Max and Joe O'Brien met at the SPCA five years ago and the
pair, who take twice-daily walks together, would not be
parted, Mr O'Brien says. Photo by Craig Baxter.
There may be 1797 other dogs called Max in Dunedin, but
6-year-old Max, the Border collie-Alsatian cross is the only
one that matters to Mosgiel man Joe O'Brien (90).
Max and Mr O'Brien keep each other company and stay healthy
with twice daily walks along the Taieri River.
''He keeps me this fit,'' Mr O'Brien says, gesturing to his
And when he calls Max to his side, he is likely not the only
person across the city doing the same thing.
Dunedin City Council records show many dogs in Dunedin city
come to the names Max or Molly.
Max was already named when Mr O'Brien picked him out at the
SPCA five years ago, but said if he could have chosen the
name himself, he would have called him Jack - the second most
common name for a male dog registered in Dunedin. Council
statistics show the most popular dog name in 2012 was Max -
1798 of the city's 16,000 dogs were registered with that
Max is followed by Molly (1374 registrations), Bella (1298),
Jack (1164) and Jess (1198).
The information released through the Local Government
Official Information Act and reported on the council's
website, also lists the top five dog breeds responsible for
attacks reported to the council for the year to July 31,
The top five breeds responsible for attacks reported to the
council were Staffordshire bull terrier crosses and collie
crosses (six attacks reported each), followed by American pit
bull terriers, German shepherds and Labrador cross breeds
(three attacks reported each).
Staffordshire bull terrier crosses (15) and Labrador cross
breeds (10) were the worst offenders the previous year.
The total number of dog attacks reported to the council
reduced from 191 in 2010-11, to 162 in 2011-12.
Council senior animal control officer Jim Pryde said
reporting fluctuated year on year, and many attacks were not
Larger dogs often appeared in the attack statistics as they
were stronger and likely to cause more damage. Certain breeds
had propensities to attack - for example, they were bred for
fighting, hunting, guarding, etc, and behaved in an
Other dogs had aggressive personalities, and some attacks
were brought on by the dog's placement in certain
A few simple things could be done to reduce dog attacks,
including de-sexing dogs, as well as being mindful of how to
treat them, remembering, for example, that dogs were pack
animals and people, as their owners, should behave as the
People should understand what upset or made their dogs
aggressive and manage situations that led to that behaviour,
while maintaining their status as the dominant member of the
pack, he said.
A lot of a dog's behaviour came down to how its owner dealt
with the animal.
The bottom line was that a bad owner equalled a bad dog, he
Top dog names
Most popular dog names in Dunedin -
• Female: Molly, Bella, Jess, Lucy, Ruby, Poppy, Tess, Meg
• Male: Max, Jack, Sam, Toby, Jake, Oscar, Buddy, Charlie and