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Down and Back

Down and Back

Author: The American Kennel Club, Inc.

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Host Bud Boccone tells the tales of breeds, dogs, and dog-loving humans who’ve shaped America (and Americans) over generations. Tapping 135+ years of historical records, archival footage, oral histories, interviews, and more, Down and Back brings the stories of the sport of dogs to life as only AKC can.
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In this podcast episode, we will be exploring the ebb and flow of different dog breeds throughout history and what some extraordinary people have done (and are currently doing) to bring breeds back from the brink. Ever since the first human domesticated the first canine, our species have been forever intricately linked. Throughout history, dogs have lessened our load, protected our assets, and been faithful companions. So, it’s only fair we return the favor. But, when a purpose-bred dog breed has fulfilled its purpose, who helps preserve four-legged family lines? The champions of endangered breeds, that’s who. They create breed awareness, fund breeding programs, and even collect “seeds” to keep beloved breeds from going extinct. Find out more about the dedicated cynophiles who have kept their favorite breeds’ extinction at bay. Bonafide Bits: In 1949, Frida Kahlo affectionately includes her beloved Señor Xolotl in her poignant “The Love Embrace of the Universe, the Earth, Myself, Diego, and Señor Xolotl.” In 1955, Archduchess Felix of Austria funded an expedition led by Norman Pelham Wright to find the endangered Xoloitzcuintli for breeding purposes. Food shortages and atomic bombs almost wiped out Akitas. During World War II, Great Pyrenees hauled artillery over the Pyrenees mountains to aid French soldiers. The Red Army of communist China exacerbated the decline of the Chinese Shar-Pei. There are fewer than 800 Otterhounds left, making them rarer than the giant panda. Featured Breeds: Xoloitzcuintli The 3,000-year-old Xoloitzcuintli (pronounced "show-low-eats-QUEENT-lee"), the ancient Aztec dog of the gods, is today a loving companion and vigilant watchdog. The alert and loyal Xolo comes in three sizes, and either hairless or coated varieties. Discover more about Xoloitzcuintlis at AKC’s Xoloitzcuintli Dog Breed Biography. Weimaraner The Weimaraner, Germany’s sleek and swift “Gray Ghost,” is beloved by hunters and pet owners alike for their friendliness, obedience, and beauty. They enjoy exercise, and plenty of it, along with lots of quality time with their humans. Discover more about Weimaraners at AKC’s Weimaraner Breed Biography. Otterhound Big, boisterous, and affectionate, the Otterhound was bred in medieval England for the now-outlawed activity of otter hunting. This scarce breed is known for his dense shaggy coat, webbed feet, acute sense of smell, and affinity for swimming. Discover more about Otterhounds at AKC’s Otterhound Breed Biography. Leonberger The Leonberger is a lush-coated giant of German origin. They have a gentle nature and serene patience and they relish the companionship of the whole family. Discover more about Leonbergers at AKC’s Leonberger Breed Biography. Akita Akitas are muscular, double-coated dogs of ancient Japanese lineage famous for their dignity, courage, and loyalty. In their native land, they are venerated as family protectors and symbols of good health, happiness, and long life. Discover more about Akitas at AKC’s Akita Breed Biography. Polish Lowland Sheepdog A shaggy-coated herding dog who thrives on exercise and hard work, the Polish Lowland Sheepdog is clever, confident, and a bit stubborn. Compact, alert, and adaptable, they are beloved companions and watchdogs of Polish city dwellers. Discover more about Polish Lowland Sheepdogs at AKC’s Polish Lowland Sheepdogs Breed Biography. Great Pyrenees The Great Pyrenees is a large, thickly coated, and immensely powerful working dog bred to deter sheep-stealing wolves and other predators on snowy mountaintops. Pyrs today are mellow companions and vigilant guardians of home and family. Discover more about Great Pyrenees at AKC’s Great Pyrenees Breed Biography. Chinese Shar-Pei This fascinating but challenging breed of ancient pedigree is steadfastly loyal to family but standoffish with strangers. The Chinese Shar-Pei has physical characteristics that make him a one-of-a-kind companion and guardian dog. Discover more about Chinese Shar-Peis at AKC’s Chinese Shar-Pei Breed Biography. Dandie Dinmont Terrier The unique-looking Dandie Dinmont Terrier is a tough but dignified little exterminator. Sturdily built for the rigors of farm life, they will agreeably adapt to city living. Dandies are compact companions blessed with a big personality. Discover more about Dandie Dinmont Terriers at AKC’s Dandie Dinmont Terrier Breed Biography. Komondor A powerfully large Hungarian flock guardian covered in profuse white cords from head to tail, the Komondor is among the world’s most recognizable breeds. The independent and protective Kom requires a firm, experienced hand at training. Discover more about Komondors at AKC’s Komondor Breed Biography. Sussex Spaniel "Placid, affectionate, even-tempered, true-blue, loyal" — all are words used to describe the Sussex Spaniel, a slow-but-steady hunter, and congenial house dog. His frowning expression is delightfully at odds with a typically cheerful nature. Discover more about Sussex Spaniels at AKC’s Sussex Spaniel Breed Biography. For more information about a specific breed visit the breed’s parent club or AKC.org. Shareables: The Otterhound is rarer than the giant panda. Right now there are fewer than 800 Otterhounds globally. Dog breed extinction can happen for many reasons, but it is typically linked to societal disruption and upheaval. Fossilized remains of a Great Pyrenees have been dated back to 1000 BC.
This podcast episode we’ll be looking at some of the biggest canine stars in showbiz and their lasting cultural impact in Hollywood and throughout our culture. It is part of the Down and Back: Stories From the American Kennel Club Archives series. Host Bud Boccone hunts down information and faithfully shares it in this fun and frisky format. The Dog Star, Canis major, may be the brightest star in the sky, but it pales in comparison to the dog stars of the big screen. When Timmy fell down the well, audiences knew Lassie would come to his rescue, and when Pongo prevailed over Cruella, movie fans cheered. For more than a century, humans have been paying to watch canine conundrums and hounds be heroes. Some movies lead to an uptick of ownership of a particular breed, based on a character a dog played in a film. Listen in to discover why humans watch dogs. Bonafide Bits: In 1921, Strongheart, a German Shepherd Dog, played the role of Flash in the Hollywood movie, The Silent Call. Rin Tin Tin starred in 27 motion pictures, and The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin was a popular radio program. The real name of the forever famous Toto from the Wizard of Oz is Terry. Unfortunately, Walt Disney’s movie, 101 Dalmatians made Dalmatians America’s fad-dog. Christopher Guest’s, Best in Show is a mockumentary that portrays dogs as dignified and handlers as disobedient. Featured Breeds: German Shepherd Dog There are many reasons why German Shepherd Dogs stand in the front rank of canine royalty, but experts say their defining attribute is character: loyalty, courage, confidence, the ability to learn commands for many tasks, and the willingness to put their life on the line in defense of loved ones. German Shepherd Dogs will be gentle family pets and steadfast guardians, but, the breed standard says, there’s a “certain aloofness that does not lend itself to immediate and indiscriminate friendships.” Discover more about German Shepherd Dogs at AKC’s German Shepherd Dog Breed Biography. Collie The Collie is a lithe, strong, responsive, active dog, carrying no useless timber, standing naturally straight and firm. The deep, moderately wide chest shows strength, the sloping shoulders and well-bent hocks indicate speed and grace, and the face shows high intelligence. The Collie presents an impressive, proud picture of true balance, each part being in harmonious proportion to every other part and to the whole. Discover more about Collies at AKC’s Collie Breed Biography. Staffordshire Bull Terrier From his brawling past, the muscular but agile Staffordshire Bull Terrier retains the traits of courage and tenacity. Happily, good breeding transformed this former gladiator into a mild, playful companion with a special feel for kids. Discover more about Staffordshire Bull Terriers at AKC’s Staffordshire Bull Terrier Breed Biography. Smooth Fox Terrier The Smooth Fox Terrier, called the “gentleman of the terrier world,” is a lively, gregarious terrier with a devil-may-care attitude, originally developed for Britain’s traditional foxhunts. Discover more about Smooth Fox Terriers at AKC’s Smooth Fox Terrier Breed Biography. Standard Schnauzer The bold, bewhiskered Standard Schnauzer is a high-spirited farm dog from Germany. They are the sometimes-willful but ever-reliable medium-sized members of the Schnauzer family of breeds. The Standard’s sporty look is a canine classic. Discover more about Standard Schnauzers at AKC’s Standard Schnauzer Breed Biography. Wire Fox Terrier The Wire Fox Terrier breed standard says they should be “on the tip-toe of expectation at the slightest provocation.” Once a mainstay of traditional British fox hunts, today’s Wire is a handsome and amusing companion and master show dog. Discover more about Wire Fox Terriers at AKC’s Wire Fox Terrier Breed Biography. Cairn Terrier Cairn Terriers are happy, busy little earth dogs originally bred to fearlessly root out foxes and other small, furred prey in the rocky Scottish countryside. Curious and alert, Cairns like having a place where they can explore and dig. Discover more about Cairn Terriers at AKC’s Cairn Terrier Breed Biography. Dalmatian The dignified Dalmatian, dogdom’s citizen of the world, is famed for his spotted coat and unique job description. During their long history, these “coach dogs” have accompanied the horse-drawn rigs of nobles, gypsies, and firefighters. Discover more about Dalmatians at AKC’s Dalmatian Breed Biography. Bloodhounds The world-famous “Sleuth Hound” does one thing better than any creature on earth: find people who are lost or hiding. An off-duty Bloodhound is among the canine kingdom’s most docile citizens, but he’s relentless and stubborn on a scent. Discover more about Bloodhounds at AKC’s Bloodhound Breed Biography. For more information about a specific breed visit the breed’s parent club or AKC.org. Shareables: For the studios, accustomed to the foibles of high-priced divas and scandal-prone, egocentric humans, reliable, obedient ‘dog stars’ were manna from heaven. Every type of dog needs just the right owner. Which furry film star is your favorite?
This podcast episode highlights centuries of purpose breeding that allows certain dogs to be perfectly adapted for city bars, parks, and cramped studio apartments. It is part of the Down and Back: Stories From the American Kennel Club Archives series. Host Bud Boccone hunts down information and faithfully shares it in this fun and frisky format. History is still unclear as to whether a human chose to relocate an English Bulldog in France or if the Bulldog got a whiff of the Moulin Rouge in Paris and fled the English countryside for a taste of the avant-garde. Nonetheless, some dogs have been purposefully bred as companions for humans who desire to live amidst the hustle and bustle of the city. It’s up to their human companions to give dogs a comfortable lifestyle but with proper care, any dog can be a city dog. Bonafide Bits: English Bulldogs were bred with jaws strong enough to pin a bull to the ground. In 1897, Toulouse-Lautrec included the portrait of a French Bulldog when he captured a saucy Paris night scene. Several Dali Lamas bred Lhasa Apsos in Buddhist monasteries. In 1893, the AKC officially recognized the distinctly American Boston Terrier. In 2018, a Great Dane was featured in New Yorker Magazine.   Featured Breeds: Bulldog Kind but courageous, friendly but dignified, the Bulldog is a thick-set, low-slung, well-muscled bruiser whose “sourmug” face is the universal symbol of courage and tenacity. These docile, loyal companions adapt well to town or country. Discover more about Bulldogs at AKC’s Bulldog Breed Biography. French Bulldog The one-of-a-kind French Bulldog, with his large bat ears and even disposition, is one of the world’s most popular small-dog breeds, especially among city dwellers. The Frenchie is playful, alert, adaptable, and completely irresistible. Discover more about French Bulldogs at AKC’s French Bulldog Breed Biography. Brussels Griffon Tipping the scales at no more than 12 pounds, this human-like toy of complex character has enough personality for 10 ordinary dogs. A sensitive companion for discerning grownups, the Brussels Griffon is smart, devoted, and comically self-important. Discover more about Brussels Griffons at AKC’s Brussels Griffon Breed Biography. Lhasa Apso The lavishly coated Lhasa Apso is a thousand-year-old breed who served as sentinels at palaces and monasteries isolated high in the Himalayas. Smart, confident, and complex, Lhasas are family comedians but regally aloof with strangers. Discover more about Lhasa Apsos at AKC’s Lhasa Apso Breed Biography.   Havanese Havanese, the only dog breed native to Cuba, are cheerful little dogs with a spring in their step and a gleam in their big, brown eyes. These vivacious and sociable companions are becoming especially popular with American city dwellers. Discover more about Havanese at AKC’s Havanese Breed Biography.   Bolognese A small companion breed originating in Italy, the Bolognese is a calm, faithful dog with a long, fluffy pure-white coat. They are very playful, easy-going, and love people. Discover more about Bolognese at AKC’s Bolognese Breed Biography.   Coton de Tulear The Coton de Tulear, “Royal Dog of Madagascar,” is a bright, happy-go-lucky companion dog whose favorite activities include clowning, cavorting, and following their special human around the house. The Coton is small but robustly sturdy. Discover more about Coton de Tulears at AKC’s Coton de Tulear Breed Biography. Bedlington Terrier Graceful terriers in sheep’s clothing, Bedlington Terriers, named for the English mining shire where they were first bred, are genial housemates, alert watchdogs, versatile athletes, and irresistibly cuddly TV-time companions. Discover more about Bedlington Terriers at AKC’s Bedlington Terrier Breed Biography. Boston Terrier The Boston Terrier is a lively little companion recognized by his tight tuxedo jacket, sporty but compact body, and the friendly glow in his big, round eyes. His impeccable manners have earned him the nickname “The American Gentleman.” Discover more about Boston Terriers at AKC’s Boston Terrier Breed Biography.   Greyhound The champion sprinter of dogdom, the Greyhound is a gentle, noble, and sweet-tempered companion with an independent spirit. For thousands of years, these graceful hounds have been an object of fascination for artists, poets, and kings. Discover more about Greyhounds at AKC’s Greyhound Breed Biography.   Great Dane The easygoing Great Dane, the mighty “Apollo of Dogs,” is a total joy to live with—but owning a dog of such imposing size, weight, and strength is a commitment not to be entered into lightly. This breed is indeed great, but not a Dane. Discover more about Great Danes at AKC’s Great Dane Breed Biography. Leonberger The Leonberger is a lush-coated giant of German origin. They have a gentle nature and serene patience and they relish the companionship of the whole family. Discover more about Leonbergers at AKC’s Leonberger Breed Biography. For more information about a specific breed visit the breed’s parent club or AKC.org. Shareables: Many companion breeds proudly bear the name of the city where they were bred. How many can you name? City dog breeds share a few key traits including size, intelligence, sociability, and quite often stylish hairdos. With proper care, any dog can be a city dog.
This podcast episode features the surprisingly modern story of canine obedience and introduces you to the remarkable breeds who inspired it. It is part of the Down and Back: Stories From the American Kennel Club Archives series. Host Bud Boccone hunts down information and faithfully shares it in this fun and frisky format. Today’s tale has a human element, as most of the best dog stories do. It follows the lives of Ms. Helen Whitehouse Walker and Ms. Blanche Saunders, who are recognized for legitimizing obedience trials within the AKC, popularizing poodles in the United States, and entrancing an entire nation by showcasing their dog handling skills on the road. Please enjoy this brief, yet bountiful history of humans learning new tricks from dogs and their purpose-bred traits. Bonafide Bits: Poodles’ roots can be traced back to Germany where they were bred for retrieving ducks Munito, the famous dog franchise in Europe, was based on a dog’s ability to comprehend cues from its handler Breeds that excel at obedience training include Border Collie, German Shepherd Dog, Golden Retriever, and Doberman Pinscher Obedience is the sport of tapping into abilities for which dogs are already hard-wired In 1936, the American Kennel Club acknowledged Obedience as a sport Featured Breeds: Poodle Forget those old stereotypes of Poodles as sissy dogs. Poodles are eager, athletic, and wickedly smart “real dogs” of remarkable versatility. The Standard, with his greater size and strength, is the best all-around athlete of the family, but all Poodles can be trained with great success. Discover more about Poodles at AKC’s Poodle (Standard) Breed Biography. Border Collie The intelligence, athleticism, and trainability of Borders have a perfect outlet in agility training. Having a job to perform -- like agility, herding, or obedience work — is key to Border happiness. Amiable among friends, they may be reserved with strangers. Discover more about Border Collies at AKC’s Border Collie Breed Biography. German Shepherd Dog There are many reasons why German Shepherd Dogs stand in the front rank of canine royalty, but experts say their defining attribute is character: loyalty, courage, confidence, the ability to learn commands for many tasks, and the willingness to put their life on the line in defense of loved ones. German Shepherd Dogs will be gentle family pets and steadfast guardians, but, the breed standard says, there’s a “certain aloofness that does not lend itself to immediate and indiscriminate friendships.” Discover more about German Shepherd Dogs at AKC’s German Shepherd Breed Biography. Golden Retriever The Golden Retriever, an exuberant Scottish gundog of great beauty, stands among America’s most popular dog breeds. They are serious workers at hunting and fieldwork, as guides for the blind, and in search-and-rescue, enjoy obedience and other competitive events, and have an endearing love of life when not at work. Discover more about Golden Retrievers at AKC’s Golden Retriever Breed Biography. Doberman Pinscher Sleek and powerful, possessing both a magnificent physique and keen intelligence, the Doberman Pinscher is one of dogkind’s noblemen. This incomparably fearless and vigilant breed stands proudly among the world’s finest protection dogs. Discover more about Doberman Pinschers at AKC’s Doberman Pinscher Breed Biography. Newfoundland The massive Newfoundland is a strikingly large, powerful working dog of heavy bone and dignified bearing. The sweet-tempered Newfie is a famously good companion and has earned a reputation as a patient and watchful “nanny dog” for kids. Discover more about Newfoundlands at AKC’s Newfoundland Breed Biography. Dachshund The famously long, low silhouette, ever-alert expression, and bold, vivacious personality of the Dachshund have made him a superstar of the canine kingdom. Dachshunds come in two sizes and three coat types of various colors and patterns. Discover more about Dachshunds at AKC’s Dachshund Breed Biography. For more information about a specific breed visit the breed’s parent club or AKC.org. Shareables: Obedience begins and ends with training humans. Through the last half-century, there has been a renaissance in thinking about breed attributes. Ms. Helen Whitehouse Walker never set out to champion the Poodle but eventually became a Poodle evangelist.
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