Frankie has been the face of my blog since the beginning — and a very handsome one, if I may say so. I’ve never really looked below the surface, though, just glibly referring to him as a terrier mix. What kind of terrier are we talking about? Mixed with what?
It’s time to get on the couch for some analysis, Frankie and …oops, you’re already there!
Let’s start with some vital statistics:
Weight: 10 pounds, more or less.
Length: Loooong…dare I say Dachshund-ish?
Coat: Frankie has thin hair, but a lot of it, and it’s fluffy. It grows, but not too fast — luckily for him, because he gets home groomed, and I’ve been known to give him some seriously bad haircuts. He doesn’t shed, but here’s something peculiar: His hair color seems to change at different times of the year. Mostly he’s off-white — or champagne, as he prefers — but he has definite brown highlights that are more prominent on occasion. Is there a pattern to this metamorphosis? Sorry, I haven’t kept track.
Bone structure: Under all that hair there’s a little skinny face and body (see Chinese Crested, below). I thought of taking a picture of him wet to show you, but it’s 20° F here today. And seeing him that way makes me sad because he looks so vulnerable (not to mention pissed off).
Temperament: Frankie is a dual personality dog. Inside the house, he’s stubborn, smart (as in manipulative) and stroppy. Outdoors he’s shy, fearful. Nature vs nurture in action!
Bark: Deep for a small dog. A friend who has a yappier pup compared their vocal effects as jazz vs Chinese opera.
Health issues: Frankie was once diagnosed with a possible slipped disk, which healed with rest and prevention from further leaps off tall structures. And then there’s his diabetes. According to Dr. Linda Fleeman, an Australian expert in canine diabetes, mixed breeds are most commonly affected, but the Samoyed, Cairn terrier, and Tibetan terrier are particularly at risk. Other dogs often noted as predisposed to diabetes are the Australian terrier, beagle, bichon frise, border terrier, dachshund, miniature schnauzer, poodle, standard schnauzer, and Yorkshire terrier.*
- Frankie was saved by my friend Rebecca under the aegis of Arizona Schnauzer Rescue but no one tends to think he looks schnauzerish. As I often say, there just wasn’t any Arizona Cute Fuzzy Dog of Indeterminate Origin rescue group.
- Early on, someone suggested that Frankie might be a Chinese Crested. That freaked me out — sorry Chinese Crested fans, but you’ve got to know your breed is always ranked high in Ugliest Dog contests — until I realized there is a hairier and cuter variety, called the Powder Puff.
- I once encountered a woman in a parking lot who had a dog that could have been a Frankie clone, the resemblance was that close. Naturally I struck up a conversation with her. She responded to my inquiry about her dog in a thick Latin American accent, “Thees is Cha Cha and shee ees a Terripoo.” I’m still not sure which terri we’re talking about, but thinking about Cha Cha always makes me want to dance!
So what do you think?
*No question: If you match this analysis with his physical characteristics, it seems Frankie was a case of diabetes just waiting to happen; add the steroids taken for his back problems, and it seems almost inevitable.
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