|Photo: Ellen Levy Finch|
In my last entry, I wrote about that Danish city where there aren't any dogs. Or at least they don't put their dogs on picture postcards. So I decided to find out if there are any breeds of dogs that got started in Denmark. And one breed I found was the Danish-Swedish Farmdog. Or you can also call it the dansk/svensk gårdshund.
These dogs are an old native breed that mostly lived on farms in eastern Denmark and southern Sweden. Farmers used them to guard their farms and livestock, to catch rats, and as hunting dogs. Also they were just good family dogs and fun for kids to play with.
The breed has been around at least since the 1700s. A lot of people, when they see a Danish-Swedish Farmdog, think it is some kind of terrier, but they are wrong. These dogs are actually more related to the pinscher family than to terriers.
Farmdogs have bodies that are compact and almost rectangular. Their heads are a little small in proportion to their bodies. Their tails curve, they're not curled like basenji tails. Sometimes a DSF is born with a bobbed tail, but people don't bob the tails on purpose.
The coat of the Danish-Swedish Farmdog is mostly white, with some spots of color. The hair texture is hard, short, and smooth.
For a while, there almost stopped being any Farmdogs because lots families quit farming and moved to the city. But starting about 1986, breed clubs in Denmark and Sweden began trying to find enough typical DSFs to form a foundation for the breed. In 1987, they decided the official name of the breed would be the Danish-Swedish Farmdog. Then in 2008, the FCI international dog association recognized the breed.
But lots of Farmdogs are just family pets and not show dogs at all. They are sweet, friendly, playful, and curious. They get along well with other dogs and with children. They learn quickly, and you can teach them to do tricks or to herd sheep or to do search-and-rescue or to be therapy dogs. Since they are working dogs, they like to have a job to do, or at least you should make sure they get some exercise every day.
Danish-Swedish Farmdogs are more mellow than terriers usually are, so they are less likely to be aggressive or to chase cats. I told Mom maybe we should get one, but she said there probably aren't many of them available in this country. Which means we would have to buy one from a breeder, and that would be expensive. Not to mention that there are plenty of very nice mixed-breed dogs in shelters, waiting to be adopted.