To put you in the proper frame of mind, below we share the snippet of a popular TV show from the early 2000’s, Malcolm in the Middle:
We recently came across a curious description of a particular breed’s coat: “The glassy coat naturally repels dirt and running a brush through the coat once or twice a week will already maintain its good condition and avoid mat formation especially on the tail.”
Does the term, “glassy,” make more sense when one reads the FCI standard of the breed for which this word was used, the Volpino Italiano? “Hair: Dense, very long and exceptionally straight and standing-off. Of harsh texture with straight stiff guard hairs; must never be falling flat but be upstanding even when there is not of a lot of coat.”
Stiff. Exceptionally straight. Harsh. One supposes that impliable hair could imply the rigidity of glass, but might glassy refer to color, instead? Again from the Volpino’s standard: “The white colour should be clear white with a depth like milk.”
This could work except for the fact that the Volpino also comes in red, a less common color (and that red is seen less often is, in itself, curious given that the breed’s name means, “Little Fox”).
We circle back to coat texture because of an article written for ShowSight by Sarah Wilson in which she writes, “[the breed] has a long, standing-off coat of straight, glossy guard hairs over a dense undercoat that gives her the appearance of being wrapped up in a muff or abundant collar. Most often a clear, milky white, she can also be found in red and black variations (though black is not currently an accepted color).”
Might “glossy” be interchangeable with “glassy?”
By now, you may wonder why we’re “hung up” on semantics. Glossy, glassy………what difference does it make?
Writers, of course, believe that words are hugely important, and even words that mean the same thing have nuanced differences between them. That aside, we’d like to think that if you’ve gotten this far, you will forever remember that if and when you put your hands on a Volpino with a soft coat, you’ll recall our “glossy/glassy” post and recognize the soft coat as incorrect.
We made you look.
Image: Volpino Italiano by LA Shephard