65- Why Are You a Siberian Husky?

The Siberian Husky is THE snow dog. When you look at people doing sled racing, it is likely this dog that you think of. It’s also the dog that someone who doesn’t know much about dogs thinks looks like a wolf. These are actually a pretty healthy and old breed, and you would be surprised that it actually comes from Russia. That’s right, it’s not a misnomer like the Australian Shepherd or the Labrador (which is totally from Newfoundland, ha! Well, originally I mean.) The dog has a lot of breeding and popularity in the United States. 

The dog can come in several different colors, and it made its claim to fame with the Nome Serum Run. The famous trek in Alaska where several dog teams carried serum for diphtheria. These dogs have been used to pull sleds in both the Arctic and the Antarctic and are regarded as the best sled dog around. It is actually a much smaller dog compared to sled dogs of the time it was introduced. 

Kyle talks about how he started reading a sad book about dogs. Caitlyn is excited that we use a lot of latin, since no one can stop her mispronunciations. 

Song is “Snow Dogs” by Brunswick Project

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52 – Why Are You A Chinook?

The Chinook, not to be confused with the helicopter, or the Native American Tribe, is a dog developed for sledding. I say developed, because this dog has a very straight forward lineage. Arthur Walden, basically had a dog he considered so fantastic, that he wanted to make it into a dog breed. It’s easy to see that he really did like this dog, as he took it all over the world, from the north to the south pole. It had very dominant traits that it was able to develop into a full breed, which has only been recently accepted into the AKC and UKC.

One of the interesting things about the breed standard, is that there is no standard for their ears. The ears can be straight, floppy, or propellor shaped. One of the more bizarre features this breed has is a

medical condition where male dogs can be born without testes. This, as well as tight constraints on breeding during it’s early days has contributed to this dog being one of the rarest dogs on earth. It had actually been entered into Guinness book of world records three times for it’s scarcity.

We get a letter from Producer Mike explaining the difference in helicopter types, and that Kyle had said the wrong type previous episode. We say a few more things about helicopters. Even in this description you can see some mention of helicopters that aren’t explicitly stating it. May as well use helicopter as the SEO word for this episode, since we mention it more than Chinook.

Song is “Go Home” by Chinook

51 – Why Are You a Golden Retriever?

The Golden Retriever is one of the most popular dogs ever. We already talked about the Lab, and the German Shepherd, now it’s the Golden Retriever’s turn. I love how these dogs more or less do the same thing, yet all get different types of names. If you listened to the other dogs, or have ever seen a Golden, you know they’re smart. They do every modern dog job you may have seen: bomb sniffers, drug sniffers, cop sniffers, people sniffers, everything. If not apparent, their origins are related to. . . retrieving.

If you were born before Alaska was a state, you would have thought these dogs had an origin in the Russian circus. Well turns out, that’s a bunch of malarky (era appropriate term). These dogs were bred to create the best game retrieving dogs, as hunters were going ballistic with their more powerful guns. They’d shoot so many animals, that they needed a dog that was all terrain, and capable of bringing them back with little training.

Caitlyn and Kyle question how even before the modern era, false news had the ability to travel fast. How was anything ever corrected? It boggles my mind as a person too young to recall an economy before having ready access to anyone in any part of the world. Things like news paper classifieds? It still seems like a long stretch and highly impractical.

Song is “Golden Retriever” by Super Furry Animals

49 – Why Are You a Portuguese Podengo?

The Portuguese Podengo, definitely not to be referred to as a “popo”, is a slightly complicated dog. They come in three sizes, and are essentially the same dog, but only the poqueno version is a “hound”. What are the other two? According to the AKC, just miscellaneous. Oh, but if you are to ask someone from Portugal about their hound origins, they would tell you they’re not quite hounds. In fact, they probably would tell you what the dog is not, rather than any explanation of what they are. Like I said, the Podengo is complicated.

To further complicate this breed, they also have two different coats, which don’t seem to be part of the same litters. One is a wired and the other type is smooth. So not only do they come in three distinct sizes, but they also have two different coats. Why are these not all just six different dogs? If the corgi can be two dogs, why not this one? As they are hound dogs, they are used for hunting as you may have guessed.

In this episode, Kyle and Caitlyn discuss the merits of the popularity list of dogs. Caitlyn thinks it’s fine as is, but Kyle argues that it is not useful if it doesn’t have all the dogs on it. How are we to verify the popularity if the list is not thorough? We also talk a little bit about internships. Not for this show, oh no. Just in general. Come for the dogs, get the extra facts for free!

Song is “Fandango with a Podengo” by Reverse Thrust. This is from a Rock Opera about Cats.

47 – Why Are You a Lhasa Apso?

The Lhasa Apso, is a dog of surprising feats. You look at it and just assume, “Ah yes, you are just a dog of no substance.” Wrong. There’s this little ol’ thing you may have heard of called, “Dalai Lama” whose soul will possess a Lhasa Apso while waiting to become human again. Yeah, the leader of Tibet is technically a dog for a little while. Honestly, I would love it if we had the option to vote for a dog every so often. Cause if a dog got to be King of America, if you have a bad opinion, you’re just gonna look like an jerk.

Besides their history with the Tibetan ruling class, this breed is very old. In fact, the link between the Lhasa and the wolf is a very short link. The more I learn about genetics, the more I don’t understand genetics. I look at a wolf and the Lhasa, and I have to assume something happened between them. Turns out, that something wasn’t a lot. They’re also known for their long hair “show cuts” which looks a lot like human hair. Probably just as annoying as having long hair as well, showing up wrapped around your foot, or in your clothes.

This episode, Caitlyn goes on a tirade about birds. In case it somehow has not come out at this point, Caitlyn doesn’t like birds. As pets, specifically. I have seen her enjoy pictures of cute birds, and she has a LOT of owl stuff in the apartment. So. . . it’s complicated I guess.

Song for this week is “Lhasa Apso” by Ne’er Do Evers

43 – Why Are You an Akita?

The Japanese Akita, or as it’s known in the United States, the Akita, is a very storied dog. Like many of the dogs in East Asia, they have a very long history. The strangest part about that history has to be that Helen Keller is a huge reason they came state side. Yes, that Helen Keller’s favorite dog was the Akita. Because of this, the dog actually has some variations from American and Japanese. The Japanese version looks more like the Shiba Inu and the American one has more of a bear head.

The greatest claim to fame that the Akita has is the story of Hachiko. This story has been retold several times, but this is the true and real one. He’s the dog where his owner rode the train to work, and passed away before returning. This prompted Hachiko to return to the station for 9 years until his own death, awaiting his master to come back from work. There’s two movies made about this, and the story is referenced all over the place.

Kyle learns that Caitlyn doesn’t have a soul, in that she didn’t think the Futurama reference to Hachiko was very sad. The two also talk about how if they made a Hachiko movie, what it might be like instead of the real movie.

Song is “Like Falling Snow” by Suara.

42 – Why Are You a Finnish Lapphund?

The Finnish Lapphund is the cutest dog breed. Somehow the Scandinavians figured out how to make all the best stuff. Best mythology, best cities, and even the best dogs. I know, that’s subjective, but I’ll stand by it. The Finnish Lapphund (or Lappies as Caitlyn referred to them) goes back quite a ways and has origin with the indigenous people of the European north. The Sami used the Finnish Lapphund for herding an unusual animal. That is until the snowmobile.

Did we mention these things are adorable? The fact they aren’t known outside of Finland is a total shame. Although they lack popularity, they have been part of the AKC for a few years now, and have a pretty thriving show community. Since these dogs are on the smaller end, they also seem to live forever. And as we all know, since they’re a bit smaller, they like to bark. It’s probably good that they bark though, since they kinda look like wolves. . .  That’s important because wolves don’t bark, in case you didn’t know. . .

Caitlyn and Kyle talk about World War II, and Kyle royally screws up some facts. So much so, that if he had been accurate, the entire war may have been different. Caitlyn was there to quickly correct him though, so sorry any Russians, Poles or Germans out there.

Song is “The Cage” by Sonata Arctica.

41 – Why Are You an Airedale Terrier?

The Airedale terrier is, surprisingly, a very interesting dog. These dogs seem to be everywhere you look. Their origin is essentially being several different dogs bread together until someone said, “Oh yeah, that’s neat.” As far as Terriers, besides the Giant Schnauzer, they’re usually known for being much smaller dogs. But these boys are pretty big, and some folks in their past even sought to make them bigger.

Like many other terriers, they start out chasing small rodents in holes, until they got mixed up with a bunch of other dogs and formed what we see now. Then somehow they became war dogs. Yeah, these friendly looking guys fought in wars. But to just limit them to that would be a disservice, as far as other dog jobs, they seemed to have done them all. Some folks would even say they did them better than any dog.

In this episode, Kyle and Caitlyn talk about how a dog breed is solidified. We also ponder whether anyone went to Harvard for a Creative Writing degree. Caitlyn also takes a minute to warm up to the jokes in this episode.

The song for this week is “Terriers” from the show Kids in the Hall.

38 – Why Are You a Leonberger?

We have another request! This week we talk about the Leonberger, the giant breed from Germany that was bred to look like another animal (probably). Which seems like a complicated solution to a simple problem. The guy who created this breed really loved large animals and was a great marketer, but didn’t live long enough to see the breed truly come into their own.

As with most dogs, especially German dogs, the two World Wars took a toll on their numbers. They’ve made a comeback recently and their numbers are increasing across Europe and America. Did you see our Facebook post recently? If you did, you know these guys are the Tom Cruise of the dog world and do their own stunts. They jump out of helicopters and save people who have no business swimming!

Outro song is Take Me Higher by Leon Berger.

35 – Why Are You a Swedish Vallhund?

Oh my god, who was hiding the Vallhund from us all? Properly referred to as “Swedish” Vallhund, these puppers look like a corgi husky hybrid dog. So essentially, have the body of corgi, but the coloring of a husky or a wolf. Unsurprisingly, the Vallhund and Corgi have some sort of shared history, but what it might be, is unclear. So yeah, it’s one of those dogs that no one really knows much about!

Although not much is known about the Vallhund, they have been around for at least a thousand years. They were more than likely used by vikings for all farming purposes, and may or may not have a hand in the creation of the corgi. I doubt they rode around pillaging villages, but it does make for an amusing image. These dogs are rather new to the AKC and still incredibly rare in the United States and only has 10 states with registered breeders.

Caitlyn tries her damnedest to struggle through some Swedish words, and Kyle shares his personal experiences with the language. The episode also eventually breaks down into who does the most work, and thus who deserves the most titles.

Song for this episode is “Watch it Crash” by Toh Kay. (Listen to the episode and it will make sense).