Monday, December 29, 2014


UPDATE:  AND THEN UPDATE AGAIN: Pope Francis says dogs go to heaven! Not exactly. Soon after he made the statement, conservative theologians came back saying he was only speaking conversationally. "Dog don't have souls hence have no place in heaven". Oh please.  Dog is God spelled backwards.

Will Rogers said, "If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went."

The Rogers family
Do dogs go to heaven?  Of course they do.  But if you're wondering which religions sanction the dog's eternal salvation, here's a list of answers.

  • Mormons? Yes.  Uh Oh. Watch out Mitt Romney.
  • Buddhists? It's complicated.
  • John Calvin, founder of Calvinism? Yes.
  • Martin Luther, founder of Lutheranism? Yes.  He had a number of lap dogs in his little itty bitty committee.
  • Hindus? All animals have souls. That's all they'll commit to.
  • Baptists?  No way (correction -one of my readers commented that it depends on the church.)
  • Buddhists? No.
  • Unitarians? Can't say.
  • Muslims? No.
  • Jews? Hedging their bets, but leaning toward not so much to maybe.
  • The Bible?  It depends on who's translating the text.
  • Protestants? There's is no biblical assurance that pets will be in heaven (see The Bible above.)
  • Catholics? No then yes, then no. See update above.

Saint Roch is the dog's patron saint. Read more about Saint Roch here.

And if your church believes that dogs go to heaven, let me know.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Doberman Pinscher History in Vintage Photos

"The Doberman Pinscher, one of the most important and distinctive of German terriers, is a large and handsome black-and-tan dog, of about the same weight as our Airedale. He is built and muscular, and his appearance signifies speed, strength, and endurance," wrote dog expert Robert Leighton in 1907.

These photos of "typical Dobermann Pinschers" circa 1900 are included in his book on page 504.

The breed was developed in the late 1890s by Louis Dobermann. 

Dobies today.

Dobermann, very early.
Today the breed name is spelled with only one "N", as in Doberman Pinscher.

First Chancellor of Germany, Otto Von Bismark, about 1890
Although these dogs resemble Dobies they are actually
Great Danes.

About 1940
Ear cropping is illegal in most of Europe although still
widely practiced in the US and parts of Canada.
Dr. Barkman says that the best ear is the one nature intended.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Ivermectin Sensitivity in Nine Herding Breeds

This is from an article I wrote for The Bark. You can read the entire piece, Deconstructing Gene Pools: Dr. Mark Neff and his team uncover the surprising origin of a potentially deadly mutation (The Bark, issue 34, Jan/Feb 2006).

“Recent research has shown that a single mutated gene, unnoticed for over a century, is responsible for sensitivity to several modern medicines. These adverse drug responses can cause illness or death in dogs that harbor the mutation, including nine herding breeds.”

The ubiquitous working collies and spaniels of Europe spawned a number of the breeds created during the prosperous, class-conscious Victorian era. In the age of upward mobility, those on the way up claimed many of the privileges of the upper class, including the luxury of breeding, showing and “creating” pedigreed animals.
Clockwise: Four of nine affected herding breeds with frequency of mutation:
Silken Windhound (17.9%), Long Haired Whippet 41.6%),
Miniature Aussie (25.9%), and Collie (highest frequency - 54.6%)
More than one-quarter of the world’s estimated 375 breeds were created between 1859, when the first dog show was held in the UK, and 1900, when Westminster and Crufts were well established; even the most subtle differences in weight or color were enough to allow registry of a new breed type. In many cases, the subdivision of farm dogs was an unintended consequence of competitive exhibition in dog shows.

Responding to the shows’ strict criteria for body type, size and color, breeders drew from an increasingly smaller number of founder populations to create dogs who conformed to these standards. Breeding closely related dogs to one another became a popular way to refine a breed, which today means a group of dogs with a common gene pool and characteristic appearance and function.
Unfortunately, the down-side of homozygosity (having two identical genes at a specific location on the DNA strand) can be disease and unsoundness. Partly as a consequence of this intense concentration on form, modern dogs suffer from more than 350 genetic illnesses, and today’s breeders bear the burden of restoring their lines to health.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Bull Terrier History in Vintage Photos

If you're reading this it's probably because you love Bull Terriers, but then again, who doesn't. 

In 1907, "eminent dog authority" Robert Leighton wrote in "The New Book of the Dog": The Bull-terrier is now a gentlemanly and respectably owned dog, wearing an immaculate white coat and a burnished silver collar; he has dealings with aristocracy, and is no longer condemned for keep bad company. But a generation or two ago [that would be about 1860]  he was commonly the associate of rogues and vagabonds, skulking at the heels of such members of society…" p 329.

The Bull-Terrier in 1900,
Source: Leighton's New Book of the Dog

The historical record remained, but the dog's shape didn't (nor did the hyphen in the name). Bull Terriers have been redefined over the last hundred years. The photos below show how much the skull has changed.

Breed standards from 1900 and 2014 describing the head.

It wasn't an abrupt change as these photos show.
About 1940

Detail 1940
Bull Terrier about 1960 - the egg shape skull is becoming more prominent
I wonder if any breeders are returning to the old standard.  If you have an old fashioned Bull Terrier send a photo to and I'll post it here.

Source: Wikipedia