Glynn Moore

News editor and local columnist for The Augusta Chronicle.

Who knows whether dogs go gray or bald as they age?

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Another golf tournament is over, and our town is returning to its normal size. If you are a visitor, have a safe journey home. (That goes double for the pleasant family from England and Scotland who let us explain the lunch menu to them in our native language, which they were having a hard time with.)

Another visitor was our granddaughter Madison, who turned 14 during her week with us. On Easter Sunday, the house was full of dyed Easter eggs, Easter cake, birthday cake, ice cream, and the soundtrack from kids, kids and more kids, and it only got louder from there.

Madison was good at taking care of her 2-month-old cousin and getting to know our two dogs again to the point that they didn't growl and nip at her every time she sat down. Everyone in our family has dogs (and some, I'm saddened to say, cats), and one day the conversation got around to dogs in general.

"How is Rex doing?" I asked Madison. Rex is a collie, but not a big, fluffy Lassie; he is subdued, with subtler colors and a flat coat.

Rex also is laid back, not yippy like our little dogs. He doesn't get excited; even if little Timmy fell in the well, I'm pretty sure Rex would suggest that perhaps the boy needed help and then would lie down and go to sleep.

To get an accurate picture of Rex in your mind, take Chester Cheetah, the Cheetos spokes-cat, and remove the sunglasses but keep the coolness.

Needless to say, I like Rex.

"Rex is getting old," Madison said.

"How could you tell with that dog?" I asked. "It's not like he could slow down any worse. Anyway, is his hair getting gray or something?"

That innocent question started a back-and-forth that got just about everybody in the house into it at one point or another. I have never seen a dog go gray, or, for that matter, bald, but several people told me they have had pets that grayed with age.

Someone in the house swore that she has seen dogs get gray around the eyes or in the whiskers around the muzzle. I simply don't know.

Then again, I have never had a really old dog. Something has always happened to my pets or to me to separate us.

Years ago, for instance, we had a little house dog that, because our landlady's German shepherd could not stay away from it, had to be given away. We put an ad in the paper, and one night a little girl and her dad came to the house. She loved our dog, so she became its new owner.

A couple of weeks later, the loneliness of our empty nest overtook us, so we called the family to see how the dog was doing. Someone who answered the phone said that the little girl wasn't available and that her father was in jail. We never got the rest of that story.

I have seen a lot of dogs in my time, and I truly don't remember seeing any whose locks resembled Willie Nelson's or Michael Jordan's. Even dogs that I knew to be ancient retained their fur in its natural color.

I'm not an expert, though, so if you know all about old dogs, call or write me, or post a response on this article at augusta.chronicle.com.

As for cats, who cares?

Comments (11) Add comment
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Melody
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Melody 04/12/10 - 01:04 am
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I had a min pin who went

I had a min pin who went gray! He died of old age and I have another one. He is going gray already too!

catfish20
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catfish20 04/12/10 - 06:18 am
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I have seen numerous dogs go

I have seen numerous dogs go gray. In fact, my 17 year old black lab is gray.

1957
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1957 04/12/10 - 06:30 am
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I have a doxie pushing 20 who

I have a doxie pushing 20 who is only gray around her face and a mixed dog who is 17 and not a gray hair on his whole body. I do believe dogs age MUCH better than humans! Guess it just depends on the gene pool
I did have 1 who went almost completely bald, she died at 14.

jrbfromga
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jrbfromga 04/12/10 - 10:19 am
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I have a doxie who is 10 and
Unpublished

I have a doxie who is 10 and she is a black and tan dapple. The black is as black as ever, but the tan has gone gray on her face and front feet. The back feet are still tan, but I suppose, like people, its just a matter of time.

pommom38
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pommom38 04/12/10 - 10:46 am
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This is all you could find to

This is all you could find to write about? I usually love reading your articles, but this? You could have simply picked up a phone and called a vet to get the answer. Yes, dogs age just as we do.. No, they don't lose their dang hair, yes, they turn grayy in certain areas.
And what's your problem with cats btw? What did they do so bad to deserve such disregard?

corgimom
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corgimom 04/12/10 - 11:15 am
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They all go gray on their

They all go gray on their face. Their whiskers and the hair on their face gets gray.

Joe Hotchkiss
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Joe Hotchkiss 04/12/10 - 11:28 am
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I'm not trying to hijack this

I'm not trying to hijack this thread further into a dachshund discussion, but my 10-year-old doxie is showing the first hints of gray on her head. And when my basset hound died a couple years ago just short of 11, he was grand and gray.

Like Glynn, I never owned a dog that went gray, either -- because I was a country kid, too, and farm dogs typically don't last that long.

1beachbum
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1beachbum 04/12/10 - 11:30 am
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I agree with Pompom's

I agree with Pompom's post...what's so bad about cats? And yes, they go gray, too!

backagain
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backagain 04/12/10 - 03:17 pm
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You know what, that's real
Unpublished

You know what, that's real good!!! That's a gooooood thing!!! now here's a quarter find someone who cares..

cricketflea
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cricketflea 04/12/10 - 07:35 pm
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Yes, I, too, can attest that

Yes, I, too, can attest that dogs most definitely go grey! I have an eight year old doxie, who is grey all around her muzzle(could be because she helped raise a teenager, LOL) and also have a Chihuahua, who is around thirteen years old. Her once very tan hair has now lighted up considerably and she has turned white around her face and feet.

dashiel
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dashiel 04/12/10 - 09:37 pm
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Get your old dog some Just

Get your old dog some Just For Dogs. It will help his self-esteem. Cats seem to develop new interests as they age. Mine gave up bird-watching, for instance, and took up the piano. Her paws are a perfect fit for octaves. I think she sounds like Erroll Garner but her granddad says she sounds more like Earl Fatha Hines to him.

PUPPYMOMMA
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PUPPYMOMMA 04/12/10 - 10:13 pm
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Asking people about their

Asking people about their dogs will get you more comments than asking about someone's children. My great dane is 7 yrs old. He's gray on his mug and has gray on his paws. He's an old dog until the old blue car starts, then he thinks he's going for a ride, or when he hears "TREAT"!
He doesn't chase squirrels anymore. The bad part about having a dog get old is that you"ve just got them trained and then they up and die.

Glynn Moore
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Glynn Moore 04/16/10 - 03:40 pm
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Thank you, one and all, for

Thank you, one and all, for responding. Yes, I could have called a veterinarian, but that wouldn't have given such an informative batch of replies from dog owners. It's more fun hearing from folks.

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