The Westminster Kennel Club dog show — the dog show of all American dog shows — starts Monday. About 2,800 dogs from 190 breeds will be competing, and by late Tuesday night, a new pooch will be crowned “Best in Show.”
Every year, the show welcomes new breeds to the ring, and this time, three breeds will be first-timers at Westminster. One is the Pumi, the floofy pooch pictured above. It’s a Hungarian herding dog that’s related to the mop-like puli (one of which is said to be the big favorite for the top prize). At a news conference last week, the owner of the pictured Pumi told the Associated Press that Pumi parents are so used to hearing their dogs called “cute” that they’ve made an acronym out of C-U-T-E.
“We say they’re ‘curious,’ ‘unique,’ ‘tenacious’ and ‘energetic,’” Nancy Nelson said.
Another new entry will be the American hairless terrier, which, as its name implies, is not a furry sort — in fact, the dogs need sunscreen or a coat when they go outside, according to the American Kennel Club.
In its 123-year history, Crufts has attracted a few controversies, from arguments over eugenics to rumours of dog-nobbling by slipping laxatives into food or chewing gum into the fur of a prettily primped rival.
Things may have taken a more sinister turn this year, however, after police were called in over the death of an Irish Setter who competed at the show, after claims it was poisoned.
Three-year-old Thendara Satisfaction, known as Jagger, collapsed at his home in Belgium on Friday, the day after showing at the NEC in Birmingham. According to his owners, a postmortem examination revealed that beef cubes in Jagger’s stomach were the source of the poison.
Pit bull lovers gathered at the U.S. Capitol on Saturday for a demonstration against “breed-specific legislation” — laws that ban or otherwise restrict ownership of dogs by breed, most often aimed at pit bulls.
“Thank you for coming today,” shouted comedian Rebecca Corry, who organized the Million Pibble March — “pibble” being the affectionate name for pitties — on behalf of her dog Angel, who’d been severely abused by a previous owner.
“Today we are sending the message to legislators on the federal, state and local levels that killing and banning the victim is not and never will be OK, or the answer,” said Corry. “People trying to put an end to pit bull terriers live at a low level and need rescuing, too. Sadly, trying to reason with dumb is like asking a person with no arms to give you a hug.”
When every call of “Spot, come!” sends your dog running in the opposite direction, it’s easy to be cynical about how well canines listen. But a new study shows dogs and even puppies are capable of understanding subtle and indirect cues in human voices, a finding with implications for how dogs came to be deeply attuned to human behavior.
The study found that dogs of all shapes and sizes could home in on a treat based entirely on the direction in which a hidden human was speaking. Human babies can do the same, but our clever cousins the chimpanzees can’t, according to a 2012 study.
Not to brag, but we may have a little genius on our hands. Our 6-month-old is up before dawn playing brain games. She knows her way around an iPad and practically devours puzzles, and I’m teaching her to read. Just recently, she mastered an advanced chess toy.
It has been almost 10 years since Bashur the dog left a war zone in Iraq for a quiet home in the Chicago suburbs, and in that time, a lot has changed.
Once small enough to fit in the palm of the Army officer who rescued her from a life in the wild, she has grown to a 110-pound hulk. Once attuned to the faint noise of distant but rapidly approaching rockets, her radar now locks onto deer and foxes.
But one thing is still the same. Bashur remains a paragon of faithfulness — only now, the center of her world is the officer’s father, Hampshire car dealer John Fenzel.
“She’s a character,” Fenzel said the other day. “Not a lovey-dovey lap dog, but super loyal.”