Did you know the breed of dog you are attracted to can be dictated by your personality type?
According to research, various breeds go with different character traits.
I’m trying to work out my type. Our puppy, celebrating her 14th birthday today, is a Maltese Shih Tzu cross.
She is like a little toy dog, which would indicate I’m intelligent and creative, but she’s also a terrier, a sure sign of being over emotional. I guess I’m a combination of those traits.
What does your dog say about you?
I still remember when I first laid eyes on the tiny bundle of fur that rules our home. Her predecessor had died (quietly, at home from old age) the night before and my mother decided to help me through the grief by finding the perfect dog to help fill the gap.
Some people were horrified by this at the time.
They thought I needed a certain amount of time to grieve, though they couldn’t say how much – can you put a time limit on grief?
Some thought it was disrespectful to the dog we had lost. I knew that our happiness was her prime concern while she was alive and I’m sure she cheered her grandmother for trying to help ease our pain.
There was no thought that our new tiny pooch Decaf, also known as Princess and Babee, could replace our other faithful dog, Coffee (I know, we are a bit obsessed with the beverage).
Coffee was a kelpie cross, and I miss her still.
She was the kind of dog you could share your problems with.
She was the kind of dog who loved other dogs, people, bringing back a thrown stick and going to the kennel for a holiday. Even a vet visit was considered a fun outing.
Decaf tiptoes through the garden, careful to keep her paws clean. If you threw a stick for her she would look at you like you’ve lost your mind.
She has never been to a kennel but I’m pretty sure it would bring on a hunger strike.
Going to the vet results in shaking so bad it’s as if she is having a seizure. What a princess!
THE HEALING BUNDLE OF DECAF
Decaf’s arrival into our home not only helped ease the pain of losing Coffee but helped fill the gap many mums feel when their kids are growing too fast and an empty nest looms.
We really did plan on being responsible doggie parents and training her, but within a week it was clear she was the boss, and we her servants.
She was sharing our bed within the first week of her arrival. It’s amazing how such a tiny animal can stretch so big the humans are left clinging to their own side of the bed for dear life.
We took her to the beach and a big surfer came up to say ‘hi’ to her.
“I have one just like that,” he said.
“How long before she started sleeping on your bed”? Maybe you have to be a little dog owner to understand.
It hasn’t been all sunshine and roses for Decaf. She’s had to share her home with other canines from time to time and it was clear she was less than impressed.
If you’d like a fun read about one of her adventures, read my book Ease Up Turbo – A Tail of Two Canines – it’s my doggie birthday party gift to you.
Then the Goddesses started to arrive – what a horrible intrusion; that meant Mummy was also Grandy and had to share her time.
Dogs’ lives are too short. Their only fault, really.
Agnes Sligh Turnbull.
Decaf still looks like a puppy most of the time but my heart aches as I see her struggle up the few stairs to our room.
Her daily walk has become a step, sniffing just a couple of blades of grass (instead of the several hundred she used to) before she turns her head home.
Her eyesight is starting to fail. She often doesn’t hear when someone comes to the door so we can no longer rely on her little dog bark as an alert.
We nearly lost her a few years ago when she became really apathetic (this was hard to spot at first as she is a very sleepy breed). Her blood cell count was the scare and after spending a mini fortune on vet bills the problem disappeared as mysteriously as it began. We took a giant breath of relief that it was not her time.
I know our time with her is precious. Little dogs tend to live longer than the larger breeds, but age catches up with them eventually.
Coffee was 13 when she died. It was a good age for a dog her size and breed.
According to various sites, the average age for Maltese Shih Tzu cross is 12 – 14 years. We are hoping, given her princess status and having Hubby and me as her own personal hand servants, we will have more time.
A NEW DOG BREED FROM THE ANCIENTS
Crossbreeding of Maltese and Shih Tzu only began in the 1990s in an attempt to have a toy breed that shed less hair.
This was one of the attractions for us as Hubby has asthma.
She actually does shed a bit, but not nearly as much as other dogs we’ve had.
Her hair always grows, resulting in much time spent at the beauty parlour – our laundry.
I remember a hairdresser thinking it hilarious when I told her I had to cut my dog’s hair regularly. I was equally amused by the fact she shampooed her dog twice each time, as hairdressers do at the salon.
Even though it’s a relatively new crossbreed, the Maltese Shih Tzu is one of the most popular breeds in Australia and is gaining love in the United States where it is sometimes called ‘Mal-Shi’.
Both breeds have been around a long time. Maltese appeared in Europe around 500BC and is thought to be an ancient breed originating in Asia.
Shih Tzu is one of the oldest breeds and a native to Tibet.
I’ve always had dogs, plus a host of other pets, so I know what I’m in store for and find I’m already bracing myself for a palace without the princess.
In the meantime, every moment is precious and I am overflowing with love and gratitude for a tiny puppy pal who keeps giving so much joy.
Studies have proved patting a dog can bring down blood pressure and elevate levels of the hormone oxytocin, a powerful protector of the heart and cardiovascular system.
They are also wonderful pets for mental health. Time spent with a dog lowers levels of cortisol, a hormone associated with stress while raising levels of dopamine and serotonin – neurotransmitters associated with pleasure and tranquillity.
According to Science Daily, kids who grow up with dogs have fewer allergies and are less likely to have eczema.
And then, there is all that they teach us.
THINGS A DOG CAN TEACH US
- Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.
- Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.
- When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
- Eat with gusto and enthusiasm.
- If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
- When you leave your yard, make it an adventure.
- Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.
- Be loyal.
- Run, romp and play daily.
- Bond with your pack.
- When you’re excited, speak up.
- When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by and nuzzle them gently.
- Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
- When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
- No matter how often you’re scolded, don’t buy into the guilt thing and pout…run right back and make friends.
- When it’s in your best interest, practice obedience.
- Let others know when they’ve invaded your territory.
- Take naps and stretch before rising.
- Never pretend to be something you’re not.
- Thrive on attention and let people touch you.
- On cold nights, curl up in front of a crackling fire.
- On hot days, drink lots of water and lay under a shady tree.
To quote Robert Wagner; “A dog will teach you unconditional love. If you can have that in your life, things won’t be too bad”.
Wishing you puppy love and a gleeful week, Tamuria.