photo: Jim Dratfield
The topic of today’s BlogPaws post was The Case for Purebred Dogs from a different Perspective.
Since I’m a “breed blogger”, I felt compelled contribute my two cents to the conversation. Here’s what I posted in the comment section. Your thoughts are welcome!
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“As a “breed blogger”, I’m not unfamiliar with the voices on both sides of the purebred issue.
I believe the choice to select a purebred dog is a very personal one. Bringing ANY dog or other pet into your life is a very personal issue. As a breed enthusiast, I am partial to Welsh Corgis, and I’m not alone in my conviction that this breed chose me, not the other way around.
There, I (almost) said it: love. It’s not a rational thing, it’s a human thing. We run on emotions and intellect, both.
There is a consistency of character, temperament and behavior in this and other purebreds. While most Corgis no longer spend their lives as “working dogs” per se, this is partly due to the rapid changes in our (Western) society in the last one hundred or so years. Make no mistake, however: that working instinct, and the intelligence, liveliness and tenaciousness that go along with it, are put to good use. The Corgis themselves make sure of it. Just ask anybody who lives with one!
Like any dog bred for specific purposes, they’re not for everybody. Welsh Corgis are generally smarter than the average dog, they tend to be vocal, and they’re headstrong. Those suited to life with a Corgi consider these things a part of the whole package, or should before they decide to adopt or buy one. A good breeder will place to homes s/he has judged suitable, because they genuinely care.
It’s not unethical, or irresponsible, to have a preference for a dog with certain behavioral and physical characteristics. So long as we’re honestly willing and ABLE to accommodate ourselves happily to the genuine needs of that breed, it’s not inherently bad to choose a purebred. Or be chosen by one. (That pesky love thing again).
Beyond that, I don’t think purebred vs. “mutt” or mix is an either-or issue, and time spent in heated argument about it is ultimately not helpful to anybody — canine or human.
Neither purebred dogs, nor those who breed them responsibly, are the enemy: the root causes of pet overpopulation are. Puppy mills, widespread failure to spay and neuter, the limited availability of affordable spay and neuter services in many areas, the lack of public education on these issues, and sometimes just plain carelessness account for the majority of pets who end up in shelters. Yes, even purebred dogs.
Too many of them have their lives ended pitifully, because humans have failed them. It’s cold comfort for these poor souls who gave much and asked little, to say the very least.
When we domesticate an animal, and more so for the purposes (in part or whole) of companionship (which seems inevitable, given the nature of both the dog and the process of domestication), we take on a serious responsibility for lives not our own.
There’s a falling down on that responsibility, on a grand scale. It’s long past the hour for turning the tide on it.
Many good people are working at just that, and actual progress is being made.
Many of those people also happen to own purebreds.
There’s room for all of us who care deeply about these animals. We cannot afford to alienate one another, we must try to keep the lines of communication open, because our numbers are still yet too small.”
I agree that there is room for everyone and more than enough hearts that need love. This particular breed touched my soul many, many years ago, long before I had the ability to have one myself. I did my homework, and once I had the space, time, finances and enough "stick rollers" to have one…the hunt was on. First I considered rescue and after meeting several possible family members, none of which were right for our family, a purebred darling chose me…literally and it was one of the best things to ever happen to me. Wrigley and her champion brother Hoagie are the lights of our lives and we have never looked back.
My big "pet" peeve is people who take any dog, purebred or mix without serious consideration about lifestyle, temperment, grooming needs and on and on, because it's seldom a happy ending. I know many people just act on impulse with their hearts, which may be in the right place at the time, but that's no way to take on a lifetime responsibility (their lifetime). Just my 2 cents.
I have a (rescued) corgi mix (Owen, who was in your beautiful 2011 calendar!). And I personally would chose a rescued dog over a specific breed if I had to do it again. However, to me it is obvious that the single most important ethical imperative is being a responsible owner. If people stuck with their dogs for life, through sickness and health, we would not have a problem.
After that, as long as there are homeless dogs (i.e., people are giving up their dogs rather than sticking with them for life),I'd say getting your dog from a rescue/shelter is a great choice. Plenty of those dogs are purebred, as you know. But if you can't find the breed you love in a rescue, then stick with a responsible breeder.
Again, the root problem is that people dispose of their dogs.
I rescued my corgi, and I've never looked back!
As a former Corgi co-breeder, I always have loved them. When I got married, I had a rescue collie that showed up on my doorsteps.
When He died, we decided to get a dog. We got a mutt, and he was awful! Untrainable, so many health problems, we got complaints on a daily basis from the neighbors, and wound up having to give him back.
As someone suffering from some mental illnesses, I couldn't go without a dog. It was the reason I got out of bed in the morning!
So we found a corgi rescue, and found a lovely female in need of a home.
As she became intertwined in our lives, she proved invaluable to me.
She taught herself behaviors that no one could teach, and proved herself as more than just a pet.
She is now a Service dog in training, and goes with me everywhere, school, restaurants, you name it, she goes.
I get comments from people all day long about what a good dog she is, how well-behaved she is, even for a service dog, and what a pretty corgi she is!
And, just to prove how good she was, she went with me to a farm, and proceeded to herd with no instructions!
They are the best breed, and I will never be without a corgi of some form for the rest of my life.
We went on a Pembroke Corgi website looking for a rescue… There was only one photo posted at the time though and it wasn't a rescue, but a purebred up for adoption. It was love at first sight just by his picture, and then meeting him – there was no turning back! The dog that turned us towards Corgis though was our neighbor's dog, a Cardigan mix who became our "rent-a-pup" after our previous 2 dogs had passed on, so I feel an affinity for both….
I have two Purebred Pembroke Corgi's.One 7 years old and one 7 month old puppy. Like most Corgi owners, they chose me from the litter of chubbies with big ears. I also have a "pound puppy" who is a collie/sheppard mix 6-7 years old. He was abused but has been a wonderful addition to the family. Unlike the Corgi's who are not very protective watch dogs, Kyle is the best! There is room in my heart/home for both purebred and mutt.
Mark C says
I really do not care anything about the mutt/purebred argument, and I make no apologies for my instistence upon a Corgi. The Corgi's intelligence, trainability, and companionship are absolutely first priority with making a family member out of a dog. With mutts, it's like a box of chocolates… You never know what you'll get. I know with a Corgi.
It's got to be hard to be an ethical breeder these days. One that tests for the known genetic disorders and avoids them. One that crosses out to distant bloodlines to keep inbreeding or line-breeding from introducing new disorders.
There are so many bad breeders, it's scary. And it's hard for the public to find a good one. Word of mouth only travels so far, and the web is full of breeders who make false claims.
My aunt purchased an adorable mini schnauzer that ended up being diagnosed with ringworm immediately after she brought it home. And the poor dog was blind before she hit 28 months of age.
Me? My dogs are mutts, or unknown if purebred (the chihuahua is a 9.6 pounder, fully fit). I may not know what to expect from them, health-wise, but I'm always hoping for some hybrid vigor.
I salute the folks who rescue any castoff dogs, breed or otherwise, and I salute those breeders who do set the proper examples.