K9 Corner, Oct. 24

Published 8:32 am Tuesday, October 24, 2017


What would you think if a lady told you that she had “taken her pair of sleeves out for a walk?” (The answer is at the end of this column).

This brings to mind that the canine world has its own language. Take for instance the fact that a number of breeds are commonly referred to by nicknames or even acronyms. We are all familiar with the abbreviation “Lab” for Labrador retriever, but how about “Mal” for Alaskan malamute, or “Dobie” or “Dobe” for Doberman pinscher? Then there are “Newfies” short for Newfoundlands, “Saints” for St. Bernards and PWD which is Portuguese water dog.

Email newsletter signup

“Staffs” refer to the American Staffordshire terrier and “Pyrs” is short for the Great Pyrenees breed. One of my favorites is “PBGV” which I find a tongue twister but most dog show enthusiasts have no trouble with. This acronym stands for petit basset griffon vendeen.

In conformation classes, people talk about “aprons” referring to the longer hair below the neck on the chest which can also be called the “frill.” A “bad mouth” doesn’t mean dirty language in the dog world; it stands for crooked or unaligned teeth. The breeder of my first dog asked about my pup’s teeth; her litter mate “blew her teeth” according to the breeder. (Fortunately my dog’s teeth were fine.) Belton is a color designation: an intermingling of colored and white hairs such as a blue belton, or orange belton and is used for the English setter breed.

Specific terms for breeds are common. The schnauzer has “furnishings” meaning the longer hair on the foreface or beard and brows. The papillon breed has “culottes” on the back of the thighs. Other breeds call the same furry area “fancy pants” or “britches.” “Collarette” is specific to the Belgian malinois and is the name for the slight ruff formation around the neck, while “jabot” is the longer hair on the chest and between the front legs of the schipperke.Then there is “hucklebones” which is another name for the top of the hipbones.

Isabella may be the name of Spanish queens, but in the dog world it refers to a fawn or light bay color. On the other hand, “keel” is usually thought of as a nautical term, but a dog breeder uses the same word to refer to the rounded outline of the lower chest.

Knitting and purling sound like craft terms, but in the conformation ring it refers to an unsound gaiting action with the feet crisscrossing and toeing out.

Some terms have a double meaning even in the language of the canine world. “Put down” is commonly used to mean euthanizing an animal, but dog handlers may use the term to mean that they prepared a dog for the show ring, or that the judge did not place the dog in competition.

Now for the lady who walks her pair of sleeves. She was referring to her two miniature Pekingese, which were called “sleeve dogs” by royalty in ancient China.