April 11th 2009 10:00 pm
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Many people are curious as to where dogs of my breed, the American Sesame Dog, come from. Some people are interested in getting a Sesame for themselves, while others just like reading about dog breeds. So, since "inquiring minds want to know," here it goes:
The American Sesame Dog has been around for as long as there have been domesticated dogs, and quite possibly before that, for if you closely examine modern wild wolf packs, you can often observe some very Sesame-like traits among certain individuals of the pack as well.
Early Sesames, just like modern-day ones, were born out of the "luck of the genetic draw," and not purposely bred by one person or group. Nobody knew what exactly to call them, other than "dumb mutts," for a very long time. But they were there, just the same.
In 1968, Fred Rogers began filming a children's television show called "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood," and when people saw the puppets in the Land of Make-Believe, they thought for sure this is where these dogs must have come from. So the breed was called the "Rogers' Neighborhood Dog," for a short period. Although many of the dogs faintly resembled the puppets in the Land of Make-Believe, people quickly realized that the dogs were far more wacky than these puppets (and the puppets far more sensible and rational than the dogs), so they began looking for another way to classify the breed.
Then, in 1969, the show "Sesame Street" began, and it all started to make sense. When "The Muppet Show" debuted in 1976, it became even more clear that the muppet characters on the shows were clearly based on this breed of dogs. It was then that they finally received recognition as "American Sesame Dogs."
Many people want to know where they can get a Sesame for themselves. The answer is not as simple as you might think, for although the breed is well dispersed, there are no breeders who breed American Sesame Dogs, at least not intentionally. Partially because the very traits that make a dog a Sesame are difficult to predict in a litter. For example, two non-Sesame dogs might produce a whole litter of Sesames; and two Sesames may produce a whole litter of non-Sesame dogs. Have you ever heard the phrase "there's one in every litter?" American Sesame Dogs were the original inspiration for that phrase.
Since most puppies display at least a few Sesame traits, you really have to wait until the dog's adult temperament is formed to tell whether it is a true Sesame. To be sure you are really getting a purebred American Sesame Dog, you have to adopt/purchase an adult dog (2 years or older) and evaluate its temperament. The best place to find them is in shelters and rescues, as some people find Sesame behaviors too irritating to handle and rehome them. But those who truly love the breed find those same qualities endearing, and wouldn't give up their dog for the world.
The breed is currently seeking recognition in the American Kennel Club, although this has been a difficult process. The American Sesame Dog Club allows dogs to be dual registered as both a Sesame and another breed, which makes it difficult for the AKC to determine where these dogs really belong. And dogs with multiple breeds in their background are also registrable as purebred Sesames, which adds another layer of complexity to the process. Choosing which AKC group to classify them in has also been a challenge, as Sesames do not have one original purpose. In fact, they are very versatile dogs and could probably fit quite well in any of the groups.
If you think your dog is a purebred American Sesame Dog, please contact the American Sesame Dog Club for registration information. The club is currently assessing how many Sesames there are and how widely they are dispersed, so they would greatly appreciate any information you would like to provide them about your dog.
February 24th 2009 11:53 am
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Now that you are familiar with the American Sesame Dog breed standard (see my last entry), here is some more information about them. Did you know there are different types of us? There are three principal types, and numerous sub-types. Here are some examples:
- The Monster type of the American Sesame Dog has a character and temperament that primarily resembles one of the monster characters on the children's television show "Sesame Street." Some of the more common sub-types include: Grover sub-type, Elmo sub-type, Telly sub-type, Harry sub-type, and Cookie Monster sub-type.
- The Animal type of the American Sesame Dog has a character and temperament that primarily resembles one of the animal characters on the children's television show "Sesame Street." Some of the more common sub-types include: Kermit sub-type, Miss Piggy sub-type, Big Bird sub-type, and Snuffalupagus sub-type.
- The Humanoid type of the American Sesame Dog has a character and temperament that primarily resembles one of the humanoid muppet characters on the children's television show "Sesame Street." Some of the more common sub-types include: Ernie sub-type, Bert sub-type, Prairie Dawn sub-type, Count sub-type, and Guy Smiley sub-type.
I'm pretty sure Moose comes from a pure cross of two Ernie sub-type dogs. What about me? I was a cross between a Cookie Monster sub-type and a Bert sub-type.
February 9th 2009 1:09 pm
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When I meet new people, they always ask "What kind of dog is that?" or sometimes they even try to guess. Here are the guesses I've gotten so far:
- German Shepherd
- Australian Cattle Dog or Heeler
- Border Collie
- Pit Bull
- Shih Tzu (I know, that one definitely doesn't fit)
Silly humans! If you were smart, you would know that I am a purebred American Sesame Dog. Moose is too. Here is the official breed standard for the American Sesame Dog.
The American Sesame Dog can vary in appearance, depending on the line it is bred from. Overall character and temperament are more important than the physical features.
Any size is acceptable, so long as the animal is not overweight.
Ideally, the American Sesame dog possesses at least one feature that is out of proportion with the others; however, balanced animals are not disqualified.
Sturdy, able to play for long hours or lounge on the couch. Musculature and/or fat should not prohibit movement.
Each American Sesame Dog must have a head. Headless dogs will be disqualified.
Alert and always ready for anything, especially when food is nearby. Expression should be appropriate for type.
Any color or shape is acceptable.
All ear shapes are acceptable. Asymmetrical or different ears are preferred over two ears that are the same.
Each American Sesame dog must also have a skull.
Muzzle and Nose
The nose and muzzle should allow for reasonable, or preferably excessive, amounts of sniffing. Animals with noses that prevent them from finding food that has been left on the counter, or inside a garbage can, will be disqualified.
Bite and Jaw Structure
Undershot, overshot, scissors bite are all acceptable. Toothless animals and animals with missing teeth shall not be penalized.
Adequate for holding up the head.
Back and Topline
Any shape is acceptable, so long as the animal is healthy and able to move easily.
All body types are acceptable; bodies, legs and feet that seem out of proportion are preferred. The animal should have a tail, cropped or uncropped, although the latter is preferred as it allows for expression of the breed trait - "ability to knock over valuable objects with tail." American Sesame Dogs born with very short tails or without tails should not be penalized.
All coat types.
Any natural dog color, any shade, or combination of colors, in any pattern, is acceptable. Animals may be solid colored, spotted, have patches of one or more colors, or be brindled, merle, speckled, or mottled. Animals with unusual colors, such as pink, green, or purple shall not be penalized. Animals with unique markings are preferred.
The American Sesame Dog is able to run, jump, walk, and move freely, unless injury, illness, or age has made such actions impossible. Generally, dogs that are clumsy are preferred.
Character and Temperament
This is the defining characteristic of the breed. The American Sesame Dog must have a character and temperament that resembles one or more of the non-human characters on the children's television show "Sesame Street." The judge may ask the handler which character(s) the animal most closely resembles and judge accordingly. Ideally, the dog should be friendly towards kind, well-behaved children (Oscar the Grouch sub-types are exempt from this part of the standard). The American Sesame Dog should be amusing to watch, able to find food anywhere and easily knock over valuable items with its tail. The ideal American Sesame Dog has a character and temperament that greatly appeals to some people, and is irritating to others. Dogs that are serious or overly aggressive will be disqualified, except in the case of dogs of the Bert and/or Oscar the Grouch sub-types.
American Sesame dogs that take life too seriously, who do not act like cartoon characters, or who never get into trouble shall be disqualified, with the following exceptions:
- Dogs of the Bert sub-type shall not be disqualified for being overly serious.
- Dogs of the Prairie Dawn, Kermit, and Big Bird sub-types shall not be disqualified for being overly obedient.