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Discussion Starter #1
Did anyone else see the documentary Pedigree Dogs Exposed that was originally from the UK that has started airing in the US? I saw it on PBS last night.

I was wondering what your thoughts were on it. Basset hounds were featured in the documentary.

Pedigree Dogs Exposed - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
When it was put to the Chairman of the Basset Hound Club that they were breeding deformed congenital dwarfs, he rejected that accusation, claiming that current Basset Hounds look very much like those of the 1800s. When shown a photo of a Basset Hound from sixty years ago, he was less than impressed.
 

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I was appalled by the lady that was using her champion stud to sire over 2 dozen litters even though he'd already been diagnosed with that terribly painful genetic disease. She acted so upset when they asked her about it. If you've got nothing to hide, you've got nothing to be shameful about. She obviously knew it wasn't right.

I have a cousin that has one of the Cavalier spaniels. Her dog was the runt and has a skull deformity. Her friend bred her and I guess didn't know what she wanted to do with her after selling the rest of the litter so my cousin offered to take her. She's a very sweet dog but it wouldn't surprise me if she ended up having that disease.
 

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It is NOT a documentary. It was put together by a woman who HATES purebreds, they found the worst possible examples and tried to make them look like the norm, they misled the people they interviewed and quoted them out of context, used half-truths, old wives tales and outright lies.

Excellent article on the subject:
http://rufflyspeaking.wordpress.com/2008/10/15/568/
 

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No wonder the Springbatt people were on their high horse about "Pedigreed Dogs". I prefer purebreds ,myself
 

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I just read both the articles you linked Soundtrack. It just blows my mind about how the "documentary" apparently misrepresented the breeds and took quotes out of context. I'm going to see if I can find the actual "documentary" online and watch it. And I don't think Bassets are all that different from the olden days. But the sloping hindquarters of the German Shepards is a bit disconcerting to look at. It looks like they're scared all the time. To me anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
No wonder the Springbatt people were on their high horse about "Pedigreed Dogs". I prefer purebreds ,myself
I don't think it's fair to make a sweeping statement that purebreds are better, just as I don't think it's fair to make a sweeping statement that mutts are better. A poorly bred "purebred", in my opinion, will probably be worse than a mutt.

It is NOT a documentary. It was put together by a woman who HATES purebreds, they found the worst possible examples and tried to make them look like the norm, they misled the people they interviewed and quoted them out of context, used half-truths, old wives tales and outright lies.

Excellent article on the subject:
The implications of the KC decision on Pekingese; Pedigree Dogs Exposed, part 2 Ruffly Speaking: Railing against idiocy since 2004
I also don't think it's fair to claim that the film is not a documentary. It's not uncommon for documentaries to be incredibly biased. Just look at Michael Moore.

I will say that I think the film challenges the idea many have that registration papers somehow inherently makes a dog healthier, something that I, personally, strongly disagree with. My mutt is turning 11 this year and is by and large much healthier than any 11 year old purebred dog I've had.
 

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Nobody is claiming that registration papers make a dog healthier, or better in any way at all. Most purebreds are bred by crappy breeders who are either out to make a buck and/or want a whole bunch of cute little "Princesses" because they wuv her so much they want another just like her.

But that goes for mutts too. I've known more than my share of people who want to breed their precious darling, even though she snaps at kids, hides under furniture when people come over, and has horrible skin allergies.

The difference is that a carefully bred dog whose ancestors have been selected for generations for temperament, health, structure and quality is going to be a better bet than one that is not.

And before you say that show breeders don't care about those things, remember that the vast majority of us live with our dogs and they are our pets. So yeah, I care. I don't want a psycho nutbar dog that I can't take out in public or is difficult to live with. I don't want a dog that costs me a fortune in vet bills, or dies young. I don't want a dog that can't live a normal life and do the activities we like to do.

BTW,
I have three sisters who will be turning 13 in June. One has cancer, the other two are quite healthy and active for dogs of that age. In fact, Gabby competed in Rally-O this past fall, and will be out again in the spring to get her final leg. Rosie at 9 1/2 is still bouncing off the walls, she ran in the agility trial last October at Nationals. Overall I've had very few health problems with my bassets over the past 30 years - but then mine are from well-bred SHOW lines.

And I don't consider what Michael Moore does to be documentaries either. That's like calling an op-ed piece "news".
 

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Discussion Starter #9
A lot of people do feel more comfortable buying a dog with papers instead of an identical dog without papers. Probably not the type of folks that you deal with as a reputable breeder, but I'm referring to the general public. If you look in a newspaper at backyard breeder ads, you'll see as many as possible list "AKC registered" right in the ad because they know it's a selling point despite the fact that no one buying one of their puppies actually needs those papers for anything.

I'm not disagreeing that your dogs are better than mutts. You obviously care. But you said right in your post that most breeders don't. You know this and I know this but the general public doesn't. We see this almost every time someone comes to this forum looking for a puppy.

The majority of breeders are bad, therefore the majority of purebred dogs are a crap-shoot. No not yours, and no not all, but a whole lot of them.

The welfare of dogs would improve leaps and bounds if society as a whole accepted that you're not getting a guaranteed better dog than a mutt when you buy from an average breeder.
 

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The majority of breeders are bad, therefore the majority of purebred dogs are a crap-shoot
Um, but even fewer mutt breeders are any good. In fact, almost none. Therefore even more of them are a crap-shoot.

Not too long ago I read one of those "magazines" that they have in pet stores for individual breeds, but this one was devoted to "designer dogs". Even though the publication extolled the virtues of mixed breeds, they admitted that finding a quality breeder of such animals was on a par with winning the lottery.

The problem is there is way more demand for puppies than there are good breeders to fill it. And people are impatient. They want their puppy now, they don't want to go on a waiting list. They don't want to go to the trouble of researching breeders, or even which breed they should have, or even whether they should have a dog at all. And they sure as heck don't want to spend a lot - unless it's at a pet store and they can whip out their AMEX, or they're paying for a "special" designer dog or "rare" (read disqualifying fault, mismark, wrong color, under- or oversized, wrong coat) purebred - then they'll spend way more than what you'd pay for a quality pet from a good breeder. So there's plenty of people willing to fill the demand with "purebreds" that barely resemble the breed they're supposed to be, teacups, doodles, chiweenees, puggles or whatever will sell.

But all of that has nothing to do with show dogs, which is what the show is denigrating. The fact is that your chances of ending up with a healthy, sound animal are higher if you go to one of the hated "show breeders". Not guaranteed - first of all we're dealing with living creatures and anything can happen, secondly we're dealing with people and not all of them are wonderful (even the ones that show dogs :D ). But the odds are more in your favor.
 

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Um, but even fewer mutt breeders are any good. In fact, almost none. Therefore even more of them are a crap-shoot.
Generally when I'm referring to mutts I'm referring to accidental litters, not litters where there's a "breeder". That is how the vast majority of mutts come into the world.. People that don't have the sense to spay, neuter, or control their dogs. I would trust mother nature putting together two strays before I'd trust some woman breeding her beloved pet boxer with her neighbor's boxer.

If people are impatient they can easily find dogs from 8 weeks to 18 years in their local shelter for cheaper than pet stores and cheaper than most backyard breeders.
 

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If people are impatient they can easily find dogs from 8 weeks to 18 years in their local shelter for cheaper than pet stores and cheaper than most backyard breeders
The problem is it is well documented that the majority of such dogs end up their because of behaviorial issues. Most people don't want to have to deal with a problem caused by some else.

One thing I don't think many realize is the trickle down effect that many of the regulation on breeding that are poping up actual have a more profound effect on the hobby breeder than the commercial kennel ie puppy mill they were designed to reguate. Take the PA dog law which can regulate a hobbie breeder that produces as few as 2 litters in any one year with regulation designed for commercial opperation there are regulations that make it amost impossible for a hobbiest to meet but have no impact on the quality of life for such dogs. So through regulation we are makeing harder for the better breeders to pruduce more dogs yet these same regs have minimal effect on the poorer breeders.
 

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I was only bringing up the term purebred because pedigreed is a word I dislike .Forgive me for jumping in on something I didn't have enough knowledge of,won't make that mistake again. Soundtrack is a great voice for what good breeders are striving for even if most do not want to give us credit for anything good.People need to be knowledgable about what they are looking for,if they are too lazy to do the research then they get what they deserve.
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
The problem is it is well documented that the majority of such dogs end up their because of behaviorial issues. Most people don't want to have to deal with a problem caused by some else.

One thing I don't think many realize is the trickle down effect that many of the regulation on breeding that are poping up actual have a more profound effect on the hobby breeder than the commercial kennel ie puppy mill they were designed to reguate. Take the PA dog law which can regulate a hobbie breeder that produces as few as 2 litters in any one year with regulation designed for commercial opperation there are regulations that make it amost impossible for a hobbiest to meet but have no impact on the quality of life for such dogs. So through regulation we are makeing harder for the better breeders to pruduce more dogs yet these same regs have minimal effect on the poorer breeders.
And fresh puppies don't have behavioral issues? I don't believe the average shelter dog is any more work than a fresh puppy that's NEVER been trained. Just because the previous owner was too lazy to resolve basic issues that the rest of us understand doesn't mean the dog is any inherently worse.

Yes *some* shelter dogs are a lot of work, but the majority of them fit in after a few weeks of adjustment time. This is reflected by the return rate of a good shelter that works to match dogs to adopters, which in my experience is about 10%.

Not to mention some behavior issues can't possibly be an issue in a different home. A dog may be given up because it attacks the family cat. An easy solution is to go to a home without a cat. One of my dogs hates children. Not an issue since we have none and rarely have any visit. A dog that's too high energy for an elderly couple might be returned, but this would be a desired trait for a family with 5 children that wants a dog to run and play, or an athlete that will run miles a day with their dog.

I believe the majority of problems arise as a result of poor matchmaking or lazy owners, which is one of the most compelling reasons to adopt an older dog so there are no surprises. If more people adopted based on the characteristics of that individual dog instead of the characteristics of a breed as a whole we'd probably have far fewer shelter dogs to begin with.
 

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Mikey, you also forget that there are puppies in shelters too. Puppies are rarely euthanized because they're easy and fast to adopt out and shelters can charge more for their adoption fee. They're not going to have any more behavior problems than a purebred puppy, assuming they are not a special situation (and most are not).
 

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And fresh puppies don't have behavioral issues?
Any behavioral issue is a combination of genetic and life experiences. A lack of life experiences means any puppy issues are ammendable not the case with an older dog.

If more people adopted based on the characteristics of that individual dog instead of the characteristics of a breed as a whole we'd probably have far fewer shelter dogs to begin with.
Might be true with an older dog but not the case with puppies as study after study shows the futility of puppy temperament testing.

Puppy Temperament Testing

The Trend of Temperment Testing in Shelters
At this time, there doesn’t appear to be a reliable puppy temperament test, because so much of our behavior depends on our environment – especially when we’re young.
Puppy Evaluations Crystal Ball or Waste of Time?
Puppy aptitude or temperament tests have evolved over the years in an attempt to predict whether a particular pup will be a good guide dog, police dog, dog sport competitor or family companion. These tests are designed to look at a pup’s interaction with people and reaction to different stresses and stimuli and the idea is that the responses of the puppy will be a good predictor of what kind of adult the pup will grow up to be. There are many tests out there and they are fairly similar but probably the best known is the Volhard Puppy Aptitude Test or PAT.

...Studies have been done to look at the predictive value of these puppy temperament tests and in all cases the predictive value has been either none at all or very low. In a study by R. Beaudet, A. Chalifoux and A. Dallaire in 1994 they found significant behavioral changes in pups tested at seven weeks and then again at sixteen weeks. They found that dominance behaviour in the seven weeks pups shifted toward neutrality or submission at sixteen weeks in thirty four out of the thirty nine puppies tested. The other five puppies went in the other direction but the study does not indicate whether that was from submission to neutrality or neutrality to dominance. A study done by Goddard and Beilharz in 1986 found some predictive value but they used a series of different tests performed weekly and started when pups where twelve weeks old.

Essentially it seems that temperament testing of seven or eight week old puppies doesn’t tell us much at all although testing of older puppies has shown some predictive value.
 

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They're not going to have any more behavior problems than a purebred puppy, assuming they are not a special situation (and most are not).
It is highly unlike a puppy in the shelter gets anywhere near the same socialization and habituation to normal household stting a dog from a good breeder gets which is critical in minimizing behavioral problems later on see

Puppy Socialisation and Habituation (Part 1) Why is it Necessary?
There is a sensitive period of development in which socialisation and habituation must occur and be properly completed if the dog is not to grow up to be maladjusted. The degree of deprivation a dog suffers in respect of socialisation and habituation will be reflected proportionately in the extent of maladjustment. Accordingly, a dog that has had no experience of a specific stimulus at the completion of the sensitive period will always be fearful of it; a dog that has had some exposure, but not sufficient, will be better adjusted, although not entirely sound; and a dog that has had adequate experience of the stimulus in the sensitive period will grow up to be "bomb proof". Dogs that grow up to be fearful because they have been subjected to stimulus deprivation can be improved by counter conditioning programmes, but the maxim prevention is better than cure was never more applicable than the first few weeks of a domestic animal's life.
The empirical evidence which shows the crucial importance of systematically socialising and habituating puppies during the critical period has been around for a long time.
Which is one of the reason show breeders tend to han onto their puppies longer in that they believer they are much better at this task than the average owner and will end up with less returns for behavior problems later on if they do more of this critical task.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
It is highly unlike a puppy in the shelter gets anywhere near the same socialization and habituation to normal household stting a dog from a good breeder gets which is critical in minimizing behavioral problems later on see

Puppy Socialisation and Habituation (Part 1) Why is it Necessary?


Which is one of the reason show breeders tend to han onto their puppies longer in that they believer they are much better at this task than the average owner and will end up with less returns for behavior problems later on if they do more of this critical task.
Puppies are rarely kept at the shelter before adoption age. They are usually in foster homes. While I wouldn't say the care is always as good as that of the best breeders, I would say it is on par with an average breeder. So again I say that the average shelter puppy will not have a disadvantage to the average purebred puppy.

Puppies are usually removed from the shelter with their mother to avoid airborne diseases while their immune system works up. At mine the mother is brought back at 6 weeks for adoption and the puppies come back at 8 weeks for adoption. For difficult cases, trained vet techs will take them home.

I have a hard time believing that the average breeder would take more care than a volunteer rescue foster who has the resources and help of the rescue, especially if they're a vet tech.

Dogs and puppies at the better shelters are socialized with regular playgroups once their immune systems can handle it multiple times a day. I can't imagine the average breeder would go through the trouble of a playgroup.
 

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At mine the mother is brought back at 6 weeks for adoption and the puppies come back at 8 weeks for adoption.
Actually, mine stay with their mother until they leave. She and the other adults teach the pups a lot about proper behavior.
I'm not sure what you mean by a playgroup, but if you mean with other dogs, I have my own "playgroup" right here. Once they are old enough they have supervised interactions with the other dogs in the house, of all ages. I also take them to visit friends and their dogs, or on occasional visits to Petsmart or whatever.

And again, the program was not about AVERAGE breeders, it was attacking SHOW breeders - the ones most likely to put in the effort to raise a healthy and mentally sound puppy.

Now *you* may trust "mother nature" to do the pairings, but it's just as uncontrolled and random as the BYB going to their neighbor up the street. The difference is Nature's mistakes die. The ones bred by humans end up in homes if they survive till 6-8 weeks. The stray dog doesn't know or care that it's impregnating it's sister or mother, and you'd be amazed how many pet owners assume that it's okay to keep an intact male and female together because "it's his mother" or "they're brother and sister" - they honestly think that will keep the dogs from breeding! And voila! You have a litter of inbred mutts, from dogs that are too young to be breeding in the first place. The ones in the backyard that are bred by neighborhood Romeos rarely recieve adequate care or attention, so you end up with a litter of pups that has not been adequately prepared for life with humans, and are usually gotten rid of far too young ('cause they're costing money and being a nuisance).

An 8 week old puppy is NOT a blank slate, they are already affected by the care and attention that has been given to them up to that point, and by the health and care of the dam even from before the time she was bred. And a breeder's puppies are handled from day one, from the moment they are born, in fact. By the time they are ready to leave they are well accustomed to all forms of handling. Nails are clipped, usually starting at a week old. Deworming starts at two weeks. All of these affect the future health and disposition of the pup.
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
Yes the show was attacking show breeders, but I am referring to purebred in general.

Much of your argument would also apply to the vast majority of purebred breeders, both backyard and puppy mill. When you consider that about 1 in 4 dogs in the country are purebred, and consider how few dogs actually enter the showring, that's a whole lot of "purebred" breeders with questionable methods.

A well bred purebred dog can arguably be better. No one is disputing that. No one is disputing that YOUR dogs are quality dogs.

That said I have seen no evidence either from you guys or elsewhere that the average "purebred" (AKC registered) dog is any better in ANY WAY than a mutt.

You know how terrible most of the breeders out there are. The puppy mills... the ones that post on Craigslist... Why do you all continue to defend them?


Note: Last weekend I was approached by a woman who bought a 15 week old purebred AKC-registered boxer from a puppy mill (not directly, but through a pet store). The dog, at 15 weeks old, has already had surgery for a tumor in its nose and requires more for an eye problem (she didn't specify what). She's had the dog less than 2 months and has already spent over $3000 in vet bills. How is that any better than a mutt on the street?
 
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