Saturday, June 09, 2007

Law & Order: Special Varieties Unit

So, Bermondsey and I went to the puppy park yesterday, and we met a border terrier. As you may recall, we had some idea that Bermondsey might be part border terrier--based on seeing the movie "Good Dog," which starred such a breed, and because as we were in puppy kindergarten we met someone who owned border terriers and who greeted Bermondsey saying "there's a puppy with some border terrier in him!"

However, as time has passed, I am coming to think this is wrong. The one we saw yesterday at the puppy park was a stocky little dude--barrel bodied with short and sturdy little legs and wiry hair. By contrast, Bermondsey has a scrawny little chest, long legs out of proportion to his body, and soft and almost downy fur. As I have run across Lhasa Apsos as well, their legs are much shorter than Bermondsey's are. So, the forensic reconstruction (see! It's the "Law and Order" theme!) is suspect.

"Look, Sargent, that theory won't hold up in court--any competent defense attorney will open those holes and drive truckloads of 'reasonable doubt' through it. Border terriers are a relatively rare breed: especially here in Minnesota. Lhasa Apsos aren't that common either. So, given that the defendant in question was a stray, found in a rural area--are you prepared to prove the existence of both those unusual breeds in that area, living closely enough to each other to achieve unauthorized reproduction?

"Anyway, it would just take a halfway decent dog breed judge to assess the defendant and pronounce him as incompatible with the modus operandi of the alleged breeds. We need a new theory, Sargent, and fast! The judge is not going to give us a continuance for lack of a good case."

Then, yesterday, while researching something quite different, I came upon these pictures:

This is a new "breed:" what used to be called just "mutts" but are now known as "designer dogs." This is the "Shih Chon," a cross between a shih tzu and a bichon, pronounced "shee shawn." I'm no official dog judge, but these are two breeds that are much more common here. Bichon frises also have longer legs and softer hair than the Lhasas and terriers.

I think these little male puppies look just like Bermondsey must have as a six week old: according to the breeder, they roll over for tummy rubs whenever someone passes by--very much like my own little guy.

This older dog has some of the contradictory gravitas and fluffy cuteness that is the hallmark of our little guy.

So--when people ask (and they do ask! This is really one winsome little dog!) what kind of dog he is, I think I'll go with the Shih Chon--but I'll explain it.


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