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One of the best things about being a veterinarian is all the different dogs I get to meet. Of course, I love the Labs and Beagles and Boxers and Poodles, not to mention those crazy Canine Cocktails, or what my parents used to call Heinz 57s. They are among the more popular dogs out there, and I see a lot of them. In fact, it used to be that it was rare to see anything else.
But there are some new breeds in town — well, new to me, anyway — and I find them fascinating when they show up in my exam room or I see them on the street in my travels. It’s a real treat to get to know them and learn more about the amazing canine species.
Here are nine dog breeds I sometimes see now that I didn’t see in the past.
1. Tibetan Mastiff. I was a little taken aback the first time one of these dogs walked into the waiting room. They are big! The Tibetan has a calm and majestic manner, but it’s easy to see that he’s more than capable of protecting his family — something he considers Job One.
2. Carolina Dog. This is one of the more interesting breeds around. He’s an American native who was found living wild in South Carolina’s swamp country and was developed into a recognized breed by biologist I. Lehr Brisbin. Carolina Dogs look like dingoes and have some of the same traits as primitive dogs, including pointy ears and a wedge-shaped head, a tail that curves kind of like a fishhook and a habit of digging holes with their snouts.
3. Catahoula Leopard Dog. In Louisiana, where they come from, Catahoulas are nicknamed “hog dogs,” but not because they’re fat. It’s because they wrangle hogs and other tough livestock. You tell the Catahoula where you want the animals to go, and he’ll make sure they go there. Lots of Catahoulas make the leap to family dog, too, because they can be both gentle and protective — at least with their own people. They can also be star athletes in dog sports.
4. Goldendoodle. What a fun dog! It’s no surprise that this cross between a Golden Retriever and Miniature or Standard Poodle is smart and trainable. He’s awfully cute, too, with a coat that can be shaggy, curly or wavy. Some Goldendoodles have jobs as service dogs, and they can also be canine athletes in agility, rally and other dog sports.
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