What's funny? What isn't? And why do I never get a laugh when I tell that joke about the moose?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

D is for Dog

Q; What do you get when you cross a Malamute with a Pointer?
A: I suppose it’s a Moot Point, but it doesn’t really matter.

Though I am a cat person by temperament, I am not one of those people who put down dogs. It’s traditional to claim that cats are free agents who walk where they will, dogs are slavish servants, eager to obey our every wish.

Let’s be fair: you can’t train a cat because cats are basically stupid. The average cat has a brain size of a walnut. (My vet insists indignantly that it’s closer to a Brazil nut, but she’s being charitable.) Dogs, by contrast, are actually smart enough to be trained.

There are basically two problems with dogs: they require much more care than a cat; and almost every dog is basically nuts.

To the first point: Dogs need regular schedules—they’ve got to be fed regularly, walked regularly and played with regularly. If you miss a dog’s scheduled walk by half an hour, you’ll know it—usually on your rug. Owning a dog is basically like having a hyperactive, furry child who will never, ever grow up.

To the second point, dogs are crazy because mankind has forced them into all sorts of unnatural sizes and shapes. A dog should be the size of a small wolf or a large fox—about the size of a Labrador Retriever, say. But that wasn’t good enough for man!

We’ve been growing all sorts of mutants: overly affectionate Goliaths like Great Danes who think that they’re lap dogs, and try desperately to prove it by climbing into your lap or psychotic pygmy dogs that yap hysterically at a world that’s somehow bigger than it’s supposed to be.

Add to all that the tendency among breeders to breed for looks as opposed to brains are health, and you end up with, well, Californians, I guess. (Good grief, a running gag!)

Upon approaching a country store, a man read a sign on the door that said, “DANGER! BEWARE OF DOG!” So it was with some trepidation that he opened the door and entered.

The only dog in sight was weary old hound dog lying on a rug. It looked up briefly when the man entered, wagged its tail twice, and fell back to sleep. It snored.

The man approached the store keeper. “Is that the only dog in here?” he asked.

“Yep!” answered the storekeeper.

“He doesn’t look dangerous to me,” said the man.

“He ain’t,” answered the store keeper.

“Well, then, why the sign?”

“Before I hung it up, people kept tripping over him!”


There’s a reasonably new theory being bruited around about the origin of dogs as a separate species. It had long been supposed that man had somehow isolated wolves, tamed them, and eventually the tamest of the animals evolved into dogs.

Not quite, according to those who favor the new theory. In fact, just about exactly backward. Early man—like modern man—generated a lot of trash. They used to dump their garbage just outside the cave (just like frat boys today)

Wild wolves were torn between the desire for a pretty easy free meal and their fear of man. Those who could overcome that fear could get some free eats.

Eventually, some of THOSE wolves realized that there was warmth and protection in the cave, even if it did mean hanging out with those two legged beasts.

From there, it was up to man to look down and notice—hey, look! There are dogs here!

Here’s what’s probably the most famous of all talking dog jokes. We’ve probably all heard it, but I could hardly write a humorous piece about dogs without retelling it:

A guy walks into a bar in San Francisco with a mutt on a leash. The bartender tells him that dogs are not allowed in the bar.

“But this is a talking dog!” the guy insists.

“Ridiculous!” says the bartender.

“I’ll prove it,” says the dog’s owner. He turns to the dog. “What’s on top of a house?”

“Roof!” says the dog.

“What’s the opposite of smooth?”

“Ruff!” says the dog.

“And who was the greatest baseball player of all time?”

“Ruth!” says the dog.

“That’s it!” says the bartender. “Out you go!” and he kicks out both owner and dog.

The pair walks silently down the street for a few minutes. “What the hell,” says the dog, “I don’t care if we are in Frisco, I’m not saying ‘Barry Bonds’!”


  1. Cats have a good racket going. They get fed without having to do humiliating tricks, and the humans will always come when called loud enough. And all they have to do is bring in a dead bird occasionally.

  2. Two guys are walking their dogs, a German Shepherd and a Chihuahua. The man with the Shepherd suggests stopping in a bar for a drink. "They'll never let us in with the dogs", his friend replies. "Check this out". The man dons dark sunglasses and steps into the bar, his Shepherd looking very much like a seeing eye dog.
    On go the dark glasses as the second man walks in. The bartender says, "hey, mister, no dogs allowed." "This is my seeing eye dog!" the man protests. After a hearty laugh the bartender says, "This Chihuahua is your seeing eye dog?"
    "They gave me a Chihuahua!?"


  3. Yes, I almost did the seeing eye dog joke, but I somehow felt that wasn't purely a "dog" joke. (Also, I wasn't sure how to spell "Chihuahua.")