I was out feeding the horses this evening, when I heard a sound that I have become accustomed to, over the past week or so. It was the sound of my Aussiedoodle puppy splashing and playing in one of our small water troughs. It is so much fun to watch Henry, as he plays and tries to chase the drops of water as they fly into the air after he hits the top of the surface with his oversized paws. He will then jump out and run, as fast as the wind, (in his mind, I am sure), all around the perimeter of the yard, then, straight back to the water trough again. What fun! In fact, if it weren’t the beginning of February and I weren’t getting over the flu, I might be tempted to join him.

As I watched him splashing and playing, I got to thinking; where in the world did he get his love for the water, like that? I have had several Australian Shepherds and only one of them liked to swim…and that began only out of necessity. The rest of my Aussies swim, well, like rocks. They have all loved to play in the surf, at the beach, but the surf was the extent of it. I remember taking my sweet Emma for her weekly beach play-days and watching with amusement as the Labs and Retrievers would swim out, as far as their owners could throw, just to get whatever sick or ball was thrown for them. They would jump over the breaking waves, fighting the surf, and would swim, swim, swim, until whatever it was they were after, was safely in their mouth. Then, they would happily and proudly return to their owners just to do it all over again. My Aussies…nope. If it went too deep…I was getting another ball, or getting wet, myself.

With my experiences with water and Aussies, I felt it was pretty safe to assume that Henry’s fondness for water didn’t come from the shepherd side, it must have come from the Poodle side of the gene pool. But, did it? I honestly had no idea as I have never owned a Poodle before. Were they “water dogs”, like labs and retrievers were? I didn’t think so, I mean, I never saw them swimming out into the open ocean to fetch a toy. When I Googled, “Do Poodles like water?”, this is the very first sentence to the very first search result, “In fact, the English name poodle is derived from the German word pudel, or pudelin, which means to splash in the water. And in France, Poodles are called Caniche, a name derived from chien canard, meaning duck dog. … Despite his regal air, the Poodle is no snob.” – that came from the website dogtime.com, which had a lot of very interesting information. I also learned, from iHeartDogs.com that poodles are number four on the list of “dogs that absolutely love water”. Who knew?! My mystery was solved, and I must say, I am pretty excited about taking Henry to his very first beach day, in a couple of weeks! How much fun is he going to have?!

Last week, I had a call from a family member who had just fostered a Great Pyrenees. We have a Great Pyrenees, so she called to ask me why “Titan” kept ignoring her every time they went outside. She said he was great, when they were in the house, but as soon as he was out, on her forty-plus acres, it was as if she didn’t even exist. I kind of laughed because I knew exactly what she was talking about. It took me a while to get used to the fact that Luke, my Great Pry, was not nearly as responsive as my herding dogs were, So, I shared what I have learned, by reading and by first hand knowledge, about these amazing dogs: Pyrenees as well as Anatolian Shepherds and Newfoundlands, just to name a few, are all bred to be heard protectors. They are literally bred to be massive in size and strength and to be able to be very independent in their thoughts and actions when it comes to guarding and protecting their herds. These dogs, who are truly used as they were intended to be used, are turned out, sometimes on thousands of acres, with several hundred head of cattle, or sheep, to watch over and to protect from coyotes, wolves, bears, or any other predator. They are bred to be extremely independent and to not depend on the constant commands of a human to tell them what to do, like herding dogs do. This is why, when they are out, on their property, they act as if you, the owner, does not exist. In fact, you do exist, but their job is not to play nice with you but to protect you. It is no time for chit-chat, it is time to work…and work they do. Thankfully, Luke has not had to face a bear or a coyote, but we have never lost a chicken or a cat to a fox or a raccoon because, I mean, who wants to face a hundred and fifty pound mass of hair and teeth? They simply move on to the next street over.

Knowing your dog breed’s ancestry can be very revealing and quite fun. It can also give you a look into who your dog really is, what his natural likes and dislikes potentially are, and open up a world of possibilities as to what activities she may excel at. Now that I know what I know about Henry, I plan to utilize that particular like to help him enjoy a variety of things. Since my relative now knows what she knows about her four-legged-foster-friend, it will enable her to enjoy him for who he is and to accept that it’s not her, it’s simply who he was created to be.

Many blessings to you and your four-legged-loves ~ Tammy

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