|Official Name||Mini Strouffle|
|Common Nicknames||Marsh Hound, Teddybear Dog, Fifi|
|Habitat||Urban regions of Ithania and the Regalian Archipelago|
The Mini Strouffle is a medium sized, fluffy dog, well known as the lap dog among the Ithanian Ailor. Originally a hunting companion used in the Ithanian marshes, over time this fluffy dog has been adopted into the over the top culture of its Ailor masters. In fact, only a small percentage are still raised to hunt along the rivers, the vast majority fulfill the court intrigue of the Ithanian Ailor. Despite recent politics in the Ithanian Sovereignty, the Mini Strouffle remains a popular breed among its people.
The Mini Strouffle has been around since around the fall of the Allorn Empire following the events of the Cataclysm, when the Ithanian Ailor took control over the region from their former Altalar masters. Initially the breed was utilised for hunting along the many rivers surrounding the Ithanian Hivres, being well equipped to swim from the muddied shores to retrieve various waterfowl such as ducks. However, as the Ithanian Ailor began to form their own identity in their virgining haute culture, so did the Mini Strouffle form a new identity.
As the Ithanian courts began to appear, there became a greater appreciation for the extravagant and the outrageous, largely drawn from many of the court habits of the Altalar before them. This led to many Ithanian women looking at anything that could be adopted and transformed to gain an edge in the cut throat politics of court culture. One such woman, Madame Roselynne Ailaise Solaire Bedeau, began to look at the Mini Strouffle as a candidate for transforming the companion pet into one of the earliest court accessories. After a few generations of breeding, the Mini Strouffle began to take on it’s well known size, being kept in the laps of the most prominent ladies of the Ithanian courts.
In the current day, despite many politics threatening the stability of the Ithanian culture, with the execution of the previous Ithanian Sovereign and the rise of King Florent, the Mini Strouffle remains stable as both a popular court pet in Ithania and the neighboring Regalian Archipelago. Even the sister Culture of the Leutz-Vixe have taken an interest in the breed, though only for it’s hunting capabilities in the swamps of Osteiermark.
The Mini Strouffle is a small to medium sized canine breed, ranging from one to two feet in height and one to three feet in length. Comparably, the weight of the dog is between fifteen and sixty pounds, which leads to many incidents of the smallest of the breed having severe birth defects and a shorter lifespan due to the smaller size and weight being the most popular inside of the Ithanian courts. It’s head is round with a short snout, but not to the degree of the Calemberger Ardhund, and has medium length flopped ears. The larger of the dog has a medium length body that sits upon proportionate legs. However, the smallest of the breed appears similar to the standard size, but with more squat, dwarf-like proportions in the body and legs. At the rear of the Mini Strouffle sits a medium length tail covered in the same curly hair that covers the entire breed, functioning as a rudder to direct the dog while swimming. With the smaller breed the tail is reduced to nothing more than a short potrution off the rear. Universally the breed possesses a long, wooly, and curly coat which has historically kept the Mini Strouffle warm when plunging into frigid water to retrieve game. This coat has to be brushed regularly to avoid the fur being knotted, leading to it being popular in Ithanian courts to begin brushing the fur of one's Mini Strouffle to show how well kept the coat is as the brushes run along the animal with no hair being picked up. This is due to the animal being already groomed prior to going to court. The color of this fur coat ranges from black, brown, grey, and white, with even a variation of spotted patterns being common.
Despite the significant size difference across the breed, there is little variation between male and female members of the species. It is often argued that the smaller sized Mini Strouffle should be considered its own unique breed due to its inability to fulfill the same role as the larger member, however, this is largely dismissed as after a few generations of breeding one size of Mini Strouffle can become the other with many early Leutz-Vixe breeding the compact Mini Strouffle back to a suitable hunting companion.
Life Span and Development
The Mini Strouffle is born in a litter of two to three pups. Immediately after birth, the puppies are blind for approximately two weeks, and do not open their eyes until after this time. At first their eyesight is poor, but eventually will develop to match the adults. The larger Mini Strouffle will begin to walk normally after a week after birth, though the smaller will be unable to stand upright until almost adulthood, having to be bottle fed by breeders until this time. After nearly a year, they’ll have grown to their full height, and will shed their softer puppy fur, having it replaced by their adult coat of a more thick texture. At this point, their personalities will also be determined, having reached social maturity. The larger Mini Strouffles will begin to show signs of playfulness and eagerness for attention, in which case it is time to begin training them. The smaller Mini Strouffles will show the same signs of desiring attention, barking frequently as their only means of communicating effectively, though the playfulness is missed due to breeding complications leading to the small animal exhausted if any exertion of energy is applied. The lifespan of these dogs is between five and fifteen years, with the smallest of the breed having the shorter lifespan, which is odd given that smaller breeds typically live longer. It is often associated with the fact that the Mini Strouffle was bred for life as a living accessory that any care for livelihood or longevity was ignored.
The Mini Strouffles personality is described as friendly, joyful, obedient, and intelligent. They are quick to train, yet require constant obedience training throughout their lifetime. That said, they possess a medium temperament universally, though the larger of the breed possess more energy than the smaller, largely accepted as the squat dog is physically incapable of moving much at all, let alone moving away from its master's lap. The Mini Strouffle makes for a lifelong companion, some hunters even sleeping in the same bed as their dogs due to the soft, curled fur.
Territory and Groupings
Due to being a hunting breed, the Mini Strouffle is a territorial species, but can easily be trained not to bark at lurking animals or people. There are no Mini Strouffle in the wild, all being in captivity and bred to fulfill the needs of the Ithanian courts and the wetland hunters, residing in various locations from marbled Ithanian palaces and cities, to swampy Leutz-Vixe castles and villages. The smaller Mini Strouffle are considered much more expensive than the larger breeds, due to having to be cared for nearly all hours of the day till their first birthday. Most require coming from a wealthy background to even consider owning a small Mini Strouffle leading to the breed being considered a status of wealth, as the smaller the dog, the more expensive it is. That said, even the poorest of Leutz-Vixe families are able to own and breed the larger Mini Strouffle.
- If it wasn’t for the Leutz-Vixe, it is believed that the hunting varieties of the Mini Strouffle would have been bred out decades ago.
- There have been Ithanians that have had the teeth of their Mini Strouffle removed to prevent them from biting them, but this practice quickly became unpopular as the dogs would drool onto their gowns.
- Osvald Krumme, the King of Nordskag, actually owns several Mini Strouffle as the breed's thick coat keeps it comfortable in the frigid north.