Charles S. Carver

Shag Terrier

The shag terrier (canis shagendörfus), an exotic breed of hunting dogs, originated several centuries ago in the fields and forests of what is now Germany (Cahan, 1972; Wilcox, 1967). They were bred for their fierceness and tenacity, as well as a love of beer, bratwurst, and hearty celebration (Harris, 1974; Wilcox, 1967).  (An alternative view is that they were bred to herd miniature horses--Johnson, 1998--and they do in fact seem to do a good deal of herding of people.) These dogs (which some allege were cross-bred with badgers far back in their lineage--cf. Wolfsdörf, 1994) are known to be very reluctant to abandon prey once they've locked their minds (or their mouths) on it. They are omnivores, eating such foods as peanuts, squash, tomatoes, and the occasional green pepper, as well as meat. They are affectionate with humans, but they are perhaps even more sociable with other canines, of widely ranging breeds. Although small themselves, they seem to have a special affinity for large dogs such as labradores and rottweilers, which they casually treat as their equals. Despite being a very hardy breed, they are somewhat prone to physical anomalies, such as underbites and rake teeth (Saab, 1983).

As a hunter, the shag terrier is fearless. He is perfectly at home in the water as well as on land (thus earning him the playful German nickname pudel, meaning "water dog," a word related to the English "puddle"). As a companion, the shag terrier is companionate (Strauss, 1994). He is also friendly and warm (one is the rough equivalent of a hot water bottle, two or more amounting to the equivalent of a heating pad).

Literature Cited:

Cahan, L. (1972). Field and forest in animal husbandry. New York: Elysium.

Harris, M. (1974). Party animals: The breeding history of canis shagendörfus. Archives of Animal Husbandry, 272, 345-347.

Johnson, S. L.  (1998). Herd, if not always seen: The encircling history of canis shagendörfus. Archives of Animal Husbandry, 299, 325-337.

Saab, P. O. (1983). Malformations of dental aperature in exotic species of hunting dogs. RetrieverOrthodontry, 31, 67-72.

Strauss, J. (1994). Forms of canine love and respect. In P. Arena (Ed.), Pets through history. New York: Lovecraft.

Wilcox, A. H. (1967). Hunting dogs of the world: Origins and temperaments. London: Havercroft.

Wolfsdörf, B. (1994). The shag terrier: How pure a purebred? Journal of Comparative Canine Studies, 54, 271-275.

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