2015-04-08 / Columnists

Pets, Pets, Pets

Pointers are not named after the Pointer Sisters nor Shepherds after the actress Cybil. Most dog breed names reflect the specific dog’s purpose (Pointer), place of origin (Newfoundland) or both (Chesapeake Bay Retriever). However, certain breeds were given names in honor of the person who helped develop the breed or after an historical figure. Twelve breeds that derived their name from people are:

*Doberman Pinscher: The first reference in 1863 was “Thurgian Pinscher” changed to “Doberman Pinscher” in 1889 after the death of Louis Dobermann Karl Friedrich who was a German tax collector. He developed this specific type of dog because he needed protection from robbers when collecting taxes from citizens. He crossed Rottweilers, Black and Tan Terriers and German Pinschers to produce the Doberman. Perhaps Greyhounds and Weimaraners were also used in refining the breed. Dobermans were first introduced to dog shows in their native land in 1897, and then recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1908. It’s uncertain when the second “n” was dropped from the spelling of “Dobermann.”


“Scarlet” the Plott mix puppy is paralyzed, possibly due to abuse. “Scarlet” the Plott mix puppy is paralyzed, possibly due to abuse. *Gordon Setter is named for the fourth Duke of Gordon and the sixth Duke of Gordon in Scotland. They both preferred black and tan setters, the model for today’s breed. During the 1820’s, the Dukes began establishing the physical traits and field ability of the present breed, In the 19th century, there were vague distinctions between Gordon, English and black and tan setters. I believe that the sole remaining pet tombstone at Belmont Lake where the family mansion used to stand belongs to “Robin” a Gordon Setter that August Belmont Jr. entered in the first Westminster of 1887 as both a Gordon and English Setter. “Robin” probably had some white on his black and tan. Belmont could get away with this double-dipping because at the time show dogs did not have AKC registration numbers.

*Jack Russell, Parson Russell and Russell Terrier: Reverend Jack Russell, like many Englishmen during the mid 1800s, enjoyed fox hunting. He developed a terrier breed with the stamina to run alongside horses and capable of going to ground (when hounds drove a fox into a hole, the dog would drive it back out into the open so the hunt could continue). It all began in 1819 when the parson purchased a female white and tan terrier named “Trump” from a milkman. She became the foundation for these new terrier breeds. Parson Russell Terriers, rather than Jack Russells, became the AKC recognized name in 1997, while Russell Terriers were AKC recognized in 2012. All three breeds were named after the Reverend.

*Treeing Walker Coonhound: For generations, the Walker family refined this hunting hound that traces back to two fox hounds- “Rifler” and a pregnant “Marth”- imported from England in 1857 by William Jason Walker in Kentucky. Treeing Walkers continue to be discarded, shot or starved in rural areas when their hunting skills are not up to par. Last Hope in Wantagh has rescued scores of stunning Treeing Walkers (and Beagles) from overcrowded shelters in Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia.

*Plotts: They are the official state dog of North Carolina. Plotts, unlike most hunting hounds in the US, were not developed from fox hounds. Their ancestors were imported to America from Germany by the Plott family in the mid-1700s. Henry Plott moved to western N. Carolina around 1800 and brought five red Hanoverian scent hounds, a type of Bloodhound with him. In southern Appalachia, Plott and his family fine-tuned the breed by mixing the German imports with local hounds and curs to develop the running, baying and treeing type that we know today. The AKC recognized Plotts in 2006. These hounds too are discarded when not good hunters. Last Hope currently has Plott mix pups in foster care from a litter where Mom is a Plott; Dad is a coonhound. The callous owner threatened to shoot the puppies. “Scarlet” one of the puppies is paralyzed. She has a suspicious scar that looks as if a wire were wrapped tightly around her chest. Her vet tech foster Mom is taking her for various types of physical therapy in hopes of regaining some mobility. Scarlet is too young yet to determine if she is a candidate for spinal surgery.

*Boykin Spaniel: The precursor of today’s Boykin was a small, stray spaniel that befriended a banker walking to church in South Carolina around 1905. After the dog called “Dumpy” showed aptitude for retrieving, the banker sent “Dumpy” to his friend and hunting partner- Whit Boykin-who experimented with crossbreeding different breeds to create this spaniel.

*Cavalier King Charles Spaniel: This breed was the favorite of Charles II of England who issued a decree allowing Cavaliers access to all public places including Parliament.

*St. Bernard: Saint Bernard of Aosta (c. 996–c. 1081?) founded guest houses at two dangerous passes in the Alps, known both for their hospitality as well as the specially trained dogs that he and the other monks often used to rescue travelers. Both passes (Great and Little St. Bernard) were named after him, along with the breed of rescue dogs.

*Keeshond refers to “Kees” the nickname for Cornelius De Gysalear, a Dutch painter during the time of the French Revolution. The breed became a symbol of the Dutch middle class that often followed the artist.

*Dandie Dinmont Terrier: This short, scruffy terrier is named after a fictional farmer in Walter Scott’s book Guy Mannering (1814), even though the breed, adept at chasing fox and otter, already existed.

For Adoption at Babylon Shelter (643-9270) Lamar St. Babylon: Adorable “Allie” 15-169 is a wirehaired mix that seems to enjoy everyone’s company, while “Virgil” 5-99 is a handsome, semi-longhaired tabby who lost his home because his disabled owner can no longer care for him.

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