VIEW FROM THE MARINA: Dog and Boat Personalities
View from the Marina
Dog and Boat Personalities
By Barb Hansen
January 3, 2006
The way I figure it all dogs on God’s blue water planet are hard-wired to go boating. After all, are they not descended from the original pair that survived the flood aboard Noah’s Ark?
We’ve read about how dogs act and even look like their owners, but have you noticed that dogs also tend to have the same personalities as their boats?
It is so. Star, our Border Collie, is a trawler dog. Trawler dogs are basically working dogs. I’d put retrievers in the trawler category, too. I’ve heard about retrievers who happily jump into the water on command and swim after something or other that has blown off the deck. To earn her sleep and dish of food, Star patrols the perimeter of the vessel to make sure enemies (like gulls, pelicans and egrets) don’t land without permission. Like her vessel she is kind and reliable.
I can’t begin to picture Star on a sleek Italian-styled motor-yacht. On that billionaire’s vessel you’re more likely to find a fluffy animal the exact colors of the plush carpeting. Like her keeper, she doesn’t work. She just tries to look sleek and pretty, haughty even, and be available for petting. Dogs and cats in this category include the Bichon Frise, Yorkie, Chihuahua, Lhasa Apso, Miniature Poodle and Pekinese.
Sailboat dogs, like their vessels, are practical types who like the wind in their faces and can take just about whatever nature dishes out. One of the best pets for a sailboat I’ve heard is a short, sturdy mutt who, like its vessel, just “goes with the flow.” Smaller dogs seem to be better suited to navigate an angled deck and don’t get whacked by a swinging boom. Your sailboat dog is small enough to fit into a canvas bag so the skipper can transport him on the handlebars of a folding bicycle.
I vote for the Labrador Retriever as the perfect kayak and canoe dog. If the vessel tips over, this dog with the webbed paws is in his element. The only problem is, at roughly 70-80 lbs, this canine and handler may occupy too much volume for a paddleboat at any one time.
For commercial fishing vessels there are Newfoundlands and Portuguese Water Dogs. They have the same rugged look and low freeboards as the fishing hulls they work on. They do the same work, too, pulling fish nets, towing small boats, and retrieving fish and fowl.
I read that the winner of the Tulsa World photo contest shot a picture of a dog steering a speedboat. They didn’t say what kind of dog it was but I’m guessing it was a sleek collie with big, white teeth and long hair and drool blowing in the wind. He’s the designated driver. The owner, presumably, was in the passenger seat sipping a beverage.
Do you have a nomination for the best personal watercraft dog? Browsing the Internet I read about a young couple that takes their 11-pound Pomeranian jet skiing. Yes, it must be the Pomeranian. As boats and dogs go, it is small. And, like the personal watercraft, if you ask me, it is a restless, noisy toy.
Now in the brave new world in which we live, selective dog breeding is creating new boating animals such as the Goldendoodle and Labradoodle. The breeders say they love the water and have the retriever work ethic but also are non-shedding and allergy-friendly like the poodle. What would Noah think?
Now, perfect boat dogs are able to take bathroom breaks on deck so the owners don’t have to take them to shore in a dinghy. Hear that, Star?