From a blog about the science of dogs, a comparison of photos of purebred dogs from 1915 to those of today. You can see how much the dogs have changed in just under 100 years, in some cases for the worse. For instance, the difference in the Bull Terrier (aka the Spuds MacKenzie dog) is marked and a bit disturbing:
Pure breeding has also introduced medical problems for some breeds.
The English bulldog has come to symbolize all that is wrong with the dog fancy and not without good reason; they suffer from almost every possible disease. A 2004 survey by the Kennel Club found that they die at the median age of 6.25 years (n=180). There really is no such thing as a healthy bulldog. The bulldog’s monstrous proportions makes them virtually incapable of mating or birthing without medical intervention.
Ortho at Baudrillard’s Bastard found a bunch of Revolutionary War era prints featuring dogs peeing on various things (ministers, maps, tea accessories, etc.) and asks why are these dogs peeing on things?
Zoologists are studying stray dogs in Moscow, and the ways they’ve adapted to city life:
Back in the lean Soviet era, restaurants and the now-ubiquitous fast-food kiosks were scarce, so dogs were less likely to beg and more likely to forage through garbage, the zoologists say. Foraging dogs prospered best in the vast industrial zones of Moscow, where they lived a semiferal existence. Because they mainly relied on people to throw out food, and less on handouts, they kept their distance from humans.
Now, old factories are being transformed into shopping centers and apartment blocks, so strays have become more avid and skillful beggars. They have developed innovative strategies, zoologists say, such as a come-from-behind ambush technique: A big dog pads up silently behind a man eating on the street and barks. The startled man drops his food. The dog eats it.
Key is the ability to determine which humans are most likely to be startled enough to drop their food. Strays have become master psychologists, says Andrei Poyarkov, 54, the dean of Moscow’s stray-dog researchers. “The dogs know Muscovites better than Muscovites know the dogs.”
Bouchon Bakery has dog biscuits with foie gras and bacon in them. Taste test verdict? “Not good for humans. Good for spoiled dogs.”
A big dog on the subway with a fur-coated owner and a brick in its mouth. And I believe it’s a “pit bull-type” dog.
Malcolm Gladwell on different types of generalizations and when it’s helpful to generalize (and not). I don’t know about all that, but I *hate* “pit bull-type” dogs and I still think they should be banned.
Related to the stories about binding books with human skin from earlier in the week, apparently architect Le Corbusier bound one of his favorite books (Don Quixote) with the hide from one of his favorite dogs (Pinceau). The result looks like that textbook in Harry Potter that you needed to stroke the spine to get it to open without biting you.
Freakonomists Dubner and Levitt propose a solution for people who don’t clean up after their dogs in NYC: a mandatory doggie DNA database against which sidewalk dookies are compared and fines mailed out for offenders.