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Donkin's World: Dogs Are Not Handbags

"I don't mind lap dogs. It's the owners. You know the ones, women mostly, who almost wear them, who constantly feed them treats and dress their dogs in frilly outfits,'' declares Richard Donkin.

Should we make judgements about women who buy lap dogs as fashion accessories? http://allwomenstalk.com/7-lap-dogs-that-make-the-best-accessories I appreciate this question is loaded with assumptions and, some may argue, sexism to boot. What about men and their Labradors?

Well, what about men and their Labradors? I know quite a few so let's tackle this one first. The blokes I know would never think of their Labradors as fashion symbols. There's nothing symbolic about a Range Rover with a lab in the back is there? Mmm, I think there is.

There's a lot of one-upmanship in male lab-owning, particularly among the shooting set. It's all about who has the better-trained retriever.

Take Kipling, a beautiful young lab that, thanks to an expensive training regime, has made a promising start to his retrieving career, picking up dummies, with calls from his owner such as "highloss" which, I think, means keep looking. Apart from a little bit of nervousness around fishing rods, Kipling's career appears to be on the up and up.

Stanley's, on the other hand, is in tatters. A fully trained Labrador, he can search and work to hand signals if necessary. But he's aggressive to other male dogs and on a shoot that's a no no. It's hard to imagine the despair of his owner; I don't need to, I've seen it.

While these dogs are not fashion accessories, they are, without question, accessories. They are man's best friend. But they are dogs; not something to shove in a shopping bag, not child-substitutes, not toys, not play things to amuse the family when they try to hump Aunt Mildred's leg.

Gun dogs are dogs. They are not Pugs and they are not Bichon Frises. I like Pugs. You can't blame the Pug for its squashed-in face that tends to hamper its breathing. Pugs were bred that way by people who thought it would be a nice thing to do. Pugs don't run a lot and they are quite happy warming laps. They are a lap dog. So is the teddy bear-like Bichon Frise, in spite of its early hunting pedigree. A Bichon Frise pup can set you back 1,500, more expensive than a pair of Christian Louboutins, but a lot cheaper than a vintage Hermes handbag. http://www.matchesfashion.com/product/154634?qxjkl=cn:UK+-+Product+Listing+Ads|cgn:Product+Listing+Ad|tsid:15858|crid:23762382057&gclid=CM_VkeTT77YCFfQZtAodBycAmQ Dog handbag lovers just stick their dog in a harness and sling it over their shoulders.

The lap dog has been around a long time. The Chihuahua and Pekingese used to be the vogue, but today it's Bichons, Shih Tzus and Pugs. That probably makes sense; you wouldn't want to walk your Chihuahua in the Chilterns with all those Red Kites about.

I don't mind lap dogs. It's the owners. You know the ones, women mostly, who almost wear them, who constantly feed them treats and dress their dogs in frilly outfits http://www.mypetswardrobe.com.au/ ; they're the ones I question. We can't blame the dogs. Each dog has its own character. Some dogs, like Pippa, our Jack Russell, just think they're bigger than they really are. She only likes big sticks. I hate it when people says she's cute. Cute is lap dog language. Dogs should be dogs, not cute.

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