It all started outside Sainsbury's. Two dogs, tied up with bits of old rope. One was black-and-tan with one-up-one-down ears so adorably comical you wondered if they were surgically enhanced. The other was a soft fawn colour with tousled moppy fur that fell winsomely over its eyes. Both had beautiful long muzzles and whippy tails and were immensely friendly, especially the fawn one. It fawned. :)
I've noticed over the years that beggars have the BEST dogs. They clearly select them for maximum cuteness. Well, you would, wouldn't you? I'm sure I'm not the only one who gives more money to beggars with irresistibly gorgeous dogs. It's virtually a business transaction - 20p for a cursory pat, £1 for a prolonged love-in :)
But the question is - where do they get them? Animal shelters usually won't give a dog to someone who's homeless, although in my experience homeless people's dogs tend to be rather well looked after - they usually look much healthier than their owners, plus they're hardly ever left alone and get masses of attention, unlike a lot of middle-class dogs who rattle around an empty house howling and barking from nine to five.
So the_alchemist and I reckon they must breed them. Somewhere, behind the facade of a dilapidated squat, using secret breeding techniques passed down among the homeless for hundreds of years, CUTER AND CUTER DOGS ARE BEING CREATED. If the location of this genetic laboratory ever gets discovered by the Kennel Club, classic beggar breeds like the Winsome Mop, the Lopsided Lop, the Pied Beauty and the Long-Nosed Trembler will eclipse the traditional breeds in a single dog generation. A few enterprising beggars will grow rich overnight - the rest will have to go back to mutilating themselves and gibbering about devils, like in the bad old days.