Thursday, April 29, 2004

Awesome post from Canadian Show Dogs Yahoo group

Subject: RE: Who/Why buy a Labradoodle?????

But that brings us back to the point that the CKC should allow mutts in performance events and breeders should talk to potential puppy buyers about the rescue alternative. There are THOUSANDS of rescue dogs in Canada right now Not everyone can or ever will be able to afford purebred dog prices. Many of their owners have no interest in shows, which is completely fine...I have no interest in competitive rugby and that's my right. Many people are just plain not going to wait 6 months or a year for a puppy - while we as breeders will wait for the right one the average pet owner just wants a dog to love. That's why pet stores and BYB do so well.

I would rather see people who really want a pet dog (non-show) go to or their local rescue and get a dog there. There are dogs there TODAY that need homes. I know of several friends who bought their dogs at pet stores (before we met). As I got to know them better I asked them why they chose the go the way they did. Now these are GOOD homes, these are well loved dogs. The most common answer was that they called breeders and got on 6 mo-1year wait lists with no guarantees of getting a pup even then. They said they just couldn't wait that long. Once the
decision was made to add a pet dog they wanted to go ahead and add one. Not really unreasonable. Yes, they felt an element of guilt about buying from pet stores, they knew it was 'wrong' but couldn't tell me exactly why it was wrong. They did not fully comprehend what goes on in the breeding programs and pet stores are very practised in reassuring people that these are 'local' breeders with good intentions and love their puppy's mummy. Does everyone on this list check to make sure your clothes aren't made in Asian countries where child labour is still common? No, you want the shirt, you buy the shirt and don't think about who made it. Same mentality, we all have it. Its just in the show world we are more tuned to the problems in our area of interest. The average person is not.

But as dog breeders hopefully we are dog LOVERS first and foremost. This old dog is an example of what happens to dogs of ALL ages. Great dogs. Healthy dogs, no health issues dogs. Although our 'sport' is showing we cannot and should not be elitist and say no mutts allowed. Mutts have always had a place in our society and often our homes. Old dogs like this Lab CAN find good homes with people who will cherish and love them. In working with rescue I have been surprised again and again at adopters who come in and take home an old mutt. These are dogs LOVERS, they see the
beauty in an old dog. And they are rewarded beyond the usual rewards of dog ownership. They know they have SAVED a life. Not made a life, not bought a life but SAVED. It is different.

So before I go all ethereal I would like to point out the image problem of purebreds starts with the elitist attitude of some show people. I have lived both sides. I have looked at a dog and 'judged' its ears too long, or tail set to high, I have been called a 'show dog snob'. But I have also worked in rescue these past two years. I have done three or 4 dozen
homechecks of people looking to adopt. These are fantastic homes who just want a dog to love. They send me pictures of birthday parties (for the mutt), or I see them walking the neighbourhood fresh from the groomer, or they are outside of local coffee shops enjoying life with their person. I still go to shows, I still LOVE watching the BIS ring, I still love watching
the pro handlers and good owner handlers do what they do, I still love the SPORT of dog showing. But it is a SPORT, if you are in you are in, if your are not you are not. Showing is not for everyone. But many of these great
dogs I have placed have taken up agility - AAC agility. I would like to see them in CKC agility.

How many of the people saying 'purebreds only' actually participate in performance events? That would be an interesting question to have answered. I suspect the numbers to be quite low. Of course there will be exceptions and I do not intend to call anyone out. But we need to remember an organization the size of the CKC does have many branches and many other events other than showing. Showing is a large part of the CKC but not the only part. The CKC can exist with a few bigger branches to balance out the tree, lets make obedience a bigger branch, tracking a bigger branch, agility
could be a very big branch. More branches, more leaves, equals a stronger more viable institution. The show dogs have nothing to lose and only to gain by opening up the CKC. It can be a registry AND a open society of dog lovers and activists. The CKC as a stronger body with blinders off could be more active against breed specific legislation, rentals with dog/pet bans, animal abuse legislation.

And just to keep on topic with the Labradoodle thing. It is a trend, much like the Cockapoo trend - who sells cockapoos now? Very few, often nasty little dogs with hard to handle hair. Most people will find out these coats are terribly hard to keep and they have to buzz them down once a month. Half are not hypo-allergenic and they certainly will bring more dust into your house, soft wavy hair just holds it like a swiffer. They will also see the hip dysplasia, the eye problems, etc The fad will pass and they will be no more. The labradoodle is just clever marketing that they can get away with until it is disproved. There are still many CKC registered dogs that are bred from non-health tested dogs so we can't call the kettle black without looking at our own pot. I still say that we as breeders should give people the option of going on a wait list OR looking at Those that want a dog today can get a nice rescue, those who will wait for your litter will still be there. If you are viewing this Ladradoodle thing as competition for puppy sales, you need to review why you are breeding.

Just my opinion, feel free to email me privately or post to the board.


I emailed her back with the following:

Hi there Sharon, Wow! That post you sent has got to be one of the most articulate, eloquent posts I've ever read about why people get companion animals and why they would choose to get mutts over purebred dogs and why people buy dogs at pet stores. I especially loved the comparison to foreign sweat shops - that had never occurred to me before, but that is SO true, and really - very appropriate. It really is. The more I think about it, the more it blows me away.

I don't personally own any purebreed dogs, but I have relatives who are breeders, and I have friends who are breeders - I am personally part of the "rescue community". But it's always been my contention that what the rescue community should be working towards is a world where only reputable breeders are the ones producing the animals for our consumption. But after reading your post, it has given me pause for thought. I haven't totally processed yet how a world where reputable breeders and mutts could work together, and still be happy - but the way that you worded your post sounded great.

I've personally had a problem with the CKC because they claim to represent Canadian dog owners - they say so on their website, but at the same time they don't allow mutts in - so there is an elitist dichotomy there that has always grated me about the organization. But anyway, that's not why I was wanting to email you - I wanted to email you because I was just so blown away by everything you said in your post - and I was wondering if I could cross-post it to another list that I'm on where we've been talking about labradoodles and the like - it's a group called "Nova Scotia dogs" and it's just a group down here in Nova Scotia of dog owners and we get together and do dog stuff and volunteer and go for group walks and stuff.

Do you have a website or anyplace else where you have written anything? This can't be the only thing that you've ever written on the topic, I'm sure! I'd love to see other stuff you've done!

I have a website called "Charlie loves Halifax" and it's about working towards a dog friendly Halifax - but it's theme is about choosing dogs as your life companions and gaining greater access for them - and about choosing rescue dogs over pet store dogs and things like that. The address for it is at if you want to check it out.

Anyway, I hope I haven't bored you too much - your post just absolutely made my day! Thank-you!

Joan and Charlie and Leonard and Daisy and Buttercup in Halifax

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