I’ve been wanting to add the Bernese Mountain Dog to my list of dog breeds for quite a while. I’m always struck by how beautiful these dogs are – their coloring is rich and coat so luscious. I had the privilege, years ago, to make friends with a Bernese Mountain Dog. He was friendly and sweet, probably the most relaxed dog I’ve ever met.
The Bernese Mountain Dog originated in the mountains of Switzerland, mainly around the city of Berne. It was kept mostly as a farm dog – a companion animal and watchdog for the farmer and his family. It was also used to pull carts to deliver the products of farmers who could not afford a draft horse, or whose farms were too small to require one. Today, Bernese Mountain Dogs are still companion animals and farm dogs, are used as therapy dogs, and they compete in draft competitions, tracking, obedience, and even agility.
I will post a picture of my Bernese Mountain Dog design when I get it finished. I must admit that I’ve fallen slightly behind with my dog breed art and have not yet completed last month’s artwork for the Shiba Inu, though I’m very close. There are just so many fun things to work on in my business…it’s wonderful to have this type of problem 🙂
I chose the Shiba Inu for my Dog of the Month because it’s just so “foxy” and adorable. I have a friend who has a Shiba, and I am taken with just how intelligent and dignified her dog is – she’s not one to really frolic or roll over for a belly rub, but she is inquisitive and kind. As always, when I choose a dog to work on, I get to learn a little more about the breed.
The Shiba Inu is the smallest of the Spitz dog breeds in Japan and is considered the oldest breed, according to the AKC. They’re agile and compact and have very keen senses, which made them excellent hunting dogs that could easily navigate the steep hills in the mountainous regions of Japan from whence the originated. The Shiba ancestors that were brought down from the mountains to more populated areas in Japan were courser looking and larger boned than today’s very elegant Shibas. WWII brought near extinction of the breed and there were three bloodlines remaining. It is from these bloodlines that the modern Shiba has evolved.
Well, I can’t wait to have Shiba Inu gifts among my dog lover pottery. I’ll post my finished design when I get it done.
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I will be changing the “Dog of the week” to “Dog of the Month”. I was very ambitious to take on a new dog design every week, though I am happy about my efforts and the drawings they produced. The design work is, for me, the most time consuming part of what I do, and I feel that a new drawing every month allows me to give the time I need to the artwork.
June’s Dog of the Month is the Alaskan Klee Kai. What? Never heard of it? I have to admit that I was unfamiliar with it until a customer asked if I did custom work because her dog breed was not on my website list and it is hard to find items with her dog breed on them. I told her that I happily add new breeds at the request of customers. She sent me a picture of her cute pup and told me that it was an Alaskan Klee Kai. I immediately took the internet to find out all about it.
Klee Kai is the Eskimo term for “little dog.” The breed was developed beginning in the early 1970’s as a miniature version of the Alaskan Husky, a popular breed for racing and sledding in Alaska, though not recognize by the AKC. The Klee Kai is not recognized by the AKC either, but spayed and neutered dogs can be entered in AKC Partners programs and Companion events.
So what is the Klee Kai like? The miniature version is from 13-15″ and the standard from 15″-17″. They have a distinct facial mask and can come in any color except all white. They are quick learners and very active – like Huskies, they love to run. Here are some of the activities I found the Alaskan Klee Kai involved in: agility, freestyle, dock diving, weight pull, therapy and service dogs, carting, rally obedience, nose work. From my understanding, the Alaskan Klee Kai is one-family oriented and are very reserved around strangers, which is a challenge because they are so cute and people are drawn to them. However, like any population, there are some very social members among the Alaskan Klee Kai too, as must be the case if they are used as therapy and service dogs.
I was very happy to be introduced to this breed and to get to learn more about it. I will post my finished Alaskan Klee Kai artwork when I finish it. And soon after that, you’ll be able to find it among the other dog pottery on the Shepherds Grove website.
P.S. I am currently running a contest on Instagram – #mydoglovesmecontest Look at any of my most recent pictures to see how to enter. Good luck!!