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Joyful Dogs

By Joy Parker
Nov. 7, 2017 at 4:24 p.m.

Pictured is Margot Fonteyn UD,  Joy Parker's Basset Hound in 1984. She qualified for her Utility Dog title, the most difficult obedience title the AKC offers.

What is the smartest breed?

People often ask me what is the smartest breed? Or, how can I tell if my doggie is smart? I will tell you a true story and you can decide what is the smartest dog or if your doggie is smart.

My friend lives in Austin in a house on a hill. She has two doggies, a Basset Hound, "Daisy", and a Golden Retriever, "Goldie". Every morning she wakes up and tells Goldie, who has been sleeping in a crate beside her bed, Goldie, go get the paper!" She opens the crate door and Goldie bounds out of the crate, rushes all through the house out the doggie door, runs down the hill to the curb, grabs the paper, runs back up the hill, slams through the doggie door, spins and turns to the kitchen, sits perfectly straight in front of my friend, drops the paper at her feet, and my friend gives her a cookie.

Meanwhile Daisy, who has been sleeping all snuggled in, and taking up the middle of the King size bed with my friend, stirs a bit and yawns. She hears the command "Goldie, go get the paper." She stretches, and slithers down off the bed, sashays through the house, strolls to the kitchen just at the same time Daisy arrives with the paper. As soon as Goldie drops the paper and receives her reward, Daisy sits beside her slouching on one hip, looks up longingly at my friend, and gets a cookie.

Now tell me who is the smartest dog?

While Golden Retrievers along with Border Collies top the list of the smartest dogs, and Basset Hounds are around the bottom of the list, determining who are the smartest dog depends on how you judge their intelligence.

If you want a dog who can follow the scent of its quarry, there is no better dog than the Basset Hound, except the Bloodhound. The Basset Hounds easy disposition make him a wonderful family companion. Basset Hounds rarely have serious temperament problems, as long as you don't expect too much in the way of obedience.

Golden Retrievers excel at retrieving game for hunters, therapy pet pal work, and assistant dogs. They are natural athletes and do well in dog sports such as agility and competitive obedience.

Almost all "pure bred" AKC dogs were originally bred to do certain tasks. Dogs in the herding group, herd. Dogs in the Terrier Group were bred to "go to ground" after burrowing vermin, larger rodents and even foxes. They are feisty doggies, and get their name from the Latin terra, for earth. The Sporting group, retrievers, setters, and spaniels are remarkable for their instinct in water and woods. They participate in hunting and other field activities. Even the Toy group were bred for one purpose: to be companions for their humans.

These are a few of the examples of the AKC groups of dogs. One of the main reasons to purchase a pure bred dog is that you can read the breed standard and know pretty much what that breed looks like, what kind of temperament it has, how long lived they are, their size, and how active they are.

It is my fervent belief however, that with love, patience, consistency, and a fondness for training, any breed, or mixed breed can become the kind of dog that fits your lifestyle.

Please send questions to news@panolawatchman.com

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