A Study in Brown

The previous owners of my house liked brown—brown-red zeroscaping, brown-beige exterior, brown laminate, beige carpet, golden cabinetry, brown paint. The house was a study in how many ways to incorporate brown.

So much…brown.

Maybe because I’m from California, or the coast, or because of my age or my friends or whatnot, but I really enjoy color. Between this state being a high dessert and real winters that strip the foliage from trees, I already see an awful lot of brown. So I added some color.

Not quite done, but I am thankful for a growing absence of brown in my home life.






Doggie Genetics

The What

Canine DNA tests have been around for quite sometime—Wisdom Panel, DNA My Dog, Mars Veterinary Wisdom Panel 3.0, and newcomer Embark to name a few. Knowing the ancestry of both of my dogs has made me disinclined to spend the $50-$200 that these panels run; however, a recent effort to document Doberman genetics with the ultimate goal of improving diversity convinced me to participate.

I know that Juneau is Doberman. Despite uninformed accusations that he must be part Great Dane, I have his five generation pedigree, and he is very much the standard Doberman. I also know that Juneau is a vWD carrier, and that he is from a backyard breeder, so his genetics probably aren’t phenomenal. Hopefully though, our contribution can help with future research and breed preservation.

This week I ordered the Embark DNA test through Doberman Diversity Project, which is currently offering $50 off the cost of the test. I also ordered the Canine Genetic Diversity test through UC Davis’s VGL. The VGL test currently costs $50 for Doberman (among other breeds) while in the research phase, but will increase to $80 once enough samples have been collected and analyzed.

The Why

First, I suggest reading the the following.

The Institute of Canine Biology blogs:

An update on the genetic status of the Doberman Pinscher

Are we watching the extinction of a breed? (or, Why are we focused on consequence instead of cause?)

Are we watching the extinction of a breed? (part 2)

Population analysis of the Dobermann breed published by The Kennel Club

The Doberman breed is in a bad place right now, brought on by a great many factors, including: geographic separation, bottlenecks from social and political turmoil, selection based on type, European vs American preference, and plain ‘ol prejudice. Plenty of people herald this new information as free reign to claim that their untitled, untested dog should be considered for breeding and should not be the subjects of discrimination; those same people insist that Z registrants or highly inbred specimens should still not be bred.

I will be completely honest—Juneau is a Z registrant. This means that way, way back in his lines, he is related to the original albino Doberman. Information on the original albino can be found here. The albino Doberman presents a very real problem, because ever since then a few unscrupulous breeders have bred them to create “rare white” Doberman, and created lines of rampant inbreeding. We must wonder though, what genes have been tossed and muddled around in dogs related, but not bred for albinism after all these decades? I know that I wonder that. There are currently Z registrant Doberman who do not carry the albinism gene, live long and happy lives, and quite possibly have less inbreeding than show champions. Although I am in no way claiming that this is the norm for Z registrants today, I do think that this is a major class of dogs that we must consider to increase diversity. For the past several years, Z factor Doberman have accounted for over 25% of Doberman registrations (yearly statistics can be found here). That’s over a quarter of registered Doberman that aren’t even looked at as show, performance, or breeding prospects. To even consider a handful of these Doberman for genetic diversification, we need to stop the stigma.

Many people believe that cross-breeding is the solution—breeding in other breeds of dogs to increase genetic diversity and breeding back for type at a later date. While this may become necessary at some point, we should also seriously consider first breeding for diversity of the Doberman Pinscher—not the European (“Euro”) Doberman, not the American Doberman, not the Australian or the Canadian Doberman, and neither show nor pet nor working Doberman. All Doberman. The Doberman.

This is an exciting and scary time to be involved in the Doberman breed, and I can’t wait to see what breeders do in their attempts to save the breed.


The Almost Perfect Bed

I posted the other week about my luck at finding the perfect bed frame for me. Turns out it isn’t quite perfect—when combined with my 12″ mattress it is a little too high for comfort for one of my dogs. My doberman had a slipped disk after jumping out of the car when he was younger, so I prefer not to let him jump onto or off of high things, and the bed sits well above his shoulders.

A little melamine board and a 2×4 from Home Depot, combined with some white grip tape from the local skate shop, and I have a somewhat stylish bench/dog step.


My matching step. It also serves as a bench to put on shoes.


To protect the bedframe.


IKEA, Then and Now

I assembled a new bed frame last night. Bed frames are a difficult purchase for me, and I hem and haw for ages before (usually) just deciding to go without. I watched the Child’s Play movies when I was [far too] young, and although they didn’t bother me then, Freshman year of college found me doing timed trials for how quickly I could turn out the light and jump into bed. The thought of Chuckie ambushing me from under the bed has, more than once, left me sleeping on the couch. Finally, I found a bed that I fell in love with—clean white, captain’s style extending all the way to the floor, affordable, no gaudy headboard (my room is quite small and I detest useless furniture).

That’s great! Says everyone. Where did you find it?


Oh. They say. Well I’m really happy that you found something that will work.

So, what’s the deal? Why the aversion to IKEA products? I have been a diehard IKEA fan since college, and I don’t foresee anything changing, pending some monumental upset in quality or corporate ethic.

Rewind to 2006—I was entering my Junior year of college and would be living off of campus for the first time. I had no furniture. Fortunately my parents took pity on me and took me to my first IKEA. The excitement! The wonder!

The indecision!

At the time, a solid wood set caught my eye. In a stroke of good luck, IKEA had a matching bed frame, nightstand, dresser and desk—an important element since I would be moving into a room and would have all of my earthly belongings gathered in that single room. Although the bed frame only survived a few seasons in the harsh conditions of a young, on-the-move lifestyle, I still have the nightstand, the dresser, and the desk. They have moved nine times with me, and while they have some battle scars to show, they are no worse functionally than the day that I first assembled them eleven years ago.

While assembling my new bed frame, I realized that nothing about the process has changed. It is like talking to an old friend, or riding a bicycle. I took the drawers out of the dresser and the hardware is almost identical, the fittings match perfectly. The only noticeably change was that some of the connectors in the dresser are metal, and those in the bed frame are plastic. I will likely purchase the matching bedroom set in the future, but for now, my new bed frame is next to my nightstand, and across from my dresser, and I love it.

During the trip, I also ordered cabinetry for my new kitchen. Stay tuned to see the disaster that was my previous kitchen!