AKC's Pick of the Litter







July 2011
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The American Kennel Club’s Pick of the Litter is a monthly podcast that covers canine pop culture, its people and news you can use.

Join us to hear from dog owners, handlers, trainers, lovers—and their dogs—at home and in the field, at shows, and anywhere that four legs are as good as two.  From canine heroes to celebrated artists, listen in on the wide world of dogs.

On this edition of Pick of the Litter, we take the AKC’s Canine Good Citizenship test, learn how to have a happy and responsible holiday season with our dogs, meet a mountain dog, and talk with author Susan Orlean about an American icon—Rin Tin Tin.

Dogs are everywhere during the holiday season.  Their cute faces—often wearing Santa hats—are used to sell everything from handbags to handsaws.  But we shouldn’t let this relentless loveableness persuade us to buy the dogs themselves for the wrong reason.  At the recent AKC “Meet the Breeds” event at the Jacob Javits Center in New York, we spoke with representatives from some of the most-featured “holiday” dogs—the Dalmatian, the Parson Russell Terrier, and of course, the Beagle--about what these breeds are really like.

Another potential holiday challenge is taking your dog home, or elsewhere, for the holidays: strange dogs, strange people, little kids, ornaments, and tempting food all await you along with family and friends.  The Director of AKC’s Canine Good Citizen program, Mary Burch, has some tips for us on how to keep our dogs smiling at this time of year. And, if you’ve been wondering about exactly what it takes for your dog to become “a good citizen,” Mary takes us through the actual test with a lively Shih Tzu.

Winter.  Snow.  Mountains.  Mountain Dogs.  This year marks the entrance into the AKC registry of the Entlebucher Mountain Dog, a cuddly Swiss breed that owner Jan Vincent prizes for its loyalty and versitility (even if she did choose them originally because they matched her cat!)

And speaking of loyal:  New Yorker staff writer and bestselling author of The Orchid Thief, Susan Orlean, reached back into her own childhood and American popular culture to write her recently published history of a canine entertainment icon.   Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend reveals that this striking German Shepherd Dog was not simply a character on television, but a real dog who combined astonishing physical prowess with an emotional intensity that made him an unforgettable character.  Host Lisa Peterson interviews Orlean about the book and her own breed, the Welsh Springer Spaniel.  (The image of Rin Tin Tin featured on this site is one of many signed autographs "Rinty" and his trainer Lee Duncan distributed to fans.  Courtesy of Simon & Schuster.)

We’re also initiating a call for your dog stories, your own “picks of the litter.”

Direct download: PICK2_final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:00 AM

On this edition of Pick of the Litter, we honor search-and-rescue dogs; the PETS Act turns 5, an ancient breed re-joins the AKC, and seeing dogs through a photographer’s eyes.

The AKC’s annual Humane Fund Awards for Canine Excellence, or ACE awards, honors one exemplary dog in each of five categories.  We hear about the 2011 search-and-rescue winner, Border Collie Hunter, from Captain Billy Monahan of the Los Angeles County Fire Department.    “He’s just one of us, one of the team,” says Monahan of his partner, who helped locate victims of the earthquake in Haiti.

Award-winning photographer Lisa Croft-Elliott thinks of dogs as “fashion models with four legs,” and cites as her influences David Bailey, Richard Avedon and Italian Vogue.  The results speak for themselves—imaginative, unconventional pictures, like the one of the Bracco Italiano shown here—that she shoots for clients all over the world.  Croft-Elliott tells us about her process, and why she knows dogs from “both sides of the lens and leash.”

Speaking of photogenic, the Xoloitzcuintli, or Xolo, Mexico’s ancient breed, was reintroduced to the American Kennel Club registry this year, and fancier Joe Patalano tells us why he’s devoted to this unusual-looking dog.

 We’re also initiating a call for your dog stories, your own “picks of the litter.”

Direct download: PICK_Ep1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00 PM