Saturday, December 11, 2010


Habibi is a racist.

Our neighbors have a golden retriever.  He is a typical big, waggly, soft, loopy fellow, friendly to everyone whether on two feet or four.   The neighbors often let him run loose, and he wanders around the vicinity of their house, though in “public” property, where all the neighbors pass and park their cars.  His major occupation is picking up everything he possibly can mange in his mouth and scattering the pieces.  Another of his habits, typical of any male dog of course, is to pee on anything and everything including the wheels of the parked cars.

Habibi oftens sees him running free when we come home in the car.  True that this is, in actual fact, public territory, not ours  – but not to Habibi!  We walk around there, our car is parked there – therefore, it is ours!  This presumptuous dog has no right to be wandering around and lifting his leg on the wheels of our car!  Habibi warns him very vocally from the car, and also from behind our fence – when he is out with me in the lower part of our yard, he can see the road and dogs and people that might be walking around down there.  Of course Flaubert (yes, this is, believe it or not, his name), is unconcerned and indifferent to what Habibi considers to be property rights, and too placid (or stupid?) to care.

This, of course, is totally infuriating to Habibi.  Ignoring his rights!!!!

Last weekend, we were at a dog show, a multibreed show with several different breed clubs participating, and quite a variety of dogs present.  Habibi knows very well that dog shows are neutral territory, this is not a place he is required to defend and other dogs are allowed to be there.  He ignores them, sitting next to me and looking through them as if they are invisible, or lying calmly in his crate, his only interest being to try and keep me in his line of sight.  The only time I saw a reaction, a warning growl, was when one quite stupid dog owner let his dog come up to the crate and drink from Habibi’s water dish which was just outside.  How dare he touch something that was ours!  But otherwise, his behavior at shows is exemplary.

But at this show, I was surprised to find Habibi very actively interested in getting hold of any goldens that were in our general vicinity. Despite my emphatic warning that goldens were definitely allowed to be there and that he was definitely not allowed to touch them, I could feel throughout the day his tension whenever he caught sight of one.  The vibrations of his under the breath growling whenever one came in sight could be felt clearly through his leash.  He also showed his strong disapproval of Labradors – after all, all of these chunky cream colored dogs look alike, who can tell them apart?

For Habibi now, any golden is guilty and considered fair game.  And Labradors are too; for him, they are  the same floppy eared, waggly, soft lipped things with less hair. Dogs do identify one another by breeds.  Who says that only people are racists?  Though dogs usually seem to have a reason…


  1. Thanks for this fascinating blog Myrna - I've always wondered if dogs recognise other breeds from their appearance ( I don't suppose different breeds have different smells, but who knows). I had one rough collie puppy in a litter of four - the others of course, being smooth. He tended to play apart from the others and I always wondered whether it was because he had a gentler nature and didn't like the rough and tumble of the others or whether appearance played a role. I tend to believe in the former theory because the puppies were very young to have developed racism and it would mean the puppy had an an awareness of himself being different visually - - so I have just argued myself out of the second theory - if you have managed to follow this somewhat tortuous discussion.

  2. My girl, Tova, does not like black dogs either. I have no idea what happened but she will go into warning, then attack mode when she sees one. We stopped going to the dog park because of this. She doesn't like big men in black clothes either. One of our sons showed up wearing black leather on a black motorcycle and she wouldn't stop barking at him. These CD's can be a mystery.