AMERICAN DOG BREEDERS - THE ANIMALS
Part 1: Introduction
Part 2: Advantages
As we have prefaced in previous articles, in no way is this series meant to target those who have or plan to purchase animals from shelters. We realize that all animals need homes, and with proper care and training are sure to be wonderful pets. There are, however, distinct differences in the various breeds or between purebred and mixed that must be illustrated before you make your decision. It is important that you consider all of the factors before obtaining your next pet.
The different breeds of dogs are just like the different breeds of other animals, each have their own set of skills and temperaments predetermined in their DNA. There is no way to get around the fact that a Doberman or Pit Bull is more inclined to be a guard dog than a Chihuahua. By researching the animal breed that you are purchasing you can get a dog that will best fit your lifestyle, fulfill a purpose, and stay healthy.
Yet, this all starts with how the animal is cared for during the early years of its life.
One thing that many people, especially parents of small children, love about most purebred dogs is their easy-going temperament, loyalty, and care. This behavior, although mostly genetically predisposed, starts with how the animal was treated as a puppy. Responsible breeders are sure to treat their animals with the greatest care and socialize them effectively because of their knowledge and experience with the animals.
Since breeders are much more adept at providing quality care for their animals, they grow up to be better pets. The average pet owner does not know how to nurture a newborn puppy. They need specific food, socialization, and training that only a breeder can supply. Puppies that are not born to breeders sometimes experience negative habits throughout their lives due to their poor treatment.
This is a terrible circumstance for those animals, and we hope that they find loving homes with individuals or families that choose to take on that responsibility. Nevertheless, those who would have a major driving reason to get a loyal and well behaved pet (i.e. a child, elderly individuals, or those in need of a guard dog) should not opt for a shelter animal whose early life is in question. Without in-depth knowledge of how the animals were cared for you are likely to adopt a dog that can fulfill no tangible purpose effectively because of its lack of predictability. These animals also, despite widespread claims otherwise, can have many health problems throughout their lives, which brings us to our next section.
An animal’s health is beyond important to a pet owner. Not only do they fundamentally care for the life of their pet, they also have a hefty investment placed in that animal already and its health costs can often break-the-bank for the average American family. Health is often a major factor when selecting an animal.
When it comes to health differences between purebred and mixed breed dogs, though, there are a lot of false claims that need to be cleared up. As we have mentioned before, many believe that mixed breed animals are healthier. The notion that purebreds are more susceptible to disease lacks common sense and is only popular because of its pressure supplied by animal rights organizations in an attempt to further hurt the breeding industry.
Let’s look at the facts. Purebred dogs are meticulously bred with biological factors in mind to eliminate hereditary disease. Over time, disease has and continues to lower in purebred dogs because of the efforts of breeders and geneticists. They were also raised in a safe and sanitary environment since their birth, given all of the correct and needed medication, and treated just like a member of the family with regular check-ups and all needed care provided.
On the other hand, most mixed breed and shelter dogs (excluding specifically bred designer dogs) had no genetic tests given prior to their mating. The offspring of two different breeds is exponentially more susceptible to genetic disease because of that lack of testing, and even if the direct offspring does not get sick a disease could become present generations down the line.
Also, their treatment is nowhere near the quality that the animal would receive at a breeder. These animals often live on the street where disease is rampant and they are in danger of infection. Once they reach the shelter, their medical conditions are barely improved, if any at all.
Since multimillion dollar ‘animal rights groups’ take the money that could be going to local shelters and give less than 1% back, or because of mismanagement. or simply limited resources to gain exposure, these local shelters often lack the funding to provide proper medical attention to their animals. They are adopting out very sick animals that are tremendously more expensive than a purebred in the long run, and often see these animals back out on the streets because their owners could not afford what the animals cost.
So as far as health goes: no, mixed breed dogs are not better off. Their conditions are often worse, which costs more in the long run. They are more susceptible to hereditary disease because of the lack of genetic testing. Early life care is lacking because the pet owner does not know all of the correct medical needs of the animal. Care in a shelter is limited by funding, and when they are on the streets they receive no care at all.
Shelter animals are often not suited for your average family because of their cost, both financially and emotionally, when the animal inevitably becomes ill.
Another huge positive to purebred dogs is their predictability. Since the animals come from a long line of dogs just like them, meeting their parents or examining their pedigree can tell you what kind of animal that you are going to have.
The individual personality of animals will be different, sure, but the overall attitude and tendencies should be similar if the animal is treated correctly. By researching the animal breed you can tell what you can expect from the puppy that you just purchased and make sure that it fits your lifestyle.
For example, German Shepherds were bred specifically to follow commands, as well as be loyal and loving dogs. This means that they make amazing guard dogs, can be utilized by the police force, and are full of energy. If you have a member of your family who stays with your animals constantly, or someone who can watch them while you are away, they are a great investment and wonderful dogs. However, because of their temperaments anyone who has researched their breed knows that if you leave them home alone for any more than a few hours, you might come home to some problems. As we said, great dogs, but maybe not for your lifestyle. It all comes down to predictability. Since you know the breed you can make sure that you will be happy with your selection for years to come. This is one of the major reasons that less dogs purchased from a breeder enter shelters than dogs that had been previously ‘saved’ from a shelter.
Mixed breed dogs provide none of this, no breed standard or basic predictability. To no fault of their own, the way that they were raised and lack of breed predictable behavior makes them a ticking time bomb. If something reminds them of their past or your kid goes too far when playing tug-of-war with the dog, you have no idea what will happen. This is a major problem when it comes to household pets.
The predictability of purebreds, though, makes them great for your average family and many other situations. Also, since people know how they will act, they can be used for a specific purpose. This gives them an extra edge and greater value.
If you can predict an animal’s behavior you can train it for a purpose. We have been doing this with dogs for thousands of years, ever since the first hunting dogs! There is a very long list of breeds and the intended purposes for them, but we will just focus on a few.
German Shepherds, as previously mentioned, make for the perfect police dogs. They can conduct search and rescue operations, sniff out drugs, and attack when necessary. A vital tool for police forces nationwide, these animals cannot be replaced. Labrador retrievers, foxhounds, and beagles are all amazing hunting dogs. Their predictable behavior and temperament make them more than ideal for training. They can chase, sniff out, or retrieve kills, and with the proper training are way more than just a companion. Dogs are also used on farms, often to herd sheep or cattle. Yet again, you do not want to use just any dog for herding. Some of the best herd dogs are Beaucerons and Border Collies.
Animals who serve a purpose need to be predictable and healthy. The only animals that can effectively fit these purposes come from breeders, not shelters. If purely for application purposes, we must protect dog breeders.
We reached out to a Missouri hobby breeder of the American Brittany named Terry Higgins who has bred dogs for 30 years. He provided good insight into the world of an average breeder, what they have experienced, and what they believe:
Is purchasing a purebred dog 'worth it'?
“ For me and many hunters and families, YES. (my mom has one of my pure breed britts that does not hunt and is a house dog and is a great watch dog, companion and has a great personality for her home)”
What lengths do you go to ensure that your animals go to good homes?
“My dogs only go to approved families and hunters that I personally know or have met or have been recommended to me by past customers or hunting buddies.”
In your experience, are your purebred dogs any less healthy than mixed breed shelter dogs?
“I think the health is better if from a responsible breeder.”
What do you think about the negative stigma around the breeding industry and the "Real Pet Lovers Adopt" campaigns?
“As with all industries there are bad apples in the breeding industry too. But I feel the good breeders far outnumber the bad ones.”
The dogs themselves are absolutely worth the investment, and in purchasing a purebred you will definitely get your money's worth. Responsible breeders have appropriately trained, cared for, and socialized the animal, so it will be better for you and your family. And as Terry Higgins said, the good breeders far outnumber the bad.
The main problem with dog populations that animal rights groups like to focus on, overpopulation, was not caused by breeders. There is a huge market for bred dogs (dwindling because of pressure to adopt from shelters) and it is irresponsible owners that let their animals roam free and breed whenever who are the problems. Of all the dogs in America, over 50% of them are mixed breed. This statistic is flooring because, besides designer dogs, these were mostly accidental. So the way to solve this problem is not to ban needed, healthy, and predictable animals from breeders, but to educate the public on the real problem. Animal rights organizations are quick to point the finger, but never at the real issue.
We’re sure you can see the many benefits of purebred dogs; will you protect our right to buy bred dogs and help us eliminate the stigma around dog breeders?