For most of the sports Gauis and I do we are considered an 'Off Breed". Meaning, we aren't the typical breed of dog you see competing in that particular activity. The only thing this isn't true for is earth dog. I've been thinking about that a lot and I think like being off breed most of the time for a couple of reasons.
The first one is the public
I have come out of the agility ring after horrible runs, where almost nothing seemed to go well. My handling sucked, Gauis obstacle performance sucked you name it. Bad runs you just want to crawl under a rock afterwards. Without fail you know what happens the moment I'm out of the ring? Applause, then someone runs up to tell me how wonderful it was. Not my friends or people who know me, strangers. They tell me what a good run it was, and how Gauis obviously loved agility, and that he's a joy to watch. I'm thinking, 'did they see the same run I did? We were a mess' but then I remember that he's a dachshund. To them it's a miracle he's here at all. It's like winning first place just for showing up.
People have such a fabulous heart felt joyful reaction to seeing Gauis' training. He's always the favorite at our trick demos. But we're almost always the only little dog. I practically get mobbed afterwards. And gosh if they actually own a dachshund it's on a whole other level. I'm like a miracle worker. They want to tell me everything about their dog and what he/she can do, or more generally what he or she can't do. It's really fun to make people happy. I don't think watching a border collie run, or a golden do a perfect heeling routine gives people has much joy. Sure they are works of art to watch and there's a lot of joy in it, but people love watching Gauis. Sometimes I do feel like were the five minute rodeo clown routine in the middle of all the bull riding. We'll back to your regularly scheduled border collie runs in just a moment, first lets watch this cute little dachshund knock bars and take the wrong obstacles and double the course time. But people love it and we have fun.
The second reason I like having an off breed is no guilt,
I have friends with beautiful wonderful dogs from good agility lines and I'm always hearing them say things like... If only my dog had a better handler he'd be a champion. Or If only I was a better trainer we could make nationals, this dog deserves better. Sometimes I even hear people on the side lines make comments about other peoples dog along the same lines. I never have to worry about that. When ever I start a thought with if only Gauis had a different owner all I can practically finish it with is, He'd be 10 pounds over weight, probably wouldn't even know what sit means, and probably would be biting people by now. (Ahem, no offense to my fellow dachshund owners but I work at a vet clinic. I'm privy to a fair sampling of the dachshund community) I'm confident there is no better owner out there for Gauis than me and that this home only makes him better and shows him to his full potential.
I think its important to not use low expectations as an excuse. Sure whatever Gauis does is gravy, but that doesn't me we can't always strive to be better or have big plans. In summary having an off breed dog has a lot of benefits I think I would miss if I went to a more traditional breed.