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Saturday 19 September 2009

Tango's Tale - A Story About A Blue Irish Staffie

When I bought "Tango" from KK Kennels in the early 1990's, there was no way that I would have expected to still have him with me nearly 17 years later, especially when you consider that most Bull Terrier breeds only have an average life span of maybe ten or twelve years. Okay, so he's not as fast or as lively as he was a few years ago, his hearing and his eyesight aren't 100%, but then, that's what growing older does to us all, isn't it. It is remarkable though, that he still looks forward to his three walks a day, feeds well and doesn't require any expensive or intrusive veterinary care to keep him going.

It really is a testament to the genetics and breeding of these dogs that they appear to be so incredibly robust and so difficult to "knock over", either through illness or injury. Whether or not KK bitches are equally rugged I wouldn't know, having never owned one, but seem to recall that KK's "Sky" was still around at a reasonably decent age, which suggests that the breeds longevity can equally apply to either sex. Personally, I can count on one hand the number of times "Tango" has been unwell during his life and none have been so serious as to require a visit to the vets. Even when he choked on some paper a few months ago and stopped breathing for a short time, we still managed to get him going again and he was back to his usual self within a few hours.

I've often tried to calculate the total mileage that "Tango" must have walked during his lifetime, based on the 4 walks a day he used to get in his younger days and the 3 walks that he still gets now. If you assume a daily average of around 4 or 5 miles a day, multiplied by 365 days a year and multiply that by the 16 years he's been around, that gives a total of something around 30,000 miles. And that figure doesn't include all the extra miles he will have covered with additional walks or just simply running around, being a dog.

Whether or not I've just been incredibly lucky with "Tango" and have been fortunate enough to own a dog that doesn't succumb too easily to common illness or injury, I couldn't really say. I do know however, that both "Tango's" sire and dam, KK's "Blue" & "Sky" lived to good ages, so maybe the breeds genetics have played a major part in my own dogs longevity? I also know, that throughout his life "Tango" has always had a regular diet, regular exercise and an absence of unnecessary veterinarian intervention. I believe that dogs are creatures of habit and if you can offer them a safe and secure environment which is governed by routine, then the dog will be far happier and contented.

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