Last Saturday, Kyndall, Tucker, and I attended another of the twice-monthly puppy play sessions hosted by another local puppy-raiser. As usual, Kyndall appeared to enjoy it immensely, devoting most of her energy to chewing on a much smaller (but feisty) yellow girl named Flower.
Most of the dogs were yellow, and watching them frolic, I reflected that my recent post linking yellow fur with more expressive faces may have missed the mark. While I still think it’s true that yellow dogs are much more likely than black ones to have expressive faces, the degree of expressiveness exhibited by all those yellow dogs on Saturday varied a lot.
As we’ve pondered this, Steve has come to think another significant variable is how much Golden Retriever versus Labrador is in the dog’s heritage. He points out that the Labs tend to have heads that are much more dome-shaped. “Tucker has a real forehead,” Steve declares. “He almost looks like a monkey.” Stretched across such a broad expanse of dome, the skin doesn’t have as much play. It can’t wrinkle and furrow as much.
Goldens, in contrast, tend to have flatter, more narrow faces that slope more gradually from the top of their heads to their noses. In that more confined space, the skin can move more, expressing more emotion. (“I don’t know,” Steve continued when I pressed him to elaborate on this theory. “Look it up on the Internet.” Yeah, right.)
Kyndall’s mother was pure Golden; her father pure Lab. That makes her a 50-50 mix. But what does it all mean? I guess we’ll have to raise more CCI puppies to further develop these theories.