Politics has gone to the dogs

May 4, 2012

By Katy Grimes

My neighbor likes to tell me that her dog has a higher intellect than my dog. And it’s not because my “Gus” is a police dog dropout.

This neighbor, a socially challenged, liberal scientist, claims that research shows that her dog, a Golden Retriever, is at the top of the dog food chain in intellect. I’d beg to differ. There are many, many highly intelligent breeds of dog, including my other dog, an Australian Shepherd, who is too smart.

But Gus, a German Shepherd, and also a pretty smart canine, didn’t make police dog graduation, but not because of his brains–he’s got plenty of drive, but is a little too sensitive for the police force (and he likes to sit on the couch). I think that’s pretty smart.

Many of my neighbors have Golden Retriever dogs–beautiful, compliant, mellow, sweet, easy-going, likable, happy dogs. There aren’t very many German Shepherd dogs in my very liberal downtown Sacramento neighborhood because the progressive, sensitive types think German shepherds are too assertive.

They are just like their dogs.

You Are Your Dog

I love to figure out dog breed personalities and types, and then ascribe them to people. Not only do dogs and people begin to resemble each other after years together, it’s very interesting to see similar personalities and traits.

I am a working dog… an Australian Shepherd, or a Border Collie. I have lots of energy, some say I am a little high-strung, but I have the ability to herd others. Aussies and Border Collies are easy-going, puppy-like, a good watchdogs, excellent with children, devoted, loyal friends and guardians, naturally protective, affectionate, lively, agile and attentive, with a sixth sense, and highly intelligent.

My husband is a Belgian Shepherd–very intelligent and obedient, determined and observant, with strong protective and territorial instincts.

My son is a Rhodesian Ridgeback, good-natured, intelligent, skillful and straight-forward, possess considerable stamina, and loyal to the family. They are ferocious in the hunt, but in the home are calm, gentle, and obedient.  They are brave and vigilant, can be reserved toward strangers, and socialize well.

I work with a Pomeranian and a Great Pyrenees.

While it’s fun to type family and friends, it’s far more fun to identify which which politicians are like certain dogs.

  • Governor Jerry Brown: Brown is a Cairn Terrier. The Cairn Terrier is a hardy little terrier, with a fox-like expression. The Cairn is an alert, animated, hardy, little dog. Loyal, curious, cheerful, lovable and friendly, they enjoy playing with children. Independent, but will listen if they see the human is stronger minded than themselves.
  • Assembly Speaker John Perez: Perez is an American Bulldog. They are loyal, reliable, brave and determined, alert and self-confident. They have strong protective instincts, and need a firm, confident, consistent pack leader. Without that strong minded pack leader who can tell the dog what is expected of them, they may be aggressive with other dogs. They need to know their place in their pack to be truly happy. This breed tends to drool and slobber. Without enough daily mental and physical exercise they will become high strung and may become hard to handle.
  • Senate President Darrell Steinberg: Steinberg is a Beagle. The Beagle is a sturdy, hardy little hound dog. The Beagle is happy to see everyone. Sociable, brave, and intelligent, the Beagle is excellent with children and generally good with other dogs, but because of their hunting instincts, they should not be trusted with non-canine pets, unless they are socialized. Beagles have minds of their own. They are determined and watchful, and require patient, firm training.  Though these dogs are very cute and cuddly, they can easily drive you up the wall.
  • Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi: Hayashi is a Doberman pinscher. Dobermans are dogs that were originally bred to protect and defend. It is important to avoid any type of aggressive play and struggle with these dogs, instead letting the games be guided to develop the Doberman’s intelligence. Even though they aren’t small dogs, Dobermans can adapt to life in a city.
  • Assembly Minority Leader Connie Conway: Conway is a Pembroke Welsh Corgi. This Corgi is highly intelligent, loyal, able and willing to please their owners. The Corgis is extremely active, protective and sturdy, wary of strangers, and should be properly socialized and trained when it is still young. Corgis need calm leadership, to avoid over-protective behaviors. They sometimes try to herd people by nipping at their heels, and tend to bark a lot.
  • Assemblywoman Norma Torres: Torres is a Japanese Chin. Japanese Chins are known for not barking. Unfortunately, they make up for this in epic whining sessions.


  • Assemblyman Dan Logue: Logue is a Bassetdoodle, a hybrid mix of Basset Hound and Poodle. The Bassetdoodle is sweet, gentle, proud, graceful, noble and good-natured. This highly intelligent dog is devoted, peaceful and naturally well-behaved. They fit into family life well, and can be a bit stubborn. Bassets like to do tricks for food, and have a deep, musical bark.
  • Senator Rod Wright: Wright is a Siberian Husky. Huskies are loving, gentle, playful, happy-go-lucky dogs who are fond of their families. Keen, docile, social, relaxed, but high energy dogs. Good with children and friendly with strangers, they are not watchdogs, for they bark little and love everyone.  Huskies are very intelligent, but they will only obey a command if they see the human is stronger minded than themselves. If the handler does not display leadership, they will not see the point in obeying. This breed likes to howl and gets bored easily.
  • Senator Joe Simitian: Simitian is a Lancashire Heeler. The Lancashire Heeler is very alert and friendly with those he knows but may be wary of strangers. An excellent ratter, it has superior strength and broad instinctive abilities. This breed makes a pleasant companion, and does best with older considerate children. The Lancashire may nip at peoples heels as it has a strong instinct to herd and must be taught not to do it to people. This breed may be difficult to obedience train, but it is trainable.
  • CARB Director Mary Nichols: Nichols is an American Bull Mastif. The American Bull Mastiff requires a firm handler, are very protective, and are natural protectors bred for the specific task of livestock protection. Used to control unruly cattle and swine, the ABM will be completely submissive with proper training and a handler who has a natural authority over the dog.
  • Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom: Newsom is an Afghan Hound. Afghans are courageous, dignified, spirited, very sweet, affectionate and sensitive, with a low dominance level. They can be somewhat aloof. Afghans must be trained kindly yet in a calm and firm manner, and tend to be suspicious of those they do not know. Although tough, they will pine if they are deprived of proper gentle leadership. Amenable to training and discipline, they can be disobedient. This breed can be difficult to housebreak.

Who else reminds you of a dog breed? Senators Christine Kehoe and Doug LaMalfa, or Assemblymen Tom Ammiano and Roger Dickinson?  What about Arnold? Leave your suggestions.

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