Friday, February 1, 2013

Choosing Your Breed

One of the interesting and fun things about being a human-pup is choosing a breed for yourself.  The way my breed was chosen is kind of interesting.  About eight years ago I went to a Whippersnappers demo on “animal role-play.”  At the end of the formal presentation, the speaker asked if any volunteers wanted to come up and try it, and Whippersnapper-n-chief Andrew kindly volunteered me.  So the speaker asked the audience what kind of animal I was, and somebody (it may even have been Andrew, but I don’t recall) shouted back, “Irish wolfhound,” and immediately the whole room was like, “Yes, of course.”  (I’m rather tall, long-limbed, and have long, shaggy hair – it was a little more shaggy then, it’s now growing thinner… but I’m still young enough to attend Wippersnappers… for a couple of more years.)

Being a wolfhound soon became an integral part of my pup-identity.  Since then, I’ve learned that not all pups have a breed, and I’ve read of some (online) who say the breed they picture in their head varies w/ their mood. 

That said, all the pups I know personally have a breed which not only enhances their own headspace but also helps others interact w/ them.  By establishing a breed for yourself and making it part of your moniker, so to speak, you help cue others in on how to interact w/ you.  You can use identifying signs (I wear a wolfhound pin on my leather jacket and have a Celtic hound tattoo), gear (Sir Loki is a Saint Bernard, and he has a brandy cask that hangs from his collar), or clothing (our Dalmatian has a white T-shirt w/ black spots).  It’s also very natural around our pack to address one-another by breed: “Wolfhound, fetch!”  “What the hell is the beagle doing?” 

As far as choosing a breed, the way mine was chosen was very spontaneous, but then quite perfect.  If I were now sitting down to deliberately choose a breed for myself, I would think about on psychology and play-style.  Different breeds exhibit different personalities.  Decide if you’re a working dog, sporting dog, hound, herding dog, terrier, or toy dog.  There’s a list of breed categories at:

Each breed-type carries its own play-style.  Retrievers fetch; shepherds are always circling; scent hounds get into everything and are prone to wandering off; rotties like to wrestle... and sight hounds (like me) like to chase-down and pounce things (toys… other puppies… motorcycles… large cats... other puppies)

I’d also add: It’s a common practice for Owners to name their pups, but when it comes to selecting a breed, I think I would dialogue more about that and find something that feels right to puppy and Handler alike.  It has to match what you, as the pup, picture in your mind when you pup-out.  Or you could just ask a random crowed of people and see what someone shouts back.  It worked for me.

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