Saturday, April 23, 2005

Yukon's head

I let all seven dogs run around in the backyard today as I often do.
I got a chance to observe Yukon around the other dogs to see if it will give me any insights into his inherent personality/athleticism or anything else. I always find myself making observations of my dogs, looking for new insights into their behavior.

Its a big free for all in the backyard, but for the most part they get along. They mostly just run around and act crazy. Act like wild happy dogs. Both siberians and alaskan huskies have had a lot of the dog aggression bred out of them.

Yukon is not shy at all around the dogs. He is pretty bold and outgoing. He is definately not as graceful as my alaskans and not even "Cruiser" the othere sibe. He kind of lumbers around. Of course, Ruger was a lumberer also. Pulled like a truck though. Some of these alaskans are realy graceful and athletic, particularly Doppler and Fir. Must be the greyhound blood. They are beautiful to watch in motion. They are not only fast, they can stop and change direction on a dime. They are extremely light on their feet, always whirling around and jumping around, but perfectly in control, kind of like a cat.
I am kind of into the more old fashioned type of dog, but I have to admit there is somthing to be said for these racing dogs.

One thing I noticed about Yukon is that he would pick one dog and chase it around relentlessly and pester it to annoyance. Maybe that is a good sign. Maybe he won't ever give up in harness either. I hope so.
I think every dog I have can outrun him. But he kept chasing them and never gave up.

I noticed once again that he has a really big wide head and a short blunt muzzle. There has been some discussion on these among siberian enthusiasts. During the last SEPP evaluation they recomended this trait be bred out.

Among racers, the conventional wisdom is that large haeds are bad. They are thought to be too heavy for a running dog and put too much strain on the front end. Many alaskan huskies have little heads. Sighthound have small narrow heads also.

What I wonder though is that if this is such a detrimental trait to have why do all the natural sledd dog breeds tend to have big heads? Seems like nature would have selected against it. There must have been some advantage for malamutes, eskimo dogs etc. to have big heads or else they wouldn't have them.

I have a hunch it has to do with certian other traits, like dominance. The inuit more or less let dogs breed randomly, so what that would mean in dog society is that the dominant dogs would breed, like how wolves do.

I also think that maybe in a draft animal, as opposed to a racing animal a big head would be good also, because big strong dogs come with big heads. Almost like a molosser trait. If dogs are bred to develop large size, larger than the average size for domestic dogs, which is around 30 to 40 lbs, worldwide, then they grow big heads. Big in porportion to the body. Giant breeds like St. Bernards have big heads. It has to do with the growth hormone causing certian effects.

Abnormally large people develop big heads also, like people suffering from acomegally such as Andre the giant.

I also have talked to other dog breeders commenting on the relation to big heads and personality. Pointer breeders mentioned a big head and chest being associated with bold dominant personalities. A German shepherd breeder mentioned snipey heads being associated with nervousness.

If you think about it in general terms it makes sense. Greyhounds in general are shier and more nervous, and a dog like a rottweiler or a bullmastif would tend to be dominant.

Personally, I like dogs with bigger heads. I just think they look better.

13 Comments:

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March 31, 2006 at 7:18 PM  
Blogger George Forgan-Smith said...

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