Tuesday, November 20, 2007

She's certainly feisty enough ...

funny face

Everywhere I take Pinky people ask, "What is she?" I always want to say "She's a dog, duh," but I can't bring myself to be rude to people (darn my upbringing!). I just say I have no idea and then politely endure people's speculation. I wish I had a dollar for every time people said "I bet she has Lab in her," because so many people say it, although I'm pretty darn there's no lab whatsoever in this pup. People just want her to fit into their taxonomy of known dog breeds, and everyone knows "lab." It's starting to look like terrier is definitely the dominant component of Pinky's mix. She's likely going to be compact: At 12 weeks she weighs 9.6 lbs (contrast that to the 20-25 lbs. a lab would weigh at 12 weeks).

Although assigning a label to Pinky doesn't concern me too much, a couple of weeks ago I began to suspect that maybe Pinky does fit a category: she's starting to seem a lot like a feist. They're very common here in NC (and throughout the South), they show up a lot in shelters and rescues, and it's not unheard of them for people to give them away (an agility friend's boyfriend got a great little "free to good home" feist puppy a few months ago). I believe my mom's little dog, Edy, who had been found wandering the streets of Eden, NC, is a feist or feist mix.

It's sort of hard to say Pinky "looks" like a feist because there is a huge variation in feist looks--most people breed them to hunt squirrels or raccoons, not to win beauty contests, so who really cares exactly how the ears are set or how wide the muzzle is? The breed is UKC recognized, however, just in case someone is itching to prance one around the ring, but the standard is very broad: all colors are acceptable, height ranges between 10 to 18 inches and weight ranges between 12 and 30 pounds. I've recently spent way too much time online looking at photos of feists and feist puppies, comparing and contrasting Pinky to the pups in the pictures. Along the way I hit on the mother lode of feist photos: Galla Creek Feist--Squirrel Hunting Dog Photo Gallery. I see lots of resemblance (coloring notwithstanding) between Pinky and pups like Snap, Jessie, Lil Bit (especially here ) and Mississippi Saddie Bell, among others.

I've always liked the feists I've met (and I absolutely love the name "feist"!), and I had often considered looking for a feist when I was "ready" for my next dog (back when I actually thought I was going to "plan" my next dog acquisition as opposed to having it be something that just happened. Ha!). So maybe thinking Pinky is a feist is really just wishful thinking or my imagination running away with me. And now I'm wondering, if she ends up being feistlike as an adult, should I just say that's what she is? I know someone who has her Missisippi shelter dog registered in agility as a feist because, hey, it looks like a feist! It's not like NAFA, USDAA, NADAC, etc. want proof. Or should I go ahead and register her with the various venues as a mixed-breed, in the hopes that whatever greatness we managed to achieve in the future will be a testament to the fact that MUTTS RULE? (For the record I should note that in the eyes of the hard-core AKC stiffs a feist IS just a mutt ... unless someday they figure they can make some much needed cash off of feist registrations, of course, in which case the feist will suddenly become a noble and venerable old breed with a proud history.)

Anyway, what I'm really hoping is that Pinky will end up being under 16", because I don't want to play with the Border Collies in USDAA. At 12 weeks she's 10" tall, which seems to be putting her around medium-sized sheltie range, according to these charts.


Elayne said...

She looks like a Bo-Jack to me but it's hard to tell from a photo.

I've always thought of feists as a terrier type mutt but what do I know. If she looks like one when she’s grown I'd register her as one not just because the name is cool but also it will help you at the gate if you have something more descriptive than All Breed. I registered Lola as a mutt though she looks very close to being a purebred BC (and she might be for all I know) and when she was in Novice it caused all sorts of confusion at the gate. I even had an AKC judge come up to me at a USDAA trial and tell me she certainly looked purebred and I could ILP her and I had to find a polite way to explain how much I loathe the AKC without offending her.

Lisa B. said...

Ah, bo-jack is another type of dog I'd considered getting back when I was planning my next dog ... but I don't really think Pinky is one. I'm really not seeing any of the border behaviors, although there could be some jack genes stashed in there somewhere.

In a way a feist sort of is a "terrier type mutt" except that people breed them on purpose, for a purpose. But the word "feist" is used for both the type of dog and the breed, so it's confusing. Also, I think there's still some outcrossing going on in the feist-breeding world, so they would still fit some definitions of "mutt."

Considering Pinky a feist would also be a slight benefit in flyball when we're trying to field a multibreed team. Each dog running must be a different breed, and "mixed breed" is considered a breed, so no two mixes. Well, it starts getting hard when you have a lot of mixes in your club because you can't put them all on the same multibreed team. So having a feist would give us one more option.

As for ILPing, people tell me all the time that I could ILP Lucy as an Australian Cattle Dog, and several people said Mr. Gomez could probably pass as a border collie. But I hate the AKC, too, and I don't want to give them any of my money ... although I don't usually try too hard to be polite about saying so! Also, trying to pass my mixes as purebreds is only buys into their stupid notion that purebreds are better dogs.

Elayne said...

The AKC judge that was telling me I could ILP Lola is a really nice person, she's been very nice to me all the way along from my very first trial where I didn't know a single person and she truly thought she was doing me a favor so I did want to be polite about it but in general I'll just blurt out with 'I hate the AKC and I don't want to give them my money'. I almost ILP'd Lola because at some point I decided it was worse to spend money on gas and trash the environment driving to far away USDAA trials when there were so many AKC trials just 20-60 minutes away. I filled out the ILP form and took the pictures but when it came down to it I just couldn't fill out the check. I don't think I'd enjoy the venue anyway-too expensive, too few runs, no strategic games and tight twisty courses. I'd rather spend the weekend hiking or at the practice field.

Lisa B. said...

I can see why you didn't want to be rude.

We have more AKC in this area, too, but until recently the trials (from what I hear) were impossible to get into. Fortunately my debut with Lucy coincided with the introduction of USDAA to our local area, and now we have about 8 local USDAA trials a year, plus a few that are an easy drive from here. Then there's NADAC, of course, which I do just for fun. I feel like I've got no need whatsoever for the AKC, even if they did allow mutts.

manymuddypaws said...

whatever she is she certainly is very cute!!!