Bernese Mountain Dog.
Yes, he is big.
About 110 lbs.
He does eat a lot.
A bear...good one!
Put a saddle on him...good one!
He's a boy.
He would love it if you pet him.
Then, there's generally a happy period of the inquirer lavishing the dog with generous patting and behind-the-ear rubs, and him in turn prostrating himself shamelessly at their feet and gazing at them adoringly with a huge goofy grin of appreciation. Love fest over, we then continue on our way.
But this most recent encounter was a new one on me.
To set the stage, a friend and I are out on one of LA's most popular hikes for dog owners. It's a gorgeous walk down from Mullholland Drive to Hollywood. The dogs get to be off-leash, the views are great, and there's a killer set of stairs to climb in the middle that literally kicks your butt. There's even a real horse and a goat to see along the way. In addition to the canine enthusiasts, it's a well known locale* for fit hipsters of the single variety, along with a wide assortment of colorful "only in LA" folks, so the people watching adds a lot to the fun of the walk.
At the top of the stairs. He's not even winded, but then he is a Bernese "MOUNTAIN" Dog.
We've had our requisite minor celebrity sighting. We've run through the doggie FAQ's a couple times. Admired and inquired about the other pups out enjoying their day. All of a sudden, an older woman with dyed blond hair in a track suit walks past us, then turns back after seeing Blackjack. She speaks in a very deep voice, with a thick Russian accent:
Her: Vot kind, your dog?
Me: A Bernese Mountain Dog.
Her: Is big!
Me: Yes, he is very big.
Her: Is how old?
Me: 3 1/2.
Her: Is boy or gull?
Me: He's a boy.
Her: Is real boy or...
She holds up a hand and makes a scissoring motion with two fingers. Snip! Snip!
Me: Um...he's neutered. Yep.
Her: Too bad. I have gull for him. Make puppies.
Me: Um, yeah. Well. That is too bad.
She turns without another word and heads up the hill. Bizzaro doggie yenta fest over, we then continue on our way.
Mr. "Snip, Snip!" himself
* as in really really crowded, especially on weekends. But definitely worth doing, at least once!