Wednesday, July 25, 2007


Diablotin Moustachu?

As Russell Ackoff pointed out in "the art of problem solving", we are often blocked from finding the solution to a problem by a constraint which is neither explicit nor truly binding, but which we impose on our search nevertheless, thereby excluding solutions we should not exclude. The key is to find it (or them) and relax it (or them)" (or words to that effect). In the case of my problem with my savage cat, one such assumption was that the pet population in my household is to remain fixed. My father was quick to challenge it with a proposal to change my household pet population:
Extremely simple and obvious, to me, solution: GET A DOG! Preferably a Belgian.

Well, I know why he is partial to Belgian dogs. His proposal might change the composition of my household pet population, but not its number. That is not acceptable; my cat is to continue to live here, and that is a pretty firm constraint. (And it is not at all clear to me that the dog he suggests would control the pest population better than my cat). Nevertheless, the proposal suggests two variants: another (additional) cat to help, or a dog who is a good mouser.

I asked Hakia, What dog breeds kill mice? Interesting question! Highlighted titles below may help. Indeed they do!
  • Affenpinscher Dog Breed gave me a good introduction to this breed. Subsequent searches yielded more info and a picture. I think they're cute.
    The Affenpinscher is a balanced, little, wiry-haired terrier-like toy dog whose intelligence and demeanor make it a good house pet. Originating in Germany, where the name Affenpinscher means, "monkey-like terrier," the breed was developed to rid the kitchens, granaries and stables of rodents. In France the breed is described as the "diablotin moustachu" or the moustached little devil. Both these names help to describe the appearance and attitude of this delightful breed. When evaluating the breed, the total overall appearance of the Affenpinscher is more important than any individual characteristic.
    The general demeanor of the Affenpinscher is game, alert and inquisitive with great loyalty and affection toward its master and friends. The breed is generally quiet but can become vehemently excited when threatened or attacked and is fearless toward any aggressor.
  • Dachshund Breed Characteristics...they were bred to go in holes and flush game like badgers and wolverines out of the ground.
    Wieners think they are 150 pounds and take their hunting job seriously so if you keep pet rabbits. mice, birds, etc., keep them far away from your new hunter. Any fluffy, cute animal that squeaks will be instantly killed if it is located a few feet off the ground. But wieners make great barn dogs and kill mice better than any outdoor cat alive.
  • Understanding The Types of Dog Breeds
    The terrier dog breed was developed to hunt and kill pests. They were used to control rats, mice, and predators. They are small to medium in size and feisty animals that are difficult to train. This dog breed has been known to become loyal and friendly pets. They include the Irish Terrier, Scottish Terrier and Miniature Shnauzer.
    Terrier legacy
    The Yorkie was bred as a ratter, used to kill mice and rats in small places. As a hunting group, terriers specialize in pursuing animals (usually vermin) that live in dens or burrows. Animals that are cornered and defending their young will fight ferociously. Therefore, any dog that would willingly pursue them must have an extraordinary degree of courage; terriers are bred for that quality.
  • Even Rottweilers, it seems!

Now it remains to determine which of the dog breeds, if any, would be nice to the cat. Diablotin moustachu?

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