Friday, February 20, 2009

Freeloader #1

Every farm has got them: freeloaders. Well I have more than one. I have four dogs who do nothing. And two horses, but at least the horses pay for their meals by carting my ass around. And of course the chickens provide food. I can't remember the last time one of my dogs, aka freeloaders, laid an egg.

There is one dog who reins supreme. My Pharaoh Hound. She is the most spoiled, the most entitled, the least thrifty of the four dogs. She's a princess. Period. She belongs on the human bed. It's hers, not yours. And if you make the incorrect decision to attempt to sleep in it when she, Her Royal Highness, is resting, she will give you the most withering stare you have ever seen.

She really is too good for the rest of us. She emotes condescension. And yet, she's my favorite.

Most people don't know about Pharaoh Hounds, so here's some fun facts: They are sight hounds bred to hunt rabbits. They are the national dog of Malta (of all places). They are considered rare in the US (only 150 are registered with the AKC every year). They are known for having their nose and eyes match their coat color. And they blush.

When my dog is warm, happy, and relaxed, her entire face will flush bright red. Her ears, eyes, nose and lips will stand out. It's pretty striking.

My dog's lifetime achievements include a 60 second down-stay after months of clicker training. She's a smart dog, but easily distracted, and everything is on her terms. It's all about her.

I love the dog, but she has some issues. The breed is known for skin allergies and she's got them. They were terrible in Texas and noticeably improved here. She also has the most sensitive stomach and by nature of her lack of coat, the least tolerant of cold. Of my four dogs, two are purebreds and two are "mutts". The two mutts are the healthiest by far. The two purebreds are nothing but problems. They all live in the same environment, all eat the same food (except now the Pharaoh Hound gets her meals cooked), all have the same vaccination and heart worm schedule.

My Pharaoh Hound keeps me humble.


Funder said...

I have another internet friend with TWO Ibizan Hounds (and a standard Poodle!) I'm pretty sure Ibizans are to Pharoahs as Paints are to Quarter Horses, right?

I am so lucky that my apparently purebred lab is as healthy as she is. SO LUCKY. Her hips are a constant unknown source of worry to me, but I try not to borrow trouble. :)

Funder said...

I'm not really all here tonight, apparently. I forgot to say that I <3 her bat ears!

Andrea said...

Ohhhhhhhhh me too. My greyhound literally does NOTHING but sleep 23 hours out of the day on the couch. If I want to lay on the couch too? Well.... let's just say I'm usually the one on the floor. Are Pharohs lazy like greyhounds are? I can convince Ti to bounce around outside with me for about 5 minutes a day, and I drag her out on long-ish walks about 3 times a week - I always want to walk more, but after about 10 minutes she's literally dragging behind me, totally wishing she was back on the couch. She hates moving! And she has a very sensitive stomach too, and of course has her special custom made greyhound coat for these New England winters, which she also hates.

Andrea said...


sylvia said...

That first picture of Striking!

I feel fortunate that my two purebreds are healthy.

dp said...

I watched a fascinating and harrowing series on the health of purebred dogs recently. Fortunately for me the herding dogs have been less affected, especially in Canada where the CKC does not recognize the border collie (fans of the breed would like to keep it that way -- no barbie collies needed). I have always wanted a whippet, but the potential health problems are a concern.

Doesn't even fetch balls, eh? Weird.

Daun said...

Funder, Ibizan's are gorgeous dogs. They are not related to the Pharaohs but they were both bred to hunt rabbits. From the ones I have seen, they also tend to be larger. My Pharaoh is smaller than a female greyhound, finer boned, but taller than say, a Border Collie. A nice medium dog.

I bought the dog to be my jogging partner. She was a good sport, but didn't really like it. She likes to run, untethered, and chase things. I have not tried coursing with her, but I should.

I forgot to add hat she paces, like a horse. She has a two beat walk gait, where both feet on the same side move up and impact the ground at the same time. She paces between a walk and a jog, with is a correct diagonal gait with suspension.

She's a freak.

Sylvia and DP,
I also saw a gross documentary on purebred dogs. It included the Pekinese and the bulldogs. Yuck. I should add that I had an extremely well bred yellow lab from a rescue (like her puppies were sold for $1k each). She now lives with my Dad and Sister and she did not have any of the problems associated with her breed.

My mini Dachy is NOT well bred and she's a genetic wreck. I can't comment on the Pharaoh because the gene pool in the US is so small.

Andrea said...

Wait there's one detail you left out - what is her NAME? ;)

Austen said...

Okay! Your Princess Pet sounds like she would love our Ennui Dog. Sonka is a Siberian/German Shepherd and he both looks and acts like a wolf.
When he wants to go outside? He stares at you, yawns in your face and makes it apparent that this "being indoors" stifles him. When I am tired and decide that for once (once!) we will not be taking a 5 mile run around the lake, Ennui Dog spends the entire afternoon sighing and lying by the door. If my dog was a person he would write emo poetry and grow his black hair long, to match his soul. What a dork! For a shelter rescue afraid of his own shadow, he certainly has some attitude!


Daun said...

Andrea, I introduced her on the other blog, but her name is Kheera. She has many nicknames, though, most of which are not suitable to be posted in public. :)

Thanks for the pics and for the link to your blog. I subscribed. Unfortunately, I loves me some Canon. Did you see the video demo of the Mark II???? Can you imagine the cool Brego movies I could make???

Austen said...

Daun! I KNOW! I would totally abandon my Nikon for that piece of shiny! Unfortunately, until I get my new brand off the ground, I can't afford even thinking of such a thing.

This makes me think: You know the Nikon D90 has a great digital video and it is only about 1 grand (instead of, um, a billion)? I bet it would make some good Brego videos too (wink!). I love the idea of SLR video cameras. They are so un-fussy, and easy to produce.

Daun said...

The Mark II is only, what, $3k? Shoot, who am I kidding. I don't have the glass worthy of that body. Or, um, the sense of light or cinematography. That demo is breathtaking, but the man behind the glass is probably the most impressive part.

Austen said...

I feel you! I have the photography background, but NO cinematographic eye to speak of!

On another subject, Christian and I are looking into CSA's. Unfortunately, I think we may be a little too late to join in Cincinnati's farm life. It's sad, but at least we have all year to check out the local farms and figure out which ones meet our needs best!

Also, my last make-chicken-into soup week-long meal was not photographed and so not ending up on my blog. I can email you with the recipe though! Let me know!

Daun said...

Austen, I would love to hear about the recipe. fiveacresenough at blogspot dot com. I look forward to trying it.

Kosicle said...

She's stunning! The close up of her face is just beautiful. I know two Pharoah hounds that do agility, they are fun to watch, mostly because occasionally they appear to tell their handler off and go do their own thing, but they look fantastic doing it. heh.

Kosicle said...

btw- thanks for the info on where you get your seed from on the other blog, it was really appreciated!