Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Now hands up, those who find the last dog on the list to be the freakiest-looking muttpuppy they've ever seen!
Monday, February 23, 2009
Because each breed has its own problems there is unlikely to be one cure-all solution. However, the authors have suggested a number of possible ways forward. The four measures considered to be of greatest priority are:
- Systematic collection of data on the diseases all dogs suffer from and causes of death.
- Changes to current registration rules to prevent the registration of puppies born from the mating of close relatives.
- Changes to current registration rules to allow new genetic material to be introduced into breeds. Currently a dog can only be registered with the Kennel Club if both its mother and father are registered members of that breed’s studbook.
- Monitoring of the effectiveness of any changes to breeding strategies.
Essentially, quit linebreeding and open the registries!! Yes!
Will it give the Kennel Club any food for thought? I sure hope so. In the meantime, I hereby call the role of president of the Mark Evans Fanclub. Who's with me??
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
The Gosselins - just in case you live under a rock - are the family whose lives are televised in the hit show Jon and Kate Plus 8.
Through intrauterine insemination, the couple first had twin girls, and four years later Kate gave birth to sextuplets. That's two 9-year-old girls, and six 5-year-olds.
Two 9-year-old girls, six 5-year-olds, and now two puppies.
Okay. I am not totally anti-Jon-and-Kate. They're a cute family.
BUT WHY DID THEY ADOPT TWO PUPPIES?
Not even any puppies. German shepherd puppies! This is a breed that is
a) very active
b) very SMART
c) up to 100lb full-grown
d) sometimes aggressive in the wrong hands.
Did I mention that they're PUPPIES?
This is not using your head.
When you're in any kind of unusual circumstances, it is ESSENTIAL before adopting a dog to do all that thinking ahead. With a purebred you usually know what you're getting into.
Are Jon and Kate going to have the time to socialize two puppies, what with raising EIGHT KIDS UNDER THE AGE OF TEN? Do they have GSD experience? Do they have time to devote to exercizing both dogs? Are they certain their children and puppies will get along? Will they be able to train both litters to respect each other? Do they know if any of the kids might have dog allergies?
Taking all this into consideration, the obvious answer is that they shouldn't have a dog at all. I wouldn't entrust a guinea pig to most nine-year-olds, and apparently these children couldn't even keep hermit crabs alive. But if they must have a dog, why not a whippet from a rescue? I swear whippets are the sweetest dogs on the whole planet: they're notably good with children, healthy, low-energy, and it couldn't possibly be that hard for such a high-profile family to find a mature, already trained dog. Or how about a greyhound (also low-energy and low-shedding)? Or a beagle (cheerful and friendly and great with kids)? Or a Golden retriever (calm and trainable, nonaggressive, and also great with kids)? Why get two German shepherd puppies??
When you're in the public eye like this, people do tend to follow your example. This is not only disappointing; it's ridiculous. Jon and Kate Gosselin, here's your sign.
*The episode Puppies! is set to air next week.
Friday, February 13, 2009
As something of an, ahem, critic of muttpuppies - or at least of the ideas that surround them - I feel obligated to share an opinion. Mine may surprise you.
First we have the PWD, also known as "those shaggy dogs with the shaved butts". Fantastic! They're purebred and low-shedding and holy crap they have shaved butts. What's not to like?
The Labradoodle, on the other hand, is equally shaggy and sadly lacks a snappy trim, but is also low-shedding and quite intelligent. Hmmm.
In one corner, a smart, hypoallergenic, hairy monster. In the other corner, much the same.
Doodle and PWD. Or is it PWD and doodle?
I will not lie. I love a dog with a shaved hiney almost as much as I love a dog with a beard - and I love a dog with a beard. But there are several other, indeed more important factors to consider, some of which may be known to the president and his family, some maybe not. Health, for instance.
The PWD is not a healthy breed. They're terrifically inbred, for starters. Long story short, the Portuguese Water Dog Club was founded in 1972 when there were 12 known PWDs in America. Ten short years later and the number had hiked to 650. Around this time, PWDs were registered with the AKC, both officially submitting them to the closed registry system, and causing their numbers to soar. And ever since then, the gene pool has been strangled more and more. God forbid the AKC ever entertains the notion of admitting an outcrossed dog or open registries! So the breed gets sicker and sicker. Thanks a lot, Snidely.
This isn't my real concern since the Obamas probably aren't planning on breeding the First Dog. Probably. But we are talking about a nation who apparently caused a rise in breed popularity not only after 101 Dalmatians was released, but also following Beethoven. BEETHOVEN. The movie about the dog that slobbers and sheds and eats his owners' belongings (and probably fantasizes about eating them too, oh my God!). Some people just have no idea what breed they want when they get a dog, till the first one that looks remotely interesting drifts into their line of vision. Well, if it's good enough for the president ...!
And of course, with demand, comes supply. The last thing PWDs need now is a spike in popularity.
The AKC and Westminster, of course, wholeheartedly back the idea of a Porti First Dog. Health issues be damned, they'd love to see that resulting registration money, and I imagine they'll be crowing enthusiastically about how President Obama endorses purebreds after all the flack they're gonna be taking. Sort of like that time-old playground defence that that other kid can't be mean to you because you have an older brother in the sixth grade who'll beat him up. Did that ever work, by the way?
In comparison, there are a lot worse dogs to select than a Labradoodle.
I yammer about unpredictability a lot, and before you stone me, I'm not backing down from that conviction. But this is one of the many reasons why getting a designer dog from a shelter, as the Obamas plan to do, is so much better than going for a breeder. Labradoodles can be low-shedding ... they can also shed quite as much as their Lab parent does. When you adopt from a shelter, for one thing, you don't have to pay the exorbitant sum that (what amounts to) mutts are going for these days, and secondly, you're probably getting a mature dog. There will probably be people there who can tell you about his temperament and they may even know whether he qualifies as "hypoallergenic" or not. And there's no shame in taking a shelter dog home for a trial run.
And let's face it: Whether the mutt's got hybrid vigour in its favour or not, a Labradoodle is bound to be vastly healthier than a PWD.
So there we are. MoT is championing a muttpuppy over a purebred. Don't get used to it. ;)
Besides, it's all about public image. I feel a snooty purebreed will not be well-received by America. No worries... I hope.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
And you know what brought this on: dear old Westminster.
Take, for example, the Dogue de Bordeaux, finally recognized as a breed by the AKC in July '08 ... and decried by the UK KC several months later. If you've been following the doggy dailies, you know of the BBC's ultimatum to Crufts, Westminster's British counterpart: Remove 14 disease-riddled breeds from the show, or be booted off the network. Crufts was dropped like a hot potato. And can you guess who featured among those 14 at-risk breeds?
Duh, says Brickface McDewlap.
Not only does the AKC not even acknowledge the studies by the Kennel Club across the pond - they can't wait to show off their new breed.
Don't even get me started on PETA.
Actually, do, because this still makes me laugh. PETA takes a stand against purebreeds by dressing up as the KKK outside Westminster. For real!
"Their goal, according to a post on the PETA website, was to draw a parallel between the KKK and the American Kennel Club. "Obviously it's an uncomfortable comparison," PETA spokesman Michael McGraw told the Associated Press.Okay, that is definitely not the message I got. Just me, or ...?
But the AKC is trying to create a "master race" when it comes to pure-bred dogs, he added. "It's a very apt comparison.""
Moving past this bizarro-world logic, PETA once again shuts its eyes to the real issues: Genetic health disorders and inbreeding. Nope, the AKC is trying to cleanse its - er, race of dogs. Because all purebreed breeders want, of course, is to see the mutts of the world gassed or machete'd or lynched or enslaved to serve the conformationally perfect dogs! (Wouldn't that last one be just a little bit cool to see, though?)
And so once again we tiredly realize that PETA cares far more about publicity than it does about animals.
I hereby counteract fueling this loonie-bin fire by proclaiming Adopt a purebred if you want to! and Buying from a breeder does not make you a bad person/a shelter-dog killer! Also, EAT A SEA KITTEN! They're delicious and they have no soul!
As for the AKC... Well, there's not much to be done there until they open their eyes, take their hands away from their ears and stop humming loudly. Ho hum.
Thursday, February 5, 2009
I'm sorry. But seriously, holy crap! Even worse than the fact that cops are killing dogs is the underlying idea that BSL will not work to lessen the fervour whipped up by "vicious dogs" (several of the dogs mentioned were not pit bull types). But we knew that already. So what next? Is education the real key here? Of course it is, but how to spread it? Suddenly those licenses aren't looking like such a bad idea. (Please please at least make a license mandatory to breed. To breed ANYTHING. Human babies included!)
I am such a downer. Here's a Panda Dog to cheer you up.