Archive for the ‘history of dogs’ Category
Monday, October 5th, 2009
The Airedale Terrier is one of the largest terrier type breeds, and the largest among those originating in Britain. However, Airedales bred for dog shows are often much smaller. The Airedale has a medium-length double-layered coat with a soft undercoat underneath a coarse, wiry topcoat. The coat is most often black around the back and sides of the dog, with tan around the head, legs and tail. The tail is sometimes docked shortly after birth, although this practise has been made illegal in Britain.
The Airedale Terrier was originally bred in the late 1800′s, and is most likely a cross between smaller Terrier breeds and a larger hunting dog known as the Otterhound. Like the Otterhound before it, the Airedale became popular among hunters. However, unlike Terriers before them who were often accompanied by a pack of Bloodhounds, and expected to enter the dens and burrows of prey after the Bloodhounds had sniffed them out, Airedales became more of a jack-of-all trades breed capable of both sniffing out and taking down larger animals. As well as being efficient hunting dogs, the size and temperament of the breed suited it well to work as a guard dog on British farms. During the the First World War, Airedales were used to deliver messages during battle. Later, they were also given the task of finding and retrieving wounded soldiers from the front lines. After seeing the impressive work of Belgian Malinois police protection dogs in Belgium, Airedales were also adopted into British police forces. However, they were later replaced by the German Shepherd as the most common breed used for police work. During the 1930s, American breeders in Ohio developed what is known as the Oorang strain of Airedale Terrier. Bred to be larger and sturdier than previous Airedales, an attempt was made to market the Oorang as “the greatest utility dog in the history of the world.” The kennel closed and breeding of Oorangs ended in 1970 upon the death of its creator, Walter Lingo. However, some kennels still claim to produce original Oorang Airedale Terriers today.
Today, the Airedale Terrier is still an impressive breed. However, they have mostly been replaced by other breeds for work as security dogs or police dogs, and their role as a hunting breed is now largely obsolete.
Friday, September 25th, 2009
The German Pinscher is a lean, muscular dog of medium size. It has a short coat that is most commonly black with tan markings, although red, blue and fawn varieties exist. The breed is thought to be a descendant of early European herding and guard dogs, and shares a common lineage with other Pinscher types breeds such as the Doberman. Also, common to Pinscher breeds, is the practise of cropping the dog’s ears and docking its tail. The resulting pointed ears and stubby tail are supposed to improve the dog’s localized hearing, and prevent the tail from interfering with the dog’s work. However, the discomfort caused by such procedures has caused these practises to be banned in some countries. Dogs with cropped ears or a docked tail are also sometimes barred from participating in dog shows.
Traditionally, the breed’s primary working role was to hunt rats and vermin on German farms. Some German Pinschers are still kept as ratters today, but most are simply house pets. Owners keeping them as house pets should keep in mind that they retain the instinct to hunt vermin, and will attempt to do so if left off-lead. German Pinschers are also very watchful and somewhat territorial. They often make good watch dogs. However, their temperament and size prevent them from becoming effective protection dogs or security dogs.
The German Pinscher was a rare breed outside of Europe. Following the Second World War, the breed nearly vanished as many German dogs succumbed to famine in the years following the war. In the 1950s, Werner Jung, the supervisor of the Pinscher and Schnauzer Club in Germany, revived the breed from its few remaining survivors. Unfortunately, due to the limited gene pool from which the breed was revived, many German Pinschers suffer from a variety of hereditary diseases such as cataracts, hip and elbow displaysia, and cardiac disease. Today, the breed is uncommon in North America, but is slowly gaining in popularity. Many German Pinschers are now bred in Australia, and exported to kennels around the world.
Monday, September 7th, 2009
Many of today’s herding breeds, including the German Shepherd, Dutch Shepherd and Belgian Malinois, have only been established in the past couple centuries. However, the use of working dogs on farms and ranches has been in place for thousands of years. Evidence suggests that the first herding dogs were in use as far back as the neolithic age. Shepherds needed a more efficient way of transporting large herds. As sheep and goats were natural prey for wild dogs, humans were able to train them, and adapt their hunting instincts into herding behavior. Dogs were also trained to protect the livestock from other predators. While many herding dogs now perform both herding and guarding, they were originally seen as very distinct roles and different breeds were adapted to suit each one. Dogs were often bred in small communities, and as a result, breeds varied greatly between them, even within the same country. However, many of today’s most popular breeds owe their lineage to these working dogs such as the Border Collie, the Bouvier des Flandres, the Welsh Corgi, and the German Shepherd.
The act of herding can be performed in several ways. Traditionally, dogs were only trained to herd in one way, but herding dogs today are able to employ a variety of techniques. The act of nipping at the hooves of an animal is an effective way of driving the livestock and pushing it forward. Another technique is for the dog to run up ahead of the herd and stare it head-on. This technique, known as heading, causes the herd to stop or change direction. All of these techniques are an extension of the dog’s natural hunting behavior. Through careful breeding and training, the dogs are able to perform the tasks in response to a whistle or spoken word. Of course, the dogs are also trained not to injure the livestock in any way.
Many herding breeds today have found new roles as household pets, or new work as protection dogs and guard dogs. Australia is one of the few places in the world that still produces dogs intended for herding. Breeds such as the Australian Koolie and the Australian Kelpie are widely sought-after for their herding abilities.
Friday, July 24th, 2009
Humans and dogs share a long history together. Of course, as much as human history has had it’s gruesome moments, the history of dogs has shared those moments with us. Some of the first roles of dogs in the military were as guard dogs in the armies of the ancient empires. The Huns trained giant Molossian dogs for use in battle, the Britons outfitted their mastiffs in spiked collars and chain mail, and the Romans formed platoons of attack dogs to use against infantry and cavalry. From the Egyptians, to the Greeks, to the Persians, it could be said that every great empire of the ancient world included dogs in their armies. Of course, as technology improved, and firearms become common-place on the battlefield, the role of dogs as attackers in the military became obsolete. Since then, countries have made attempts to include dogs in offensive military roles with limited success. The Soviet Union made attempts to train dogs to deliver explosive payloads to the under-sides of German tanks. Of course, the chaos of the modern battlefield, the inability for their dogs to distinguish between German and Russian tanks, and the ultimate demise of the dog upon detonation of the explosives all contributed to the end of this practice.
The roles of modern military working dogs, as well as the breeds used, lend themselves to the emergence of dogs as messengers, sentries and scouts. The use of messenger-dogs during the Seven Years’ War, guard dogs for the French navy during the 1770s, and the increased use of canine abilities to hunt and track snipers has led to a focus on intelligence and dexterity over raw power. While descendants of the original Mastiff breeds used by ancient Britons still perform guard and tracking duties in military and police roles today, the German Shepherd has enjoyed it’s place among the top breeds for military working dogs since the early 1900s. Originally bred in Germany for their intelligence, they quickly gained popularity throughout Europe, and even in America. However, the Germans continued to not only breed more intelligent and capable German Shepherds, but also German Shepherd puppies who were more capable of beginning training at a young age. Throughout the course of the Second World War, German military dogs, trained as early as five or six months old, easily outclassed dogs used by the allies. The reputation of German military dogs was so great that it prompted the US to begin what was known as the “Million-Dollar Dog Program” in an attempt to match the superiority of the military dogs used by the Germans. Soon after, the war ended, as did the Million-Dollar Dog program. However, both the German breeds as well as the practice of beginning training at five to six months has continued on in today’s military working dogs.
Friday, June 26th, 2009
The focus of CCK9 has always been on providing elite, executive German Shepherd, Belgian Malinois and Dutch Shepherd protection dogs for sale. Frequently, I receive calls and emails asking exactly what the difference is. A hundred years ago, not so many differences. Now? They are a breed unto their own.
We’ll focus on the Dutch Shepherd in this post and in the coming weeks the other varieties will be detailed (promise).
Dutch Shepherds have been distinguished from the other varieties of working line shepherds in a relatively short period of time, a little over a hundred years. Originally used by human shepherds to herd, guard and defend flocks of sheep on the flat fields of Holland, they were prized for their workability and guard drive.
The late nineteenth century brought a reduction in the amount of sheep herds in Holland and therefore a loss of work for shepherds and their Dutch Shepherd dogs alike. Interest started to develop in owning and showing these highly intelligent dogs and the Nederlandse Herdershonden Club (Dutch Shepherd Dog Club) was formed as a result. Early members included founders of the K.N.P.V.
Attention started to be paid toward creating standards for the breed, including color, coat length, bone density and size. Formal breeding practices evolved to produce dogs that met the criteria. “Undesirable” traits, especially pertaining to coloration, were bred out as much as possible. As a result, Dutch Shepherds became more common in appearance.
Traits that have always been a part of the Dutch Shepherds’ genetic makeup include a high degree of intelligence, adaptability, courage and natural born guard drive. With the proper training foundation, they make excellent protection dogs. Also great with children, they love to socialize and especially exercise with their handler.
I do not receive as many requests for Dutch Shepherds but a small percentage of my clientele insist on owning nothing but. One of my clients has four CCK9 Dutch Shepherds and claims that they are more watchful and alert than her human bodyguards.
Versatile, beautiful and most of all protective, Dutch Shepherds have proven themselves to be among the best of the working line shepherds. CCK9 only breeds or imports the cream of the crop; please contact us if you have any questions.
Wednesday, April 29th, 2009
On a recent trip to Italy, I had the opportunity to visit the town of Pompeii. As you probably remember, this Roman town was buried in a volcanic eruption during the first century AD. The lava has been cleared away and the remaining town is remarkably intact. Many of the houses still remain, most with floor and wall mosaics depicting scenes or patterns. In the entrance of the first house I entered was an intact floor mosaic depicting a large black dog on a chain. The Latin inscription read “Beware of the Dog”. Several other homes had the same mosaic depicting a guard dog in their front entrance. Obviously, dogs played an important role as protector in the Roman culture. Most unfortunate, there was also a cast of a dog that had lost its life in the eruption.
Dogs have been an integral part of human history since they were first domesticated during the Paleolithic age. The earliest evidence of a dog helping a human was found in a cave in France. Prints and other evidence dated 26,000 years ago indicate that a child, holding a torch and accompanied by a dog, navigated the corridors of the cave. This is the earliest evidence known of what could be described as a guide dog.
Dogs have received the most esteem for the roles they have played in war, both in history and more recently. The Egyptians, Greeks and Persians built entire battalions of dogs suitable for combat. The mural depicting the Battle of Marathon celebrates a protection dog at the side of his or her master, engaging the invading Persians without hesitation. The Romans apparently never left home without their canine warriors; each legion was assigned its own company entirely made up of dogs. Napoleon, centuries later, sent his dogs into battle first.
Dogs’ loyalty to their handlers has been capitalized on throughout history. A discreet method of exchanging communications before phones became available, a dog with loyalty to two handlers would be sent from one to the other carrying messages. In addition to conveying information, loyal dogs have been trusted with dragging fallen soldiers to safety and transporting loads across great distances.
In the past, dogs were sent into battle wearing chainmail and a spiked collar. Warfare has changed, but even today they serve the same heroic function- only dressed in Kevlar. Dogs serving a variety of functions are not absent from current engagements in the Middle East. Mostly used for explosive detection and patrol, German Shepherds are utilized though Belgian Malinois and Dutch Shepherds are increasingly becoming more popular.
Canines have helped humans, and vice versa, for many thousands of years. As companions, protectors, and heroes their importance cannot only be seen in the past but will, for a long time, be valued in the future.
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