Friday, February 20, 2009

BARKING UP THE WRONG TREE

Just a question ... doesn't it wear out your dog when you breed her every season? Doesn't that eventually affect the quality of the puppies? I know that "in the wild" the females most likely breed every season, but their life-expectancy is also much lower. Anyway, I'm not goading you, just asking.

I am not often really offended by comments left on my blog but this one really did just that. What on earth makes this person think I breed my girls until they wear out? Or that I breed every season? I assumed this person was a regular reader of my blog and if so I am even more offended that they would think this of me. It is this type of inflammatory nonsense that causes so much bad feeling.

For starters, my girls are not bred every season. Most are bred just once in their life. Sometimes, like Shameless, they are bred twice in succession and then not again.

I only have two bitches of breeding age. One is unbred and Shameless is done.

I do not make any money out of puppy sales. If that was my concern, I would not spend £100 for a dog show, which I attend regularly, and where a win gains nothing but satisfaction. I would not have spent approximately £20,000 driving around Europe and Scandinavia choosing two females and using studs that I thought exemplified the natural qualities of my wonderful breed that I wish to preserve. I would sell my puppies to anyone who flashes the cash. I don't. You don't get one from me easily.

I'm not an activist, but I think it would be better to have no homeless animals, and therefore get a new pet from a shelter (as the first choice) rather than buying one from a breeder.

This is ignorant. Many dogs are in shelters because they do not make fit pets. Too many charities say they never put a healthy dog down. A bad tempered dog is not healthy. Many people want a pure bred dog because they like their chosen breed and if they buy one from a reputable breeder, they know it is highly unlikely they will get a puppy with a serious defect or a bad temper.

I understand that some people want a certain look or certain characteristics, and that there are good and bad breeders - I have no problem with breeders who keep their animals in a suitable environment and who love them, and don't just see them as a way to make some easy bucks.

But I have a problem with people such as yourself making these assumptions about people you do not know.

The vats majority of breeders in the show world are like me: they care about their breed, their dogs and do their very best by them.

On the other hand, there are foolish people who go and buy puppies form back yard breeders -who ARE in it for the money- or from pet shops or from large kennels where they breed many different breeds-i.e. puppy farms. It is these places that produce most of the problem dogs.

Yes there is a minority of show breeders who only see their dogs as a means to an end, don't care about them, will do whatever to win, even harm the dog. They are few and far between and those of us who do care isolate them.

The harm done to people like me, the majority of caring loving dog exhibitors and breeders, by people like you who say such ignorant and inflammatory things, is great. There are plenty of people out there who believe whatever they hear or read, clearly, and this is why my beloved hobby is endangered. My life revolves around my dogs, they bring me so much pleasure and they have excellent lives and I will continue to do all I can to prevent the ignorant and selfish form trying to stop me enjoying my life and giving my dogs an exemplary life.

I understand that some people want a certain look or certain characteristics, and that there are good and bad breeders - I have no problem with breeders who keep their animals in a suitable environment and who love them, and don't just see them as a way to make some easy bucks.

I have a big problem though with people such as yourself who clearly have little knowledge of dogs yet seem to think you know what is a good environment for them. The easy bucks question has been answered and the blame for that lies first and foremost with the ignorant public who are not selective about where they buy from, and the the puppy farmers, pet shops and back yard breeders to supply an endless stream of unhealthy, defective, bad tempered dogs to any fool who wants one.

Just look at the adverts fro crossbreeds (mutts) where the puppies are often being sold for more money than the purebreds and there are idiots out there buying them!

You and the animal rights liars are blaming the wrong people.

EDIT: thank you for explaining , at least partly, that you misunderstood. I don't know where you got the idea that I am about to breed Whitney. NO WAY. Or how that made brought you to ask why I breed my girls every season. You didn't ask if I did, you assumed I did. That is why I was offended. Whitney is doing too well in the ring to pull her now. The reason for not attending Cruft's if she is indeed in season is because she would be ri
pe on the day and therefore unlikely to behave well and I couldn't take Micah, a male, a she would be rampant and next to her in the show trolley so that would not be fair. And yes, of course, peace. We just agree to differ.

9 comments:

Iris said...

You are absolutely correct. Breeders such as yourself are not the problem. Rarely is a breeder of ONE or TWO breeds the problem. I will always buy a dog from a breeder. When I get, for example, a toy poodle from a show breeder, I know I'm getting a nutty, bright little dog that will, as you so aptly put it, run me ragged. While I have owned and have known many wonderful "mutts," I have also met some miserable examples of dogdom. What one lady was told was a "basenji" turned out to be a pit bull mix and was, after settling in, a dangerous dog, indeed. By the time she was finished, she'd spent the $$$ for a purebred dog many times over and still had to surrender the dog. Better would be a law prohibiting mixed breed breeding.

I feel terrible for the hundreds of thousands of shelter dogs (and cats) that are euthanized every year in the world. The answer is education and responsibility, not discouraging the purchase and breeding of purebred dogs by reputable breeders.

I can also vouch for the fact that good breeders rarely make a profit on their dogs. My sister didn't make enough money to break even and she had stupendous animals (poodles, affenpinschers and chins).

Grannie said...

Colin, you are so right - I've had experience with dog breeders for quite a few years and always have found knowledgeable, caring and loving people who know how to care for and propagate the excellent qualities of their particular breed. These breeders, like yourself, are responsible for the beautiful healthy genetic lines we see. Most are to be commended for their devotion to the good of their animals.

Anyone who makes a sweeping statement such as "breeding every season" without knowing the subject, is, I'm sorry to say, speaking from the depths of ignorance. Of course there are many disreputable breeders we all have heard about. Living here in Quebec, the puppy mill capital of North America, *shudder* , I know whereof I speak.

Breeders like yourself are definitely not the exception, but rather a large segment of the dog world that is a credit to us all!

GJabouri said...

Dear Colin,

Hoooo boy, have you ever misunderstood my comments! I in no way think you are breeding your dogs just to make some easy bucks – I have read your blog enough times to see that you really care about them. I was speaking in general terms. I was under the impression that Whitney was the mother of your current puppies, and was therefore wondering why you would breed her again so soon.

Why is it ignorant to wish that there were no homeless pets? I do not agree at all that most pets are in shelters, because they are unfit pets. Most are there because people no longer want them or can no longer care for them. Yes, there are those that were mistreated or not properly trained and are truly unfit, but most are not.

You state that I “have clearly little knowledge of dogs yet seem to think what is a good environment for them” – please, Colin, you do not know me … I have had dogs and I’m pretty sure they were quite happy with me. All my animals have come from shelters or “the street”, or from rescue organizations and they were/are wonderful pets.

That said I am in favor (!) of checking the local shelter first when looking for a pet, but I also said that I understand that some people simply want a certain look/breed or characteristic in a pet – that’s why they buy from a breeder. Why is this insulting?

I am sure that if I had talked to you face-to-face this misunderstanding would have been cleared up in seconds.

I did not mean to offend you!
Peace?

Sheila said...

Colin, it is very clear to anyone who reads your blog that you care very much for your dogs. You are very careful on selecting new homes for your pups. I think many people don't understand that for many people buying a pure bred dog is their best option. I have severe allergies and a poodle who doesn't shed was the best dog for me. Not a labardoodle or goldendoodle who in my opinion should not be bred. Good breeder/owners care deeply for their dogs and care to promote good healthy qualities in their dogs.

Anonymous said...

I have a sister-in-law who makes snide remarks because I get purebred cats. I have had many cats in my lifetime, and I know them all well. I happen to like the characteristics of certain breeds, not just for their appearance, but more importantly, for their temperament. My cats right now are naughty as sin, but you know what? I like that about them, and it is part of their nature. This same sister-in-law takes in mutts from the pound who are dangerous animals, dogs which obviously ended up in the pound due to their bad nature and temperament, and then she refuses to put them away in another room when company comes over. She just got a divorce because her husband had more sense than she, and he didn't like these dogs of hers. I get my cats from a breeder because I have a pretty good idea of what to expect from them. Mind you, this same sister-in-law never gave us credit for adopting two human "mutt" children.

Iris said...

I feel I need to add to my comment in response to GJabouri.

There's absolutely nothing wrong with wishing there was a home for every shelter animal. It's just that, though: wishful thinking. And the people who either responsibly breed purebred dogs and those who buy the offspring that are not show quality are, in my opinion, to be commended for making the attempt to breed dogs that are sound of mind and body and have predictable characteristics. This way, families can make educated and safe decisions about the pets they will own.

I provide support to my local shelter, both in time and money. I feel terrible for the animals that end up there. Very few are adopted and, of those, only about 50% remain in their adoptive homes. This is partly because the animals are already traumatized and partly because they are otherwise badly socialized or trained. Many of them were doomed from the beginning because the owners of their parents had no idea what they were doing, were irresponsible, or both.

I, too, wish there were homes for all the animals. There aren't. There never will be.

But, I will never again adopt a shelter dog. I've spent untold sums of money trying to rehabilitate dogs that should never have been born. I've been an exhibitor and thought I could help a few animals who had bad starts in life. By the time I got them, though, they were really beyond help. I'm not a slouch with training, either. I've shown dogs in both the conformation and obedience rings. Would that Cesar Millan had room for all the shelter dogs.

It's not the dogs' faults. It's the humans. Until we can educate animal owners, there will always be shelter animals.

Thank goodness there are still people who will try. This way, a small proportion of the mixed breed and badly bred animals have a chance.

I wish I could change the world ...

FugueStateKnits said...

Colin, did you have the opportunity to see a film called, "Shelter Dogs?" It was a real eye-opener to me. I am now of the opinion that it is better to put some dogs down than to raise them locked up in a cage, which for a dog is worse than death. Would be curious to know your opinion about this.
This was an interesting topic - and I think the person asking the question did not mean to offend. He or she seemed truly to be asking for information.
Take care,
Joan

Beach Cat ! said...

I was one of those folks who wanted to "rescue " the poor doggies and kitties in the shelters. On my third rescue, having dealt with cancer twice due to malnutrition as youngsters and having an 11 year old behavior problem who has YES responded to love, but NO never lost the behavior problems she had when adopted at age 3 or so, I am all for purebreds where one knows the parent has been well nourished and the babies were loved and fed. For me, raising a shelter animal is full of heartbreak and terribly expensive in the long run.

Anonymous said...

We are Irish Wolfhound people. So far, and probably never, we have not bred, as our dogs were not that good. We also have two other dogs. One was a rescue, at 18 months old. He had major behaviour problems, most of which are under control. He will never be allowed off lead outside. We also have a foster failure. She is finally learning to walk on a leash, after 14 months of major work. She is still not reliably housebroken. Each cost a lot more, in both time and money, than any of our wolfhounds.

Our breeder will take back any of her pups, for any reason. She does not make money on this, either. In fact, she is trying to find a home for one of this litter who was returned.

Most of us who have purebreds also have a mutt or contribute to them in some way. We contribute to the local humane society, our breeder is also a vet, our trainer does education, etc. How many breeders of shelter dogs do any of that?

I am sorry for the shelter dogs. I am also sorry for children in foster care, and who aren't and should be. That does not mean I will not have a purebred nor that I did not have a child.

aj