I ran into Bedford playing fetch in a tennis court a couple of weeks ago. Why in a tennis court? Well, it turns out that Bedford is deaf. White dogs are often deaf, especially those with a color pattern like his, which is often known as ‘extreme white‘. (It turns out to probably be caused by his having two genes for ‘white piebald’ (Sp) plus some other genetic factor that hasn’t been identified yet). Apparently the reason for this is that the little bitty hairs in your inner ear, the ones that let you hear by detecting vibrations, have to have some melanin in them, or else the nerve cells they’re attached to die in your first few weeks of life, and you’re deaf. You learn something new every day!
Anyway, Bedford definitely doesn’t let being deaf stop him. Hence the tennis court: if they play out in an open field, and something catches his eye, he can just gallop off into the distance, and it takes quite a while and a lot of running to get his attention and make him come back. One of the hazards of having a deaf dog that I never really thought about before.