Roger Meyers – “Your honour, you take away our right to steal ideas, where are they gonna come from? Her?”
Marge Simpson: “Uh, hmm…how about ‘Ghost Mutt?”
I love dogs. When I see someone with some hefty, dumb-looking hound at their heel I feel the same broody pangs that I imagine those ladies that can’t have kids and pilfer a baby feel. That’s not to say I’m in the demented frame-of-mind to womb-raid a puppy from a heavily pregnant bitch, but yes, I am broody for dog ownership. Not for reasons of security, or a need for company, but simply because they amuse me so much in all their leap-around, slobbery glory, from the rat-faced faintly effeminate Chihuahua, a brilliant zip file of a beast, to the St. Bernard, with its deceptively dignified look pushing owners towards giving it an old man name rather than something daft. Apart from Cujo. But with a peculiar name like that, he was destined to turn out bad, whether a bat bit him or not. Wouldn’t have happened with an old man name.
Even after being weaned on films like ‘Cujo’ and Sam Fuller’s underrated ‘White Dog’, which unlike the former’s rabid lunacy, featured a misguided hound, I want a dog. The only exception to the dog gone bad list is oddball 1989 French flick ‘Baxter’, in which the titular terrier is genuinely malevolent until he meets his match with a psycho child. There’s no kindness at the core of that mutt.
Dogs are a leveller of man, from a colossal vet bill of a Barbour accessory that is a pedigree gun dog, to the mongrel loyally accompanying a Big Issue vendor. Everyone loves a dog. The appeal’s universal regardless of breed. Well, except those who find them a little scary, meaning they get jumped on twice as much, given the canine perception of who’s going to be the most fun in the room. But given my time from home from work duties, and aversion to pre 7am wakeups of any kind, and a number of extremely chewable collections in my possession, now isn’t the time to be entering the realm of dog ownership on the grounds of my inability to give one an excellent quality of life.
Some have suggested cats. They’re fun, but their blank-faced malevolance and the knowledge that they’d slaughter me for fun if they were eight times bigger is an ownership aversion. So for the time being, I’ll hold off. At least there’s dogs out there that no one can own. Why? Because they’re extinct. I can’t have ’em, you can’t have ’em. And whereas the current population status of the mighty orangutan, the ‘old man of the forests’ saddens me a great deal, I don’t grieve for the absence of these ten fine looking breeds, some written off on the basis that the Kennel Club has seen no new registrations in decades, and some only seen in illustrations and written accounts, as their tail-wagging DNA may well have seeped into your common garden cross breed.
I want to run up on a dog show dragged by one of each of these M.I.A. motherfuckers. I’m a huge fan of the Moscow Water Dog, trained for water rescue, but flawed by the fact they preferred biting drowning people to recuing them, but pictures are few and far between. In its place, the Happa, with its Jabba The Hutt features was chosen. The Molossus is the Mastiff’s ancestor, and was a war dog breed with a fearsome reputation. On a less fearsome working dog note, the Turnspit was a short-legged dog bred specifically to run on a wheel and turn a spit to cook meat evenly. Because of shift work, according to the unreliable Wikipedia, it could be the source of the saying, “every dog has its day.”
TAHITAN BEAR DOG
ST JOHN’S WATER DOG
OLD ENGLISH BULLDOG
CORDOBA FIGHTING DOG
BRAQUE DU PUY