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The Adventures of Moose and Bull

The Origin and History of the American Sesame Dog

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.


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