Thoughts from the Wild

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Dogs at Work: Samoyeds Kept the Cold and Wolves at Bay

December 30, 2021

According to legend, the phrase “three dog night” describes a night so frigid that early hunter-gatherer people needed three dogs to sleep with them to stave off the cold. Although where the phrase originated is unclear, it could very easily have originated with the semi-nomadic Samoyed people of Siberia and their namesake Samoyed dogs. In …

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Dogs at Work: Siberian Huskies

November 4, 2021

Huskies originated in northern Siberia, one of the coldest and most inhospitable regions of the world. There, they served as sled dogs and companions for the Chukchi people, carrying food and supplies between inland settlements. Over time, these semi-nomadic people were forced to extend their hunting territory to the sea. Thankfully, their huskies were uniquely …

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The Great Dane, Once a Fierce Wild Boar Hunter

October 14, 2021

Although you might assume Great Danes originated in Denmark, the breed traces its origins to Germany. Centuries ago, German nobility bred this giant breed to hunt and kill wild boars. To create a powerful hunter, they combined the height of the Irish wolfhound, the speed of the greyhound and the muscular brawn of the English …

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Dogs at Work: Border Collies

September 23, 2021

Even the most high-powered batteries can’t deliver nonstop energy like the border collie. Bred to drive sheep herds, borders are determined to herd anything on hand, even if it means corralling your kids in the backyard. While technically not considered a working breed, they’re arguably the workaholics of the herding dog category. Although sheepherding jobs …

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A Taste of the Wild Guide to Working Dogs and Their Jobs

August 12, 2021

For the sweeping majority of dogs, their primary ”occupation” is to provide companionship to their people. Tail thumps, warm kisses, constant company and unconditional love. It’s an important job, and one that most family dogs are more than happy to do every second of every day. “If you love what you do, you’ll never work …

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Dogs at Work: Portuguese Water Dogs

August 5, 2021

Most people in the United States know of the Portuguese water dog (PWD) breed thanks to Bo and Sunny, the happy-go-lucky residents of the White House during the Obama administration. But long before that, they had a reputation as valuable crew members aboard Portuguese fishing vessels. History of the PWD No one is sure how …

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Newfoundlands Are at Home on Land or Sea

July 8, 2021

Named after the island off the east coast of Canada, the Newfoundland’s water-resistant double coat, rudder-like tail and webbed feet made them ideal shipmates. The powerful dogs thought nothing of leaping into the icy Atlantic waters to haul fishing nets or rescue a sailor who fell overboard. They were also hard workers on shore, whether …

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Behind the Breed: Bernese Mountain Dogs

June 3, 2021

Bernese mountain dogs, affectionately called “Berners,” are named after the central region of Switzerland where they originated: the canton of Bern. Ancestors of the Berner appeared in Switzerland more than 2,000 years ago, when Roman soldiers invaded the area, bringing with them tall, mastiff-like dogs with broad chests and muscled legs, which made them ideal …

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German Shepherds: The Ultimate Working Dogs

May 6, 2021

Can a dog be a workaholic? If so, the German shepherd dog would certainly qualify. Multitalented and eager to work, German shepherds have held a wide array of jobs over the decades, from herders and guide dogs for the visually impaired to police dogs that apprehend criminals and detect illegal substances. They’ve also joined the …

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Dogs at Work: K9 Cops

March 25, 2021

One of the most famous police dogs in Canadian history, Cloud II helped his handler capture 123 fugitives as well as numerous lost children and hunters. After a career of just four years, the German Shepherd lost his life in the line of duty after tracking a fugitive to a remote cabin in Ontario. As …

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