Kojak, Bandit and Amigo may sound like extras from a spaghetti western, but they are in fact three of a breed of dog known as the Mexican Hairless, and are the latest recruits to be taken on by national charity, Hearing Dogs for Deaf People.
These magnificent three are now being socialised with some of the Charitys volunteers for a few months, and they will then embark on 16 weeks of soundwork training, during which time they will learn to respond to everyday household sounds such as the telephone, doorbell, alarm clock and smoke alarm.
There are only 18 Mexican Hairless dogs in this country and about 4000 worldwide, and although a registered breed, they cannot at present be exhibited at a dog show. There is only one breeder in the UK who, frustrated by not being able to show the dogs, decided to donate three puppies to Hearing Dogs for Deaf People to show that they are intelligent dogs and capable of doing something worthwhile.
They are one of the oldest breeds in existence, and come in both hairless and coated varieties. Of the three trainee hearing dogs, Bandit is coated while the other two are hairless, except for a tiny tuft of hair on the top of Amigos head.
Jane Hazelwood, Hearing Dogs for Deaf Peoples Dog Supply Co-ordinator who assessed the three dogs, said, We have never used this breed before although we do have some success with a similar breed, the Chinese Crested. Kojak, Bandit and Amigo (shown below) are friendly with people, playful and inquisitive - all traits we look for in a potential hearing dog, so we have high hopes for their future. We are enormously grateful to the lady who donated these dogs to us, and are confident they will live up to both her and our expectations.
Although HDDP selects 75% of their dogs from rescue, the Charity is also desperate for more dogs to be donated in order to train as many hearing dogs as possible to help deaf people. If you have, or know of, a dog under the age of three with a friendly temperament that may be suitable, please contact their Head Office on 01844-353898.