Chantelle has been an animal lover her entire life and is now in a committed relationship with a 4-year-old Toy Poodle, Izze.
What Breed Is Right For You?
When selecting the breed of your next pet, the experts at Animal Planet recommend you ask yourself the following questions:
- What energy level do you want your new pet to have? Are you a couch potato, jogger, or somewhere in between?
- How much time will your pet need to spend alone each day?
- How smart does your dog need to be? Do you want to compete in obedience trials or is not peeing on the floor fine for you?
- Do you prefer a dog that needs little grooming or do you intend to have your dog professionally groomed complete with dye and bows?
- Will your dog serve as a watchdog or gladly usher strangers into your home?
- What's your climate? A husky would be miserable in Miami but the Thai Ridgeback loves warm weather.
- How affectionate do you want your dog to be?
Blue Bay Shepherd
The Blue Bay Shepherd is a variety of German Shepherd being developed by Vicki Spencer over the past 20 years to retain all the size, intelligence, temperament, and health characteristics of the German Shepherd while sporting a long blue coat and a more wolf-like appearance.
German Shepherds were originally farming and herding dogs who were given their name by Max von Stephanitz in 1899. By 1907, they were recognized by the American Kennel Club. In 1922, Rin Tin Tin rose to fame starring in feature films and the German Shepherd's popularity has not flagged since being the second most popular dog in the United States.
Despite their rock star appearance, the Blue Bay is all Shepherd. Obedient, loyal, smart, and devoted, this breed is well-known for its undying service to its master. A large dog, with males reaching up to 26 inches at the shoulder and 88 pounds, live to work. Whether intended as a family pet, guard dog, service dog, or bomb sniffing dog, you will be hard pressed to find a more consummate "professional" or loving family member.
Vicki Spencer's hope is to develop a loving and devoted family member and companion whose beauty and wolf-like appearance match its brains and loyalty.
A striking dog with regal bearing, the Thai Ridgeback, which is native to Thailand, is believed to go back at least 350 years, as evidenced by the manuscripts of King Songthan dating to that period:
"The dogs are big. They are more than two sawk tall. (One sawk is a traditional measurement which equals the length from an adult’s elbow to his fingertips.) They appear in a variety of colors and each dog has a ridge on the back. They are fierce. They are loyal to their masters. They are able to feed themselves, digging the earth in search of small prey. They like to follow their owner, to hunt in the woods. When they catch an animal, they will bring it to their master. They are loyal to the entire household. They love their companionship. They go everywhere with their masters, even as far as the big yang tree. They are powerful and fearless.... Their ears are pointed erect and their tails stand like the swords of tribesmen... "
With excellent sight, speed, agility, and perseverance, the Thai Ridgeback is capable of hunting and capturing rabbits and small boar on its own. Well muscled with loose skin belying their hunting heritage, their coat can be blue, black, red, or yellow, with blue giving them a timeless beauty that the basic colors can't impart. The ridge of fur down their back goes in the opposite direction of their coat as is also seen in the Rhodesian Ridgeback. Many have speculated that the two breeds are related, though researchers have been unable to establish a link between the two breeds.
The Thai Ridgeback is a tough dog with great jumping ability. Primarily seen as companions today, there are less than a few hundred in the US and about 3000 world wide. Intelligent but stubborn, they need an experienced owner. When well trained and exercised, the Thai Ridgeback makes a loving and loyal family pet with a beauty that only a dog that is as rare as it is can impart.
The Blue Lacy is the official state dog of Texas.
Legend has it that the Lacy is a cross of scent hound, coyote, and greyhound. It is even believed that the Lacy was the inspiration for the novel Old Yeller. While there is no evidence to support either of these beliefs, it is known that the Lacy was developed by the Lacy Brothers (Frank, George, Edwin and Harry) in Texas in 1858.
The Lacy was bred to be an all-round "ranch hand" and is said to the the equivalent of five cowboys. With the decline in ranching came the decline in the need for the Lacy, which came near extinction. Admirers found the Lacy to be a wonderful hunting companion, saving it and increasing demand for the dog.
The Blue Lacy is a working dog. Intelligent, easy to train, energetic, fast, and intense, they are increasingly being used as search and rescue dogs. A medium-sized dog weighing up to 55 pounds, they excel as guards dogs. Because of their high intelligence and desire to work, they can "herd" small children, which may make them problematic for some families. They need a good amount of exercise and a purpose to avoid unwanted behaviors.
The Weimaraner hails from they city of Weimar in Germany where it was used by royalty to hunt boar, bear, and deer. Weimaraners were bred exclusively for royalty who wanted a noble-looking, reliable gun dog. At a time when hunting dogs were kept in kennels outside, the Weimaraner lived inside with his family with the result being a dog who loves to be with his humans.
Weimaraners can reach 27 inches at the shoulder and 80 pounds. They are a muscular dog that enjoys vigorous exercise. Active owners will be challenged by the activity level of these dogs who can be hyperactive even in their older years.
Though bright, they tend to be stubborn. With some proper training, these dogs can be more malleable. Due to their intense attachment to their families, they can develop separation anxiety if they are left unattended for long periods of time. They can also get into trouble chewing furniture, counter surfing, and making other miscellaneous mayhem.
Having owned a Weimaraner, I can attest to the fact that they are a stunning head turner at the dog park. They are loving, wanting to spend all their time with their people (even sleeping). They are big and need a lot of exercise but they are worth it.
The Australian Cattle Dog was bred in Australia to drive cattle across long stretches of rugged terrain. It is a medium-sized dog (weighing up to 50 pounds) with a short coat. The term "Blue Heeler" refers to the coat, which is black interspersed with white, giving it a "blue" appearance. (There is also a Red Heeler, which has a coat that is brown interspersed with white.)
As with most working and herding dogs, they are quite intelligent and very active. They have a high level of energy, and though they can be an affectionate and loving family pet, they have been known to nip small children as that is how cattle are herded (by nipping their heels). They will need structured activities to engage their minds and bodies and many owners find they are well suited to agility given their athleticism, intelligence, and endurance.
Whichever breed you eventually choose, please remember to spay or neuter your pet.
Naming Your Blue Dog
Stunning dogs demand unique names. Let everyone else name their dog Spot or Fido. Your beauty's name needs to shine. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:
- Ghost (for all you Game of Thrones fans)
- Shadow (for my uncle who had a German Shepherd named Shadow)
- Smokey (safe but accurate)
- Ash (see Smokey)
- Dusty (as in Dusty Springfield)
- Misty (of Chincoteague. I know, it was a horse not a dog but it still works.)
- Wild Blue (I love this name. It's the nickname of a friend of mine. Human - not dog.)
- Steely Dan (for all their fans)
- Zane Grey (great author)
- Mystique (for all you X-Men fans)
- Smurf (if you have a sense of humor)
© 2015 Chantelle Porter
Chantelle Porter (author) from Ann Arbor on September 03, 2015:
Thanks for stopping by. I've never seen a blue heeler in person, yet. Hopefully someday at the dog park.
RTalloni on September 03, 2015:
Just met an 8 y o blue heeler in my neighborhood. He is a rescue and so friendly. He just threw himself on me, looked me in the eye, and said, "Love me." :) I have to say he spoke well for his breed!
Anyway, it was an amazing thing to see that he really does look blue. Thanks for a neat look at blue dogs. I hope they are always happy. ;)
Chantelle Porter (author) from Ann Arbor on August 14, 2015:
Thank yo for stopping by!
Kevin Goodwin on August 14, 2015:
I love dogs and those are beautiful dogs thank you for sharing.
Chantelle Porter (author) from Ann Arbor on August 10, 2015:
Thank you! The Blue Bay is so haunting looking I could stare at that picture all day.
drbj and sherry from south Florida on August 10, 2015:
Thank you, Chantelle, for this comprehensive introduction to the blue dogs of the world. My favorites would be the Blue Bay Shepherd and the Blue Lacy - 'the equivalent of 5 cowboys.' That's what I call a super dog.
Excellent presentation worth an Up plus.
Chantelle Porter (author) from Ann Arbor on August 10, 2015:
It's hard to choose isn't it? For me it's a tie between the Thai Ridgeback and the Blue Bay Shepherd. Thanks for reading!
Jill Spencer from United States on August 10, 2015:
They're all gorgeous, but the blue heeler is so adorable!!!