Why is it that every time I see a pure bred dog I think of Hitler?

Let's face it, I'm pretty good looking…

I’m certainly not meaning to trivialise the horrific nature of the Holocaust by any means, but I can’t help but draw parallels between the madman’s ideal of a “superior” Aryan Race and a mating system which celebrates a dog’s fashionable beauty over its health and well-being.

Obviously not all breeders, nor all classes of dogs have inherent problems and defects, but it’s undeniable that within certain categories, continuous genetic inbreeding has produced recognised medical flaws which diminish the life expectancy and life quality of man’s best friend.

Ask any vet over a beer and they may cough up the three truths passed down to them during their university schooling.

One: big dogs mean big bills.

Two: everyone struggles to keep goldfish alive.

And three: pure bred is pure gold.

Pure bred dogs can suffer from bone and joint disorders, eye, respiratory, heart and hormonal diseases, skin problems which cause frantic itching and kidney and liver issues, just to name a few problems.

Sure, bitzers suffer from these ailments too, but there’s a significantly greater chance that a pure bred will be contributing to your vet’s boat, holiday house or kid’s education.

Still don’t believe me? Try getting pet insurance for a pure bred pup, and then for a mongrel. I reckon you can guess which one’s cheaper.

In some cases our desire for a certain look has resulted in perverse bastardisations, such as the English bulldog.

Thanks to human intervention and our Looney-Tune-esque perception of what these dogs should look like, they can’t even deliver pups without veterinary help.

One vet instructor said they were “a dog full of genetic defects and they should be allowed to become extinct”.

Now I’m not suggesting that your Lab or German Shepard is going to roll on to the big park in the sky any time soon - I certainly hope they warm your feet for many years to come - but it just seems a little perverse that when there are hundreds of dogs already in existence in our shelters around town, we need to save sometimes thousands of dollars and go on waiting lists, just to get that “perfect” dog.

And you know what?

While I know the attraction of a pure bred means you’re more likely to get the characteristics you want, to satisfy you and your family, IT’S NO GUARANTEE!

A friend of mine is more than a little miffed that her miniature poodle is over knee high and is more attacker than toy.

Of course, I’m looking at it from my perspective, where our bitzer is our third child, so if we can’t pick our kids, why do we spend so much time and money choosing our furry kids?

I mean, would you really sign up for a good looking baby if they were significantly more likely to end up in hospital with some respiratory or hip defect? Of course not.

And I also can’t help but wonder what happens to those ugly duckling puppies which don’t meet the criteria of the unscrupulous breeders.

The RSPCA says they have evidence of healthy ‘ridgeless’ Rhodesian Ridgeback’s being culled.

Let’s be clear, this is NOT a swipe at all pure dog breeds and their owners and propagators, but rather a protest against those who continue to place aesthetic desires and trends above the well-being of the animal.

Let’s open the stud books, learn the right questions to ask, support the ethical breeders and perhaps, before you get in line to buy that puppy for someone’s Christmas stocking, swing past the Animal Welfare League or RSPCA to see if one of the furry little mongrels steals your heart.

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    • hawker says:

      06:10am | 17/12/12

      There was an interesting docu on this a few years back and it was quite alarming, showing dogs at a show in England: a Basset Hound with so much loose skin (called “furnishings” by one judge) it could barely run; a pug with a snout so short it couldn’t cool itself down and had to be sat on an icepack. Animals that bore scant resemblace to the shots they showed of the breed from a century prior. A freak show.

      I too love some of the purebreds but I’ll take my chance on a mutt and it’s hybrid vigour.

    • gobsmack says:

      06:35am | 17/12/12

      I knew this girl who had to get two hip replacements for her Great Dane.  She wasn’t earning a big income either.

    • Philosopher says:

      07:38am | 17/12/12

      why would the Great Dane want her to have her hips replaced? And twice? Sounds like a deeply flawed relationship. Owner - pet, owner - pet. Anything more is just disturbed.

    • gobsmack says:

      08:19am | 17/12/12

      @Philosopher
      They might have been to extend her lap so the dog could sit on it.

      Or perhaps what I meant to say was that the owner had to get each of her Great Dane’s hip joints replaced.

    • Philosopher says:

      08:45am | 17/12/12

      aah, now I understand smile

    • sunny says:

      10:56am | 17/12/12

      If only dogs could talk, that dog would say “To be honest I’m not feeling so ‘Great’ any more - I’m afraid my ‘Great’ days are a thing of the past - but that’s life I guess”.

    • ibast says:

      07:56am | 17/12/12

      I mostly agree with the article but it does leave out one important massage and that is the importance of using a reputable breeder.  Even with purebreds, reputable breeders will work to overcome the defects.

      Backyard breeders will tend to inbreed to turn a quick buck, particularly if that breed is trendy at the moment.

      Also some breeds are worse than others.  Bulldogs, pugs, German Shepherds all have known problems.  Others are better.

    • Woof says:

      08:23am | 17/12/12

      ‘Reputable’? What does that even mean? Reputable breeders are no more than backyard breeders with a lot of bravado whose experience is purely (pardon the pun)  ‘so far, so good’.
      I don’t doubt that they love their dogs, but they don’t have qualifications in genetics or anything relevant; the ones I know are either school teachers or dress shop owners who never finished school and don’t begin to understand the science or the ethics of what they’re doing. They’re party plan people with a passion for manipulating the physiology of a species. All for the sake of a cheap trophy and a sash.
      ‘Reputable breeders’ are the ultimate control freaks.

    • CBR says:

      10:19am | 17/12/12

      True. However, most reputable breeders are also business people, and there’s no money (for the most part) in propgating genes that turn their investments defective, given that most genuinely reputable breeders have return policies if there are genuine problems with the pups. Stud dogs and bytches that pass on dodgy genes won’t end up doing a lot for their business reputations.

    • Philosopher says:

      09:14am | 17/12/12

      It is truly terrible to see dog breeders putting the aesthetic appeal of their charges above the comfort and health of the dogs. The height of arrogance! Similarly we see middle eastern parents refining and warping the characters of their children, of which results we can see: ‘Behead all those who insult the Prophet’ waves the little toddler. We charge the owner of the vicious pit bull… how are we to deal the the hatred instilled in the young?

    • Gregg says:

      09:33am | 17/12/12

      No argument with me Ali and a fourth truth that ought to be widely proclaimed and abided by is not to give pets as a gift, especially not from one family to another.

      We have had the joy of bitzers for just on fifteen years recently, our first fella we having got from an RSPCA when he was about ten months old and we have had him for about 14.5 years now.
      A couple of interesting things happened in that when our neighbours first saw him, they remarked on how he was a dead ringer for a dog that the previous home owner had and I think we or the hound discovered some remains buried alongside a garage but not deeply enough!
      The neighbours thought the dog had lived to about sixteen.

      We never really had any idea what breed or mix our fella was from until just several months back when a person with dog show experience commented immediately on sight that he was likely a Briard bitzer, one breed I had never heard of but in looking it up, our fella certainly has the bullet proof temperament that Briards were apparently initially used for by the French cavalry a couple of centuries or so back and are one breed that has not been too messed with.

      We also thought he would have to have some terrier in him given his escape artist escapades and that led us to also get him company from the local AWL, a rakish female with wolfhound looks in a smaller version and she was a great dog too though sadly succumbing to arthritis in older years.
      I had picked her up from the AWL and the only thing on her record sheet was that she could be aggressive to other dogs but she had a wonderous smile and so I did not let on about that to my wife or fear of her trepidation on what might happen to her baby boy fella.

      All was well over about 13 years of her life with us and they were inseparable as the best of mates and even went on stage together in an Annie musical, even if just in and being put in a dog catchers cart.

      It is certainly true that dogs will develop much as they are treated and bitzers are to be blessed, as are people who rescue them from a less certain future, a great time to be had by all.
      And at fifteen going on sixteen, other than the odd need for a self induced injury attention, all our fella has needed is the annual check up and innoculation, hopefully still another couple of years of healthy life for him.

    • Ally says:

      09:36am | 17/12/12

      Personally, I wouldn’t mind seeing tighter restrictions around dog breeders in general. Mandatory health checks of breeding dogs, the breeding out of undesirable traits like narrow hips that prevent dogs giving birth naturally, or squashed in snouts that lead to severe breeding problems. The road tests done on Burke’s Backyard used to highlight some of the potential health problems, which probably encouraged a lot of breeders to look at things like hip/elbow dysplasia.

      That said, a lot of breeders do the right thing for their dogs. They’re in it because they love the breed and don’t actually end up making much, if any, money. Lists like the one published on the weekend of the most fashionable breeds for 2013 do a real disservice to responsible breeders and owners.

      I have more issue with the puppy farm setups of “designer dogs” that churn out litter after little of fluffy mutts with cute names that stupid people buy for thousands of dollars. Similarly, more needs to be done to screen potential owners of any dog to ensure animals are going to people that are comitted to loving and caring for a dog for their entire life and are prepared for the financial commitment.

    • Ray says:

      09:46am | 17/12/12

      As with most generalisations the statements about pure breed dogs holds some truth.

      I have owned a few dogs over the years – the worst a pure breed Kelpie with an insatiable appetite for live poultry the absolute best a pure breed Schipperke.

      I think dogs are a bit like kids, no matter how you bring them up some will turn out better than others.

      It is true that big dogs are more expensive to keep than small dogs and big dogs usually do not live as long as small dogs but no matter what the size or breed of dog on a percentage basis I am sure I have met more likeable and trustworthy dogs than I have likeable and trustworthy humans.

    • Reader says:

      10:15am | 17/12/12

      I agree wholeheartedly—it’s terrible that animals are being bred for looks. I want to get some guppies and am informed that new “fancy” guppies are no longer hardy.

      I used to also be against the sale of animals in pet shops, due to their goal of encouraging impulse purchases. Though now I think it would be better to more tightly regulate it to ensure that new owners are made aware of the time and money involved in caring for the type of animal they are obtaining.

    • MK says:

      10:49am | 17/12/12

      1,2,3…. BOOM!
      and Godwin’s Law strikes in the first Line!

      GAME OVER

      Bwap bwop bwaaah

    • JTO says:

      10:52am | 17/12/12

      I can’t help but agree, especially being a German Shepherd fan and seeing what has become of the breed. For a dog that is genetically predisposed to weakness in the hind legs, to breed dogs with that slopey back is just irresponsible.

      What is the right breeder? For me it’s:
      1. A breeder at which I can meet both parents.
      2. A breeder that allows the dogs in the house. Basically that means that the dogs are pets, not just a means to make money.
      3. A breeder that does NOT breed dogs for security.

      As for no guarantee, if you meet the parents you’ve at least got some idea, and the theory hasn’t let me down yet.

    • Ally says:

      11:50am | 17/12/12

      You’re so right about modern German Shepherds. That sloping back is just awful, as is the blunter snout.

      I actually have a white German Shepherd, which is registered as a separate breed in Europe (and the US, I think), but not here. The local breeders stick to the old lines resulting in dogs with beautiful straight backs and no crouch. They’re also extensively tested before being allowed to breed to minimise the risk of weak hips and elbows.

    • JTZ says:

      06:48pm | 17/12/12

      Actually there is a varied difference between German Shepherds in the USA and the European ones. US German Shepherd are alot taller and skinnier then thier Eurpean counter parts. The fact that most German Shepherds continue to be used in defence, police and other roles show that the fact that the hip problem is not as large as what it meant to be. Allo dogs including mongrel and that is what a Shepherd have issues.

      I love Shepherds and I am a great fan of them. When I got my first Shepherd I spoke to the breeder. They provided the pedigree of the puppy and also hip x-rays showing not faults. The other point which I like was the fact that the breeders had a set number of times the female dog could breed before they would stop her breeding to ensure she had a long life.

      Sadley the biggest issue s the designer dogs ppl want now adays that are bred for the purpose of fitiing in ppls bags and all.

    • SKA says:

      11:10am | 17/12/12

      Been absolutely blessed with two bitzers, one came from RSPCA and the second from Doggie Rescue. First was a Kelpie x cattle (x everything else, the vet reckons he could locate several more breeds in Jess) - she was a fabulous dog. Smart, gentle, affectionate, sturdy and lived for 16 years. Second is little maltese-bichon (that’s an educated guess from the vet, Oski was an abused dog) of around 10 years old - real little personality and very affectionate - some teeth and back issues but hard to say if that is a defect from the maltese side or from abuse suffered in early life. Both have given so much joy and love that money can’t buy. You shouldn’t assume that bitzers aren’t going to cost at the vets though, both dogs cost a fortune… the kelpie x because she went through a stage of eating everything in sight (snail bait was one traumatic operation) and the maltese x because he has all sorts of small dog issues with teeth and joints. Key to ending up with the right dog for your family is to go out and meet the dog. That’s how we ended up with Jess and Oski - they picked us just as much as we picked them.

    • TheHuntress says:

      12:02pm | 17/12/12

      I own 2 dogs - one a faithfully loyal and heart warming JRT X Dachshund, the other an exceptionally beautiful and charming purebred Finnish Lapphund. Both are loved equally in our family and both have their individual characteristics and quirks that bring us so much pleasure - that one dog cost 30x more than the other really means nothing to us.

      I would be more than happy to see the back of “designer dogs” in pet shops (It’s a Cavoodle! It’s a Puggle! It’s a mongrol and it’s only $750!). These pet shops encourage the foul practice of puppy farming and charging huge amounts of money for what is little more than a bitzer. ICB on “designer dogs”.

      I’m not against ‘pure breeds’ at all, but I do believe in regulation and the elimination of rogue breeders. In the case of our lovely Lappie, we love the breed so much and there are so few in Australia that those who do breed are doing it for the love of Finnish Lapphunds - they are an exceptional dog and we are proud to own one. The Lappie community is very tight knit and breeding is done with much consultation between those in the community to ensure the best outcomes for the puppies. The dogs best interests are truly at heart.

      I fully support animal shelters and the hard work they do. I always encourage people to adopt when they can (I love my little JRT X Dachshund named Rufus - he’s now in his 10th year and getting a little old, fat and cranky. But he can still “fly” over great distances if he so feels the need) and I will always donate to animal refuges to help find all these lonely and lost dogs a home. Sadly I don’t have enough room for more dogs - I am certain I would become a crazy old dog lady otherwise.

      Adopting dogs from homes is ideal, I do think there is a place for pure breds, but ICB on “designer dogs” from pet shops. Pet ownership is one of lifes greatest pleasures, in my opinion, and I hope that many people get to experience the joy of owning a wonderful dog. I hope to see the end of “puppy farms” and unregulated breeders and then maybe one day our animal shelters will not be so full.

    • Philosopher says:

      12:32pm | 17/12/12

      too many cute images in your post for me to know where to begin.

    • Jay2 says:

      12:12pm | 17/12/12

      Unfortunately, look not much further than the human obsession with competition.
      A lot (but not all)of the genetic health ‘messes’ seen in dogs of today, is where form has been chosen over functionality. 
      You see it in almost every type of show that involves an animal. Judges who knowingly choose something that is pleasing to their eye, but fails to acknowledge that the particular dog before them(cat, horse etc) can no longer function physically well, should hang their heads in shame.

      Dogs that cannot breathe properly; that cannot whelp naturally; that have eyes easily propelled out of their sockets; teeth that don’t work properly, excessive skin that promote a myriad of fungal or bacterial diseases etc etc, it’s pitiful and it has to stop. All for a printed name in the journal, a fifty cents sash and cheap trophy.

      Then there are the backyard and negligent professional breeders in it for a buck who don’t give a rat’s arse. Lastly, the consumer, who certainly props up this ghastly industry by indulging a ‘must have’ whim or worst, not caring enough to research breeds and the breeder to weed out the good from the bad.

      What is it in NSW 100,000 or more unwanted pups and dogs put down annually?  :-(

    • Gregg says:

      12:40pm | 17/12/12

      It must be a sign that dog owners are a breed of their own, all this lovely talk of faithfull companions that never complain and not one mention of you know who and who and that it’s so and so’s fault because he is a bit of a mongrel, a lovable mongel at that!

    • Swamp Thing says:

      02:53pm | 17/12/12

      Bloody oath Ali! Poncy hipsters (& bogans) with their just so, bordeline retarded, designer dishcloths. Get a real dog from a shelter you damn oxygen thieves!

    • marley says:

      03:01pm | 17/12/12

      Well, my dog is a product of purebred parents - unfortunately, different breeds - so he has acquired an interesting mix of characteristics.  He has big feet, a love of water and a fixation with retrieving, thanks to his Lab father, and small ears, wrinkles and a detached and stubborn personality thanks to his Sharpei mother.  Trust me, nobody designed this dog, but we call him a “shabrador” to give him a bit of status among the other neighbourhood mutts. 

      We got him from the RSPCA, and I would never get a dog from anywhere but a shelter.  There are too many issues with puppy mills for me to even look at a purebred or real designer dog.

    • NigelC says:

      03:24pm | 17/12/12

      ” I would never get a dog from anywhere but a shelter” That’s a little sad. I got my purebreed from a breeder who was one of those ‘show dog’ types and my dog was deemed too big for their standard. He’s a great dog and I think we give him a pretty good life on our rural property. There are other places to buy ‘discards’.

    • marley says:

      04:38pm | 17/12/12

      @NigelC - well, fair enough - but there are enough dogs in shelters to keep me occupied!

    • bananabender says:

      03:08pm | 17/12/12

      A distant relative of mine bred Rhodesian Ridgebacks back in the 1970s. She simply killed half of the of puppies soon after birth because didn’t have PERFECT ridges.

    • bananabender says:

      03:15pm | 17/12/12

      A. Get a domestic Short Hair Cat (aka a moggie)

      B. Feedit a reputable brand of canned food.

      C. Get it desexed.

      D. Keeep it inside at night.

      E. Get it vaccinated.

      Say goodbye to big vet bills.

      My tabby cat lived for 22 years without a single serious health problem

    • stephen says:

      04:56pm | 17/12/12

      ‘Big Dogs Mean Big Balls.’

      (Has Alan Jones got a new variety show ?)

 

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