Monday, March 13, 2006

The Fussy Dog Spot

If you're coming over from Fussy's, and you have a bone to pick with me (Whew, I slay myself with the humor! Dogs; Bones; Get it??) about anything I said over there, here's your big chance. No profanity, please, no ad-hominem or circular arguments, and no disprespect to each other, please. Also, no anonymous trolls. There. My door is officially open. And here are some gratuitous shots of Bella, at age two, with our precious Reggie, who many of you remember dancing in the sidebar.


  1. Since I agree with what you had to say you won't get an argument from me. And I want your dogs. Seriously, the next time I get a dog I think I want to get a poodle.

  2. Geez Louise, you send someone an email in which you express YOUR OPINION about why it's important to buy dogs from reputable breeders and why people should support breed rescue, and you'd think you started World War III. I agree with what you said too so no arguing here.

    And I love the photos of Bella and Reggie. Happy girl, happy dog.

  3. screw the haters. you rule.

    ps: if anyone hassles you, i've got your back. lord knows i've had some uhh experience lately, exercising my battle skills and what-not.

  4. Dixie--anytime, Babe! Just let me know well in advance, so I can put you at the top of every list! Next breedings will probably be in 2007, though, or late 2006!

    elizabeth, I TOTALLY gave Mrs. K. permission to post that email, and there were a few back and forth before that. I don't know enough about bulldogs or Katie or her breeder to make any sweeping statements about whether or not she should be bred, but a lot of haters did, with NO personal information. And the bottom line is, it's HER freakin' dog, and HER decision, and she does not have to apologize for it.

    sweetney, I'm rather disappointed in the lack of rancor I've received. And here I thought I'd finally "arrived!"

  5. here's my comment:


    does it fit the criteria?

  6. oh, and you know the only reason i come here is to see my name on the blogroll... i'm such a ho.

    btw, thanks. you're the first real blogger that noticed me.

    *sniff sniff. <--mushy moment.

  7. jen, stop! You're killing me! And I'm not even a "real" blogger! And your blog deserves to be read. Even if you gush and/or cuss a lot. So there.

  8. Ooh, ooh, I want one of your dogs too! Someday. *sighs*

    And the "take off their noses" bit on the Fussy site - that made me laugh out loud.

  9. Ah, the Blog Media Spin Doctors have spun their webs and only good is to be had from this. You deal with the trolls who come along, traffic's increased, and there's no love lost.

    Now, a question: did you pledge your undying love and friendship to me just because you know I'm a big old amazon girl from the Midwest and I've got your back? Is this a loyalty issue (because I do love me some Fussy) where I have to pull out my glock and my colors? (I'm partial to the Crips, but the Bloods use my favorite color - Red is SO me)

    I kid.

    Cuz I roll like that.

  10. Here I am looking for a good argument and you have nothing, nada. Since I also breed poodles here and there and have a rescue poodle, then I must agree with you:o)

    Bravo, for taking a stand and stating your piece. I read your letter and thought it was very well stated.

  11. kim--it's disappointing, isn't it? Either we've taken the meat out of their arguments, or when they're not allowed to be anonymous, there's not as much fun to be had. OR, and this is the unlikely, best-case scenario, they've learned something?

    mochaaaaa. I like how you roll. But please don't bring any of that "innocent bystander" crossfire down on my crib. And: All of the above...but when did I make this pledge? Not that I won't honor it, you understand...

    erin--you just say the word. But I won't crop a nose, not even for you.


  13. Here I was with my reading glasses and cup of coffee... braced for action and none of the bullies from Fussy took you on! I was getting kind of peeved with those who got on Mrs. K without knowing did an excellent job of stepping in on her behalf. She is probably going thru quite enough with her dog at the moment without being verbally attacked about her puppy-purchasing decisions. Good grief. As a side note, I wanted nothing to do with poodles when we found our first one at the shelter. My husband said, "This one!" and I couldn't believe he wanted a POODLE! Now we have 2 of them and I am an admitted convert!

  14. How cute!!! Reggie reminds me of a dog my grandparents had that I loved as a child, her name was Fifi.

  15. How did I miss all of this?? Geez, get knocked down with the flu for a few hours and I miss a big ol' blog fight!
    ABout dogs too!!!

    I'd just like to say, that you can take the girl out of Detroit...but, well, you know the rest. Since I tend to invite fights like this on my site, you KNOW I got your back too.

    Do you think we can have some sort of Dance Off/gang style/electric boogaloo fight at BlogHer???

  16. Any woman who can use "ad hominem" correctly and in context is my hero.


  17. WTC--I KNOW!!! Nothing worse than spoiling for a fight that never comes! And funny about your hubby--when I met Alex, I had standard poodles. When he decided he wanted a dog of his own to show, he surprised me not only by select a poodle, but by specifying "not a big one." Toys were *too* small, so that was our introduction to minis, and we've never looked back!

    Indigo--Cute! I think all poodles back then, almost, were named "Fifi" or "Pierre," because people were under the mistaken notion that the breed was French in origin. My childhood poo was "Jolie."

    QoS--that sounds like EXACTLY the kind of thing Sweetney should organize. I will totally sponsor you.

    Dan--I am your hero for the day? If I'd thrown in some stuff about critical thinking or "straw man" arguments, would you have just swooned dead away? ;-)

  18. I feel sorry for Mrs. K. and sick Katie, and agree that Mrs. K. shouldn't be attacked for choosing to buy a purebred, but it bugs me that the pro-Fussy people also often included blanket comments about pet stores being the absolute worst place to buy animals. I wouldn't generalize about someone who bought an animal (like Mrs. K.) versus adopted a rescue without knowing the facts; so why generalize about pet shops this way?

    Not every pet store is a front for a puppy mill (and not every breeder is a saint--ask anyone who has worked at the Humane Society). For example: We have an excellent, independent chain pet shop in our area (Thee Fish Bowl) who get their purebred and mixed breed puppies and kittens from responsible private breeders. We have been going there for pet supplies for years, and the animals all seem well socialized, in part because they regularly interact with each other and the rescued, healthy "house" adult cats and dogs who are allowed the run of the store and are the most chilled out, friendly group of animals I've ever seen. They also have a permanent staff of human animal lovers to take care of their charges, who give the customers a friendly third-degree about buying the pets and are pretty honest about the breeds' quirks (some breeds are more talkative, need more exercise, etc.). The purebred kittens and puppies cost an arm and a leg (more in line with a private breeder's fee than a big chain pet store's), and there are signs near the crates imploring people to think through the decision/commitment they are making if they buy a pet.

    I grew up with purebred Shelties and now own an apple-headed Siamese cat adopted as an adult from the local Humane Society. We love her strong Siamese personality, and we would love to get another just like her; but after doing some research we've found that female adult AHS are very territorial, and adopting a male kitten is probably the best option for us. How often do rescue places or the HS get a male apple-headed siamese kitten? Once in a blue moon, that's how often; so we're going to buy one from TFB.

  19. J.--You're right, it does *sound* wonderful. BUT, here's the rub: NO, and I do mean NO responsible breeder would ever, in a MILLION years, sell to a pet shop. No way, no how, never. And nice as yours may seem, ALL pet shops use the line, "our animals come from responsible, (they usually throw in the term 'local' here) breeders." All of them.

    So buy a puppy from that pet shop if you want--that is your right. But all I'd ask is that you investigate further than what you're being told. I'd ask, "Really? Who is the breeder of this pup?" If the puppy is AKC (in the states)-registered, then that information is readily available. If the puppy is NOT regestered by AKC, I'd ask why not. "Dummy" registries like CKC (Continental Kennel Club, not to be confused with Canadian Kennel Club, an upstanding registry), etc. are merely fronts for commercial breeders. And ALL pet shops ARE supplied by commercial breeders, no matter how happy a front they put on it.

    Also ask who the parents of the puppy are. Where do they live? Where is the breeder located? Can you visit? (if, on the WILD chance the answer to that one is 'yes', then DO.)

    Can you look at the pedigree? If it IS an AKC (or UKC, for some breeds) pedigree, how many dogs in it have titles either before OR after their names? How many have OFA or CHIC numbers? Any? Doubtful.

    Now let's break it down financially. Try to find out how much your pet shop pays for a litter of pups. I've described the costs of proper genetic testing and health screening to be done on any breeding dogs--there is NO WAY a breeder could do all that is necessary to ensure good health on these puppies and then turn around and sell them to a pet shop for what they pay per pup (though usually they buy them by the litter) and see ANY kind of profit. So what would be the point? Just breeding to supply the pet shop? No, these "breeders" are either high-volume commercial breeders OR large-scale back-yard breeders, cranking them out for profit and only doing the bare minimum to keep them alive and looking healthy long enough to get sold, because the almighty dollar is king here.

    If you can find me one, and I mean ONE, responsible, ethical, breeder of purebred dogs who would ever even THINK of supplying a pet shop, I will eat my hat. It JUST DOESN'T HAPPEN.

    All other considerations aside, no ethical breeder would put their puppies in a situation in which they personally do not get to carefully screen all potential homes, whereas a pet shop sells puppies to any yahoo who walk in on a whim with cash in hand. Heck, they're even financing now!!

    Bottom line: I have to maintain a firm NO PET SHOP stance on this one. If there were no puppies sold at pet shops, then there would be NO market for abominations like the Hunte Corp., puppymills, brokers, and high-volume backyard breeders. They would all just shrivel up and die. Selling puppies at pet shops (I'm not even going to get into any other mammals, this is long enough already) is just plain WRONG, no matter how nice it seems.

    I run into people all the time who know the truth about pet shops, but want to "rescue" that poor little baby in the pet shop window. I understand that feeling, but I beg them not to, because it is only by NOT patronizing pet shops that we can stop this vicious cycle.

    Oh--and, ironically, the pet-shop price for a poorly-bred specimen of a purebred puppy is usually considerably higher, or at the very least equal to, what you'd pay from an ethical breeder for a *show quality* dog. The difference is, you can't walk into the breeder's house with cash in hand and walk out with a puppy. It's only the folks who have patience and the best interest of the breed and dogs as a whole and their particular puppy who wind up with great pups from great breeders. A puppy is not a new stereo, and should not be as readily available.

    Thank you very much, J., for keeping it civil, and I respect your right to your own choices.

  20. Sorry--I was using "puppy" throughout, but J. will be buying a *kitten* from this pet shop. Same argument applies with kittens, though, so interchange the words as you wish.

  21. Sorry, but responsible breeders do NOT use retail pet outlets to sell their animals.

    Responsible breeders SCREEN their buyers, make sure they know what they're getting into when they choose that breed, take the time to match the personality of the puppy to the family and provide a lifetime of support to their puppy buyers.

    Your local pet stores may get their puppies from local people who love their dogs and bred them 'cause they're such great pets...but that doesn't make them responsible breeders.

    Can they:
    1. Identify the top three genetic issues in their breed? And do they test all of their breeding stock for those diseases?
    2. Take back any puppy they ever bred, under any circumstances, if a puppy buyer cannot keep the puppy?
    3. Guarantee the health of their puppies against any of the common hereditary disease in their breed?

    The pet store may be nice; the places they get their puppies from may be local breeders...but that doesn't make them responsible breeders.

    Laura A
    Kaos Siberian Huskies

  22. Belinda~
    Don't the dog clubs to which most ethical breeders belong to several of, have right in their code of ethics that we are not to sell to a pet shop?? A pet shop can't screen their buyers, impossible situation for the puppies!!

  23. Laura--great points, thank you for your voice.

    Bark--YES! That hadn't even occurred to me, but yes, every breed club I ever heard of does have a "no retail sales" proviso in their code of ethics. (Our own breed club, unfortunately, is "closed membership," so it's up to us to police ourselves, but I think we do a pretty good job.)

  24. I fully agree... NO responsible breeder would ever sell to a pet store. Backyard breeders maybe... those that happen to have a couple of dogs and decide to make money off them. No health screening, no knowledge of genetics - but hey, it's purebred... I can make a ton of $$$ right?!! That type of mentality.

    Of course if someone doesn't mind spending big bucks for a puppy with absolutely no idea of the health problems in behind it - hey - who's to stop them?

    And price? It was commented that pet stores sell for less? Where? I raise Silky Terriers. My pups - health checked, guaranteed and with Champion parents, grand-parents etc behind them, sell for $750.00 Guess what? Pet stores sell Silkys for $1500.00 in my area. Heck... they sell cross-breed mutts for $1000.00 and up under the guise of "designer dogs". HA! Go to any SPCA or shelter and pick one up for a heck of a lot less for the exact same cross.

    P.T. Barnum was right.... there's a sucker born every minute.

  25. First , let me say that it is possible to get a good, healthy puppy at a pet store. However, that may be largely by chance and it most certainly will not be from a responsible breeder.

    Responsible breeders will NOT sell to pet stores for a few VERY important reasons.

    1. Responsible breeders will continue to collect health information on the puppies they produce in order to continue to breed better, healthier pets for people. This collection of information continues for the entire lifetime of the pet. Once a breeder sells a puppy to a pet store, breeders have no way of maintaining lifelong contact with the new buyers, nor do they have a way of requiring the new owner to maintain that contact. By not having this follow-on contact, breeders would be violating one of the essential characteristics of being responsible in their breeding practices. Therefore, responsible breeders will NOT sell their puppies to pet stores.

    2. New owners deserve on-going information about any genetically passed problems that occur in litter mates so they can take any preventative or corrective actions they may need to take in a timely manner. A responsible breeder will ensure each puppy owner gets this information as it is discovered. Once a puppy is sold through a pet store, this contact is lost. Responsible breeders will NOT let that happen; therefore they will not sell to pet stores.

    3. Responsible breeders will ensure all of their puppies have appropriate homes for their entire lifetime. Therefore all responsible breeders will, in their contracts with the new owners, have some type of statement as to the disposition of the puppy if the buyer cannot keep it. Pet stores don't do that; therefore responsible breeders will NOT sell their puppies to pet stores.

    4. Responsible breeders carefully place their puppies so that they are NOT indiscriminately bred, producing future generations that may end up putting a strain on the overloaded pounds and rescue organizations. In other words, they mentor new breeders with breeding potential dogs, and they ensure that those that should not be bred are spayed and neutered. Pet stores do not do this; therefore responsible breeders will NOT sell puppies to pet stores.

  26. I'm not a breeder but I can tell you that I would NEVER EVER buy a dog or cat from a pet store. Actually, I will not buy *anything* from a pet store that sells live animals.

    Those cute little puppies in a pet store were born in either filthy conditions in a puppy mill or were bred by commercial breeders (a very minor step up from a puppy mill). The parents of the puppies never leave their cages, live in their own filth, and are bred over and over again. They are often sold at an auction when they can no longer be bred and are of no further use to the mill.

    Each time you buy from a pet store, you only make room for another animal from a mill.

    The fact that these animals come with "papers" means nothing. The AKC registration just means both parents were purebred, is says nothing about the quality of the animal. That doesn't even take into account these new "registries" that have evolved just as fronts for puppy mills.

    A good breeder will health test her animals before breeding. They will check and double check every home before they even consider letting one of their puppies/kittens go to live with a person.

    I would have it no other way.

    Please don't be fooled J. by the pet store puppy and how cute it looks in the window.

    Do your research and either buy from a responsible breeder or go to a Humane Society and rescue.

  27. Geeze, Belinda, you took the wind right out of my sails!! I was winding up to say more or less the exact same thing to "J" (probably not as nicely, or as well worded) and there you go.

    The Code Of Ethics of every club I belong to says that if I sell ONE puppy to a pet shop I am breaking their Code and I will be removed from the membership of the club. That applies to cat breeders, as well - if you're a member in good standing with any Cat Club you're outta there with the first litter sold to a shop.

    It's a physical impossibility for anyone to do all their testing, get proper clearances, show the parents in ANY venue to ANY title, raise that litter to the right age for socializing, give proper vet care and top quality diet and still sell them at low enough a price for the shop to take them anyway!

    All this leaves out the fact that a responsible breeder wants to find a permanent, proper home for each and every pup they produce. Not leave it to some profit making entity who's only concern is the bottom line. Every reputable breeder that I know will take back a dog/pup that they bred for whatever the reason. Show me the pet shop who's morals stretch that far.

    I think "J" and anyone who thinks like she does needs to do some research into exactly where all those pups and kits who are sold in shops actually come from. For each one you buy, you're giving money to the breeder to buy another animal and make more money off the misery of their dogs/cats/whatever.

  28. I know the ISCA has something to that effect in their code of ethics about selling to wholesalers, research labs and retailers. I would never sell a pup to a pet store nor would I buy one from a pet store either. There is no way they can do any of the testing for genetic defects and also make money. The last dog I OFA'd, the procedure cost me $250. Check out the site If you have papers for your puppy you can even find out where it came from. This site also has a genetics registry of congenital and heritable defects by breed. Something to think about.

  29. I would have to disagree with you, J, and agree with Belinda. I don't believe there is a truly responsible breeder that would ever sell their puppies to a pet shop. The puppies in a private pet shop might come from local breeders, but doubtful that they are ethical about it.

    Pet shops move a much higher volume than any private, ethical breeder is ever going to breed.

    In all honesty, have you ever visited any of these breeders and seen their facilities? Do they do the appropriate health testing for their breed? Are they breeding their dogs ever cycle or waiting until they are of proper age? Do they send any information with the puppies on their paretns health problems or offer any type of return system if the puppy becomes ill?

    I work at a veterinarian and have heard many of the lines from pet stores about how the puppies are from responsible breeders, they are registered, etc. When the owners try to track them down, the trail usually ends up at a puppy mill or the Hunt Corp. The registries are CKC or some other off the wall organization. It is very rare to ever see an AKC registered puppy from there. I know of one in particular that was supposed to be CKC and AKC registered, but they never could produce the AKC reistration papers.

    All I can say is you need to do more research before buying from a pet store. I would never refer a person to those kind of places. You will get much more support over the lifetime of your pet from a breeder and know what is in your dogs lines.

    Another point that I also bring up is meeting the parents of your puppy. You do not get to do that at a pet store. Meeting the parents will give you some insight into the temperamnet, conformation, and health that you can look forward in your new puppy.

  30. Given the various respiratory and other viruses that kittens are prone to, I can't imagine any responsible person consigning their kittens to a pet store environment. As visitors and staff pet each kitten, germs are spread from one to the next. Would you rather buy your kitten from someone who has spent most of their adult life studying the breed or a pet store barista-equivalent?

  31. This is in response to J, as I happen to live in the same area and know well of the shop she uses as an example.

    J, I’m here to tell you that they are supplied by puppymillers, albeit a smaller network. I have a friend that bought the sickest, craziest JRT from them and was formerly “friends” with the owner of that shop. Needless to say they fell out when my friend began to have so many problems with the puppy and Thee Fish Bowl turned Thee Back On Thee Loyal Puppy Buyer.

    Yes, their staff is knowledgeable and assertive, but also highly opinionated. I went there to try a microprong on my 9-month old Standard Poodle puppy before buying one, and the woman who showed me how to use it nearly hung my dog in the process. We were training in obedience, but I wouldn’t say he had a reliable heel yet. That woman jerked him around to the point that he yelped and shut down, not an easy task on a very confident SP puppy.

    Oh yeah. And the “well socialized” pets that live there from shelters and such? Both shops are very small and crowded with merchandise, and the resident pets tend to form a pack and rush/get in the face of any animal that comes through the door. *Not* a place I would choose to socialize my puppy!

    I never tried to buy a puppy there so I couldn’t say what their “screening” is like. Hmm, let’s see here. When you click on “About Us” on their website, you get a $50 off coupon on a puppy! Now what does that tell you about this joint?

  32. I'd just like to say that the best breeders are so picky about where their puupies get placed that they would never in a million years hand them over to a pet store. Thats the kind of breeder I want to get a pup from! In fact i did-twice in fact.And when my little bitch has puppies you can be darn sure people will have to nearly jump through hoops to prove them selves as worthy .
    Any breeder who sells to pet store only cares about one thing -the almighty $$$$ not about the pups they bring into this world or its welfare.

  33. No responsible, ethical breeder would ever sell to a petshop where they could not carefully screen potential puppy owners.

    Since all the negative press over puppy mills, it has become the new selling mantra of pet shops that the puppies are either "home raised", or come from local breeders. The fact that someone is a breeder does not make them ethical, heck, all you need to do is put a male & female together, produce a litter, and you're a "breeder".

    If you trace the papers on many of these puppies, they're either registered with the Continental Kennel Club, or some other "registry" utilized by high-volume breeders. The reason; many either refuse to comply with the AKC's standards for the care of dogs, or they've been suspended from AKC for facilities, lack of accurate record keeping, etc. The majority of these puppies come from the Mid-West, and if you can see the pedigree, contain few, if any, titled dogs in the pedigrees. The puppy mills don't care about titles, they care about mass-producing puppies!

  34. I already went in to this all over on my own blog a couple of days ago, but since y'all were so disappointed at all being in agreement, I figured I'd jump in and say I completely disagree. I think intentional breeding is wrong. Period. Yes, a responsible small-scale breeder is leagues better than a puppy mill, but I still think intentional breeding and buying pets from breeders are wrong. There are several arguments for why I think its wrong, but it basically comes down to the fact that thousands of pets are unnecessarily put to death every day and I believe it is our responsibility as the human beings who domesticated those pets to take care of them first.

  35. I'm just jumping back in real quick-like here with a caveat for everyone to treat Grace with the same degree of politeness she is exhibiting. She is speaking from a firm PeTA-esque stance, which is to eliminate companion animals entirely to the point of their total extinction, and she is entitled to that. She has exhibited the quality appropriate to her name in comments on her own blog and here, and has not stooped to any personal attacks, and I don't want to see any here.

    Civil disagreement, please, *if* you disagree. All opinions welcome. Thank you, and back to programming.

  36. Just as a caveat, I may share this stance with PeTA, but I don't actually support PeTA. I think their position on breed bans is unforgiveable.

  37. Responsible breeders don't sell to pet shops. A responsible breeder wants some input on where her puppies go. A responsible breeder wants the opportunity to give the new owner some breed specific education, and wants to be available for any questions the new puppy owner might have. A pet store proprietor can't possibly know enough about breed-specific health problems or personality traits, etc, to do a better job placing puppies than a responsible breeder.

    It is not wrong to breed dogs. Just because some people do it wrong (breed mixed breeds that have no rescue organization, and don't guarantee to take their puppies back for re-homing) doesn't mean the rest of society should be punished. That is like saying there are two many children in foster care so no one should have any children.

    Leanne Bertani
    Columbus Ohio

  38. I am having trouble understanding how one can find PETA's position on breed bans as unforgiveable, and also *not* believe in purposeful breeding.

    They seem to be complete opposites. To make these two statements almost makes it sound as if the only purposeful breeding should be in mixing breeds and eliminating purebreds!

    I am confused. How else can I explain my confusion. Purposeful breedings should be done by those knowledgeable of the genetics behind a breed, they have done testing (that is available) on the parents and they have researched the lines to know what health issues have cropped up through the last 3-5 generations. Purposeful breedings should be done on purebreds, not mixed breeds.

    To say that someone doesn't stand with PETA on the issue of breed bans, sounds like they are saying they are for purposeful breeding.

    Is my confusion now clear as mud??

    >>I still think intentional breeding and buying pets from breeders are wrong

    >>I think their position on breed bans is unforgiveable.

  39. No, it is me who wasn't clear. Sorry about that. What I object to is PeTA's classification of some types of dogs (i.e. pit bulls) as "trash" who should not be bred/owned. Like I mentioned earlier, my position is that we as humans have a responsibility to ALL dogs, not just the breeds we find most desirable.

    I don't think breeding should be done intentionally. I understand that this will kill some purebreed lineages. I understand that it will mean no more show dogs. Given the situation, I'm OK with that. There are possible exceptions in my mind for working/service dogs, but I don't think breeding intentionally, based on love of a given breed, makes sense when there are so many dogs who need homes already.

    As for the comparison to having kids while there are so many who need to be adopted, I think it's fair comparison. The difference is that adopting a child is difficult and expensive, while adopting a dog is cheaper than buying one. Also, unadopted babies don't get euthanized.

  40. Grace, (BTW, I love your name!)

    I agree that there are way too many dogs in this world and the majority of people need to spay/neuter.

    Having said that. I am asthmatic. I have loved animals all my life and they were always in my home until I got asthma (late 20s).

    I am so glad that there are breeds that I can live with! Breeds that I have found to be ypoallergenic.

    It is because of these few breeds that are bred w/o crossing to other breeds that people like me are able to have a beloved ompanion in their home.

    I for one, am very glad that there are some dedicated breeders who are conscientious enough to breed sparingly only those dogs that have passed health clearances, and been selected for breeding by looking at the overall picture of health in their lines. These same breeders are very picky who they place their puppies with, hoping to find a home where the dog will be treasured and cared for as a human member of the family when it comes to their health needs (as you have done with your adorable bulldog). These breeders also care that their pups are spayed and neutered when placed in pet homes. They are upholding their part of being responsible for what they produce.

    It is the very many backyard breeders who are breeding to support their income, or to show "Johnny" about birth, or even the person who claims they want a pup out of their beloved "FiFi" and the puppy millers who are creating chaos in the dog world with too many numbers and too many dogs being destroyed in shelters.

    These are the ones who breed without the knowledge of health issues in the lines, and hence create a real problem for a breed. Not to mention the owner who has the mixed breed that he chooses not to spend money on getting "fixed" (spayed/neutered), that then allows their dogs to procreate. Sure they might be able to find homes for a few of the litter, but the rest...they end up in garbage bags on the highway, or they end up dumped at shelters. These dogs didn't ask for this.

    People who choose mixed breeds are wonderful people, they take into their home a dog who they (hopefully) have no expectations for. But, because of that, sometimes they are the ones that are allowed to roam and get bred, or they are tied out on a stake and allowed to breed to whatever comes by.

    I have friends with wonderful mixed breeds, but I have to say that those friends are your average pet owner. They are not very informed as to understanding dog language and their relationship with their dogs can sometimes be more full-filling. And, I do find that many people (not my friends thankfully) who have mixed breeds find their dog "expendable/replacable".

    I find that people who choose to purchase from a reputible breeder are well informed buyers. They have done their homework about what breed will suit their personality and lifestyle, as well as fit into their home with husband/children/other pets. They come prepared and they come willing to be educated even more. They are looking for a certain breed because they have certain expectations in a dog that they want to see in the pup they bring home. Specific breeds of dogs are bred for a purpose, hence, you know if you want "thus and so" to go to this breed. You cannot say that of any mixed breed dog, and hence there is a shortcoming in the mixed breed. I have owned several mixed breeds and they have been wonderful dogs. If I didn't have asthma, I can't say that I wouldn't be a person to drag a wandering mixed breed home from the streets, or save one from a shelter that touches my heart through his eyes. But, that isn't ever going to be possible due to my asthma.

    Overall, I simply find that the majority of people buying from breeders are educated people that will give that dog the best shot at having the best life possible.

    Sure, my very first dog came from a pet store. I was very uneducated. I had never owned a dog before and did everything wrong with that poor dog. At 15 months of age I re-homed her and she was better for it. Then...I went to a breeder and explained I wanted a good representative of the breed and he not only worked with me in getting a pup but also educated me in training and the relationship a human can have with a dog. Good breeders don't just breed, they educate and they care about that relationship between owner and pup for their life. A petstore won't do that, they have no desire to, and generally don't have the knowledge to do that.

    Whew! Enough! That is just my 05 cents worth of rambling thoughts.

  41. If you check with the shelters it is not the intentionally ethical lovingly bred dogs that are there looking for homes, that is the point! We carefully screen our buyers plus take the pup back ourselves if something has happened. The shelters are filled with the offspring of unneutered animals that roam the back yards still to this day!!!

  42. Anonymous wrote~
    Whew! Enough! That is just my 05 cents worth of rambling thoughts
    Loved your post! Thank you so much, it is so nice to be understood once in awhile!!

  43. FTR, I'm not the one with the bulldog. That's Mrs. Kennedy at Fussy. I actually have an Irish Wolfhound/Great Pyr mutt and an Anatolian Sheperd, both rescues.

  44. Grace, glad you straightened that out--I was about to. Grace is just someone who commented on both these threads, and posted on the topic on her own blog, which I read, and answered my questions to her as best she could, and politely.

    Just at first glance at the new comments here, I would like to point out one thing; that the long-term goal behind PeTA's position on breed bans in identical to Grace's stated goal of eliminating companion animals. And do not doubt--when you criminalize all "intentional breeding," you ARE eliminating companion animals. Eventually even the shelter dogs and free-roaming mutts will die out, and then dogs are gone from our lives.

    Anon (with the $.05--people, please leave some kind of name, even if you make it up), you make wonderful points about the wrong people being punished. If ethical breeders are willing to take back ANY dog of their breeding, at ANY age, for ANY reason, calling them responsible for the pet overpopulation problem is ridiculous. And the only reason the informed puppy buyers who buy from these breeders would do otherwise would be if there was no other choice...but then, in that case, you're once again on the slippery slope to NO PETS, EVER.

    And to address some of Grace's specific points:

    "I don't think breeding should be done intentionally. I understand that this will kill some purebreed lineages."

    Not "some," ALL. ALL purebred dogs, gone forever. Not to mention that this position also assures the extinction of the domesticated dog altogether, not just "certain breeds" or "purebreds."

    "I understand that it will mean no more show dogs. Given the situation, I'm OK with that."

    I think you misunderstand the purpose of dog shows. I get the feeling that you see them as an ego-driven exhibition. And, to some degree, you are correct (here is where I get bitten by the hand that feeds me, as it were). There are "specials" careers into which ridiculous amounts of money are poured. There are full-page, glossy ads and covers in magazines. And if we're all being honest, we have to admit that YES, there is a faction of dog showing (and some in all of us) that is ego-driven. I mean, who wouldn't be proud when a pup you bred so carefully and painstakingly wins a Best of Breed or Group placing? But that's a far cry from the few dog-owners with piles of money who campaign a special *just* for ego.

    NOW, if you're still with me, let me tell you what dog shows really ARE. They are "conformation" shows. They are evaluation tools for breeders. They keep us from being "kennel-blind" and seeing only our own family of dogs. They keep us focused on the breed standard, and breeding to "type." In order for a dog to become a champion, it must have impressed several judges with its adherence to the standard of its particular breed, and it must have been judged superior to a fair number of other dogs of the same breed.

    And these are the dogs that, for the most part, "show breeders" breed. The champions. The cream of the crop. And most go one step further (though, admittedly, some do not--coming from "show lines" in itself is not a reliable indication of a dog having been thoughtfully bred) and complete yards of health screening and genetic testing on each breeding prospect. I know, personally, of Best-In-Show winning dog, gorgeous examples of breed type and temperament, who, after stunning show careers, were neutered/spayed by their conscientious breeders/owners because they didn't pass OFA, CERF, or any number of health/genetic tests. Showing is just the beginning; just the tool by which we measure our progress.

    "There are possible exceptions in my mind for working/service dogs,"

    Nope, can't have it both ways. If, as you say on your site, the owning of companion animals and the mere domestication of animals is "enslavement," then there is no place in the world for a service animal of any kind, no matter how much a person might need it.

    "but I don't think breeding intentionally, based on love of a given breed, makes sense when there are so many dogs who need homes already."

    Again, it is not the fault or responsibility of someone who desires or needs a particular breed of dog for whatever reason, that someone *else* has been irresponsible. And I don't believe I have ever met an ethical breeder who is not also involved in rescue. Ever.

    Lastly, let me just say that the preservation of particular breeds is not done only out of "love of the breed," though that is a huge factor. The reason that different breeds were developed is that they were needed for different purposes. And while the days of working dogs might have diminished, what we wound up with were a variety of dogs with differing sizes, shapes, temperaments, personalities, characteristics and abilities.

    My poodles are hypoallergenic. They are one of the few breeds that people (like us) with severe allergies can have in our families.

    A Lab is ideally suited in size, temperament, and ease of maintenance, to be a guide dog for the blind. Not what they were originally developed for, but there you have it.

    Anatolian Shepherds, Kuvasz, etc. are perfectly suited to guard and protect livestock.

    The list goes on and on, and every breed is different, but what they all have in common is something that mixed breeds can never have: predictability. You know, with a bulldog puppy, what you're going to have when it's grown. And so on. And I'm so tired now.

    I'm done. Anyone else?

    Ooops, I wasn't. I would like to point out at least ONE goal that we ethical breeders and Grace have in common: To end the mistreatment of dogs in any form, and to assure a life of compassion and companionship for every dog. Her means is to abolish breeding (and, ultimately, pets), which would, you have to admit, solve the problem. Our means is to abolish commercial breeding in all forms; to carefully select and evaluate by conformation, temperament, and health, our breeding prospects; to screen potential homes carefully and place just the right dog with just the right owner; to assure the spay/neuter of all dogs going to pet homes; and to be responsible for those dogs FOR LIFE. Which would, also, solve the problem.

  45. I've thought about this some more, and posted about it back on my blog at more length, but basically, I disagree with the strength of the position you are attributing to me. There are differences between PeTA's position and mine. I also think it's overkill to think that ending or greatly reducing breeding would mean no pet dogs. That would require perfect compliance with the law, and why would that happen?

    Mainly, I'm just interested in getting dogs out of shelters and off death row. It's really that simple. I have no particular problem with purebred dogs, or with breeders, as long as the are your type of responsible breeder. But I do have a problem with the creation of more puppies when there are puppies being killed. That's my bottom line.

    Also, just so you know where I'm coming from, my family is in dog breeding. Responsible, show quality dog breeding. I understand what responsible breeding entails and how dog shows work. I'm not a novice. I've just chosen to go another route, dedicating all of my time/resources/love/pet space to rescues.

  46. Grace said, "That would require perfect compliance with the law, and why would that happen?" And I have to agree. In a perfect, dog-lovin' world every dog would be bred compassionately and every owner screened carefully and everyone would live happily ever after. I see that happening right after you have to take an I.Q. test to qualify to have a baby. Or to get married. Or to vote for president.

    I'd be interesteed to know some statistics about the dog population we have, percentage of mutts vs. percentage of purebreds. Do you know, Belinda?

  47. Hi Grace,
    I do not think that purebred breeders are the main problem of the shelters today.

    Grace's 1st post - "I think intentional breeding is wrong. Period. Yes, a responsible small-scale breeder is leagues better than a puppy mill, but I still think intentional breeding and buying pets from breeders are wrong."

    Grace's 2nd post - "I don't think breeding should be done intentionally. I understand that this will kill some purebreed lineages. I understand that it will mean no more show dogs. Given the situation, I'm OK with that."

    Grace's 3rd post - "It's really that simple. I have no particular problem with purebred dogs, or with breeders, as long as the are your type of responsible breeder. But I do have a problem with the creation of more puppies when there are puppies being killed. That's my bottom line."

    My Answers -
    1)The majority of puppies/dogs in shelters are due to lack of training and knowledge on the owners part. The majority of puppies/dogs in shelters are from pet stores & backyard breeders. I am not saying that a dog from a responsible breeder has never ended up in a shelter, because it has happened. The breeders I know (myself included) would go through a lot of trouble to prevent that from happening.

    2) To not have any purebred breedings would end those breeds. Yes, there are a lot of dogs in shelters, but the numbers put out by PETA and others have been greatly exagerated.

    3) Shelters do a great disservice to the public by trying to adopt pets that are not appropriate for their family, age, etc. I have seen this happen numerous times and the dogs end back up in the shelter or bouncing from home to home, or put down due to lack of training or attitude.

    4) If the breeder or shelter would take the time and make sure the puppy buyer is sent to the proper training school and trains their puppy then there would be a lot less animals in shelters. Some of the common reasons dogs/cats are left at shelters is because of training issues. Public education is the answer to this.

    5) Public education is also one of the answers to backyard breeding of unhealthy or mix breed pets. If we would take more time to educate on the responsiblilties of pet ownership and health problems in pets, then we could help the public to understand why or why not to breed their beloved dog.

    We see so many animals from all these spectrums coming through our clinic. We do our best to get them the help needed or advise them on the aspects of spaying and neutering their pets. If we could get more people that would help to educate and not just bash all breeders, then we might start seeing an improvement.

    I won't get started on PETA, just that the veterinarians in our county have successfully fought their agendas and kept them out of our system for 10 years now.

  48. I completely agree re: lax adoption practices by shelters. I understand why they do it, figuring that any home is better than being killed, but it does exasterbate the problem. That's part of the reason I am such a huge fan of rescues. A well run rescue is the best possible way to get a pet, IMO/IME.

    Am I wrong in reading an underlying distain for mixed breeds in some posts here? I keep reading things like "unhealthy or mix breed pets" and just not getting where that comes from. IME, mixed breeds have been the healthiest dogs, at least compared with anything but top tier purebreeds.

  49. Grace, I can answer that last: The "disdain" you're picking up on re: mixed-breed dogs in NO WAY reflects on the dogs themselves. They are innocent, and have as much potential to be great pets and companions as any. The disdain is real, and great, however, for the people and situations responsible for their coming to be.

    And your experience may be that mixes are "healthier" than purebreds, but from what I know, that in no way reflects statistical reality, though there may be a certain amount of "hybrid vigor" with first-generation mixes. Maybe Kim will chime back in with the veterinary perspective on that one. Cross the wrong two breeds, such as Labs and Standard Poodles, as people are currently doing to make a quick buck, and you have effectively doubled up on a laundry list of serious, debilitating genetic defects which are common to both breeds.

    We just can't make generalizations based on our personal experience. Most of my rescue/foster work has been with poodles, but in extreme cases of need, I have fostered my share of mixed breeds. The only dog I ever gave up on (and who was subsequently put down due to unstable temperament and biting) was a mixed breed. A Golden Retriever/Great Pyrenees mix. Was it his fault? No, not really. I wanted him to make it, badly...but he had been too severely damaged at the hands of prior owners, not to mention whoever was responsible for his birth. But I don't, from that experience, badmouth mixed-breed dogs.

    That said, I have never, ever (this is just me) had a poodle rescue, even including elderly, lifetime puppymill bitches, who did not easily rehabilitate. I'm sure some others in poodle rescue may have some sadder stories, but I don't.

    Mixed Breed does not = "unhealthy," any more than Purebred = "healthy," or vice versa.

  50. Here is my take: If you accept the premise that dogs should not be bred
    on purpose, or that no animal should be domesticated for any purpose,
    which is the agenda of PETA and similar animal rights groups, then there is no point in discussing this. Either you believe that domesticated animals are acceptable or you don't. If you don't, then nothing will convince you that any form of breeding is OK.

    If, however, you believe that association with domestic animals is
    enriching to the lives of both humans and animals, and you want animals in your life, we are then led to a discussion of how such breeding should be done. Purebred dogs have developed over centuries to meet many different needs in many different places. Even now, when few dogs are used for their original purpose, ethical, knowledgeable breeders appreciate these uses, and want their dogs to continue to be capable of their purpose. To that end, the responsible breeder breeds very carefully and selectively, with health, temperament and correct
    structure for the breed always foremost in their minds, and forming the basis of all breeding decisions.

    Unfortunately, the many casual or "backyard" breeders, and especially
    those who produce dogs with profit as the only goal give the esponsible
    breeder a bad name. There are enormous differences between these kinds of breeders, and comparing them is comparing apples and oranges, as other than causing puppies to be born, they have nothing at all in common. For
    the profit driven, once the puppy is sold, it no longer exists for them.

    For the ethical breeder, every puppy they breed is held as their
    responsibility for life. The responsible breeder plans and spaces
    litters carefully, only breeding animals who meet the highest standards of health, temperament and correctness for the breed. They give every puppy the best care and socialization possible, screen every potential buyer carefully, and sell only to those deemed willing and able to meet the needs of a dog of the breed in question. As profit is not their motive for breeding, the ethical breeder refuses to sell to anyone who doesn't take the care of the dog seriously and commit to caring for it for life. Such a breeder NEVER sells wholesale or to any person for the purpose of resale. Puppies sold as pets are sold on limited (non-breeding) registration and/or spay/neuter contracts. The responsible breeder keeps in touch with puppy buyers and tracks the dog's development, especially health, using this information to plan future breedings. Such a breeder is available for the life of the dog to assist the buyer in solving any problem that may arise with the dog, and if the buyer is ever unable or unwilling to keep the dog for any reason, takes responsibility for seeing that the dog is placed in another suitable home or is returned to the breeder. Any breeder who does less is neither ethical nor responsible.

    The current problem is that many people cannot seem to differentiate
    between the ethical breeder and the large scale puppy producer who
    simply breeds any two dogs to each other, with the sole purpose of
    producing puppies to be sold for profit. Since good care and individual socialization of puppies is labor intensive and cuts into profit, they breed large numbers of puppies, give them minimum care, and sell them as young as possible. These people usually sell entire litters wholesale to middle men, who then sell them to pet shops, where they are sold to anyone who has money or a credit card, with no thought or care if the home is
    suitable, the buyer knows the needs of a puppy or of the breed in
    question. The "backyard breeder" does the same thing, only on a smaller scale, and sells most dogs directly to pet buyers, but with no more interest in the buyer than that s/he pays for the puppy. Most of the
    purebred dogs who end up in shelters come from people who bought from
    such people, often on impulse.

    I totally agree that this kind of irresponsible breeding causes much
    misery and suffering for the dogs involved and that such breeding should not be done. However, it is completely irrational and unreasonable to put all who breed dogs in the same category. If I had my "druthers", no one would be allowed to sell puppies wholesale, and no pet store would be allowed to sell any puppy. This alone would not eliminate all irresponsible breeding, but it would reduce it by at least 90%, without infringing on the rights of the ethical breeder who breeds with the good of the breed in mind. Unfortunately, I don't write the laws, and in the
    US, government is not allowed to stop anyone from breeding in this way.

    This leaves public education as the main weapon to fight puppy mills and
    other irresponsible breeders. It is the responsibility of every person
    who has the best interest in the welfare of dogs in general, and purebred dogs in particular, to educate everyone s/he comes in contact with about buying only from a responsible breeder and how to tell if a breeder is responsible. Since profit is the motive of the puppy mill and backyard breeder, educating buyers not to buy from them, especially from those
    who wholesale to pet shops is the only way to stop this practice.

  51. Grace said: "But I do have a problem with the creation of more puppies when there are puppies being killed. That's my bottom line."

    Okay, then you should go to the source of the dogs in the shelter. Penalize those irresponsible pet owners that allow their dogs to breed at random, then give away the litter twice a year to anyone who wants a puppy. Penalize people who don't train their dogs, or who abuse and neglect them, and turn them into problems for the next owner to fix, or for the shelter to put down. Penalize pet shops who sell to the impulse buyer, but accept no responsibility for the dog after that. Penalize puppy mills that operate only for profit, and deal in the largest number of puppies produced at the absolute minimum cost, without any consideration of their future once the check is accepted.

    If you took care of those categories, none of which include the serious breeder of high quality dogs, I think the numbers of dogs needing rehomed would be a very manageable number. Responsible breeders are trying to address the real issues at the source, and do everything we can to make sure our dogs are not part of that problem at any level. That includes breeding healthy dogs of predictable, stable temperaments, and placing them in committed, caring homes. It also includes taking back any dogs we produce, because sometimes bad things happen to good families.

    Until then, what you are proposing makes as much sense to me as stopping Spielberg from making movies because there are too many porn flicks, or disbanding Girl Scouts because of gang problems. You're making a huge fuss, but not addressing the real problem, which is irresponsible, thoughtless breeding.

  52. Whew ex AnonymousMarch 17, 2006 at 5:53 AM

    >>If ethical breeders are willing to take back ANY dog of their breeding, at ANY age, for ANY reason,

    >>calling them responsible for the pet overpopulation problem is ridiculous.

    Sorry Belinda if you got the impression from my post that I was calling ethical breeders responsible for the pet population! I look back over my post and can't figure out where you come to that conclusion!

    I did say:

    "These breeders also care that their pups are spayed and neutered when placed in pet homes. They are upholding their part of being responsible for what they produce."

    I just simply forgot to add any mention of them taking back their pups no matter what age. My brain was going way faster than my
    fingers and my fingers missed typing that part! Glad you added it.

  53. Whew ex AnonymousMarch 17, 2006 at 5:57 AM

    That should have been pet *over* population. Or over*pup*ulation!

    >>that I was calling ethical breeders responsible for the pet population! I look back over my post and can't figure out where you come to that conclusion!

  54. Grace wrote - "Am I wrong in reading an underlying distain for mixed breeds in some posts here? I keep reading things like "unhealthy or mix breed pets" and just not getting where that comes from. IME, mixed breeds have been the healthiest dogs, at least compared with anything but top tier purebreeds."

    I do not have a disdain for mix breeds, but the people who deliberately breed them or do not care enough to spay their pets and prevent "accidents".

    We treat the same diseases in mix breeds as we do in pure breds. The diseases are not saved for the purebred only. Yes, there is more research in purebred dogs and we know what breeds are more prone to certain diseases. That is largely due to following the breed lines and being able to see what is being produced.

    We do not have that knowledge with mix breeds, but they can be just as prone to these diseases. Sometimes we see more diseases that are easily prevented because of lack of care or concern with these breedings.

  55. I thought I had been clear, but it seems I haven't. I ABSOLULTEY agree that the biggest problems in pet overpopulation are irresponsible intentional breeding (puppy mills, backyard breeders, etc.) and irresponsible unintentional breeding (people not getting their animals fixed). I understand that these are the major problems, and the ones that are the biggest need of being addressed. The fact that I am philosophically against any intentional breeding, at least until the population of pets in shelters being euthanized is greatly reduced, is more of a secondary issue. For practical purposes, though, shutting down ALL breeding would take care of both the primary and the secondary issues.

    That's probably about enough out of me on this topic, though. I'm sure everyone is ready to move on.

  56. I so agree with Belinda, Joyce, Dott and so many others on the subject of ethical/responsible breeders not supplying pet shops. An ethical breeder will not abdicate their responsibility in placing the pet in a suitable home.

    In addition to the questions that should be asked when buying a purebred puppy (or kitten), the responsible breeder will screen the potential owner for suitability and be strong enough to turn down a prospect if they are not a good fit for the breed -- it's not all about monetary return on their investment. The ethical responsible breeder, first and foremost, is a guardian of the breed - promoting the good attributes without ignoring the less appealing ones to make positive placements for a lifetime of love and companionship, knows what's behind their animals regarding temperament and health, and is the new owner's best resource in answering questions, helping with training issues and being there in support and mentoring.

    The pet shop environment may take good care of their pets and give them lots of attention, but the bottom line is making the sale, and I have yet to hear an associate in a pet store refuse a sale when the customer wants the pet or ask screening questions to give the customer reason to change their mind. Sure, there may be posted signs/flyers prompting the potential buyer to think through their decision, but never have I witnessed an actual conversation on why that particular pet would not be a good choice.

    I am a breeder of Belgian Sheepdogs for the past 13 yrs and have owned this fabulous breed for 30 yrs. It is not the breed for everyone and I screen prospective owners carefully, offer my assistance in full support, AND as part of my contract will take back any of my dogs at any time if the owners cannot keep him/her, regardless of reason or age (and have done so 4 times to date). Can you say the same about the pet shop or breeders (or, as I prefer to call them, "producers") who use their services? I also promote breed rescue and have directed people to our rescue chairpersons for an alternate means of acquiring a Belgian Sheepdog, if they so choose.

  57. It is hard for me to say no to a potential puppy buyer, but I actually turn down many more than I consider for one of my precious toy poodle pups. Just had a very nice family with a young child. The mother wanted a puppy, but the child is too young to know how to be careful around such a small dog. I do not know of any pet stores who care even a jot about what kind of home the pups they sell are getting. BTW, my pups are way less than those from a pet store. The pedigrees are full of champions, and health testing is a major expense in my budget.