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Archive for January 6th, 2009

There will never be another Skidboot, but …

Skidboot the Amazing DogMore free videos are here

For David Hartwig, the joy of showing off dog tricks died in 2007, along with his dog Skidboot — the remarkable blue heeler we’ve shown you before.

Skidboot’s still gone, but Hartwig is back.

Due to popular demand, he’s entertaining audiences with a trio of new dogs – Tiedown, Bois’d’arc and Little Skidboot, the Dallas Morning News reports.

None is as gifted as Skidboot, Hartwig is quick to point out — in his blunt and folksy manner.

“If you had never seen Skidboot, you’d think this was a real smart dog,” he said, talking about one of his new charges. “But compared to Skidboot, this dog has a bad case of dumbworms.”

The newspaper reports that the new dogs are learning the old tricks:

One morning at his Hunt County ranch, Hartwig tossed a stuffed hot dog toy in the dirt and instructed Little Skidboot:

“When I say three, I want you to get that toy, but don’t get it until I say three.”

The dog was eager but didn’t budge.

“One, two,” Hartwig said. “Four!”

Nope, the dog didn’t even flinch.

“Seventeen! Twenty-one. Three!”

Little Skidboot raced to the toy, picked it up and ran back.

“Good boy!” Hartwig said.

AKC adds three new breeds

The American Kennel Club now recognizes 161 breeds of dogs, having announced last week that The Irish Red and White Setter, the Pyrenean Shepherd and the Norwegian Buhund have been added to its list of registered breeds.

The recognition won’t get them valet parking, or tee times, but it will allow the breeds to participate in dog shows, starting this year.

The  Irish Red and White Setter was bred as a hunting companion. The Irish Red and White Setter Association was formed in America in 1997 to preserve the purebred Irish Red and White Setter and to maintain the heritage and unique qualities of the breed as a multi-talented gun dog.

The Pyrenean Shepherd has herded sheep in the Pyrenees Mountains of Southern France for centuries. The breed comes in two coat types — Rough-Faced and Smooth-Faced. It first distinguished itself outside its native mountains during its service to French troops during World War I.

The Norwegian Buhund belongs is a Spitz type breed. It was nurtured in the rainy western coastlands of Norway where they herded sheep, guarded farms and hunted bear and wolf. Buhunds are trained to aid the hearing impaired and perform some types of police work.

Breeds that wish to receive full AKC recognition must first be registered with the AKC Foundation Stock Service. While there is no established timetable for adding new breeds, dogs typically compete in the Miscellaneous Class for one to three year before being considered. More information on the process can be found at the AKC’s website.

Dognapping scare hits Upper West Side

The New Yorker reports that a dognapping scare recently hit the city’s Upper West Side — leading to warning posters, email alerts, rumors and panic

DOGNAPPING attempts in NYC with RAZOR and RANSOM—get dogs ON LEASHES—happening on West Side,” read the subject line of one email warning.

Although there was no mention of police confirmation, the “Talk of the Town” piece said various rumors included a two-man team at work, one of whom goes by on a bicycle, slices the leash with a razor, then pedals away with the dog — no small drive-by feat when you think about it. Later, the second man calls with a ransom demand.

Other theories were that dogs were being taken to supply research labs, or being used for dogfighting dogs to practice on. Most of the dogs, according to the rumors at least, were small purebreds.

“The thinking used to be that a dog would provide security, not require it,” the piece begins. “But this was before Paris Hilton’s Chihuahua, Tinkerbell, went missing, in 2004 … It was before Trouble, Leona Helmsley’s white Maltese, inherited, in quick succession, twelve million dollars, a series of death threats, and a six-figure bodyguard detail. It was before the former Post publisher Ken Chandler and his wife responded to the disappearance of their blond dachshund, Gus, by hiring a publicist and a private detective. And it was before the subject of the Secret Service’s future canine charge became a national fixation.”