1 September 2003
From Brussels to Yorkshire
Greg Hlatky raises Borzoi, an honorable breed from the Russian steppes, possessed of dazzling speed, singular beauty, and strength which belies its fragile appearance. Is it any wonder he's not especially fond of toy dogs?
Unlike the calm aloofness of the sighthound, the massive dignity of the working dog, the headstrong all-weather exuberance of the sporting dog ("Great day for hunting! Let's play two!"), or the intensity of the herding dog, the typical Toy is a smug little bundle of fur, teeth and attitude, yapping at the world through the undeserved prominence of his mistress's arms. Some, like the Pekingese, scarcely seem capable of locomotion at all.
I am minded of Robin Williams' description of the Pekingese: "Look! A dog! Let's hit it in the face with a shovel!"
I don't bear quite so much animus toward the animals, myself, but I have to admit, if you put a gun to my head and ordered "Today, you will go get a dog," and you further prohibited me from running down to the shelter and picking up a nice, sensible mutt, most of the toy breeds would be way down my list; it's all very nice that they've been bred to be companions to mankind and all, but the breeds that actually do things are companions just as worthy, and they have talents which extend beyond occupying lap space and defecating on the rug.
Some of my best friends have owned LFDs I even briefly dated the owner of a Maltese, and the less said about that, the better but most of my experiences with toys have struck me as really good arguments for cat ownership.