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DOGS: Conscientious dog breeders are a good thing – Paradise Post

The American Kennel Club in no way, shape or form controls the quality of the purebred dogs it registers. It is a stud registry only, tracking the bloodlines of registered dogs, on paper.

There is a standard, written by the AKC for each breed, but there's no way for the AKC to know if the puppy being registered actually conforms to that standard. That's what dog shows are all about.

The breed ring at a dog show is not just a day of aimless fun to see if your dog is prettier than the next. It is to prove that the dog being shown conforms to the breed standard and is of exceptionally high quality.

A dog that has an AKC championship has proven that he conforms to the standard and is an above average representative of that breed, therefore making him an excellent candidate to reproduce and keep the integrity of the breed intact.

About 85 percent (or higher), of all purebred dogs though registered by the AKC, should not be allowed to reproduce because they do not conform to the breed standard (too big, too small, wrong color, etc.) or are structurally unsound.

Every type of purebred dog has physical breed specific problems, hip dysplasia being the most common in large breed dogs. In Collies it is blindness, in Dalmatians it's deafness. To keep from producing crippled, blind or deaf puppies reputable, knowledgeable breeders study bloodlines; tracking desired characteristics as well as certain breed specific diseases and dispositions.

No breeders I've known would consider breeding an aggressive, biting dog; no matter if it were physically perfect and a Champion.

In addition to research, a good breeder will have each pup checked, certified, x-rayed or whatever, depending on the breed, before that pup is even considered for the show ring and ultimately their breeding program. It is the very reason purebred dogs are so expensive; tests, care, training, showing, etc., costs big bucks if you do it right.

I have had several close friends over the years that breed purebred dogs; Schipperkes, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers, Belgian Malinois, Sussex Spaniels, Golden Retrievers, Labradors (yellow and black) and Chihuahuas to name a few of the breeds supported by people I know. These days of extreme pet over-population have spawned several organizations with missions to stop all dog breeding, by everybody; conscientious or not.

The non-dog owning or pet-dog owning public tends to buy into phrases like "don't breed or buy; adopt."

Some of the more extreme humane groups vilify dog breeders as being the cause of the over population problem. It doesn't seem to be politically correct these days to even whisper in a positive way the term "dog breeder." I'm here to tell you, conscientious dog breeders are the only hope we have at preserving the distinct breeds we have all come to know and love.

An entire breed can be corrupted in an appallingly short time if breeding standards are not maintained by the owners doing the breeding. Reputable conscientious breeders in no way contribute to pet over population. All the breeders I have ever known have a "cradle to grave" policy; their puppies are tracked and new owners sign contracts so if the dog, for any reason, can't be kept it goes back to the breeder. Their dogs do not end up in shelters, pounds or sanctuaries. A breeder friend actually pays a new owner $100 for each obedience or performance title the dog earns over the next several years.

As my friend, Marie Nater writes, "Until EVERY puppy mill in this country is closed down and every ignorant backyard breeder quits breeding, there's going to be dogs in the animal shelters and pounds. Easy to say 'Don't breed or buy,' but what happens to the many fine breeds that would die out in 15 years time if no one bred another litter?"

Real breeders are not the problem. Locally, one problem is irresponsible owners allowing their intact pets to run loose and breed in the streets.

Another is actually intentionally breeding a dog because they think they can sell puppies; unfortunately a current fad amongst irresponsible owners is breeding pit-type dogs. Another fad is the "designer breeds"—breeding any little dog that might produce a cute puppy.

Because of these two most recent "fads" shelters across the country are full of pit-type dogs or Chihuahua mixes with the pit-types out numbering any other breed or mix in our Paradise shelter.

Rebecca Settergren is an AKC approved CGC Evaluator, a member of the Dog Writers Association of America and a contributing columnist to the Post. Visit Out With The Dogs on Facebook:


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