GRAB BAG: Little Man, Little Dogs

Notes on the Dog Whisperer and the vicious superiority of small canines

Steven Wells

Like Hitler, Cesar's on all the time, and he's very good with dogs. Actually, that's unfair. Saying Cesar is good with dogs is like saying Hitler was a bit of a dictator. Cesar kicks dog ass.

Got a dog that wears explicitly vulgar heavy-metal T-shirts or stays out all night and won't tell you where it's been? Two minutes with the diminutive Cesar getting in its hairy face with his patented, madly staring "dog" eyes and Mr. Spock-style Vulcan kung-fu moves and the insanest devil-hound from Nazi dog hell turns into a pussy. It's compulsive viewing. Which is why I'm now a Dog Whisperer addict and will remain so until the History Channel gets the message and moves on to Stalin.

And like Stalin, there's something of the terrier about Cesar (which is not only a great name for a small dog but also the name of a global brand of miniature-breeds dog food. Coincidence? Yeah, right.) And it goes without saying that all the great dictators (or "human whisperers," as I like to call them) have been on the short side—Franco, Pinochet, Mao, Genghis Khan and Napoleon were all little. And did you know that, technically speaking, Pol Pot was a dwarf?

Okay, so the dog of choice for oak-thighed 'roidzillas is the pitbull. So bourgeoisie home-owners convinced that one day a drunken swarm of gibbering skag fiends will come swarming over the garden wall armed with machetes and well-thumbed copies of Das Kapital tend to invest in dobermans and German shepherds. They are fools. You want a hard dog—get a small dog1.

A month ago, I'm freezing my nads off in the freedom-fry-munching boonies, watching a Rugby League international between the Japanese Samurais and the USA Tomahawks. Every time the Japanese score, the culturally sensitive DJ plays "Turning Japanese" by The Vapors—a "new wave" ditty extolling the premise that masturbating white people look Japanese. But he doesn't play it often. At halftime the Samurais trail the Tomahawks one hundred umptybillion to six. Japan's Australian manager grabs a player and snarls, "Good play! You're like a cattle dog!"

This is the greatest compliment an Australian can pay. Australian cattle dogs—trained to wrestle crocodiles, eviscerate giant killer snakes and rip off the heads of rabid kangaroos while steering massive herds of cattle through some of the most inhospitable desert this side of Mars—are the gold standard of dog hardness.

As a former corgi owner, I know where that Aussie coach is coming from. The average corgi—the Welsh cattle dog—is harder than three entire platoons of battle-toughened Greet Berets. Why else does the Queen of England surrounds herself with their beady-eyed, sandy-colored and crocodile-snouted asses2?

We Americans, of course, never developed our own corgi. To herd our cattle we instead invented the heavily armed, lavishly equipped and latently homosexual cowboy.

Which begs the inevitable question—who'd win in a fight between John Wayne and Lassie3? With cloning technology improving by leaps and bounds, can it be long before that question is answered? Maybe with Burt Lancaster vs. Flipper as an aquatic warm-up bout4?

Fact is, a single Aussie cattle dog could take John, Burt, Lassie and Flipper—no problem. Unless they had Cesar on their side, of course.


1. A report issued in 2006 by eSolutions ( indicated that small dogs are 55 percent more likely to be "combat ready" than large dogs.

2. The current U.S. president and first lady are guarded by a brace of diminutive but deadly Scottish terriers called Barney and Miss Beazley.

3. John Wayne

4. Flipper

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