Is it better to adopt a mutt with uncertain traits from a shelter or get a predictable purebred dog from a reputable breeder?
POUND PUPPY OR PUREBRED?
by E. Katie Gammill, Exhibition Editor, AKC Judge
At some time in our life, confronted with the feel-good, save-a-dog myth, we ask ourselves, shelter, rescue, or common sense and family first?
Have you read Julie Szabo’s book “The Underdog?” She encourages everyone to get a mixed breed but her facts are as skewed as her perspective.
“Behold the mutt, the most popular-and populist-dog in America. He’s hip; he’s healthy; he’s one of a kind. Pure is a bore.” So says the enraptured Julie Szabo. Meet the Pointipit. Mom is a pointer, Dad is a pit bull. That is supposed to elicit a “feel good” response?
With this I agree, “Mutts are just a detail shy of purebred perfection-but it’s their imperfections that make them lovable mutts”. But she reveals her ignorance when she says mongrels and cross breeds are smarter, live longer, and have fewer medical problems. She is entitled to her opinion but there has never been a study and therefore not a shred of evidence to back up her statement.
Szabo enthuses “Mutts are athletic, laid back, and low maintenance. Traits deemed unacceptable in purebred dogs are known as faults, but these flaws in the cross bred dog are not fatal. They are drop dead gorgeous. This is what makes a mutt a feast for the eyes. Even mutts have family trees; there just are more ‘forks’”.
Is she on PETA’s payroll? Maybe she gets a piece of the $100 million HSUS rakes in yearly. The fact is, HUMANE SHELTERS HAVE GREAT MARKETING PLANS. They know the right things to say, OR NOT TO SAY, when placing dogs. Unlike show and hobby breeders, Rescues and Shelters don’t bring up genetic concerns to potential customers. That’s smart. They play on compassion and emotions and are QUITE SUCCESSFUL.
What Szabo doesn’t tell people in her scripted rants are that some shelter or rescue dogs have baggage. The shelter employees work diligently to identify those that can accept love and attention. Some are returned to the shelter, other live long happy lives. The expertise involved in identifying quirks and solving behavior problems requires dedication and expertise.
There’s a heart-wrenching TV ad that speaks of dogs having wisdom. Perhaps they mean the dog is “street wise”. Some are very smart; some have a serious case of stupid. The point is, cross bred dogs, as well as pure bred dogs may or may not have genetic problems.
Don’t get me wrong. I admire those who work in shelters and make life and death decisions on a daily basis. I contribute to rescue and local shelters. Employees love each and every dog and without a doubt, their job is heartbreaking. What bothers me are the irresponsible owners who don’t spay and neuter their pets and expect others to right the situation when their creations wind up in shelters... The reason you rarely see pure bred dogs in shelters is due to Breed Rescue Clubs.
Dogs are there for a variety of reasons. Owners pass away, people move, develop allergies, or perhaps the dog has a problem the owner can’t cope with. The dog may have destructive behavior due to mistreatment or lack of socialization. Thus, the well being of the dog is left to those who adopt them. Some dogs cannot be placed in a new home. I know of experienced trainers who work years to get the kinks out of a rescue dog. Many do not succeed.
When buying a registered puppy, one can be assured the pure bred breeders have identified breed specific problems and are trying to eliminate genetic faults. Or, one can adopt a cross bred dog and have a plethora of unidentifiable problems. IT’S PAY NOW OR PAY LATER.
Most dogs are loved but if an owner has a bad experience with a rescue or shelter dog, they may NEVER want another dog. People spend hundreds of dollars on mixed breeds (many shelters charge shocking “donation” or “adoption fees”, yet they probably didn’t take in to account that pure bred breeders invest huge sums of money into research and genetic testing. This in turn identifies genetic problems to be addressed. Breeders have available certifications on hips and eyes, and responsible breeders stand behind the puppies they sell.
Adopting a shelter dog is commendable, but please, don’t go in with the absolutely false notion that cross bred dogs are healthier. Accept that adult temperament, size, coat and appearance may be up for grabs. Most pure bred dogs have more “curb appeal”. All of the above affects your accommodations and lifestyle.
Whether you choose to adopt a pound puppy, buy a designer dog or get a pure bred puppy, it will be the purebred breeder who offers proper records, history, pedigrees, certifications, replacement polices and frees advice.
If your life lacks adventure or if you feel a need for a really trustworthy companion that will never desert you, GET A DOG!! Only then will you live life to the fullest measure.