Wednesday, 30 April 2014

A-Z Challenge - 'Z'

Z - Zounds! It's Zara

Well I've made it to 'Z' again and still feel astounded that I managed to find dogs to get here from 'A'.

An Alsatian pup name Alfie featured at the start of the Challenge. At the end there's another Alsatian.
A young Alsatian named Zara
I used to meet Zara in the village but unfortunately she became very territorial and attacked the postmen. On her lead she was as gentle as could be, but she has had to give way to the Labrador pups that appeared under 'L'

I must pay tribute to all the dogs that I have met personally; not one objected to being photographed. I suspect however that owners in the village will be pleased that only their legs and shoes appeared in the shots.

My special thanks to my daughter's dogs - Sam, Maxie, Gem. Jack, Cody, Scout and Lily, not forgetting Gabby the Golden Labrador who has made up the latest "Gang of Four" in Michigan.

The Gang of Four (No. 3) - Gem, Gabby, Scout and Lily
And by the way Gem had her 15th birthday recently.

Sam was my daughter's first dog. He appeared earlier in the Challenge with his sister Maxie.

This is the tribute to Sam written for him after he had been put to sleep in 2010.
Sam Was My Good Boy

"Sam was my first dog. He was such a good boy.
Good? Maybe not—at least not at his first home in Troy.
The words “come” and “no” and the electric fence meant nothing to him.
And he was a lab, yet he couldn’t fetch, retrieve, or even swim.

Sam was my first dog. Okay, maybe he was “kind of” good.
Chasing deer in their new home, he and Moo would escape through the wood
They’d come home with deer parts, possums and the occasional mouse
And traipse their big dirty paws throughout the whole house.

Sam was my first dog. But he really was good.
He never fought for food, chewed up shoes, or rolled in mud.
When the new rescue dog, Jack, tried to eat his food and bite his nose--he didn’t mind.
When Jack was sick, it was always Sam who would lie with him—he was SO kind.

Sam was my first dog. And, YES, he was a good boy.
From the day we chose each other, he brought me so much joy.
Even when he went blind and had to live in the dark,
He still took himself for walks and played, and, boy, did he still love to bark.

Sam was my first dog. He was good and I love him still
He holds a place in my heart that no one will ever fill."                          

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

A-Z Challenge 2014 - 'Y'

Y - Yorkshire Terrier ("Yorkie")

The Yorkshire Terrier was developed in the 19th century, as the name suggests, in Yorkshire specifically to catch rats in clothing mills.

One famous dog is still regarded as the "father of the breed."
Huddersfield Ben
(Scanned for 'The Dogs of the British Isles by John Henry Walsh)
An authority on the breed wrote (in 1891), "Huddersfield Ben was the best stud dog of his breed during his lifetime and though his puppies has defined the breed as we know it today. He is still referred to as the father of the breed."

The Yorkie I meet almost every day is very sprightly.
Charlie - Yorkshire Terrier
He may be a Toy Terrier and blind in one eye, but that does not prevent him walking so briskly that it's a job to keep up with him. He knows exactly where he's going and where he is going to stop and sniff.

Dogs 101 claim that the Yorkie is the second most popular dog in the world. Check out what they say on this video Yorkie.

Monday, 28 April 2014

A-Z Challenge 2014 - 'X'

X - Crossbred; Sprocker, Labradoodle, Cockapoo

When I first met Gus I thought he was a Spaniel but his owner said he was a crossbreed resulting from the mating of a Springer Spaniel female with a Cocker Spaniel dog. That gave me the idea of what to include unde 'X'.
Sprocker Spaniel - Gus (6 months)
Of course you may obtain a Sprocker in several different ways by crossing:
  • Springer with a Cocker
  • Springer with a Sprocker
  • Cocker with a Sprocker
  • Sprocker with a Sprocker
It's not surprising then that they occur in a variety of colours, weights and heights.

If you are looking for a dog that does not shed its hair you might look no further than a dog like Milly. She's a -
Labradoodle - Milly
The Labradoodle results from crossing a Labrador Retriever with a Standard/Miniature or Toy Poodle. The term Labradoodle first appeared in 1955 but was not popularised until 1988.

In Australia they were trained as Assistance Dogs for a time.
A group of Labradoodle Assistance Dogs
Mette-Marit, Crown Princess of Norway and Crown Prince Haakon, heir apparent to the throne of Norway own a black Labradoodle.

Spaniels and Poodles get around a bit because an English Cocker Spaniel crossed with a Poodle (Miniature or Toy) produces dogs like the one we met earlier in the Challenge under P (for Pippa)
I meet her almost every day.
Cockapoo (Pippa)
She's a hypoallergenic dog too.

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Children - Sunday Stamps

I had to visit my market stall and the local flea market to find stamps for this week's child/children theme. Both places always have lots of first day covers, so much so that I recognise the names and addresses on the envelopes.

Great Britain - Year of the Child 1979
The stamps are worth a closer look.

  • 9p The Tale of Peter Rabbit
  • 10.1/2p The Wind in the Willows
  • 11p Winnie-the-Pooh
  • 13p Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

If you wonder what else there is this week then check out the links at Viridian's Sunday-stamps-168.

Saturday, 26 April 2014

A-Z Challenge 2014 - 'W'

W - West Highland Terrier, Wheaten Terrier, Whippet,
       Welsh Terrier

There used to be stories about an English man, an Irish man, a Scots man and a Welsh man.The same principal applies to this post about dogs, but in a different sequence.

Poppy, a West Highland Terrier, featured in my series about North Yorkshire Village dogs.

Poppy - West Highland Terrier
You may read about her here.

"Westies" originated from Scotland and have a distinctive white coat. They were bred to hunt small rodents at places such as farms. However the Westie I met at Whitby in North Yorkshire had a carriage of its own.
Fast asleep - it had had a busy day
I always like meeting Archie, he's the most laid back dog I know.
Archie - Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier originated in Ireland and is possibly one of the oldest Irish dog breeds. They were once known as the 'poor man's dog,' working on farms as herders and hunters of vermin and small game.

When I first Archie he had a patch of ginger hair. He had rolled on a dead hedgehog and had to have some hair cut off before the vet could remove all the spines. For a while, as his hair grew back, you could not miss that ginger patch.

When I was boy towards the end on WWII my father bought a whippet from Monmouthshire (South Wales). I used to take her out for walks. I wrote a (long) story about one such walk called 'The Chase.' It began - 

"The whippet sat bolt upright on the grass, shivering with anticipation of being allowed to run. When the command came, ‘Away Flick, away,’ she was gone. She cleared the dry stone wall by the roadside at such a speed that from afar she appeared to be just a flash of brown against the grey dry stones and against the green field where she landed – or did she? She seemed to be flying - close to the ground like a different-coloured swallow on the wing in a desperate hunt for flies." 

Phoebe - a brindle/white Whippet
Whippets are sight hounds, popular as racing dogs. They can reach speeds of 35 mph (56 km/hr). The English Whippet or Snap Dog was even known as the 'poor man's racehorse.'

When I first met my Welsh dog I thought she was an Airedale puppy; I was wrong.

Tilly - Welsh Terrier
She is owned by the same couple that used to own Joe, the Airedale Terrier, I included in the Challenge under 'A.

The Welsh Terrier is claimed to be the oldest dog breed in the UK. Bred originally to hunt rodents and badgers they are now largely a show dog.

Famous owners of Welsh Terriers have included President J F Kennedy and the UK Prime Minister Clement Attlee.

I hope you have the time to watch the video with which I end the post. It's quite delightful.

Friday, 25 April 2014

A-Z Challenge 2014 - 'V'

V - Vizsla

I'm only able to show one breed of dog for the letter 'V' and I had to go to Hungary for that.
(12.11.06; by Plepie 2000 - CC BY-SA 3.0)
Vizslas originated in Hungary; sporting dogs they are the smallest of the Pointer breed. Classed as a gun dog they are used for hunting fowl and upland game. Although they are sporting dogs a Vizsla makes a good household companion and a family dog.

Excellent swimmers, they love the water as Rosie demonstrates.
Rosie dives in.
(21 April 2007; by Bryon Realy - CC BY 2.0)
A Vizsla bred in Australia was Best in Show at Crufts in 2010. Known as Yogi, his show name was "Hungargrunn Bear It'n Mind."

There is a Wire-haired Vizsla also, but it is a separate breed developed in 1930 by interbreeding of a Vizsla with the German Wire-haired Pointer. 

I have yet to see either in the flesh.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

A-Z Challenge - 'U'

U - Utility Group Dogs - Poodle, Schnauzer

It's thanks to Crufts 2014 that I have found some dogs to include for 'U'. The dog that won the Best of Breed title for the Utility Group this year went on to become Best in Show. It was a black Standard Poodle named Ricky but I can find no photos of him to use so let's look at some others instead.
Standard Black Poodle haircut
(21 April 2011; by Inbalsigal - CC BY 3.0)
Ricky was shorn so that his rear end looked naked, so much shorter that the dog in my photo. Apparently the Poodle is a water dog and the commentators said the haircut, more like that of my next dog, is to give it extra buoyancy.

Utility Poodle
To me it's just that someone has decided that this is the way it should look. I wonder what would happen if it became the fashionable thing for people to dress to show their naked backsides.

These dogs, also in the Utility Group, look much more natural and attractive.
Two Miniature Schnauzers (female/male)
(30 May 2013; by Hakatas = CC BY-SA 3.0)
Schnauzers originated in Germany in the 15/16th century. Their name derives from the German word for "snout." The official colour of these two is "Salt and Pepper."

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

A-Z Challenge - 'T'

T - Tibetan Terrier, Border Terrier, Bedlington Terrier

Although this was meant to be a 'Terrier' post, the Tibetan isn't a Terrier at all.

Tibetan Terrier - Sasha
Originally bred by monks almost 2000 years ago, the Tibetan name for this dog is Tsang Apso - shaggy or bearded (apso) from the province of Tsang.

Sasha featured in my North Yorkshire Dogs series here. I don't see her anymore as her owners have moved away. But this is her on her favourite perch.

Sasha at home
The Border Terrier is an energetic dog  and is essentially a working terrier, bred as a fox and vermin hunter, They originated in and take their name from the Scottish borders region.

They always seem to be keen to meet people even when they are out for a run on a lead.

Border Terriers
These two always stop as they remember that I once gave them a treat.

The Bedlington Terrier is named after the Northumberland mining town of Bedlington in North East England and were bred initially to hunt vermin in the mines.

These terriers look like lambs from a distance and have a characteristic pear-shaped head.

I meet one that lives in the village.

Bedlington Terrier - Billy
And two others, usually out for a six-mile walk.

Curly (who is blind)
His real name is Henry, but everyone calls him Curly. He has been blind for three years but has no trouble getting about with his companion whose rear end you can just see above

Curly's companion

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

A-Z Challenge 2014 - 'S'

S - Saint Bernard, Scottish Terrier, Shetland Sheepdog, 
     Skye Terrier, Springer Spaniel

I think just about everyone would recognise my first dog, often depicted with a barrel hanging from its neck.

Saint Bernard
Named after a medieval Hospice in the Swiss Alps, Saint Bernards are famous for their mountain search and rescue role.

This one was hoping to be rescued from having to wait outside the entrance to Whitby Abbey in North Yorkshire.

The "Scottie" had a different role and was bred in Scotland as a vermin catcher; the different coloured varieties were often depicted in advertisements for Black and White Scotch Whisky.

Scottish Terrier - Champion Bapton Norman
(1914 Journal of Heredity - author unknown)
And then there was Barney and Miss Beazley two "Scotties" owned by President G W Bush.

Barney holds his first Presidential Briefing
(Photo by Alex Cooney)
If the next dog reminds you of "Lassie", it shouldn't. Lassie was a Rough Collie (see 'C')

Shetland Sheepdog
The "Sheltie" originated in the Shetlands of the North East Coast of Scotland.

The Isle of Skye sits off the West Coast of Scotland, It was there that the Skye Terrier was developed to go to ground after badgers, foxes, otters and rabbits. However it's in Edinburgh that a Skye Terrier has been immortalised.

Greyfriars Bobby in 1865
(Cropped from an albumen print - National Galleries of Scotland)
Bobby spent 14 years guarding the grave of his owner (policeman John Gray) until he died himself in 1872.

Edinburgh's smallest listed building is the memorial statue for him.

Statue of Greyfriars Bobby
(Photo by Michael Rowe, September 2003 - CC BY-SA 3.0)
If you own an English Springer Spaniel then you are sure of plenty of exercise. One of the oldest British Spaniels it was used to flush out or "spring" game birds.If you see it operate in long grass it is easy to see where the 'springer' comes from.

Springer Spaniel
And of course they just love water!

I'm waiting, come on in!
But my all time favourite from over 50 years ago was the Springer that posed for me at my wife's former home.


Chaotic - Thematic Photography

It's raining hard today so I am glad that I do not have to venture out. I didn't have to look too far to meet Carmi's chaotic theme.

My desk top
and ...

The least said the better
I hope you noticed the duster on the window sill in the first shot. I'm told it's been there for three weeks.

Now I have been told to clear up the mess - or else!

I am sure there will be some photogenic chaotic shots that can be admired at Carmi's Thematic-photographic-291.

Monday, 21 April 2014

A-Z Challenge 2014 - 'R'

R - Rottweiler, Retriever

Crufts, The greatest dog show in the world, has been on while I have drafted some posts for this year's Challenge. The Best in Breed for the Working Group turned out to be Barney, a Rottweiler. 

I don't have any photos of him but it just so happens that a five months-old puppy has recently come to live in my village.

Max - Rottweiler puppy
Max walks quite well on a lead even at this age and he is getting used to meeting people. Now that he recognises me he wants to play and not sit still to be photographed.

Rottweilers are an ancient breed once used in wild-boar hunting and as a cattle dog. More recently they have been used for police work and as guard dogs.

I introduced you to the "Gang of Four" under 'L' for Labrador.Now it's the Retriever's turn in a second "Gang of Four," also owned by my daughter and her husband.

Black Lab Mutt (Gem), Retrievers - Cody, Scout and Lily
Cody and Scout were special mates since they came from the same breeder. Cody had been cared for there for a long time after his owner died. When Scout was a puppy and and the breeders had a licensing problem their dogs were being taken into care while the problem was sorted out. When the premises were being cleared Cody had hidden Scout in a cupboard and laid down in front of the door so that he would not be found.

They were both 'loaned' out with number of other dogs to stay with Gem and blind Sam (see 'L'). Cody and Scout proved inseparable and they stayed when the other dogs went back. After Sam passed on the new "Gang of Four" was formed when they were joined by Lily, a Golden Retriever puppy.

Cody being teased by Scout
Cody died last summer. He was a dog who had some favourite positions, usually spreadeagled on the floor.

With one eye on his tennis ball
They all like swimming in the lake, probably Scout most of all.

Scout coming back to land
Lily, looking angelic
But as befits the youngest she's the one always in trouble.

Anyone would think she had had a busy day

Saturday, 19 April 2014

A-Z Challenge 2014 - 'Q'

Q - Queens

Finding a dog's name beginning with 'Q' proved impossible. But knowing that Queen Elizabeth II bred Corgis opened up a different approach for me.

A Corgi from Germany
This is a dog I have not met, but it's photo appeared on a Christmas Card we received last year so at least I know where it lives.

The Corgi is a small herding dog associated with Wales.

A Pembroke Welsh Corgi
The Queen has been largely instrumental in the popularity of the breed; she has had at least four Corgis at any one time. I have been unable to find a photo of her dogs without copyright restrictions.

However the George VI and Queen Elizabeth Monument has a bronze frieze showing the Queen Mother with her Corgis (on the right).

The Queen Mother, her Corgis and a day at the races
(A bronze designed by Paul Day; photo by Charlie Dave, CC BY 2.0)

The Queen that I knew best lived in America - Maxie, the Matriarch of the Gang of Four, who appeared under 'L'. 

Maxie waiting for the Trash Cart
This photo accompanied a letter I had published in "Dogs Today" in the UK in 2007

“Dear Dogs Today

The photo of a dog tag for Max in a letter about ID law (June issue) reminded me of my daughter’s nine-year-old Labrador, Maxie, who lives in Michigan, USA. She is affectionately known as The Trash Cart Queen (the American trash cart performs the same role as our refuse collection lorries).

When Maxie was a puppy and living on a development where the houses had no gardens, she and her brother Sam would often wander off. Despite both of them being well known it always seemed to be the trash cart that brought Maxie home, riding proudly in the cab.

Though Maxie, Sam and two rescued Labs became the owners of a fenced-off 10-acre plot out in the country, despite the fences Maxie will on occasions still wander off. Now being lazy, she has been known to sit down by the wayside so that she may be picked up by the trash cart and ride home in style, in what she seems to regard as her right. The trash cart crew have never had to resort to coercion or read the details of her address and phone number on her tag.”

As the Matriarch of the Gang of Four, Maxie 'earned' special privileges none of which she liked better than this.