What’s Your Canine Doppelganger?

When I was a kid I used to play all sorts of bizarre imagination games with my sister. They seemed perfectly normal for an eight-year-old’s standards but when I look back as an adult, I see my sanity was questionable from an early age. One of our favourite games to play was – naturally – “animals.” We each chose a type of animal and then spent the rest of the day imitating the animal’s behaviour. It was outrageously fun, even as the rules of the game grew overly complex. I am pretty sure my mother hated it. Not only did she have to start interpreting our attempts at zebra noises but she complained we wore holes in our pants by crawling around on the floor.

A few weeks ago I read a post on Pawcurious that reminded me of our childhood goofiness. The always-entertaining Dr. V ruminated over the classic animal lover’s question: if I were an animal, what would I be?

More often than not, during play, my sister and I would revert to the same favoured species. She always chose to be a cat and I always chose to be a dog. A cocker spaniel dog, to be more specific.

Even though I am now an adult and no longer wear pants with holes in them, when I try to decide what kind of animal I would be, I still go back to the same thing I did as a kid. It seems a bit incongruous, I admit. I’ve never lived with a cocker spaniel. I haven’t even been around one since our first obedience class three years ago. And that guy wasn’t the friendliest.

Nevertheless, there are many things about the breed to which I can relate.

– Energetic and sporty, but can also enjoy a good lie-in. Much like myself.

– They can adapt to any climate or lifestyle. I live in Nova Scotia where it can be sunny one second and pouring rain the next. 

– With their long, wavy fur, cocker spaniels require daily grooming. My hair is also wavy and it remains my biggest vanity. I don’t leave the house unless it is at least presentable.

– They are trusting and hard-working. I am the consummate people-pleaser.

– Their largest faults are their sensitivity (I hear that) and their ability to become pudgy if not kept active (ditto).

– If not properly socialized, cocker spaniels can suffer from shyness. Story. Of. My. Life.

Perhaps I am just drawn to the breed as cocker spaniels were one of the most popular dogs in my area growing up. I am not sure I would ever want one for myself – the daily coat maintenance is daunting – but I do feel a sort of connection with their sweet faces and large, dark eyes.

How about you? If you were an animal, what would you be?

12 thoughts on “What’s Your Canine Doppelganger?

  1. Very cute! I played the same game with my sisters, too, and I always chose to be a saluki. I was skinny, had long hair that fell around my face, and loved to run–so, in my childhood mind, the saluki was the obvious canine doppelganger. Although, today, I’d wager that your average saluki is far more elegant and refined than I ever am.

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  2. Hi Kristine, my brother Owen and I are mostly American Cocker Spaniels and we think that you’re kinda cute so here’s the deal, we’ll adopt you. You can be one of us, we can go for walks together with you and Shiva. You’re training for the 5K right? Okay, so I’ll race you. You won’t believe how fast I can go. Don’t worry about my mom and dad, they’re totally cool with you crawling around on the floor and making “dog” noises. Sound good?

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  3. I’m pretty certain in that game, I was always a horse. I am so not a horse anymore. I think I might be a cat- independent, want my space, want attention when I want it, happily spend my days sleeping in the sun… Yes, I think I’d like to be a cat.

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  4. I’m defiantly a Greyhound in looks and a Dachshund in temperament! Similarities include:
    Aloof with strangers but loyal to family. Check.
    Stubborn and difficult to train. Yup LOL
    Very loud for their size. Yes
    Loves a challenge. Check
    Can live anywhere. Yes
    Will go insane if not exercised. Heck ya lol
    Dachshund Nola’s Mom

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  5. We played ‘animals’ as kids all the time. I was always a tiger or a dog. Though not a specific dog. With my siblings and cousins had quite a wild safari going on in the basement!! I still play dog with my dogs. 🙂

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  6. Funny! When I was younger, I always answered this question with “a platypus”. Clearly, I was being a smartass (not uncommon, then or now). I also had the intent to grow up, become a marine biologist, and move to Australia (I did not foresee how much I would hate organic chemistry).

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  7. I always pretended I was a diva pitbull, just like the pitbull I had: Madonna. (and yes, she was every bit as fab as the real Madge. She used to play dress up with me. *dress up* That dog had the patience of a saint.)

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  8. I think we learn a lot of things in this post.. Thanks for the help here.. I am still hoping you can post more to help more people too..

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  9. Kelly is honored that you would choose cocker spaniel because she is part cocker spaniel herself.
    As much as I’ve always loved dogs, I always wanted to be a horse. The idea of running free, manes flowing behind, just sparked a creative note with me.

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  10. I must admit I feel a little lacking in creativity after reading al the comments. We also played the game you played as a kid, and I was always a dog or a horse. I was never clever or creative enough to actually consider what breed of dog, but I guess the fact that I chose dog most of the time says enough about me. 🙂

    BTW – did you ever play Animal Tag (not sure if this is the correct name)? We would all walk around like an animal from the zoo and then when someone yelled freeze we would freeze in the form of some animal. Yes. We were strange kids too. :0

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