During the time Nix has been living with us, we have seen her interact plenty of times with many different dogs. And, while it is true that each dog is different from the others, we have also noticed certain patterns in Nix’s behaviour towards other dogs depending on their breed.
This post is merely for fun, and does not pretend to be in any means based on any scientific facts but Nix’s reactions with other dogs and our own subjective impressions.
We will focus on three of the most common races of dogs we have encountered. Border collies, Golden Retrievers and other German Shepherds.
By default, border collies are a fast and dynamic breed. They love running and are extremely obedient.
Nix’s usual reaction with them is to pursue them in an (failed) attempt to catch them. She usually does not try to dominate them in any manner and prefers fast – and tiring – running sessions.
As always, there is an exception to every rule, and Nix’s relation with Puc (my parent’s Border Collie) is of major indifference and non-interference in anything they do. Which is a bit sad for us as we know that both dogs could enjoy running in the garden they have at my parents’.
Male border collies with dirty ideas on their mind will be put in their appropriate place. She will usually grab them from the collar and immobilize them until their “dirty” ideas are long gone and the playful session can be resumed.
Golden retrievers are usually calm and submissive dogs. They love being pet and are huge gluttons. Nix has met several Golden Retrievers already, and, usually, she tries to subdue them by means of force. With that statement we do not mean that she fights with them, but rather that she prefers to grab them from the fluffy skin around their neck and have them lie down on the floor in a sign of victory and dominance.
Some of the other owners do not like this attitude towards their dogs, so we try to discourage Nix from behaving like this. One of the most efficient techniques we found is to give her a stick, which she won’t let go (in an attempt to get the other dog to pursue her) and will, de facto, prevent her from trying to dominate them.
This attitude with Golden Retrievers has caused her some trouble with some dominant Golden Retrievers, which will not submit to Nix. There is one particular example, Cala, a female Golden Retriever, which does not want play with Nix as a consequence of a pubescent (they both have the similar age) fight they had many months ago.
We haven’t met any male Golden Retriever, so it is uncertain how she will react if any would try to “impress” her…
Regarding other German Shepherds, Nix is extremely selective and distinctive. While female cause her indifference or some degree of competition, males trigger a completely different reaction. In the case of females, usually both dogs will grab a treasure (e.g. a stone or a stick) with their mouths and will try to provoke the other in pursuing them. This situation is extremely ironic, as, in the end, even if both dogs wanted to play, they don’t.
What really amazes us the most is the relationship she has with males.
If the German shepherd male is of her size or smaller, she will treat them as friends. They will pursue each other, maybe try to dominate each other (and usually fail), and any “dishonest” attempt from the male side will be responded with a clear indication of him being unworthy. That indication can vary from a fast move of her hips to avoid any contact to a gawk and potential teeth display towards the unworthy candidate. Young German shepherds, even if they are a bit bigger than Nix, will be treated the same way.
Bigger, adult, handsome, strong, fast and clean German shepherd males enter a different category. Nix will put them through a very selective examination. If they pass, they will enter the extremely exclusive club of “acceptable” German Shepherds that can have dishonest thoughts with Nix. So far, only one male, whose name is Thunder, is 4 years old and weights 45 Kg has managed to enter this category. With him, Nix’s attitude is completely alien even to us. She will prioritize being with the dog even more than playing with her favorite toys. She will try to lay next to him and will play with him until exhaustion. And she will pull, bark (in a strange way) and keep all her senses towards that dog in a completely unfamiliar fashion. Thunder’s “brother”, Lightning, is probably the next dog that will join Nix’s selective club.
As a final conclusion, I would like to point out that I was not expecting our dog to be breed-selective in terms on the way she acts. But the more we see this happening, even with new and unfamiliar dogs, the more we realize that, in the mind of a dog, things may not be as we think…