One day I drove off to do errands and accidentally left my house door open. My neighbor Anne later reported that my (then) German Shepherd, Bekka, came calling. Bekka literally led her back to our door, clearly aghast at my negligence and relieved when Anne shut the door. Now let me mention this about herding breeds: They aren’t characteristically roamers. They are, however, renowned busybodies and tattletales. Other breeds view open doors as a summons to sightsee or search for critters. Most of these breeds, even after extensive training, aren’t particularly reliable off leash. Let’s hear from five such free-spirited breeds:
1. Siberian Husky
An open door? The spirits bid me to go on a walkabout. Even if you shut the gate, keep in mind that I’m a celebrated escape artist. I can climb over, or dig under, most fences. Now please don’t feel unloved. I don’t leave because I’m unhappy at home. I’m simply hard-wired to seek adventure, with or without you. Bred thousands of years ago in Siberia to provide transportation, I was also developed for a gentle temperament. I even slept with my family to offer warmth. So I love you all dearly, but I can’t deny my wanderlust. When opportunity knocks, I’ll listen. Say, why don’t you join me?
2. Wire Fox Terrier
We were bred for spontaneity. Presented with a gate ajar and prey in sight (or on my mind), I’ll rarely hesitate about the opportunity. Our history explains our passion for the hunt. We were developed in the British Isles to kill vermin on farms and to find foxes gone to ground on hunts. Our spontaneous response to open doors is justified in our breed standard, which says we should “stand on the tiptoe of expectation.” So if we come across an open door, we’ll pivot off our toes and head out to hunt. At least there will be fewer mice in the neighborhood. Just saying…
3. Afghan Hound
I’m an independent, aristocratic sighthound with the resilience and intelligence to think for myself. Developed in Afghanistan from ancient lines for large-game hunting, I’ll settle for rabbits these days. My behavior befits my heritage. If I spot a chance, I’ll set off on a solitary hunt. Off-leash activities suit me, but you may disagree. I can’t fathom why my beloved people call me back when I spot a rabbit. And let’s face facts: My people can’t possibly keep up with me. You won’t catch me easily as I take off like lightning. Best scenario is to exercise me in a large fenced area, preferably with a surplus of squirrels.
4. West Highland White Terrier
We Terriers are often chided for our free thinking. But we originated in Scotland as robust hunters of small game, and our spirited independence contributed to our success. I’m proud as punch that nowadays we’ve retained a strong chase drive. If I’m hiking with you off leash and I pick up the scent of prey, I’ll likely take a detour. I’m not trying to be worrisome. In fact, I cherish my people and love to make you smile. But chasing ground hogs, chipmunks, and field mice also make me smile. You have to admit they’re irresistible. And so am I!
Developed as a scent hound with boundless curiosity, I tend to follow my nose slightly more than your advice. Bred from ancient origins, I hunted with British aristocracy and royalty. These days, authorities put my keen sense of smell to use searching for illegal drugs. Given my admirable drive to track a scent, I mustn’t be chided for chasing cottontails if you take my leash off. If I pick up a scent, I’m more interested in following critters than staying on the straight and narrow road with you. Perhaps consider keeping me leashed if my antics concern you. No fair frowning at me for traits mankind developed! Charlie Brown doesn’t scowl at Snoopy, does he?
Does your breed view open doors as Mother Nature’s invite? Tell us his story before he runs out the door.