This week's featured dog doesn't live up to her name at all. See her there, in the picture above, yelling out orders to go? That's Big Brown - BB for short - and she is neither big or brown. But I didn't name her.
She was named after a race horse, along with her sister, Ruffian (next to her in the above photo) by my good friend, mentor, and horse racing fan, Joann Fortier.
|Big Brown at four weeks in 2008|
|BB looks at me upside down in her house|
So, on a whim, I put BB up front with Yeti one training run early last fall. BB looked so small in her 40 pound frame next to a hulking Yeti, who is about 65 pounds. But, suddenly, BB had found her birthright.
I blinked my eyes in wonder as I shot this photo last fall in Michigan, BB holding the line taut and strong in lead. How could I have not seen this before? Without hesitation, right from the first time in lead, she shouldered big Yeti into turns the second I called them out. What's more, she kept a naturally fast pace - far faster than Yeti. Suddenly, I had found my natural "crack" leader. Right in my kennel. (For a detailed description of a "crack" leader - as well as other types of lead dogs, click here.)
|Navigating a twisty part of the Tahquamenon trail last winter. Big Brown and Ruffian in lead. Photo by Dino Mandoli|
Big Brown blossomed in lead last season. At just three years of age, she led every race I competed in.
|Munching on a Cliff bar on the second leg of the Midnight Run last season. BB in lead with Yeti. Photo by Dino Mandoli|
|Big Brown models her new dog jacket at a race in upstate New York|
Big Brown is, paws down, one of the most valuable dogs in my kennel. She is a super leader, super sweet, super smart, and doesn't take up much space :)
|On the trail in Michigan with Ruffian and Big Brown in lead|