National Dog Week, which runs the last week of every September, was started in 1928 by a group of dog lovers and breeders who wanted a nationwide educational campaign for better dog care.
The idea that the dog is "man's best friend" is believed to have originated during a closing argument given by Sen. George Graham Vest of Missouri. Vest was a lawyer who was representing a man whose dog was deliberately shot and killed by a neighbor. The grief stricken dog owner was suing the neighbor for damages.
In his closing argument, Vest gave what has become the famous "Tribute to the American Dog." The speech to the jury was so powerful that it not only won the case, it has been inscribed in a monument in Warrensburg, Missouri. William Safire included it in his compendium of the world's great speeches.
Here is a portion of the speech, which reportedly left not a dry eye in the courtroom:
"The best friend a man has in the world may turn against him and become his enemy. His son or daughter that he has reared with loving care may prove ungrateful. Those who are nearest and dearest to us, those whom we trust with our happiness and our good name may become traitors to their faith.
The one absolutely unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him, the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous, is his dog. He will sleep on the cold ground, where the wintry winds blow and the snow drives fiercely, if only he may be near his master's side. He will kiss the hand that has no food to offer. If fortune drives the master forth, an outcast in the world, friendless and homeless, the faithful dog asks no higher privilege than that of accompanying him."
From Cornell Christianson's book Holiday Skits & Contests availabe on Amazon.com. Here's the link:
DOG BREEDS QUIZ
1. What is the world’s tallest dog breed?
ANSWER: The Irish Wolfhound is the tallest at 32 inches tall.
The Great Dane is second at 30 inches tall.
2. What is the heaviest dog, not the tallest dog?
ANSWER: The Saint Bernard is the heaviest at 180 pounds.
The English Mastiff is second at 170 pounds.
Irish Wolfhounds, the tallest dog, is at 120 pounds
3. What’s the world’s smallest dog breed?
ANSWER: The Chihuahua weighing about 6 pounds, and 6 to 9 inches tall.
4. What dog breed has the biggest ears?
ANSWER: The Basset Hound, with the record for the longest ears measuring 13 inches.
5. What’s the world’s fastest dog breed?
ANSWER: The Greyhound is the fastest, reaching speeds of 45 miles per hour.
6. What’s the world’s slowest dog breed?
ANSWER: The shorter-legged, heavier dogs are the slowest dogs which include the Basset Hound and the Dachshund.
7. What is the world’s hairiest, shaggiest dog?
ANSWER: The Bearded Collie, the Komondor, the Old English Sheepdog and the Puli.
8. What is the world’s least shaggy dog?
ANSWER: Hairless breeds include the Mexican Hairless or Xolo and the American Hairless Terrier.
9. What dog breeds are most intelligent?
ANSWER: Experts say the Border Collie, Poodle, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever and Doberman Pinscher are the most intelligent.
10. What dog breeds are least intelligent?
ANSWER: Experts say the Borzoi, Chow Chow, Bulldog, Basenji and the least intelligent – the Afgan Hound
11. What dog breeds are most popular today in the US?
ANSWER: (in order)
1. Labrador Retriever
2. Yorkshire Terrier
3. German Shepherd
4. Golden Retriever
9. Shih Tzu
11. What’s the most popular dog in New York City?