August 28, 2006

Rhodesian Shepherd

Pit bull Hagrid and the anonymous Canadian dachshund are proof that just about any responsive dog with sufficient prey drive can be used to move tame stock in a controlled environment. Why the American Kennel Club doesn't open its "herding" contests to all breeds just beats me.

One of the handsomest dogs I know is a friend's AKC CH. Rhodesian Ridgeback, a top lure courser, pictured here during his first time on sheep:

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Notice how he covers the ewe that breaks away:

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That's prey drive. The great challenge with "non-traditional" breeds is maintaining their interest in the work. Working drive --- the will to keep at it come hell or high water --- is so low in so many cases that pointing a crook at a dog's shoulder can make him say, "No more of this for me."

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