Tuesday, November 20, 2007
She's certainly feisty enough ...
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.