind hs momma when meeting new people until he's sniffed your hand a few times, and then he's all ZOMG YOU'RE MY BEST FRIEND.)

He's a great leash walker and both sweet-tempered and quite smart, and from what I know of him isn't too high maintenance either. He's only a year old but has already learned that he's supposed to sit down when his friends come over so that they can pet him without getting a cold nose in the eye from his jumpy excitement. When we go on hikes, if I get more than 5 yards behind or so, he'll turn and make eye contact with me to ensure I'm okay.

Sigh. I want a dog.
posted by WidgetAlley at 8:56 AM on November 12, 2014


unintelligent dogs are the best dogs, fite me

actually all dogs are the best dogs but seriously many dogs do not need brains
posted by NoraReed at 8:56 AM on November 12, 2014 [6 favorites]


I've owned greyhounds and they are the sweetest, most easy-going breed I've ever had the pleasure to own. Their intelligence (they are classified as "dumb" by the chart) is quite beside the point - they are a joy to have around.

Agreed - greyhounds are "dumb" because they aren't terribly trainable (you can usually about manage "sit" and maybe one trick) but they really don't need to be because they were bred to be racing dogs, which means their entire universe of doggy desires beyond eat/sleep/poop boils down to

- once or twice per day, run really fast for about five minutes
- lay around
- cuddle
- play with toy a little

They are seriously the most low-maintenance dogs.
posted by mightygodking at 9:07 AM on November 12, 2014 [6 favorites]


I do not believe the data point ranking American Staffordshire Terriers as not cute. They have asked the wrong people.
posted by asfuller at 9:16 AM on November 12, 2014 [6 favorites]


Where do they include the snorfle factor? I'm not done with a dog that has a low snorfibility.
posted by drewbage1847 at 9:23 AM on November 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


Four dogs. All rescues. Beagle boy is about 5ish...tiny, even for a beagle...barks at everything--we live out in the woods, so we have lots of wildlife to bark at. He came to us at 4 months old from someone who bought him and then decided he didn't fit in and was ready to take him to the pound. Coonhound, about 5ish too, came to us at about 3 years old from a rescue org. Thinks she's the best thing that ever happened to us; barked enough (we stopped it) to get one of the neighbors mad at us. Second beagle. Came to us about two months ago. Sweet. Loving. But wish she would quit pooping in the house. (we have a dog door...no excuse for this!) And our latest baby...now 15 weeks old newfoundland. I used to have newfies, but Mr. Jingo said no when I asked for one last summer. Then, a family bought this baby and decided they needed to get rid of him. He's already burrowed deep in my heart and we start dog-o next week. Oh....and he leans! We will not be accepting a fifth dog...
posted by byjingo! at 9:25 AM on November 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


One of the dog intelligence tests you can do is put a blanket over your dog to see how long it takes him to escape.

This shows how culturally bound intelligence tests are.
posted by srboisvert at 9:27 AM on November 12, 2014 [7 favorites]


Agreed - greyhounds are "dumb" because they aren't terribly trainable (you can usually about manage "sit" and maybe one trick) but they really don't need to be because they were bred to be racing dogs, which means their entire universe of doggy desires beyond eat/sleep/poop boils down to

- once or twice per day, run really fast for about five minutes
- lay around
- cuddle
- play with toy a little


I have a friend who rescues greyhounds (ex-racers and what have you) and this is 100% correct. When they get taken out to the meadow or beach and let off the leash the acceleration and ability to cover ground is breathtaking.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 9:36 AM on November 12, 2014


(birth by Caesarean only? Really?)

Only from not very good breeders.
posted by poffin boffin at 9:45 AM on November 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


No wire fox terrier?!? One of the winningest dogs in Westminster history?!?! Brilliant, beautiful, enjoys vigorous pettings?!?!?

GTFO.
posted by the sobsister at 9:49 AM on November 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


poffin boffin: glad to hear it - I had heard the Caesarean thing from a source I thought was reliable. Hah.

So... the time for me to become the next poverty-stricken Frenchie owner draws closer and closer.
posted by Sheydem-tants at 9:52 AM on November 12, 2014


It's the regular Bulldog that typically needs to be delivered via Cesarean due to the cranium being too big.

Frenchies to my knowledge don't typically have the same issue.

Keep in mind that the problems with bulldogs are largely driven by the breeding standards. It's not the first breed that has been thoroughly wrecked by continual breeding for traits that when taken to the nth degree tend to destroy the viability of the breed and certainly won't be the last.
posted by vuron at 10:03 AM on November 12, 2014


Meow.
posted by Chuffy at 10:04 AM on November 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


This just in: the best animal is the one you love, and who may not necessarily love you back. End of discussion.

There are things which need not be quantified. Love needs no score.
posted by kinnakeet at 10:07 AM on November 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


This chart doesn't understand that there is no universal standard for dogs. Instead, you pick the dog that best suits the need. For example:

Are you a Catalan-American bandleader who needs to hold a dog as you conduct Latin greats in a ballroom? Best dog: Chihuahua.

Are you a small town in Kentucky looking for a dog to be your mayor? Best dog: Border collie.

Are you the clone of Adolph Hitler and need dogs to attack strangers when you say the word ketchup? Best dog: Doberman.

Are you a Nebraska born movie star who likes to dress in leather and ride around on a motorcycle? Best dog: Baby racoon.
posted by maxsparber at 10:09 AM on November 12, 2014 [25 favorites]


looked for but did not find shiba inu (doge).

bukvich, Shibas are only good pets for expert dog-owners looking for a challenge. They're scary-smart and very willful, always pushing to see what they can get away with. Here's a good summary of what it's like to have one.
posted by Blue Meanie at 10:10 AM on November 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Shibas and Basenjis are IMHO by far the most challenging breeds in terms of sheer intelligence and willfulness.

Basically untrainable. I shudder to think what a cross between the two could generate. I'm not sure the world could handle the horror.
posted by vuron at 10:18 AM on November 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


There are so many variables in dog temperament that this graph misses. Some of the big ones, I think, run along these lines: obedient-independent, intelligent-dumb, social-loner, energetic-lazy, reactive-passive, playful-serious.

A Border Collie would be the first thing on all of those variations, except perhaps more serious than playful, which makes it a hell of a lot of dog to handle. Bored energetic dogs wreck stuff. Smart bored energetic dogs wreck stuff you had no idea a dog could wreck. Smart bored lonely energetic dogs wreck stuff and make your neighbors call Animal Control.

Intelligent doesn't mean obedient - the intelligent independent dog will get what you're trying to explain very quickly, then get bored with repetitive training and go do more fun things like eating a sofa. The easy beginner dogs would fall right about in the middle of all of these things, and the outliers to either side (or multiple sides, depending on the individual dog) would need people who Speak Dog to get the best out of them.
posted by cmyk at 10:20 AM on November 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


Baby raccoon you say? Sounds delicious!
posted by Mister_A at 10:21 AM on November 12, 2014


(birth by Caesarean only? Really?)

Only from not very good breeders.


Yeah, our frenchie was not delivered by Caesarean. We looked around for over a year before we found someone we felt comfortable getting a frenchie from.

Ziggy Pop is the sweetest, most loving guy. As someone else said, he loves everything and everybody he crosses paths with. He's just so...effulgent. He wants to be around you, to hang out in your space. He's very clownish, VERY smart...and high energy. And oh god, the shedding. So much shedding.

I know they're currently a 'hip' breed, but they are really wonderful dogs.
posted by Windigo at 10:21 AM on November 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Should I ever live in the country, or even a place with a decent sized yard again I will again get a mutt from the shelter because they are the best. I am very much not a fan of breeding anything that I don't eat. I recognize the absurditity of this. If I was to get a "breed" though it would be a Rhodesian Ridgeback.

They are really confident and curious but not at all agressive and have a bit of a sense of humor.

A friend who I worked for had two and though they aren't Spaniel wiggly and can seem intimidating they are quite respectful. I met them one day and the next day I accidentally left the gate open. One got out, much to my horror. One of their owners said that she was likely mucking around in the alley a block away. I went to find the dog, found the dog and said "Hey, get back here". Although she had only known me for a day she understood that I was in charge and went galloping past and all but closed the gate behind herself.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhodesian_Ridgeback#Temperament


Oh, and here is my doberman story.

I really like dogs. Please don't tell my cat.
posted by vapidave at 10:23 AM on November 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Oh, and here is my doberman story.

Yeah, American Dobermans usually have a very friendly disposition, and have been bred for it. They look 'scary' but are super sweet.
posted by leotrotsky at 10:26 AM on November 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Like we needed a graph to prove the superiority of Shelties.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:27 AM on November 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


End Breed-ism Now!

MUTTS 4 LIFE
posted by tonycpsu at 10:29 AM on November 12, 2014 [6 favorites]


My friends love xolos, which I don't think appear on the chart.

All of theirs (3 now and and a 4th who recently passed away) are rescues, which surprised me because xolos are fairly rare, but not too rare for the asshole puppy mills of Arizona apparently. The wiki listed traits of "very high intelligence, sensitivity, high energy, inquisitiveness" seem accurate - you're pretty likely to find your xolo somewhere unexpected, like on top of the fridge, eating something precious or expensive you though you had under lock and key.

I don't think I'll ever get a purebred dog, unless it's from a rescue, but I like to dream of having a big, big house, and big, big yard, and surrounding myself with Briards, and Leonbergers, and Irish Wolfhounds, and Great Pyrenees, and Bernese and...just so so much giant floofy dog love.
posted by Squeak Attack at 10:35 AM on November 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Couldn't find rat terrier, certainly couldn't find half rat terrier / half potato (aka Charlie) so ... I'll have to agree with everyone else that voted for "that mutt that stole my heart."
posted by komara at 10:39 AM on November 12, 2014 [5 favorites]


(oh god it's happening ... I really have started just showing up in dog threads only to post links to pictures of my dog)
posted by komara at 10:39 AM on November 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


yes but you said your dog is HALF POTATO so you are allowed now and forever
posted by cmyk at 10:46 AM on November 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


Seems like everyone who meets our Bulldogs says "oh, I've always wanted one, they're soooo cute!" Yes, they're cute, yes, they're sweet. And so many people who get one have no f***ing idea what they're getting themselves into, so the poor pup ends up in rescue.

Same with bassets and beagles. Bassets are the greatest dogs ever but they're also cognizant of that and are a real pain in the ass oh, at least 50% of the time. And so much the opposite of the dopey adorable "hushpuppy" myth.
posted by blucevalo at 10:47 AM on November 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


I shared my Basset story here already: a Basset broke my heart once. Roscoe, you sly devil, I miss you and I still wish I could've kept you.
posted by cmyk at 10:51 AM on November 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'm a mutt-person, myself. I have two dogs, a Border Collie mix from our local Humane Society and a lost bear-hunting dog I found on a hiking trail deep in the backcountry of the Smoky Mountains. The Border Collie, Kenda, is devastatingly intelligent, with problem-solving skills and limitless play drive. I only put a leash on Kenda where the law requires it; we have many hundreds (or a few thousands) of miles hiked together and she's never left my side.

I owe an apology to my Found Hound, Maeby. When she first joined our household, I thought she wasn't very bright. She can't remember which side of the front door opens and which side has hinges. If you put a blanket on her, she just lies down and naps. Gradually I noticed that although her problem-solving skills are lackluster, she has social intelligence that puts my own to shame. She can read a room of people, children or dogs in a moment and do exactly the right thing. She qualified as a therapy dog and we make weekly visits to a special-needs elementary school classroom. We're part of a program called Ruff Reading [pdf warning] where the students read to the dog, who doesn't care if they make mistakes.

I have nothing against purebred dogs; at the moment I'm dogsitting a friend's two Shiloh Shepherds. But for me, part of the joy and thrill of the dog is discovering who they are and what they're good at. And with mutts, that might be anything.

Disclaimers: I didn't dognap somebody's hunting dog. She was nearly starving and I found her two weeks after the end of bear season. Her radio tracking collar was dead, the phone number on her ID tag had been disconnected for more than 4 months and she had no microchip. Also, I hate puppy mills with the fire of a thousand suns. Though I'm very fond of many purebred dogs, it is very easy to end up with an unethically-bred purebred. If you want a purebred dog, please be very diligent about researching your breeder.
posted by workerant at 10:55 AM on November 12, 2014 [7 favorites]


workerant: If you want a purebred dog, please be very diligent about researching your breeder shelter.

FTFY. Way too many people falling into the false dichotomy between shelter dogs and purebreds, even if unintentionally.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:57 AM on November 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Love your story, cmyk. Our basset is a rescue who was dumped by his prior human along a country road. He is a superstar and we love him to death, loud howls, pushy personality, clumsy footing, and all.
posted by blucevalo at 11:01 AM on November 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


* Newfoundland not to scale.
posted by maryr at 11:12 AM on November 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Are you a small town in Kentucky looking for a dog to be your mayor? Best dog: Border collie.

We could learn a lot from Rabbit Hash. A government staffed at every level by border collies would be neurotic, but fair.
posted by Iridic at 11:17 AM on November 12, 2014


I love that the cat and the miniature schnauzer, my two favorite pets, are basically in the same quadrant as the best dogs. I totally want a Brittany again after seeing this, but now that I've had a Miniature Schnauzer, I want to be independently wealthy so that I can hire someone to play with them everyday. Guys chill out! Daddy relaxes in a totally different way than you! (This may be why I am probably a cat person).
posted by scunning at 11:27 AM on November 12, 2014


I scoff at the low score of St. Bernards. At least the issue with Saints is partly medical and partly mess: when they shake their heads, the drool ends up 6 feet up the wall on the other side of the room.

But the ones I have known have been really nice dogs. Great leaners, with a head heavy enough to pin you in your chair when he wants a snuggle. And when they roll over to get their belly rubbed you get acres of belly. And in fact smart enough to be trained in obedience, and to pull a cart loaded with children, and retrieve the paper.

Also: not fragile. And nobody ever wants to break into a house with a Saint inside.

But they're really nice dogs.
posted by suelac at 11:28 AM on November 12, 2014


I have a beautiful pitbull mix who is unusually smart and the most gentle soul I have encountered. She was also a rescue....

I would love to make this story longer but honestly...they should be more popular.
posted by The1andonly at 11:28 AM on November 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


Any graph that says a Beagle is dumber than a Golden Retriever is instantly discredited.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:35 AM on November 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm still waiting for a free-thinking breeder to take up the cause of building the perfect mutt.

the problem with any eugenics program is what to do with the substandards.

This is surely a far greater issue with purebreds than with mutts.
posted by fairmettle at 11:40 AM on November 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


...like eating a sofa

I resemble that remark. To be fair, though, those instances are more the result of separation anxiety than boredom or lack of exercise.

Previous abuse/neglect/poor training can be a real problem in rescue dogs. I got this guy at seven months, and he wasn't housebroken, wouldn't come, didn't know how to swim or walk down stars, and he had a terrible case of separation anxiety. Most of that stuff was easy to fix in a smart dog, but the separation anxiety has been a long uphill battle, and seven years later, he can only be trusted alone for about four hours.

That said, my dog is still awesome - he once chased a would-be burglar out of the house in the middle of the night. Here he is out in his element yesterday, his eighth birthday.
posted by lost_cause at 12:03 PM on November 12, 2014


Growing up, we had a 3/4 Old English Sheepdog, 1/4 Labrador mix and he was just about the sweetest, most loyal dog I've ever know. He was friendly to a fault and, at the same time, very protective of my brother and I - if my dad was play wrestling with us (a favorite activity in the Michaels household), this dog couldn't be in the room because he would growl and nip at my dad whenever he'd come at one of us.

So, yeah, basically, mutts. But also Old English Sheepdogs. But mutts.
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:04 PM on November 12, 2014


Well to be fair lost_cause that Weimerainer is simply putting that couch out of it's misery.
posted by vuron at 12:08 PM on November 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yeah I just have to chime in on greyhounds since I've had two and they are my favorite dogs. I think of them as pretty dumb dogs in that they don't pass that blanket over the head trick or anything... My current greyhound gets stuck in our floor to ceiling curtains in front of the patio doors on the regular. They don't understand stairs and learning one set of stairs does not translate to a different set of stairs (my current guy can go up/down our front stairs like a champ but is still terrified of the back ones which are exactly the same.) But I don't necessarily agree that high intelligence is a desirable trait in dogs. I certainly don't want a dog that is going to be bored out of his mind and therefore destructive while I'm at work for 9 hours a day. Basically what cmyk said with the chaotic-neutral D&D-type multi dimensional alignment.

Greyhounds are sooooo easy going that their smarts don't matter. And honestly, the few things I have had to train my greyhounds on - like jumping on people or being too interested in the cat - it was really, really easy to do for this non-expert dog owner. I don't expect them to sit or shake, but they know "come here" and "no" and learn "go lay down" pretty easily. They are very sensitive and just want to please - a raised voice not even directed at them might send them scurrying to their bed/crate, tail between their legs.

I don't want a hyper intelligent dog. Greyhounds are dog ownership set on Easy Mode. (Although I agree with winna that you do have to budget for vet bills - not because they are genetically unhealthy but because their thin skin and no body fat means a little scrape on another breed means stitches for a greyhound.)
posted by misskaz at 12:13 PM on November 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


To be clear, greyhounds are probably lawful-neutral if we were to put them on a D&D alignment. Lawful in that they want to please, neutral rather than good because they're not gonna easily figure shit out and do it on their own - you gotta tell them? IDK, just trying to make that fit.
posted by misskaz at 12:17 PM on November 12, 2014


Very interesting! Jibes with my experiences as a dog foster parent - though we're basically doing only smaller breeds.

But I hate this visualization more than most.
* Simply finding a specific breed becomes a Where's Whippet searching problem.
* There's no way to see why dogs are "good" or "not good" - you might not care about, say, cost or intelligence, or you might care a great deal about, say, ailments.
* Four of these categories relate to money: costs, appetite, ailments and grooming. Indeed, isn't costs just a combination of appetite, ailments and grooming?
* Conversely, there are a lot of important features that aren't covered. I love Jack Russells but they are super-high-energy and can run you ragged - where's "excess energy"? Where's "niceness"?

Perhaps those can't be quantified - but what about "dangerousness" - there are probably statistics about dog attack by breed?

Chihuahuas are in the "rightfully popular" category, and indeed of the... at least two dozen dogs that we have fostered, the two we kept were chihuahuas, because they're small, cheap, relaxed, affectionate and have a good lifespan.

Overall, do remember that any "nice" dog will add a great deal of joy into your life - and you can definitely convert some frightened, snappy dogs into relaxed, friendly dogs even.

The differences between the breeds are small compared to the affection you get from bringing a dog into your life. (If you're looking for a smaller breed in New York City, check out the rescue that we work with, Waggy Tails...)
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 12:27 PM on November 12, 2014


Growing up I had a chocolate lab that was extremely gentle and sweet and loving. But oh she would destroy you if you threatened me or my family members.

My most told example: My father and I like to try and scare each other. (you can probably see where this is going) Usually by jumping out of hiding places, sabotage, etc. All in good fun, and I feel I got him a fair number of times. So one day, as a young lad of probably 10 or 12 I was walking through the basement that my dad uses as his shop. Lots of large equipment, great places to hide.

So I was cutting through with dog by my side, as she did and out pops my dad. Of course I scream and in an instant she has my dad's hand in her mouth ready to chomp. Of course she immediately realized it was dad and let go, but if that had been someone intent on harm I have no doubt they'd be missing some fingers.

My father and I both were very proud of her. Partially for being so quick to defend me and partially for having the smarts to realize "oh, fadder, not fodder"

I'm glad she had that piece of mind, because it would have been a bad scene if she had not realized so quickly.
posted by Twain Device at 12:37 PM on November 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


TL;DR

🐩<🐕
posted by fallingbadgers at 12:57 PM on November 12, 2014


Border Colies, Australian Shepherds and Jack Russel Terriers are all in my if you don't own a working farm or plan on doing agility training daily stay away from this breed category.

Can't speak to the others, but for the Australian Shepherd it really depends. I've got one, a blue-eyed rescue dog. When it's time to go do something, anything really, she's always ready. When the people in the house feel like spending the afternoon watching something, she's content to stay on the couch and get a belly rub. Never gets restless on the occasional lazy days.

She's really the perfect dog. The type who sees a group of scared kittens and lies down to seem less threatening. She'll do the same with nervous kids. I watched her single-pawedly turn my niece from being scared of any dog to becoming the dog's best friend. Nothing really bothers her beyond the sound of thunder.
posted by honestcoyote at 1:02 PM on November 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


We have two shelter dogs. One is textbook American Pit Bull Terrier, the other is closest to a Staffordshire. The APBT is smart as a whip and the Staffy is dumb as a rock. Both are some of the handsomest dogs I've ever met. I had a lot of reservations about adopting a pit bull, but jesus are they nice dogs. The most frequent problem I have with them is the shoving match that ensues when they're jockeying to see who gets to sit closest to me on the couch.
posted by Ham Snadwich at 1:15 PM on November 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


look this is ridiculous because ALL DOGS ARE THE BEST DOG all of them every dog is best

but hounds are slightly more best ok bye
posted by poffin boffin at 1:21 PM on November 12, 2014 [6 favorites]


I just read something recently about how -doodles were sold on being hypoallergenic, but it's sort of a crapshoot whether they actually are.
posted by Ham Snadwich at 1:21 PM on November 12, 2014


Can't speak to the others, but for the Australian Shepherd it really depends. I've got one, a blue-eyed rescue dog. When it's time to go do something, anything really, she's always ready. When the people in the house feel like spending the afternoon watching something, she's content to stay on the couch and get a belly rub. Never gets restless on the occasional lazy days.

This pretty much describes how our Australian Shepard was. She was a farm dog who had flunked out of herding duty for some reason. I do think the fact that we worked at home so there was always someone to do things with, even if it was lazing on the couch, made her a happy dog. I wonder if she wouldn't have gotten into more trouble if we had left her alone for long periods of time.
posted by gamera at 2:01 PM on November 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


I grew up around purebred Bernese Mountain Dogs, and god those dogs were amazing. Berners are infinitely patient and calm with children, friendly, well-behaved, clever, fun but not crazy, gorgeous dogs.

Tended to die young, too. The early death of my childhood dog to breed-related health problems really turned me off to the idea of purebred dogs forever.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 2:02 PM on November 12, 2014


German shepherds are "inexplicably overrated"?? I grew up with one and she was the best dog. Easy to take care of, loyal to the family, fun to take places...

Also, the "rightfully ignored" quadrant makes me really sad. Now I feel like I need to justify the existence of all those dogs!
posted by FireFountain at 2:37 PM on November 12, 2014


The main problem with German shepherds are that their health has basically been destroyed by breeders so that purebred German Shepherds almost invariably suffer hip dysplagia.

Basically you almost have to look at one of the 4 Belgian Shepherd styles to get a healthy dog.
posted by vuron at 2:43 PM on November 12, 2014


I don't think I would ever want to have a scent hound again. They're so god damn loud.
posted by Ferreous at 2:45 PM on November 12, 2014


I don't see the JRT on this graph... am I missing it?
posted by jeffamaphone at 2:56 PM on November 12, 2014


Oh the Welsh Springer Spaniels are truly the bestest doggies, ever ever, the sweetest, most loving drool factories around.

Dumb as posts, though. And sadly prone to awful stomach cancers, and seriously, there is not much on this earth sadder than a sweet, beautiful pup with stomach cancer bravely wagging its dumb little tail when you feed it ice chips. It's starving-babies-in-war-zones-sad.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 2:57 PM on November 12, 2014


I never heard of the blanket thing before! So I just dropped a blanket on Perdita, since she's my secret favorite and the one in the back. At first she was kind of mystified but then she heard me giggle and decided it was an awesome new game, which made her tail go frantically around in circles, which knocked into the wall, which is one of the many dog signals in our house. Theo came barking madly up to rescue her from the blanket and Django got so excited he almost knocked the bookcase over again and meanwhile, Perdita got out of the blanket while Theo bravely made sure it was completely dead and not a threat anymore. There was much barking. Honestly none of them are really the sharpest tools in the shed but yeah they can find their way out of a blanket with teamwork, so I suppose you can put mutts and one English Springer Spaniel (but only one, I've had others and they are generally just as dumb as lawn furniture. Friendly, way too hyper lawn furniture, but lawn furniture.) facing left on that silly chart.
posted by mygothlaundry at 3:07 PM on November 12, 2014 [6 favorites]


Taz, you have described my maltipoo to a T. She totally knows the difference between sneakers and work shoes because "WALK!!!"
posted by Sophie1 at 3:23 PM on November 12, 2014


I am not sure if my friend's doberman passes the blanket test or not.


I am of the school of thought that dogs should be at least a little doofy.
posted by louche mustachio at 3:46 PM on November 12, 2014 [5 favorites]


The true measure of a dumb dog is not if it can get out of a blanket. It is : if the dog wants under the blanket and you cover just his head, he thinks he is under the blanket.

Our GSP is a fantastic hunter - if you are his friend, neither of you will starve in the coming Zombie Apocolypse. Dumb as a box of rocks though. If it weren't for instincts, he'd forget how to breathe.

I'm not being mean here. He's a great dog. Obedient, kind, and affectionate as hell - and like I said - an excellent hunting dog. Also, a fucking space heater, to boot. You'll be sweating in 10 minutes of he climbs under the blanket on your lap.

All dogs have limitations, and well, the smarts is his.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 5:22 PM on November 12, 2014


My girlfriend has a standard-issue black-and-tan mutt, who is bright, sensitive, and Death Unto Squirrels but otherwise obedient and eminently trainable. This is excellent, because she also has a purebred collie (who was more or less a rescue from a backyard breeder/animal hoarder - she's purebred, not well-bred) who is the sweetest thing on four legs and exactly as dumb as she looks. However, she is super-attuned to her big brother, and does exactly what he does - including sit, lie down, and come when called. So it works out!

(Collies have absolutely terrible genetics. I am a big fan of ours, but she's got Collie eye - a condition so prevalent in the breed it's named after them, laughable dentition, a now-repaired herniated diaphragm, and we don't expect her to outlive Rhymer even though he's ten years old and getting creaky.)

If we end up getting a ranch like we plan, we both want a Belgian Shepherd (who wouldn't?). Otherwise, the generic maybe-Australian-Cattle-Dog-mix is just about our speed. And the couch collie. Everyone needs a couch collie.
posted by restless_nomad at 5:44 PM on November 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Unexpected costs of owning a husky:
1. Curing giardia (he drank what?)
2. Replacing a linoleum floor (he ate it!)
3. Rebuilding a porch (he ate that too!)
4. Rebuilding a fence (do you see a pattern?)
5. X-Rays (did he only manage to pull one battery off the counter, or did he eat a second?)
6. The love of a mother in law (Sorry he ate things in your yard he wasn't supposed to.)

Also, 'Dumb' is not a good measurement, regardless of their definition. Huskies can learn a lot of things, whether they choose to listen to you not though is generally a question of their whim.
posted by Nanukthedog at 5:53 PM on November 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm super delighted that we already had the discussion on Basenjis, because most people I know haven't even heard of them.
Yes, smart. Yes, cats of the dog world.

My Mother went overseas for a few months, and her Basenji ran away from her friends house and lived on the beach, often begging for fish & chips from tourists, for a couple of months. Couldn't be caught, or kept at home.
Finally my Mother gets back, really worried about her dog, goes down to the beach, and Streaky just comes shuffling out of the sand dunes, gives her a really dirty look for a bit, and then is all, ok Mum, hometime now? Where are we off too now?
Chewed most of my toys. Clearly knew he wasn't supposed to, which is why we never caught him doing it.
posted by Elysum at 9:39 PM on November 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Growing up I had a chocolate lab that was extremely gentle and sweet and loving. But oh she would destroy you if you threatened me or my family members.

You could have been writing about my childhood dog! Man, I wish I had a picture of King to share, because he was the bestest and handsomest boy that ever woofed in the bass register. Extra-large chocolate lab with a big, square muzzle, barrel chest, and a noggin like a cannonball.

He was our schmoopy puppy-baby, and let us dress him up, and wiggled between your arm and body if you didn't give him a hug quickly enough for his satisfaction, caught pancakes like Frisbees if you tossed them in the air, and rode us around like tugboats when we were swimming. But if a stranger pulled into the driveway - even somone he'd seen a few times before but still hadn't formed an opinion on - he turned into a one-headed Cerberus that made burly deliverymen stay in their trucks until one of us came out to call him off. He never once hurt a human, but he could do an awfully good impression of a dog who would if you didn't watch yourself.

Weird thing was, he was totally a ladies' dog. He always warmed up to women more quickly than men, including my own father (and the husband of the woman who bred and trained him!)
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:25 AM on November 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


Oh, man, now I’m started off reminiscing about King. He was a sweetie, but So. Freaking. Stubborn. Especially with his… eccentricities.

He was trained from puppyhood as a soft mouth hunting dog, and hunted for years alongside his sire. By the time we got him as an adult, he was so set in his ways that you couldn’t walk him on your right side because he was trained to be on the opposite side from his master’s gun.

The collar or harness that could hold him had yet to be invented. We called him “Houdini.” Part of it was that his neck was thicker than his head, but pat was just smarts and sheer determination. He found a way past every fence we ever tried. One time, we got a spaniel-mix mutt as a secondary dog; King never warmed up to him. We had him a few months before the two of them disappeared and King came back alone after a few days, looking smug and satisfied.

He loved baked goods of any kind, but bread and pancakes were his favorite. As mentioned above, he loved to catch them like Frisbees – the higher the jump, the better. I think he knew the word “bread” better than “sit” or “stay.”

He and his littermates had slept in an old car as pups, so once you got him in the car it was murder to get him out again. You couldn’t push him, you couldn’t pull him, and you couldn’t tempt him out with the most succulent treat. You had to just leave the door open, go away, and wait for him to get bored and come out on his own.

He would go down stairs, but not up them. If he came down to the basement in the house, you’d have to take him out the basement door and walk him back up to the main door of the house. If the basement hadn’t been built into the side of a hill I don’t know what we would have done.

When we went to the lake every year, he’d swim with us but wouldn’t get in the rowboat. Whenever we’d take it out, he’d stand on the shore looking forlorn and sounding off after us like Gabriel at the Last Judgment. I swear he could form his lips into a trumpet bell.

He had the biggest tongue I’ve ever seen on a dog, but if his canned food had peas in it, you’d find a little pile of licked-clean peas at the bottom of his dish when he was done. I don’t know how he did it.

He'd let us kids dress him up in the most outlandish costumes. If you put him in pants of shorts, he liked having them on backwards so his tail could come out the fly and keep wagging.

My mother watched him being born (the breeder was a family friend), and we had him until he was an old man with a white beard, a stiff hip, and angina. He’s the dog against whom I measure all others.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:44 AM on November 13, 2014 [4 favorites]


Can we rank owners? I feel like people who get certain breeds are more likely to be lax about training and/or exercising them. I have never met a person with a toy/miniature poodle who trains it not to yap and jump. I've always said that I hate small dogs, but I think what I really dislike is (most of) their owners.
posted by desjardins at 9:18 AM on November 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


I feel really fortunate that I got such a good dog as Charlie on my first try, and I've had other dog owners comment on my luck so I'm pretty sure it's not just wishful thinking. I went shopping on the local SPCA website for an older dog that was good with cats, and found Charlie, and her foster mom brought her to my house for an interview. I took her on leash to the back room to meet Elise (who has no interest in being cowed by dogs) who hissed but did not give ground, and Charlie lowered her head and tail and everything in her body language said, "I'm sorry. I made the cat mad" and I told her, "I think you're going to work out just fine."

oh yes my point here was to say that Charles is very smart and I'm confident that when I get around to subjecting her to the intelligence test she'll pass all sections with top marks ... except for Retrieving From Under a Barrier. She ... ah ... let's just say that her inability to understand that paws can be used as tools - or that they're even attached to her body at all - was one of the first things I noticed about her. I mean I've been living with cats for years, and they're crafty little surgeon devils who operate with a strange ruthless efficiency, and now I have this lumbering potato in my house that can't get the ball out from under the chair. She wiggles when you stop petting her belly and if your face is close enough you are going to get smacked by a paw or two and she shows no indication that she even registers the contact.

This from a dog who came to me at age 8 equipped with 'sit' and 'stay' and who now knows (or has re-learned) 'ball' and 'hold up' and 'let's go' and 'watch' and a million other non-verbal cues besides, and who is gentle and loving and needy and faster than lightning and needs to walk at least a mile every day and in all other respects is a very smart and capable and healthy dog. She's just cursed with a total disconnect about what these dangly stick-things coming off of her body do when they're not being used to propel her forward.
posted by komara at 9:50 AM on November 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


You know, they wouldn't have had to do all this number crunching if they'd just gone up to dogs at a dog park and said WHO'S A GOOD DOG? ARE YOU A GOOD DOG? ARE YOU? YES YOU ARE
posted by desjardins at 10:32 AM on November 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


I just gave Josie the dog IQ test which komara linked. She scored a total of 22, which makes her smart, but not Border Collie smart.

The tests were:

1. Put a treat under a cup, encourage dog to get it. Josie sniffed around a bit, looked up at me as if to say "But you always get mad when I bother cups?" and then knocked it over to get the treat. 4 points, according to the test.

2. Dog Under Blanket. I threw a large bath towel over her and started counting. She wiggled her head free pretty quickly and then stood there staring at me, confused. Since the test only mentioned head and shoulders, I gave her 4 points, though she still had the rest of the towel on her.

3. Dog Responds To Smile. I had to wait for her to settle down after all the excitement. I gave her a good gaze and then smiled, and she stared at me like I had lost my mind. No other response. Scored 1 point out of 5. I then started laughing and she came right up, so I think she should get extra points for that, but I'll stick with what the test says.

4. Food Under Towel. See the cookie. See the cookie on the floor. See the towel on the cookie. Whatcha gonna do Josie? Get it! Get it! Josie's solution to this was to locate the lump indicating the biscuit, then grab it and the towel and take it into another room to solve at her leisure. She did it in thirty-one seconds, which got her three points.

5. Retrieval From Under A Barrier, which is komara's potato dog's greatest challenge. This was difficult, since Josie shoveled her head under the first few stacks of things and got to the treat without her paws. Once I built a solid structure out of her bowl, a shoe, and a storage bin full of yarn, she pawed the cookie out in under a minute. Five points. I am not surprised; she is very good at pawing me to great (painful) effect.

6. Does Dog Know Its Name. Using the Happy Voice, I dutifully called, "Refrigerator!" Josie looked at me, confused. I then said, "Movies!" Josie was baffled. "Josie!" She barreled towards me. DAT ME! Five points.

She is giving me curious looks, as if wondering what madness I am going to inflict on her next. Nothing, kid. We're done, you're smart.
posted by cmyk at 11:03 AM on November 13, 2014 [12 favorites]


They're scary-smart and very willful

Our Akita is the same way. We were at my in-laws house and someone was trying to get her to sit and shake. She would do the sit okay but seems to have a very urgent itch every time she was asked to shake.

After a minute of this she said, "She isn't all that smart is she?"

I replied, "Oh yeah? Watch this."

I filled up her bowl with food and then pours the juice from the steaks we had for dinner over it. Now that I knew that I had her attention I started throwing out commands rapid-fire, "Sit, lay down, sit, shake, high-five!" and she kept right up with the steady stream of commands. Then I said, "Kennel!" (which was down-stairs and at the other end of the house) and she does this weird thing where she jukes side to side a couple of times, does a spin move (to get around no one) and then BOLTS for her kennel as fast as she can.

Now, when we train her, we're always careful not to bribe her and we're careful about where the treats come from so that she doesn't know if she is going to get a treat or not, hoping to instill in her the belief that there is always a chance for her to get a treat when she obeys a command. It's pretty hit of miss but man, when she knows for certain that we have treats and especially if it's a special treat like that she knows that it's time to work.

And it make's it that much worse when she isn't in the mood to do whatever it is she is being asked to do because I know that knows what I'm asking and is choosing not to do it. It's frustrating and also adorable. Thankfully she is just inconsistent about commands, she is great with people, phenomenal with other dogs, and is generally a good roommate (doesn't dig through the garbage, chew up our stuff, stays off the furniture, doesn't really beg for food, etc.).
posted by VTX at 11:49 AM on November 13, 2014


One time, we got a spaniel-mix mutt as a secondary dog; King never warmed up to him. We had him a few months before the two of them disappeared and King came back alone after a few days, looking smug and satisfied.

WTF!? So King took off with this other dog, murdered him, and then came home full of pride?
posted by VTX at 2:20 PM on November 13, 2014 [4 favorites]


Hon. mention - Juno - boxer who acted as our nanny, and who I barely remember.
Excellent dog - George - the dog of my childhood - border collie / unknown mix. Trainable, great watchdog.
Best dog evar - Jake, likely a collie / golden mix, shelter-adopted as an adult - wily, sweet, smart.
Hon. mention - Brody, shelter dog, treeing Walker Hound, who'd been neglected badly enough that I think he was brain-damaged, barely trainable, lots of illness, ran like a deer, dedicated crotch-sniffer, stubborn, sweet.
Terrific and current dog - Benning, presumably Jack Russell Terrier, smart, trainable, cuddly, and excellent travel companion. Not hyper, will play fetch forever, but knows that when I pick up the laptop or a book, he might as well curl up next to me on the couch. Shelter dog. Complete jerk around other dogs, better since he spent some time with bigger dogs unwilling to put up with his attitude.
posted by theora55 at 3:09 PM on November 13, 2014


When we picked out Lindy (pictured here trapping her unhappy big 'brother' on the chair ) from the shelter, we thought we had struck gold - an adorable young terrier mix that was laid back and relaxed! A little nervous around new people, but really calm and sweet. Not super interested in playing with our other dog, which was perfect, since Figlet (our other pup) is fairly dog-aloof.

Turned out she had heartworm. Once she finished that treatment, her terrierist personality showed itself. She is very high-energy (although is good at snuggles too), is a very tenacious watchdog who just now allows people to walk by outside without being barked at, is pretty dumb, but is also sweet and has brought our family a lot of joy.

So, we didn't strike gold, but we got a little firecracker that keeps us on our toes and has the most ridiculously cute little face (and mohawk!), so I think we did good.
posted by Fig at 5:37 PM on November 13, 2014


To be clear, greyhounds are probably lawful-neutral if we were to put them on a D&D alignment.

On that note, here's a painting of dogs playing Dungeons & Dragons by Johannes Grenzfurthner and Heather Kelley (a parody of C. M. Coolidge's ubiquitous Dogs Playing Poker series).

The bulldog on the right is obviously playing a neutral-good fighter.
posted by Doktor Zed at 6:32 AM on November 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


an adorable young terrier mix that was laid back and relaxed

When we got our Staffy from the shelter he was seriously underweight, but also really relaxed and easy-going. Turns out he was just malnourished and is even more hyper and idiosyncratic than our current dog. Once we got him home, he refused to leave the house and would spread eagle on the sidewalk to avoid going for walks. You'd have to pick him up and carry him around the corner so he couldn't see the house anymore before he'd go for a walk.
posted by Ham Snadwich at 8:50 AM on November 14, 2014 [2 favorites]


This is also a dog who will chase a ball only as long as it's still moving. When it stops he loses interest and walks away. We got him to fetch exactly one time. He brought the ball halfway back, gave it a death shake, buried it in some leaves and peed on it.

His other favorite off-leash activity is running in a big circle at top speed and battering people and animals with his giant skull.
posted by Ham Snadwich at 9:19 AM on November 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


"This is also a dog who will chase a ball only as long as it's still moving. When it stops he loses interest and walks away."

Hah, Charles is the exact opposite. Her programming appears to be:

10 SEE BALL
20 ENGINES AT FULL THRUST
30 OBTAIN BALL
40 DECREASE THRUST (MAYBE)

There doesn't appear to be any code that deals with other things getting between her and the ball, like people or other dogs or walls or mountains or tanks. There is also no consideration given to slowing down before touching the ball (and as frequently happens, knocking the ball an additional 20 feet from its first resting place).
posted by komara at 10:45 AM on November 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


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