Friday Sprog Blogging: dog days.

I'm still trying to get out from under the monstrous head cold given to me by the younger Free-Ride offsrping just in time for last week's trip to Pittsburgh. The sprogs have actually given me wide berth this week, as if they expect me to mutate the germs and give them back.

How well they know me.

In the meantime, there's been some idle chatter about dogs. For instance, in recounting the adventures of the young Border Collie that lives next door (whose human says, "For a member of a really smart breed, she's pretty dumb"), the sprogs have puzzled over whether canine intelligence (or lack thereof) is primarily a heritable trait, and whether a good mutt might be smarter than your average representative of even a "smart" breed.

They've also been drawn into the Shiba Inu Puppy Cam. What could be better than live video of six puppies, with occasional glimpses of their mom (who looks ready to wean them) and of the tattooed arm that takes care of them?

Walking to school this morning after "checking in" on the Shiba Inu puppies, the sprogs also mentioned an item from the news that I seem to have missed while I was traveling.

Elder offspring: I wonder when those Shiba Inu puupies will stop being cute.

Younger offspring: I wonder when Barack Obama will get his puppy.

Dr. Free-Ride: Huh?

Elder offspring: Barack Obama told his daughters that if he won the election, they could get a dog.

Dr. Free-Ride: Really? The White House and a dog? What would they have gotten if he didn't win the election?

Elder offspring: I don't know. Maybe a hamster.

Younger offspring: So, soon, but I don't know when, maybe they'll get their Golden Doodle, or a Labradoodle.

Dr. Free-Ride: Huh?

Younger offspring: Those are dogs.

Elder offspring: A Golden Doodle is a cross between a Golden Retriever and a Poodle, and a Labradoodle is a cross between a Lab and a Poodle.

Dr. Free-Ride: I see. And these are the favored breeds why?

Younger offspring: His younger daughter, Sasha, is allergic to dogs.

Elder offspring: Yeah, but Golden Doodles or Labradoodles are OK for her.

Dr. Free-Ride: So, she'd be allergic to the parent dogs, but not to the offspring?

Younger offspring: Yeah.

Dr. Free-Ride: The offspring don't have the allergens that their parents do?

Elder offspring: I guess not.

Dr. Free-Ride: I wonder how that works.

Younger offspring: Maybe there are cats like that.

Elder offspring: I wonder if you could breed a Cheese Doodle.

Dr. Free-Ride: Which would be the offspring of ... ?

Elder offspring: A poodle and a cheddar?

Dr. Free-Ride: Hmm. Sounds like a dog that might be at risk of melting on a hot summer day.

Elder offspring: But it would be easy to care for if you kept it in the fridge.

More like this

We've arrived at the portion of the school year in which it is dark when I walk the Free-Ride offspring home. This means that a good bit of our observation during the walk depends on our ears instead of our eyes. Elder offspring: (in response to the high-pitched screech-y song of a bird-like…
In pondering the effects of nature versus nurture, the Free-Ride parents have become painfully aware that a large part of their offspring's environment is provided by the kids at school. This is how the sprogs came to be aware of the existence of The Disney Channel, whose offering seem to grate on…
Nature study has taken a turn from the macroscopic to the microscopic. Is it a coincidence that the Free-Ride family has also been passing around a cold? While your blogger felt sure she would be able to avoid catching it, the young Free-Riders are extremely effective vectors of disease. Dr.…
I know that a lot of features of the world seemed bigger to me when I was a kid than they do now, but I'm starting to think that it's not just a matter of me getting bigger relative to my surroundings. The Free-Ride offspring keep reminding me that it takes a while to really get a sense of scale.…

It's the poodle that makes those breeds good for people with algeries: They are low shedding dogs, so they don't spread the allergens around the house as much.

This is also why Schnausers are very good for people with allergies, as they don't shed at all. (The only problem is that you have to deal with a Schnauser's personality.)

By Rick Pikul (not verified) on 14 Nov 2008 #permalink

Just for the record, his daughters would have gotten a dog even if he'd lost (it's not a celebration dog- they just didn't want to acquire a dog in the midst of the chaos of moving on top of everything else).
And to the best of my knowledge, you have to get a Mr. Bigglesworth to get a hypoallergenic cat.

Rick's right - it's the decreased shedding and dander production from the poodle parent. Although my understand is the that the F1s can vary widely in their relative dander/hair production so they should be careful.

There are people breeding "hypoallergenic" cats. Sort of a misnomer because while they do have decreased dander production, there is still some so not truly allergen free. They cost a mint and come sterilized so nobody but the original source can breed them. Sort of like a Monsanto pet.

In case you want to check them out:…

Ah, but I heard the Obamas were hoping to get a rescue dog (yay, rescues). I also heard Obama touting mutts (yay, mutts), but I wouldn't call a designed cross as a mutt. Gonna be a long search for a designer dog in a rescue situation, but I'm sure the Obamas have the pull to do it. All those designer doodles are $$$ though they are pretty cute. If they want a $$$ hypoallergenic dog they should check out Portuguese water dogs, serious cute factor there. But being a hypoallergenic dog is no guarantee for an allergic owner. Just have a chat with Ms. $0.01 on that topic.

Remind YO how she did not enjoy the licking part of life with a dog. "I want to pet Suki, but not get licked." Yeah, good luck on getting that wish! She is totally inured to that green apple stuff now.

As was intimated in the first comment, the reduced allergenicity of a doodle is due to the poodle parent, not a case of hybrid vigor.

I got a Labradoodle for their attributes as a family pet, not for the shedding/allergy thing. Her personality is great - very even-keeled, no dominance issues towards me or my 7 year old son, and with 30 minutes at the dog park per day she is otherwise content to sleep on my bed most of the time.

I think one would make a great First Dog!

Cairn terriers also shed very little. And they have great personalities once you instill in them who the alphas in the house are (otherwise they'll try to run the show).

And they are available for rescue. Check out the Colonel Potter Cairn Rescue Network.

To be fair, LO, I do recall seeing a statement by Obama that he quite favoured getting a mutt, "like he is", but they were considering a poodle cross because they had to be sure his younger daughter could live with it. But he was hoping that one of the rescue dogs would be suitable.

By Luna_the_cat (not verified) on 14 Nov 2008 #permalink

My dog (a mutt) once went to school with two goldendoodles, not sure what generation, but I believe they both came from goldendoodle parents. Both were very different looking, and not hypoallergenic. The only thing in common was owners spending hundreds of dollars on mutts.

The only real option here is desensitization therapy. Find out what the kid is allergic to and, if possible, get her desensitized to it. If Sasha can be desensitized, the Obamas get a dog. If she can't, they don't. I hope she can. At their age those girls need a dog they can rough house with.

What's really interesting is that, according to my vet (and my aunt, who's allergic to cats), people who are allergic to cats aren't necessarily allergic to kittens. Evidently, kittens have a different type of fur (or something) than adult cats. I'm sure a vet could explain it much better than me.

By Avi Steiner (not verified) on 14 Nov 2008 #permalink

What's really interesting is that, according to my vet (and my aunt, who's allergic to cats), people who are allergic to cats aren't necessarily allergic to kittens.

I can has disposable kittehs?


There are hypoallergenic cats! Cornish and Devon Rexes are the two breeds that I know of. They're born without the overcoat of fur, just the undercoat. Or is it the other way around..? I don't know, but they do exist.

Given that it is the shed dander that causes the reaction there is an option open for the family that isn't open for most people, vacuuming the mutt four times a day. That, and having a secret service guy closely follow the dog with a HEPA vac everywhere it goes should prevent any odds and ends the four times daily program misses from spreading.

The Secret service has walked, and picked up after, the dogs in previous administrations and there is usually an assigned duty person, sometimes an entire staff of groomers and caretakers, to make sure the dog is well taken care of.

Johnson, on a whim, had the executive shower replumbed to give extra pressure, said to be capable of peeling paint, and colder water. It is the white house so pretty much anything goes. Medium velocity, whole house, HEPA filtration isn't out of the question. It could be put in for 'security reasons'. Like when the white house was reinforced to make it more bombproof. You never know when someone might toss some anthrax powder or chemical agent at the place. Shouldn't cost more than a dozen or two million dollars.

1. desensitization as well as other allergy therapies like shots ("pokes" as my EO calls them) are not an option for those of us without President-Elect/ NYT best-selling author salaries
2. last I heard the cat allergy issue is actually one of being allergic to their SALIVA rather than dander/hair, etc. I don't care, I don't like cats (because I am allergic to them?), even if they don't spit on me.
3. hybrids/ designed cross breeds are generally NOT hypoallergenic to someone who is truly senstive to dogs. we were supposed to get a cockapoo last year but EO had a severe reaction after spending 3 hrs with the 7 wk old puppy. it seems our only option will be a purebred poodle or puli or similar.
4. back to bunnies! House Rabbit rescues! yay! they are quieter and their output is smaller. ;)