Thursday, April 26, 2018

A Breed Known as Mustards and Peppers?



Sir Walter Scott was the first person to write about a specific breed of fox-hunting terriers -- "Mustards" and "Peppers" -- which were named based on their coat color.

Walter Scott's novel, Guy Mannering, is a travel novel about fox hunting in the border region which features a minor character named Dandie Dinmont, for which the heavy-bodied, rough-coated, dachshund- or basset-shaped Kennel Club dog is named.

There is no indication that Dandie Dinmont terriers have ever been worked since before the Kennel Club was created in 1873.

As I noted back in 2010:

The Dandie Dinmont is a good example of a dog that has simply failed in the marketplace. Last year, more Pandas were born in captivity than Dandie Dinmonts were registered by the Kennel Club.

Named after a fictional character in a novel, and forced to compete head-to-head with other poodle-coated mops, this dog has found few customers due to its odd-looking sway back, poor movement, and complete uselessness in the field.

Add in the health problems suffered by Dandies -- cushings, hypothyroidism, and a narrow-angle glaucoma that is unique to Dandies -- and you stand at the cusp of a question.

Factor in the fact that more than 40% of dogs are born cesarean, and the case is made for intervention.

The old working terrier from which the modern Dandie claims descent was not a product of the Kennel Club and did not suffer these indignities.

Perhaps now is the time to release this breed from the inbreeding mandated by a tiny gene pool wedded to a closed registry system.

Perhaps now is the time to release this dog from the bondage of contrived show dog standards.

Yes, let us release this dog "back to the wild" of its working roots. It has not done well in "captivity". De-list this dog from the Kennel Club's roles, and move on.

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