Photographer Ralph Hargarten shot the amazing photo of this dignified pug. Hargarten’s project, A Dog’s Life, can be viewed here. The expressive portraits really capture each dog’s personality. Hargarten’s dogs aren’t the familiar tail-wagging, grinning pups you see on greeting cards. These animals are thoughtful souls, full of gravitas.
A fascinating study featuring dogs and questioning whether they have human-like emotions appeared in a recent New York Times article. Titled, Dogs Are People, Too,” the findings suggest what every true dog lover already knows: that dogs are capable of feeling love and attachment. Duh! Just one look at the soulful mug pictured above would tell you that. Still, it’s always nice when science backs up art.
I haven’t seen all the Oscar nominated movies this year, but no matter. For my money the award for Best Supporting Actor should go to Uggie, the Jack Russell terrier that plays Jean Dujardin’s companion in The Artist. While I liked the film, it didn’t wow me–with the exception of Uggie’s star performance. Man, that little dog can steal a scene. Other people agree and have started a FaceBook “consider Uggie” campaign for users to voice their support. Hey, it worked for Betty White.
Like many a celebrity, Uggie didn’t have starring roles handed to him on a platter. In fact, his trainer rescued him from the pound after his first two owners rejected him for being too wild. That energy was put to good use on the set, where he appeared in commercials before graduating to films such as Like Water for Elephants.
Another dog performance worth mentioning is Cosmo’s, also a Jack Russell, from the film Beginners. Cosmo acted his heart out too, but I have to go with Uggie. Nearly ten, his acting days are winding down. Here’s hoping he’ll be making an appearance on Oscar night.
National Geographic’s website has some stunning photos of different dog breeds, all taken at this year’s Westminster Dog Show. There’s also an article on “How to Build a Dog,” a look at the reason why there is such a variety of dog shapes and sizes. Another article, “The Forever Dog,” examines the evolution of dogs and their connections to villages in Africa. All in all, this month’s National Geographic is a must read for dog lovers.
After losing Best in Show last year to a Scottish deerhound, Malachy the Pekingese experienced the sweet smell of success, winning the title at Westminster, the fourth time for this pipsqueak breed. A crowd favorite and a member of the Toy Group, Malachy beat a German Shepherd, Dalmatian, Doberman pinscher, Irish setter, Kerry blue terrier, and wire-haired dachshund to claim the silver bowl.
I rooted for Malachy last year and was disappointed when he lost. Maybe because of that, I didn’t expect him to win. I’d pegged the Doberman as top pooch, mostly for his streamlined body and the magnificent way he moved. But then all the dogs paraded around the floor really well, each in his/her own unique fashion. The Dalmatian and Doberman had athletic strides and the Irish setter moved like a dancer. Then there was the German Shepherd’s loping gait, the Kerry blue’s swagger, the dachshund’s frantic shuffle, and the Peke’s unmistakable waddle.
In other news, demonstrators held a protest outside Madison Square Garden, where the dog show is held, up in arms at Republican candidate Mitt Romney. What had he done to rile dog lovers? Apparently Romney once strapped a crate containing his Irish setter, Seamus, to the top of his car while driving from Boston to Canada. (You’d think with all his money he could afford better transportation for his pooch.) The dog wasn’t harmed and Romney claims Seamus enjoys riding this way, but the Dogs Against Romney group isn’t buying it. They held up signs proclaiming “I Ride Inside” and “Dogs Aren’t Luggage”.
Last year's winner in the toy group
In this household, it’s bigger than the Super Bowl. Today starts the 136th Westminster Dog Show, the second longest sporting event in the country. (Number 1? the Kentucky Derby.) When I lived in NYC, I used to try and attend at least one day of the two-day show. The biggest thrill was going behind the arena to see all the dogs being groomed. Of course I made a beeline for the pugs, but I also enjoyed seeing other breeds that rarely make an appearance on city streets. This year six new breeds will make their debut at Westminster, including the Xoloitzcuintli–a very long name for such a tiny dog, formerly known as the Mexican hairless.
When was the last year a pug won Best of Show? Thirty-one years ago! That’s when Champion Dhandys Favorite Woodchuck took home the trophy. To see photos of him and some other past winners, click here. Pablo would like nothing better than to see another pug in the winner’s seat, but it doesn’t seem likely to happen this year. According to one report, a black cocker spaniel is favored. We won’t know the outcome until after tomorrow’s show. Tonight, judges will select the top hound, toy, non-sporting, and herding breeds. An affenpinscher is expected to win toy. Will there be a pug upset? Stay tuned!
If you want a chuckle, visit Canine Chronicles to see images of dogs dressed as companions of historical figures. (The one of Steve Job’s dog alone is worth the click.) The jaunty pug, pictured above, is Charlie Chaplin’s best friend.
The website is the brainchild of three sisters, who pooled their talents to retell historical moments through the viewpoints of dogs. The end result of their collaboration will be a book featuring photos of the gussied-up dogs in period costumes along with fictional tales of their contributions. You can also read more about the project at ABC News.
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Pablo would like to congratulate this year’s winner of the World’s Ugliest Dog Contest–Yoda, a 14-year-old Chinese-crested chihuahua mix. In its 23rd year, the contest, held on June 24th in the Sonoma-Marin County Fair in Petaluma, California, raises awareness about rescue dogs and the dangers of in-breeding.
Being plum ugly brought Yoda and her proud owner, Terry Schumacher, a $1,000 prize. That amount of cash can buy a whole lot of chew toys. Congrats, Yoda! You’re sitting pretty!