Saturday, September 27, 2008

Puppy Mill Rant #1

Okay, so this one won't so much be about designer dogs (mutts bred 'by design'). But then again, there isn't much on this planet that causes me to feel the rare urge to headdesk myself into concussion and then burn my own eyes out with a lighter. Among all that does, this place most certainly takes the cake. (Warning: Sound. Sometimes.)

As the cheery female voice will tell you, these devoted breeders "collect" puppies and proudly present them to you in "boutique" form, where, I can only assume, you stroll around with a shopping cart and pile it up with squeaking teacup toys at your leisure and pay for your purchases with a platinum AmEx card at the check-out where a smiling boutique employee waves you and your new babies out. Seriously, it's that glam. Don't believe me? This is Where Celebrities Buy Their Puppies!

Okay, um, actually, this is where some maniacs with feather boas and glitter hoard babies from a bunch of other breeders and 'facilities' before dressing them up and snapping shots for the public. My question is, exactly which celebs are buying from here? A-list celebrities, or Dancing With the Stars celebrities? They've got a list and the verdict is in: It's models and athletes, people! I'll make a concession for the Osbournes, but seriously ... the Osbournes. They've got so many toys I can't imagine anything but a puppy boutique-style adoption. Also among the football players and Oil of Olé models are Jerry Springer...'s assistant director. I'd laugh, but I'm too busy giggling at the pictures of buff linebackers headed with 'CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR BABY MALTESE'. (Hilariously, I also noticed on the front page that it delicately corrects, 'Where the "Celebrities" buy their puppies.')

So it looks like Jennifer Aniston shops elsewhere for her lovable corgi/terrier mutts. (How can I tell? His name is Norman amd not Tinky, he weighs more than 16oz, and she seems pretty clear on the fact that he's a dog. Jennifer Aniston, I solemnly applaud you.)

Now we get to the dogs. They offer a wide varray of dogs that are already too fucking small to begin with - and make them smaller! Can't find the pup you're looking for? No problem! They have new puppies that will be ready for you next week. Be patient and just imagine, somewhere in Florida a poor bitch in too-cramped living conditions is pushing out yet another litter of badly-bred babies for you to choose from!

On a sidenote, I think what makes this site of hoarders so sinister is how pink and fluffy everything is. The dogs' soulless eyes peer out at you from under swathes of pink feather boas and glittery tiaras that weigh down their whole tiny tiny heads. [shudder]

Now to pick apart what is so very, very wrong with their 'collection'.


This is a dog with hydrocephalus (water in the head):

This is one of their 'Special Extraordinary Puppies' (you heard me):
You want to know the scariest thing about this dog?

That is not a Chihuahua.

It's a Papillon.

So it looks like poor Hydrocephalus Dog can look forward to a future of seizures and a giant head, and with their lifetime guarantee only offered to dogs $2000 and over and her priced at a crafty $1500, looks like she's up the excessive head-fluid creek without a paddle.


This is a mix between a Chihuahua and a Japanese chin. The owners of the site call her "a rare mix". Do you wanna know why it's so rare?HINT: Because it's fugly.

This isn't the only bizarre cross-breed on the site, but it sure is the most hilariously sad. Note how the puppy finds a fine blend between Chihuahua blockiness and Japanese upturned muzzle, not to the mention the dome skull. If not for the tiara we might be able to lump her in with Hydrocephalus Dog up there. I don't know what this beast was going for but you can bet it was more than she's worth. (Maybe someday she will get a post all her own.)


This is a merle Great Dane:

Okay, now, she's not so bad. This dog isn't quite as much a heinous crime against nature as Chin-Chi is up there. But does anything about her just strike you as ... well, wrong?

You're right! She looks diseased. And why does she look diseased? Because she's a blue merle. Like I said, not so much a crime against nature ... except that you're really not supposed to breed merle Danes. They're not exactly 'setting the standard of excellence' here when this dog would be disqualified from any show right off the bat. She'd make a nice housepet, sure, but Danes aren't meant to be merle. That's all. Anyway, the reason I put up The Dane With the Dreaded Lurgy is to warn all you folks at home: DON'T be fooled by 'exotic' colours. Bad breeders (like these guys) will try to pass off wrecks (like Lurgy) as special. Always always remember that if something in a dog is 'rare', it's rare for a reason (see Chinzilla). These things are worth less than a more average dog of the same breed, not more. Moving on.

Now these merle puppies...

...are a crime against nature. 'Beautifully marked', $1550, my ass!

This is so wonderfully stupid! These people are so wrapped up in churning out the prettiest puppies possible that they've completely lost sight of what the breed is supposed to be. And why are dachshunds and Chihuahuas not supposed to be merle? Because the merle gene carries deafness and blindness! Considering neither of these puppies is priced high enough for a lifetime health guarantee, I'm starting to think these hoarders aren't all that stupid after all. How irresponsible and just cruel, handing out these dogs without a word to discourage the source or the prospective buyers.

Here are some tidbits that also make me want to neuter and cage these stupids.

- Miniature Pinscher "CANDY female $950.00 Great little male! Good bite. Very well socialized."

Moving past the mystery of which gender it actually is, why on earth would you ever ADVERTISE a good bite? You whackjob, nobody uses a miniature pinscher as a protective guard dog and if they do they deserve to be shot. They hunted rats, and if they're retaining any of those traits it should be discouraged. Not considered 'good'! [Whoops! Mel is right; they're advertising that the dog has no under- or over-bite. I'm no miniature pinscher expert, but as far as I know this isn't one of the breed's most common concerns - it was the breed's tendency to nip that made my thoughts go straight to biting!]

- "Throughout the years we have gathered and been working with several breeders and facilities that specialize the teacups and toy breeds. Every year breeders from all over the states that see our web site contact us to see if we can help them place their beautiful babies in good homes."

Do they not understand why this is so WRONG? You have NO chance of meeting the dogs' parents and we all know that if Mom ain't on site - walk away! There goes your one chance of predetermining hereditary problems; now all you've got to go on are merle genes and dome skulls (which, I should add, are all over this site).

- One thing I generally believe about breeding is this: "If you're making a profit, YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG." It seemed at first that these guys were getting a raw deal, with breeders continually pushing puppies on them - after all, where else are the poor babies gonna go? and so on. Sadly, this taking advantage of people's compassion happens. But the fact that their dogs are rarely less than $1000? This is silly. You're paying way too much money for what is more than likely a genetic mess. (Yours for just five-thousand bucks!)

- And, to cap things off nicely:


I couldn't resist; this one made me smile at how tragically unphotogenic it is.

I'll end this with another warning:

Yes, the puppies are cute (without sparkly shit heaped all over them, shockingly) and sad and they need homes too. But when it comes to people like this, breeding is nothing but a market. They are the SUPPLY, and you are the DEMAND. Buying a puppy from places like this is only placing more demand on them and in turn causing them to get more supply. Let our battlecry ring forth o'er the land: Boycott the puppy mills! There are much more reliable pets you can find for much more reasonable prices. Pets without distended heads and squinting outward eyes! Just some things to keep in mind.


thus-sung said...

Thanks for pointing out this site! Now I know exactly where to get a "Australian Shepard" puppy! I'm sure they won't ask me stupid questions like, "Have you ever owned a herding dog" or anything!

water_bearer said...

Woo-hoo! I'm so glad someone's finally doing a blog on this. Designer mutts and their enabling the puppy mill industry further is the bane of my existence. I've wanted to do a blog on it for some time, and was both further tempted and discouraged after finding FHOTD. Tempted because I can now see what the outing of bad breeders can do, but discouraged because there is SO MUCH out there when it comes to dogs, I'm afraid my head would explode. It's far too overwhelming. But good luck to you! You have my support so far.
I grew up going to dog shows because my parents showed and raised a few litters of English Springer Spaniels over the course of about 15 years starting when I was about five. I spent most weekends out of state at some regional show. Yeah, it made me a nerd as a kid, but out of an inborn interest in animals and nature, and out of boredom being forced to find something interesting to do when not helping groom or what have you, I soon became somewhat of a kid expert on every breed of dog. It's still an interest of mine to this day. You want to talk breed talk, mutt talk, the AKC, good breeders vs. byb's, crosses, designer dogs, the decline of breeds who were bred for looks and not health, etc.... bring it! It's on like Donkey Kong.
Regarding this particular website, it just makes me puke. First off, I feel that selling cats or dogs or most animals beyond maybe some fish in pet stores, should be banned. Period.
Second, what the heck are these people trying to create but the smallest dogs possible? Awesome goal. Idiots. I notice on their home page under a picture of a fugly poodle pup it says, "Poodles t-cups, Toys and Std Puppies For Sale." What does that mean? Purchase a puppy and you get VD at no extra cost? And shouldn't it be 'tea cups?' Not that I condone that anyway. No reputable breeder breeds for size alone anyway. Ug!
I found a website while scouring the local paper classifieds a while back. This lady was advertising blue-eyed merle mini Colonial Cockers. Colonial Cockers apparently being a cross between American Cockers and English Cockers. I wrote her and gave her a piece of my mind. In typical byb fashion she wrote back some inane junk and then blocked my email so I couldn't reply. Wuss. Of course I did reply under a different address, but I never heard back from her. Oh... where to start when breeding something unnecessary in the first place and as a result of crossing to phenotypically similar breeds to boot? Idiots.
My parents got out of the dog showing thing years ago. After their last two ex-show dogs who spent the rest of their lives just as coach potatoes, as opposed to part time coach potatoes when they were showing, died within months of each other, a rescue crossed their paths. Through a series of bizarre and what can only be called fateful events, they took in a young Springer whose elderly caregivers had just passed and who was about to be given away for free. After spending time with this unsocialized trainwreck, I'm convinced of two things: 1) nobody other than my parents with their experience with Springers, and with their extraordinary ability to properly train and socialize dogs, could have turned him around like they did. And 2) that he's probably not all Springer, but a Springer / Cocker (prob. American) cross. WHY OH WHY did someone do that? To the untrained eye, he looks like a Springer. But my mother and I who have an eye for guessing the makeup of mutts would bet good money on him being part Cocker. Erg.
Speaking of which, there's a possibility that one puppy is a long-haired Chihuahua and not a Papillon. The world's smallest dog is supposedly the former although it looks like the latter. It's just that it's so friggin small you can't even see the structure to tell.
OK. Sorry for the long-winded rant. Like I said, few things fire me up like this issue. Best of luck to you. I'll be back here daily. Oh, and here’s another site. Remember this one from FHOTD? Yeah. More “Colonial” Cockers crossed with Dachshunds too. And that’s only the tip of the ice berg. Click on available puppies and try not to concuss yourself on your desk. -

muttpuppiesontrial said...

Haha, thanks for your support! You sound like you've got a real eye for dogs; I hope I can count on you to tell me if I accidentally get any of my info wrong. ;)

An English Springer/English cocker mix would almost be forgivable ... but an American? Sounds like a "whoops!" puppy to me. Some owners need to get over themselves and give their dogs the snip for the good of dogkind! (Good on you for giving that breeder a piece of your mind, btw! That definitely would have raised an eyebrow on my end too.)

That particular puppy was labelled a Papillon - but then again, I'm not sure I trust these people to identify their dogs correctly...

Thanks for the link... I think! I look forward to your future feedback. :)

Mel, Foxtail Farm said...

"Moving past the mystery of which gender it actually is, why on earth would you ever ADVERTISE a good bite? You whackjob, nobody uses a miniature pinscher as a protective guard dog and if they do they deserve to be shot."

I like the blog, and I agree with your comments about the site. However, "good bite" just means that the teeth fit together well, without an over- or under-bite.

muttpuppiesontrial said...

Aha! Mystery solved. ;) Thanks.

water_bearer said...

Thanks Mel, I was going to mention that too, and I forgot in my long-windedness. :)

megan colleen said...

Late to the party as usual but i didn't find ANY of the puppies you posted on this entry to be fitting my idea of cute. They look like walking messes as you so aptly pointed out. I'd rather a healthy, adorkable dog like mine than a oddly colored dog that may carry blindness or deafness in it's genes.