When we decided Beck’s Odelay was going to be the featured album of the month, we here at Vinyl Me, Please had the same thought as any other reasonable, truth-seeking Beck audience would have: Where can we find one of those mop-like dogs from the cover, and what would happen if we played Odelay for it?
In fact, we wanted a field full of those dogs to which we could project our favorite mid-90s pop alt-rock album. We would gather them all up via high-pitched whistle, crank Odelay and probably win a pulitzer in investigative journalism for our findings. We expected them to frolic full-speed into the heavens from which they likely came and join the Beck gods in blessing each of our dead ancestors individually.
To our eternal anguish, this isn’t possible; The breed on the cover of Odelay, know as the Komondor, is extremely rare. We couldn’t even find a single Beck dog in our region of the country, let alone a whole field of ‘em. According to the AKC, the Komondor is the 162nd most popular dog out of 177 breeds total. That’s one scarce-ass dog.
We’re clearly not the only folks with burning curiosities surrounding this scarce model pooch. One quick google of the iconic album and the top suggestions include both “Beck Odelay cover” and “Beck Odelay dog.” And it makes sense. The pup looks less like a wolf relative and more like something that David of the 2008 viral YouTube hit “David after Dentist” imagined shortly after his father powered down his Flip video camera.
Refusing to accept the AKC’s website explanation that Komondor’s are as rare as a Mewtwo in Pokemon Go, and refusing to let the dog video goldmine go undrilled, we called up one of very few registered Komondor breeders in America. He informed us that 1) he didn’t have any Komondors currently or in gestation, and 2) even if we were able to find a majestic living mop, they would likely react aggressively to strangers coming near them with a boombox blaring any album, even if it has sold over 2 million copies in the United States and is the monthly selection of the best damn record club on earth. The Komondor Kares not. Contrary to the widely-held belief that Beck himself tenderly hand-crafted this breed to clear a fence and grace the cover of his album, the dog is actually a livestock guardian, making them far more prone to defensively mauling our faces off instead of busting a canine move to “Novacane.” The breeder did, as a member of the exclusive Komondor community, tell us that the dog on the cover is well-known by Komondor fans and breeders. He even offered to retrieve the name of the owner that he had written down somewhere, but speculated that both the dog and owner were long dead. Bummer.
Fine. Okay. We can’t find anyone in the upper Midwest that can provide us with the dog on the cover (RIP), or with even ONE savage shaggy baby. Our next step was obviously to look into adopting one. The closest lead we found on that option was a breeder about 2,000 miles away in California. Here, we could exert more effort than I put in to get rejected by Yale and fill out an application and questionnaire that probably had the same odds of getting rejected. In the interest of not getting rejected and disappointing my father yet again, we decided as a group to opt out of this option. And even if we did manage to lock down a spot on the adoption list, it would take many months and over $1,000 dollars. That’s so many copies of Odelay for a dumb video bit.
As someone who spent the first 19 years of her life thinking that Narwhals were mythical creatures and not the fearsome killer of the arctic sea, I am not even entirely sure that the Komondor exists at this point. We did, however, find this adorable video.
Amileah Sutliff is a New York-based writer, the Head of Editorial at Vinyl Me, Please and an editor of the book The Best Record Stores in the United States.
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