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A Dog Is a Dog

Have you ever fallen in love with a specific dog breed? I have repeatedly, from the Irish setter over the back fence of my childhood home to the golden retriever who birthed my life dog. Then there was the smooth-coat collie followed by the standard poodle phase.

I have long loved border collies and cattle dogs. When I was between dogs, I pined for a McNab dog, a McCallum cowdog, and a Carolina dingo. And how I wanted a kelpie. I loved those pricked ears.

Two years ago at the Golden Gate Kennel Club dog show, I was all about the Nova Scotia duck tolling retrievers and wooed briefly by the velvety Thai ridgeback dog, a breed we’re spotlighting this month with help from Jeanine Burkart, a family breeder. 

But then a cute little husky mix, Wiley, stole my heart, and now I don’t look at purebreds the same way. I can argue both sides of the coin — why it’s better to adopt a shelter dog or why choosing a specific breed — with its generally associated characteristics — is the best choice for some. 

With my golden, I loved knowing everything about her — from babysitting her mother to meeting her father and cuddling her nine brothers and sisters who wore tiny ribbons at teeny-tiny littermates so we stupid humans could tell them apart. With my collie, a rescue, I would have appreciated knowing more about independence and sensitivity issues. And about barking tendencies.

We dog lovers have a way of overlooking certain things about our dogs. Sure, Wiley loves zoomies, husky spins, and singing a bit when she’s excited — annoying, all. But most of the time, she’s snoozing curled up in a ball near me or she’s wagging her tail coquettishly as she sploots in front of me.

I believe you get out of your dog what you put into her, no matter her breed. And truly what I find the older I get and the more dogs I love is that I can’t say I’ve ever met a dog I didn’t like. I love them all.

Main article photo by: Photo by Devid Do