Updated: Aug 10
With her black and tan coat and her dark pattern of markings, she looks, to me, like a miniature German Shepard. With her large upright ears and intensely intelligent eyes, I sometimes think she must be part Chihuahua , but she's not. Lily is a Jack Russel / Pomeranian cross. She has the short, constantly shedding coat of the Jack Russel, and the curly tail of the Pomeranian. Although she doesn't have the lion mane that some Pom's possess, her fur is definitely thicker around her neck than it is elsewhere on her body.
Lily is a formidable barker -- at delivery boys, metre readers, raccoons, stray dogs, people she doesn't know, and my son's friend, Dylan. She has different barks for different people. I always know when my mother or my eldest daughter have arrived, for the barks vibe in high-pitched, semi-whimpered cries of joy. When the neighbourhood raccoons and stray dogs happen by, the tone of her bark lowers, and the intensity of her anxiety sky-rockets until the velocity of her expelled breaths lift all four of her paws of the ground in little hops.
She is the first terrier I have ever owned, and Lily is the poster child dog for inbred instincts. When she as puppy, there was one frantic morning where I couldn't find her anywhere, despite calling and calling. I was terrified that my children had let her escape out the front door on their way to school. Eventually, I found her in my daughter's room. She had dug her way into the middle of a pile of laundry on Alison's floor, and had completely buried herself, save for the tiniest tip of her nose. To this day, if I am on the couch with a blanket on my lap, it is not good enough for Lily to lie on or beside my lap -- she has to dig her way underneath the blanket. When I sleep at night, she takes her snout and noses her way between blanket and sheet, and curls up at my feet buried in the cave of space made under the covers by her body and mine.
Lily has the incredible athleticism of the Jack Russel, and its tendency to pack on weight when not having the chance to burn off that energy. I always say this dog levitates, because she is a tiny little package who can leap an easy three feet straight into the air from a stand-still -- generally when she wants me to know she is happy to see me. She runs like a streak, digs like a backhoe, and gnaws and shakes the stuffing out of dirty underwear, socks, and unfortunate mis-placed stuffed animals. She also has the intelligence of the Pomeranian, learning quickly, then debating what to do with her new knowledge. She is an absolutely loyal family dog.
According to dogtime.com, Jack Russells were developed in England to hunt foxes, and are charming and affectionate but difficult to train and manage." They are 10" to 1' 3" tall, and weigh around 17 pounds with a lifespan of up to 16 years. Their exercise needs rank 5/5, as does their prey drive, their intelligence, and their friendliness with other dogs.
If that is so, Lily must get some of her characteristics from the Pomeranian, because she does not like other dogs. When she was one, I took her to a local dog park. We were there alone, so I took her off leash and let her run. A lab arrived, and came over to say hi, and Lily was so terrified she ran all the way to the fence, then squeezed through the tiny space where the gate met the enclosure and bolted to our car. Other dogs are her nemesis, and she has never changed her opinion on this one.
The Pomeranian is named for the region in Germany and Poland where the breed originates, and is classified as a toy dog because of its size. Since 1998, the breed has ranked among the top 20 favourite dog breeds in the United States. Although generally playful and friendly, Pomeranians can be aggressive with other dogs in order to prove themselves (Wikipedia). Pomeranians have a thick double coat with a ruff of fur at the neck, and a fringe of feathery fur on the hindquarters. They are territorial, and will bark to defend their home turf. Well cared for Pomeranians tend to live 12 to 16 years.