Hoorah for all-American dogs

Americans love their dogs, no matter where their canine companions originated. We love Canadian Newfoundland dogs and Labrador retrievers, German Pomeranians and poodles (yes, poodles originated in Germany, not France) and Irish setters and wolfhounds, to name only a few.

You may wonder which dogs are “made in the USA.” Well, from what I could find online, there are over 50 breeds who got their start here. Because of space limitation, I can’t discuss all of them, so I’m picking my three favorites of truly American dogs. Two are recognized as purebreds by the American Kennel Club (AKC), and one is not.

My first favorite is “The White Cavalier” or “American Gentleman” (aka the Boston terrier), who came upon the scene shortly after the Civil War in, of course, Boston. A cross between a bulldog and the white English terrier, the AKC recognized this pooch as a distinct breed in 1893. The Boston terrier, a friendly and lively dog, has an excellent disposition and is highly intelligent, which provides just-about-perfect companionship.

Next in my list is “The Ratter” (aka the rat terrier), a true melting-pot American dog because his ancestors are a big mix of various terriers, beagles, whippets and Italian greyhounds. Probably for this reason, rat terriers are not included in AKC membership.

However, this little “workhorse” has long been a boon to farmers and ranchers by controlling rats and other varmints. In fact, this canine was the most common farm dog from 1910 through the 1930s. Loyal, active, playful, intelligent and trainable, this pooch loves his two-legged pack members but may be shy with strangers.

Last (but not least) is “The Nanny Dog” (aka the wrongly maligned American Staffordshire terrier). Usually referred to as a pit bull, this breed first arrived on American shores around 1870. Although related to the English Staffordshire bull terrier, because breeders increased the dog’s weight and developed a larger head, the AKC recognized this dog as a separate breed in 1936. With the right kind of owners, Am Staffs make great pets and are very protective of their two-legged pack.

To whatever breed you are drawn please do your homework. If you’re a couch potato, don’t choose a high-energy breed (like a border collie). If your living quarters are small, don’t choose a big dog (like a mastiff). If you don’t have the time or inclination to brush your furry pal at least three or four times a week, don’t choose an especially furry/longhaired dog (like an Afghan hound). These considerations only start the questioning process of what breed of dog to choose.

At CAPS, although we sometimes take in purebreds, most of our guests are mixed breeds, and we just adore them! Mutts, curbstone setters, Heinz 57s, whatever you want to call them, often make the very best family pets. Check out who is available for adoption at our website (www.capsnv.org), and perhaps you will find your next best friend.

In other notes, please stop by and see us tomorrow at Walmart where we’ll have our usual goodies for sale. We’ll be there from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., as will Ki the Kissing Pooch, a former shelter guest who is our most-devoted four-legged volunteer.

Next, we are still seeking items for our garage sale on Sept. 19–20. CAPS volunteers will again be at Taylor Place Storage (at 1105 Taylor Place, the street next to Walmart), unit 82A, from 9-11 a.m. tomorrow (and on Aug. 23) to receive your donations.

Can’t make it on those dates, are housebound or have items too big to handle? All you need to do is call Rita Hand, and she will schedule a pickup for you (home: 775-423-6346; cell: 775-427-3376). Should Rita not immediately take your call, please leave a message, and she will return your call as soon as she can.

Lastly, time is running out to buy raffle tickets for a 15-gallon stunning sycamore tree valued at $89.99! This shade-giving tree is Flower Tree Nursery’s latest contribution to CAPS, for which we are always grateful. Tickets are $1 each or six for $5, and all proceeds directly benefit our shelter guests. The drawing will be held on Labor Day at Flower Tree, and you don’t have to be present to win.

This week’s article was contributed by Betty Duncan, a CAPS volunteer.


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