Category Archives: Breeding Dogs

Why would a man buy an $800.00 suit

… and then put Alpo in his pocket to feed a dog?” Joe Garagiola, February 18, 1998.

Yet again, I tortured myself and my family; ignored my telephone, my crackberry and my own private admonitions that watching this was going to be a consummate waste of time bad idea.

Announcer Jim Fagan was clearly out of his element, butchering the names of many of the breeds, mumbling incoherently about nothing it would seem and bypassing the courtesy of at least getting the numbers and the breeds right when announcing the Best in Show winners as they entered the ring for the final time. I think I heard “This is dog number 22” at least three times as the first few of the seven group winners entered the Best in Show ring.

But that is nothing in comparison to the  torturous  colorless commentary by Frei and his co-host Tamron Hall.  Absent were the casual asides about the character of the breeds and their suitability as working dogs and or pets.  Although there were some, the mindless chatter that passes as usable information was thankfully lacking.  There were generous amounts of how people interested in pets from these breeds would probably want to “keep the coats trimmed in puppy cuts” but decidedly absent were the remarks about work ethic and purpose. More on the admission that the show dogs have been bred away from their original purposes as in the case of the Dobe.

Pedigreed Dogs Exposed getting to ya?

It was nice to see a large contingent of dogs from Maryland represented in all of the groups; with as many as 8 in the working group. A few from my old homeland of Earlville, New York were represented in the Terrier group.

I was pleased to see Earlville was not a figment of my imagination. In the neighboring town of Hamilton, home of Colgate University, there used to be a wonderful sub shop.  But I digress.

Is Vin-Melca the only breeder of Norwegian Elkhounds in the world? Pat Trotter is known for her dogs doing well in the show ring, but one has to wonder if anything but a Vin-Melca dog can win. Although I thought the Whippet was nice, I preferred the Ridgeback for his power and his wonderful conditioning and ring presence. He got lost in the kerfuffle.

The Toy breeds always bring out the ‘awww’ factor in people. I was not surprised with the Poodle’s win, although I thought there were better dogs out there. Pretty hair makes for a nice presentation I guess, as historically, most of the Best in Show winners are hair breeds that take a lot of time and effort.

The French Bulldog certainly had his fans, but truth be told, although I am a fan of the breed I think there were better dogs in the breed ring. The dog that took the breed is Canadian bred, judged by a Canadian judge. That explains the breed ring, but in the group judging it was easy to get lost. I probably would have ended up with the Lhasa. Beautiful handling and presentation, nice dog moving too.

It was nice to see Linda More get the Herding assignment. I had worked for Linda and Eliot More in the way distant past so it was easy to see where she would go with the judging. I probably would have done the same thing with the exception of leaving the German Shepherd out entirely in favor of the Sheltie since movement didn’t seem to be that much of a criterion.  I have never seen such a collection of sickle hocks in my life.

In a trip back through the wayback machine  I vividly recall a conversation with a prominent handler and soon-to-be judge that “Most of the big winners are sickle hocked.  It makes for a spectacular outline and better side gait.”

Uh, ok…

By this time my husband is ‘getting it’. After several decades, he now knows why I  want to twist off my own head  stopped showing dogs.

The second day greets us with  what was the most atrocious collection of  sporting dogs  ever assembled under one roof  on the green carpet.

Suffice it to say that my breeds of choice, the Flatcoat, the Weimeraner, the Griffon and the Chessy would have been the top contenders, with the Brittany somewhere in the mix. Out of the four dogs in the final cut, it was easy to see the Brittany winning. The better dogs were shown the door.

The working dogs at least offered a better variety of unsoundness from which to choose.  Again, a Skansen’s Giant Schnauzer represents, leaving pause to wonder if there are any other breeders of this breed anywhere?

I will not complain about the Dobe, nor the Boxer. Although the Boxer was a little long for my taste, moving she was clean and sound. There was another dog that should have made it into the final lineup however; the Rottweiler. A magnificent dog who had the misfortune of being owned by a first-time dog owner and a first time competitor, as stated by our hosts when he took his turn under the judge’s hand.

Any number of terriers could have won their group.  The Terrier breeds are always fun to watch. I remember back inna day when the judges would allow them to go toe-to-toe and ‘spar’ which is obviously frowned on today.  My principal concern was an issue of questionable character from the AmStaff and a little spar between the Norwich and the eventual winner after the final selection was made, beyond the less-than-obvious ones linked to in the next paragraph.

I’ll not go into detail about the ultimate winner. There are a few links from bloggers here and here who were kind enough to beat me to the punch.

The Garden is not about dogs. I am not convinced it ever really was, although I played my part in it for many years.  I did not intend this to be a screed about the condition of purebred dogs today or ever, but it kinda ended up that way.

I deliberately removed myself from show dogs in favor of other, more gratifying and meaningful pursuits many years ago.  It pains me that  so much has changed, so little has changed  nothing has changed.

In a variety of articles in the Canine Chronicle, show dog luminaries dissect what they feel is ‘wrong’with the sport as recently as January of this year. I apologize for not supplying links, it seems that the links that were made available to me are no longer functioning.

With the current angst over the recent documentary Pedigree Dogs Exposed and the rapid decline in the AKC’s individual registrations and dog show entries overall, it comes as no surprise to me at least that there may well be changes in the future.

The recent interest in registering mix breed dogs is an indicator that maybe the AKC is grasping.  Either with the reality that they can no longer survive as “the Dog’s Champion” or the “Only U.S.registry ‘that matters'” or that the public have finally come to the realization that a pup with AKC papers is no guarantee of anything.

The misrepresentation of dog shows as a showcase of dogs bred to perform jobs they were originally designed for is no more or less critical here than elsewhere. The consummate insult is when the AKC insists that what they do is good for dogs.

Breeders are still the most responsible for the tragic state of purebred dogs, breeding for the show ring and mindless of the risks of concentrating their bloodlines on one or two specific animals. If the vast majority of purebred dogs end up in pet homes, it is of the ultimate importance for any breeder to consider the importance of sound temperament and health in their planning.

I leave the readers with this, conjured up from the wayback machine when I was researching a conversation that had transpired between Joe Garagiola and Roger Caras at the Garden many years ago, inspired by an exchange between myself and Heather Houlihan over at Raised by Wolves.

I met Captain Haggerty two years later at my very first visit of many to the Garden and over the many years that followed, I had the opportunity to get to know him through some of the same email lists and associations we shared in common.

It is so very sad to see that although the names have changed, so much is still the same.

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Filed under Breeding Dogs, Dog Genetics, Dog Politics, Purebred Dogs, Show Dogs, Uncategorized

Trolling for Puppies: The TRUTH??? To be filed under Gimme a $%^& Break

Grand Opening of Woof Worx in Los Angeles features animal shelter rescued pups. Purebreds no less…..

In their sincerest belief that they are providing assistance to “puppy mill dogs” and shelters purportedly overrun with unwanted pets, they are offering purebred puppies for sale, er ‘adoption’ through a sanctioned pet store.

A Puppy-Store-Free LA‘s tag-line “…is to end the sale of puppies at pet stores in L.A.”

But it’s OK if they do it, right?
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Excerpts from the article follow, anything within the parentheses are mine.

“Eight months ago, Best Friends LA launched A-Puppy-Store-Free LA to stop pet stores from selling puppies because, sadly, that doggie in the window comes from a puppy mill. Not only is this a heartbreaking situation for the dogs being forced to breed in deplorable conditions, but for the new pet parents, as well.”

(Sadly, there is still a doggie in the window, but this one is BETTER because you are SAVING it from the horrors of being sold in a pet store. Do you honestly think that the source is any different or any better for these pups? What is THEIR source for dogs? Have they started their own captive breeding program???)

“A puppy purchased from a pet store can cost up to $1,500. More often than not, these sweet new additions have congenital disorders and may die with in the first two years of life due to inbreeding and unhealthy living situations. Few families can afford the thousands of dollars on unexpected vet bills and many puppies are surrendered to shelters, where they are euthanized or wait in vain for a new home. Most never get that second chance.”

(But a puppy purchased, er ‘adopted’ through us is an endorsement of our belief that all breeders are bad and that our pet shop is different and somehow better than other pet shops. Cuz we sell designer pet clothes and green products, and and and, puppies!!! Yeah. Ok. Uh Huh? But few families can afford the undisclosed vet costs for unforseen events from your puppies either, can they? Or have you specifically selected for genetic defects in your shelter dogs and screen for congenital defects in your neonates and follow the most astringent health conscious protocols available? I want to see a guarantee that the buyers, uh, ‘adopters’ of your pound pups are contractually bound to return the dog to YOU if something goes wrong. What’t that? As an agent of the shelter who provides your product, you can’t make such a guarantee? Indeed. And you are better than the Hunte Corp and PetLand how?)

“Best Friends has been hard at work to find an alternative, and collaborated with Woof Worx (formerly Pets of Bel Air) on the idea to sell wonderful, healthy, purebred puppies that come from local shelters. For a mere fraction of what it would cost at a traditional pet store, people can adopt one (or more) of these dogs, support a business that’s doing the right thing, and save a life.

(An ALTERNATIVE? Are you nutz? Wonderful, healthy purebred puppies from WHERE? Where are the local ‘shelters’ getting them from? Oh, oh Sorry I forgot! From the confiscation of animals by the new ordinances being passed like wildfire in your state and others thanks to our pals at H$US. For a ‘mere fraction’ of the cost at a traditional pet store! YOU ARE A TRADITIONAL PET STORE!!! Adopt my ass. Buy. Face it. You offer a commodity and people are paying you MONEY for that commodity. But of course, under the protection of the law that should come as caveats for anyone falling for this bunk. What is your guarantee that these pups will not fall victim to congenital defect, hereditary defect, communicable disease or die by the age of two? Are you going to take them back? Are you going to pay for their vet care when it is discovered that your product is as defective as PetLand’s? What is the recourse for the consumer, er, ‘pet parent’? Adopt one or more? What happens if one gets returned at say, 4 or 5 months old because it is a behavior issue or the owners are ‘moving’ or whatever the lamest excuses that shelters usually get. What then? Where do the puppies go? Hold on a minute there Nelly, in a community that is endorsing the limitation of pets owned by it’s citizens, are you actually telling me that your employees are going to do ‘home visits’ and all that? Riiiiiiiiight….. And the save-a-life thingy. Sounds like a marketing ploy to me…..)

“Jamie Katz, owner of Woof Worx, proudly opened the doors last weekend to over 150 supporters of this new concept. Veggie hors d’oeuvres and wine were served at the beautiful, high-end pet store in the heart of Bel Air.”

(I bet she was proud. Came up with a really good way to make money, uh, stay in business, er help the plight of puppy mills being sold in pet stores and make it look like she was doing something good for the community. To 150 supporters no less. At the beautiful, high end PET STORE in the heart of Bel Air!!! Who is buying this crap? Are the people of this Nation so indoctrinated that they can no longer see the forest for the trees?)

“Available dogs were there to celebrate their new lives, as well. This is not a typical store where puppies are kept in cramped confinement on newspaper or plastic flooring. Think of it as an indoor dog park. The puppies had toys, individual soft beds, even an indoor pet potty. A comfy couch is in the puppy room for anyone who wants to get acquainted with their potential new family member or just be covered with puppy kisses.”

(Available dogs are everywhere, like at traditional shelters who could really benefit from this kind of BS PR. This is not a typical store. OK, then mandate that all pet stores, just like your pet store, are as wonderfully equipped. Tell me. After operating hours, where are all the dogs housed and how are they cared for? Is there someone there to clean up after the potential family members overnight and on days where the shelter, uh, non puppymill supplied pet store is closed? Lemme guess, they are ‘free range’ in the indoor dog park.)

“We are so thrilled to be partnering with Jamie Katz, the owner of this beautiful store, and to support her in her efforts,” says Elizabeth Oreck, BFLA manager. “We truly believe that traditional pet stores that sell dogs from puppy mills will soon be a thing of the past, and that a store like Woof Worx will become a national model for cities all across the country.”

(Oh I bet! Especially that part about traditional pet stores being a thing of the past, since yours will represent a new age income stream because instead of your product coming from puppy mills or from unscrupulous dealers who will find a way to continue to supply the new niche you have just created, it will be stocked with purebred puppies born…where? Are shelters going to start their own breeding program for purebred dogs? Gonna have to if HSUS has it’s way and effectively shuts down hobby breeders who actually care about the quality, health and longevity of the animals they create.)

“This is not only a great way to showcase rescued animals who need homes, and to help lower the number of dogs and cats in our drastically overcrowded shelters, but an opportunity to educate the public about animal welfare issues. And we are so grateful to Jamie for taking that leap and being willing to show the rest of the country that a successful pet store can be modeled on compassion rather than cruelty.”

(A better way would be to stop offering purebred puppies and bring adult shelter dogs of ANY breed or mix of breeds and sell, uh, adopt them instead!! Drastically overcrowded shelters? C’monnnnn! Stop importing dogs from the islands, overseas and focus on the ones in your own back yard!!! And besides we all know that shelter population numbers are an amalgam of both cat and dog numbers when in fact the cat populations outstrip dog populations in shelters 3 to 1.*
Thanks for making a cunning business decision and finding a way to keep the doors open and showing the rest of the country how to game the system and still make a profit!! Sure the store is nice, with all of the high-end Californication trappings of wealth and do-goodery, but thanks for admitting that it’s still a pet store.)

Katz was an employee of Pets of Bel Air when BFLA began its peaceful protests.

“I always knew in my heart that selling puppies this way was wrong,” she says. “I’m a huge animal lover and advocate of animal welfare.”

(And probably had really good grades at business school)

Katz acquired the store when the original owner of Pets of Bel Air lost his lease, due in part to Best Friends’ protests.

(Whalp, waddya know? And this was on her own capital or through funding of BFLA?)

“Jennifer Krause, puppy mill campaign coordinator, thanked all the volunteers, supporters and Jamie. “This is a huge victory, and we couldn’t have done without them. Jamie just gets it.””
(Why Shore it is, for all of the MBA’s in business, let this be your model.)

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Here’s the thing. I hate pet stores that sell pets, and I hate the suppliers who provide them with product at such considerable cost and sacrifice to living, breathing animals.

I also hate duplicity and being wanked by the absolute bullshit that surrounds a campaign by those who allegedly (new favorite word) are in it for the animals.

I hate that the gubmint is trying to dictate to me the number of animals I am allowed to own, that they have bits and pieces that are their birthright and that this movement is being endorsed by people who claim to have the best interests of animals at heart.

Many questions emerge:

1) Who is supplying this new demand for purebred dogs if all of the breeders are put out of business and shelters are advocating spay and neuter for every animal that crosses their doorsteps?

2) Dogs are going to be the new crack cocaine if this comes to pass. How can this organization reconcile the belief in an overpopulation problem and turn around and endorse the continued sale of purebred dogs in pet stores? I would LOOOOOOOOOVE to have seen THIS business model!!!

3) Why can’t they make this believable, even palpable, by just creating a storefront in affluent areas to elevate the consciousness of the wealthy elite to the plight of dogs of every stripe, not just purebreds, not just puppies?

4) What do you think is going to emerge from this new business model?

*Statistically, this figure bears out across the nation. Stray cats comprise the largest single number in shelter populations for both animals housed and animals euthanized. But we are dealing with California here, so I am using a California statistic. More info can be had here.

The question arises about the actual accuracy of supplied numbers from a variety of recognized sources. Usually the number of animals in a shelter is defined as dogs AND cats as opposed to dogs, then cats. Statistics can be parsed to say anything and should be viewed with concern for their accuracy in accounting for the segregation of the total numbers.

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Filed under Animal Rights, Animal Shelters, Animal Welfare, Breeding Dogs, companion animals, Dog Adoption, Dog Genetics, Dog Politics, Mutts, Puppies, Puppy Mills, Rescue dogs, Shelter Dogs