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View Full Version : Dog that seems frou-frou but is secretly scrappy and tough?



Captcha
04-30-2013, 04:38 AM
Related to my other post about a city socialite transplanted to a small town...

I want the guy to have a dog. The character is gay, and he's a bit stereotypically effeminate - not RIGHT over the top, but getting there. I want him to have a stereotypically appropriate dog.

But I want the guy (and the dog) to end up being pretty scrappy and able to take care of themselves in the country (with a little help from a handsome cowboy - what? It's a romance!).

Anyway, any suggestions on what kind of dog would fit this? I was thinking that some sort of terrier might work for the second part - they're not big but they're pretty much the definition of scrappy. But I'm not sure if any terrier breeds are fashionable enough to satisfy the first part.

Help?

LA*78
04-30-2013, 04:59 AM
Maltese terriers are the most dumped dogs (here anyway) because they are such evil little things. They're pretty, but they'll rip your toes off in a heartbeat.

Siri Kirpal
04-30-2013, 06:49 AM
Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

Don't know how scappy they are, but poodles are smarter than they look.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal

Kitty Pryde
04-30-2013, 06:54 AM
Every little dog in LA wears a jacket if the temperature dips below 60 F. But one frigid January in Germany I saw a wondrous little chihuahua frolicking on a snow-covered riverbank in sub-freezing temperatures, and I had mad respect for that dog. Little dogs can still be badasses if they aren't coddled too hard.

KTC
04-30-2013, 07:00 AM
Isn't poodle the smartest breed overall?

I'd say Jack Russell. They're frou frou and scrappy.

Also, a frou frou chee huey huey will take on a doberman and a shepherd. :-)

GingerGunlock
04-30-2013, 07:10 AM
Standard Poodles are in the "Top Ten", as measured by Stanley Coren (http://www.stanleycoren.com/e_intelligence.htm). Border Collies are number 1, in fact (with my dear Doberman coming in at 5). I've heard of Poodles actually being pretty tough numbers, and they were originally hunting dogs (water retrievers, anyway). Also, according to Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poodle), they were used as Wardogs in WWII, though I'm unclear on the capacity, as the military K9 has many jobs.

DeleyanLee
04-30-2013, 07:11 AM
Pekingese. They were bred to be personal protection dogs for the Chinese Emperor and his family. They're mega-furry, with big eyes and cute little faces. The AKC says they should be under 14 lbs, but mine is 20 lbs. (Malachy the Peke won Westminster last year, FWIW: http://images.search.yahoo.com/search/images?_adv_prop=image&fr=chrf-yff13&va=malachy+the+pekingese_)

However, under that fur, they have the stature of a mini-bulldog with the big heavy front quarters and the small back end. As personal protection dogs, they are very attached to their person (and they do attach to one person, though they may like an entire family).

True story: I took the back roads to pick up Taco Bell and took my Peke with me. It was winter, at night, and the back roads have no street lights. Londo (my Peke) was in the back seat, hoping for what was in the bags.

Someone flagged me down out of the dark. Being a nice person, I stopped and rolled down my window. A man I couldn't see well approached my car and asked directions for a street that I didn't know (and have since discovered doesn't exist in this city). From the back seat, there was a growl that should've belong to a doberman, but it was my little 20 lb Peke. The guy put up his hands and backed away from my car. I seriously think he saved my life.

But, look at Malachy--does he or does he not look totally frou-frou? ;)

Beachgirl
04-30-2013, 07:40 AM
I have three toy poodles and I can attest to their intelligence. Its scary sometimes what these dogs can figure out. And when they're fresh from the groomers, you just cant beat a poodle for the frou-frou factor.

But let me tell you, if someone comes into this house uninvited, my twelve pound guard dogs will rip their bloody leg off. I had a mailman tell me once that no breed struck fear into mailmen's hearts quite the way a poodle could.

Liralen
04-30-2013, 08:07 AM
Check out the Schipperke.

Not too many people would really consider most Terriers like the JRT, PRT, Rat, Fox, Toy Fox, etc., to be frou frou. Perhaps the Bedlington would work, maybe even the Manchester.

A Standard Poodle (Spoo) would definitely fit your description, but it would also be expected.

Miniature Schnauzers could fit your criteria, and there are some surprisingly fierce Cocker Spaniels out there. Dachshunds are stout little dogs (bred to hunt badger), that most people view as inconsequential.

If you want to go more exotic, try the American Hairless Terrier (one I take care of periodically actually bit a guy who came inside the house too fast -- on the ass) or the Xoloitzcuintli, and you'd be surprised at how feisty a Chinese Crested can be.

. . . but considering the beasts I live with, lol :D

Nawlins
04-30-2013, 08:29 AM
My poodle was a cutie in her puppy cut, but I taught her to snarl on command ("Smile!"), and that was downright scary, lolol. I forgot to lock the screen door one day and when the postman came to deliver the mail, she waited till he climbed the steps and then shot through the door. It was like a cartoon: he jumped off the porch and tossed that bag before he hit the ground - running, I might add. I got the dog into the house (she did NOT pursue him btw) but he was already in the next block. Took nearly an hour to collect and reorganize his mail. He was NOT happy, and he was a big ol' bubba. lol Poodles are cute but those teeth are big and pointy! lolol

Might want to consider Chows. They're fancy in show clip but large enough to be imposing.

Airedales can also be pretty feisty; they're not hugely popular, so that might have enough of a chi-chi exclusivity to appeal to your character, if it appeals to him to have a breed that he won't see at every dog park.
http://www.mydogbreed.com/airedale-terrier/airedale-terrier-training.php (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airedale_Terrier)

Liralen
04-30-2013, 09:00 AM
An Airedale is a formidable dog, not too many people are going to consider one frou-frou. Consider that it's a Terrier roughly the (correct) size of a Doberman. ;)

And Chows have a rep (not completely deserved) of being . . . irascible.

debirlfan
04-30-2013, 09:49 AM
Yorkies are small enough to be purse dogs, but the ones I've met think they're Doberman sized.

Cath
04-30-2013, 01:48 PM
There's nothing frou frou about Jack Russells. The farmers I knew kept them as ratters.

Spaniels could be a good bet. They look floppy and furry but they are actually working dogs and need more exercise than most city folks realize.

Captcha
04-30-2013, 02:12 PM
These are great ideas, guys - thanks! I'm running back and forth between this thread and google, looking them all up!

And yes, DeleyanLee, Malachy definitely looks frou-frou. And adorable!

shaldna
04-30-2013, 03:47 PM
I would second poodles, or daschunds, but definately not any sort of terrier, especially a Jack Rusell - they are the pigeons and rats of the dog world - small, smelly and found everywhere.

Sonata
04-30-2013, 04:34 PM
As predictable as it may be, a standard poodle would fit your bill perfectly. They get a bad rep for their fur-doo's, but they are highly intelligent and capable dogs.

I've known a lot of airedales, and there's nothing frou-frou about the breed. Great farm dogs though.

benbenberi
04-30-2013, 04:44 PM
Many small dogs, inc. poodles, dachshunds, and all the terriers, were bred for hunting. Give them an opportunity and they'll prove it for you!

When I was a child my neighborhood was ruled by a dachshund. Terrifying, ferocious creature -- he may have been only 8 inches high, but nothing got in his way or lived to tell the tale...

rseldon
04-30-2013, 05:32 PM
Are corgis fashionable? (Hey, the Queen keeps them.) Some people dismiss them as just cute, but they can be darn tough little dogs and they are very, very bright. They were bred for herding work, so they're definitely suited to country life -- and to bossing around creatures much larger than themselves. :D

My first corgi, when I was a kid, was an adorable snuggly sweetheart, but she could track me across a mile of forest if I went out to play without her. She also routinely told our neighbor's dog -- an old English sheepdog who weighed about 90 pounds -- to lie down and play dead or face the consequences. She was never actually vicious; she just glared and curled her lip, and that 90 pound sheepdog obeyed her without question. She could definitely take care of herself. :)

GingerGunlock
04-30-2013, 06:00 PM
Pekingese. They were bred to be personal protection dogs for the Chinese Emperor and his family. They're mega-furry, with big eyes and cute little faces. The AKC says they should be under 14 lbs, but mine is 20 lbs. (Malachy the Peke won Westminster last year, FWIW: http://images.search.yahoo.com/search/images?_adv_prop=image&fr=chrf-yff13&va=malachy+the+pekingese_)

However, under that fur, they have the stature of a mini-bulldog with the big heavy front quarters and the small back end. As personal protection dogs, they are very attached to their person (and they do attach to one person, though they may like an entire family).

True story: I took the back roads to pick up Taco Bell and took my Peke with me. It was winter, at night, and the back roads have no street lights. Londo (my Peke) was in the back seat, hoping for what was in the bags.

Someone flagged me down out of the dark. Being a nice person, I stopped and rolled down my window. A man I couldn't see well approached my car and asked directions for a street that I didn't know (and have since discovered doesn't exist in this city). From the back seat, there was a growl that should've belong to a doberman, but it was my little 20 lb Peke. The guy put up his hands and backed away from my car. I seriously think he saved my life.

But, look at Malachy--does he or does he not look totally frou-frou? ;)

Are Pekes the ones bred to sit in peoples' sleeves in court? I confess, I've never heard that they were bred for personal protection (i.e. a "manstopper", which is a little different from being a watchdog), but rather as a companion breed.

Considering Malachy couldn't complete a lap around the ring (his handler picked him up and carried him), yeah, he's frou frou cubed. It was disappointing to me that 1. The Doberman didn't win and 2.Malachy seemed labored at basic doggie things (walking and breathing). I kind of felt sorry for the little dude.

dolores haze
04-30-2013, 06:13 PM
I have a little daschund mix and she's the prettiest little princess. She's also a stone cold killer. Moles are her favorite victims. Sniffing them out, digging them up, then killing them.

ElaineA
04-30-2013, 06:20 PM
I would second poodles, or daschunds, but definately not any sort of terrier, especially a Jack Rusell - they are the pigeons and rats of the dog world - small, smelly and found everywhere.

<---"I am not smelly! *sniffs* I might be convinced to admit to the rest." --Ziggy


My sister-in-law has a Mini-Pin. The most vicious little dog EVER. When she's riled, everyone steers clear, including Ziggy over there. She can fit in a bag but WILL NOT wear a sweater, even though she shivers in the cold.

Westies are quite common city dogs (with their funny show-cuts) but they'll go all terrier on you given the chance. Scrappy? Yup, All white, unleashed to roll in cow and sheep poo in the country? Yup. Some good fodder for comedy there.

Myrealana
04-30-2013, 06:40 PM
How about a Cocker Spaniel? Kind of dumb, but they can be quite brave.

Or a terrier like a Scottie or a Westie? I've seen a Scottie continue trying to gnaw a guy's ankles off while being whacked at with a 2x4 and a Westie who was mauled by an entire pack of dogs to a point near death who was still snarling and snapping at the pack after she was rescued.

ETA

Westies are quite common city dogs (with their funny show-cuts) but they'll go all terrier on you given the chance. Scrappy? Yup, All white, unleashed to roll in cow and sheep poo in the country? Yup. Some good fodder for comedy there.
OMG- YES!

My Westie (the one who survived a feral dog pack) was left alone in my grandparents' house with an unlocked wood fireplace. It was summer and the fireplace hadn't been used in months, but hadn't been cleaned out. We came back to find a completely black little face looking at us from the hearth. It was like she had turned into a Scottie in an hour.

And then, of course, she had to lead us on a chase through the house - over the carpet, onto the couch, rubbing under the bed. What a mess! And she was having the time of her life.

ironmikezero
04-30-2013, 06:51 PM
I think poodles may fit your requirements, but I suspect they may be a bit overexposed if not typecast as powderpuffs with attitude.

Hence, I echo Nawlins and Liralen and cast my vote for a Chow Chow...

They are frou-frou in appearance only, quietly determined, stoic and aloof - but fiercely loyal. In fact their attitude appears to be more cat-like in a watchful, predatory sense. When they kill, they tend to do it silently... like an assassin.

Liralen
04-30-2013, 07:44 PM
Nope, I did not vote for the Chow. They're already seen as tough dogs, even with a rather nasty (and undeserved) reputation, some of it from the irresponsible breeding that's been done as they became popular and some less-than-desirable traits got enhanced.

One important thing: please, please, when you use a specific breed of dog in your writing, do it responsibly. Do your research, and don't present the breed in a way that will bring grief on it, whether through pubic perception as a bad breed (there is no such thing) or as a too-cute, good-for-everyone dog. Look what that did to Dalmations, German Shepherds, Great Danes, among others. As a matter of fact, I'm going to be sitting with and working with a couple of Danes who are victims of bad breeding, thanks largely to the overpopularity of the breed and the quest for special "rare" colors.

If you want help with dog research, please feel free to contact me. I've already got way more of it done than anyone should ever need to do, lol, and a fair bit of hands-on. :)

sunandshadow
04-30-2013, 07:59 PM
Poodles and bedlington terriers (lamb dogs) are both known to kill rats and similar prey. Neither are extremely child-friendly.

ironmikezero
04-30-2013, 08:08 PM
[QUOTE=Liralen;8147269]Nope, I did not vote for the Chow. They're already seen as tough dogs, even with a rather nasty (and undeserved) reputation, some of it from the irresponsible breeding that's been done as they became popular and some less-than-desirable traits got enhanced.

Alas, apologies, Liralen... I did not mean to imply you voted - I was simply struck by your irascible reference, however tongue-in-cheek. And you're absolutely right - they don't deserve it. Irresponsible breeding is indeed the bane of many breeds, but we need not derail this thread with a foray into that sad morass.

Cyia
04-30-2013, 08:11 PM
Poodles can take down a charging pitbull. (that's not to say you should use a charging pittie - please don't. Attacks are far rarer than fiction and the news makes out) Poodles grab the throat and don't let go. A standard poodle - pom pommed tail or no - actually makes a great guard dog. (The VA here in Texas actually tried using them as helper dogs for the vets who needed assistance. I don't know how many they used, but I met the man who had the first one and even though the dog stands waist high, it's still something strange to see when you've got a guy who's obviously ex-military walking a poodle down the street.)

Cocker spaniels actually have a tendency toward rage disorders in some areas, now. They were a favorite of puppy mills and, odd as it sounds, dog fights for a while. You'll still get pups from that stock that show the traits.

If you want something chow-like, try an Akita or a Keeshond. They've got the curlycue tails, and the Keeshond in particular looks cute and fluffy.

lbender
04-30-2013, 09:04 PM
Poodle or dachshund is your best bet.

Poodles range from 3 pounds to 90. If you give them a frou-frou haircut, nobody will regard them seriously until they're bleeding.

The dachshund, as has already been said, was bred to hunt badgers. Any animal that will go down into a hole in the ground and take on a badger in its home territory is not one I'd want to mess with.

mirandashell
04-30-2013, 09:14 PM
Yorkshire Terrier for me. Nicely washed and combed coat, little pink bow holding up its fringe.... frou-frou as you like. But they are vicious little bastards and I never get within six feet since one jumped out of its owner's arms and went for my face. A few years later, a different Yorkie ran out from its garden and savaged my ankles.

Horrible, horrible dogs.

hester
04-30-2013, 10:18 PM
The Bichon Frise looks frou-frou (they've got those poodle-like curls) but they're also tough, fun and scrappy. Ditto the Havenese and any miniature poodle hybrid (I'm partial to cockapoos :)).

ETA the Pomeranian--they're toy dogs, but very feisty.

Myrealana
04-30-2013, 10:39 PM
Yorkshire Terrier for me. Nicely washed and combed coat, little pink bow holding up its fringe.... frou-frou as you like. But they are vicious little bastards and I never get within six feet since one jumped out of its owner's arms and went for my face. A few years later, a different Yorkie ran out from its garden and savaged my ankles.

Horrible, horrible dogs.
Yeah. My MIL's little Yorkie terrorizes my German Shepherd.

Most big dogs that I've known, unless specifically trained as a guard/K9/fighter - are the sweetest, most gentle dogs. Our neighbor has a Great Dane who is MASSIVE. He towers over me with his front paws on my shoulders. But he's just a big dumb lover.

It's the small dogs you have to watch out for.

Haggis
04-30-2013, 10:53 PM
Every little dog in LA wears a jacket if the temperature dips below 60 F. But one frigid January in Germany I saw a wondrous little chihuahua frolicking on a snow-covered riverbank in sub-freezing temperatures, and I had mad respect for that dog. Little dogs can still be badasses if they aren't coddled too hard.




Also, a frou frou chee huey huey will take on a doberman and a shepherd. :-)




It's the small dogs you have to watch out for.
*cough* (http://www.wltx.com/news/article/144061/35/Chihuahua-Attacks-Robbery-Suspects-VIDEO-INCLUDED)

Raindrop
04-30-2013, 11:07 PM
Shetland Sheepdogs. They look fluffy, but they're *sheepdogs*.

Liralen
05-01-2013, 12:48 AM
[QUOTE=Liralen;8147269]Nope, I did not vote for the Chow. They're already seen as tough dogs, even with a rather nasty (and undeserved) reputation, some of it from the irresponsible breeding that's been done as they became popular and some less-than-desirable traits got enhanced.

Alas, apologies, Liralen... I did not mean to imply you voted - I was simply struck by your irascible reference, however tongue-in-cheek. And you're absolutely right - they don't deserve it. Irresponsible breeding is indeed the bane of many breeds, but we need not derail this thread with a foray into that sad morass.

No problem ;)

Yeah, don't get me started on dogs, irresponsible breeding, ownership, the trials of the Pitbull (there is NO SUCH BREED -- unless you're referencing the American Pit Bull Terrier, it's a TYPE, and most people who label something a pitbull don't even know what they're looking at, I've seen Labs called pitbulls by "experts"). Anyway, the dog world along with what we have done to them, whether inadvertently, irresponsibly, callously or malevolently, has been one of my passions for years now.

And then there are those thousands of website content dog articles I got sucked into writing because of my background that totally cured me of writing content *headdesk*

I'll try not to get on a roll -- I can go on endlessly ;)

********

Back to the subject:

No way I can see that readers would view an Akita as frou-frou.

Pulis are an odd breed that most people look at and smile. They look like a walking mop. They're small, under 30 pounds is standard, but they have many of the same temperament traits as their larger counterparts, the Komondor.

Cresties and American Hairless Terriers could well give you the most bang for your buck as far as looking frou frou but being game.

Or you can make up your own mix, maybe rescued from some awful situation which really cements the bond between dog and owner, and show how the characters see it, then let it surprise whoever gets bitten.

GeorgeK
05-01-2013, 01:56 AM
Isn't poodle the smartest breed overall?

I'd say Jack Russell. They're frou frou and scrappy.

Also, a frou frou chee huey huey will take on a doberman and a shepherd. :-)
Smartest dog, Great Pyr, well beyond scrappy, they can take down wolves, but definitely not frou frou. Every Jack Russell I've known was a spaz and poodles were pretty dumb

My great pyr will follow complex instructions and understands English as well as a first grader, but she doesn't do commands. You have to say please.

SquareSails
05-01-2013, 04:31 AM
Longhaired Dachshund, hands down. Bred to go to ground and bring up a badger.

Nawlins
05-01-2013, 09:39 AM
An Airedale is a formidable dog, not too many people are going to consider one frou-frou. Consider that it's a Terrier roughly the (correct) size of a Doberman. ;)

And Chows have a rep (not completely deserved) of being . . . irascible.

The Airedales I knew - both owned by the same woman - were kept a bit long and fluffy in the leg and she trimmed their little moustaches differently, too. They weren't small, but they were uppity dogs, all right. ;)

Poodles are always among the top ten dog breeds, so always fashionable. Poodles are prissy, too.

When I used to get my Misty groomed, she wouldn't shake off the stupid bow the groomer put in her topknot or tug off her little fancy scarf. No, she'd preen, licking her painted claws and then she'd pose, crossing her paws with such elegance. lol She was a character and smart as a whip. My favorite breed, no question.

GeorgeK
05-01-2013, 03:40 PM
Longhaired Dachshund, hands down. Bred to go to ground and bring up a badger.Tiny dog bringing up a badger is definitely impressive

WeaselFire
05-01-2013, 06:11 PM
The only dog that ever drew blood from me is a poodle. And I live next to pit bulls, across an alley from a rottweiler and down the street from a wild pack of miniature dachshunds (by far the most tenacious dogs on the planet).

Jeff

Liralen
05-01-2013, 11:17 PM
The only dog that's ever actually bitten me was a Pom, and it was just a badly bred, irresponsibly owned little dog, and it couldn't even get hold enough to do more than knick my arm. I've had a couple of Pekes TRY to bite, but the way their mouths are set up they really can't. Kind of like a Pug, although I've yet to meet a Pug with a nasty disposition.

Now, a little Shiba Inu might look frou frou at first glance, but they're game little dogs, and quite guardy. Even a Shar Pei, if you're looking a little larger.

lbender
05-02-2013, 01:52 AM
The only dog that's ever actually bitten me was a Pom, and it was just a badly bred, irresponsibly owned little dog, and it couldn't even get hold enough to do more than knick my arm. I've had a couple of Pekes TRY to bite, but the way their mouths are set up they really can't. Kind of like a Pug, although I've yet to meet a Pug with a nasty disposition.

Now, a little Shiba Inu might look frou frou at first glance, but they're game little dogs, and quite guardy. Even a Shar Pei, if you're looking a little larger.


One advantage of a Shar Pei is the sneak attack on your skin - contact with their coat causes a lot of people to break out. This probably isn't the type of 'attack' you're thinking of, though.

Canotila
05-03-2013, 03:59 AM
For a small dog hairless cresteds are a great suggestion. They were made for killing rats on Chinese sailing ships. They also come in a powderpuff coat. A little west highland white terrier can look deceptively foofy. One of my friends kept them. Someone broke into her house and ended up needing over 300 stitches below the waist.

If you want a big dog, most of the smooth or long haired sight hounds look overly delicate and fussy to people. My borzois eat coyotes for lunch. The male has taken them down single handed, and thinks it's his life mission to fight a cougar some day. Something like an afghan hound, borzoi, or just a good old greyhound would probably work too. They have the added bonus of seeming very soft and timid, until the prey drive is switched on. Then it's fight to the death. I'd stay away from wire coated hounds like the stag, deer, or Irish wolfhounds. The wire coat and beards make them seem tougher somehow.

Edit: I just reread the original post. Funnily enough, I know more than a few gay male borzoi owners. The dogs, even the male dogs, are pretty effeminate compared to other breeds. And they've had a long association with haute couture. Salukis too. They have a reputation for being bad off leash but like any other breed it depends on the dog and the training. My male is horrible off leash. My female is more reliable than any other dog I've owned or worked with. Both love to catch me bunnies and bring them back, live in hand.

Flutterlight
05-03-2013, 07:37 PM
I also advocate for yorkies. My family has one. She'll act all cute and sweet and baby-like around us, but if a strange guy gets between her and my mom... Watch out.

pkbax
05-03-2013, 08:37 PM
We had a Bedlington once. They do look adorable and very lamb-like when trimmed that way, but can be very fiesty. There were bred to hunt badgers.

I second Liralen. Whatever breed or mix of breeds you choose, do the research and present a balanced image of the dog as well as show the reader that your MC is a responsible, loving owner.

lbender
05-03-2013, 11:59 PM
We had a Bedlington once. They do look adorable and very lamb-like when trimmed that way, but can be very fiesty. There were bred to hunt badgers.

I second Liralen. Whatever breed or mix of breeds you choose, do the research and present a balanced image of the dog as well as show the reader that your MC is a responsible, loving owner unless, of course, he's not.

I fixed your comment. What the OP is writing is a story, after all, and there are bad or careless or just thoughtless people out there also.

pkbax
05-04-2013, 12:45 AM
I fixed your comment. What the OP is writing is a story, after all, and there are bad or careless or just thoughtless people out there also.


True. But this is a romance per the thread beginning and it's easier to see the MC as likeable if he isn't a thoughtless, irresponsible dog-owner. However, you're right. I shouldn't assume.