Why Breed Matters When Choosing a Dog.

Why Breed Matters When Choosing a Dog.

As many can tell from my previous posts and articles, I am a big proponent of responsible dog breeding and of purebred dogs. This is not because I for any reason dislike or don’t trust shelter dogs or the shelters themselves, though some shelters have been shown to be doing very negative things in the recent past. This is simply because I believe that responsible breeders will last.

If responsible ownership is encouraged and enforced I would love to see a world where responsible breeders, whether they produce purebred or mixed breed, are the way to get pets. I would love to see a future where shelters are a thing of the past because there are few to no unwanted or homeless pets. Shouldn’t this be what we aim for?

Regardless of this ideal future, people do get their dogs from many sources and no matter where they choose the breed of a dog is always a factor.

Some might say that this isn’t the case, especially with mixed breed dogs. I however beg to differ. It has been my experience that many dog – person relationships could experience a significant change if the person takes into account the breed when not only bringing home a dog, but when training or interacting with them as well.

Here’s what I mean by this.

Certain dog breeds were and are bred or created for specific purposes. Dogs who are known as being destructive, loud, or difficult are usually bored, underestimated, intelligent animals! Do you think a mathematician would be happy to watch infants all day every day? Then why do we believe that an Australian Shepherd or Siberian Husky, dogs bred to work, would be satisfied by a half hour walk when you get home from work, after leaving them alone for 8 or more hours while you were there?

In the same regard, I have heard and experienced many people do the following. Say that they want a dog to get them to be more active. I have said this before in my post on responsible ownership, rather than encourage you to get out more this dog will most likely do nothing more than frustrate you. Instead, if you are inactive, get a dog that might only need a short walk daily, not a marathon sprinter.

Does this mean that all energetic people need Greyhounds and Salukis and all couch potatoes need Bulldogs or Pugs? No! Many Greyhounds are happy as a clam to lounge on the couch daily so long as they get the opportunity to dash every once in a while and get to go on walks regularly. Many Bulldogs would be happy to take a long slow hike so long as you give them adequate sitting breaks.

I’m also not saying that apartment dwellers shouldn’t have energetic dogs. I am saying that if you are to get one, know the responsibilities that go into giving them the appropriate stimulation and exercise.

Mental training is great and treat puzzles can keep some dogs entertained and happy for hours! You can also have just as much fun as your dog through activities like competitive obedience or agility or flyball. There are countless games, puzzles, activities, and more that you can do with your dog.

Always, always, always take all of the necessary steps when looking to add someone to your family, which is what you are doing when you get a pet. One of those steps is determining what personality, energy level, size, and requirements your furry friend is going to need. Looking at breed is a great way to do this! There are some exceptions to this and dogs cannot be 100% judged by their breed. Every dog is individual and every dog has its own personality traits that cannot be fully predetermined by breed alone, but it is a great place to start!

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What is “BSL” and why are so many people against it?

What is “BSL” and why are so many people against it?

Breed Specific Legislation, or BSL for short, is something that is hated by many people in the show and shelter circuits of the dog world. This is for many reasons, but the main reasons are:

  1. It does not stop what it is put in place to stop, namely Dog-Human aggression.
  2. It does little to nothing to protect animals from being mistreated, neglected, or any other number of forms of abuse.
  3. It actually in some ways make certain breeds more attractive to people who want dogs for the wrong reasons (ie. status, fighting, etc.)
  4. Many dogs who have done nothing and have no history of aggression are removed from loving families and put down for nothing other than their breed.

The current dog which is under scrutiny is the Pit Bull, which is actually more of a type name like herding or hound, than a breed itself, but in the past dogs such as German Shepherds, Doberman Pinschers, Rottweilers, Akitas, and more were the “aggressive” dog found in newspapers and legislation. (Many Insurance Companies will not allow you to get renters or homeowners insurance from them if you own an “Aggressive Breed” of dog)

BSLs are put in place in many cities and even countries around the world in an effort to bring down dog bite numbers in the surrounding areas. But just like treating a symptom without knowing the illness BSLs have done little to do what they are meant to do. In many of the places which rely on BSLs, such as Great Britain, Ireland, and parts of Canada and the US, there has been little to no change in numbers of reported dog bites since legislation was put in place to restrict or ban ownership of certain breeds.

When looking at animal welfare side of this it is terribly shocking. Firstly, though it may make it more difficult to acquire a dog legitimately this does not stop people from buying and breeding dogs for dog fighting and status. In fact, by making a breed illegal to own or more difficult to register, it is actually causing a dog fighting ring to go more underground and cause them to be harder for the authorities to crack down on. More people who should not own dogs or who only want an animal to help make them look tough will look for this breed because of the image BSLs put on the dogs.

The final point however, number 4 above, is what really makes me dislike BSLs. Many people who move to cities who do not know there is a BSL in place, or even people who have lived in cities for years before a BSL is put in place but who are not “grandfathered in” learn that they can either move or get rid of their dog. This is heartbreaking and unfair to the families and the dogs.

Humans make such a point to say that we should not judge one another by our skin, nationality, culture, and more. So why is it acceptable to judge a dog by its breed when it’s proven that how an animal is raised, treated, and cared for matter more than the breed of dog itself?

As always, Responsible Breeding and Responsible Ownership should be what is taught.

Please read the articles included below for a more in-depth look at BSLs, the truth about Pits and Bully Breeds, and more.

Chako – Pit Bull Rescue

Positively – Mom, we’re getting a puppy…

Positively – American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior Position on BSLs

Your Pit Bull and You – Learning is not Breed Specific

Huffpost – Bully Breeds vs Insurance Companies

Tidbit: Pit Bulls are generalized to be any dog with a block head, muscular body, and a deep chest. As you can imagine, many breeds fit into these characteristics. Even the “Pick the Pit” website makes a point to say that Pit Bull isn’t a recognized breed in itself and includes many pictures of dogs regularly called Pit Bulls or even Pit Mixes though they are Purebred dogs of other breeds.

Inspired by Twitter Conversation with @Peta

Inspired by Twitter Conversation with @Peta

As some of you know I have a twitter, @yourpositivedog which is tied to this blog. Tonight Peta made a comment against the Westminster Dog Show and purebred dogs using the #WKCDogShow tag and this started a bit of a back and forth between myself and them.

They used this pro-shelter article in a post against me.

http://www.pet360.com/dog/adoption/8-reasons-to-adopt-a-dog/l1AvcWKyOUyQMnJVUVaF1Q

Now I am not against pet360, they share a lot of wonderful information and share both sides of many topics. In looking at this article though, I saw a lot of very biased or downright incorrect information. Here’s a breakdown of some things I noticed in this article.

1)You’ll save a life.

This is true for the majority of shelters. Shelters usually run on a system where after a certain period of time if a dog is not adopted they will be humanely killed. I say killed and not euthanized here because they are killed. I reserve euthanization as a term to be used only in situations where everything possible has been done for the dog and it is a quality of life and health decision, not a convenience.

This however is becoming less and less the norm as “No-Kill” shelters exist. These shelters will keep an animal as long as it takes to get them adopted. These are no Kill, not no euthanize as they do euthanize dogs whose quality of life has deteriorated to the point where it would be inhumane to keep them alive.

The downside of this is that in areas of high populations, an animal may be turned away from a shelter because they are at capacity.

Let it be known, though Peta may use the term “euthanize” very freely, they do not use it in the way that No-Kill shelters or I do. Peta’s VA shelter is NOT a No-Kill shelter.

2.) Wide variety of choices.

This will vary depending on time of year, your location, and various other factors. An example of this is that in my hometown, Cleveland, most dogs you find in any shelter in the area is a Pit-Mix. Also, most of the dogs in our shelters are either between 2 and 4 yrs or upwards of 9.

3.) Basic Health Care Provided.

If you decide to get a shelter dog please be sure that they follow this rule! This is what most No-Kill shelters do. This simply means that if a dog is ill or injured when they receive it, the shelter will do all within their ability to save the animal. Their first reaction will not be to kill the animal. The shelter might even raise funds to help pay for a costly procedure rather than write a dog off. This also means that the day-to-day upkeep of a dog is done to keep the dog in healthy form.

Peta, as we have learned, does not offer this to their animals.

4.) Adoption saves money.

This is true, adoption usually doesn’t even 100% cover the cost of upkeep for a dog. This lower cost makes dog ownership more available to people.

Before adopting a person should still be sure they are financially, physically, and mentally prepared for a dog as the cost of ownership is the same regardless of what the cost to get the dog was. Adoption is also usually faster than getting a dog from a responsible purebred breeder and so it should be known that dog ownership should not be a spur of the moment decision. Talk with your family and assess your situation before even visiting a shelter.

5.) It’s a gift that keeps on giving.

This would seem to be true but as I mentioned above, the adoption fee usually doesn’t cover the full cost of the day-to-day upkeep for a dog in a shelter, especially if they had been there for a while. Rather, what “keeps on giving” and keeps shelters running are donations.

It is not unreasonable to look into where different donations, adoption fees, and other money going into a shelter are put towards and it is not rude to ask!

6.) You won’t be supporting puppy mills.

One would wish this were the case but in some situations it is not. The problem with shelter dogs is you do not ever know all of the answers. The beautiful 2 yr old you’re looking at through a gate could have been a puppy mill dog. In adopting a shelter dog you aren’t directly supporting a puppy mill, but you might be second hand as the first owner of that dog could have gotten him from one. The only way to know that you aren’t supporting a puppy mill is by getting a dog from a responsible breeder.

7.) You can pick a house trained dog.

This is usually the case, but did you know dogs sometimes urinate because of stress or in submission. Your new dog also could never have been inside before, or they could have been improperly trained, or not trained at all. Again, you might not know.

8.) Rescue Dog Bond

One would hope that a dog will see this, that you are the person coming in to save them from their past. This isn’t always the case though. If that dog was abused by men, or even if they didn’t interact with men during the critical socialization period, that dog might always be wary of the men in your life. This is for anything the dog either was taught not to trust or not properly socialized with. Also, if the dog was improperly trained they could appear aggressive and uncontrollable because you as the new owner don’t know the dogs triggers.

I am not against shelter or rescue dogs. The first two dogs in my life were rescues. I am against spreading incorrect information and in using fear or emotional tactics. Please, please, please, do your homework before even thinking of getting a dog. Learn the facts and do not make rush decisions.

Dogs are forever.

Not until the dog gets old.

Not until you have a kid.

Not until you get married.

Not until you move and find it hard to get an apartment with a 40 lb dog.

If you adopt, through a shelter, rescue, or breeder, please do so knowing that you are bringing that animal into your life for all of its life.