Two dogs

Although I don’t have my own dog, I have the pleasure of knowing several local ones, and regular “dog sharing” arrangements with two of them: Ireland the Labrador and Buddy the Cavoodle. This involves taking them for walks, and sometimes keeping them company while their owners are out. I love both dogs equally, but they are so different from one another it can be hard to believe they belong to the same species, canis lupus familiaris.

Ireland the Labrador

Ireland is a confident, exuberant big black Labrador nearly six years old. He loves everything life has to offer: going for walks, playing with other dogs, riding in cars, and most of all he loves eating – almost anything except kidneys. His only fault is a tendency to bolt towards any source of food, such as a picnic or a discarded pie, which he can smell from far away. I have been walking him for about four years now and his joyful greeting when I come to see him always makes my day.

Buddy the Cavoodle

Buddy, a second generation Cavoodle just coming up to his first birthday, is a more sensitive soul and prone to anxiety even though he has been raised with the utmost kindness. He is gradually becoming more confident, and now enjoys going for walks although he was previously reluctant to leave the house. He still hates car travel, and in further contrast with Ireland he is indifferent to food, and often has to be coaxed into eating. Buddy is a very handsome dog, with an affectionate nature. He loves cuddles and is still small enough to sit on my lap.

The characteristics of Ireland and Buddy are typical of their respective breeds. For example it is well established that Labradors are obsessed with food, and that Cavoodles are prone to separation anxiety. Although the way that dogs are treated and trained has a big influence on their development, research has shown a clear genetic basis for inter-breed differences in personality, behaviour and intelligence. Doing similar research on humans would be considered racist and unethical nowadays.

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