Pure breeds, mixed breeds, new
breeds, no breeds. How `bout spay, neuter, euth or cull? Over the past few
days all the afore mentioned topics have been discussed in one-way or
another and it is my contention that perhaps they are connected in more
ways than is first
apparent. The purpose of this piece is not to offend anyone but to offer
some alternatives for consideration - but in expressing an alternative
point of view, offence can sometimes be taken - a possibility for which
I'll apologize now.
Over the past few years I've listened to many breeders lament the
continued presence of "puppy mills," of the decline in good quality
specimens of their chosen breed and the growing popularity of `designer
cross-breds.' All the while we (I include myself because I'm also a
breeder), dig the hole we have created, deeper and deeper. Two forces
against which we always run up, the AR movement and commercial breeding
farms/mills understand some things far better than we do: Market forces
and the emotional basis on which decisions are generally made.
When one looks at the history of pure breed dogs it's not long before
discovering the purpose for which the breed was developed. The work and
dedication that went into developing the breed (often one's life's work).
Selective breeding produced the breeds and while we may recognize the
concept, I fear we don't really appreciate the reality of selection.
Selection also has to include the practice of culling.
Some have suggested education will stop the proliferation of mix breeds
and puppy mills but such a position doesn't recognize the reality of
market forces and opportunity. In a multitude of ways we have restricted
the access to good, sound pure-bred dogs and we have sometimes foolishly
decimated the gene pool. We have decided a reputable breeder only has X
number of puppies per year and anyone wanting a puppy from a reputable
breeder should be willing to wait for any number of years. We don't seem
to realize this demand will be met and our own narrow-mindedness fuels the
market; for in our society we all have the right to spend our money as we
please - and we don't have to wait for years if we choose not to. We
promote form over function at our `all breed beauty pageants' and in the
process; we earn for our dogs the reputation of "brainless beauties." We
try to protect our beloved breed with breed registries and non-breeding
contracts and we see a proliferation of "with-out-paper-dogs." Some
enterprising folks really capitalized on the whole thing and gave fancy
names to the newest generation of mongrels - say what you will but
labradoodles, schnoodles, cock-a-poos etc. are all mongrels and there is
not the dedication or commitment behind them to ever develop a new breed
that consistently breeds true and meets all the tests those who have gone
before us have had to meet.
We have bought into the speuter (spay/neuter) myths and the only
benefactors of that practice has been those performing the surgeries. Mass
desexing does not prevent the unplanned pregnancies (it may stop a few
unplanned breedings). It does however, perform one form of culling in that
it permanently removes some potentially very good specimens permanently
from the gene pool. Unwanted breedings are just as easily controlled by
training and good management. If someone were dealing with a "good
breeder," encouraging the new owner to keep an animal intact until it
reached maturity and then assessing it for possible contributions back to
the breed BEFORE SEXUALLY CULLING it makes some sense. Realize that what
is happening now is very nearly the opposite of selective breeding. The
future of our breeds often rests on the selection of
one puppy from a litter while the rest are sold off and effectively culled
- what if we selected the wrong puppy?
Meantime, while we are slowly killing off our breeds the "millers" are
happily taking up the slack and filling the void (something the AR crowd
hadn't completely planned for).
Anyway an alternative viewpoint - cogitate on it.