Of Greek Dogs

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During our late summer stay in the hills near Harakopio in the Messinian Peloponnese, I was impressed by the dogs we passed on the lanes. Most were loose, yet they were clearly on duty. No malice was involved, but they barked to let us know that the olive grove we were passing through was under their jurisdiction. As soon as we reached the boundary, the barking ceased only to be taken up by the next property’s guardian.

Back at home some weeks later, I caught the ‘tail end’ of a programme on the  BBC World Service, whose content I meant to follow up, but forgot to. Somewhere in the world where the exact location of rural land boundaries had been forgotten by humans, researchers found that they could pretty much identify them from monitoring their dogs’ barking zones.

The thing that struck me about all the dogs in the photos was, while they might be faithful comrades to humans, they still retained a sense of their own canine dignity. They were what I call good dogs.

Variations on a theme

30 thoughts on “Of Greek Dogs

    1. It was questions such as this that I intended to follow up. But I’m guessing it israther linked in to the dogs natural inclinations to be territorial, and also learned habits, dog to dog, when a younger dog was introduced alongside an old dog.

  1. indeed – these dogs remember their canine roots. Especially like no 3. When walking in Spain the unattended sheep dogs barked all intruders away within so many given yards – the pups were there too and tried to act even meaner!

      1. Once knew a terrier owner who said the only way he could neutralise attack inclinations once stirred was to dunk said dog briefly in a water butt. It came out perfectly civilised.

  2. I sent this on to my geographer / dog-loving daughter. And I remembered a 10km walk home late at night on a country round where dogs barked all the way, one fading as I reached the end of the property, and another one starting off as I crossed into the next one. What a fascinating way of determining boundaries.

  3. We were in Greece in November, and I don’t recall seeing any dogs … but lots, and lots, and lots of cats. For me, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Dogs make me rather uncomfortable – especially when they come running towards me barking. Yikes. I’ve had a few too many close encounters of the scary kind while hiking and cycling.

    1. Oh there were lots of cats too. I can well understand your reaction to aggressive dogs. Thankfully the farm dogs didn’t lunge at us, just staked their territories from a stationary position as we passed.

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