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November 15, 2010 No comments

Man’s Best Friend - A Brooks Guide to Dogs

Friends Saddles, Bags, Etc. Curiosities
Man’s Best Friend - A Brooks Guide to Dogs

You know the old saying. “Money will buy you a fine dog, but only love can make it wag its tail”. If you need any proof of the truth of that statement, try taking “dog” out, and replacing it with, oh... “saddle”, for example.

You clearly get a sentence that makes no objective sense at all. Among other things, saddles don’t have tails. Though they do have noses, which sometimes bear a kind of passing resemblance to dog noses.

But of course, this saying works on more than one level. On the face of it, what we have is a concrete, real-world piece of advice in regard to showing affection to your bought pet dog. But dig deeper, and we see that it also attempts to say something more generally true; about the limitations of money, perhaps.

John Brooks immortalized with Schnorbitz, his dog.

If we take that general truth with us, and dig even deeper while simultaneously trying to sort of think about saddles and dogs again in an abstract way, we find ourselves asking the obvious question “Okay then, which Brooks product does my dog resemble most closely?”. Or maybe "Okay then, which dog does this Brooks product of mine most closely resemble?"

Well, that all depends on what kind of dog you own. Or which Brooks product.

For example, the qualities of a honey-coloured B135 can be pithily summed up as "Brown, black, highly sprung". Replace the "p" in that with a "t" and you’ve got a textbook definition of almost any Doberman Pinscher. But that’s not quite what we’re getting at.

The resemblance is kind of uncanny.

Separated at Birth?

Mr. Quanah Miller from the United States wrote to Brooks some time ago to explain how happy he was with his B17 Narrow Imperial.

"My only regret was not discovering them sooner in life, I've spent a lot of money on saddles that didnt work for me."

The Narrow Imperial, you say? Sure you’re not talking about your Belgian Sheepdog?

Apart from the fact that they’re both "workers", and are only available in black, the square-cut muzzle of the Belgian mirrors so closely the form of a tightly laced Imperial that a name change has been mooted for quite some time. It only remains to be decided whether "B17 Narrow Imperial" gets switched to "Belgian Sheepdog" or vice-versa.

"It’s like riding around on a Belgian Sheepdog’s head!" is something Andrea hears from people all the time when he’s at bike-related events. Moreover, both the B17 and the Belgian are unsociable around strangers and can live to be twenty. Though multiply that by seven for the saddle.

Chihuahuas. You either love them or you hate them. Around since forever, but over the last few years they’ve been arguably hijacked by a certain segment of the dog-buying public as fashion accessories. Here’s a selection of opinions...

"Disappointing... great looking... impractical... downright lovely... shocking... sit awkwardly... Louis Vuitton... would be great to have these available in green..."

Hold on, we’re still talking about about Chihuahuas, right? Wrong...

Shiny exterior, will carry your newspaper for you, one foot high, eighteen inches long... we’re talking about the Barbican Soft Leather Shoulder Bag, of course.

Finding a dog-gy bag is one thing, but scouring the canine world for a bag-gy dog is quite another. But if you happen to be the proud owner of a tail-wagging Lancashire Heeler, search no further!

Just don’t be shocked if the occasional stranger attempts to pick up "Lanky" and use the leash to strap her over his shoulders. It’s an easy mistake to make, especially if she’s asleep.