“Mein Fuhrer wants you to Photograph his Dog.”
If I had been around in the First World War, this could have been the type of conversation I had with a couple of SS guards early one morning.
Stop for a moment and imagine the scene.
Standing in front of you is a man, 5ft 9in tall, dresses in a crisp pressed grey tunic with matching trousers, knee high black patent leather boots glinting in the sunlight. A long drawn face, sporting a fine mustache. Beneath the hair swept across his brow is the cold empty stare of one of the most notable dictators of the 20th Century – Adolf Hilter.
What could easily be described in a scene from a the RSPCA’s worst nightmare, Adolf Hitler was in fact, behind the façade, a great dog lover.
Hitler loved the loyalty and obedience of dogs, and through his lifetime owned a number of different breeds.
The German Shepherd breed became his breed of choice, with the most notable of his family being Blondi, gifted to him by Martin Bormann in 1941. Blondi was to stay by Hilters’ side right through the retreat into the Führerbunker located underneath the garden of the Reich Chancellery on 16 January 1945.
Hitler’s affection for his beloved Blondi extended to allowing her to sleep in the bed beside him in the bunker. The love of German Shepherd’s however didn’t reach his wife Eva Braun, who is known to have two Scottish Terriers, named Negus and Stasi.
It seems that like most men, the dog was the love of his life, Eva is known to have been jealous of the attention Hitler devoted to her and it alleged to kick her beneath the dining table.
Dog’s soon became a status symbol amongst the Third Reich, as their loyalty and obedience, showed them beside Hitler, the Wolf.
Can you find it in your heart to rescue a dog?
Well it seems that is how Hitlers’ dog ownership started. Again, not a catchline we are likely to see on rescue charity advert’s – ‘If Hitler can rescue a dog, so can you..’ But it seems his first pet was a stray white Fox Terrier, found during World War One, called Fuchsl.
He later went on to own a succession of German Shepherds, with names like Prinz, Muckl, Blondi, Blonda and Bella.
It’s said that Hitler was so scared of his beloved Blondi being captured by the Russians, he had his personal physician put her to sleep.
So, whilst I wasn’t around to photograph Hitler and his dogs, I really am glad that somebody was, as this adds a really interesting perspective to the history of the 20th Century.
Hitler was so impressed and captivated by the intelligence of dogs, that he truly believed they could help him win the war. We’ll look at this a bit more in another blog post.
Dog Sports For Your Dog (Part 2)
Do you enjoy watching Purina’s Incredible Dog Challenge?
Have you seen the big diving dogs?
The name of the sport where the Labrador Retrievers go leaping into the pool is actually called Dock Jumping. You don’t have to have a Labrador Retriever to compete. Any water-loving dog can take the leap.
This ‘big splash’ is lots of fun for dogs that love the water. Don’t feel bad if your dog can’t leap 20 feet after a training dummy. It’s all for fun and small dogs can splash, too.
There are a number of local and regional clubs for the sport but there doesn’t seem to be a national governing body at this time.
If your dog loves to play Frisbee there is a sport for catching the flying disc. Disc Dog is fun and exciting for both dogs and spectators. Dogs have the fun of chasing and catching the disc and on-lookers can oooh and aaah over the spectacular catches. Mixed breeds and purebreds can both play.
There are competitive trials for Disc Dogs.
They can span everything from accuracy and distance to freestyle and team trials. Several organisations hold tournaments in the United Kingdom.
Earthdog trials are a lot of fun for Terrier breeds and other dogs that love to go to ground. If you have a breed that was originally bred to hunt rats or other vermin then he probably loves to dig and hunt in the earth. If he’s born to rat then you may want to check out Earthdog events for him.
Earthdog events usually use tunnels that have been dug underground and which are supported by wooden sides. They have exits dug at the ends so the dog can be brought out when he finishes the course. The tunnels are laid with the scent of the dog’s natural prey (such as a rat) and the dog is turned loose to go in the tunnel and navigate his way around. (The prey is not in any danger during the test.)
If your dog has natural earthdog instincts he will probably find these tests very fulfilling since they let him do what he was originally bred to do. AKC Earthdog trials offer titles for purebred dogs just as other AKC events do.
If you have a dog of a herding breed, such as a Border Collie or a Sheltie, then you may want to try them out in herding competitions. Herding dogs often have a natural instinct to herd and round up sheep, ducks, chickens, or anything else they can move around. If you’ve noticed this tendency in your dog then your dog may enjoy a herding trial.
There are events ranging from basic instinct tests to advanced herding work. Events are offered by the Kennel Club and by several breed organisations which seek to preserve herding instincts in working herding dogs.
Many people in the United Kingdom enjoy hunting with their dogs and the dogs enjoy it, too. Sporting dogs have been bred for at least 1000 years to hunt birds, while sighthounds such as Greyhounds have been used to hunt rabbits, small game and, in some cases, wolves, for over 4000 years.
Scenthounds like Bloodhounds and their smaller cousins Foxhounds and Beagles have been used to hunt rabbits and small game for hundreds of years. The Bloodhound goes back to the time of the Roman Empire. With so much inborn instinct dogs like Pointers, Setters, Greyhounds and Beagles love to have a chance to do what they were bred to do.
If you have any interest in hunting you may wish to give your dog a chance to see what the real thing is like. The Kennel Club and other field organizations offer various events for hunting dogs. The KC has hunt tests which test a dog instinct.
The British Sighthound Field Association also offers similar events and titles for lure coursing. TheBritish Sighthound Field Association also offers events and titles. Lure coursing simulates hunting conditions for the sighthound breeds, usually by using a plastic lure on a fishing line for the dogs to chase. Coursing in field events is more like actual hunting since the dogs are allowed to chase real prey.
Do Dogs Have Feelings?
People have been wondering if dogs have emotions for thousands of years. Philosophers have debated the subject, lining up on different sides. Most of us who have dogs agree that dogs have feelings.
Aristotle believed that animals were without reason but believed that they did have ‘sensations’ — they could feel if you cut them or hurt them. But as far as having human-type emotions? No. Likewise Plato and St. Augustine believed that animals did not have human-type emotions. You should be aware that in classical times what we call the emotions today were not very highly thought of. Passions were considered suspect in people. To give in to one’s emotions was a bad thing. Therefore, for a person to display emotions was undesirable. Being emotional was a bad thing. It certainly wasn’t something that philosophers would want humans to have in common with animals. Animals were held in generally low esteem. They were beasts.
In classical times the dog was considered noble, loyal and faithful but he was still a dog — an animal. There was not the least effort to endow him with human qualities such as emotions. Instead, dogs were admired for their achievements as dogs: how well they guarded the house; how well they hunted; how well they tended flocks of sheep, etc.
The utmost praise for a dog among classical writers comes from, perhaps, Homer, who describes Odysseus’s old dog Argus who would not die for 20 years until he saw his master safely return home. He was the only one who recognised Odysseus, an old man and in disguise, when he finally returned from the Trojan War. The old dog saw his master, let out a whimper, wagged his tail and died on the spot. He was considered a great dog.
The philosopher Descartes denied that animals had feelings, but then he was hard-pressed to prove that he himself existed. John Locke argued that animals do have feelings. Rousseau argued that animals are sentient beings, so therefore would have feelings. Bentham seemed to argue that animals can suffer, so they must have feelings. Schopenhauer believed that animals had feelings.
Do our dogs have feelings? Dogs have not changed from Aristotle or Homer’s time yet our ideas about emotions and feelings have. Today we honour feelings more and we look to find them in our dogs. We are pleased when we believe we see evidence that our dogs love us. Perhaps we encourage our dogs to show more emotions. We may raise dogs to be more affectionate with us. Dogs today seem to show happiness, sadness, affection and many other feelings that humans have. A mother seems to care for her pups in the same way that human mothers care for their children.
But are they the same feelings that people feel? We may have no way of knowing if they are the same feelings. They are the dog version of these feelings. We don’t know if a dog’s feelings are as complex or as rich as a human’s feelings. We don’t know if their feelings are as intense, or more intense or less.
Do they have emotions? The answer seems to be a definite yes. But whether those feelings are the same as the feelings that a human has may be unknowable.
Photoshoot Locations around Ashford in Kent:
Aldington • Appledore • Ashford • Bethersden • Biddenden • Bilsington • Bilting • Bonnington • Boughton Aluph • Boughton Lees • Brabourne • Brabourne Lees • Bromley Green • Brook • Challock • Charing • Cheeseman’s Green • Chilham • Chilmington Green • Crundale • Eastwell • Ebony • Egerton • Finberry • Godinton • Godmersham • Great Chart • Hamstreet • Hastingleigh • High Halden • Hinxhill • Hothfield • Kenardington •Kennington • Kingsnorth • Leigh Green • Little Chart • Mersham • Molash • Newenden • Newtown • Olantigh •Orlestone • Park Farm • Pluckley • Pluckley Thorne • Reading Street • Rolvenden • Rolvenden Layne • Ruckinge• St Michaels • Sevington • Shadoxhurst • Shirkoak • Singleton • Small Hythe • Smarden • Smeeth • Stanhope • Stonebridge Green • Stone in Oxney • Stubbs Cross • Snave • Tenterden • Warehorne • West Brabourne • Westwell • Westwell Leacon • Willesborough • Wittersham • Woodchurch • Wye
All About Pugs
The Pug, one of the top twenty most popular dog breeds in the United States, is an ancient breed of Chinese origin. They date back to at least 400 B.C. when they were prized by Chinese emperors of the Shang dynasty. At that time they were known as Lo-Chiang-Sze, “Lion Dog” or Foo (Fu) because of their resemblance to the Chinese guardian lions called Foo, which were considered guardian spirits. They share this term with the Pekinese which was also called the Foo Dog.
From these earliest times the Pug’s sole function was to live in luxury as a companion dog. Because of the breed’s popularity they spread to Tibet where they were kept by monks in monasteries, and then to Japan and later to Europe.
It wasn’t until the 16th and 17th centuries that Dutch merchants brought the first Pugs back to Holland. The little dogs quickly became the official dog of the ruling House of Orange which later came to rule in Great Britain.
History reports that in 1572 the Prince of Orange’s life was saved from an assassin because of the barking of his Pug. William of Orange, who became William III of England and his wife Queen Mary II of England took Pugs with them when they left the Netherlands for England in 1688.
Pugs became popular throughout Europe in the 17th century. They appeared in paintings by Goya and were dressed in clothing and rode with the coachman in Germany, Italy and elsewhere.
In France the Empress Josephine enjoyed the company of Pugs. She used her Pug, named Fortune, to carry secret messages in his collar to her husband Napoleon Bonaparte when she was temporarily imprisoned.
The English painter William Hogarth owned several Pugs and was devoted to them. He painted his self-portrait with his Pug named Trump in 1745.
Pugs were called Mopshond (to grumble in Dutch) in Holland and Carlin in France, but they picked up the name Pug in England. The name probably comes from their facial expression which resembles the marmoset monkeys that were popular pets in the early 18th century. The monkeys were also known as Pugs.
Pugs reached new heights of popularity with the dog lover Queen Victoria on the throne.
Queen Victoria bred Pugs herself Her involvement with the breed, and with dogs in general, helped found the Kennel Club in Britain in 1873. Queen Victoria preferred fawn and apricot Pugs while another early fancier, Lady Brassey, brought black Pugs back from China in 1886, making them highly sought after.
The Pug was brought to the United States in the 19th century and recognised by the American Kennel Club in 1885, making it one of the earliest breeds recognised by the AKC. The Pug enjoyed great popularity only to dwindle in numbers by the turn of the century. Dedicated breeders kept the breed alive and gradually interest in the breed returned.
The Pug Dog Club of America was founded in 1931. At the current time the Pug is enjoying a renewed growth in popularity.
Only one Pug has won Best In Show at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show: Dhandys Favorite Woochuck in 1981. At the World Dog Show in 2004 the Best In Show winner was the Pug Double D Cinoblu’s Masterpiece.