Friday, 29 January 2010

North Yorkshire Village Dogs - Sasha

At first sight, the third in this series on dogs in a North Yorkshire village appears black but when you are closer Sasha's coat is seen to be the shade of grey, known as silver sable. A small white bib shows on her chest; there is the hint of one white toe - a white patch on her tummy is visible only when she is on her back.

The origins of her breed are said to have been in the monasteries of Tibet, where her ancient ancestors accompanied lamas and yak herders in the mountains.

Sasha, a Tibetan terrier one of the most ancient breeds of dog, now four years old, was the first of the litter bred at York and joined her owners at 12 weeks old. In the summer she does not have the long, fine outer coat characteristic of her breed having been trimmed for comfort. However she sports impressive whiskers, of which many a WWII pilot would have been proud, and the flat feet not found in any other breed.

When she was young she soon learned some skills at puppy and socialising courses. A good house dog who barks when visitors arrive at the door she shares the house with a cat - they chase each other around. This does not prevent her chasing off the next door cat and any others that are about.

Her bed is a blanketed basket on her owner's bedroom floor. She is fed half a Natural Menu diet pack each day and is not too keen on conventional dog biscuits.

Sasha prefers to play with soft toys which she likes to pull to pieces; she will play with a ball but only for a short time. Her mouth is very soft and she has been known to carry live baby rabbits and birds brought home by the cat. Despite trying hard she has not succeeded yet in catching any of the grey squirrels which frequent the local woods.

A friendly dog, happy to travel in a touring caravan or car, she is quite content zipped up in her open mesh dog bag secured with seat belts. In the car she is equally at home in a back seat harness. Tibetan Terriers do not shed hair, so this is another plus point both at home and in the car.

Like many dogs, Sasha is wary of cattle and is kept on her lead near sheep since the occasion when she slipped beneath a gate and proceeded to try to round some up. She does not like early morning walks, but after c09.30 will do out for about an hour. On walks she will carry tatty sticks and loves to chew their ends. On the lead she will sit down without being told if her owner stops to talk, waiting patiently to move on. However she can be seen to be watching intently everything going on around her in the vicinity.

Equally at home in the village, the countryside and at the seaside Sasha will adapt to any conditions especially if there is the chance of a tasty treat. On the beach she will paddle in the sea but will not venture in to swim. Perhaps this is because she once mistook green weed for grass on the surface of a garden pond and was submerged before she realised it was hiding water

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