“Who’s this shaggy little fellow? Why, it’s Yorkie, the Yorkshire Terrier!”
Though it may be small, the Yorkshire Terrier is the most aggressive breed of dog on Earth. Just as short people often attempt to compensate for inadequacies of stature by being extra assertive, so the Yorkie acts as if it truly believes it carries the threat of a far larger beast! Described by some as ‘yappy’ because of the tendency to bark all day long, the breed is happiest when it has something to gnaw on or chew – a rubber toy, for instance. These dogs like chocolate drops (perhaps a little too much!) but, contrary to popular opinion, dislike wearing bows, ribbons, bells, jewellery and other accessories as they have an independent and somewhat macho demeanour and find embellishments such as these unnecessary and humiliating. The breed is naturally possessed of a magnificent cobalt and gold coat which moults very little and is said to be hypoallergenic.
Due to the Yorkie’s size, not a great deal of walking is required: taking it for a quick spin around the block once or twice a week should be enough to blast away any cobwebs. Do be careful, however: this breed is susceptible to overfeeding and obesity can be a problem. In the event that your dog should begin to exhibit symptoms (e.g. an increase in size and/or weight), discontinue the use of choccie drops and other treats immediately and consult your vet about available treatments; these range from liposuction to stomach stapling.
Proud of their Yorkshire roots, these dogs love Wensleydale cheese and the region’s traditional folk song On Ilkla Moor Baht ‘at. They are good with children and old people and, whilst the majority are devout Christians, Scientology is an increasingly popular choice of faith. Famous Yorkshire Terriers include former White House resident Pasha (owned by Richard Nixon’s daughter, Tricia), Smoky, the heroic World War Two veteran, and popular Hollywood entertainer, Tom Cruise.
The German Shepherd possesses a fine lineage: every example can be traced back to a single dog, Horand von Grafrath (formerly Hektor Linksrhein). As the ‘shepherd’ part of the name indicates, these dogs were originally used for herding livestock. These days, however, most decide at an early age to abandon the profession in order to pursue careers with the police or the military. Accomplished at soccer when young, with a particular aptitude for penalty taking, the breed has an unfortunate susceptibility to Chronic Degenerative Radiculomyelopathy (CDRM), a progressive disease of the spinal cord which affects the hind legs, meaning they are often forced to retire from the game early.
German Shepherds are always born between December 23rd and January 18th, meaning they are Capricorns. As such they are very ambitious yet also family-oriented and therefore good with children. Fearsomely loyal, German Shepherds are highly territorial and make very efficient guard dogs, often killing intruders on sight and, if necessary, sacrificing their lives to protect their owners. They have excellent organizational abilities and a proven track record in the field of personal security. The breed’s somewhat cold, aloof personality can be deceptive, however: at heart, these dogs are ‘big softies’ who, in the evenings, like nothing more than to curl up in front of the fire with a good book! They have a refined taste in music, responding most favourably to Wagner’s Ring Cycle and the symphonies of Richard Strauss, and also enjoy ballet and contemporary dance.
The Skye Terrier is the most faithful breed of dog on the planet. In the nineteeth century, a Skye Terrier named Bobby stood guard at his deceased owner’s grave for a remarkable fourteen years! Unfortunately, when Bobby himself died at the end of his lengthy vigil it was not possible for him to be buried by his owner’s side at Greyfriars Kirkyard, Edinburgh as consecrated ground is not suitable for dogs and so he was buried just inside the gates of the cemetery instead. However, just as Bobby refused to forget his owner, so posterity refused to forget ‘Greyfriars Bobby’: a statue was later erected in the Scottish capital to commemorate the dog’s remarkable dedication and he has since been done the magnificent honour of having a Disney film named after him.
Generally speaking, the Skye Terrier makes a very good pet though it should be noted that, like the Scottie, the breed is highly suspicious of strangers. However, the dog’s temperament makes it an excellent choice for bachelors and spinsters, and both partners and children will be tolerated if introduced gradually over a period of time. Dignified and elegant, good examples are proportionally almost exactly twice as long as they are high. The luxurious coat is long and lush and subject to frequent moults: be prepared, this dog needs a lot of grooming!
Excessive in-breeding has sadly led to a situation whereby the dog is often born without eyes. The breed is always popularly portrayed as non-blind, however, in order not to scare small children. Dougal, a character from the popular 1960s animated televsion show The Magic Roundabout and another famous Skye Terrier, is always depicted with eyes yet at the same time portrayed as wandering around aimlessly or going round in circles in a state of frustrated confusion. In fact, this depiction does the breed no justice whatsoever for, even when born without eyes, the Skye has evolved advanced navigational capabilities not unlike those of the bat which allow it to manoeuvre its way out of danger effortlessly through the use of an inbuilt sonar system.
The Husky is familiar enough as the sled-pulling dog of Arctic expeditions, you might think, but how do they fare as pets? Badly, is the answer – unless you own an ice-rink, in which case you’re laughing, buster.
The Husky is essentially a wolf in dog’s clothing; that is, it is a wolf. As you might expect, then, the Husky’s tribal instinsts mean its natural condition is that of a pack member and in the evenings you’ll often find it howling at the moon. If you find yourself alone with one, you will be expected to behave exactly like the leader of the pack: the Alpha Wolf. This means sleeping on the floor, gnawing seal meat straight off the bone and never, ever letting your Husky eat before you do: if you let the act slip for even a second, it’s curtains.
Originally domesticated by the Chukchi people to pull sleds and herd reindeer, the breed is very hardy and used to living in an extremely cold climate. For this reason, many owners find an empty chest freezer makes an ideal bed. Children are not welcomed by this breed, but if you must keep them make sure they are well separated from the dog. However, if you’ve done your job as Alpha Wolf correctly, the kids can be safely pulled to school on a sled (or wheeled cart, for those living in the city). In fact, as the Husky is never happier than when towing something behind it (if correctly-trained, they’ll literally keep going until they die from exhaustion), you’ll find you never need to pay to travel to work again!
The Afghan Hound originated in Afghanistan, where it was bred to hunt hares and gazelle. The breed is characterized by its splendorous, luxuriant coat and extremely small brain (comparable in size to that of the pigeon). The limited intellectual capacities of this dog are such that it will often ignore relatively simple commands for no apparent reason. Tests have revealed extensive beating to have no effect in terms of increasing compliance, and attempting to housebreak the breed can prove very frustrating: in the early 1990s, an owner in Los Angeles was driven to take his own life.
Extremely fast runners, these dogs will easily outpace the quickest of other breeds, however hunting can be a problem as Afghans frequently forget why they are chasing their intended prey and lose interest. In fact, and in spite of their heritage, these dogs are most at home with a brush and an easel. Whilst the quality of their work leaves a lot to be desired, the therapeutic benefits of artistic endeavour for this most misunderstood of breeds are manifold, with many owners reporting an immediate improvement in temperament and even coat lustre once their pets have been provided with suitable equipment with which to express themselves. Fond of improvisational jazz, the Afghan Hound favours the beret when it comes to attire.
The Scottish Terrier (or ‘Scottie Dog’) is a fiercely independent breed: proud, wilfull and stubborn. They are very loyal but do not like young children, strangers or other dogs. Bold and assertive, this dog needs a firm hand: owners lacking in confidence will soon find themselves handing over complete control of their affairs to their pets (it is worth mentioning here that whilst the Scottie has a reputation for being good with finances, in truth the breed possesses no greater acumen in this field than any other type of dog).
When leading healthy, active lives, Scottish Terriers can be expected to live for 12-14 years. However, the dog’s diet needs constant monitoring: if left to its own devices the Scottie will choose to eat only deep fried and processed foods, with excess salt, refined sugar and zero vegetables. The Scottie also likes a drink and often smokes to excess and this, in combination with dietary factors, can lead to a susceptibility to coronary heart disease. The Scottie should never be allowed to wander the streets alone as, over time, this can result in heroin addiction.
The Chinese Crested Dog does not actually originate from China but from America. The creation of two elderly spinsters in their Manhattan basement laboratory, the Chinese Crested comes in two varieties: the hairless and the hairy. The use of moisturiser and UV protection are essential elements of the daily skin care routine of the hairless variety and many employ personal dermatologists.
The breed is highly strung and neurotic, requiring constant attention and frequently bursting into tears. The hairless variety keeps a large wardrobe for winter but generally goes naked during the summer months, though some wear hats and little boots. These dogs are automobile fanatics, and most own a vintage or classic model of some kind, with Cadillac Eldorados and Oldsmobile Supers being particular favourites. Whilst, on the whole, they are generally very capable drivers their fiery temperament can make them susceptible to road rage.
The Bedlington Terrier was originally bred for its meat and fleece in the rural county of Staffordshire, England. Up until the early nineteenth century a small number were also milked and a sour-tasting cheese produced. Even today, despite the Bedlington being a protected breed, these dogs have a relatively short life expectancy (three to five years) due to being mistakenly culled as lambs.
Built not unlike the Greyhound or Whippet, the Bedlington can accelerate from 0-60 in an impressive 4.8 seconds. They have a top speed of around one hundred and forty miles per hour and the unique carbon fibre construction of their legs means they possess superb handling capabilities, being able to turn on a sixpence even when running at high speed. Such attributes make the Bedlington an excellent choice for hunting vermin and it is not unheard of for unsavoury characters and unscrupulous sorts to use them for (illegal) badger baiting.
Bedlington Terriers are highly intelligent, and many have written works of great worth. Good with children, these dogs make fine family pets and wonderfully faithful companions. However, whilst they are generally happy in the role of humble servant to mankind, many secretly harbour dreams of working in television, where they hope to emulate the success of the most famous Bedlington Terrier of all time, Sweep (co-star of The Sooty Show).
Originally a Hungarian herding dog introduced by the Magyars and possessed of a short, straight and impeccably-groomed coat, the Puli turned its back on Western society in the 1930s (henceforth referring to it as ‘Babylon’) and formed a religious sect based around the worship of the Ethiopian Emperor, Haile Selassie (sometimes referred to as ‘Jah’). Around the same time, the Puli developed its characteristic thick black dreadlocks and took to smoking marijuana (‘ganja’), considering this to be a sacred act. At Puli religious meetings the dogs tend to refer to themselves and to each other as ‘I and I’, preferring this term of address to the more conventional ‘I’, ‘you and I’ or the even more conventional ‘woof.’ Ganja is smoked in massive quantites and the Bible is consulted for references to Africa and ‘erb.’
The Puli’s favourite musicians are Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Steel Pulse and Burning Spear. Every Puli is obligated at least once in their lifetime to make a pilgrimage to Trenchtown, Jamaica to pay reverence to the origins of the reggae sound. These dogs will refuse to eat pork, favouring vegetables and sometimes fish instead (though shellfish is never consumed). Despite its smoking habits, the breed is an extremely acrobatic one, and the Puli is the only dog in the world capable of pulling off a perfect triple back somersault. These dogs are possessed of very sunny, optimistic dispositions and many believe that, blessed by Jah, they are destined to live forever.
The Chihuahua is the smallest dog in the world: at two inches high they are even smaller than the Corgi. These tiny Mexican dogs thrive on a diet of chocolate, beans and chilli but are possessed of very slight appetites and, in an emergency situation, can survive for up to two months on a single grain of rice. The breed has disproportionately large ears and extremely sensitive hearing and responds very favourably to classical music, occasionally descending into rapture. Available in both long and short haired varieties, the Chihuahua possesses a very quiet bark that is often inaudible to the human ear and similar in tone to the squeak of a mouse.
The Chihuahua has quite a penchant for celebrity owners: Marylin Monroe, Paris Hilton, Mickey Rourke, Madonna and Ozzy Osbourne have all owned one of these lovable little dogs! However, the breed is a somewhat jealous one: the Chihuahua will attempt to bite children on sight and for this reason is not suitable as a family pet. Potential owners should also be aware that these dogs must be carried at all times as their legs are simply too spindly to carry their weight. This, together with the dog’s size, makes the Chihuahua the perfect breed for wheelchair-bound animal lovers.
The Miniature (or Toy) Chihuahua is an even smaller breed than the standard model, measuring just one inch at the shoulder. This variety has unfortunately been hunted almost to the point of extinction due to demand for the dogs in Guatemala, where, deep fried and served in a sweet burrito with chocolate sauce, they are considered a delicacy.