Sunday, August 23, 2009
Jasper is one big mystery to me and I love finding new pieces of the puzzle. All of his little quirks feel like clues to his past. Some can be reasonably interpreted (his crazy barking at two huskies indicates some kind of past bad interaction with a husky), but others will likely always remain mysterious (he only poops in bushes, and only bushes of a certain height. Was this trained? Just a quirk?).
As many people close to me know, right now I am consumed with trying to figure out his breed. Because we adopted him from a lab rescue, they have to say he is 100% labrador retriever. Which, I guess, he could be, but after having him for a couple weeks, I highly, highly doubt. For one, he is the worst retriever ever. I can only get him to chase a ball with a LOT of coaxing, and only in our apartment.
No, his obsession is the hunt. Finding critters, knowing where they are and chasing them are his main goals in life. He also points, not beautifully, but definitely a very still point, and can occasionally follow a scent trail pretty well (this morning was very god because it rained last night, so the smells were nice and damp).
We realized just how MUCH he loves critters when he woke us up at 3:30 in the morning a week ago because (we figured later) he heard or smelled a raccoon in the dumpster. And then he would not settle down for another two hours. That was fun. And then again when a cat was right outside the door. He was calm, but clearly excited and interested, when he could see the cat, but when I opened the door to show him that the cat was gone so he would stop whining, he completely lost it. The poor baby looked SO worried and concerned, ran back and forth between the two windows he could see out of, looked at me with panicked eyes and whined and barked even more. Clearly, it was the KNOWING where the prey was, not the getting it that he was most concerned with. Yeah. Not exactly typical lab behavior.
Based on this behavioral stuff, with the addition of his very un-lab-like body (very lean, with muscular legs and a thin, curling tail), I've decided that I think he is black lab and English coonhound. (The obsessive hunt for the raccoon the first night put the thought in my head, though his body had always made me think "hound" for some reason). I really have no basis for this thought, other than lots of pictures on the internet and guesses.
Whaddya think? Seriously, I'd love to hear opinions. Other ideas?
Sometimes, I think it's kind of like horoscopes. You can find shades of your dog in the description of any breed and make it fit what you want. When I read that English coonhounds love the couch, it seems like another piece of the puzzle, since sleeping on the couch is the only thing that will calm him down when he is riled up about a critter. And he loves, LOVES going out for night walks, which is apparently when raccoon hunting happens (since they are nocturnal and all).
Really, he could just be a super-mutt who likes to sleep on the couch and knows that animals are more active at night, but having an idea of a breed behind these odd quirks somehow makes it seem to make more sense. I like trying to make sense out of him.