Why Crufts Should Worry Us

by Susi on March 15, 2012

in Crufts, dog show, Pulik, purebred dogs

Post image for Why Crufts Should Worry Us

The hair has been standing up on the back of my neck since several breeds were disqualified at Crufts last week following the introduction of the new scheme calling for veterinary checks for the Best of Breed winners.

This is a very, very slippery slope and as dog fanciers, we’re standing at the edge of it. I keep thinking of Martin Niemoller’s quote which I’ve shortened and paraphrased to save space: When the Nazis came for the communists, I remained silent because I wasn’t a communist. When they came for the trade unionists, I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist. When they came for the Jews,I remained silent because I wasn’t a Jew. When they came for me, there was no one left to speak out. Now substitute a breed in any of those sentences above: When they came for the American Staffordshire Terrier, I didn’t say anything because I didn’t own an Am Staff. When they came for the Peke, I didn’t say anything because I didn’t own a Peke. You see where this is going.

How long before “someone else” decides that the corded coat on my breed is excessive?  One doesn’t see a Puli herding sheep in a show coat, or jogging with their owner in the summer. A Puli in a fully corded coat sinks like a rock if it falls into water. How long before “someone else” decides that my dog can’t possibly be a normal dog because of the “strain” the coat inflicts upon their heart, or because it compromises their ability to regulate their internal thermostat?  How can Puli in coat possibly be comfortable?

This is my Grand Champion a couple of years ago. Is his coat "excessive?"

And who should decide this?  Someone like me who’s been in the breed for 30 years,  or “someone else” who may never have seen a Puli in person?

I wouldn’t be too quick to dismiss that it will never happen. I never dreamt that bully breeds would be outlawed in certain cities. I never dreamt that by driving 45 minutes north of where I live, I would magically transform from “dog owner” to “dog guardian.”  I never dreamt that the AKC would accept mixed breeds for any reason. I never – in my wildest imagination – ever conceived of the day when people would be “guilted” for owning a purebred dog,  or that “breeder” would one  day be a dirty word, or that people with placards would stand on the Best in Show platform at Westminster and inform the audience that they are all dog killers.

If any of the aforementioned had happened overnight, we would have been outraged. But such things happen by inches over time and now here we are, living at a time when everything I mentioned in the paragraph above is a reality. What happened at Crufts is simply another tick in the ruler that edges us closer to the Animal Rights vision, and we’ll continue to be the chumps of the world if we can’t piece together the logical consequences of where all this is going.

Had the documentary, Pedigreed Exposed” written with an animal rights thrust not been broadcast in the UK, we wouldn’t be talking about DQs at Crufts right now. But it did air, complete with what many felt were misleading, if not inaccurate statements that caused a backlash. In the view of many, the Kennel Club failed to defend good breeders after its broadcast, and then added injury to insult by bowing to pressure from animal rights groups. This year, Crufts instituted compulsory health checks for all dogs that won Best of Breed in fifteen “high profile breeds,” and any dog failing the check was withdrawn from the remainder of the competition. For several dogs, this is exactly what happened.

The system’s “underbelly” is frought with vulnerable spots, not the least of which is that the decision of the vet who used appearance as a standard for health was as subjective as a dog show judge’s opinion. In truth, many of the biggest health threats in dogs can’t even be seen with the naked eye.

If you don’t think this can happen here, consider that on the heels of the fuss caused by “Pedigree Exposed,” the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) convened “The Purebred Paradox” conference in 2011 which featured many of the same players who brought the issue onto center stage in Great Britain. Do you really think they’ll stop until they get results similar to what happened in England? And do you think they’ll stop there?

This is not to dismiss the fact that in some breeds, there aren’t concerns. But where there are problems with a breed, I don’t believe it’s up to people who don’t know a thing about that breed or even the fancy to dictate to rest of us how to remedy it. Who better to know what rears its ugly head in a breed than the breeders, exhibitors and owners who’ve devoted their lives to that breed? Every breed (including mixed breeds) has issues and BREEDERS are working on them. The AR bunch didn’t work to eliminate Storage Disease. Breeders did.  Some might offer as a rebuttal that until Crufts, breeders weren’t policing themselves. While this point is taken, it’s akin to offering as a remedy to a broken arm an entire body cast.

Indulge me for a minute as I digress. The February, 2012 edition of National Geographic contained a cover article on Purebred dogs which I was sure was going to be another “hit piece” on pedigreed dogs. I read it reluctantly, but I did read it. The thrust of the article was that breeders in the Victorian era assumed that the vast differences of phenotypes in dogs, from the tiny Chihuahua to the grandeur of the Great Dane, also extended to their genes. As we learn more about our dogs, however, we’ve learned that in fact, few genes separate our breeds.This is a boon for people, less so for dogs. Why? As the article asserted, breeders have unwittingly supplied science with the perfect models through which to study human disease because we share many of the same diseases with dogs.

We’ve long known the untold benefits dogs have on our lives, and science studying the rich variety of breeds to cure what ails us is just one more thing dogs give us. But I interpreted the main point of the article differently.  Now that breed type has been established and identified in each breed standard, allow the breeders to partner with science to eliminate issues out of their respective breeds, such as Storage Disease, while preserving breed type. But WE do it, the breeders. Not people who’ve never owned or bred a purebred dog. Not people who don’t share our love of what a purebred dog brings to the table.  And certainly not Animal Rights zealots leaning on Crufts.

Guess who else benefits from the hard work that breeders do to ensure sound dogs. The mutts. It’s a fallacy that mixed breeds are sounder than purebred dogs. The incidence of disease may seem higher in purebred dogs because their owners and BREEDERS report it to their vets. Breed clubs gather annually at National Specialties to “check in” with their breeds. When was the last time the owners of mixed breeds convened to ensure the future soundness of their, um, breeds?  I can’t tell you how many unsound mutts I see walking down a street, their owners oblivious to what is an obvious hip issue. But it’s the breeders and their clubs that fund research. It’s the breeders who sound the alarm if a disease shows up in their line or their breed. And in the end, it’s breeders who must solve this situation by policing our own, not the animal rights groups or even a registry like the Kennel Club.

Coming full circle, it is true that fanciers in some breeds needed to be nudged, and in that regard, there is blame to go around. As fellow fanciers, we should have been policing our own. As fanciers, we value balance in our dogs, and as a rule, it’s how we approach the world. But animal rights zealots have tipped the balance to an extreme and what happened at Crufts is a symptom of it. It’s not too late for us to take over the throttle of this runaway train and slow it down to where reasonable people can act – but we’re running out of time. In my perfect world, we’d be doing a little leaning of our own on the organizations which have portrayed themselves as our advocates by urging them to be more visible in the fight. They need to do what Crufts didn’t and stand up for the responsible purebred dog fancier.

As my children were growing up, I used to tell them that they had better learn the lessons I was teaching them because I was teaching them those lessons with love. If my kids didn’t learn, the world would teach them the same lessons but not give a whit about their feelings or self esteem. I suspect this is where we are now.  While we were minding our own business, the AR bunch was sucker punching us.  How long do we keep taking the hits?

 

{ 274 comments… read them below or add one }

Terry Anne Keen March 15, 2012 at 11:04 pm

I agree with every thing you have stated. I believe that all Dog Breeders around the Wourld need to stand with one voice NOW.

As you say my breed at the moment is not on the hit list.(Miniature Longhaired Dachshunds) Give the powers to be a free hand and in 12 months to 2 years all breeds will be on the Hit List.

Over 33 years of love and devotion not to mention knowledge of the breed will be out of the window.

Yours in Dog.
Terry-Anne Keen
Dacshoe Kennels
South Australia.

Reply

Susi March 17, 2012 at 12:19 pm

Thank you, Terry Anne, for taking the time to write! You get my point, clearly. Those who don’t have our best interests in mind are likely behind the decision to screen certain breeds now, more to follow. Who decides which breeds? And who decides what’s excessive? Very dangerous ground.

Reply

Richard March 17, 2012 at 9:03 pm

The real question is what gives you the right to manipulate an entire species genetics, simply for the pleasure it gives you to be No.1? Its always amazing to me how much smarter armchair scientists think they are than people who actually go to university for six to seven years and dedicate themselves to studying the health and well-being of animals simply because they care and think of the animals FIRST before they think of the fact that you wont make it to Best in Show ring! There are major genetic faults in breed animals that occur on a much higher frequency than they do in cross breeds but your all so narrow minded and dogmatic that you cant see the woods for the trees cause for you its not about whats best for the dogs its about who’s RIGHT which in the end is all that dog showing is about!

Reply

Susi March 17, 2012 at 11:34 pm

I suppose the irony is lost on you that you ask how what it is that gives me the right to manipulate an entire species’ genetics while you are immune from being asked what it is that gives YOU the right to pronounce judgement on me, a person you’ve never met in your life. You know nothing about me (although I do appreciate the vote of confidence that I have in my hands the power to manipulate an entire species. God should be concerned, should he not, that I am in competition with him now?) Gosh, your arrogance astounds me. Do both of us a favor. Read every single comment made on this blog, and my reply to them, for I have taken the trouble to repond to most everyone. Be sure to see if I’ve censored anyone, you’ll find that I’ve not. But be sure to read each and every one of them. And then, in the spirit of openmindedness, contact a reputable, responsible breeder and spend a few weeks with them. After that, spend time with a dog show judge, and then a geneticist. Call me when you’re done. Until then, don’t embarrass yourself any further but spend your energy learning manners, a little bit about genetics, breeding and the dog show world. If you’d like, I can introduce you to any of the aforementioned people, however, the manners issue may be beyond help.

Reply

Richard March 18, 2012 at 4:49 pm

Actualy Susi my mother is a breeder for the last 50 years and so was my grandmother and I used to show and as to my understanding of genetics well I’m no genetic scientist but my wife IS and if it was possible to explain it to you I would, but of course your right and I’m wrong so we will leave it at that.

Chuck March 18, 2012 at 9:32 am

Richard: Technical foul, 2 free throws for the other team and possession of the ball AND you are benched for the rest of the game. And here is why:

A breed is defined as being reliably reproducible to a standard for 5 or more generations without having to add in non-breed animals to bring the breed back to the breed standard whether they be dogs, cats, bird, cows, reptiles, rodents, cows, pigs, horses, wildebeests, llamas, etc.

Example: *doodles are not a “breed” as they do not breed reliably 5 generations out; you need to bring poodle and lab back in. The *doodle is an example of a breed failure. Keep breeding labradoodles and eventually they won’t be the dog one kind of expects.

Breed Poodle to Poodle, and pay attention to the pedigree/lines, and you’ll get good Poodles each and every time.

Breed clubs keep medial records and track pedigrees. They know what problems their breed has and they make this data public so vets and researchers can work towards cures.

The same is done for humans and they use demographics like location, race and sex to identify which groups are affected and why. Of those who have MS, 75% are women and 25% are men, with a high incident rate in Colorado, and in men the debilitation is typically not as severe. Explain that?

According to NIH, one out of 500 African-American children born in the USA will have sickle-cell anemia; of the entire USA, one out of 5,000 will have sickle cell – there is a 10x greater incident of sickle cell in African-Americans. Should we screen African-Americans to see if they should be allowed to have children? Sickle cell is traced back to Sub-Saharan and tropical populations where malaria is a problem. Life expectancy is on average 42 to 60, compared to 70 or so for those not born with sickle cell.

Mutts have no tracking of medical records, none. How can they be researched for medical patterns and trends as each is unique. Mutts develop cancers, hip dysplasia, cataracts, diabetes, hypothyroid, etc. Who tracks this stuff? Is there a Mutts Club of America that keeps records of pedigrees and what lines are carriers? Well, no, because the permutations of pedigrees amongst the mutt population is astronomical. Shelters get dogs turned over to them that are sick, They don’t keep morbidity records of what medical condition a dog or cat had they euthanized.

Mixing breeds is not a guarantee of eradicating a medical problem. In some cases, you may be doubling-up or spreading the problem. You can count the number of Irish Wolfhounds that develop osteosarcoma. The Irish Wolfhound Foundation works with leading geneticists searching to identify the root cause. Do mutt owners do this?

There is at least one person I am aware of that has posted here, and just happens to have a Ph.D. in genetics. You need not have a doctorate or be a vet to understand how breeding works. Good hobby breeders understand the various lines in their breeds and work to avoid problems. Backyard breeders, irresponsible owners who don’t spaneuter and allow their dog or bitch to breed randomly or pupplymillers – NONE of these people give a tinker’s damn to health or the repercussions of breeding animals. Yet, hobby breeders are lumped in.

Try to understand why keep saying people like YOU, LIV and SUZANNE are “useful idiots” for animal rights groups – you don’t question what they say, you take what they say as Gospel.

PETA and HSUS would rather see domesticated animals killed than be around humans. This is not what they say publicly but is is what justifies an end to the means and their mission. This is ethical? This is honest? How much does PETA and HSUS spend on medical research and educating people on responsible animal ownership? They focus on laws to control and destroy our inalienable rights.

There is NOTHING wrong with owning MUTTS and giving a great home to these dogs from shelters and rescue groups (which have heavy involvement from kennel and breed clubs), NOTHING at all. There is also NOTHING wrong with responsible hobby breeders breeding pure-bred dogs, finding great homes for them, AND participating in conformation dog shows. People like you show you ignorance day after day without beingheld accountable for your actions which are making things worse, not better. Their is a difference between caring and how to care. You have to think about what your “care” is really doing. Get informed, Learn. Then, maybe you won’t be so vile in your attacks on hobby breeders.

Do you even know why there are dog shows?

Reply

Deni March 22, 2012 at 8:32 am

Chuck, thank you for your response to Richard. I can tell you, based on my experience, he’s right and you’re wrong (along with the rest of us purebred owners and hobby breeders). H$U$ and PETA have hijacked animals. Even though they don’t operate shelters for animals. PETA kills most of the dogs they “save.” H$U$ donates 1% of their vast fundraising efforts to actual shelters. If WE don’t start fighting fire with fire, we won’t have our purebreds a generation (human) from now.

since the 60s March 18, 2012 at 4:18 pm

Consider this Richard: dogs with temperament problems would never be tolerated loose in a neighborhood. Ergo, they would not be reproducing. Dogs that were unhealthy would probably not be out there loose, either. Does that mean mixed breeds are healthier? Not by a long shot, but I can guarantee that MOST pet owners do not spend half the time, money, or energy to test for silent disease as well as apparent ones or study the illnesses that affect their chosen breed. If you ask these MIXED breed owners, most will be oblivious to any faults. MOST purebred owner/breeders – not talking about puppy mills or anyone that sells to pet stores – do everything they can to avoid having affected dogs in their breeding programs. Those pups you see with “no papers” for sale? Want to bet the were sold by a GOOD BREEDER on a spay/neuter contract. And just you go ahead and TRY to give back a mutt to it’s irresponsible breeder. Did I go to university? No. Do I love my animals, more than winning BEST IN SHOW? Yes. Have I done it? Yes. And I can assure you that I’m reasonably well versed on genetics. WE manipulate genetics? Only by breeding very carefully and avoiding health, structure and mental issues. BREEDERS BREED TO A STANDARD OF PERFECTION. And here’s another thing to ponder: WE BREEDERS will autopsy a pup or adult to find out what happened – most pet owners do not. Hmm, maybe that’s why more “purebred issues” are reported? How on earth do you report health, body and temperament issues across the board in the mutts? Guess what? They categorize them in the breed it most looks like!! Showing is not the be all end all, but I will fight to the death for MY RIGHTS TO BREED AND SHOW THE BREED(s) I love!!!

Reply

Susi March 18, 2012 at 4:33 pm

Thank you so much for sharing your passion not only for purebreds, but in expressing so eloquently a reasoned reply to Richard. Well said.

robert payne March 15, 2012 at 11:14 pm

i AGREE, THESE IDIOTS THAT HAVENT BEEN INVOLVED IN OUR BREED NEED TO STAY OUT OF OUR BREED, THEY SAY MUTTS RULE , WELL MUTTS ARE DOGS MADE UP OF MANY GENES, THOSE SAME GENES THAT CAUSE HEALTH PROBEMS IN NON MUTTS. THE PROBLEMS IS THAT PEOPLE DONT SPEND THE MONEY ON MUTTS TO REASEARCH LIKE WE PUREBRED LOVERS DO….. YEA GO TO THE POUND AND GET ANOTHER MUTT THAT HAS FIVE DIFFERENT BREEDS WITH FIVE DIFFERENT SETS OF PROBLEMS.. WHOS THE REAL IDIOT HERE….

Reply

rebecca March 16, 2012 at 2:24 pm

you are. the genes only cause problems if the dogs with the same problem genes are bred together, hence why in humans incest is illegal.

Reply

Alex P. March 16, 2012 at 4:21 pm

And how do you know the sire and dam of you mutt did not carry the same faulty or problem gene?
You do not!
But if you are buying from a reputable breeder they will for sure have tested the parents for the genes known to cause problems. You will have copies of the parents test.

I am not in any way against mutts or pound animals. I tell most people to get a dog at a rescue, be a mutt or a pure bred rescue dog.
But there is a growing number of people who think dog breeding should be banned and that is disturbing.

Reply

fiona Loper March 17, 2012 at 1:14 am

not all disorders and diseases are recessive. its ridiculous to work on that assumption.

Reply

Becky March 17, 2012 at 4:43 pm

I fully agree that there should be health testing along with confirmation showing. I think the dog, ANY dog/breed in order to even participate should submit health test results. I’ve said that for years, even before I started showing.
And YES, they should be able to perform the duties that they were bread for.
My dogs, come into the ring pretty much as is. Yes, I have a dog that can get her CH. but I refuse to show her because she has failed her heart echo.
I know people who will breed dogs that have heart murmurs..ridiculous,regardless of grade!
As breeders, are you not committed to better the breed? Not just to look pretty, but more importantly healthy and temperamentally sound???
Seriously!

Reply

Becky March 17, 2012 at 9:40 pm

and just a little by the by–did anyone happen to catch the article from the person who started designer mutts -labradoodles? He states, he wished he never started on this course.

Carolyn Edwards March 18, 2014 at 6:55 pm

As a breeder/groomer/trainer involved in the dog world for over 30 yrs.,I too wish the designer mutts,(Doodles,Smoodles,Pomskys,the list is endless) were never created either,first from a training&grooming viewpoint,they are some of the most unintelligent,misbehaved,hard to deal with creatures,I have ever come in contact with!Oh,and the health issues,bad knees,hip problems,eye&ear issues,joint issues,on,and on!,not to mention major temperment issues!Give me a well bred&structured good poodle,or GSD anyday to groom,train,and handle!

Abby March 17, 2012 at 3:31 pm

My Beagle carries a recessive MLS gene. (yes we got her spayed when we found out before you ask) if we hadnt got her spayed and bred her to a different breed other that a beagle statistically 50% of the pups would carry the MLS gene…if one of these carriers went on to breed with a dog from a similar situation carrying the same recessive MLS gene….BANG! you get 25% of the litter with MLS, deformed and/or dead! It’s a mutt, but it still has the health problem….the ONLY difference being that people who let their family pets mate with Jo blogg’s mutt down the road don’t health test!

Reply

Carolyn Edwards March 18, 2014 at 7:01 pm

Exactly Abby,you hit it right on the head,the General Public,letting their non-descript,back-yard bred,have a litter by Jo Blogg’s mutt down the road,no health testing,but Lol,they are AKC papered,and they would like to let their dog have one litter,before they spay her,not one Champion,health tested dog in her whole pedigree,just honestly got an e-mail inquiry on this!Then the puppies later are taken into vet clinics,where the vets can say,see,purebred dogs,have several health issues!

Reply

Chuck March 18, 2012 at 10:46 am

Rebecca: So as I mentioned a bit ago, using your logic, African-Americans (humans) should be screened to see If they are carriers of sickle cell? And if they are, denied the right to reproduce. There is a 10x higher incident rate within this group than outside of it. What right do they have to risk bring babies into the world knowing they could pass on this disease?

Tay–Sachs disease: In the Ashkenazi Jewish population, there is a one in 25 chance that this disease will cause mental deterioration in children leading to death.

I use these as examples so don’t run around calling me a racist. There are many more examples that are inherent to other races and ethic groups.

Hobby breeders work hard to identify sources of problems, and work to avoid or eliminate them.

Reply

Chuck March 18, 2012 at 10:59 am

Rebecca: In case you missed my point – in your world it is OK that humans reproduce knowing there could be a chance of passing on a genetic disease and we don’t encourage screening or “mixing” ethnic groups to create “hybrid vigor” (which is a fav term of animal rights that has been debunked) or discourage reproduction, yet in animals, this is the case made by animal rights groups for the laws and the attacks they make.

Living things are flawed, all of them, some more so than others. As we learned from “Animal farm” all animals are not created equally. We do our best.

Reply

gorwell March 21, 2012 at 3:44 pm

Um, no, that is not what we learn from Animal Farm.

Sharon Lozier March 16, 2012 at 12:38 am

I agree with everything you have said. Most breeders will try to correct or breed out problems.

Reply

Carolyn Fry March 16, 2012 at 1:38 am

Brilliantly penned! Agree with it all! Exhibitors Choice and Voice on Facebook was set up to give committed breeders and exhibitors a voice – now we have the newly-formed Canine Alliance to speak out on the injustice of the flawed system. It s time to address the KC s lack of support to genuine, caring and proactive breeders and it’s hypocritical fence-sitting in the face of PDE/Jemima Harrison and her cronies.

Reply

Susi March 17, 2012 at 12:17 pm

Thanks for sharing the news, Carolyn. I’ll be sure to visit the Facebook page.

Reply

jon muir March 16, 2012 at 1:57 am

I bred my first litter in 1960, made up my first English Champion in 1965. Since coming to Australia in 1977 I have bred or owned 54 Australian Champions, many of them Multiple All Breeds Best in Show Winners. I despair for the future of Dog Showing. What used to be a fun day out, win or lose, chatting and maybe a glass of wine with fellow exhibitors, has becom a “win at all costs” situation, and the Exhibitors who come into that category are helping the anti dog groups. I have been benched next to some top winning dogs, watching in horror as the are syringe fed strong black coffee. I have watched breeds which specify that while tidying up coat is permissible, but scissoring not allowed–these dogs being openly scissored. What is worse is that Judges put these dogs up, as they look so flashy
Please, breeders and exhibitors, don’t just think of winning at the show, think what you are doing to your breeds. Little wonder entries are falling. With luck I may get 10 more years with my dogs before I drop off my perch. Will there still be any shows in 20 years time??????

Reply

Laua March 16, 2012 at 6:43 pm

Jon, respectfully, I’ve been showing a long time, and I’ve never seen anyone syringing dogs with coffee. Granted, I’m in the States, and I’m not naive–but surely this would be a reportable offense anywhere, whether rules expressly prohibited it or not. I’m assuming (and hoping) you reported what you saw? Also, while I understand your objections about scissoring, that’s the least of the issues facing the fancy as a whole right now. Scissoring is purely cosmetic, but the damage done to Crufts and the insult rendered by proxy to ethical breeders worldwide who are already voluntarily doing the right thing may be permanent.

Reply

Susi March 16, 2012 at 8:47 pm

Well said, Laua. Well said.

Reply

Jesse March 16, 2012 at 3:27 am

But here’s the thing…

What about German Shepherd breeders? I have no doubt that they love the dogs they breed and care for them but look at what “show breeders” have done to their whole hind end. They can hardly walk. They are not bred to standard. GSD breeders breed to win. They don’t breed sound dogs. When one reads the GSD standard, the ideal dog described has a strong, straight, forward propelling back end but the dogs we see in the ring are wobbly legged, poorly built dogs.

What about Neapolitan Mastiff breeders? Those dogs used to be war dogs. WAR DOGS. Looking at today’s neo… Can anyone really fool themselves into thinking that today’s neo would be capable of accompanying armies on the move? I can’t. Today’s show neos struggle just having to do what little is asked of them in the ring. They should look more like a cane corso. They used to, anyways.

What about Dachshund breeders? Dachshunds used to have longer legs and shorter backs. Most dachshunds today have to be carefully kept from jumping off of the couch for fear of them hurting their backs.

I could go on but you get the idea. Don’t get me wrong here. I have a bluetick coonhound who I show in conformation and I love conformation showing but I look around at some of these breeds and I just feel horrible. I want a neo but I will import a dog that would do horrible in the show ring because of his good knees and lack of wrinkles before I would ever buy a neo from a breeder who produces champions left and right here. Obviously, allowing breeders to police themselves isn’t working. Someone needs to step up and do something and, from where I am standing, these new practices will keep breeders from breeding dogs who can’t function like a normal dog should.

No, they cannot keep all unhealthy dogs out of the ring (or the collie from Westminster never would have been able to participate) but this is a start. There NEEDS to be more control over the animals produced by breeders because I am just not seeing many good ones out there. The good ones should outweigh the bad ones. And just a side note: I have never seen Pedigree Dogs Exposed or the new one so I am not speaking from the Animal Activist side. I think those people (especially PETA) are total loonies.

Reply

Susi March 19, 2012 at 11:16 am

Thanks for writing, Jesse, and for underscoring the “sticky wicket” in this topic which I conceded in my post; There are issues in some breeds, yes. Could we have done a better job in policing them? Sure. But fixing the situation by those who don’t share our love of purebred dogs is dangerous ground and better left to those who do and who now have been given notice. I’ve seen “Pedigree Exposed,’ – it’s a gut wrenching thing to watch, but the film paints the fancy with so broad as brush as to invite more questions that the piece itself asked. It puts the blame for the misery of poor breeding squarely on dog shows and ALL breeders. It tacitly implies that mixed breeds are healthier than purebreds, patently untrue. It doesn’t point fingers the breeders of “designer breeds” and conveniently sidesteps the fact that no truly responsible breeder would ever, ever breed to a poor specimen let alone a dog from another breed. That leaves only the most unsound dogs of both breeds to be bred together – and yet no mention is made of that. This is a serious topic that needs cooler heads to prevail than those who would see all purebred eradicated off the planet.

Reply

Celli Jones March 19, 2012 at 8:28 pm

The dachshund’s long, low-slung body enables it to enter and move freely inside the confines of a den or tunnel, without sacrificing the necessary jaw and body strength to overcome its quarry. If you see a dachshund with a longer leg they are not bred properly. Or they have been altered too young and the bone doesn’t grow properly. The dachshund is a dwarf, short legged, and must be so to do it’s job. The leg should be made up of 3 equal portions. A dog with a too long hock will appear log in the leg.

Reply

Susi March 19, 2012 at 9:19 pm

Excellent point, Celli. Form follows function in most of our breeds.

Reply

Marty March 16, 2012 at 5:17 am

Good column, Susi. You make many very good points. I’m still stunned that Crufts and the KC there caved so quickly and completely in the wake of the anti-purebreds documentary. And it’s sad that their solution was so poorly conceived and implemented. I hope they’re reconsidering.

We really do need to band together better, both to dispel the myths and outright lies told by the animal rightists and to police our own more conscientiously. We need to hold public officials and Joe Public accountable for their treatment of companion animals. And we need to hold ourselves in the fancy to an even higher standard, as the caretakers and guardians of the breeds, themselves, as well as individual dogs. Furthermore, we need to make everyone aware of just how much we do *for* our breeds. How many of us belong to breed clubs? How much health and genetic research are these clubs funding? Are our breed clubs doing a good job of writing and enforcing ethical standards for breeders and even the breed standards, themselves? Is there any sort of support network or safety net to identify and assist at-risk dogs and their owners? (Every time there are news reports of a breeder whose circumstances have gone south and whose dogs must be rescued by authorities, it’s bad for that owner and a black eye for all in that breed and in the fancy. Joe Public and lawmakers are big on generalizations, and not so much on understanding that these are, by and large, isolated instances rather than a systemic problem.)

We have yet to band together to make the public aware of our side of the story, so they continue to fund and believe in HSUS and PETA and those beautifully scored commercials showing waiflike, pathetic critters in need of help.

Reply

Susi March 17, 2012 at 12:37 pm

A wonderfully reasoned reply, Marty, and you’ve pretty much covered it all. HSUS, PETA and their ilk are setting the direction for this conversation and we need to wrest it away from their hands. They view purebred dogs as symbols of elitism and do not have our interests at heart, so when the fox offers to watch my hen house because he “cares” about their well being, I don’t buy it. How I wish unlimited funds. The first thing I would do would be to craft a commercial to counter those awful HSUS ads that air every night. Our voice needs to be heard, OURs, the reasonable, balanced, caring and responsible breeder and fancier. Fabulously rich people can contact me day or night.

Reply

chienblanc4csi March 18, 2012 at 1:16 pm

Susi, Ask and you shall receive! The AKC has just such a commercial, 90 seconds in length, and it is simply stunning. It was previewed at the AKC’s inaugural Legislative Conference in January, to a very limited, but riveted, audience of breed club legislative liaisons and state dog federation delegates, to gasps, tears, and a standing ovation. I can hardly wait to see it aired! The images of angry protestors ala PeTA are countered by the most evocative images of dogs and their people you can possibly imagine, with a simple voice-over that asks “what” the protestors are actually protesting. This? an image of a child in a wheelchair or hospital bed with a therapy dog? or dozens of other things WE see and feel every day. Within seconds, the protestors look pretty ugly by stark comparison. Ninety seconds didn’t allow for my old brain to remember details, but the impression of beauty, love, respect, was powerful. There was nothing sappy or sentimental about any part of the ad. I don’t think the voice even mentions the word “purebred”, now that I think about it. The AKC is working on legal issues with the music, but it should be out soon. I think every Kennel Club needs a copy. I want one to show on an endless loop when my search team does booths at various places. I will gladly pay for it, too, as a contribution towards honoring the purebred dog breeders I count on for my lovely Champion dogs who also work for a living finding missing people.

Reply

Susi March 18, 2012 at 2:39 pm

I am utterly, totally and completely delighted to hear that the video exists, but I confess that I heard rumors of its existence over a year ago, and in that time, we’ve lost valuable ground. I’d heard that copyright issues were stalling it, but that puzzles me. I was able to get copyright permission from SONY music for a piece of music all by myself – and I was nobody. Who on earth does the AKC have trying to secure permission for the music that it’s taken all this time to get it?

The video sounds like a good start, and again, I’m thrilled to hear your description of it, but it has to be the first salvo. More has to follow, much more.

I very much appreciate you letting me know about the video, now I wonder what we can do to help move its progress along….

Reply

Dawn Rathmell March 16, 2012 at 7:24 am

How true very eloquently put. We all need to sit up and take notice now not tomorrow or the week after when it may be too late.

Reply

Janet Warner March 16, 2012 at 8:30 am

Thank you! This is well said!
I, too, believe that each breed club should police their own! After all, those should be the people who are familiar with what the problems are in a particular breed. They are the ones, as you stated, who have programs dealing with what ever disease is pertinent to their own breed.
In Springers we have PRA and Epilepsy projects and have made HUGE leaps with it in recent years.
I do not think an ALL BREED club should be policing individual breeds. It isn’t their job!!
These dogs that won at Crufts were all well known Champions. And in the dog world, no one can keep secrets for long, had their truly been a medical problem.
Shame on Crufts for going “belly up” to the AR faction.

Reply

Mary Deats March 16, 2012 at 8:57 am

My own breed, Schipperkes, suffers from the MPS (storage disease), that due to science, we have been able to identify the genes and breed away from it, simply by ensuring no two carriers are bred together, test the offspring and select for normal/clears…would that all the rest of the problems in the dog world were solved that easily, but you all SHOULD worry about what happened at Crufts this year. The exibitors were told by the governing body that the vets conducting the vet check would not use any instruments, but only their eyes and hands as any judge would, and conduct no invasive procedures. One of the Best of Breeds had to spend 15 minutes having its eyes examined, others that also failed had special lights shown into their eyes to identify minor scaring of the eye from years ago, playing, and living its life as a real dog…something that most animals do pick up if allowed to live their lives to the full, the vet who found it even asserted it did not affect the dog’s health, BUT the animal was still failed. The owners/breeders/exhibitors/judges are now united in ensuring that future health testing be done as specified by the governing body AND it be done for every breed PRIOR to judging, so that no one breed is made a scapegoat for the AR crowd. We will be heard on this topic!

Reply

Pam March 16, 2012 at 9:16 am

Excellent!!!!! Thank you for this article!

Reply

Karen Lawe March 16, 2012 at 10:17 am

I read with interest all of your comments and agree with many, especially that breeders should be the ones to do the ironing out of any faults which could affect a dogs quality of life and longivity. As a young girl and into my late teens I was involved in the showing word in a young girl hobbyist way. I do now work with many rescues in the UK as a volunteer homechecker, give training advice and the like. I am not an anti breeder person much to the dismay of some of my rescue colleagues. I too was most surprised when our KC did not stand up for the breeders with great ethics beacuse there are quite alot of them about. However there are also KC registered breeders here in the UK who are not the best, who do not have purely the interest of their chosen breeds at heart and they are sadly more in numbers than there should be. The KC here can do no more than make suggestions to breed clubs ~ a perfect example being around deaf pups. There are breed clubs here which will state in stud agreements that any deaf pup should be culled which the KC say they do not approve of.What needs to be done is to just make sure the pup can never be bred from, possibly even the whole litter and the same of the dam & sire until such time as genetic testing can be done to work out the carriers and eliminate the deafness as much as is possible through continued careful breeding of those lines. Howabout the KC gets more powers and can insist that all breeders carry out relevant health tests for each breed as frequently as they need to be done throughout the dogs show & breeding life. That all dogs therefore have up to date health tests before even being entered for a show so the vet checks on the day are not a requirement. I do not know enough about Pulis to comment if their coat is a risk to them in an way which affects their day to day happy, healthy existance but for certain squashed up faces, pelvis’ too small to deliver pups naturally, high risks of hip & elbow displaysia, folds of heavy skin etc do. I feel quite strongly that the KC are wrong to penalise just the 15 breeds its a bad step to have taken. The steps they bring in need to protect all dog breeds and good breeders. There is a need of course to deal with puppy farms and back yard breeders but again, perhaps if there was legislation and the KC had more powers all breeding would be registered, it would greatly reduce unwanted dog numbers and the pressures on dog rescues. It is just too easy in this country to get a dog, breed a dog and get rid of a dog. Its a huge problem, we are made more responsible for a the ownership of a TV here than a dog.

Reply

Susi March 16, 2012 at 10:56 am

I hear what you’re saying Karen, and my response is rooted in my fundamental to-the-core belief that when we ask others to legislate our behavior, we have become sheep and not the shepherd. There is room for improvement, to be sure, on both sides of the pond. Pressure felt when “one of our own” calls out unacceptable practices is both a more balanced approach and more devastatingly effective since it comes from peers who understand the fancy but stand firm by saying, “No, I will not breed to your dog because (fill in the blank).” When enough people do it, message received. It is, of course, a simplistic view that becomes stickier and more complicated as we add to the mix the uneducated, the unscrupulous and the money grubbers. But it falls to us to educate, grow some steel, and lean on our registries to do a better job of advocating for, and publicizing that far more breeders are getting it right than not. It won’t happen over night. The animal rights activists have been chipping away at this since the 1970s. But I maintain that WE need to do it. I am far more willing to call one of my own to the carpet than I am in abdicating my freedom to someone else whose personal ethics may be contracy to my own.

Reply

bonny March 16, 2012 at 10:22 am

growing up in the breeding/showing world i learned a long time ago what people outside of the world think about it.i also learned that the husa dosnt care about the dog and peta is just a bunch of idiots who go to far.it is up to the breed club to take care of things,problem is you can’t make everyone who has your breed join the clubs or care more for there dogs then the money.if these people really cared about the dogs they would run as fast as they could to there nearest reputable breeder and protect them from the idiots.

Reply

Melanie March 16, 2012 at 10:24 am

Excellent article and I congratulate you for pulling so much good information together in a wonderful way. I’m sharing!

Reply

Susi March 16, 2012 at 10:35 am

I’m really humbled, at such praise, Melanie, and I want to thank YOU for the compliment of sharing it.

Reply

Amanda March 16, 2012 at 10:26 am

This is a fantastic article. Do you mind if I link to it on my blog??

Reply

Susi March 16, 2012 at 10:35 am

I would be honored, Amanda to have it linked to your blog, and I’d like to read your blog which, I assume, it the Manymuddypaws at blogspot? (cute, cute name!)

Reply

Virginia Druliner March 16, 2012 at 10:30 am

Great article! This is just another example of a wide spread tendency in our world today. Hate and regulation are everywhere. Small groups who think they are right about something are trying to effect legislation on some subject and make all the rest of us tow their line. We all should be very concerned about individual freedoms in all areas of life. The thought that my breeds should be phased out breaks my heart.
jini

Reply

Anita March 16, 2012 at 10:41 am

Great article !! Makes me wonder how long before purebred dogs will disappear.
I think it’s time when WE breeders start doing something about this issues before its to late.
The AR people MUST be stopped or they will ruin years worth of works what breeders put into their breed to get away from health issues and creat a happy healthy and mentally sound dog.

Reply

Andy March 17, 2012 at 11:31 am

Most pedigree dog breeders have managed to breed very healthy uniform dogs and I have nothing but praise for them. Other pedigree dog breeders I’m afraid, have done nothing to help certain breeds. They look nothing like they did many years ago and are not as healthy now. Exaggerated features that make breathing difficult is wrong. Those breeders are working in the opposite direction and should be stopped. The dog’s health should always come first.

Reply

Susi March 17, 2012 at 12:10 pm

Andy, I appreciate you sharing your response. I agree with some of your points, most especially the importance of a dog’s health. But I’m tempted to challenge the notion that because dogs of from yesteryear looked different, they were somehow healthier than their modern counterpart. Hip dysplasia, Storage Disease, etc. have been significantly reduced, if not elilminated in many breeds, and sometimes because of the nature of genetics and a dog’s limited gene pool, to fix one problem sometimes results in another. It takes time to fix it all. I’m convinved that responsible breeders who truly love their breed can do it with the help of scientific advances, but remain certain that the job belongs to those breeders and their breed clubs, and they should be the ones to identify the issues, not activits who don’t even like purebred dogs.

Reply

Anne Fons March 16, 2012 at 10:58 am

Insightful and well written. Thank you !!
I agree- breeders of the world must unite.
Woefully I must agree with Terry-Anne that it won’t be long
before our beloved dachshund us on the hit list.

Reply

Alyssa Thomas March 16, 2012 at 12:49 pm

The key to rescuing dog sports from being destroyed by activists is encouraging the younger generation to get involved. I started working with purebred dogs when I was nine years old, and now at twenty-three am just getting involved in owning my own dogs, rather than showing and training for other breeders.

We MUST get more people involved in dog shows so they can see our side of the story.

Reply

Susi March 16, 2012 at 1:04 pm

Alyssa, thank YOU for being involved and for weighing in on the dialogue. You’re quite right, getting the younger generation involved is part of the answer, and part of parcel of educating the masses. Well done.

Reply

Anne Fons March 16, 2012 at 11:03 am

Insightful and well written. Thank you !!
I agree- breeders of the world must unite.
Woefully I must agree with Terry-Anne that it won’t be long
before our beloved dachshund is on the hit list.

Reply

Susi March 16, 2012 at 11:05 am

Thank you, Anne. It won’t be long before ALL our breeds are on the list because make no mistake about it, “they” are gunning for purebred dogs. All of them.

Reply

Cherie Hunchak March 16, 2012 at 11:09 am

Amen! The question: how to unite us? People are out organizing Occupy Wall Street – we need people who are willing to organize Occupy Purebred Dogs.

Reply

Susi March 16, 2012 at 11:16 am

LOL, I like your spunk, Cherie! And I suspect you have the right idea. I’ve long wished the AKC would fund a video to counter the gut wrenchingly sad commercials that HSUS airs each night. Most of the public doesn’t realize how engaged each breed club is in rescue work of their own breeds, so getting that message out is a good start. We also need to reach the shelter and rescue people who are our allies insofar as thinking that the animal rights people are dangerous. But guess what? They also think that “breeder” is a dirty word and fail to recognize the vast difference between a responsible breeder and a puppy mill breeder. I always encourage everyone to BE the face of a responsible breeder or fancier. Go to the shelters and introduce yourself as someone they can reach out to if your breed shows up in their cages. They need to know we’re not the bad guys here. Gosh, there’s a lot that can be done. Billy Wheeler wrote a nice piece on this: http://www.bestinshowdaily.com/blog/2012/03/be-an-effective-advocate/

Reply

Gail Clouston March 16, 2012 at 11:14 am

excellent article plus comments on the article. I have not shown for about 15 years now to the many people who talk behind your back and make it really hard for any new comers. But now after what has just taken place I only see worse things happening to the show scene, it will never be the same. It use to be such fun and enjoyment now its turning into what certain people want and are trying to enforce without giving any help to the breeds at all . We as breeders (40 years for me) have come a long way to help our dogs to be better and cleaner in the health issues that have come out, how can certain people just pop out of the wood work and say things that are not correct when they know nothing.It takes years of working with and going threw pedigrees to find the faults and to correct them. It will never be correct with what they are trying to do.
Good luck to everyone with keeping their breeds in the great health they now keep them in and to heck with people who are trying to take over.

Reply

Susi March 16, 2012 at 11:23 am

Thank you, Gail, for writing, and I wish I could tell you that the show scene is different than it was when you were more active. Human nature doesn’t change that much and neither have dog shows. That said, I tell people thinking about getting into the sport that they will encounter the very best, salt-of-the-eath people in it, as well as horrible small minded folk. I urge them to gravitate to reasonable people with outside interests because they’ll tend to be more balanced than those who’ve invested their psyche into the success of their dog. You’re right, we’ve come a long way, but we were busy and failed to take seriously the threat posed by the AR groups. I’m not sure we’ll ever be cohesive in our fight until our registry here does something really visible that shows we’re not whimpering in the dark. Until then, all we can do is scream from the rooftops (or at least among our friends) that what’s happening is wrong and portends an infringement of rights for everyone down the road, not just dog owners.

Reply

Tracey March 16, 2012 at 11:31 am

I agree with almost everything you said, it’s a shame that we have come to this point. But it is also true that for every good and responsible breeder out there who love and care for thier breed, there are equal if not more puppy millers who are just cranking out dogs for profit. I don’t claim to know the answer, I would hate to see the sport of pure bred dogs disappear because it dealing with all the BS got to be too much, but I sure would love to see those “breeders” who are in it just for the money to suffer heavier consequences and run them out off the planet! We do have a responsibility to these magnificent creatures we place on this earth, we do have to make sure we are only breeding healthy well adjusted dogs and not worry so much about winning shows. The quality breeders of the world need to stand together, work together and make sure our breeds are healthy to ensure the continuation of our sport, and our beloved breeds. PS I also own a mutt who I love dearly! I worry that since I DON”T know EXACTLY what breeds she is made up of, when and if an issue comes up, it might take longer to find a cure or treatment. Vet’s know breed specific disorders and look for them at annual check ups, can’t do that with a mutt…..just sayin!!

Reply

Susi March 16, 2012 at 11:35 am

Well put, Tracey. There’s not much I can add to what you’ve expressed, but I’m glad you expressed it here. Many voices, you know?

Reply

Kadie March 16, 2012 at 4:15 pm

Can we be careful about slinging the “puppy mill” mantra around? These groups think anyone who breeds, be it hobby, show, working, whatever are “puppy mills.” I breed a litter every year or two (working dogs), and I have been called a “puppy mill” while at the legislature to testify against the “puppy mill” bill that would have covered anyone who bred one litter of puppies or kittens. We need to stop using their language and stop categorizing each other with THEIR language. This “my breeding is better than your breeding” within the dog community only feed the AR monster and is EXACTLY what they are looking for.

I can easily be categorized as a “backyard breeder” (what is one of those anyway-who defines it and who says it is good or bad and to what degree it is good or bad). It is a short jumping off point from “backyard breeder” to “hobby breeder.” (When they came for the commercial breeder, I didn’t fight as I wasn’t a commercial breeder. When they came for the working breeder, I didn’t fight because I wasn’t a working breeder. When they came for the “backyard breeder” I didn’t fight because I wasn’t a “backyard breeder”…..how is this and what we are doing to each other because WE don’t think we are one of these categories….we are ALL of these categories to the animal rights fanatics…any different than the sentiment you started your blog off with?) If we don’t stop allowing them to blur the lines so that we are ALL painted with one big, negative brush, our passion and our community will not survive. Period.

Yes, there are substandard breeding operations…there are abuse laws on the books to handle those situations. We need to stop pointing fingers at one another and name calling, at least name calling using their words and their categories. I never in my lifetime EVER thought I’d live with a pit in my stomach because I wanted to live my life with animals, but I am. It makes me sick to see good and caring people disparaged and attacked by these vile groups with their anti-human agenda. Please let’s not give them any more ammunition to use against us.

Reply

Susi March 16, 2012 at 9:45 pm

Kadie, you are absolutely right that to control language is to control thought. Responsible breeders have for so long worked hard to distinguish themselves from irresponsible breeders who were typically “puppy mills, commercial and backyard breeders” that old lexicon dies hard.

Reply

chris modd March 16, 2012 at 12:05 pm

To answer one of your questions, yes the coat is excessive. And in my opinion looks ridiculous.

And as to “someone else” deciding, in the same way as there’s laws passed for safety at work to prevent abuse by employers, and legislation in place to protect children from abusive parents “someone” has to put laws in place to prevent some breeders creating the freaks you have over the years. ( nicely proving evolution btw and scuppering creationism).
Selective breeding for style rather than health has produced animals with all sorts of inbred ailmentsif you won’t stop doing it, someone has to stop you doing it.
Chris

Reply

Alyssa Thomas March 16, 2012 at 12:37 pm

Chris, what “freaks” are you referring to? The -doodle mixes with severe knee and hip issues caused by the fact that the sire and dam were not compatible? What about the disturbing little creatures who attack without warning because they were sold to any old person without being checked for suitability and that person failed to raise the dog properly?

Reputable breeders test their stock for genetic and hereditary diseases prior to breeding and don’t breed unhealthy dogs, regardless of their style.

Perhaps before judging an entire community for the mistakes of a select few, you should actuall take the time to LEARN about what inaccurate, under-educated garbage you are spewing.

Reply

Susi March 16, 2012 at 12:54 pm

Gosh, I’ve never had God weigh in on one of my posts before. Welcome! To hear from one single person who knows what’s best for the rest of us without knowing any of us at all is a heady experience.

We don’t know each other, of course, but I’m in awe that in one fell swoop, you’ve painted every breeder and dog fancier with a very broad brush. We have created freaks, have we? The Belgian Turvuren that helped capture Bin Laden: freak. The dogs that unearthed the remains of loved ones after 9/11: freaks. The therapy dogs that encourage children to read: freaks. The dogs that help protect endangered species by locating their scat: freaks. The service dog that warns his owner of an impending epileptic episode? Freak. The lap dog who gives comfort to an elderly shut-in: freak. By the way, with the exception of the Bin Laden dog, most of these freaks were also show dogs.

You are entitled, of course, to weigh in with the opinion that my dog’s coat is excessive. I suspect you are neither geneticist nor dog fancier and would have no way of knowing why the breed has that kind of coat (there is a functional reason), or that his breeders may have been aiming to continue a good line of excellent hips, the coat being a result of doubling up on those genes. Wait, you would rather this dog have faulty hips and less coat because in your view, that coat is ridiculous. I see. Better to be able to romp under the sun beause of a leaner coat but be in chronic pain the whole time because his breeders didn’t care about his hips. Got it. News flash. This dog does romp in the sun and is pain free because his breeders cared. Please tell me how many mixed breed dogs you know whose parents were screend for hip dysplasia?

Laws to protect children? Awesome. Let’s jail the bastards that harm the innocents, count me in. Have the number of child abuse cases fallen because of more laws? No. Did Columbine happen because there weren’t enough gun laws? Lots of people outside the community felt that way, but Columbine IS my community and not one more gun law would have prevented it because a dozen existing ones were broken to begin with.

Something you’re doing right now – something that hurts no one, would be disapproved of by someone on the planet who feels it’s unethical, immmoral, ill advised or just plain stupid. Are you wearing leather shoes? Do you drive a car or take a bus to work? Did you kill a plant to eat dinner? Do you live in a house, did you fart, did you pick up a phone, do you use anything with a battery? By God, if you did, you’ve doomed us all because all of it impacted my right to live in a better world.

Call me when you’re standing naked in an unplowed field eating sunshire and air because only then will you be guilt free of impacting the rest of the world. Only then will you have the moral right to dictate to the rest of us who are doing the right thing by our dogs that we need to improve. Better yet, befriend an actual breeder who is doing things responsibly and with care. There are a lot of them, you know. They’d be only too happy to educate you and save you from the trajectory you’re on now as a pompous person who feels more than she thinks.

Reply

Laua March 16, 2012 at 6:48 pm

Susi,

That sound you hear? It’s me, cheering. Thank you.

Reply

Susi March 16, 2012 at 8:46 pm

Thank YOU, Laua, again, for taking the time to add your voice to our chorus. It is much appreciated to know we have not just numbers, but cool heads of logic.

Reply

Charlee Helms March 16, 2012 at 6:53 pm

Oh well said, Susi!!! I am so tired of this whole “I am responsible for everyone but myself” attitude that I could spit. I know how much you care for your dogs, as family members, not just “show stock”. The saddest part of the internet age is that people with no clue about what they are commenting on feel it acceptable to pass judgement on others. ::standing and applauding, while yelling “BRAVO!!!!!!”::

Reply

Susi March 16, 2012 at 8:45 pm

Awwww, Charlee, you honor me when the real accolades go to people like Sharyn (who never did get Mary’s china or leashes) and Walt who’ve been in the front lines of this fight for near on ten years. I don’t know how they do it. I just don’t.

Reply

Mary-Ann Y. March 16, 2012 at 8:09 pm

Susi –
You responded to this person better than I would’ve…I’ve dealt with narrow-minded people like her several times, and I swear it never gets easier.
Bravo — you have no idea how much I admire you.
– Mary-Ann

Reply

Susi March 16, 2012 at 8:16 pm

Golly, Mary-Ann, I’m just sure I’m not worthy of such high praise, but after being advised that I’m a vile person not worthy of living, tonight I’ll take it!! (grin). Thank you so much for taking the time to write such a supportive note. It really, really is appreciated.

Reply

Maria March 17, 2012 at 6:58 am

***Something you’re doing right now – something that hurts no one, would be disapproved of by someone on the planet who feels it’s unethical, immmoral, ill advised or just plain stupid. Are you wearing leather shoes? Do you drive a car or take a bus to work? Did you kill a plant to eat dinner? Do you live in a house, did you fart, did you pick up a phone, do you use anything with a battery? By God, if you did, you’ve doomed us all because all of it impacted my right to live in a better world.

Call me when you’re standing naked in an unplowed field eating sunshire and air because only then will you be guilt free of impacting the rest of the world. Only then will you have the moral right to dictate to the rest of us who are doing the right thing by our dogs that we need to improve. Better yet, befriend an actual breeder who is doing things responsibly and with care. There are a lot of them, you know. They’d be only too happy to educate you***
I think this statement is exactly right Susi… along with many other things you’ve said… a very intelligent argument in the main, but I do feel that the Kennel Club is not your enemy, nor the Vets. One should always be very careful which side of the fence you come off on..

I should first of all say, I have owned purebred dogs (and the occasional xbreed) all my life, and Irish Wolfhounds and Beagles specifically for over 30yrs. In that time I have only bred 5 litters of Wolfhounds, as and when I HAD to, in order to have a pup to continue my ‘line’. Despite breeding so few litters, I’ve made up 4 Champion Wolfhounds who all go back to my first, and I have taken great care and consideration when choosing what dogs to use. Of my 4 Champions, one was Top CC winning male (UK) in 1988, another (his grandson) was Top IWH 1991, and coincidentally since Crufts is being discussed, Res. Best Hound Crufts 1992 (Hound Group 2 as it’s known now), and another (G.G.Grand daughter to the aforementioned dog) was Top Winning Bitch in 2004, while her dam was Top Brood Bitch that year, something I NEVER ever thought I’d win with a litter of only 4 pups!
So I obviously believe that breeding purebred dogs is the only way forward, through knowledgeable, experienced, caring and thoughtful process.

However…. no matter how beautiful and successful in the ring your dogs are, health and soundness of both limb and temperament MUST always be the priority!! I lost 2 of my Champions (father and son) to ‘Bloat’ at a very young age… so no matter how successful that line was, I purposefully bred away from it looking for lines that had great longevity. Meanwhile our breed clubs set up Health Trusts funding studies in the main killers in our breed, Heart, Cancer and Bloat/Gastric Torsion along with regular testing for heart defects, Von Willebrands Disease/blood clotting disorder, PRA and Liver Shunt.. very successfully I may add. This was ALL done long before ‘Pedigree Dogs Exposed’ was ever filmed.

So what I’m saying is that unfortunately certain breeds/breeders have been caught napping, and have NOT taken enough care to safeguard their dogs from health problems and unnecessary exaggerations of breed type. The very sad fact is that there IS pain and suffering caused by this. NOBODY can dispute this fact, and there is no justification for it.

I think the Kennel Club have done their very best to send out a message that any exaggerations which harm a dog’s quality of life is unacceptable. They had many years back done a survey of breed problems through the breed clubs, they issued guidelines for better breeding practices and also tried to encourage this with the Accredited Breeder Scheme, they brought in judging guidelines saying that health and soundness must be a priority in the ring, and now Vet checks for the most ‘at risk’ breeds at Crufts.
The breed clubs/breeders of these dogs should never have allowed these breeds to become in such a poor state and ‘at risk’ in the first place, and have been complacent or even downright stubborn about breeding for health rather than type.

How would you have done it any better if you were the Kennel Club? Suggestions please? At least now, everyone is nervously looking at their breed and thinking, “What problems are we just ignoring?” That has to be good for pedigree dogs… what possible harm can that concern do them? I know it’s a bit scary for good, caring, dedicated, breeders as well as the awful, uncaring, money grabbers or rosette/CC collectors… but hasn’t that always been the way all through history? Don’t side with the uncaring, or weaken the Kennel Club when it is making an example and incidently helping greatly improve public opinion of pedigree dogs while so doing (don’t kid yourself that public opinion is not important)… please side with the good breeders who have always truly been guardians of their breed’s well being, and still are, and always will be!

Reply

Susi March 17, 2012 at 11:32 am

Thank you, Maria, for a reasoned response in which you raise some valid point with which agree, both here and in my article. Some breeds HAVE been caught napping, I’m sorry to say, and perhaps now they’re paying attention. Point taken. Perhaps if Crufts were to suspend their new scheme, having now made their point, the task at hand can be taken over by those whose job it SHOULD be to oversee the future of our respective breeds. What worries me – truly worries me is seeing who it is that is setting the direction for this conversation. Personally, I’m persuaded that animal rights activitists had a good deal to do with this situation, and if they truly had the best interests of purebred dogs at heart, they would encourage Crufts to hold a press conference to announce that their point has been made, that the breed clubs must now examine their own houses, and that the vet checks are suspended but that the Kennel Club is watching. I fear, however, that this is just the beginning. First “they” decide that a Peke is exxaggerated. Ok, perhaps some are. Next, the Shar-Pei is too wrinkled. After that, the Chinese Crested is too naked, or the Gordon Setter is too heavily coated. Where does it end, and who decides? There is little doubt that an anti-purebred dog movement exists among us. I’m imaginative enough to suppose that where all this end is the obliteration of purebred dogs. But it won’t end there, and neither will it end with dogs. There are much bigger issues at stake here; I can think of no group whose rights have been more systematically eroded in my country than dog owners. Who is next?

You pointed out that your breed club set up Health Trusts funding studies in the main killers in your breed with a very successful conclusion. That is as it should be. They love the breed, they knew better than anyone what the dangers were that lurked in its gene pool,and as guardians of the breed, it’s approriate that they take charge of the issues. More clubs should follow their lead if they’re haven’t already. But THEY did it. Not the government, not the animal rights groups, and not people who hate purebred dogs and see them as symbols of elitism.

In my article, I put up a picture of my Puli in a stage of coat development and asked, tongue in cheek, is this coat excessive (knowing full well that is was not); And yes, some opined that it was excessive, that I was abusive and cruel, and that I should never own another dog. Is this really the type of people we want dictating to purebred dog owners how they should conduct their lives as dog owners? There’s a lot of arrogance and self righteous people out there convinced they know better than I do what’s right for me and mine. And that should scare all of us.

Reply

Sharon March 17, 2012 at 9:21 am

Susi – excellent reply! Thank you so much for your blog post – I couldn’t have said it better myself!

Reply

Jane Ashwell-Carter March 16, 2012 at 1:06 pm

There ARE, not there is. On of my pet hates. otherwise I agree 1000% with Susi. My kettle is always on if you would like a day with a show breeder who cares who can explain the logic of your bollocks.

Reply

Laurella Desborough March 16, 2012 at 8:08 pm

I have to reply to Chris Modd. I find your comments to be opinions. Opinions are fine, but they should not be the basis for regulations or laws. This is the way the animal rights people think. They think that if they believe x, y or z, that it should be the law. Now, I do not breed dogs, I do not even own a dog. BUT, I have been observing what is going on here and what I see is not something that makes sense. It makes NO sense for people who are not involved in specific breeding programs to be making comments about what should be done. Animal husbandry issues should be reviewed, discussed, and designed by those who are INVOLVED in the breeding programs and who have the kind of specific knowledge that is needed to make appropriate decisions. This should never ever be the given over to the members of the general public OR to the animal rights oriented individuals or organizations with an agenda. That agenda is not in the best interest of the animals or of the animal owners and breeders. I see this happening in animal agriculture, in the exotic animal area, and any aspect of animal management…people without the background, the education or experience are busy trying to tell the knowledgeable experts what to do. This is nonsense and worse, it is simply anti-scientific. The results of those without information interfering in any animal enterprise can only be disastrous for the animals and their owners and breeders. I hope that dog breeders will work with all other animal interest groups to fight to end this animal rights nonsense. Society at large will benefit greatly when the animal rights agenda is replaced with simple animal welfare.

Reply

Susi March 16, 2012 at 8:17 pm

Laurella, thank you so much for a reasoned, thoughtful response that is so very welcomed here. Can I adopt you?

Reply

Christine March 16, 2012 at 8:49 pm

I have a Puli in full coat. She swims (and doesn’t drown) and herds my sheep as she was bred to. She has a below average hip score and has normal eyes and elbows. I bred her and am proud of her. Her cords are pretty and she is hept clean. She lives inside and I love her. What more do I have to do?

Reply

Susi March 16, 2012 at 10:16 pm

You do us proud, Christine, and I’m so pleased you shared your response with me here. Thank you for taking the time to do so. Really.

Reply

margaret Bragg March 17, 2012 at 6:27 pm

Oh, and who are you to be the Morality Police? Humans in the act of “Breeding” themselves create freaks every day, and are given little if any genetic counseling. Breeding for style has not “created” anything. If you understood genetics, you would understand this. It is easy to listen to some zealot expound such theories and believe them. Never actually put yourself in the position of learning or understanding. That would be an honest effort, and would undoubtably create understanding and compassion in you. Can’t have that. This is a great article, and right on the money.

Reply

Susi March 17, 2012 at 11:38 pm

Thank you so very much, Margaret, for your sensible and reasoned response to Chris. It’s appreciated more than you can imagine!

Reply

Patricia March 19, 2012 at 9:18 pm

I’ll bet you do not even own a dog. You can pick out people who do not own animals quite easily in a crowd. Not the kind of folks I care to deal with. You do not know how much you have missed in your life. Sad we have to deal with folks like you. Maybe some testing on your parents would have given you a better attitude towards. do you have children? hope not, they will be getting some really bad jeans. Really feel sorry for you.

Reply

It's all golden March 19, 2012 at 10:09 pm

Thanks for the interesting debate here, Susi. No matter where it winds up I’m glad people are talking about it rationally. OK, maybe we have to work on that last part but it’s a start.

Reply

Susi March 19, 2012 at 10:11 pm

I appreciate hearing from you, Dr. V. Whether it’s Snow Leopards or Dogs, reasonable discourse needs to prevail.

Reply

Liz Gay March 16, 2012 at 12:06 pm

Well said. It’s only a matter of time before some expert decides the achondraplasic breeds are all wrong or any other that doesn’t quite conform to the norm

Reply

Dow Show Sopporter March 16, 2012 at 1:01 pm

Chris…I love how those who know nothing about breeding dogs like to blame all ailments on inbreeding. I have diabetes, acid reflux, and several other genetic health issues….my ancestors come from all corners of the world. Do I have these disease because I was inbred? No. I am Indian, Irish, Scotish, and German. Many times health is just the luck of the draw. I work in a vet office and I see just as many mixed breeds with the same health problems..it’s just there is no way to document or trace the problems with mixed breeds.

I don’t know about other breeders, but in my breed, we don’t breed for style. I think most all breeders breed to meet health, temperment, and the guidlines from our breed standard. I consider health before anything when I decide to breed a dog. I have a very nice male who I had a list of people wanting to breed to. I just found out he has a mild eye disease that will never ever effect him, however since it’s genetic…boom he’s getting neutered. I found out about this because I do his health screenings every year. He is tested for OFA/Hips, Eye Cerf, Vwd, and DM…all the major diseases that effect our breed ( this costs me average of $500 per dog for the first year, and about $50 per year each year after that). I also called his breeder and his mother is being spayed as well so that there’s no chance of passing on this very mild defect.

The people you need to go after are the puppy mill breeders who sale “registered” dogs but have no regards for any type of health testing. I spend hundreds of dollars every year for health testing of my animals, however I might breed a litter once every 3-4 years. . Puppy mill breeders breed several litters per year, don’t keep track of any of the offspring to trace genetic problems….AND do no health testing whatsoever. THOSE are the people we all need to go after. Not the dedicated show breeder who puts their all into trying to breed a better dog. When I say better I mean, better health, better temperment, and better conformation. My priorities are in that order as well.

Reply

Susi March 16, 2012 at 1:07 pm

Well said, and I very much appreciate your response to Chris. What you said is very similar to my own thoughts and we need to shout it off the rooftops that not all breeders are alike. Chris’ ilk is one of two things: Either they’re very much misinformed, or they have a deeper agenda in mind and this is one of many tacts they’ll be taking to remove purebred dogs from existence. I’ve long maintained that if you control language, you control thought. It’s time for us to steer the conversation.

Reply

Maria March 17, 2012 at 7:12 am

@ Dog Show Sopporter

Exactly!! You said it all so much better than me!

Reply

Jane Ashwell-Carter March 16, 2012 at 1:03 pm

In one foul swoop they have achieved this – NOW breeders have a reason to breed PURELY for looks (forgive me, isn’t breeding for looks alone what we all tried to not do for the last 30 years?). Cos all that counts now is getting them through a visual exam. Pet owners buy from untested, unregistered, puppy farmed dogs cos its cheaper, then blame us show breeders as the easy target when it goes wrong. To add insult to injury, our KC basically then say they’re right.

It STINKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mind you, the uneducated and unwashed can get off their p*sspot productions pedestal and say they’re happy. So sorry for dogdom…

Reply

Keira March 16, 2012 at 1:18 pm

What is wrong with requiring dogs be healthy? If a breed can not survive without medical intervention then are we breeding for the dogs or for the human. I am a breeder and have seen numerous times where uneducated breeders continue to breed ‘sick’ dogs not understanding genetics. When it came time for my breed to review the standard we voted on changing any teeth missing would be disqualified from up to two teeth could be missing. It was changed. I showed by female and found out she was missing P3 s and that ended showing her. The breeder she came from said to me if she know that voting for the change was going to cause this she would never had voted for it. So where is the line? I think we should have a vet review the standards and give a report on the medical issues that maybe be caused by changing any trait. Why is it that bull dogs did not need face lifts and c- sections years ago but now they do? With things like hair you can easily be cut without cutting into the dogs body, maybe that is where the line needs to be. Just a thought.

Reply

Susi March 16, 2012 at 1:30 pm

Thank you for writing, Keira, and you, yourself, supplied what in my view is one of the solutions when you said that those in your breed reviewed the standard. “We” voted on changing the language regarding teeth, you wrote. “We” changed it. Not the AKC, not the Kennel Club, not the animal rights activists or your next door neighbor. You and yours did it voluntarily, not by coersion and not by force. Are there crummy breeders? Certainly. But I believe integrity prevails when it stands up and does the right thing in front of “God and everybody.” It’s not easy to castigate a fellow fancier in one’s own breed. It’s just not. But better to do things in house among people who know and love a breed than to have outside forces dictate the rules because then, where does it end? If you think veterinary checks are a good idea, propose it to your breed club and ask that it happen annually at a national specialty. If you’re voted down, bring it up again and again and again. What does the bumper stcker say? Well behaved women seldom make history? These are OUR breeds, darn it. We take care of this now or we’ll never get a say about them again. My view, anyway.

Reply

Jen March 16, 2012 at 1:24 pm

Wonderful post Susi and so well written. I have to admit that I have been following the Crufts incident very closely. Reading article after article and trying to find the words to share my feelings. Like you, I have passed on speaking out about the breeds that were put in the spotlight, because they weren’t my breed, but I couldn’t help but put myself in their shoes. My breed is just as vulnerable as any breed. A person that is not knowledgeable of the breed should not be able to hold such rank in the ring. Don’t get me wrong, I believe that some breeds do need improvement, but who I am to say to that? I have no idea about any other breed than my own and if someone was to come and start knocking down the Newfs, I would be right there front and center defending the breed, sure there are issues but just like humans, no breed is ever going to be perfect.
Again Susi, excellent post and so elegantly written, and now you have given me yet another thing to ponder. Hope you are doing well.

Reply

Susi March 16, 2012 at 1:36 pm

Always good to hear from you, Jen. If the battle is fought by the “little people” in the trenches, than blogging is surely one way we can do our bit. What strikes me is the appalling lack of information among average pet owners – good people who love their pets but don’t understand, or know, that breeders are not all alike and that an AKC registration is not an indication of quality or soundness. While we still have the freedom to write what we want to say, we have to do just that. Write!
When might I see you again?

Reply

Susanne March 16, 2012 at 1:25 pm

I’m sorry I disagree.
Breeders are always trying to “improve” certain specific looks on their breed, most not concerned about health. Designer dogs are a common phrase and show breeders are just as bad as backyard multipliers.
It’s not about the dogs, it’s about money, fame, status.
Great Danes must be bigger, Chihuahua smaller, Bulldogs hardly have a face left and the poor Puli on the picture….. I believe he’d rather be short haired rolling in the mud and just being a dog rather then trying to figure out which part of him is front or back.
My opinion…..

Reply

Susi March 16, 2012 at 1:56 pm

Thanks for writing, Susanne. When you say that breeders are always trying to improve certain looks in their breed and aren’t concerned about health, you know this how? I’m truly interested.

The Puli in the picture is mine. Trust me, the little devil DOES roll in the mud, and the grass, and dead things. His mouth tells him where his front end is because that’s the end that steals ham off the table. After a few hours, the other end expels the remains of the ham which is how he knows THAT end. At the time of the picture, he was just a few years old, his coat is longer now. It hasn’t slowed him down a whit and he jumps over furniture, steals socks and scares the birds senseless. He’s my pet, he’s a show dog, and at the end of the day, he’s a happy dog.

Reply

Susanne March 17, 2012 at 11:39 am

I’m a breeder (cats) and judge myself. Know the inside of the “fancies” and see (in both cats & dogs) rapid changes in attitude of breeders. Several breeds develope major problems because people focus too much on looks rather then health.
Unfortunately it’s a common statement in those worlds to say: I’d rather have an cat/dog that wins on every show and only has 5 years to live, then one that turns 15 and is no good on show.
That is disturbing to me.
When I started breeding (way back last century) I sold kittens saying they would turn 15-20 without hestitation, now it’s 10 without guarantee.
My guess…. we are trying too hard to manipulate and controle mother nature instead of being grateful for all the beauty in it’s true form that we are given…..

Reply

Susi March 17, 2012 at 12:45 pm

See, Susanne, I’ve never, ever encountered anyone who ever said anything like what was said to you (“I’d rather have an cat/dog that wins on every show and only has 5 years to live, then one that turns 15 and is no good on show”). That’s appalling to me, and while I’m certainly no saint, I would have given that individual an earful and everyone I know would have done the same. And THEN we would avoid breeding to them because everyone I know with a show dog views their dog as a well loved family pet. I don’t doubt your word, bad people exist everywhere and always have. It’s up to US to encourage them out of the fancy, or to learn to be better stewards of their dogs and their breeds. This is not a role I want taken by people who don’t even like purebred dogs, they don’t have my interests at heart. But WE do it. Peer pressure. Breed Clubs. And WE decide what is an exaggeration in our breed, the breed clubs. Reasonable heads do exist among us.

Reply

Chuck March 18, 2012 at 12:43 am

What Susi said. I’ve been around, attended and shown at large and small shows in the USA, have had top ranked dogs (owner/handled), and I have NEVER encountered what you say happens – and if I did, I’d have no association with them and would do my best to ensure THEIR reputation preceded them.

Of course there are unsavory people is all walks of life. Do you judge all Catholic priests by the evil deeds of a few? There are always a small minority of people that will always be rotten. You cannot use a broad brush and make statements to judge the whole by a small minority of ne’er-do-wells.

When choosing a breed, you need to know the good,the bad and the ugly. You need to know who the breeder is. If people do not do their due diligence, they need to take responsibility for their lack of research and informed choice. A dog or cat is an investment in love, time and money. This is something that animal rights fail to do: help educate the public on how to: research; select a specific breed; select a dog; select a puppy; select a shelter or a rescue group (they are not all created great); the evils of buying from a pet store (and don’t give me they are “rescuing” a puppy – they are only buying a puppy which will be replaced with new stock from a sire/dam sentenced to living in Hell at a puppymill. As long as sales are made at pet stores, puppymills will thrive); select a hobby breeder (oh, have I said something bad?); the advantages of knowing local and national breed clubs; need I go on. They should reach out to schools to help educate kids, they don’t – they only advance their own agenda.

There is a reason that hobby breeders get attacked and treated as the spawn of Satan: at this time, they are the easiest target to attack. Pet stores, backyard breeders and puppymills are stronger and harder to attack and defeat. First they came from the hobby breeder, and no one fought back…. This is changing thanks to writers like Susi who blog to support the hobby breeder, and people like Sharyn and Walt that educate people on the evils of animal rights groups and the horrible laws that are crafted by lobbyists from PETA and HSUS that are destroying our rights.

Verjean April 8, 2012 at 5:37 pm

Hmmmm….I’ve never heard anyone ask in my breed for a Dane to only live five years as long as it can be a champion. BTW, I have an eleven year, retired, champion show Dane at home, sleeping on the loveseat as I type. For me, temperament is paramount, first…health, second…and beautiful and typey are third. At the end of the day, every show dog is a pet, at least mine are…and I sure know lots of others. The breeders and fanciers I KNOW, all have the most spoiled dogs on the planet, IN AND OUT of the show or performance ring. I also work for a vet, and I see just as many structural issues and conditions in mixed breeds as I do pure. Genetics is not an “exact” science, matter of fact, not even close. Responsible breeders take responsible precautions, health testing, temperament testing, careful pedigree research….and as a consumer or potential buyer, you have the responsibility of “checking out” any breeder you are considering purchasing from. Ask them for test results. Ask them for titles. Ask them what issues DO exist in their breed and in their particular lines. If none does, you probably wish to find a more honest breeder. See, there are NO guarantees with genetics, human or animal. Is everyone in your family perfectly healthy? Does anyone wear glasses, need braces, diabetic, have heart issues, has allergies, yada yada yada, ad infintum? No one can “breed” a perfect animal. One can take responsible precautions…but genetics, even those we understand, are still random due to how much we DON’T understand. And it is the dollars and pocketbooks of breeders and breed clubs that have resulted in so many medical discoveries because of their dedication to understanding more about these diseases and conditions in their dogs. Canine research has brought much new understanding to the human condition. There are no perfect puppies. There are no perfect breedings. There are no perfect humans. Genetics is, at least for now…random. We can use all the tools in the toolbox, and still have a litter with issues. I know a vet that bred dogs for some years, taking every precaution. His breed was subject to poor hips. So, he eliminated from the breeding program every dog that did not have great a hip rating of excellent or good. This was over several generations. He did a breeding of excellent to excellent, and the entire litter was dysplastic. Even with every precaution taken, genetics is a random exercise. All we can do, is our best…and if you haven’t been involved with breeding, or even health testing of your own stock…you have NO room in which to pontificate.

Reply

Liv March 16, 2012 at 2:02 pm

Totally agree with you Susanne! Hit the nail on the head.

Reply

Susanne March 17, 2012 at 11:39 am

ty Liv

Reply

Chuck March 18, 2012 at 12:53 am

More like at one point Suzanne was hit on her head. Her conclusions are uninformed, distortions and scripted talking points.

To quote a great line from “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” – ” When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.” This is EXACTLY what people like Suzanne and Liv do, they perpetuate distortions and scripted talking points from animal rights groups, and they accept it as fact, It is all BS.

Reply

Sharon March 17, 2012 at 9:34 am

Suzanne – the Golden Retriever Club of America helped to create the Orthopedic Foundation of Animals in the 1960′s along with the German Shepherd Club of America – we were at the forefront for helping breeders to breed HEALTHIER dogs 40 years ago and continue to do so today. Our parent club and most specialty clubs donate tens of thousands of dollars each and every year to fund studies to help us reduce/eliminate health issues. This helps ALL dogs – purebred and mutts a like. NO ONE involved in the sport of purebred dogs are breeding for looks alone. Do I want my Goldens to look like a Golden? ABSOLUTELY because that is what makes my breed different from a Labrador! You cannot lump a purebred breeder in with those that are creating expensive mutts (as you called them – designr dogs) because NO ONE involved in the sport of purebred dogs would degrade their breed by doing so. Those of us that are IN the sport of purebred dogs make nothing on a litter of puppies. In fact, I continue to go in the hole as most breeders do. Why do we breed? Because we LOVE our respective breeds and we consider ourselves stewards – working as hard as we can with each and every litter to produce healthier puppies than the last. FWIW – all of my dogs roll in dirt and if they can find it deer and goose poo…. but they also absolutely love getting groomed up and walking into a show ring. You are welcome to your opinion, but you’re very wrong…

Reply

Susi March 17, 2012 at 11:46 am

Thank you, Susan, for a wonderfully sane, measured and well explained response. And thank you for sharing it here. Everyone? What Sharon said.

Reply

Chuck March 17, 2012 at 12:42 pm

Susanne: How much money do you think hobby breeders make? What type of fame? What status do you mean?

Poor Puli? You believe the Puli would he happier in a short coat? Why do you say that?

Have you ever been to a dog show?

Reply

Chuck March 17, 2012 at 12:49 pm

Suzanne: You made me think, and maybe you are right – maybe we should ban dread locks for Rastafarians, college students, teens and the grunge crowds? And Whoppi Goldberg – using your logic, that do needs to go! I mean, how can she possible stand it!

And, why do you think some dogs are corded?

Reply

Chuck March 17, 2012 at 12:53 pm

AND porcupines? Using your logic, those quills have got to be a nuisance. But then breeders didn’t create them so they are OK? Not all dogs cord. Ever see a corded Standard Poodle? (Yes, they are there, and they look and FEEL great and it diens’t bother the dog for a second.)

Reply

Sarah March 18, 2012 at 1:11 am

Um…people choose their own hairstyles. Dogs do not.

Reply

Susi March 18, 2012 at 10:57 am

I beg to differ, Sarah. Nature bestowed the corded coat on the Puli, Bergamasco, French Poodle and Komondor as a means of portecting the breeders from the elements and from predators. And the list goes on of breeds endowed with unique coats that serve them in amazing ways, from resisting burrs to being imprevious to icy water. Chortle, next you’ll be saying that we created webbed feet for certain breeds to swim well.

Verjean April 8, 2012 at 6:06 pm

Actually Chuck,

The question more accurately should be, HOW much expense was involved in your champion dog and the puppies you have produced? Purchase price, vetting, food, training, show expenses (entries, gas, food, lodging,etc.), breeding costs, more vetting for puppies….shall I continue? And yet all anyone can see, is the “price” we charge for a puppy. As if that is profit. Clients of mine tracked their expenses for one year, showing two dogs (including handler fees for some…) in both conformation and agility, obtaining a couple of titles. And they owned a motor home, and traveled with their dogs. Just the expenses that could be DIRECTLY tied to the dog’s activities, was almost $50k. And yet, god forbid we charge $1k for a puppy, because we are “making a living’ off our puppies. Get real. And even if there was “profit” per se, SO WHAT?!! What is wrong with a profit resulting from producing a quality product?
We become caretakers for our respective breeds (and I own rescues and mixes as well…) to retain the particular qualities for which they came into existence. Coats are ONLY one of those traits, be they hairless, corded, long and silky, oily, tight, wired or smooth. THEY all had a purpose based on the dog’s purpose. If we are acting as “historians” of our respective breeds, should we not retain all their characteristics? And while mixes are “lauded” when they are adopted from shelters, it is considered quite irresponsible to intentionally breed them, even though we are brainwashed to believe they are “healthier” somehow. Quite frankly, I don’t have a problem breeding designers or mixes, as long as the parents are health-tested for the “normal” issues for their breed, if a breed can be identified. Designers are intentional crosses of two pure breeds, so recommended health testing is easily accessed. Intentional mixed breeding? More problematic because you don’t know exactly what to test for, so would probably have to test all-round…i.e. hips, hearts, eyes, patellas (for small dogs), perhaps some of the specific conditions that apply to specific breeds, if that mix phenotypically resembles a particular breed.
As to the coat issue…here in Texas every summer I see Goldens, and Poodles, and other coated breeds, shaved. Supposedly because it makes them “cooler” and more comfortable. It actually has the opposite effect. Since dogs do not “cool” as humans do, since they do not “sweat” through their skin, it is a fallacy that we are making them cooler by shaving them. We are actually removing their insulation from the heat, (yes, it insulates from the heat as well as the cold, as well as rain, or other elements…) and for outdoor dogs, we now subject them to sunburn as well. Dogs are NOT us. They are a different species with different needs, and their bodies, although sharing many similarities, are also profoundly different. They are NOT little people in fur coats. Too see them as such does them a profound disservice. They are their own noble species, canines.

Reply

Andrea April 7, 2012 at 9:49 pm

Hi Susanne,

Since you are not replying to someone specific you must mean all of us breeders of pure-bred dogs.

So I ask you, what money? I have bred, in 20 years, two litters the entire number of dogs produce totaling 5, 3 of which are champions. All of which had desirable results on all heath screening performed. I have make ZERO dollars. Okay, one of them earned me about $2 in a veteran’s sweeps once.

What fame? Do you know who I am? I am surprised when fellow breeders across the country, who are members of the same clubs, know me.

What status? Seriously, I’d like to know. Exactly what status has been conferred upon me. .Generally most people, upon hearing that I self-identify as a dog breeder are disgusted because HSUS and PETA have succeeded in their marketing campaigns. Note your own opinion. Which seems woefully presumptive and under informed. How many show or hobby breeders do you know personally?

My dogs don’t roll in mud – they hate it. But we do go to dog parks. We do go to classes. We do snuggle on the couch. We do sleep in the same bed. My purebred dogs, so far, have lived longer, happier, healthier lives than the mixed breed dogs I had as a kid. Just sayin’

Reply

Gail Cortner RN March 16, 2012 at 1:34 pm

I have been involved in pruebred dogs since the age of 6 years old, in verious breeds .My goal has always been to’ The Improvement of The Breed’ as a breeder you have to be committed to Quality not quanty. Breed for the love of the breed, show for the love of the breed, and do so with a mind set to bring forth a better Dog. I thank my mentors My Aunt, Mr Levi Phil Marsman,and Mrs Alice Pillsburys for all the lessons and the pounds of reading some of which I did not think I needed .

Reply

Susi March 16, 2012 at 8:34 pm

Gail, I very much value your post, thank you so much for sharing it. Clearly, you “get it.’

Reply

Liv March 16, 2012 at 2:01 pm

…Yes, your dog’s coat WAS excessive. Extremely so. It’s abuse. You are an abuser. A dog is a dog, not a commodity, not something to show off to titillate you’re own pathetic vanity. Keeping your dog with such an overgrown and quite frankly, stupid looking coat is cruel and I really don’t understand how you could possibly see it any differently.

I understand that there are certain things that people find atheistically pleasing to see in a certain breed and that’s fine. I have an absolutely textbook perfect Jack Russell Terrier. But if these ‘desirable’ aspects such as coat length negatively effect the welfare or health of the dog, that’s when it becomes a problem. The dog’s health, care and welfare should always come first and that obviously isn’t the case with you. If it were, you’d never let your dog get in such a state. You say ‘ One doesn’t see a Puli herding sheep in a show coat, or jogging with their owner in the summer.’ Well that’s a crying shame!! Herding is what a Puli is bred to do and not providing it with the stimulation and exercise it needs is cruel. If you’d rather have a dog with the ‘perfect’ show coat than have a happy, healthy dog, then you shouldn’t be a pet owner at all.

Like I said, my JRT is perfect in her appearance, but we let her hunt, dig, run, chase, swim, chew, play. We give her a good life and love her for who she is and not what she looks like.

You’re a vain, self-obsessed excuse of a human being and quite clearly shouldn’t be allowed to own dogs. Same can be said for most show dog owners and breeders. It’s disgusting.

Reply

Susi March 16, 2012 at 2:32 pm

Wow, I have the final arbitor of all that is right and wrong weighing in on me, a person you know nothing about. While I’m tempted to ask who died and left you in charge of the world, your venom speaks for itself. The dog I’m abusing with an “excessive coat” is belly up at my feet as I write, chomping on a bully stick (wait, gasp, now I’m being cruel to cows!) having just run the parameter of our yard to ensure that the local birds know who is boss. The dog will be crushed to learn that you are. You have just told someone you’ve never met in your life that she is vain and a sorry excuse for a human being, but that YOUR dog is perfect because it runs and jumps and swims and has you for an owner. And I’m vain???

What is disgusting to logical people who think at least as much as they feel is that you dare to presume you know what’s best for the rest of us. But no, you’re not vain. Not at all.

A few points for your own edification: You don’t see Pulik herding sheep not because of their coat, but because mechanization in Hungary has eliminated a need for sheep herding dogs. And in America, well, we don’t much herd sheep anymore. The 21st century, and all that. That said, sheep herding is offered at many Puli national specialties where show dogs “do their thing” with rams and ewes, and they do it successfully, coat and all.

You don’t disgust me. You scare me. While you’re settling down smugly in your self righteous bubble, real people and their real dogs are serving others; They’re going into hospitals and hospices. They’re searching for and rescuing children and lost hikers. They’re finding endangered species and drug smugglers. They’re detecting imminent epileptic seizures and offering comfort to the ill. And all of them are purebred dogs who go to dog shows on the weekend. Go to bed at night knowing this in your heart. Until you and your kind take away from me my right to own dogs, I WILL own them. Lots of them. They will thrive and be happy and know that in my care, they will live long, healthy lives inspite of people like you. They will continue the tradition and legacy of their home country which has survived two world wars, communism, and people like you. You should be ashamed of yourself. Truly ashamed.

Reply

Sharon March 16, 2012 at 6:01 pm

Susi, your reply was much more polite than mine would have been. To say I’m appalled by Liv’s commentary would be an understatement. How dare she? Anyway, thanks for writing a great article and I agree with you 1000%.

Reply

Susi March 16, 2012 at 8:49 pm

Thanks for the words of support, Sharon, they are honestly, and most deeply appreciated. Liv is what I’ve come to decide is a useful adversary. Her post revealed more about her and her sentiments than anything the rest of us could say ever would.

Reply

Chuck March 18, 2012 at 12:57 am

Liv, I’ll say it again, a useful idiot for many groups. When they come from you, you’ll understand only it will be too late.

Charlee Helms March 16, 2012 at 7:02 pm

I will take what Susi said one step further. Even AFTER you and yours have taken away the rights of Americans to own animals, I WILL own my dogs, if I have to convert my living room to an exercise area so the dog police don’t see them. I am responsible, I do health clearances as do the majority of RESPONSIBLE breeders. I cannot vouch for mills and backyarders. Sweeping statements such as those above would be considered absurd if you substituted “black people” for example. Somehow this form of bigotry is alright, I guess because a group of lying swindlers such as PETA and HSUS have the funds to say it is.

Reply

Susi March 16, 2012 at 8:33 pm

Charlree, you go, girl!!

Reply

Laua March 16, 2012 at 7:33 pm

Liv—

Is it dark in your cave?

By the way, as someone very familiar with Jacks (and despite Terrierman’s claims to the contrary), they can be a very unstable breed. Hip dysplasia, PRA, and slipping patellas run rampant–let’s not even discuss temperament. Many, if not most will bite, and most of them will kill anything their size or smaller given the chance, including one another, and they’ll go after anything up to and including logging skidders (no joke–I’ve seen it). So don’t sit there and pontificate. Such sweeping generalizations tell me you know absolutely nothing whatsoever about what you’re preaching from that throne.

Reply

Susi March 16, 2012 at 8:07 pm

Thank you, Laua. I mean it. Thank you for saying it so eloquently. And for giving me a good chuckle with your opening line.

Reply

renee Miller March 16, 2012 at 8:18 pm

heyheyhey!! now wait one minute!!! what is your problem… I have owned purebreds all my life and growing up our family had gsd.. peke’s, I show, and to tell you the truth.. I would not give you one cent for the mutts. out there.. at least I know what gentics are in my dogs.. behavior, and such.. with these mutts and designer dogs you are getting the worst of the worst with both breeds.. which is not good.. we will shut people like you down.. mind your own business and leave the breeders of purebred dogs alone.. we all strive for healthy dogs.. and sound dogs.. at least most of us do.. !!! And yes, I am into genetics for I purchased a liver shunt dog.. from a breeder and he is not showing and never ever will be bred.. beautiful boy.. though the breeder and I know.. not to ever breed within this line.. to pass it on.. DO YOU KNOW THE DISEASES YOUR DOGS MUTTS IN GENERAL CARRY NO!!!!! SO NOW WHO IS THE BAD BREEDER… YOU ARE… IDIOT.

Reply

Abby March 17, 2012 at 4:29 pm

I realise that this isnt really anything o do with anything (apart from your lack of knowledge when it comes to dog showing/breeding) but i feel the need to point out to you that a jack russell is not an actual ‘breed’ as such. There is no ‘textbook’ jack russell….if there wasthen the KC would be able to write a breed standard and make it a breed. What you have is a mish mash of various terriers and small dogs which, after some poorly thought out breeding, have become a pit of ill health and poor temper. I’m pleased to hear you love your dog, but i’d be more pleased to hear that you were slightly more realistic about what it really is. Please don’t accuse people of mis-treating their animals when you yourself seem to be completely oblivious to the fact your dogs knees most proberbly dont work properly….if you have had him/her hip, elbow and knee scored with positive results then please accept my apology….anyway I shall fetch a step so you can get off that rather high horse…

Whilst i’m here i may as well add that i do show/breed pedigree dogs…my Smooth collies are perfectly capable of doing the job they were bred to do, they are often covered in mud and can be found playing wit other dogs in the fields and forests…i will admit my collies do not hunt…I have managed to instill some level of training so that they dont feel the desire to kill wildlife….I love my dogs, I look after them, they are fed on the best food, they enjoy showing and so do I. Read up next time you decide to attack an entire community based on the coat of a Puli…one last thought…have you ever met a Puli???? I’ve met a fair few…have i ever met a sad one?? NOPE!

Reply

Verjean April 8, 2012 at 6:16 pm

Wow, a “perfect” JRT. And the view must be grand from your alabaster throne. And yet you own, or I suspect are a “guardian” for…a pure bred. I will assume it’s a “smooth”, since wires have coats which need grooming. And if this is what we want to begin to term as “abuse” and “cruelty”, we need to be very afraid.

I have a question. Since you appear to believe that very few show people can responsibly own or breed dogs…just who would you feel would best take on the responsibility of breeding companion dogs and cats? And should breeds even be allowed to remain “pure”. Should breeding be allowed at all? And if not, then where rationally can we expect to obtain our next pet?

Reply

Amanda February 23, 2013 at 6:11 pm

well said Liv

Reply

dee dee Andersson March 16, 2012 at 2:23 pm

Excellent article. On one of my Mastiff lists I stated that this was breed profiling, especially for the breeds they “proactively” recommended as being the 15 high profile breeds. Nobody knows our breeds better than its ethical breeders. Nobody does more health checks than the same ethical breeders. This was not a good day for the Kennel Club. I suspect there will be legal actions taken, and they should be undertaken.
Author, Mastiff: Aristocratic Guardian
http://www.oemtf.com

Reply

Dow Show Sopporter March 16, 2012 at 3:00 pm

Liv,
I am very offended by your comment. How many dog shows people do you know well?

“You’re a vain, self-obsessed excuse of a human being and quite clearly shouldn’t be allowed to own dogs. Same can be said for most show dog owners and breeders. It’s disgusting.”

I will admit I know a FEW dog show people like this ( but this type of person can be found anywhere), but MOST are not at all like this. I work for a vet, my dogs are on Heartworm preventative year around, flea and tick control year around, and are constanly monitored for their health in addition to multiple health screenings each year. They also all go to puppy socialization and beginner obedience classes so that my dogs are always good representatives in public. They have an acre fenced in yard to play in, and live mostly indoors where they have their own bedroom, are fed high quality food, and are provided with many toys and chews. I also work only part time so that I can be home with them to care for them, clean after them, and bathe them. I wouldn’t have to work at all if I didn’t have my animals to provide for. How many average pet owners treat their pets in this way? Not very many, I know , I see them at the vet office the once a year that they come in for their yearly “rabies only” because they don’t think their pet needs any better care, so they go home, toss it in the backyard and feed it Ol Roy and wonder why it has health problems later. I know for a fact that most show dogs are treated given much better care than the average pet owner gives to their pet. Some pet owners do spoil their pets and give them everything, but not near as many as we would like to think.

But you are right…all that’s fine, let’s go after someone who has a long coat on their dog. That totally makes sense to me. ::sarcasm::

Maybe you should educate yourself on a topic before you go insulting people that you know nothing about, especially when you can’t make any valid points based on fact. You have no idea how self righteous and ignorant it makes you look.

Reply

Susi March 16, 2012 at 4:10 pm

Thank you. Really. Thank you.

Reply

renee Miller March 16, 2012 at 8:30 pm

Dog show supporter,

You said it all.. responding to liv..

amen, what you described sounds just like my house.. lol

Renee

Reply

Becky March 17, 2012 at 5:49 pm

I don’t agree with you.
To condemn those who don’t do the vaccinations–just because you are a vet tech -or work for a vet–…there is a growing number of people who are thinking now for themselves, agree with Dr. Jean Dodd and are refusing to be brain washed by the Veterinarian-so they can keep their cash cow.
My dogs are part of my family, they get to sleep on my only good piece of furniture-my grandmothers antique couch. They are show dogs too. Except for the one who failed her heart echo. Could I get a CH. on her…ABSOLUTELY!!! She is the most confirmation-ally correct of the three.
For the last decade or so (since I’ve done OB I with my English Bulldog), I’ve said there should be health and temperament test results provided BEFORE you go into the confirmation ring.
Thank you Crufts! I hope the AKC and the CKC follow suit!!!

Reply

Susi March 17, 2012 at 11:45 pm

Thank you for weighing in, Becky. I think you might be surprised that many, many people in the dog show community subscribe to Dr. Dodds’s way of thinking and her talks are filled to the rafters by breeders and fanciers. I do take exception to your implication that you alone have show dogs who are also pets. I associate with like minded show people whose show dogs are their children, for all intents and purposes, and to suggest otherwise simply suggests a limited scope on your part. There are nasty people in all walks of life, always have been, and I daresay that your co-workers, neighbors, perhaps family members might be people you’d rather not know. It’s not different in the dog fancy, either, and we continue to bear pressure on our own if they are abusive or have poor practices. I appreciate your opinion, and even more so, I appreciate that we for the moment have the right to express varying points of view. I fear the point of my article was lost on you, but no matter. Discourse is good.

Reply

Verjean April 8, 2012 at 6:35 pm

Hey,

I DO work for a vet, and we are very vaccination wary. We’ve recognized Jean Dodd’s protocol for years, and are very vaccination aware in our practice. We also listen to the specific needs and sensitivities of specific breeds and their parent club recommendations. For example, the Weimaraner Club of America now recommends only two sets of puppy shots, due to the high incidence of a particular type of HOD, which can be fatal, and is vaccine induced. The breed clubs have invested so much in research of issues regarding their breeds, that when the information becomes available, it seems only sensible to adapt to it, if the health of our dogs is our main concern. And there are more and more vets who also recognize the validity of Dr. Dodd’s research. Also Dr. Ron Schultz’s at the UW, who is involved in the 5/7 year rabies challenge, and was instrumental in the current three-year rabies vaccine recommendation which many communities now observe. Dr Schultz also has provocative research that now is beginning to show that perhaps ONE single puppy shot, timed properly, will impart life-time immunity. Imagine how much safer that could potentially keep our animals. I have always protected the right of owners and breeders to make their own decisions, in conjunction with their veterinarian’s advice…as to what the best protocol for “THEIR” situation is. There is NO “RIGHT” answer…every situation has it’s own dynamic. And the care you access for your dog will be based on factors that are unique to you. Some want old protocols…as they feel that is the most responsible based on their experience. That’s fine. And someone that doesn’t wish to access those protocols, based on their experience and education, should also be able to do so. Does everyone need to give monthly heartworm? No. Test your dog every three months, if positive…give preventative. If not…you didn’t need, did you? Does it have to be expensive, manufactured preventative? No, you can mix your own. So what one breeder does, can be light years away from what another does…but both are approaching from educated and informed, and I daresay…responsible, viewpoints.
By the way, in the case of the Cruft’s Bulldog, I believe that health testing HAD been completed prior to showing, with clearances. But the vet at Crufts had an agenda. My understanding is there were questions surrounding the eye test, and whether it was even performed properly.

Reply

Chuck March 18, 2012 at 1:05 am

Further proof that useful idiots do exist, and Liv and Suzanne are text book examples. Gals, Lenin is calling…now hurry along.

Liv and Suzanne: you may find comfort with people of your like minds that feed your choice of facts and truth. This behavior warps reality and prevents you from hearing the truth. You need to detox, attend re-education camp, and learn the truth, and stop believing the tainted Kool-Aid you have been given.

Reply

Eric March 16, 2012 at 4:11 pm

Great Column Susi! An as to those who feel the need to judge you badly for a perfectly healthy & well groomed dog, I guess they don’t know what they are talking about.

Reply

Caroline Thibodeau March 16, 2012 at 4:51 pm

First of all to Liv – I want that perfect Jack Russell because in over 50 years of showing dogs I’ve never seen a perfect anything and I want to show him! Secondly, you have no idea of what you speak. Pulik have been bred for hundreds of years to have this type of coat and it is there for a functional reason, not a decorative one just as the Poodle is clipped in certain ways to assist it in its hunting functions – of course for the show ring it is tidied up and exagerrated a little but it would be fully functional out goose hunting. Cocker Spaniels can and do hunt, the long coat is soon pulled off in the brush and no harm, no foul. Purebred dogs have been responsible for helping discover DNA markers, cures, preventatives and diagnostics for both human and animal diseases. Breeders have donated puppies, tissue, blood, DNA and blood, tears, sweat and toil to help improve the health of their species – where are the mutt breeders in all of this? No breed is perfect, no breed is completely free of disease but it is a work in progress to achieve that goal. Inbreeding or linebreeding as I prefer to call it is not, in and of itself, harmful. In the hands of a knowledgeable breeder it is the safest way to breed. You know the depth and breadth of your pedigree, you know what diseases are there, you know the longevity of the dogs and their strengths and weaknesses are. When you breed to an unknown quantity, you risk bringing in genes that carry all sorts of problems and of weakening your gene pool. Of course it can be done with knowledge aforehand and by a conscientious breeder but it is always a risk. Thank you Susi for writing so eloquently what I was thinking.

Reply

Diane March 20, 2012 at 10:14 am

Okay no. Its statements like this “the Poodle is clipped in certain ways to assist it in its hunting functions – of course for the show ring it is tidied up and exagerrated a little but it would be fully functional out goose hunting” that get you into trouble. How is a cut that costs upwards of $700 going to be functional in the field. Especially if that field included having to swim thru any water, where the poor dog would be weighted down to the bottom of the pond by the “fully functional” coat. Tidied up? Pretty sure the groomers that sculpt the poodle coat would be horribly insulted if you told them that their 8+ hours of labor were nothing more than “tidying up” the coat the dog was naturally born with.

Reply

Susi March 20, 2012 at 10:53 am

Diane, thanks for writing! I am hardly a Poodle expert, but I did have the recent privilege of watching a multiple Best in Show Poodle get bathed and groomed. I think I can offer a wee bit of insight, but as an aside, I’m not sure how the cost of a hair cut impacts a dog’s ability to do its job. Whether a Poodle’s trim costs $7 or $700, the dog can retrieve. The Poodle clip is rooted in practicality: Sportsmen kept hair long over their dog’s joints, skull, ribs and chest to protect its internal organs, the rest was cut off to reduce drag in the water. For the show ring, the hair is dried, wrapped and protected, then scissored – and I believe that much of the volume you see in a show photograph is fluffed up coat. The Poodle I saw could easily have retrieved a bird in deep water. Easily. And I invite you to look at the pictures for yourself. They are here: http://dogknobit.com/2012/03/08/regardless-of-the-man-some-things-never-change/. There is no doubt in my mind that this Poodle could have hunted all day long, show coat and all. Most responsible, conscientious fanciers who own working and herding breeds are proud that their dogs can do the jobs for which they were originally bred, and pretty much all national breed clubs hold specialties – or single breed dog shows, that include as part of their activities herding, earth dog, coursing, water retrieval and field trials.They do this because they care about maintaining the working ability of the dogs in their respective breeds. My own breed has a coat that would seem impractical for herding sheep, and yet as I said in my article, you won’t see a Puli in a show coat herding sheep NOT because they can’t, but because we don’t want to spend the next week picking weeds out of the cords. That said, the dogs can and do herd sheep in a full coat at our specialties; were a Puli in show coat thrust into the role of working dog, he’d likely chew off any cords in his way and go on about his business moving sheep. At shearing time, he’d probably be shorn with the sheep, but as the coat grows back, it WILL mat and begin to cord again on its own. I’m afraid your objections simply don’t hold water.

Reply

Verjean April 8, 2012 at 6:49 pm

The cut, although admittedly exaggerated, was functional. The hair was left over the joints, and the chest (internal organs) as the dog (German in origin…) retrieved in COLD water. You didn’t want ALL the coat as it would weigh the dog down, but wanted to keep the joints and internal organs protected.
As for “working” Pulik, a true working coat would look MUCH worse, and be much MORE protective. Again, it helps to know WHY the coat ever developed the way it did. It wasn’t about self-obsessed humans…it was about the dog being able to perform it’s function. And a dog out for two or three months at a time, driving sheep from point “a” to point “b”, needed a coat designed for the specific conditions in which it would work.

Reply

PatOrgas March 16, 2012 at 4:52 pm

Too far, hazard to health, when a dog is bred deliberately to be a caricature of the breed. A short faced breed becomes a no faced breed, a long haired breed becomes a hair down to the floor breed, angulated rears become severely angulated rears, long ears have less and less structure until they lay limp and wet and dirty, a luxurious coat becomes so deep and long growing as to require intense care. These are excesses, the breeds were not developed to possess these extremes and the “inventors” of the breeds would be stunned to see what has become due to word choices in a standard. When the standard is CHANGED to ensure these extremes are okay and justified then it is The Emperor’s New Clothes time. If a dogs health and comfort were risked if they found themselves at my farm for a month and didn’t have someone who cleaned the poo from their bottom, or they became so embedded with debris they would damage themselves ripping it out of their coats, or their faces became matted and they couldn’t eat properly or drink…and we have all seen dogs in this condition… and you blame the caretaker and not those who have bred the dog to be a full time job to maintain…you need to get glasses. When you look up and see that you have no new people coming into your breed because it costs so much in time to maintain your breed…start thinking the designer of the dog and what it takes to present them in the ring are the problem. That a coat has the proper crimp and undercoat to be able to roll properly is a long long way from locks dripping from every inch of the dog to the floor. THEN they become a caricature. You will be the LAST caretakers of the breed and not someone who presented a lovely family dog to the public in a way they can see its uniqueness but still recognize what should be its inherent useful purpose. You all are too full of yourselves justifying what you have created in your lifetimes… very impressive…now recreate a healthy true to purpose dog that is well conformed, wonderfully moving and who doesn’t require a staff to care for. It will be just as much an accomplishment.

Reply

Susi March 16, 2012 at 9:43 pm

Pat, they used long sticks to crush the tender noses of pupppies, and as the puppies grew, servants were instructed by the Dowager Empress Cixi to constantly push back their noses so that they would have the look so desired by the Emperor. This, of course, was only during the times the Pekingese were let out of bird cages where they were kept in order to remain small – this so they could fit up the sleeve of the Emperor. Are THESE who you had in mind when you said the original breeders who “invented” our breeds would be stunned by what modern breeders have done with their dogs?

The “inventors” of my breed would be stunned, too. We’ve improved temperaments so the breed is a better family dog. They live a longer, and pain-free life, free of the hip dysplasia that afflicted their predecessors. And the coats? Had working Pulik of the Puszta enjoyed the luxurious coat of today’s Puli, they would have chewed off what was in their way, and gone on to herd the sheep with better protection against the elements or predators.

Recreate a healthy, true-to-purpose dog? President Obama can enjoy a Portuguese Water Dog that not only can do its job, but live a life free of Storage Disease because BREEDERS ELIMINATED IT.

If you’re living in a place where dogs have poop hanging off their rear ends, their faces are dirty and their ears are in a sorry state, I’m thinking these dogs have TERRIBLE OWNERS, not bad breeders, although if the dogs came from pet shops, maybe they did have bad breeders. In your haste to incriminate breeders, you have made an egregious error in assuming we are all alike. Pat, hon, you need to do your homework. Clearly you know nothing of responsible breeders who are stewards of their breeds. Come back when you’ve spent a few weeks with a truly responsible breeder.

Reply

Verjean April 8, 2012 at 6:58 pm

I don’t disagree with you Pat. But is the solution for those who have never bred a puppy, have NO desire to breed a puppy, and never WILL breed a puppy, to regulate how puppies should be bred? I’m not saying that problems do not exist. They do. And while I do agree that problems exist, I also will scream at the top of my lungs, that many breeders are breeding FINE representatives of their respective breeds. I think there are more people THAT DO IT RIGHT, than don’t. But you don’t hear about those owners or breeders or fanciers. BECAUSE THERE’S NOTHING TO TALK ABOUT! They produce puppies that go to homes that love them, and return to the same breeder ten or twelve or fourteen years later, for their next puppy. We only hear about the problems, we only hear about the “mills” and the condition of “some” high volume breeders. No one reports “good” news…so the far majority of breeders who simply are doing a good job, remain anonymous and secret. The new stat being tossed by HSUS is 3.4 million animals euthanized annually. Yet somewhere between 18 and 23 million homes become available each year. Where do the other 15+ million pets come from? Are there really 15 million ill-bred pets out there? I think not. But those are the stories you don’t hear…about the 15+ million “great” pets out there.

Reply

Sharyn Hutchens March 16, 2012 at 5:38 pm

Wow. I stray from the computer for a day and in march the animal rights wackos to baste and broil my bud Susi. I’ll be brief since most everything that needs to be said (and a great deal that did not) has been said.

Whatever nutjob said show breeders are not interested in health needs to get educated. Who has funded the lion’s share of the health research that benefits mutts and purebreds alike? The AKC Canine Health Foundation, which is (wait for it) funded by donations from those nasty show breeders. To date the AKC CHF has spent $22 million on research to make dogs’ lives better. One of the more popular sections of the AKC website is the Health Resource Center. The various breed parent clubs also spend millions on studies to benefit their particular breeds. If there were no purebred dogs, who, pray tell, would pay for this research that results medical procedures to help ALL DOGS who need them. Anyone who believes show breeders ignore the health of their animals is simply ignorant. And unfortunately, willfully, invincibly ignorant.

Having spent the past ten years fighting the AR menace, I can recite their chants in my sleep. These are damaged souls who hate people much more than they love animals. I would pity them if they were not hell-bent on separating as many people as possible from their pets. A wise man once said, “Animal rights is mental illness masquerading as philosophy.”

Come on, Susi, let me help you down from that rotisserie. That sauce is just not your color, hon.

Reply

Charlee Helms March 16, 2012 at 7:07 pm

Well said, Sharyn. BBQ is NOT our Susi’s color……And which wise man are you quoting? I’d like to buy that man a Guiness, he’s brilliant!

Reply

Susi March 16, 2012 at 8:43 pm

It’s settled. We’re all going out for Guinness. Are you guys great, or what.

Reply

Susi March 16, 2012 at 9:13 pm

SHARYN!!!! You have NO FREAKING IDEA how glad I am to hear from you. I’ve been thinking of you all day as I’ve wonderered, “How on earth have Walt and Sharyon done this for ten years.” If I was in awe before, I’m gobsmacked now. People are telling me that each vitriolic letter means I’m pinching a nerve. While I’m sure this is a nice pat on the back of support, I’m less secure thinking it makes any impact at all. People have been asking me what they can do to help. You are the uncontested expert on this in my book. What do I tell them?

Reply

Perry March 16, 2012 at 5:39 pm

I’m kind of an outsider looking in. I have 2 pure bred papillons that are offspring of champion lines and from a responsible breeder who does not inbreed. Yay breeder! In my life I have been involved in many competitive organizations (English equestrian and Amateur Motorsport). Thinking to my days of involvement in equestrian, the biggest deal was the health of the horse, and each competitor was vet-checked by the show’s vet. Now I know from both worlds of competition that not everyone will be happy with decisions made by governing bodies – and generally, the more unhappy people, the closer to fair the rules are. (Sad, I know!). As breed groups, may it be the right time to be proactive, and decide that breed standards include concrete health items that apply to each breed, and ensure that competitive dogs are truly the healthiest examples of what those breeds can be. This is not the opinion of a vet, or someone with an axe to grind. I love dogs. I deliver pets to appointments. It was internal politics that made me leave the world of motorsport – and I truly understand how each person has very strong feelings for their breed. From an outside viewpoint, anytime you have a truly independant veterinary opinion on the health of your dog – now you just need to find those impartial vets. I say good luck, and many happy days may your puppies play!

Reply

Linda Sexton March 16, 2012 at 5:41 pm

This is such a terrific article it is hard to find fault with it. It’s well written, cogent and makes all the important points. If we had more spokespeople like you, maybe we wouldn’t be getting beaten up so badly. I used to proudly say I was a breeder. Now I speak with a softer voice. Maybe it’s time to get louder again.

Linda Sexton
Literati Dalmatians
Redwood City, CA

Reply

Susi March 16, 2012 at 9:07 pm

Gosh, Linda. Would it be odd if I made a copy of your post and gave it to everyone I know, including my children who still resent having been grounded when they were teenagers? Yes, it’s time to get louder. Welcome aboard, you have no idea how welcome you are. You’re among friends.

Reply

Perry March 16, 2012 at 5:49 pm

PS – the health check is to do good breeders a service and weed out those people who do the breeds a dis-service by inbreeding, and not being selective in their breeding practices. Most breeds have a code of ethics that likely preclude these folks anyhow – so it just may be organizational enforcement of policies that needs to happen! Clean house and weed out those bad apples!

Reply

Susi March 16, 2012 at 9:06 pm

Perry, while I detect that you are more “savvy” than many of the vitriolic people who’ve offered their responses to my blog, I respectfully disagree with you on several points. For starters, you are making some erroneous, and sweeping assumptions: You’re assuming that: 1) That all breeders engage in inbreeding. Not true. 2) That purebred dogs with faults are a result of inbreeding. Also not true, and I would point out that your average mutt, likely a lust match made over a fence, and therefore not inbred, suffers from the same maladies as a purebred dog including hip dysplasia, cancer, PRA, etc. 3) I know of no other species MORE selective about breeding practices than a responsible breeder who studies pedigrees ad nauseum, spend an insane amount of money performing CERF, BAER, OFA and assorted other tests before breeding their dog, and that leads me to (wait for it) #4: That all breeders are alike. Breed clubs have Codes of Ethics which prohibit their breeders from, among other things, selling a puppy to a pet shop. The puppy in a pet shop cage likely came from a commercial breeder, a mom and pop breeder and/or a loving person who reasoned that putting two of the same breed together would make lovely puppies with nary a concern about soundness. Take notice, Perry. Will a pet shop take back a puppy they sold ten years before? No? A responsible breeder will. Will a pet shop perform health checks on the puppies they sell? No? A responsible breeder will.

Do you have a family member that causes a scene at weddings, Thanksgiving and other holidays? Are you going to deal with them within the family, or call social services to handle it. Think carefully about your answer because it will tip your hand.

Reply

Jeni March 16, 2012 at 7:30 pm

Hrmmmm… Looking at my Rough Collie, which also has a double coat like the Puli, and also has hair on his chest that drags the ground, leg feathers dust mop my hardwood floors… Is this considered excessive?

Or the fact that I also own purebred Siberian Huskies. I live in Southern Ohio where the summer temps average 90+ with high humidity. My huskies live outside… in full summer coats.

I have seen what PITA has done to dogs in the name of “Animal Rights” at a dog show to prevent them from entering the show building – spray painting living creatures is cruel – isn’t it?

I’m with Susi and all the other ethical dog fanciers – where do we draw the line. I want to know how to stop these vain – self centered people who which to control what I can/can not do. Susi where do I sign up for this battle?

Reply

Mary-Ann Y. March 16, 2012 at 8:25 pm

Spray-painting isn’t as far as these people will go. I was at a show where they infiltrated the RV parking lot, spraying crates and ex-pens with antifreeze. They also released dogs from pens and crates where they promptly were killed on the adjoining freeway. When a couple were caught, they were quoted as saying, “Better for them to be dead than exploited by the likes of you.”
Creepy and frightening. These people are rabid in the extreme, and I firmly believe that if we breeders/exhibitors were only HALF as rabid as they are in defending ourselves, we’d be a lot better off.

Reply

Susi March 16, 2012 at 8:32 pm

I’m reminded, Mary-Ann, of when “Earth First,” an eco-terrorist group, burned to the ground a beautiful ski lodge in Vail, Colorado. They were making a statement about the raping of the earth, don’t you know. Vail turned around and rebuilt the lodge EXACTLY as it had been, so now because of Earth First, more trees were cut down. Does this seem logical to you? Of course, the trees that were cut came from farms and were promptly replanted. Hundreds of people were employed and it was a boon to the local economy. And that’s to say nothing of how many people were so turned off by the action that never in a million years would they ever be sympathetic to any such group, trees or animals. Well done, Earth First.

Reply

Carola March 17, 2012 at 8:06 am

I wish to thank Suzi and some others for their eloquence dealing with this subject. Why would one only do a health check on the winner?! It’s clear it’s all about uneducated people with big mouths, who probably never knew the warmth of a dog’s friendship. Reminds me of a saying I once saw: Oh Lord, help me to keep my big mouth shot until I know what I’m talking about.

I think in the end, HSUS etc. are their own worst enemy. When they have “regulated” and bossed about everything, from showdogs to no dogs as those should not have to work for the blind, police etc. and only belong in the ‘friendly’ nature – with exception of ‘non friendly’ animals like wolves, foxes, bears, boars etc. that don’t deserve to live as they are considered enemies of the Human species (sick!) -, they will have no (HUMAN’S BEST) FRIEND left. Earth will be a cold and sterile place.

That said, and being a breeder (whisper) and behaviorist myself, we’ll always have to deal with the good and bad in people; all the good breeders and organizations do for dogs being anihilated by people who have ‘other priorities’. How can we unite if we are so strongly divided? There should be a ‘grey’ area of tolerance towards all ‘priorities’, whether it’s about purebred – mongrol – designer dog, show – character – health, companion – work – wild, etc. We all hate abusers, not only the one that gets into the local newspaper, but also our breeder-colleagues, who hide health issues from us a.s.o., so we should be able to ‘regulate’ ourselves in these excesses…

Just a thought… If breed manuals sum up looks, character and health in their standards, and if pedigrees finally mention f.e. HD scores along with Champion Titles, why can’t a show catalogue? And mention at the same occasion the breed club’s site and obligatory health checks, and how complete mixes only seem to be healthier because they usually get less care and are no subject to health inventarisation, as we don’t know how to line them up. That would help potential buyers to look for a good breeder – not necessarily the Show Champion owner.

Nevertheless, when I look at pictures of breeds in the old days and now, I can see how show folks exaggerated in some breeds, and how this must influence the well-being of an individual dog. Hence the ‘re-creation’ of some breeds, like in new types of Bulldogs, or, in cats, the Thai for the old type Siamese. Isn’t the essence of a dog breed, that we have a purpose for it? Whether it’s a service dog or a companion dog, I don’t mind if people want ‘something else’. Isn’t that how we created our breeds? I only hope they try doing so with all 21th century knowledge of all aspects of a dog: health, character. etc.

My personal goal in breeding or chosing a dog will always be ‘dual pupose’: a dog that is a pleasure to live with, fitting nicely to the (not exaggerated) standard, and their (original) job – if that’s not considered ‘work’, at least being able to make a stroll in all weather without problem for their well-being. I guess I’m speaking for the most of us… and I wonder: what’s wrong with that?

Reply

Susi March 17, 2012 at 11:05 am

Not a thing is wrong with that, Carola. You’re a responsible dog owner who loves all dogs and wants to be left alone, but what I most like about your note is the creative thinking you’ve brought to the conversation about how best to monitor ourselves. And, you’ve grasped the point of my article: WE do it. Not the animal rights proponents, certainly not the purebred dog haters, and not the government. We bring this conversation to our respective breed clubs and if they haven’t already broached the topic of what happened at Crufts, it needs to be brought up. Unless, of course, the clubs are content to abdicate to others the future of their breeds. But we never, ever stop talking about it because an awful lot of pet owners are utterly unaware of what’s happening to the dog world and it WILL impact them whether they show their dogs are not. I appreciate the time you took to write, I really do.

Maria March 17, 2012 at 8:12 am

OMG Mary-Ann Y…. that is horrific!! :-O You obviously have terrible troubles with these, basically terrorist groups in the US!

However, this is not the case in the UK and at Crufts with the Kennel Club’s new Vet Checks. There is nothing extremist and dangerous like that happening here, so please don’t lump Animal Rights loonies in with our situation in the UK. The BBC, The Kennel Club and the Veterinary Association are perfectly reasonable people trying to deal with a real problem in some breeds.
From the sound of it, a very different situation from your’s in America. It’s very important to be absolutely accurate or you will lose all credibility.

Reply

Susi March 16, 2012 at 8:28 pm

Welcome aboard, Jen, the view from here is just fine!

You know how much I value your opinion on this and I’m so glad you shared it here. Like you, I’ve seen the effects of animal rights activisits who “freed” show dogs from their crates. The terrified dogs ran into traffic and could have been killed. The AR people never mention this,but more often than not, accuse us of fabricating it. I guess in the future, we sacrifice the dog to film the disaster on a cell phone.

Pesky things, facts, and that’s where I’d start. Arm yourself with facts and information to make yourself a dangerous adversary. Read up on what’s going on at http://www.naiaonline.org/, and follow Jay Kichener on Facebook, he’s on top of it: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000800033700&ref=ts. Be VOCAL. Most pet owners have no idea this is happening and need to be informed in a reasoned, balanced manner that illustrates to them how this impacts them even if they don’t show dogs. Make friends with shelter and rescue people so they can put a face on the word, “breeder” or “dog fancier” and learn that we’re the good guys. Write about this on your blog. Or send them here: the 66 comments (and counting) remarks made here tell you everything you need to know: Look at the approach the animal rights people have taken (name calling, emotional, illogical) versus the responses from people in the fancy. It says it all.

Reply

Gail Browne-McDonald March 16, 2012 at 7:36 pm

Beautiful article Susi! Thank you! I have to admit that every time I try to address the “Animal Rights” agenda I start foaming at the mouth over the lies, hypocrisy, ignorance and downright meanness and I get hauled off for observation and medication…so my hat is off to you!

Reply

Susi March 16, 2012 at 8:06 pm

Move over, Gail, by the end of today, I was foaming at the mouth too. And then I remembered that it’s exactly the reaction the AR folks want out of us. Divide, conquer – or drive to insanity. Not me, sister, and not you either. We’re made of tougher stuff and will fight the good fight.

Reply

Katrina March 16, 2012 at 7:53 pm

Passing this on…very well put. I’m actually a cat person – I have two CFA-finished Persians sitting at home and I’m looking into the future when AR people remember cat breeders exist. I have a lot of friends in dogs and I intend to get a Pekingese at some point in the future and I want to be able to own the same breed that exists today, big coat and brachy face included!

Reply

Susi March 16, 2012 at 8:05 pm

Thank you, Katina, for your support. And yes, they will come after your cats, as well. They’re already taking on horse owners, chicken farmers and who knows who else. BTW, I spent a day with Malachy, the Best in Show Peke from Westminster. He was a delight, very charismatic – and once they took him off the ventilator (KIDDING) he breathed just fine. For everyone else, that was a JOKE. Sarcastic JOKE.

Reply

All dogs rule March 16, 2012 at 8:20 pm

Thankyou sooo much!! I feel I can just sit back and let you do all the talking. Well said!. (-: (you are the voice i’ve been looking for.)

Reply

Susi March 16, 2012 at 8:42 pm

No, thank YOU for taking the time to add your voice to the chorus. Please know you’re not alone, but know, too, that there are many voices worth your time. Visit http://www.naiaonline.org/ which is an organization of level headed people who fight for anmimal welfare (note: not rights) without sacrificing the rights of humans. Thank you again!

Reply

Jim Q March 16, 2012 at 8:21 pm

These Animal “Rights” Activists show a very similar picture of anyone on any type of political spectrum who demand a certain action of others based on faulty or “feel good” facts. Whether it’s guns, drugs, sugar, salt, land use, climate change, all the way to pure bread dogs – this is what the “quiet majority” has brought upon ourselves. It is WAY past time that we stand up for the God given rights certified by our Constitution that have been slowly eroded by these idiots over the past 50+ years.

Suzi – these people will never understand the insane amount of care and love any reasonable breeder uses when breeding, raising, showing and placing their dogs. They will never understand that these animals mean nearly as much to us as our children, and we spend as much or more time making sure these canines are healthy and good citizens just as we would expect of our human offspring. NONE of this care goes to the “mutts” (I have owned and loved many mutts and have rescued my share of Greyhounds from race tracks throughout my years), and very few shelters and even fewer people who have experienced an “oops” breeding screen prospective owners the way good breeders do.

Understand where this is coming from. These “terrorists” (yeah, I said it) are here to deny the rights of anyone to “own” any animal. That is their goal. It is WAY past time that the AKC and other breed organizations, and dare I say other groups and companies such as Eukanuba and Purina (who both sponsor high caliber dog shows) step up to help spread the truth. It will take all of us working together to protect our ability to breed our dogs and continue the good work that breeders do for the health and well-being of not only the dogs, but the humans who will be loved and touched by them.

As I sit here with a pure bread Rough Collie at my feet, a pure bread Smooth Collie on the couch, and a rescued mutt snuggled up beside me, I want to tell you – I’ve got your back. It’s way past time to circle the wagons and yell the truth from the rooftops. If we don’t stand together – on ALL of these various issues – everything will fall apart, and we’ll all wonder what the hell happened to us. The sad thing is, the dogs will suffer the most…

Incredible, tremendous, wonderful work Suzi – I am proud to know you and call you friend. :)

- Jim -

Reply

Susi March 16, 2012 at 8:39 pm

Wow Jim, Having met you, knowing you “have my back” totally makes my week! I am well protected, indeed. And to be honored to know me??? Gosh. I feel I should say more but your reponse is so eloquent that anything I would add would detract from it. I will say something I almost never say: Susi, quit talking.

Reply

renee Miller March 16, 2012 at 8:25 pm

Thank you for this article susi was well said.. and I will continue fighting these AR activists.. unreal at the stupidity they represent.. I do rescue in purebreds, and show.. and people like this just infuriates me..
Terrible to say but people like this is why this world is run, and being run like it is.. not the same or never will be again..gone are the days that freedom , and peace reigned..

Reply

Rox March 16, 2012 at 8:37 pm

Liv, just wanted to let you know that there is a LARGE sheep herding training facility about four miles down the road from me and YES, I see Puli’s in full coat WORKING all the time!!!! they have that coat for a reason and it is FOR HERDING SHEEP! Perhaps you should do a little more research before you pop off at the mouth and let everyone know just how uneducated you truly are.

Reply

Susi March 16, 2012 at 9:23 pm

Rox, you’re hired. You’ve done a wonderful job of defending my breed and for that, I (and every Puli person who is following this) thank you. You’ve seen our dogs herd with your own eyes and are able to report objectively. Thanks for being the voice of reason.

Reply

Ginger Kenney March 16, 2012 at 8:44 pm

Excellent and very important post Susi! You concisely and eloquently stated so many important points. I do understand that many who identify themselves with AR mean well. I even found myself in their ranks for a few years some time ago, thinking that giving animals legal standing would protect them. How wrong I was!! I began to realize just how deceptive and dangerous so many of these groups are. Their leaders keep stirring the pot, and get donations which seldom go to protect animals…oh but the HSUS pension plan for the execs appears to be quite healthy, and I would bet the same is true for PETA and other similar groups. Hopefully many of these idealists who fall prey to the lies that are put out by such organizations will eventually see the light, but in the meantime we lose more and more rights, and so many animals fall prey to poorly written legislation. We who really love animals must stand together and fight back. We need to stand with those dairy farmers and egg producers,cat breeders, etc. We don’t have to agree with everything each group does but we need to find as much common ground as we can, stand together, and work within to police ourselves if necessary.

Reply

Diana March 16, 2012 at 9:04 pm

I read this very well expressed blog hanging out in my hotel room in the middle of a lovely dog show weekend. I have a groomed breed with routinely docked tails and cropped ears. I show in breed, agility, herding, and obedience/rally and bred my first litter after 20 years in my breed. I am tired of the AR zealots painting all breeds and breeders with the same brush. Sure there are health issues in some breeds (known only because of committed owners, breeders, and funded research), but my breed is actually FAR HEALTHIER than the dog population in general and mixed breeds in specific. Why? Because we care and the breeders before me cared AND we’ve never been popular enough to be sold in pet stores. Want to eliminate puppy mills? Eliminate the market through education and, if you really want a legislative solution, consider forbidding the sale of dogs in pet stores. Early in my dog life I volunteered at shelters in states where dogs had to be imported due to lack of supply, because that state did not allow pet stores to sell dogs and low cost s/n options were available. Not because of mandatory s/n or persecution of dog breeders. Honest shelter folks will tell you that the real problem is not excess puppies, it’s owner relinquishment of older dogs who should never have been placed in the wrong home. What pet store takes back a 5 or 12 year old dog because you lost your job or interviews you to see if you are the right fit for one of their dogs?
In all honesty, there are breeds that give me pause because of choices their parent clubs have made, and breeds that could use a bit of a wake up call. (Is a nice flying trot really worth a dog who can’t walk efficiently?) But KC’s Crufts program was ridiculous, worthless, and counter-productive. If the KC really wants to change the shape of brachiocephalic breeds then the place to do that is in the breed standard and the whelping box. I can only hope that this helps awaken breeders to the threats posed by AR folks. They’ve been gunning for us for years it’s past time we paid attention.

Reply

Susi March 16, 2012 at 10:05 pm

if your ears were burning at all today, Sheila, it’s because I wished frequently and fervently that I had your genetics background and logical mind to respond to some of the posts I’ve gotten today. Facts are pesky things to people who respond to most things emotionally. Spock would twirl in his grave. You make excellent points and it’s time to get past old school notions. Like you, I see problems in most breeds, but also recognize that responsible breeders are working hard to eradicate them with vigilance, expensive health screenings and careful breeding decisions. My objection in all this has been the approach to solving the issues, and calling into question who it is that is best suited to solve them. I’m so glad you responded, Sheila. I feel I have arrived (grin).

Reply

Susi March 16, 2012 at 10:15 pm

From the bottom of my heart, thank you for a reasoned, measured response, Diana. I don’t disagree with a word you’ve said and have only asked that reasonable minds which have a love of purebred dogs prevail in how best to approach that which needs improvement. Well said.

Reply

Rox March 16, 2012 at 9:09 pm

Ok for people like Chirs, Liv and Susanne I think you are under the impression that we just blindly grab any to dogs force them together and bang out a bunch of puppies willie-nillie only thinking of specific “looks” you couldn’t be more misinformed if you called a Siberian Husky a Kangaroo let me just give you a SMALL glimpse of what we do………………

I would just like to say that in our breeding program we go in this order EVERY TIME….

1) Health screenings, if anything is even questionable or not PERFECT health wise the dogs are NOT EVER considered for breeding. We also make sure to collect samples from all of our dogs to keep on file for any FUTURE breed specific studies or testing (UC Davis, VetGen etc)….. if they pass this we go on to the next category….( and yes it is because of people like us that do what we do that we have been able to even IDENTIFY find CURE and treat diseases in dogs….dogs like yours!!! no, don’t worry no need to thank me)

2) Temperament we look for the following, are they easy to train, friendly, good with children & strangers, are they good with other dogs, are they mindful, intelligent, are they good with other animals, do they have their own fun personality… traits we think would not only be fun in the ring but make FANTASTIC FAMILY MEMBERS!! if anything there is questionable its a NO GO!……….. if all looks good we move on to the next category………

3) Breeding and birthing= if the stud isn’t interested in breeding he isn’t used, if the bitch isn’t interested she isn’t covered, if a bitch isn’t a good mom she isn’t bred, if we have a bitch that needs a c-section she is fixed and subsequently so are all of the puppies (we won’t continue using dogs that can’t free whelp no need to pass that on) can a bitch produce a proper amount of milk, what is her “recovery time” how did she recover? etc etc their is a TON in this category that we consider if their is ANY and I mean ANYTHING that is even one degree off THEY AREN’T USED FOR BREEDING PERIOD!!!, now we look like we might be getting somewhere if this dog clears these TOUGH requirements………

4) Conformation, (we break this into two parts) PART 1= does the dog possess the proper physical structure to do the job that they were ORIGINALLY BRED TO DO!! ( we are terrier people so they need to have what would be required to ‘go to ground’) if they don’t than they aren’t bred….. (our philosophy is that these breeds were developed for a function and no matter how “pretty” they look they still need to be able to do that!!!)

5) Conformation PART2 = Does the dog meet the guidelines outlined for our breed by our parent breed club?

6)OK soooooooooooo once that is done we can start to move on to evaluating for compatibility we need to know what traits the bitch (and or her lines) present as dominant and what traits the stud (and or his lines) presents as dominant, we carefully compare and contrast figuring in all possibilities of outcomes. If for any reason their is an outcome that would be not desirable for ANY reason (temperament, personality, function, structure) than that pairing is scratched and we work on another one, once we have found a good match we can move on

7) We can now take our possible dogs and move on to the breed database (i am lucky our breed has dedicated so much time, research and money for this tool not all breeds have this but we do!!) Our breed database allows us to plug in both possible parents and check out lineage match ups for possible line breedings, in breeding, genetic jump breedings etc so we know a MATHEMATICAL equation of family trees and how, if and should they be used together………

8) we can now attempt to do a breeding

Christ they don’t even bother to properly scan for a micro chip at the cash cow glorified puppy mill you purebred bashers are always supporting called the pound, you want to get into back yard breeding and puppy mills its called your local animal shelter!!!!!, FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS for a FREE MUTT puppy that had all of it’s vet work, food and bed, and care DONATED??????? who’s making a nice profit really??????? OPEN YOUR EYES GET AN EDUCATION THEN COME BACK TO THIS POST

sorry my post is so long Susi I just hate having people that don’t know what they are talking about in my world tell me what I am doing is wrong. CRAP I PUT MORE WORK INTO MY PUPPIES THAN MOST PEOPLE PUT INTO THEIR OWN DANG PREGNANCY SHOULD WE START POLICING THAT TOO???????? oh no can’t do that then what would all the single mothers do for a paycheck??

Reply

Susi March 16, 2012 at 9:20 pm

An awesome reply, Rox. Suitable for framing. THANK YOU for taking the time to tell it like it is. You take all the space you need to write, you always have a home here.

Reply

Sheila and her cats March 16, 2012 at 9:32 pm

Very well said, Susi, and I spread the link around to about 5,000 people today. I’m not kidding — two dog lists (one of them Global) and 8 “pet law” lists including the big one that has close to 4,000 members. Also a couple of cat owners/dog breeders I know.

I just wanted to ask that people quit ragging on the “puppy mills”! No one wil make you buy a commercially-bred dog or cat; no one will make you sell your puppies to a broker or a pet store; etc. However, to paint them with a broad brush such as “they don’t care about the health” or “they starve and beat them” is not only unkind, it’s also untrue. How could a starved bitch conceive, let alone carry and nurse a healthy litter of puppies? Since when did it become illegal to make a profit on your puppies? (Hint: it’s not!)

Missouri hosts a breeder seminar every year where topics of health, nutrition, genetics, etc., are presented. I know of a number of show breeders who have attended and who speak favorably about the sophistication of the breeders, the topics and the speakers. Even show breeders may have something to learn from commercial breeders. It’s (still) a free country, despite the best efforts of certain politicians (think Rick Santorum, for one) and we are still free to own, breed and care for our animals AS WE SEE FIT, within very broad and general guidelines. Let’s keep it that way!

Reply

Jane M. March 16, 2012 at 10:24 pm

The problem as I see it is we in the dog world are very aware of the animal rights agenda, but the general public is completely oblivious to these issues. I have talked to so many non-dog people who have no idea what’s going on. It is imperitive that the general public become educated of the AR desire to eliminate their right to own pets. The AR people have done an excellent job reaching out to the public with their lies and propagada, who are willingly drinking the kool-aid because that’s all they hear.
It takes money to mount public campains to get our point of view heard. I don’t know why dog food companies, chain pet stores, and other pet services, have not spoken out against the AR people. I know they are worried of offending anyone, but can’t they see that if the AR people get their way their future looks as bleak as ours? We as breeders and dog owners need to lean on these suppliers and services to spend some of their millions on reaching out and educating the GP on what’s really happening with the AR agenda. They need to make a stand with us and not worry so much about being so PC. In my opinion, educating the general public is the key.

Reply

Susi March 16, 2012 at 10:30 pm

You couldn’t be MORE right, Jane. I, too, encounter dog loving pet owners who are oblivious to what we face. Worse, they assume that because they don’t show dogs, they face no threat. I envy them their cossetted state of mind. Sadly, I suspect that dog fanciers are the coal mine canaries and if our rights can be stripped away, who is next?

Reply

Angela March 16, 2012 at 10:31 pm

thank you Susi for such an informative article and thank you for your rebuttals, not sure I would have been so poised.

I would like to challenge Chris and Liv, who seem so quick to criticize and judge, to pick a national breed club, any breed club, and I guarantee you will find a list on their websites of their efforts to support breed research, current disease studies and genetic research. In addition, you will find that there are DNA banks associated with many breeds. These banks are used to aid in the gathering of valuable info towards the understanding and hopefully the cure to many diseases for not only canines, but humans as well. It is usually the breed clubs that foot the bill associated with the collection and storage of the DNA. An expense that is often paid for in part by membership dues and fundraising efforts by the fanciers. Chris/Liv where do you think this valuable info comes from? The very purebred dogs that are owned and loved by the breeders you condemn.

Reply

Susi March 16, 2012 at 10:44 pm

And thank YOU, Angela, for noticing that I’ve responded to those who took a less civil approach to my blog with “poise.’ My philosphy is to never let it be said that I censored anyone, called them names, or wished that their arms and genitals would fall off. If we chip away at their arguments with facts backed up by an obvious love of our dogs, I have to think that in the end, we must prevail. But only if we stand together, do the right thing, and speak with one voice. I truly grateful that you added your voice to the chorus.

Reply

Jo March 16, 2012 at 10:40 pm

I’ve been involved in showing for many years and while I know many, many exemplary breeders who should be commended for their work, I also know many within the show world who should be ashamed of their work. Breeders with “champion dogs” with a life expectancy of 4 -5 years, with a history skin and coat conditions or with unreported health issues. I know one breeder that sells her dogs off to the higher bidder, intact with no care as to how they are bred after that. I know another that sells any pup that is not deemed to be “show-quality” on non-breeding contracts, but doesn’t follow up to ensure those animals actually got altered. Breeding purebreds does not automatically make you a good breeder. We all know there is so so much much more to it than that.

I believe in health checks. I believe that breed standards need to be reviewed and possibly revised to ensure we are breeding for the best possible health & quality of life. I believe the less than steller breeders need to be weeded out. Do I agree that a single vet that may not be familiar with the breed should have ultimate say as to whether the dog competes or not? No. There does need to be a better counter balance than that.

Just as I would be incredibly offended and hot-headed if someone suggested that all breeders are “evil” and “idiots”, I find much of this comment thread just as offensive towards those with “mutts” or rescue dogs. These dogs exist as a result of the bad breeders out there and society can’t just turn our back on them. The tone that all of us who work in rescue are out to get the breeders is not only inaccurate, but it creates a huge amount of animosity where it doesn’t need to be. I agree with you that the health checks were not carried out in a reasonable way and I still found myself on edge and ready to argue by the end of your post. It is not “idiotic’ to want to give a home to a dog that needs one and until society finds a way to shut down the bad breeders and educates the public completely about how to recognize a bad breeder, shelters will need to exist.

Personally, I feel like right now our community is under attack and that we are not doing ourselves any favours by engaging in name-calling and slinging mud. People are mad. Trust me, I understand. My concern is how wee move forward from here. What I would love to see is our community come to the table with some real suggestions and ideas of how we show the world just how committed good breeders are to good health. How do we set up a system of health checks in a way that promotes good health and shows people that the dogs winning these shows are optimally healthy? How do we continue to weed out the bad breeders among us? How do we prevent the puppy millers of the world from muddying our name by selling sub-standard, unhealthy “registered purebred” dogs? Until we can show the world that not only are we asking these questions, but that we are dedicated to solving them (as I know all the good breeders are), then I think the community will continue to come under attack. The bad breeders give us all a bad name. The key is getting rid of them, not getting rid of the people who do rescue.

Reply

Jo March 16, 2012 at 10:45 pm

*my apologies* My comment should have read: I agree with you that the health checks were not carried out in a reasonable way and I still found myself on edge and ready to argue by the end of the comments on your post.

Reply

Susi March 17, 2012 at 11:50 am

Thank you for weighing in, Jo. You ask good questions. Sadly, I’m not the final word on how to answer them, I can only tell you my own approach.

It is incredibly awkward to chastise someone we know for how they do something, but if enough like minded people within a structured environment, like a breed club, insist on improvement, they can be powerfully persuasive. Peer pressure works with children, and it’s pretty effective with adults, too. Mind you, it doesn’t happen overnight, but we must work within our breed clubs to affect change, or else, someone else will do it for us as we’re seeing first hand.

Reply

Rox March 16, 2012 at 11:19 pm

Rescue, foster and animal shelters have many sub categories, I have many rescues and work with our rescues (and other breed rescues) as often as I can but I don’t get free hand outs free vetting free food free pooperscoopers and I don’t charge for them to get homes, that is profiting the same as puppy-mills just under the guise of “socially conscientious”

Reply

mbp March 17, 2012 at 1:29 am

Totally agree. These misguided fools who call pedigreed dog breeders puppy killers or mutt killers – where the hell do they think the mutts come from – they come form puppy farms and commercial breeders who want to make money, don’t give a damn about their dogs and care even less about the health aspects of breeding. How about we get the priorities right and get rid of the mutt breeders- the puppy farms etc. As usualit is the responsibel breeder who are bearing the brunt of the problems caused by the irresponsible. Instead of bowing down to the illogical extremeist we need to edicate people – not all dog breeders are equal and the good ones should be differentated from the greedy and irresponsible

Reply

Chuck March 17, 2012 at 1:50 am

I think a lot of great truth has been provided by Susi, Sharyn, Jen, etc.

Susi, how dare you conjure up an image of a liberal naked in a field drinking all that God-given sunshine. Doubtful I could drink enough black and tans to help erase that imagery; I’ll start therapy next week ;-)

First they came for the hobby breeders, and we did nothing….(Think 1930s Germany if you have any knowledge of history.)

Let me ask the animal rights crowd: How much have you done for dog health? And I don’t mean supporting PETA, HSUS and Draconian laws that only attack hobby breeders and ignore puppymills and backyard breeders?

To those who think, no feel, that showdog people and hobby breeders are the devil incarnate on earth, let me ask you: Why did you support and accept the OWS mobs?

OWS, in every place they gathered like a rat pack: left trash of Biblical proportions; left biological waste; demanded that shops and restaurant allow them to squat in their facilities to use power, get out of the elements, use free wireless access; wash off and use bathroom facilities; took up space that should have been available for PAYING guests in those establishments; blocked the flow of free trade to small business owners (these people were DAMAGED financially yet the “1%” were not effected); committed rape of women (and probably men); started fires (condo in Ft. Collins – $10M up in smoke); murders (Oakland); ignored local ordinances in all types of ways (general rule); tried to negotiate with local officials and when they didn’t get their way, cried a sea of tears to CNN, MSNBC, HuffPo and other liberal media outlets about how wronged they were; need I go on? All the stuff they protested about in their nonsensical jbber jabber was transmitted using technology like iPhones, iPads, cellphones, laptops and wireless hotspots made possible by the “1%” that created and produced them – lookup FOXCONN APPLE and learn who made this stuff; how much did you protest and hate Apple while yakking on your iPhone and videoing “police oppression” and who paid for that police force, certainly not OWS as they were not working/paying taxes yet expected all for free. Hypocrisy at its finest. This was mob rule, or “useful idiots” as Lenin would call them.

The animal rights mobs are knitted from the same cloth as the OWS mobs – useful idiots for progressive causes of masters like PETA and HSUS. These mobs drink more toxic Kool-Aid than any human should be allowed to quaff, and they think they have all the answers. They anthropomorphize how a Puli feels because they think this is how they would feel. In reality, a Puli is cleaner than any liberal OWS human in dreds. And, these are VERY HAPPY dogs in full coat, same for Komandorak and full-coat Huskies living Ohio (hint: the coat is designed to insulate in extreme summer AND winter conditions.)

If you bothered to watch Westminster a month ago (oh yeah, you probably missed it as the Pedigree mobs had their panties in a bunch over Purina being the sponsor. Get over it, the only reason Pedigree was upset is they lost their bragging rights – the money was collected and still given to the shelters and rescues, just not by Pedigree. And while we are at it, HSUS doesn’t even own shelters and they donate just 1% to shelters who BEG them for donations. And PETA – their kill rate at their shelter in Virginia is 95%, and 98% for cats; people who surrender their pets to PETA expect they will be ETHICALLY re-homed only find their dogs and cats typically dead in less than 24 hours and dumped in a dumpster. Purina donates just as much as Pedigree [odd name for dog food that tries to disassociate itself today from pure-bred dogs yet it was OK 10 years ago - maybe they should rename themselves to Muttigree] but I digress) you ,missed how many dogs had TITLES at the end of their names proving they could do what they were bred to do.

And how much do hobby breeders make, you know, those insensitive, evil humans who drag their dogs to dog shows? Surely you have a number in mind, just remember, dog shows cost money.

In the USA, we have over 20,000 guns laws. In 1991 Washington, DC, the homicide rate was 500 – Murder Capital of the USA. This in a city where guns were banned. How’s that workin’ for ya?

Liberals try to legislate behavior, and it fails over and over and over. To those who think there needs to be more rights for animals, how would you legislate a Puli’s coat? What would be the law? How many pages? What do you know about each breed you want to change, or ban? Oh, and don’t forget we are no longer owners but rather “guardians”, which has a very specific legal definition. In your perfect Ameritopia the State can come in and confiscate dogs and make them wards of the state. PETA and HSUS have fantasies about such things that one day this is how it will be and the follow-on is banning pets – one generation and they are done. Good bye companions. Good buy service dogs. Good bye therapy dogs, Good bye barn cats that kill mice and rats. Good bye herding dogs that really do protect sheep from coyotes and other predators better than traps and poison. Good bye SAR dogs. Good bye tracking dogs that are used to search for lost children and criminals. And you know, all these uses for dogs and they LOVE WHAT THEY DO!

Rather than getting all huffy and puffy about mandating insurance programs provide free contraceptives and abortions, how about free spaneutering using taxpayers Dollars, or better yet, REQUIRE all pet owners to BUY pet insurance and federally require same insurance provide mandatory spaneuter services, for free with no additional premium costs whether you own a bitch or dog. There ya go – all neat and tidy. But, it has worked so well for the 20,000+ guns laws, so ,maybe this won’t work.

Note how animal rights groups, and liberals are all about control and legislation and not to properly educate on the wonderful aspects dogs bring to us. “Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.” ― Roger Caras

Here is a novel idea: Why not work with the AKC and local and national dogs groups/clubs/schools to help educate the public on appropriate pet ownership? I was in Germany several times recently and dogs were welcomed in, gasp, restaurants. Try it here and you’ll be treated like you are carrying a leaky vile of Ebola-tainted blood. Hint: DOGS are cleaner than your kids.

“The American people will never knowingly adopt socialism. But under the name of Liberalism, they will adopt every fragment of the socialist program until one day America will be a socialist nation without knowing how it happened.” Norman Thomas – Socialist Party presidential candidate in 1940, 1944 and 1948.

Did this make any difference? Doubtful as liberals are leftist Kool-Aid drinking, close-minded “useful idiots”. Are you liberals offended? GOOD – because you constantly offend me, my wonderful terriers (with their DOCKED tails) AND COUNTRY with no apology, so don’t expect one from me.

Reply

Susi March 17, 2012 at 12:13 pm

Wow, Chuck, you pretty much covered it all! Thanks for weighing in, I hope some of your excellent points are taken to heart.

Reply

biscuit March 17, 2012 at 3:00 am

I find comparing judging the heath of dogs in dog show to the Holocaust extremely distasteful.

Reply

Sheila Muckle March 17, 2012 at 3:22 am

Wonderful article- I will tweet it and pass it on. Every word you say is so true. We have got to take a stand and be proud to be breeders- not ashsamed.

Reply

Susi March 17, 2012 at 11:33 am

Thank you Sheila. You’re right. Say it loud, say it proud. Responsible dog owners and breeders have done nothing wrong, and yet all are painted with a very broad brush. Breeders are NOT all alike.

Reply

Dane March 17, 2012 at 7:16 am

The animal rightist could be a more twisted and confused group of people. Promoting mutts? This promotes back yard breeding by people with no clue what they are doing. Dogs suffering for it. No vetting, poor nutrition in most cases and then litters dumped off at shelters who by the way are popping up at every corner and many of these so called rescues are nothing more than puppy mills themselves making a lot of money from adoption fees. The just slide under the radar posing as the good guy.

Reply

Susi March 17, 2012 at 11:05 am

Exactly!! Well said, Dane. Well said.

Reply

Fred Salud March 17, 2012 at 7:35 am

Thank you for a well written piece. It is as objective as it is informative. Hopefully, more and more responsible breeders will band together and work to effectively counter the AR groups who have been brainwashing the general public for far too long.

Reply

Susi March 17, 2012 at 11:06 am

Thank YOU for reading the piece and sharing your response to it here, Fred. I can’t add much more to your hope of solidarity among the purebred dog owners, it’s what most of us long for.

Reply

Carol Houlihan March 17, 2012 at 8:14 am

Why can’t someone in the film business make a good breeder movie. Show all the love and care that we do for our dogs. We stay up all night when our dogs are having pups, take care of those pups everyday. Feed and clean our dogs. But still I look around my own neighborhood and see dogs running lose, and having pup every time that mixed breed , what ever breed, is in heat. I give these people a card where they can get the dogs spay or neutered at a very low cost. but 6 months later that same dog is bred again and now several pups from previous litters that weren’t dumped someplace else are having pups too, or the son from a previous litter has bred the mother or sister or both. Naturally the pups are welped under the house or garage where later because some of the pups have died someone has to get the dead smelly pup out! It gets me so mad! Then you see the same type of people in Wal-Mart parking lot trying to give pups away. I give them the same card and tell the to get their dog fixed. And I’m even more pissed when I see that those dogs are pure bred dogs and they want $100 for them. 6 week old pups no shots not wormed, etc. Needless to say I get very upset with these people. But we need to band together and have ads on TV promoting the good breeder. And not those pathetic dogs in cages making them look like they are so sad. Heck I can get the same look on my dogs when they are in their create in the house. We all need to do our part and join the support organization that are fighting for us. RPOA for example. Thanks

Reply

Susi March 17, 2012 at 10:57 am

From your lips to the powers that be, Carol. I’ve LONG yearned for an ad or “info-mercial” to counter the gut-wrenching ads put out at night by the Human Society of the United States, a group that takes in millions every year but never spends a penny of it on a dog or dog shelter. They do more harm than good to responsible dog owners and breeders and have an agenda that makes them not our friend. I have heard that the AKC has the kind of 2 minute film of which you speak, but that copyright issues over music, or some such, are holding it up. I wish it would get resolved, already, because every day “our” voice isn’t heard is another day that empowers the animal rights groups. I totally hear what you’re saying – we all do. And we (meaning responsible dog owners and breeders) watch in horror as more or our rights are stripped away and those who would just as soon see purebred dogs cease to exist are controlling the conversation. That has to stop. Keep talking, Carol, and continue to express yourself to anyone who will listen. Too many good people, pet owners, are utterly unaware of what’s happening to the dog world and it WILL impact them whether they show their dogs are not. Taking the time to write to me is not only much appreciated, it’s a good start. Don’t stop!

Reply

Colum McCaffery March 17, 2012 at 8:22 am
Serindip March 17, 2012 at 8:26 am

Alright, we agree…now what.
I am aged and long of tooth and the fight is going out of me, BUT I would be
an awesome team member.
We need a leader here, with power and brains and a walk softly carry a huge stick attitude.
My Country is going down the tubes and all we love will follow. Perhaps this is a great place
to start. Sanity for Animals. SFA
B

Reply

Susi March 17, 2012 at 10:50 am

I like your style, B: short, quick, to the point, and impassioned. I agree, we need a leader. The good news is that we have LOTS of leaders. There are many groups fighting the good fight of animal welfare without sacrifcing individual freedom; This is one such group: http://www.naiaonline.org/.

The bad news is that we have so many leaders that people like you and me hardly know where to go. I keep wishing that the AKC which is, afterall, the registry to which purebred dogs belong in this country, would speerhead the organizations of these loose groups, but it’s likely wishful thinking on my part. They have a legislative branch that keeps track of bad bills that impact us and our dogs, but we need more. I keep hearing about a terrific video that AKC has in its possession that would counter the gut wrenching ads put out at night by the Humane Society of the United States – a group that only takes in money but have never spent a dime of it on a shelter or dogs, but I don’t know when they’ll actually put it on TV. We need to keep ourselves informed (the web site I mentioned above had good resources), we need to “vet” our legislators carefully to make sure they are aware of “squishy” language of bills presented to them – “feel good” laws that on the surface seem harmless, but in actuality infringe upon the right of responsible dog ownes and breeds. But especially, we need to be vocal about what is happening: with our relatives, with our neighbors, with the mail man – with everyone. I continue to be surprised at how few pet owners are aware of what is happening to dog owners, or how many are aware but feel that because they don’t show their dog, they’re unaffected. I’m not sure where they think their next Sheltie or Pug will come from when all the responsible breeders have given up. I very much appreciate your enthusiasm and you would certainly have my vote to be our fearless leader. I’m long in tooth, too, but maybe if we get enough long-toothed mad-as-hell people to join forces, we’ll be formidable.

Reply

Susan Weber March 17, 2012 at 8:39 am

Thank you. I found your article to be very well thought-out. I admit to being on-the-fence about what was done at Crufts. I’m against it for so many reasons – many of which you stated. And, I have a great fear of the AR crowd and what they are accomplishing. Many of the comments on here scare me too. I don’t understand how people think they are so perfect that their views on things should become law. But, and it is a big BUT, I also don’t understand what some are doing to their breeds. Yes, we (breeders and owners) should police our own breeds. But, what happens when we don’t? What happens when we don’t have the numbers or power to effect change. It literally made me sick to see the WINNER at Westminster barely able to breath as it paraded around the ring. The breeders, the judges, the kennel club all reward this. I don’t want government interference. I don’t want the kennel clubs requiring very subjective health checks AFTER the winners have been selected and for only a FEW breeds. I also don’t want breeders rewarded and a dog that has bred to have a very physical problem held up to the wide uninformed public as the best bred dog in the country. I don’t know what we do.

Reply

Susi March 17, 2012 at 9:26 am

What we do first, Susan, is discuss the issues logically and sanely which we’re doing. As you’ve already noticed, the calmer heads among us have opined here with reasoned comments, while the animal rights zealots and purebred dog haters have essentially suggested I have no right to be alive, let alone own dogs. And yet they insist on setting the tone of this dialogue, if not how we conduct ourselves. This strikes me as the inmates running the asylum. Are there abuses by breeders? Of course there are. And we’ve not done a good enough job of dealing with them. But we’ve quickly learned that if we don’t sort out our own, “they” will do it for us. “They,” who fault us for owning purebred dogs. “They,” who lack the experience or appreciation for the rich history behind each purebred dog, if not the fancy. Perhaps we bring this conversation to each breed club for review, but it IS each club and each individual fancier who steers that conversation, not those who wish us harm. The next thing we do is arm ourselves with facts based on hard data and evidence, not emotionalism rooted in a radical agenda. We all believe in animal welfare, but animal rights is a very different kettle of fish and I’ve yet to be persuaded that a group like PETA or HSUS truly has the best interests of dogs at heart – not when the HSUS pulls in millions of dollars annually but spends not one penny of it on an actual dog or shelter. I’ve encountered an organization which promotes animal welfare without it impacting our freedom as dog owners, perhaps it’s worth your time to look at it? http://www.naiaonline.org/. And finally, I think we each become an advocate for individual freedom, purebred dogs and the welfare of all animals, but the choice is ours. I appreciate the time you took to write, I really do.

Reply

anita March 17, 2012 at 8:47 am

wow, a can of worms have well and truly been exploded. I am a dog owner i have komondors, rottweiler and jack russel mutts!!! so i am feeling a bit confused as to which side i should belong. I love my dogs for their characters, their contributions to my home and my life. I have also started to show my kom and was at crufts for the first time this year. As a responsible DOG owner i ensure all my dogs are regularly vaccinated and vet checked and they are all chipped, wormed, flea treated and trained. I think we should stop separating groups and look at the breeding and welfare of dogs as a whole. There are a lot of great breeders (again both purebreeds and mutts) out there who are fighting to protect what they do, and there are a few bad breeders who seem to be held up to the spotlight as an example of what all breeders are. I have the right to choose what dog i want whether it be purebred or a mutt and not to be made to feel guilty about it. Owning a purebreed does not mean i have killed a mutt. I have had horrible comments made to me about my koms coat, saying that she should be sheared, its cruel, her coat is all about vanity. Koms are an ancient breed and their coats have a purpose. My jack russels, are small, fiery, snappy but they also have a purpose. Love the differences, work on the weaknesses and protect the abused and vulnerable dogs.

Reply

Susi March 17, 2012 at 9:06 am

You’ve nicely expressed, Anita, what most reasonable dog fanciers are witnessing, if not experiencing for themselves. But it seems to me you needn’t pick sides, which is what animal rights zealots would wish for you to do (Divide and Conquer and all that); You have a purebred dog whom you’ve begun to show. You also count as part of your family, loveable mutts. You are responsible for your dogs and treat them well but also feel that all dogs are deserving of love and care. Guess what, Anita. This makes you a fancier. Every member club of the American AKC actively engages in rescue for their respective breed – my own family has a rescue Puli.
Are there bad breeders out there? Of course there are. Who better to deal with them than the pressure of their peers and their clubs? Please don’t fall into the trap set for us by others who neither share, nor care about our interests in purebred dogs. No one knows what’s best for you and your than you. You are harming no one, you seem very reasonable to me and have expressed a caring attitude. Do as you have done but never let anyone make you feel you need to “take sides.” If you value individual freedom, a love of dogs and are living your life as a responsible person, you are on an admirable course. And never be guilted for owning a purebred dog. Ever. What is it I once read: People need your permission to make you feel bad?

Reply

anita March 17, 2012 at 9:22 am

Thanks susi, you have such a way with words and in an ideal world non of what you originally said would be an issue, but sadly it is. I think a big shake up is needed but the problem is who should do the shaking and who decides how much. I do not have enough knowledge of the genetics of breeding or any of the specific problems relating to different breeds. I do think too much emphasis is put on purebreeds and breeders and not enough is put on owning and caring for dogs. I dont know if registering ALL breeders and litters, and registering all dog owners with mandatory yearly vet checks, where all collated information can be held in one place so a true picture of dog health can be kept. This could then be used to decide if problems are breed specific, area specific, environment specific or affect all dogs pure and mutts alike. Until such information is collected finger pointing is a waste of time and its all speculation. Even in pure breeds where most of the litters are sold as pets they then are never heard of again so no one knows if there have been problems or not. Again i do not consider myself to be fully aware of all the facts concerning the issues you have raised but i believe you have hot the nail of the head and its time for those closely linked with breeds, breeding, showing, dog owners to work at setting things right.

Reply

Kathy March 17, 2012 at 10:49 am

When it comes to dogs, this sort of subject is always going to be emotive. I am from the UK originally and have been to Crufts. I have pure bred Siberian Huskies, but I have never bred nor have I shown them. My dogs are pets and to be perfectly frank after my experiance mnay years ago would never put myself or my dogs through that experiance. Along with a friend of mine who was a breeder we decided to go to Crufts and was thrilled we got there on the Working Dog Day. We walked round and saw all the exhibitors,vendors and all the different breeds. My friend had shown many times and we had been there a few years previous with a Shiba Inu in the toy section. What a complete difference in attitude towards their dogs!! Some of these so called breeders were fluffing up styling thier dogs using hair spray and goodness knows what else. I didnt enjoy being there and I can see why Crufts decided to act. While being around the working breeds I saw it very differently. I liked your article and I can see where you are coming from. But as in everything in society Policing yourselfs doesnt work. Sometimes it takes an outsider to see things as they really are. There is always going to be bad breeders that give everyone else a bad name. I have experienced that with one of my own dogs. Given papers, told it had all the right injections, medical checks etc. All fake! this person had been a “reputable” breeder, had many show dogs and many folllowers! How else could this person have been stopped unless places like Crufts get tougher. Its a shame some people are very blinkered on it and a shame some are too far the other way and BAN EVERYTHING attutude. I love my dogs and they are happy healthy working sibes !! Thank you for listening! K

Reply

Susi March 17, 2012 at 11:45 am

Thank you for writing, Kathy.I appreciate that despite your negative experience, you still read my piece with an open mind, and that you see where I’m coming from. I don’t disagree that policing our own doesn’t always work – but I’m betting that the recent Crufts put everyone on notice. Fine. Now step away and let the breed clubs take over now that the point has been made. And while you could be right in that sometimes it takes an outsider to see things as they are, that is precisely what worries me. Is an outsider who dislikes purebred dogs and secretly views them as symbols of elitism the right person to dictate to purebred dog fanciers how they should conduct their sport? Is someone who has never seen a Puli the right person to advise me as to how much coat is too much? Is a person who has never set foot in a dog show the right person to make rules that impact it? And where does it end? Fifteen breeds today, fifty tomorrow? At the risk of sounding like someone who sees black helicopter lurking behind every hill, there ARE people out there who do not have my best interest at heart. Me, a responsible dog owner whose dogs are happy, healthy and thriving. And yes, they have corded coats. How long before someone decides that a 10″ long coat is too much? As the expression goes, once a camel has his nose under the tent, there’s no keeping out the rest of him. I’m afraid the camel is in the tent.

Reply

Kathy March 17, 2012 at 12:39 pm

Generally I am in agreement with you. I agree there are faults in the system and HUGE amount of work on everyones part to get it right. Yes we have to be very careful that “because it is different , it is wrong” attitude. I know you love your dogs and know they are happy and I can tell you are a responsible owner/breeder. But what happens IF (and I mean hyperthetically) if there was a degenerating flaw within that breed that you had not known about, that medical science can now pick up on, even if medical science had no understanding of the breed, they pick up on this trait and say “sorry…we cant allow this anymore as it is unneccessary suffering….” Would you then carry on regardless? Argue till you are blue in the face? Fight tooth & nail? Tell medical science they are being Nazi’s? where does it stop? what is the correct decision? Tell them your dog is happy and healthy?! But what if they are saying ..” if you keep breeding this breed it will get worse and worse until one day that breed will have so much wrong with it, it will struggle to walk and breath while you are parading it around the The Winners Enclosure.? (dont take that as a dig on anyone, I am just devils advocate!) I would not dream of telling ANYONE their precious family pet is a freak of nature and it shouldnt be allowed as much as i wouldnt dream of telling a parent their kid’s geneology is somewhat flawed! (bad analogy- but you get my meaning, but hey how many of them have we seen in our time!?) I can see why its come to this and as responsible breeders/owners we should be working together as a whole with EVERYONE to irradicate the flaws & promote responsible breeding. But I do applaude Crufts for making a very brave stand. No, i dont think they buckled under pressure from animal activists, i think they are actually listening to people like us, responsible dog lovers, breeders & owners. England is a small island and if you shout load enough everyone hears! BTW I think the coat on your dog is amazing :) I think it looks great. But do i think its unnatural? yes! Do i think its wrong ? In all honesty, how can I answer that? Just because its unnatural it doesnt make it right or wrong. My hair is dark (maybe not now..more grey than anything) but i colour it blonde! Does it make me wrong?!

Reply

Susi March 17, 2012 at 1:10 pm

Thanks for getting back to me, Kathy. As a matter of fact, we HAVE identified a nasty bit of business in our breed: Degenerative Myleopathy. I’m waiting for my DNA kit to arrive from the Orthopedic Foundation and when it arrives, a cheek swab will be done and we’ll await the results. We will do the right thing if we learn he is a carrier and he won’t’ be passing on his genes. We learned about this at a national specialty when when one of our own sounded the alarm. Now we’re all doing cheek swabs. It’s the right thing to do. I have neutered dogs in my home for far less dramatic reasons, including simply not having what I deemed were qualities worthy enough to pass along, but one dog was the smartest Puli I ever had and she died nearly a year ago, just shy of her 17th birthday.

I find it interesting to learn that while you think my dog’s coat is amazing, you regard it as unnatural. Nothing was done to encourage that coat other than that the breeder wanted sound, typey dogs with good structure, temperament and soundness. Good coats do happen on their own. The Puli coat today is a vast improvement over its predecessors’ coats which could scarecely keep them dry or protect them from predators on the Hungarian Puszta. I suppose good nutrition helped to improve the coats from the skimpy coverage they had before, and as we bred to improve temperaments and reduce hip dysplasia, we doubled up on the coat factor. I suspect many breeds have similar histories and yet will be faulted for exaggerating their breeds. And again, I go back to asking if it’s correct for people outside the breed to make those determinations. I don’t think so.

Reply

Kathy March 17, 2012 at 1:31 pm

I wasnt implying that you permed your dogs coat ;) I was trying to work out whether or not the dog had originally had a coat like this or was it part of a breeding program. I suppose in my limited knowledge i wrongly assume “natural” is straight or just plain fluffy! My eldest daughters hair is naturally blonde and curly, mine & my youngest daughters are dark and straight!Natural is just natural i suppose?
I do find the coat amazing!
Please do not think I am questioning any of your ethics. I am certain you will of course always do the right thing by the breed and by your own conscience. It is obvious you are passionate about the breed and I am very greatful for you to allow me voice my opinions on your blog. Kudos to you! I am some what agrivated by some of the other comments on here by people who are totally ignorant and do nothing other than make inflamtory remarks that are totally unhelpful. I hope all goes well with your Puli. and I look forward to more interesting debates with you! K

Carole Luke March 17, 2012 at 12:09 pm

Well said. I can’t agree more, but unfortunately many “breeders” don’t “get it.”

Reply

Chuck March 17, 2012 at 1:29 pm

Get what?

Reply

Meredith March 17, 2012 at 1:20 pm

The problem in the UK as shown in the film PDE was not that the breeders made logical and cogent arguments on behalf of their respective breeds, their conformation, and the rigor of their breeding programs – but that they reacted like vampires exposed to sunlight and went on the counter-attack. For better or worse these Crufts and KC breeders are representative, since they show – and they showed clearly that they care more about what wins ribbons than what might be going on with their breed health. PDE didn’t advocate red paint throwing, setting animals free or shutting down shows – it simply asked breeders to see objectively and self-regulate. And the response was – to borrow your Holocaust metaphor – on the level of a Kristalnacht. As a dog lover, whose dog is likely a pure JRT but I’ll never know because he’s a rescue, I LOVE those who continue to breed this charming breed. But as someone said above, Jacks can be aggressive, bitey and have knee and eye issues. I want responsible breeders to self-regulate – as do lovers of all breeds – but if we’re all honest, we know the $ involved in purebred dogs breeds corruption. All PDE was shine a light on something ugly – and ugly didn’t have the sense to come clean.

Reply

Jinnie March 17, 2012 at 2:24 pm

Thank you Susi for writing what I was thinking!

Reply

Susi March 17, 2012 at 3:33 pm

And thank YOU, Jinnie, let letting me know I’m not alone in my thoughts.

Reply

Sarah M. Shuman March 17, 2012 at 3:35 pm

Dang! My friend, you opened the flood gates this time, didn’t you? That lets the river through – and the debris as well. Purebred fanciers in this country long ago should have applied for grants to subsidize the preservation of history (breeds). That way perhaps the public would begin to understand what we do. At the very least it might save many of us from working two or three jobs to pay for our hobby. About three decades ago someone from the infamous county in which the original looney dog laws began, wrote a great article titled “Just say no.” I wish I had kept a copy. Breed clubs and all-breed clubs instead began appointing people to negotiate with those introducing legislation, particularly local city ordinances. Well intentioned as they were, they now have compromised away many of our freedoms and cost us fees/taxes for permits etc. without improving much of the situation of lost, surrendered, abandoned or ??? pets. Perhaps the one thing we all could do in unison is stop compromising and “Just say no.”

Reply

Lida SIMON March 17, 2012 at 5:23 pm

Every animal species has some inherited diseases; that is not something that can be eliminated. Even if you do eliminate one, some other mutation will come up sooner or later. But that is not the main problem of purebred dogs. It is the exaggeration of some traits that is the main worry. I have been around long enough to remember what some breeds looked like 60 years ago. Continuing the way we are going, breeding longer and longer coats, shorter and shorter noses with progressively more deformed nasal passages, more and more angulated rears etc. is not sustainable. Until breeders have a good look at what their breed looked like 100 years ago, when the breed standard was written, and admit that when they say they breed “according to standard” the 100 years old photo is what the standard described and that is what they should be striving for. Of-course, most breeders will say that those dogs were not “as good” as they are now, and that they are striving to improve the breed. To improve breed should mean to make it more sound and healthy, not more exaggerated.
My favourite breed, the Borzoi has been changed over the past 60 years from a dog with coat of only few inches long and little bit longer feathering to a puffball with hair to the ground! Thankfully, back in Russia the old type still remains and the western longhaired show dog is frowned on.
To keep selecting for long coat until we end up with animal that needs hours and hours of grooming, is really very short-sighted, because people will not want to keep dog like that as a companion. You will get people who buy a puppy because they it is different but how many will be able to deal with the coats? Isn’t being a companion the main purpose of a dog?

Reply

Rox March 19, 2012 at 12:44 pm

I am at the shows every weekend during show season I head that largest dog show in my state every year and I have YET to see one Borzoi with hair down to the ground, it is unsubstantiated made up accusations like this that the purebred dog enthusiast are sick of trying to fight, perhaps if all of those apposed to what we do dealt in FACTS and not MADE UP FAIRY TAILS things wouldn’t be so bad. This is the #1 Borzoi in America check out the picture and you tell me exactly where the coat is touching the ground????? http://www.bestinshowdaily.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/GCH-CH-Aashtoria-Wild-Hunt-Hidden-Agenda.jpg

Reply

Susi March 19, 2012 at 5:08 pm

Thanks for a fine rebuttal, Rox, and as they say, one picture is worth a thousand words. Lovely dog!

Reply

Nayia March 17, 2012 at 6:00 pm

Some dog breeds have turned into miserable freaks and I fully support the british KC new policies to undo that.

Reply

Susi March 17, 2012 at 11:39 pm

Thank you, Nayia, for your opinion on the matter. Understanding comes through communication and I heartily encourage you to read each and every comment, and responses to them, made on the blog. You’ll find opinions on both sides of the issue here.

Reply

Susi March 18, 2012 at 11:09 am

Thanks for weighing in, Nayia. And who decides when a breed has reached the “freakish” stage? You? An animal rights zealot? Someone who’s never seen my breed in person in their lives? Is a Bulldog freakish? Is this dog freakish? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=724bBPyqS7Q&feature=youtu.be

Reply

Lisa March 17, 2012 at 8:25 pm

Thanks Susi for a wonderful piece. I am a Mastiff owner, exhibitor and breeder who cares immensely about my beloved breed. I too consider the Crufts health checks just another move down the slippery slope towards purebred dog eradication. It really bothers me…in fact, just taking an intact male out in public seems to be making a political statement that I sometimes am not in the mood to defend. That said, I will never stop showing my dogs at dog shows to receive an objective opinion as to their potential breeing worthiness, and I will never stop supporting my clients and doing whats best for my own dogs. In short, I am not giving up.

Heres what I do and what I recommend other like minded purebred fanciers do…its so simple but so incredibly powerful…just take your purebred dogs out in public, let people see them and ask questions about them. Go sit outside at a coffee shop, a dog friendly shopping center, wherever you enjoy going. Educate and show the public what a purebred dog looks and acts like. A bonus is that the dogs enjoy having special time out and about. This is a grass roots way to show the public that dog show people enjoy their dogs as pets in addition to show specimens.

Reply

Susi March 18, 2012 at 11:07 am

Thanks for the support, Lisa, clearly you “got” the point of my blog. And you are absolutely right, we are each ambassadors of our respective breeds. As an aside, when I’m not doing my other job, I make and sell a doggie related item that takes me to several craft shows a year. I relish the outdoor shows because people bring their pets along, including some dogs perceived to be “vicious” type bully breeds. They’re sweethearts and the children fawning over them is the best type of advertisement for a breed. I attend these shows also to guage the public’s understanding of what we in the fancy are facing, and to my astonishment, most are oblivious to the fact that purebred dogs and owners are under attack. They reason that because they don’t show their dog, it doesn’t affect them. But I wonder when their Sheltie/Pug/Labrador,etc. passes on, where they’ll get the next one because all the responsible breeders will have either been shut down, or given up the pursuit. What will remain – nmaybe – are breeders who really ARE in it for the money.

Reply

Teresa March 17, 2012 at 9:45 pm

very interesting & well reasoned blog.
Even here in New Zealand the implications of vetting certain best of breed winners at Crufts has been discussed by conformation & performance show enthusiasts.
One of my of my colleagues pointed out that not only was it unfair on the rest of the breed entries that missed the chance for representation at group level but it was also highly insulting to the breed judge on the day & those that judged the dog worthy of qualifying for Crufts in the first place.
I started in the dog world with a mix breed, he was found under our house & I chose to keep him rather than pass him on to the SPCA.
He was incredibly appealing, picture Samoyed/golden retriever/gsd mixed in a fluffy white package.
He lived until he was 7 years old, necropsy revealed a smaller heart than he should have had & it had burst at a weak spot in the muscle.
Aside from that he was in perfect condition, never a day sick even when other dogs in the house contracted kennel cough.
I moved into Dalmatians & have enjoyed showing, obedience, agility & Rally-O with them.
My old girl was nearly 16 when I had her euthanised as she was no longer happy & pain free.
Her son is nearly 14, I only bred one litter, two puppies had serious aggression issues so mother was spayed & all puppies desexed.
The deafness issue in the breed is one that we take very seriously but to hear outsiders discuss the breed you would think we casually breed deaf dogs & to heck with the consequences & to be told by someone who has never met a dalmatian that they are all scatty, stupid or deaf makes me cross but I try to smile & point out that my dogs are in fact not deaf, not scatty & in fact have been breed champions as well as gaining obedience qualifications.

I instruct dog training classes & am often asked which is better, pedigree or mutt…
My answer is that neither is better but you know so much more about your dog if you get one from a reputable breeder.
I suggest they think long & hard about why they want a dog & what type of dog will fit their lifestyle.
It may be that a rescue dog will suit them just fine – as long as they are aware they may be buying into health or temperament issues with no helpful breeder back up.
In the hands of a responsible dog owner a mutt is likely to live a long healthy life.
If they want a purebred then I suggest they ask a lot of questions & go with the responsible breeder who has the knowledge & the health testing behind every litter.
To those who want to buy a designer dog I suggest they ask why the price is so high, what health checks have been done, what back up will you get if issues arise?
And to check in at the pound & SPCA & note how many designer dogs are there, owner relinquished because the cute wore off or the perfect temperament wasn’t.
The New Zealand Kennel Club tried to make it a requirement that members were not to sell puppies through pet shops.
The Commerce Commission was called in & ruled in favour of pet shops being able to stock pedigree puppies as the NZKC would other wise have an unfair monopoly on them!
So your salon only brand of shampoo has more legal protection than a live animal.
Best wishes from NZ
Teresa

Reply

Susi March 18, 2012 at 11:02 am

Many thanks, Teresa, for sharing your balanced view of how things stand. I especially like hearing from a professional in the dog community as you are exposed to so many more dogs and their owners than many of us it gives you a credibility borne of experience. I appreciate hearing from you.

Reply

Paul March 18, 2012 at 5:28 am

An interesting read. Unfortunately Susi you got it right when you said we brought this on ourselves. All of those breeds and breed clubs highlighted in the distorted publicity opportunities we have seen on TV etc. should have acted far more quickly and aggressively to remove unfit, unwell and unsuitable dogs from the breeding stock. As a hobby breeder of dachs I understand it must be soul-destroying to invest 1000′s of man hours and/or 1000′s of £/$ into a breeding line or a champion dog only to see health problems emerging, but at that point those dogs must be spayed/neutered and retired to good homes regardless of the investment. THE INTERESTS OF THE DOGS MUST OUTWEIGH COMMERCIAL AND EGO INTERESTS. I know as well as you do that the VAST majority of pure-breed dogs are sound in health, just as many breeders derive no commercial benefit from their hobby/fanaticism, but as with anything in life the few will spoil it for the many if the many let them. The KC here in the UK are on the back foot and are over-reacting to dire publicity. They lost the opportunity to be pro-active on this long ago. It is up to those in the engine room to save the sinking ship. That is US, the breeders on the front-line.

Reply

Susi March 18, 2012 at 10:53 am

Couldn’t have said it better, Paul. Thank you for an eloquent response.

Reply

Marilyn March 18, 2012 at 5:47 am

I own 2 dogs from one of the fifteen at risk breeds in the UK. I am not a breeder but I have been in my chosen breed for over 40 years and do study the breed intensly. I dabble in showing but win or loose, I know I take the best dog home as the saying goes. My guys are first and foremost pets & invaluable members of our household.
There are a lot of very interesting comments here.
Not all breeders are bad. A few don’t bother to do the research before a mating to see if both pedigrees are compatible and this is where the problem lies. Unfortunately, you will get the odd breeder who thinks it is a way of ‘making a fast buck’ and will breed any dog to any bitch as long as they are from the same breed. Some will even breed their unhealth tested bitch to a neighbours dog because he has may have had minor success in the show ring or ‘he looks good’. Also, unfortunately, even with all the research a breeder might do with a mating, a problem way back in a dog’s pedigree can rear it’s head again after several generations of producing healthy puppies devoid of a certain problem.
The Animal Health Trust in the UK has been doing very valuable research into DNA for over 5 years now trying to fined markers for various inherited/genetic issues which any dog, pedigree or cross-breed, can develop so that we can eradicate that specific problem in the future.
Breeders of pedigree or cross-breed dogs shouldn’t be castigated, as they cannot be held responsible for what happens to their dogs decendants when some inexperienced, breeders who ‘don’t do the math’ get involved in the mix.
Most breeders are always working hard in the background to ensure they breed pups which are healthy in body and mind, but unfortunately a lot of these stalwarts have now passed on and things are being left to the new generation of ‘experts’. Experts is such a subjective term. There are those who know a lot about a subject and those who know very little and are still learning. The thing to keep in mind is that there is never anyone who knows everything about a given subject and there is always room for improvement although there are some people on this earth who are blind to that fact. It is this minority that has had a huge adverse impact on dog breeds, and I include cross-breeds in this comment as well.

Reply

Becky March 18, 2012 at 9:56 am

I’m not sure where it went. :s
But here is the link to the article that I read.
http://www.globalanimal.org/2010/12/02/man-who-created-labradoodles-regrets-the-cross-breed/25768/

Reply

Charlee Helms March 18, 2012 at 1:30 pm

I don’t have the link to the labradoodle article, but I read it as well. The intent was to create a service dog for the allergic people. He was trying to create a low-allergen coat, on a breed with the intelligence to be a spectacular service dog. The resulting “designer dog” craze that became of it was nowhere near his intent. He never thought that suddenly people would be going nuts and saying “Hey YOU have a poodle and I have a Lab, lets make ‘doodles and sell them for up to $2,000 apiece!”. Again, people didn’t do research and didn’t follow up on the why’s of things, they thought they were cute and people were paying big bucks for them, so backyarders went ballistic. They were bred w/ no thought to the genetics in either breed.

Hang in there Susi, you are doing a beautiful job of eloquently and intelligently defending our positions, and have had some great help as well. Chuck, Sharyn and Rox come to mind, although I know there are many others. And I will also agree that my respect for Sharyn and Walt has skyrocketed!

Reply

Charlee Helms March 18, 2012 at 1:36 pm

I don’t have the link but I did read the article. The original thought behind the Labradoodle was to create a hypo-allergenic service dog. He picked the breeds because of a lower allergen rate and a high trainability. He never expected it to go viral and have people all over the place look at each other and say “I have a poodle and YOU have a lab, let’s make puppies and sell them for up to $2,000″. He regretted playing into the whole designer dog concept.

Hang in there Susi, you are doing a brilliant and eloquent job of defending and explaining the responsible communities position. As well, you’ve had brilliant help from Sharyn, Rox and Chuck among many others. I will also agree that my respect level for Sharyn and Walt has skyrocketed!

Reply

Susi March 18, 2012 at 2:33 pm

Thanks, Charlee, a very interesting thing to know about the Labradoodle. I’ll see if I can come acros the article doing a Google search. In the meantime, I appreciate the support more than you can imagine!

Reply

Becky March 18, 2012 at 4:23 pm

Hmm…I have tried to send the link twice and it didn’t work so I guess I will just let you know that I found it with the google search typing in “who created the labradoodle” and the article should be in the top five hits- I found it was the first ‘hit’ once and the second ‘hit’ with a spelling error :o

Reply

Susi March 18, 2012 at 4:32 pm

Got it, thanks!!!

Reply

Susi March 19, 2012 at 11:01 am

Becky, I found the link in my “spam” box, it should now be available here. Thanks for going to the trouble of sending it.

Reply

Cheryl Draeger March 18, 2012 at 9:07 pm

Dear Susie;
Times have changed. Today is the day of designer dogs, such as labradoodles, cockapoo’s and so on. They are muts, and I also do not understand why they are in an AKC show. When growing up we had a few poodle mixes, they got taken care of the same as our pure bred dogs. Of course, we are probably the exception to the rule. I agree with you on your long thesis.

Cheryl

Reply

Susi March 18, 2012 at 9:19 pm

Cheryl, you’re so right, times have changed. Like you, our first dogs were lovable mutts, too, and we loved them mightily. What I find puzzling is that no criticism is leveled at the breeders of these “designer dogs” who, after all, breed two purebred dogs together. Using the logic of the “other side,” if one purebred dog is fraught with genetic horrors, then surely a combination of two purebred dogs would be a doubling up of their respective horrific gene pools. It’s not like Designer dog breeders have super powers to pick and chose the genotypes at their disposal. It seems to me that the purebred dog haters – and that’s what they are – want it both ways.

Reply

Kate Stewart March 18, 2012 at 10:25 pm

I am not eloquent enough to express what I really want to say, but I absolutely agree with everything you’ve said. Breeders worldwide, MUST band together NOW, as I believe that if we don’t, we will not have pure bred dogs in twenty years time. TAlking of vets, and having vets check dogs before entering the ring-we have moved house a lot in the last thirty years, and so have met an awful lot of different vets. My breed is King Charles Spaniels (English Toy Spaniels) and NOT ONE single vet, has been able to tell the difference between my breed and Cavaliers! Can you imagine how I feel about vets?Even when I try to explain the differences, they look at me as if I were an idiot! ANd they are the experts on all breeds?
My dogs all live indoors (always) and are all fit, healthy specimans of our breed. I use to excercise my dogs with my friends’ Irish Water Spaniels, and my Charlies could outrun them anyday…and with a flat face at that! We all caved in when it came to the anti-docking lobby, we must NOT to that now. I hope everyone reads all your comments – they make so much sense, and let’s all work together for the benefit of ALL dogs, pedigree or mutt.

Reply

Susi March 18, 2012 at 10:27 pm

I think you are an unwitting liar, Kate. Your comment is VERY eloquent and makes your point beautifully. I very much appreciate that you wrote, your points are well taken.

Reply

David Cavill March 19, 2012 at 12:41 pm

Just stumbled across your weblog. Great stuff Susie. Keep up the good work.

David

http://davidcavill.wordpress.com and

Reply

Susi March 19, 2012 at 5:09 pm

I very much appreciate the kind words, David. It fortifies me for the less than objective and even unkind posts.

Reply

2 brown dawgs March 20, 2012 at 2:43 pm

Congratulations on an extremely well written article. All purebred dog fanciers should be concerned by what happened at Crufts. The KC should be concerned. If health checks are needed, then why just some breeds and why just the BoB winners? If we are talking about improving the health of the dogs, why not check them all? Really their testing policy makes zero sense.

If I were an exhibitor, I might consider finding a new game in town or skipping that show next year. I understand that there may be issues in some breeds, however, it seems to me that the KC could go a lot farther by sponsoring breed health testing, breed mentoring, and judges education programs.

Very interesting comments here too. I read most, but not all. It is a nice day here and I am going out to train my purebred dogs. :)

Reply

Susi March 20, 2012 at 2:58 pm

I very much appreciate the kind words, Linda! Your points make total sense to me, and I would think to all reasonable people. It does seem nonsensical.

I’m so pleased, too, that you mentioned working with your purebred dogs. I hope many, many people see you doing it.

Reply

Susie Malinois March 21, 2012 at 12:54 pm

Way to go, Susi Puli! Fun to read your writing again…

Reply

Susi March 21, 2012 at 5:20 pm

Susie Malinois!! Grand to hear from you, thanks for writing! I hope this finds you well?

Reply

Andrew A. Sailer March 23, 2012 at 8:37 pm

you have brought up a very interesting topic here, job well done!

Reply

BeckyL March 23, 2012 at 8:57 pm

‘The Belgian Turvuren that helped capture Bin Laden’

I believe it was a Belgian Malinois, Tervuren are rarely used in the military because of the increased coat care in a war zone. Which is not to say the Terv could NOT do the job. All the Belgian Shepherds have individuals who ‘do it all’. And the hobby breeders of the four varieties are diligent in health checks, the money breeders not so much.

Good article, good comments.

Reply

Susi March 23, 2012 at 9:03 pm

You’re right, Becky, I’ve since learned that the Bin Laden dog was likely a Malinois since, as you say, Tervs are rarely used in the military. Thanks for keeping me honest (grin) , and especially for writing.

Reply

jen smith April 2, 2012 at 10:51 pm

excellent post, suzy. i didn’t see this until i found a link to your blog through a friend’s comment on facebook. very nicely written — thank you.

Reply

Beth April 7, 2012 at 2:03 pm

I want to start by saying I am not in the animal rights movement. I own two purebred dogs, from a show breeder. One is a retired show dog. I have nothing against dog shows in principal. My family has owned many dogs over decades, all but one purebreds.

That said, I can’t watch dog shows any more. The last one I did made me cry. The poor German Shepherd could not even stand without wobbling. He won Group. I turned it off. How can people intentionally stand proudly by dogs that are so deformed they can’t even walk properly and declare they do it for the love of the breed? It is because the fancy has failed to police itself that we reach the point where lovers of purebred dogs can’t handle watching dog shows. The show cut from a GSD that won BOS in the 70′s to the one that won Group that year, and the difference was both striking and heart-breaking, and ALL dog lovers should be terribly alarmed. For people to intentionally breed dogs who cannot function as dogs, just to win a show (lord knows no one uses show-bred GSD’s for police or military wok) is horrifying.

You do realize that in horse shows, all the horses have to pass vet checks? A horse that has visible health problems will be excused, regardless of what the owners or the breeders or the fancy or the judge think. There are aspects of the show world where abuses regularly occur, but we have had Olympic medal winners excused for failing vet checks. HUMAN athletes are also excused for failing drug tests, etc.

I guess I don’t know of any other sport where there is such resistance to outside scrutiny. Certainly human sports are governed by outside agencies. We don’t say that only doctors should get to make rules about medical procedures, only drug companies make rules about drug efficacy, only farmers make rules about animal welfare, only car manufacturers make rules about cars, and only parents make rules about how to treat children.

As a dog lover, the extreme aversion to outside scrutiny, and the labeling of anyone who says “What the heck is going on?” as an animal rights activist, alarms me. Yes I agree the animal rights agenda would have none of us owning pets, and some of the rescue groups are thinly veiled arms of AR. But I want to tell you as someone involved with dogs,who dabbles in dog sports and will only ever own purebred dogs; as someone who owns and loves show-bred dogs and would buy the same dogs again in a heartbeat; something has gone horribly wrong in the show world in the last couple decades. The fact that judge after judge will put up such extreme dogs at the expense of happy, healthy balanced dogs who can run and breathe and see properly is, frankly, outlandish.

One other point: you wonder why no one criticized “designer dogs” but I have heard almost nothing but heaps of criticism and warnings about designer dogs. I can’t think of many people who hold them up as a standard to how dogs should be bred.

And I suppose I have a question too: You seem to say that a fully corded Puli would never herd sheep. Now I’m puzzled. Isn’t the breed ring meant to be an evaluation of form as it relates to function? If a Puli in coat could never do the job he is allegedly bred to do, then why is he judged in that coat? Having witnessed sporting dog after sporting dog split because the show dogs can no longer hunt, and the hunting dogs don’t meet a breed standard (that is meant to judge the very ability that they exhibit and their winning cousins ironically lack) I would hate to see another example of a dog being celebrated for NOT being able to do its job….

Reply

Beth April 7, 2012 at 2:19 pm

Let me put it another way.

Would you say that puppy farmers should police themselves? Decide what’s best for mill dogs?

My guess is you would answer a big, fat, horrified “NO!!” to that question. Perhaps I’m wrong, but most dog lovers think that rules should be tightened to discourage puppy farmers.

I am absolutely not equating the fancy to puppy farming. I am simply stating that most people tend to feel that they themselves are capable of making the best decisions, but perhaps other people are not.

My hope is that the dog show world wakes up a bit and starts policing itself before things get so bad that the legislature starts policing for them.

If it were up to me, vets would look at all the dogs. Dogs with obvious eye problems, problems ambulating, skin infections, or breathing problems would be excused, even if (perhaps especially if) the breed standard said those problems were a-ok.

The fact that an outsider has to tell breeders of hunting dogs that having lids that don’t protect the eyes is a bad thing should be a stark wake-up call that the fancy has lost its way in some cases. The fact that anyone decided that breeding a dog that can’t reproduce naturally is a good thing should have been a wakeup call decades ago. Show breeders are meant to “improve and protect” the breed. My question is, “Why is needing a c-section an improvement over free-whelping?”

Reply

Beth April 7, 2012 at 4:23 pm

Here, because I like to show proof of my claims.

Vet checks for endurance horses, yet no one is terrified the AR police is coming for them:

http://www.olddominionrides.org/EndurancePrimer/01.html

Vet checks for three-day eventing:

http://srcorless.iweb.bsu.edu/vet_checks.htm

I rode for years and never heard anyone suggest there was something subversive about exposing dogs to vet checks.

Dogs were not pulled at Crufts because they had the potential for health problems. They were pulled because they showed evidence of existing health problems. As a dog lover who is against the AR movement, I suppose I find it troubling that so many breeders seem angrier at the vets than at the breeders/exhibitors/judges who put up dogs with an existing health problem?

Reply

Susi April 8, 2012 at 2:43 pm

Thank you for sharing a thoughtful response, Beth. Right off the bat, I would say with regards to your observation about the anger at Crufts is that it was directed more at the Kennel Club than at the veterinarians. There were many who felt it would have been better to complete vet checks on the breed entries prior to judging instead of after which would have ensured that each breed would have had a “healthy” example in the ring for the group, to say nothing of the humiliation it would have spared others. As you pointed out, in the horse world all the entries are examined, not just a few. There were also exhibitors who felt that the veterinarians overstepped their purview by making certain diagnoses using only a torch (flashlight) which was insufficient for a thorough assessment: One dog was unjustifiably failed, a dog which prior to Crufts AND after, was found to be sound and was so certified by an ophthalmologist.

You mention not knowing of any other sport where there is such resistance to outside scrutiny. I daresay it’s because few other non-performance sports have been as assaulted by the animal rights movement as the show fancy. Because of the advocacy of HSUS and PETA activitists, “feel-good” legislation intended to inhibit irresponsible breeders have instead impacted responsible breeders doing the right thing. Show dogs (and in a case that occurred in my own town, a new litter of puppies) have been seized by over zealous animal control officers who cut their teeth on the animal rights movement; At one dog show, dogs were let out of their crates and the terrified creatures darted into traffic only to be struck and injured, if not killed, in front of their anguished owners; nationally televised dog shows are invaded by protestors and social media terrorists – the list goes on and on. So British exhibitors were understandably dubious of the true intentions of a new rule that was inspired by a documentary with a distinct animal rights agenda. Borrowing the expression, “follow the money,” it pays to “follow the politics” in the dog show world to ferret out what really lies at the heart of a new law or rule.

The purpose of my article wasn’t to suggest that there are no issues in our sport. Like you, I cringe at the sight of certain dogs (not breeds because one cannot paint with too broad a brush an entire breed), but there are better ways to address the problem than what was done. I wrote to express concern as to who it is that is the final arbiter of what is “excessive” or “exaggerated.” Someone with animal rights sympathies?

Finally, I used my own breed as an example in my article because I know it better than any other breed. A fully corded Puli won’t heard sheep not because it can’t, but because its owner doesn’t want to spend the next week picking dead grass and weeds out of the dog’s cords with a pair of tweezers. In fact, most Puli National Specialties include herding trails where Pulik in their magnificent coats can and DO herd sheep. You ask why a Puli is judged in a show coat? I answer that the dog’s coat is only one part of its breed standard (and a fairly insignificant one at that) and that it is the dog’s structure, movement, soundness and type (that which makes the Puli look like a Puli, and not, say, a Tibetan Terrier) that is given more weight by a good judge. Like you, I believe a dog should be able to do the job it was bred to do. The corded coat has an actual purpose which simply enables the dog to do its job better among predators and a variable climate.

You may find interesting the debate taking place on Facebook among the people this issue most affects. The title of the group notwithstanding, there are various points of view presented: http://www.facebook.com/groups/188168367963808/?ref=ts

Reply

Riley September 26, 2012 at 6:33 am

Okay…. I have a question. I’m 20 years old, obnoxious and an animal rights activist do bear with me.
I foster rescue dogs. Ones rescued right of the euthanasia list for not being attractive enough for people like you…. Great dogs, who are far from purebred… Smart, loyal, beautiful dogs with their own individual personalities …. Abandoned and ignored behind bars because they are just too ‘ugly’. I am the incredibly proud mom/guardian of a “mutt”. Could not even begin to guess the different breeds that came together to create him…. He is my absolute pride and joy, and my reason for waking up in the morning. What I don’t understand….. Is why you care so much about what your dogs look like… What their breeds are…. Would you ever rescue a dog? Would you ever be willing to look past the fact that this ”mutt” will never be able to make puppies for you, or that he will never win any dog shows, but instead love this dog as an individual who feels as much pain, happiness, sadness as any purebreed? They don’t want to die…. But thousands upon thousands of dogs like this are wrongfully killed every week…. Because they just aren’t attractive enough for ‘specific breed’ fanatics….. Can’t make puppies. I’m also fostering a purebred dog. A miniature pincher, he’s even got his ears cropped and his tail docked. Someone paid money for him from a breeder. But he’s old…. Most likely over 13 years. Partially blind and deaf…. Abandoned because his previous family wanted a new puppy. Horrible right? I don’t mean any disrespect and I know all of this might come off as rude and whatnot…. I’ve always wanted to ask these questions to actual ‘breeders’. (about the shelter dogs mixed / mystery breeds)

Reply

Susi September 26, 2012 at 10:19 am

I appreciate the chance to answer your questions, Riley. For starters, it was a thoughtless, cruel OWNER who abandoned that Miniature Pinscher, not a breeder. No one I know, NO ONE, would turn their back on their dog. It is OWNERS who put their dogs at risk by not being careful shepherds of their canine companions: neutering, proper ID tags, a safe, fenced environment. The purebred dog owners I know, people in the fancy who may or may not be breeders, microchip their dogs, watch them like hawks, run health checks before breeding, spend hours upon hours to properly socialize them and spend at least that much time assessing potential owners for their puppies.

I think you are operating under some misinformation. 33% of dogs rescued out of shelters are rescued by purebred dog owners operating on behalf of their breed clubs. Furthermore, dogs are being imported from Puerto Rico, Europe and Mexico to fill the demand in American shelters, most of them under-innoculated which caught the attention of the Center for Disease Control and from whom I got my data.

I love all dogs and do a fair amount of rescue work, myself regardless of appearance. They are living, feeling creatures of God and deserve a good life. I chose to live with my breed, however, for many reasons. I like the predictability of this breed and know what to expect in terms of size, temperament and activity level. I also love the heritage of this breed which is tied closely to my own background. A purebred dog is as much a part of its country’s heritage as is its language, native dress, music and art. I am shocked Riley, that as someone who regards herself as a animal lover would be so hostile to a purebred dog which is as entitled to a good life as is a mixed breed. I think I’d like to ask you to read another article I wrote on the subject, would you? http://dogknobit.com/2012/03/22/guilt-its-not-just-for-jews-and-catholics-anymore/

Reply

Danielle Macdonald September 26, 2012 at 8:04 am

I don’t understand why you are so outraged? and what is the difference between a dog owner and a dog guardian that pisses you off so much. Also I do not know why you are having a go at the vets, if youre dog is unhealthy it shouldnt be in crufts *simples* and yes your dogs matted coat is excessive, pulis should be herding or guarding sheep, because that was what they were bred to do. I think given the choice any dog would want to be running round a field all day not being choked around a show ring. There are a lot of dog breeds that should be done away with because the genetic defects are so bad, like pugs for example, nothing natural looks like that and its not fair on the animal. You’re right ‘breeder’ is a dirty word, because if breeders didnt breed so many dogs there wouldn’t be so many in rescue centres and more homeless dogs would be able to find good homes and a happy ever after, if you can not see that then you are NOT a dog lover, and are probably only in it for the status or the money, and quite frankly that makes me sick.

Reply

Susi September 26, 2012 at 10:05 am

Thanks for writing, Danielle; I can see why you don’t understand where I’m coming from because you don’t know your facts, let alone the dog show world other than what was portrayed in “Pedigree Dogs Exposed.” If all you know is irresponsible breeders, I can see why you regard them as vile, but I can assure you that the dog fancy is comprised of caring, responsible breeders who go to great lengths to ensure that their dogs are healthy, sound, and test for genetic deficiencies to accomplish that end. You are quick to spew emotional venom but haven’t backed up your assertions with sources or facts, please do so?

As for my breed, come to a Puli national specialty and see these dogs in full coat herd sheep, and later sleep on their owners’ beds. As I write, three Pulik are at my feet chewing on their bully sticks, but in a few minutes, they’ll run outside, bark into the wind, sniff the air for the latest news in the dog kingdom, then come back in and horse around. Yup, the abused life of a show dog. I would ask that you read this article: http://dogknobit.com/2012/03/22/guilt-its-not-just-for-jews-and-catholics-anymore/

Reply

http://tinyurl.com/primlynch44140 February 2, 2013 at 7:09 am

“Why Crufts Should Worry Us” ended up being a wonderful article.
In case it had alot more images this would most likely be even
better. Thank u ,Vernita

Reply

Susi February 2, 2013 at 10:24 am

Thanks for reading and commenting, Vernita. I didn’t have the liberty of using images from the dog show – but I agree, more pictures would have been better.

Reply

Amanda February 23, 2013 at 5:56 pm

Why do people want to breed dogs that have such problems? Who would want to buy a pug that cannot run around like a normal healthy dog? Who would want a dog who may have a skull too small for its brain? I don’t get why people would buy a dog rather than take one from a shelter – just because they can go toa show for their own enjoyment and win some prizes? Well that may benefit the person, but it certainly does not benefit the dog. I am sure we would all want to teach our kids not to use animals for an egotistical selfish act? If you buy or breed dogs you are part of the problem.

Reply

Susi February 23, 2013 at 6:18 pm

Sorry, Amanda, but I reject your “either/or” premise. The choice is not between buying a sick, unsound purebred dog and adopting a healthy mutt from the shelter because in reality, a huge number of shelter dogs have medical issues (if not socialization problems) while a purebred dog bought from a responsible breeder has behind it parents who’ve been DNA tested,as well as CERF, BAER and OFA testing. You assume that a five cent ribbon or shiny trophy is the ultimate goal of a purebred dog fancier when in truth, those things only serve to show that the breeder met the breed standard by breeding a sound dog that moves efficiently and meets breed type. And is it not equally selfish to adopt a dog from a shelter because it makes some people feel morally superior by having “saved” a dog from certain death? The dirty little secret is how many of these dogs are returned to the shelter because they are unsuited for the family which adopted them. How kind is that to the dog? And finally, having been to Hungary, I have seen the Puli in its native environment as well. Very few are used to herd sheep anymore, and those which don’t work are corded, but less than those appearing in a show ring. Even in Hungary, a show Puli is in full coat. Ultimately, Amanda, while I appreciate your opinion, they do little more than to reveal your ignorance and bias.

Reply

Amanda February 23, 2013 at 6:06 pm

Oh and by the way I live in Hungary, the country from where the Puli originates. When you see these lovely dogs in their natural working environment you will never see a coat such as the one illustrated – quite simply because no responsible and knowledgable owner would allow it.

Reply

Amanda February 23, 2013 at 7:20 pm

Susi, you are wrong about Pulis in Hungary. You have ‘visited’ Hungary, I have lived here for 13 years. And yes some dogs are taken from shelters and then returned, just the same as many of these dogs breeders produce end up in shelters. The point is that the so called ‘pure breed’ dogs should not have been produced in the first place. And most responsible dog charities have a low rate of homes that do not work out as they get to know the dog well first. I love your coment “is it not equally selfish to adopt a dog from a shelter because it makes some people feel morally superior by having “saved” a dog from certain death?” Well HELL YES THSE PEOPLE ARE MORALLY SUPERIOR TO YOU.

Reply

Susi February 23, 2013 at 7:35 pm

Yes, I visited, Amanda. But my family is there – do generations count? Never mind. It doesn’t matter. You are who I had in mind when I wrote this article. I can’t add to it: http://dogknobit.com/2012/03/22/guilt-its-not-just-for-jews-and-catholics-anymore/#comment-7443

Reply

Vet for 20 years March 3, 2013 at 3:01 pm

I read these comments with interest. Firstly I would say that I am not totally against pure breed dogs, but I AM sick of people bringing dogs to the surgery that have been bred to have health problems. I am seriously considering refusing anything other than emergency treatment for anyone who buys a pug for example. Day after day I see the results of the ‘breed standard’ coming through our doors. GSDs who have such abnormal hips that all I can do is recommend referral to orthapedic specialists. Pugs with their numerous problems. I could go on forever. To me it would be a huge shame if these breeds die out but something HAS to change. If things continue as they are it will become an embaressment to own a purebred dog – it almost is now, and I can actually understand why. Breeders need to take a long hard look at what they are doing – and iit is not just a few ‘bad’ breeders – it is the norm rather than the exception. If you breed dogs that are destined to a life of pain you have a lot to answer for.

Reply

Susi March 3, 2013 at 4:03 pm

I read your comments with interest too, Susannah. As a veterinarian, few people are in a better position to educate the lay person as you are and it would be a pity if these lines of communication were cut off because of your disinclination to treat certain breeds. While I have no reason to doubt that all the GSDs or Pugs YOU see are riddled with health problems, neither can I accept the premise that because the ones you see are unsound, ALL GSDs or Pugs are unsound. I just don’t have enough information about you, your practice or even your country of origin to accept that what is “normal” for you is normal for the entire population. I’ve just simply seen too many sound German Shepherds and Pugs, myself, to accept this. That said……

…..are there problems with within every breed? Of course. Are there also problems in mixed breeds? Certainly. I believe ‘we’ are more aware of the issues within the purebred dog community because fanciers, breeders and owners track health concerns. Who tracks a mutt’s history as a population?

We hold dog shows which shines the spotlight on purebred dogs, but if dog shows were held that limited entry to mixed breeds, I have little doubt that a proportionate number of structural issues would be readily seen, as well – and yet it’s the purebred fancy that leads the way in funding and supporting research that benefits ALL dogs, regardless of pedigree.

I will resist to my last molecule the notion that those who despise all breeders (responsible or not), those who target the dog fancy, and those who resent purebred dogs are just the people to “clean up” the sport. There ARE good people in the fancy, there ARE supremely ethical breeders doing right by their dogs, and there ARE fanciers who are genuinely trying to affect positive changes. It is those people who should lead the charge in a constructive fashion, not foxes offering to guard the hen house. I do what I can to encourage, if not urge, ethical fanciers to speak out, act, and DO something before those who don’t like us do it for us.

I’m glad you wrote, Susannah. We each have our work cut out for us.

Reply

Susi March 17, 2012 at 3:40 pm

No worries, Kathy, I never took offense, nor did I think you were suggesting I artifically created that corded coat. After 30 years in the breed, I am well accustomed to being asked almost immediately by novices to my breed, “Does the coat do that naturally?” Hard as it is to believe, yes, it does. So, too, will the coat of a French Poodle, Havanese, Bergamasco and Komondor cord. It’s nature’s way of protecting the breeds. But I appreciate your candor in admitting that it’s not a breed with which you’re familiar because it underscores my frustration that others, less forthright than you, would have an impact on my breed by determining what is, and isn’t, excessive. I’m always delighted to help people become acquainted with my breed and I only wish I could share pictures in my reply to show you the progress of a corded coat. Maybe this will help: Here’s a picture of that same dog from my blog, but last summer. You can see the different a couple of years make. The coat is longer and now hangs nicely: http://www.facebook.com/#!/photo.php?fbid=2231718390671&set=t.1313255037&type=3&theater. At no point does the coat impede the dog’s ability to run, jump, be silly or steal ham. I need to continue updating my current blog page as it has NO pictures of younsters or other dogs I’ve had….Anyway, I look forward to our continued discussion, you are welcome here.

Reply

Susi March 17, 2012 at 11:36 pm

I heard mention, Becky, of some such commment, but if you have more information to share, I’d love to read it.

Reply

Becky March 18, 2012 at 9:51 am
Susi March 18, 2012 at 5:27 pm

Richard, I’ll see your wife, the genetic scientist, and raise you a genetic scientist I know who may be a bit less biased. Still, I would have thought that being married to a scientist would have mitigated your inclination to be an “either/or” kind of person and help you recognize that in all things, balance should prevail and not who’s right and who’s wrong. If that is what is important to you, then as you say, we should leave well enough alone. But reasonable and logical folks seem to have recognized that what I maintained in my piece wasn’t that there aren’t issues with some breeds, but to raise concerns about who it is that identifies those issues, and who resolves them. Individuals who hate dog shows, blame all breeders for every ill to befall canines, and dislike purebred dogs are NOT who should be setting the direction of this conversation.Neither should they be the people determining what is “excessive” or “exaggerated.” This is an emotive issue that was instigated by a documentary that, after having watched it, left me reeling by all that was unsaid and implied. I feel confident that a similar piece could be produced to indict mixed breeds and the reckless, irresponsible people who not only allowed them to be bred in the first place, but then dumped them in shelters. Neither has a word been said about the purposeful breeding of “designer breeds.” You have picked your battle, Richard, but in my eyes, you are charging up the hill with a sword dipped in falsehood and half truths.

Reply

Susi March 19, 2012 at 10:54 am

I admire the craftiness of your word structure but you might want to tread more carefully. I used a quote likening what happens when no one stands up for the rights of others, but YOU are the person to compare the horrors of the Holocaust to vet checks at Crufts, not me. But thanks for illustrating so nicely why Animal Rights Extremists are called “extremists.”

Reply

Susi March 21, 2012 at 5:18 pm

I don’t fully understand your comment, though I do appreciate that you took the time to write, gorwell. Loved “1984,” by the way.

Reply

Susi March 18, 2014 at 6:59 pm

Predictability is a strong suit of purebred dogs and the designer dogs just don’t have it. I’m glad to hear from you, Carolyn, your experience as a breeder/groomer/trainer gives you credibility which is much appreciated here! Thanks for sharing your thoughts here, I agree!

Reply

Leave a Comment

{ 4 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: