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A Thai truffle dog – examination!

July 3, 2010

On Thursday evening I took Ruben for a walk. It was before dark, and after six days of rain. The last one brought 28mm, which is 28 litres per square meter or 1120 cubic metres of water for the whole garden. We walked a few hundred meters from Dokmai Garden to an area where I had found truffles last year, together with experienced Thai pickers. It was a tricky job last time, searching for tiny cracks in the ground. My eyes were sore of concentration and sweat. This is a sandy and flat site with Dipterocarpus tuberculatus and other typical members of the dry deciduous Chiang Mai woods.

I asked Ruben to sit and I let Ruben sniff the cotton string I use to signal the game, and to refresh his brain with the wanted scent (it has been kept with truffles before). I tied this cotton string to his collar. This was it – would he find something, or had he forgotten everything? I told him ¨search¨, and he began running around. He suddenly made an effort to dig, like one scratch, and I took him aside and asked him “wow, did you find something?”. I dug with a metal shoe-horn, and sure enough, five good quality Thai truffles (Astraeus hygrometricus) showed up! Very very well done! Good dog! After passing this examination he is a truffle dog.

Many people ask which breed of dog is the best for truffle hunting. The answer is that the breed is not interesting, it is all about the qualities of a dog individual. Some European truffle hunters select the puppy who gets interested in truffles hidden in a pocket or bag. Labradors, poodles are lagotto romagnolo have been popular and successful truffle dogs in Europe, and the two first truffle dogs in Sweden were golden retriever and springer spaniel. Some dog individuals never learn, some, like Ruben, were born truffle hunters.

Lesson 4

Lesson 3

Lesson 2

Lesson 1

Eric Danell

Canned young earthstars (‘Thai truffles’) can be a curious Lanna cocktail snack.

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