Category Archives: Breeding

I’ll Take the Runt, Please!

While this blog isn’t specifically bully breed related, it is definitely worthwhile.  It tells the tale (or is it tail?) of Icon the German Shepherd and his owner, Jen of Vom Haus Huro.  Jen has been featured here many times and this is another one of her wonderful bits of print.


I do not understand the stigma of the labels applied to a litter of   puppies. For example, the “pick of the litter” is synonymous with quality. However, the “last pick” puppy of a high quality litter could be (and in most cases will be) of higher quality than the first pick of a low quality litter. I mean, the best puppy from a crappy litter is still a crappy puppy.  Just saying. The same thing goes for the runt.

Many people will toss that term out and say “oh I don’t want that puppy, it’s the runt”. Why? It may not have been the smallest at birth. It  may be at a different growing stage than its siblings. It may be a late bloomer and it may just be smaller. Who cares? Do we live in such a super size-orientated world that we cannot possibly accept value in something smaller than its counterparts? Maybe if breeders charged by the pound or used slide measurements like a pumpkin patch we would see more people reaching for those smaller puppies first.

Personally, I  really do not care what someone else may view as the  pick of the litter.  I also do not care if the puppy I like happens to  be the smallest  (Gasp! The dreaded runt!!). When I look at a litter of  puppies I am  looking at three things: temperament, attitude and working  structure.  Size, color, etc. do not even enter the equation. When it  came to Icon,  he was the puppy that nobody wanted, including me.  The  runt. The  outcast.  The untouchable. I kept him because nobody else  wanted him. I  resented the fact that buyers looked him right over due  to his  diminutive size. How dare they judge such an outgoing, brave  little soul  who could offer them everything that the other puppies  could except for  size. At 6 weeks of age I decided that the people  judging him just  weren’t good enough for him and kept him back “until  he grew” (or so I  told myself).  It was one of the best decisions I have  ever made.

I  didn’t want a puppy at that time. I didn’t want a male puppy. I  didn’t  want Icon. He had other ideas. He set about forming a bond so  deep with  me that he would skip meals and play times just to sit next  to me and  stare adoringly at me, waiting for me to notice him. He would  escape the  warmth of the puppy pen at night to sleep in the cold  hallway so that I  would find him when I opened the door in the morning.  I quickly became  enamored with his stubborn streak. His fits of puppy  rage and  indignation when he couldn’t reach the things that the other  puppies  could fueled his little puppy brain to work overtime to figure  out new  ways to accomplish what he wanted. My fascination and  admiration for him  quickly grew and I finally admitted the truth to  myself. The puppy that  I had never wanted, the one that never wanted  anything but me, was my  dog and I wouldn’t change that for the world.

Today, 2.5 years later  he still stares adoringly at me. Now, he doesn’t  have to wait for me to  notice him though, because I am as addicted to  his presence as he is to  mine. We are codependent, we spend all of our  time “telling” the other  one how great they are and we have fun. A lot  of it. Now when people  notice him and compliment him, I laugh a little  inside. I always wonder  how many of them would have looked past the  “runt” status and chosen him  for themselves. He gets compliments on his  work and on his looks. He  has his own following now, his own fans and  his own accomplishments. Not  bad for a runt.



Speuter Nation: Sterilizing the World

Let me preface this by saying that I am absolutely not opposed in the slightest to spaying and neutering to ensure that owners are held honest and responsible if getting their dog from a shelter.  I am, however, wholly against propaganda being used by those who would prefer that everything with testicles or a uterus and ovaries be ‘sterilized’ for the implied betterment of pet ownership.

Unfortunately, keeping an intact dog has become a social faux pas in today’s society.  It isn’t acceptable for Fido to go walking around with his testicles swingin’ in the breeze or Fifi to be wearing cute panties when it’s that time of the year because those are sure signs that those people are breeders and breeders are the Devil, don’tcha know?  Sadly, I’ve experienced it first hand with comments like, “When are you going to neuter him?  Those danglies are so gross!” in reference to my intact goober boy.  It makes it hard biting my tongue with comments like that but it’s typically better off that I don’t spout off a nasty remark as a retort and focus my time into educating them why I choose to leave my dogs intact as a personal choice – even if I were to never consider breeding him (or any other intact dog that may live in my home in the future).

With the plethora of information available out there that shows the pros and cons of spaying and neutering, J.Q. Public is sadly lacking in the knowledge department.   For many people, the need to actually have that dog go through the surgery is a convenience for their lives because, let’s face it, intact animals can be a pain in the fanny if you don’t have the time or effort to manage potential accidents.  That being said, if you’re planning on spaying or neutering your animals you should at least be informed of the reasons both for and against the argument.  I would highly suggest reading this article, but if you’d rather it not, here are a few pros and cons for you.

The pros of spaying and neutering include some of the following:

  • Eliminating the risk of testicular cancer (which is <1% roughly).
  • Reduces the rate of non-cancerous prostate issues and perianal fistulas.
  • Nearly eliminates the risk of pyometra (which affects approximately 23% of intact female dogs and has a fatality rate of about 1%).
  • Removes the very small risk of uterine, cervical and ovarian tumors in female dogs.
  • Reduces the risk of mammary tumors in female dogs if spayed before 2.5 years of age.

The cons of spaying and neutering include some of the following:

  • Neutering a dog prior to one year of age significantly increases the risk of osteosarcoma (bone cancer).  This commonly occurs in medium/large breed dogs and typically has a very poor outcome.
  • Increases the risk of cardiac hemangiosarcoma occurrence by 1.6 times.
  • Triples the risk of hypothyroidism.
  • Quadruples the small risk of prostate cancer.
  • Increases the risk of orthopedic disorders (like torn ACLs) and increases the risk of reactions to vaccinations.
  • Can cause “spay incontinence” in 4-20% of female dogs.
  • Increases the risk of vaginal dermatitis, recessed vulva, etc. in female dogs – especially when altered prior to puberty.

Those are just some of the reasons given both for and against the procedure.  We must not discount the risks involved in surgery – no matter how advanced the procedure has become – when involving the life of an animal that we care about.  The risk will always be there when it involves anesthetics and surgery.

With all of that being said, however, it still comes down to a personal decision for the owner of said dog(s) because it is their ultimate responsibility to keep those dogs safe, sound and happy for their lives.  If an owner cannot or will not maintain their pet from wandering the streets looking for bitches in season to breed with, train and manage their pet as to limit any potential occurrences of same sex dog aggression or simply wants to ‘enjoy the miracle of life’ for their children or otherwise looking to make a quick buck off of puppies, I would highly suggest having this elective procedure performed for the benefit of your own personal sanity and the sanity of the rescues and shelters that have to take of the brunt of the ‘problem’ when you can’t find responsible, permanent homes for that dog’s offspring.



The Good, Bad and Ugly: Puppy Hunting

When I finally made the leap into hunting for a dog from a breeder, I knew it would be a long and tedious process.  I made myself a list of things I wanted to do with the dog as it grew up, what characteristics I wanted and what look I wanted the dog to have.  Looking back, that was the easy part.  The two years that followed were agony because I couldn’t have my puppy right then and because there was so much that I had to do to find “the one.”  Ultimately, it was worth all of the headaches, sleepless nights and research because I got not only the dog I wanted but the dog I needed.   (And yes, I still made a ton of mistakes but those mistakes still blessed me with some very wonderful dogs despite my naive and ideal thoughts.)

Since I took the leap 6 years ago, I’ve gotten two more dogs from breeders and have learned to fine tune my requirements and limits to what I won’t put up with.  Admittedly, I’ve become even pickier as I’ve grown from experience.

Breeder Code of Ethics

Every responsible breeder should have a strong set of ethics and morals when they breed or plan a litter.  These two things are what separate these individuals from the puppy peddlers in the world and set the offspring they produce apart from every other “breeder” advertising puppies on Craigslist or the local street corner.  For the American Pit Bull Terrier, these should be fine tuned because of the state that this breed is in because of over breeding and the breeding of sub par animals that should have been altered in the first place.

Some of the things that I personally look for when I start looking at breeders for a new prospect are as follows:

1.)  Health Testing – This breed is prone to a lot of health concerns from cardiac issues, luxating patellas, hip dysplasia and so forth.  When picking a breeder I would prefer to see some level of health testing on the stud dog and the bitch with a minimum of hips and heart tested through the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) and/or PennHip.

Health Testing Available for the APBT: Hips (OFA/PennHip), Cardiac, Elbows, Patellas, Thyroid, Ataxia, CRD2 (Dayblindness), CERF (Eyes – annual test).  Hips and elbows are done at 24 months through the OFA and hips can be done as young as 16 weeks through PennHip.  The rest of the above health tests can be done at 12 months.

2.)  Conformation and Performance Titles – While I personally put more strength in performance titles overlooking conformation would do the breed an injustice since form must follow function, in theory.  Since the original function is no longer valid for the APBT, performance venues like weight pull, agility, obedience, rally, dock diving, etc. have been birthed to fulfill the need to showcase the versatility of the breed.  The ideal minimum, in my opinion, is a conformation Champion title in the dog’s respective registry and a working title of some variety – preferably not an entry level title.

3.)  Temperament – Let’s face it, these are terriers and terriers are supposed exude confidence.  A shy or reserved dog around people is not supposed to be a common trait in this breed but it is becoming more and more common coming from certain bloodlines and breeders. (The scary thing is some of these breeders seem to try and justify this behavior and continue to breed offspring from siblings of dogs who have shown temperament flaws like shyness.)

4.)  Knowledge of the Breed – You want to go to a breeder who knows these dogs, their traits and behavior traits – like the common occurrence of dog/animal aggression that is common in most terrier types and especially true in the APBT because of its founding history as a canine gladiator.  This doesn’t mean that you discount someone because they haven’t been breeding for X number of years or have only produced X number of litters in so many years.  Most good breeders breed infrequently and typically when they want to hold something back for themselves. Be very wary of breeders who have an excessive number of litters a year.

There are so many more things you can nitpick for when you look for a breeder but the ones mentioned above are the critical ones.  There is a premade Code of Ethics out on the web that gives more in-depth criteria.  It can be found here.

We will say, for theory’s sake, that you’ve picked your ideal parents and now it is down to the nitty gritty with the breeder.  (Contracts, co-owns, pricing…oh, my!)

We’ll start with co-ownership and what it entails.

Co-ownership is the process of two (or more) people sharing ‘ownership’ of a dog.  Co-owning a dog can at varying levels.  It can be for the purposes of retaining breeding rights, ability to show the dog in the bred by class or even just outright controlling behavior.  If your breeder wants to do a co-ownership make sure that you get everything in writing that is expected of you, the breeder and the dog.  Often times co-owning a dog comes at a reduced price for a show quality dog so this may be a bonus if you can live with the intrusion of the breeder into your plans with the dog.

Now, since I mentioned getting everything in writing we’ll get into the contract.  There are some breeders that will sell (or even give) you a dog without a contract but they are few and far between.  A contract is almost a staple when purchasing a show/sport puppy.  A contract should protect the buyer and the seller but most importantly, the puppy.  A contract will let you know what you should get/expect from the breeder and what you, the buyer, are required to do or maintain, co-ownership requirements from both parties and finally the clauses designed to keep the puppy from harm.  When you purchase a puppy and a contract is to be involved make sure you have a copy of it with the breeder’s signature and yours and keep your copy in a safe spot.

Finally, what are you willing to pay for your puppy? Price is a relative choice.  For many show breeders, $1,000 is the standard price for a show quality dog but it can go much lower or higher depending on who you talk to.  Personally, I think anything above a grand for a show-quality puppy is asking a bit much since the puppy is unproven even if his/her parents are titled up the ying-yang.  The personal preference is yours there and what you feel you can afford but remember that a puppy is a gamble and that puppy may or may not turn out.

Once you have that squared away and figured out, you only have to wait until your puppy is born and ready to go home.  The eight weeks following the birth of your puppy will drive you batty and you will probably call (or visit if you’re lucky!) your breeder a million and one times and beg, grovel and hunt for photos of the puppies – I know I did!  It is well worth it once you have found the right breeder for you.

Good luck and happy puppy hunting to those who choose to go the breeder route.  Please remember when you do find the breeding of your dreams that the likeliness of your breeder turning into a total witch can happen. Don’t buy from a breeder that you wouldn’t want as a friend because they are typically with you for 15+ years. Buying from a good breeder is like expanding your human family.

Health Testing: Tools of the Dog Breeding Trade

When you bring up health testing amongst pit bull breeder’s you’ll hear an entire range of reasons for and against the practice.  Unfortunately for our breed, we need to be utilizing every available resource to help maintain and improve upon the absolute travesty that keeps occurring.

In OFA hip scores, from January 1974 until December 2011, only 733 dogs have been tested – of those tested, we had 24.1% dysplastic.  That’s atrocious for a working breed like the American Pit Bull Terrier.  Why aren’t more people testing these dogs?  Out of 733 dogs tested there were 177 that are considered dysplastic. Considering the number of APBTs that are registered yearly with the ADBA and UKC, the number of dogs tested is incredibly low.

The overall cost of health testing a breeding dog or bitch truthfully isn’t much in the long run – especially if a breeder plans to utilize the stud or bitch more than once.  It should also give the puppy buyers AND the breeder piece of mind knowing that they did everything possible to reduce the potential of throwing a genetic disease.

Unfortunately, not all breeders believe this and give reasons like, “It’s too expensive” or “My dog works just fine.  There aren’t any problems in the line.  It would show.”  Those of us who do health test know this is complete and total baloney.

A dog who is dysplastic, has cardiac or thyroid issues can and still do work through it more often than not without showing any symptoms.  That being said, they eventually do get to the point when they’re showing and then what happens?  If it’s a cardiac issue the dog could fall over and die on a walk or if it’s dysplastic the dog’s quality of life could diminish immensely as a young dog.  Neither of which is fair to the dog or the people who have to see the animal suffer – especially if it’s a puppy buyer.

No, health testing doesn’t guarantee you’ll get a puppy that doesn’t have a health condition since it takes ninety-two chromosomes to match in every puppy and the good matches aren’t always going to be possible.  That being said, it doesn’t mean it won’t significantly reduce the chances of a problem in an unborn puppy.  The risks associated with not health testing far outweigh those of testing and getting a puppy with a genetic condition that reduces the quality and quantity of that dog’s life and the time they will spend in the loving hands of their owner.  To me, personally, it doesn’t add up as to why more and more people AREN’T testing for the betterment of the American Pit Bull Terrier.

Ryker’s OFA X-rays.  He came back OFA Good.

My Why of Pit Bull Ownership and The Pit Bull Problem

I often get asked a ton of questions when people find out I own pit bulls.  The questions typically range from “Oh, my God!  You own baby killers?  Aren’t you afraid they will hurt your kids?” to “Oh, how awesome!  Do you breed and can I get one of your puppies?”.  (Truth be told, I absolutely hate both of those example questions, but I get them both all too frequently!)

I filter through the questions now like a pro.  I almost have to at this point since Luna will be nine years old in a few short weeks.  I stay honest and try to keep my answers to the point and void of emotion.  Why do I do that? Well, let’s face it…we all love our dogs, but people who own pit bulls need to realize that the breed has developed a bit of a problem because of its popularity and because of that popularity there and the problems associated with it, there are people who abhor the breed with a passion.  There are far too many hands in the cookie jar when it comes to these dogs – breeder, rescuer, and pet owner…we all play a part in the problem and we need to play a part in the solution.

The question that I get asked the most is one that still makes me think long and hard on an answer for.  Well, I’ll start with the tale of the first time I was asked the infamous question, “Why did you pick the pit bull as your breed of choice?”

We were at the Novi Pet Expo and Ryker was just a youngster at the time.  We’d gotten him one of the silly clown collars to wear to keep him occupied trying to capture and also to look bloody cute.  He succeeded at the latter, but not so much the former.  While he was busy rolling around on the ground and looking like a nerd we had woman came up to our booth and looked over the pseudo barriers at the silly looking puppy rolling around on the floor.  She had scars all over her arms and a couple on her face and she was apprehensive near the dogs.

She asked me that fateful question after relaxing a bit realizing neither Luna nor Ryker had even the slightest bit of bad body language toward her.  I don’t remember exactly how I answered her in a way that made her feel comfortable telling me she had been attacked by one nearly three years prior by a dog that looked similar to the wiggling, brindle idiot on the floor next to me.  It made me sad and angry knowing these facts – going through all of that by a breed I love and cherish.  This woman, through all of this, didn’t hate the breed.  She blamed the dog that did it and the owner…not the breed as a whole.  She was still rightfully scared of them but not so much that she asked to pet Ryker who willingly threw himself at her and presented his belly.

It was truly an eye opener that despite all of the bad examples showing up in the newspaper nearly every single day that there is still reason to work to salvation the breed’s reputation.  Now, to get back on the topic since I rambled off a bit.  Why did I pick the pit bull as my breed of choice?

To this day, I can honestly say that I never pictured myself owning the breed.  They weren’t even on my radar.

I saw myself owning a Malamute or a Siberian Husky truthfully.  Those two breeds reminded me of wolves and the closer to my favorite totem animal and I drooled over having one.  I realized that I was absolutely out of my mind after doing research on both breeds that neither was suited for me or my lifestyle.

My first on-my-own, real experience with a pit bull in my adult life made me fall head over heels for the breed.  Angel was a deaf, solid white girl with bright green eyes.  She needed a place to rest and heal before being placed and I was apparently the ‘perfect’ place.  I didn’t know she was a pit bull at first and once I found out I was enthralled and, admittedly, a little scared at the time.  She wasn’t with me long but I knew at that time I found my breed.  The stability, the temperament, the energy level, the avenues I could pursue with them was endless like my imagination.  I couldn’t stop thinking of all the things I could do with my very own pit bull.

Sure, I knew the horror stories about the baby killers and people maulers.  I also knew the realities in the breed. These dogs are NOT for everyone and they have their flaws – like the fact that a good portion of these dogs do not prefer the company of other canines or small and fuzzy creatures.  Let’s face the facts – these dogs ultimately became the best dog-on-dog combat animals bred by man, but that same selective breeding allowed for human stability unmatched – when properly selected FOR that temperament.

That being said, there are far too many people that I see and hear about with these dogs that makes me want to cringe.  They don’t deserve these dogs.  Only about 60% of those who own, breed or rescue these dogs need to be doing that in my opinion.  That number may be higher or lower, but far too many people get these dogs as an ego extension and don’t realize the hard work that goes into making a good bully breed ambassador.

There is far too much greed in breeders (not all, but many). Sadly, it isn’t just the BYBs trying to make a living.  Some ‘responsible’ and well known breeders have fallen off the wagon by producing too many or subpar dogs.  They have put aside health testing or even titling their dogs.  It’s a shame really because people should look at the ethics of a responsible breeder and know they truly want to improve and help the breed and not just keep reproducing the same crap over and over again.

Many rescuers are just as guilty as the breeders they abhor.  I’m sure everyone has heard the same mantra:  ‘Don’t Breed or Buy While Shelter Animals Die’.  The want to believe that the ‘No Kill’ philosophy means saving every animal that graces their doors.  The reality is so much more different that it’s sad.

Since the ‘No Kill’ philosophy is based on saving animals that are adoptable dogs that are shy, fearful, aggressive toward people or children, unmanaged aggression toward other animals (the kind of unmanaged that may mean a re-direct or inability to change the dog’s direction through focusing on something other than the other animal/dog) shouldn’t be on the list considered adoptable – especially with pit bulls and their mixes.
Many rescuers see a sad face and want to save the animal, but the reality is that if it isn’t safe, is scared to death of the world around it (which may likely mean a fear biter) or too sick to treat, the kindest option is humane euthanization.  It sucks, but rescuers are the cleanup crew for the stupid pet owners and of the world and they need to be strong and save only the best knowing that stable dog may die if they save the dog cowering in the back of the kennel.

Pet owners are the final problem and in many cases, the biggest one.  Far too many people go out and get a dog and don’t research the breed and this isn’t any different for new pit bull owners.  They go to the pound a local rescue group or even a breeder and expect this magical creature that they’ve been told about only to learn that there is a lot of work that goes into these dogs – training, socialization, exercise, etc. – and more often than not, it causes new owners to get into a bit of trouble for their lack of research (or sometimes media reaching trouble if they didn’t pick out a stable dog).

This isn’t to say that there aren’t pet owners who don’t do a ton of research and many who do some research but learn and continue to grow over time (I can name a good many I know who continue to learn and grow even after minimal research), however the alarming number of media stories happening because of a ‘pit bull attack’ needs to stop and until people face the realization that the pit bull might not be for them then we’ll continue to have this issue.

I am no expert in the breed and I’m continually learning, reading and schooling myself to better the lives of my dogs, however I ultimately chose this breed because I wanted a dog that could do everything (and researched, and researched…and researched some more) – a phenomenal sport dog and family companion.  I’ve succeeded with the dogs I have now and gone above and beyond my expectations and work to set new goals and tasks to keep their minds busy and me learning new things and couldn’t ask for a better breed for my lifestyle and what I want to accomplish in life.

Responsible Breeding and the American Pit Bull Terrier

The American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT) is idolized as ‘America’s Dog,’ but yet this dog dies by the hundreds and thousands in shelters across the nation.  ‘America’s Dog’ has become ‘America’s Epidemic’ because of the mass amounts of puppies being pumped into this world by irresponsible breeders who are only looking for the next buck that they’ll make from the puppies they produce.  The end result for many of these dogs is the back room where they will be euthanized by either lethal injection or gas chamber.  If you have never sat through a mass euthanization of unwanted dogs, cats and other animals it is truly depressing.  These animals know, despite the cooing, pets and kind words that they are going to die.  If you don’t believe me and don’t want to sit on the real thing, there are many videos out there on Google on the hard work that shelter staff must go through when an animal’s time is ‘up.’

You will hear the same mantra every single day by those who spend countless hours cross posting, fostering, volunteering and saving these dogs and other animals from an uncertain fate to not “breed or buy while shelter animals die.”  These people live the day to day of cleaning up after those individuals who do not give a flying rip where the offspring of their beloved Fido that they just had to breed to make a buck.  As an appreciator of purebred dogs, I find this utterly appalling that they have to go through this.  The reality of the matter for breeders and other fanciers is that we must police our own.  We are our brother’s keeper for the fate of ‘America’s Dog’, the APBT.

The term breeder is not a favorable description in the rescue community and with what they go through, it doesn’t surprise me either.  The difference between your ordinary, run of the mill “breeder” (also known as a BYB, backyard breeder or puppy peddler) and the responsible breeder is a set of morals and ethics when they produce a litter.

  • Responsible breeders take the time to verify the parentage of their dogs through DNA-profiling.
  • Responsible breeders health test their dogs against potential genetic disorders like hip and elbow dysplasia, cardiac conditions, thyroid problems, luxating patellas or other potential genetic hazards and allow the risk of these issues to be minimized versus blindly breeding and having some unsuspected puppy buyer from suffering with hundreds and thousands of dollars in veterinary expenses.
  • Responsible breeders screen potential puppy buyers extensively.  Their questionnaires and contracts leave little to the imagination and has the intention of bringing forth a home that will maintain the dog for the 12-15 years it will live there properly.
  • Responsible breeders show their dogs in conformation and working events like weight pull, obedience, agility, rally, dock diving, etc. and encourage people who want offspring from one of their breedings to do the same through reputable registries like the UKC, AKC and ADBA.  (All of the above mentioned sports, including conformation are open to altered dogs with the United Kennel Club (UKC) for APBTs with permanent registration and all sporting events are open to rescue dogs of unknown lineage through their Limited Privilege Program.)
  • Responsible breeders encourage spaying and neutering (and often offer incentives) of dogs that are not considered breeding quality.
  • Responsible breeders microchip/tattoo their puppies and register them prior to the puppy leaving for its permanent home.
  • Responsible breeders take back a dog or puppy that does not work out in its original home and cares for it until it can find a more suitable, permanent home and realize that not every home, no matter how well-screened and hand-picked will work out.

The above mentioned points are just a few of the checks and balances that breeders impose on themselves to ensure that they are breeding to improve and not continually pump out animals that will likely end up in a shelter or on a euth list.  There are many more, but it would take many more blog posts to even begin to go into them.  For a general code of ethics for responsible breeders, I suggest going here.

While the rescue community often seeks to lynch those who breed, they lump all breeders together – those that are responsible and those that peddle.  The two groups are not interchangeable because responsible breeders work to keep the offspring they produce out of shelter system by breeding infrequently and screening heavily for proper placement and they also often help out rescue groups.  Ultimately, without purebred breeders…responsible purebred breeders, we will lose breeds and the domesticated canine population would die out in 20+ years with nothing but spayed/neutered animals around.  While it’s not the brightest outlook, it’s the reality.  We ultimately need responsible breeders for all breeds to continue to breed high quality dogs and shelters, rescues and adopters to help eliminate the overpopulation problem that is occurring now while we work to eliminate two main problems in canine society – breed specific legislation and puppy peddlers.

Veterinarian Speaks Out on PETA and Westminister

The information contained below is written by Libbye Miller; DVM and is reprinted with permission.

“Adorable mixed breeds” get cancer, epilepsy, allergies, heart disease, and orthopedic problems just like purebreds. I see it every day in my veterinary practice but mixed breed dogs aren’t tracked like the purebreds so they have a reputation as “healthier” that is actually undeserved in many cases. “ It is so sad that a lot of folks, including young veterinarians these days, buy into the “hybrid vigor” baloney. The vet schools have been infiltrated by the Animal Rights Extremists, who are teaching them this junk science in order to push their agenda. All animals have a certain amount of genetic load, which is to say there is absolutely no animal without some genetic problem of some sort of another.

Know anyone who wears glasses?
Has allergies? Thyroid problems?
Weak knees?
Flat feet?
A skin condition?
A gap between their front teeth?

These are all genetic imperfections. No human is genetically “clean.” Neither is any individual of any species on earth. So this idea that dogs should not be bred because they might have a genetic problem, and that breeders are somehow “evil” for breeding them, is ridiculous. Every single individual of every single species has at least a few genetic conditions. To use PeTA’s logic, all breeding of all kinds (including having human babies) should halt immediately. And to be honest, Ingrid Newkirk (the woman who founded PeTA) does believe exactly that. She thinks that humans should become extinct, along with dogs, cats, etc. This ridiculous scenario is precisely what she would like to see happen. So folks, if that is what you want…if you agree with Ingrid Newkirk’s whacky views, send your hard earned money to PeTA. They will help to ensure you are not able to own a dog or cat or hamster or any other pet in the future. They will see to it that you can’t eat meat or fish or eggs or any type of animal-based nutrition. They will work to shut down places like Sea World, the zoos, etc. so you cannot observe the many wonderful animals on the Earth. Eventually, once they accomplish these things, they may turn their efforts to making it illegal for humans to procreate. If you don’t agree with their extremist views, wise up and start supporting those who truly do love, care for and enjoy interaction with other species here on our little blue planet. The fanciers of the breeds, those you see exhibiting their dogs at Westminster and other dog shows, work very hard to eliminate serious genetic conditions. They screen their breeding stock with every available test. They research pedigrees before breeding into other lines, to check for similar clearances in those animals. They contribute money to research organizations to further the work being done to track down genetic problems. They contribute blood, cell samples, etc. from their own animals to help with DNA and genome studies. They have made great progress so far, and they continue to work hard at it.

Are there unethical breeders? Certainly, there are. Just as in any group of humans, you will find the good and the bad. United States VP Elect Joe Biden, for example, managed to find a not so good one when he got his new German Shepherd puppy. I don’t know who did his research for him, but they obviously didn’t do their homework if they were looking for a responsible breeder. Joe has the right to get his dog from whomever he wishes, but if he was trying to set an example of purchasing from a responsible hobby breeder he went off the track this time. That’s too bad, but it was his choice. Unfortunately, breeders like that may be a lot easier to find because of their high volume and high profile. If you are looking for a nice family pet from a breeder who will be there for you forever, you need to do due diligence. You won’t get that from a pet store. You won’t get that from the guy selling dogs out of his pickup truck in the WalMart parking lot. You won’t get that support from a high-volume breeder, either. Yes, it takes a little more time and effort to find someone who really cares and does all the work to breed the healthiest, happiest puppies possible and then stands behind those puppies. This is a living being that will be part of your family, hopefully, for many years. Isn’t it worth a bit of effort to find a breeder who will be there for you and that puppy forever? And guess what? Shows like Westminster are a very valuable resource for finding breeders who do care and who use the best possible practices, as well as for learning more about the various breeds. Bravo to USA Network for broadcasting the Westminster Kennel Club show all these years. May they enjoy continued success through the ongoing inclusion of such programs. I will be eagerly watching this year’s show!”