Just face it! Lurchers are true top dogs
A puppy like my Flann easily beats a €1m-priced mastiff
Published 19/04/2011 | 14:32
I read recently where a Chinese billionaire had paid more than €1m for an 11-month-old Tibetan mastiff puppy. Imagine, a million quid for a puppy!
I could have saved him a small fortune as he was clearly unaware of the existence of an even more remarkable breed of dog than the one he purchased so expensively. I refer, of course, to lurchers and following the sad passing away of Slipper, my legendary hare-chasing, food-stealing hound, I eventually purchased another which is already showing all the great qualities that have made the breed famous.
This ability to steal food silently and even remove a loaf of bread from its wrapper without anyone noticing shows a talent that few dogs possess. To be able to feign sleep immediately after thieving is even more remarkable and illustrates a deep intelligence that most dogs lack, especially those with lengthy pedigrees who might look pretty but have little between their ears.
I named him Flann after the great Flann O'Brien, who was not only one of Ireland's finest writers, but was also renowned as a judge of whiskey.
O'Brien was a man who could sit for hours in the company of people such as Patrick Kavanagh and Brendan Behan and not utter a single word. Such an appreciation of silence is uncommon and shows how, just like the lurcher, great intellects are happy with their own company. Silence can indeed be golden.
Lurchers, as everyone knows, have a mixed background with bits of greyhound, saluki, wheaten terrier, collie, Bedlington terrier and others often thrown into the mix to produce the perfect hunting machine.
Flann is of aristocratic lineage and his proud breeder educated me on the merits of the greyhound/Bedlington cross, which produces dogs of matchless courage, agility and brains. The trouble, of course, with mixing anything is that you are never sure what the result will be until it arrives.
It's a bit like getting a cocktail shaker and pouring in a measure each of gin, whiskey and brandy and maybe adding some crème de menthe and a drop of Pimms for interest.