Thursday, June 4, 2009
Dog Breeding: Yer Doin' It Rite
All right, I rail against puppy mills pretty regularly here. My regular readers are the choir; I really count on the Googles delivering some Easter Christians to hear the message, if only so briefly, else it would be wasted keystrokes.
And I do go on about vanity breeding for the show ring, closed gene pools, and the "dog fancy" in all its would-be-laughable-but-for-the-pain-it-causes naval-gazing excess.
Then there's the calling to task of "rescue" organizations, "humane societies," and advocacy groups that clearly have something else in mind besides the actual welfare of actual animals.
Don't get me started on trainers who can't train, and "behaviorists" who wouldn't know a "behavior" if it bit 'em in the ass. (Not a metaphor when speaking of dogs.)
OMG, I hate everybody.
Help me out of the funk.
Well, not quite true.
At last week's NADOI annual meeting, I found myself in the curious position of advocating for two different young dogs' testicles. Two very different dogs, very different breeds. Nicely put-together animals with temperaments to die for, from breeds where temperaments are rarely what one would wish to see.
Those dogs were not accidents. They were the products of breeding decisions that did not sacrifice soundness or temperament to other values.
I'd like to feature dog breeders who are doing it right. Give the interwebz some examples of the different ways individuals are holding up high standards in a breeding program.
Tell me about breeders you know -- friends, colleagues, your dog's breeder -- who are conscientiously producing sound, healthy dogs with temperaments appropriate to their breed and function. Who uphold high standards of animal welfare, including for animals not their own. Who show their concern for the families and communities where their pups will live. Who have big-picture attitudes towards their breeds' gene pools. Who stand by their dogs.
Any breed, except my breed, English shepherds. Or any crossbreed -- I'd be especially interested in thoughtful "out of the box" crossbreeders. Working dogs, hunting dogs, purely companion dogs.
I'd like to be able to interview the breeder, other breeders who know him or her, and puppy buyers.
And it can't be someone I already know.
Nominations are open! Use the comments section to provide the information that gets me started. Make sure I can contact you privately with followup questions.