I love meeting new dog breeds. There's such an incredible variety of dog breeds out there, each with their own quirky behavioral tendencies and personalities, and diverse features and colors and sizes. Herding dogs, hound dogs, working dogs, toy dogs, big dogs, small dogs, hunting dogs, companion dogs, service dogs, therapy dogs....so many!
When my wife and I were casually thinking about what kind of dog breed we wanted for our home, we made an unofficial list. My wife loves a dog to cuddle with, and I love a dog that can be active outdoors. We love Frenchies, of course. Pugs were on the list (Fenix was a Chihuahua-Pug mix), and my wife is in love with Cavalier King Charles Spaniels with their adorable ears.
But then we met Maya. We had no idea and had never heard of the West Highland White Terrier breed ("Westie," for short), until we found out a little 7-years young Maya needed a new home. And this little Westie's affectionate cuddles, playful spirit, and musical howl stole our hearts. Now we're just obsessed with Westies. Whenever we spot another Westie on the road, it's pure joy for us.
So I'm always on the hunt to learn about new dog breeds. Maybe I have a hidden goal to photograph all the dog breeds in the world.
Then I heard about a German Shorthaired Pointer meet-up at Huntington Dog Beach.
What in the world is a German Shorthaired Pointer?! And why is "Shorthaired" one word instead of hyphenated, "Short-haired?" (I really thought that).
I knew what a German Shepherd looked like, but had never, ever heard of a GSP.
Interesting side story: When I parked my car for Huntington Dog Beach, I met a man with a large dog that looked like a German Shepherd. We were both paying for our parking meters, and he taught me something new. His dog totally looked like a German Shepherd to me. But no, he told me, this is a Malinoise. A lot of people confuse them with German Shepherds, but if you look at their back, a German Shepherd will round down, while a Malinoise will go up. I had no idea!
Anyway, I crashed the So Cal German Shorthaired Pointer meetup and everyone welcomed me right away. Dog people at dog meet ups are the friendliest people. And how can you not be? You're at the beach with your dogs, with your friends and their dogs on a beautiful Saturday morning at the beach. Like I said for So Cal Corgi Beach Day, Dogs + Beach = Heaven on earth.
And what can I say? These Pointers were OVERFLOWING with energy. I talked to many GSP owners and they all told me that they need about 2 hours of exercise everyday. TWO HOURS!
I think the average is 30 mins of walking a day, 40 mins if you're a terrier (I researched this because I wanted to know how much our Westie needed for a walk).
The unfortunate downside about GSPs is that most people who adopt them don't recognize how much exercise GSPs need. That's why they're one of the most returned dogs at animal shelters. This made me sad to hear. So I hope if you, or anyone else you know, is considering a GSP, to take into account their enormous need for exercise.
The upside is they are phenomenal family dogs. And having seen them up close, they were all so amiable and playful.
A Pointer, of course, is bred for hunting and helping hunters find game. They have webbed paws built for swimming and have sharp perception to notice the slightest movements of birds and squirrels at the beach. In one instance, I was trying to photograph a GSP when suddenly a squirrel caught his attention like 50 feet away from me and then, merely 10 seconds later, a bird flew right by him and off he went after the bird instead. It was so funny to witness how easily distracted he was.
One more thing (if you haven't already skimmed these words and jumped right into the photographs), I just want to express a sincere THANK YOU to all you GSP moms and dads for letting me crash your party.
Okay, picture time.