Friday Question of the Day

by Prince Of Petworth February 8, 2008 at 12:07 am 24 Comments

Today’s question is submitted by reader – Reuben.  If anyone else has ‘Friday Questions of the Day’ that they’d like to suggest don’t hesitate to email me.  So on to the question of the day:

“My friend and I were discussing his theory about dogs and social class-wars and all. He wonders, and again-this is based upon what he -and yours truly-quite frankly-sees as a marked change in the breeds of dog being walked in Brightwood, Petworth to some extent, versus-say, Logan Circle or Dupont, if there is more of an emphasis on dogs as pets (and i guess you have to consider this term metaphorically and literally) in the latter ‘hoods, versus dogs as -what- symbols? expressions of aggression and anger? Obviously, none of this is hard and fast. And like all conversations between friends, it’s, well, too buds shooting the stuff…”

So what do you guys think- do the neighborhoods people live in affect their choice in dog breed?  Or do people simply buy dog breeds that they like regardless of neighborhood?

  • pauper

    Our neighborhood had no bearing whatsoever on my choice of breed. I have a 17 pound dog so I obviously didn’t get him to protect me or anything – if that’s what Rueben’s getting at.

  • Flipflopirate

    …well to an extent i think people will always adopt a pet which represents somethin within themselves, compliments their lifestyle, or introduces a personality trait that they admire via the pet regardless of breed… as breeds go though, I’d say you’d be much more likely to find a Minature Yorkshire Terrier in dupont and a Heinz 57 in petworth. That being said, mutts are the best breed of dog anyway and petworth is a delightfully mutty neighborhood, it fits.

  • Fonzy

    I’m sure you can make good points on both sides of this issue. But, if anyone thinks that neighborhood demographics shouldn’t have any bearing on what kind of dog breed people choose, well, that’s just plain naive. There is a mystique about attack breeds that owners find comfort in, especially if owning a dog is seen as an alternative form of protection where one doesn’t want to pay for an alarm system or buy/use a gun.

  • J.Con.

    In other news, today is General William Sherman’s birthday! If you walk or drive through the tree-lined beauty of Sherman Circle, give a thought to the man for whom the circle is named, a true American hero.

  • I was hooked on Boxers from prior experience (in a different sort of ‘hood, in Tucson). So in our case, it was nothing more complex than a love of the breed. Boundless energy. Ridiculous humor; god blessed HELL, but boxers are the funniest animals alive.

    But still, many folks assume he’s a pitbull (?!?!?!) — he doesn’t resemble one at all; maybe closer to the AmStaff or other breeds used for fighting. But as Fonzy suggests, it’s not all bad if “some” folks assume Gomez is a killer.

    So as a semi-responsible owner, I do my bit by keeping him socialized, and thus, only a threat to the idiot breaking into the house. But having a dog or a certain breed as an all-out status symbol? Yeesh; sounds like egocentric nonsense that the animal would ultimately suffer.

  • Nathan

    So what do you guys think- do the neighborhoods people live in affect their choice in dog breed? Or do people simply buy dog breeds that they like regardless of neighborhood?

    I think the people in certain neighborhood prefer certain dogs. It wouldn’t matter what neighborhood they live in. I often stop at the corner store at Ga and Randolph. I have been literally held hostage inside or outside the store by a pitbull on more than one occasion. I am amazed that people will walk such a dangerous animal without a leash. Everytime you encounter them, they always say the dog isn’t dangerous. Any dog that can kill or permanently maim you is dangerous, no matter if it hasn’t bitten anyone…YET!

  • DCDireWolf

    My neighbor has a dog. Well, maybe she had a dog because the dog hasn’t been around lately and may have died or ran away. Or perhaps she (the dog) is at her winter home, since my neighbor doesn’t allow the dog in the house and doesn’t have a dog house outside. When it’s cold, the dog tends to live underneath the house.

    Anyway, this dog is nasty. She’s an old mutt, flea-ridden, stinky, completely un-groomed. mean dog. Clearly not a pet as she is never let inside.

    I have mixed feelings about the dog. On the one hand, she’s better than any alarm system you could install. If there is someone wandering in the alley, trying to hop the fence, or otherwise up to no good, this dog barks and barks and barks, and if that doesn’t work, she squeezes out the fence and bites the intruder. She’s a very very good watch dog. She knows my wife and I and our smell, so she leaves us alone.

    On the other hand, she barks and barks and barks, usually starting at about 6 am, which is about an hour and a half earlier than I’d like to be up on weekdays and a shitload earlier than I’d like to be up on weekends.

    The most interesting part is that my neighbor only cleans up the dogshit about once a month, so her back yard (totally encased in concrete) usually has about 15 individual piles of crap in it. Sometimes she’ll scoop all the shit together into some sort of modern art thing in the middle of the patio, or she’ll put it all in a bucket and let it mix with rain water to create a wonderful shit slurpee type thing. Every now and then the dog will come shit in our driveway, but I think we’ve trained her not to by yelling at her and scaring her each time she tries.

    This doesn’t really answer the question of the day, but I feel much better now.

  • Flipflopirate

    …by that reasoning any dog larger than a jack russell terrier is a dangerous animal (and i’ve even known a few mean jack russells) a dog is as dangerous as the owner is stupid… having owned a pitbull/lab mix (100 lbs of muscle) who was under the impression that he was a lap dog… i can confidently say that dogs like people are products of their environment, raise them right and let the training speak for itself.

  • ACameron

    I complete agree flipflop…pit breeds do get a bad wrap. There are many other breeds which could be dangerous if not raised and socialized properly. Having recently adopted a pitbull I can say they can be the sweetest, goofiest dogs wanting nothing more than your attention and affection (and yes, a spot on your lap too!)

    That being said, walking any dog off leash, espeically on Georgia Ave. is irresponsible.

  • David

    As a dog owner and a former resident of Dupont Circle and a happy new resident in Petworth, I have spotted a difference in breeds. There are very few toy dogs in my fabulous new neighborhood, and there are certainly more larger breeds used for protection. In just about all the cases, the dog owners are responsible and have well-behaved pooches on walks (puts my mid-sized one and me to shame) and pick up after them. That said, there are several large protection dogs in the neighborhood who appear very angry and are never walked. Shame. All the writing of dog walking talkes me back to the desparate need for public trash cans.

  • theneighbor

    Could it not be true, to an extent, that the “Dupont dogs” tend to be smaller as a result of apartment/condo living with no yard as opposed to “Petworth dogs” being able to be larger because of houses/rowhouses with yards?

    I know that when I lived in an apartment I had a Dachshund. When I bough my first house I got two Boxer mixes. For me it was just a matter of living space.

  • Adams Morgan

    ugh, I hate to even go here, but could it also be true that the Dupont/Logan dogs generally are smaller and more asthetically appealing because of the large gay population in both communities?

  • pauper

    theneighbor, i can tell you that i live in a condo and my wife and i originally were considering a boxer…my wife did some research and decided that out place would be too small for a boxer and that we wouldn’t have enough time to give it the exercise it needed so we opted for a smaller dog

    that’s not to say you can’t have a big dog in an apartment or condo…you can, but like i said, we don’t have enough time to talk a big dog on more than one long walk a day

  • Golden Silence

    Don’t come to Georgetown then. . .the snottiest people there have the snottiest-looking dogs. (They do say that dogs sometimes resemble their owners.) Toy dogs with bows in their hair, standard-sized poodles groomed to the tee with vests on—shaking my head.

    And when they’re walking with a larger dog, they don’t even try to move to the other side of the sidewalk to let a solo pedestian like me pass. They think they own the sidewalks.

  • MKing

    I used to live in Adams Morgan where there were a variety of dog sizes and breeds at the dog park. Now my 30lb dog and the beagle (who lives with the friendly pitbull) next door are the only non-pit dogs I have seen walking the streets since I moved to 16th St Heights – including 5 pits living in houses on my street. I would say that is a change.

  • bogfrog

    I did not know that I shared a birthday with General William T. Sherman.

    But, I thought we were named for another Sherman, that is he of the anti-trust act?

  • theneighbor

    Pauper.. right, that’s exactly what I was getting at.

  • Anonymous

    DCDireWolf…have you attempted to call the Humane Society or the Washington Animal Rescue League to rescue that poor dog? Those are no conditions for any dog to live in especially when temps fall below freezing or in the heat of the summer.

  • theneighbor

    adams morgan …ugh, I can’t believe you did go there. With that said here is a list of all the gay owned dogs I know…

    1 grey hound, 3 boxers, 1 doxy, 2 german shepards, 1 pitbull, 1 beagle, 2 labs, 1 dalmation, 1 Chihuahua, 2 boston terriors.

    My point is people are all different so are their dogs…..don’t generalize. ;-)

  • SP


    I second Anonymous, please email [email protected] about the conditions this dog is living in, they may be able to talk to the owner and improve its life at least! Also, walking a dog off leash on the street is indeed irresponsible and I believe also punishable with a fine. So you could call the police if you see this, maybe owners will become a bit more “responsible” if it costs them money!

  • nathan

    A better way to look at this issue is to ask would the people in Petworth keep the same dogs or adopt Logan Style dogs if they were to move to Logan and vice versa.

  • reuben

    Good point, Nathan. I don’t think there is a definitive “answer” to this. I am glad, however, so many people weighed in. As we all know, sometimes class -oriented questions/issues
    don’t exactly bring out people’s true feelings.

  • Anonymous

    My husband walked the dog today (black lab) and observed a brown dog with a black spot walking without anyone. He looks like he’s in the hound family. He practically came up on our porch. Has anyone seen this dog?

  • Parkwood Person

    I don’t think the neighborhood necessarily defines the dog, but the lifestyle, culture and socio-economic status of the person/family that both influence the neighborhood in which they live, AND their reason for interest (if any) in owning a dog and by extension, the breed of dog.

    That being said, I have a big old hound dog who has lived with me in all sorts of living environments from studio apartment to house with a fenced yard, all around the country.

    On a side, note, I’ve seen irresponsible dog owners across the socio-economic spectrum. (here comes a vent) My least favorites are the yuppie couples with no prior experience raising dogs who adopt gigantic, uncontrollable 90+ pound dogs, then bring them everywhere with them (assuming that a dinner party invite includes the new dog) and gush on and on about how “he’s such a love bug!” and “Oh, he’s just a big GOOF!” when it jumps on/knocks over the other guests. As if the fact that the dog is “a Rescue” makes up for their obnoxious lack of training. In terms of liability, I see that right up there with the thug and his unaltered pit bull walking down the street off leash.

    Not that… that’s happened to me or anything…


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