Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Muttpuppies: NOT, in fact, God's gift to humanity.

Check out this article: 7 reasons why you should pick a mixed-breed over a purebred dog. I suspect this lady's more confused than an Alaskan governor on the definition of 'maverick'. Here we go...

1.You can find them in shelters.

There are so many mixed breed dogs in shelters that need your love and companionship. Imagine how good you'll feel when you save the life of a shelter dog. It's recycling at its very best.

So somebody's Heinz 57 snuck across the street for a little tête-à-tête with the neighbour's Boston Terrier. The neighbours didn't want the funny-looking offspring and neither did the stupids who failed to neuter their mutt, so the puppies ended up in a box outside the local shelter's door, and that's the story of how your pity-adoption came to be. Of course I'm not saying that you shouldn't adopt the unwanted little buggers, but why on earth would being a mixed breed make one shelter dog preferable over another? Imagine how good you'd feel saving the life of a beagle whose owner passed away. The moral of this story, kids, is "adopt a shelter dog", which certainly doesn't translate to "adopt an oogly mutt from a shelter just because it's oogly and of undetermined origin".

2. Mixed breeds are healthier.

It's well known that mixed breed dogs live longer lives and have fewer health problems overall. This is because they're not inbred like pedigree dogs. If you want your companion around for many years, consider a mixed breed dog.

Oh boy! Time to meet this thing head-on. [rubs hands together]

Yes, hybrid vigor is a good, happy thing. Hybrid vigor is what happens when you mix two dogs together and the offspring is genetically superior to the parents.The fairy tale is that every mutt has hybrid vigor. The TRUTH is that not all hybrids have hybrid vigor. I've ranted before now about muttpuppies whose parents have numerous health problems in common; I'll lift an example from another source* now to drive the point home: the Cocker spaniel and the poodle. These two share, among other things, hip dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy, epilepsy, poor temperaments, allergies, skin and ear problem, Legg-Calve-Perthe's, luxating patellas, hypothyroidism, cryptorchidism, and gastric torsion. A cockapoo may well stand a higher chance of inheriting any of these problems than a purebred pup from a good breeder will. Breeding purebred dogs (responsibly) should mean that you are passionate about the breed and want to improve it - NOT "this dog is pretty and his sister is pretty and together their babies will be perfect!" Whereas unfortunately, hybrid breeders (like I hope the writer of this article is NOT) often tend to think "this dog is pretty and this dog is smart and together THEIR babies will be perfect!" No. Sorry. Your babies will have hip dysplasia because you noticed the current Labradoodle trend and decided to make a buck.

(*This article is good for further reading on the hybrid vigor myth.)

3. Mixed breeds are smarter.

As a generalization, mixed breed dogs tend to be more intelligent, worldly, and savvy with more common sense and street smarts. Having had both types of dogs, this is just an observation on my part, but I've had many other people say the same.

You're trying to sell me on muttpuppies based on personal experience? No deal! What the heck gives your dog street smarts? Oh, yeah - he lived in the alley behind a pizza place before you picked him up from a shelter. If that's street smarts, I don't want 'em!

Crack open a book, why don't you? There is a whole world of smart pooches out there waiting to prove that they can perform a job with 450% more efficiency than your designer dog. Lady, in the dog world, we don't really look for 'street smarts'. We like usefulness and trainability. I can absolutely guarantee that a GSD is more intelligent than your Peke-a-chon. (I don't even know what that is but apparently it's great with kids.)

4. Mixed breeds are truly one-of-kind.

There are too many cookie cutter, purebred dogs in this world. Would you rather have a Picasso original or a reprint? We need to stop choosing dogs based on status and learn to appreciate the unique characteristics of a mixed breed dog.

My old Border collie was a gruff, super-smart alpha dog who didn't stand for nonsense and was fiercely protective of his family; my Border collie now is a super-sweet goofball who loves meeting new people and horsing around. So? My dogs are both predictable in their Border collie vigor, instincts, and looks, and perfectly distinct from one another. Ask anybody in the world who's had two dogs of the same breed - from the same litter, even! - and they will tell you that this argument just don't fly. Dogs are unique, just like people. And you wouldn't call the son of two Chinese people a cookie cutout, would you?

5. Mixed breed dogs are appreciative.

If you've ever adopted a mixed breed dog from a shelter, you know how appreciative they are of your attention. Many of them have been neglected or abused in the past and are grateful for any affection you give them. They show their appreciation by guarding your home and your family, and are even willing to lay down their life to protect you.

Again, this is Just Another Dog Thing. You go to Wal-Mart and come home, and your pup is positively ecstatic that you've returned! You were gone for twenty minutes and he's so happy that you've suddenly come back, he doesn't even know what to do with himself! Well, guess what? This isn't just your mongrel, it's every dog in the world. Dogs love people. Not "mutts love people". Dogs. There is nothing to set your special snowflake apart from the rest of man's best friends around the globe. Okay?

6. Mixed breed dogs live longer.

As a generalization, when comparing mixed breed and purebred dogs of similar size, the mixed breed dog will outlive the purebred. Again, this comes down to the fact that most purebred dogs are inbred which creates health problems that shorten their lives.

Get off your hybrid horse and drum it through your head! Responsibly-bred purebreeds are healthy!! Yeesh! Who among you mutt-breeders actually takes health into consideration without assuming that hybrid vigor will make all your genetic problems magically disappear?

Besides - would you prefer the unpredictability of a mutt, or KNOWING that your terrier will most likely have a lengthy lifespan? Hmm.

7. Adopting a mixed breed helps to reduce animal overpopulation.

Breeders of purebred dogs often contribute to pet overpopulation by irresponsible breeding. When you adopt a mixed breed dog from a shelter not only are you reducing the number of homeless pets, you'll get a dog that's already spayed or neutered in most cases. You'll have a positive impact on the continuing problem of pet overpopulation and production. A great reason to feel good about yourself.

You know what else helps to reduce animal overpopulation? Spaying your muttpuppy and not encouraging designer dog breeders! Encouraging responsible breeders by buying from people who know a little something about purebreeds! Sure, adopt a mutt from a shelter; but for God's sake don't breed it!! I'm telling you, it won't be any smarter, longer-lived or friendlier than a good old properly-bred Golden retriever!

I don't know about you guys, but I'm feeling better about myself already.

1 comment:

water_bearer said...

Ya know, I think she's confused about the fact that not all mixed breed dogs come from shelters and not all shelter dogs are mixed breeds. If you substitute "shelter dog" were "mixed breed" occurs, it makes more sense. Not entirely sensible, but still... more sense.