Biggie actually isn't a polar bear cub, or a "floppy Samoyed." He's a Kuvasz. According to Wikipedia, they "are often described as having a clownish sense of humor which can last throughout their adolescence and occasionally into adulthood." (For this reason some of my friends have suggested that Biggie should have been named "Danny," but that is the subject of another post.)
Kuvaszok (the plural of "Kuvasz") originated in Hungary as livestock guardian dogs. Wikipedia also says, "Kuvaszok are known to be fierce protectors of their families. Given their intelligence, constant awareness of their surroundings, as well as their size and strength, they can be quite impressive in this role." See Exhibit 1, Biggie defending his baby toy with the threat of severe licking:
The Kuvasz Club of America describes the Kuvasz temperament: "A Kuvasz is unwavering in its loyalty and devotion to its family, be they people or animals. There is no threat he will not face in protecting those he loves."
On the 2-week anniversary of Biggie's arrival into our family, Biggie did, so to speak, "get his Kuvasz on." We've been working with Biggie to be socialized with all types of people and dogs in the city, and he is generally fearless and curious without being either aggressive or overbearing. He has no problem with strangers approaching him and if anyone knows how to pet a dog, he wriggles into them in an ecstasy of petting and snuggling. (Generally we have no problem with this, as we never intended to have Biggie as a guard dog. But when he's snuggling on a dirty street, the fluffy white puppy quickly becomes a fluffy gray/beige puppy.)
On Sunday, exactly 2 weeks after Biggie joined us, we were driving home from Vermont and had stopped at a convenience store/gas station/ice cream stand off a state road. Biggie was with dad (aka P-Daddy) taking a potty break when a 100+ lb male German Shepherd came charging and barking furiously at them, hair erect, no owner or leash in sight. Biggie and P-Daddy wheeled around and 10-week-old Biggie - all 22 pounds of him - stood his ground between the German Shepherd and P-Daddy, barking back even as P-Daddy was picking him up and out of harm's way. With Biggie out of the way and P-Daddy shouting "no" at the shepherd, the threatening shepherd trotted off into the trees, hair still erect.
We never did figure out who the shepherd belonged to, if he belonged to anyone. He had a metal training (choke) collar on but no leash and no tags, and none of the people at the rest area acted as if they were his owner. Biggie shrugged off the whole incident when P-Daddy put him down again, as if to say, "I could have taken care of myself and P-Daddy too."
Positively Dog Training Episode 703
1 day ago