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View Full Version : Breeders vs. shelters.



Spaceman
04-23-2003, 04:55 PM
Suppose someone told you that they were going to buy a dog from a breeder.

How would you persuade them to adopt a dog from a shelter?

iamtheqbu
04-23-2003, 05:21 PM
Ask them if they want the dog just because it's a pure breed or not, just to strike up conversation. Either way, tell them that they should go to the shelter because; The shelter has lots of great pure bred dogs (my neighbor got a blue tick at our shelter) or mutts tend to have a better disposition than pure bred breeds, especially if you rescue them, they will love you for it!

The fault though, is mostly placed on the person who would dare breed dogs when there are so many being killed every day. :mad:

Lacykitten
04-23-2003, 06:15 PM
Well I feel better about respectable breeders than the backyard breeders/puppymills, but I agree, they should definately get one from the shelter instead.

I would probably tell them that there are often pure breeds at the shelter, or through breed rescues, and also that mixes tend to suffer fewer of the negative traits that pure breeds do. It's also a lot less expensive. And of course that the shelters either have not enough room and have to turn dogs away, or have to euthanize, so they should really give a dog from there a home and save it.. and after that, it's up to them.

Sacredlrose
04-23-2003, 09:27 PM
Ah yes excellent points! Why have more dogs be born when so many wonderful ones die? And if you do breed you should also rescue and make sure that all of your puppies are fixed. Or how about rescuing a pregnant dog (maybe of your choice breed? and others!) that other wise they would have to aborted or euthenized because she is too far along? So sad.

**Waves BIG flags pointing to shelters**

herbi
04-23-2003, 09:56 PM
I would ask the person WHY they wanted the particular breed of dog. Looks? Temperament? What? I think a lot of average people (including my family at one point in time) have never really given much thought to the issue and just asking them to clarify WHY they've chosen a particular breed brings it home that there's no REAL reason why they wouldn't be happy with a nice mutt who had the qualities they're looking for (right size, type of coat, behavior, whatever).

If they are set on a particular breed, I would give them some "friendly advice" to look out for whatever genetic problems that breed is known for (hip dysplasia, retinal degeneration, skin allergies, hyperactivity, whatever-- I guarantee you there are several ramant in EVERY breed!) and to make sure that they see the mother AND father of the litter AND veterinary records for all the breeder's dogs, including OFA cetification and any other documentation that the puppies have been evaluated by board-certified veterinarians for the problems specific to the breed. (This requires a little breed-specific research, but should be easy enough to find out.) Make a big deal out of all the things a "REPUTABLE" breeder will do, and get the idea across that if you're: not allowed to see the parents; not thoroughly interviewed before being allowed to adopt; not given extensive health & vaccination/worming records for the puppy, etc, then the "breeder" you're dealing with obviously doesn't know or care anything about dogs. Many laypersons don't realize that "AKC Registered" means NOTHING AT ALL about the "quality" of the dog. It means that the parents were registered and that the owner paid the AKC some money to get that paper. Period. Any breeder that meets the requirements for being responsible will also grill the potential buyer on how they're going to raise the dog, and will also charge enough money to discourage casual purchases. If it's cheap & easy to get the dog, you shouldn't be paying at all! If you can get them to understand this concept, they may be less set on a purebred, or at the very least they will be supporting someone who hopefully cares more about dogs than the standard backyard puppy-mill operator.

If the person is still dead-set on a purebred, try setting them up with a breed-rescue organization, so they are still saving a life and providing a much-needed home.

Purebreds CAN also be found in shelters, but they go fast, and the point is really that mutts make BETTER dogs than purebreds anyway if you don't want a bunch of vet bills. Is this person going to actually SHOW the dog??? If not, then what possible reason could they have for NEEDING a registered AKC dog and not a nice hybrid-vigor mixed-breed? It might help to visit a shelter with them? I'm assuming that the person knows all about pet overpopulation and just isn't that moved by it for whatever reason. Hm.

OK, sorry, got interrupted by many many IMs while composing this post-- hope it isn't too disjointed! :)

its_a_gas
04-24-2003, 12:28 PM
You'd be surprised; there are rescue organizations for almost any breed you can think of. I try to refrain from judging people too much, but I think that anyone who truly cares about dogs would want to save a life and decide to adopt. Shelters and rescues temperament test the dogs pretty thoroughly, so there's not a huge risk of adopting a dog with aggression issues, and contrary to what a lot of skeptics will say, rescues, in general, do not lie about an animal's level of health.

It's good to arm yourself with statistics too. I've found that people I've talked to have re-evaluated their opinions of breeders after they found out that tens of thousands of animals are killed each year in Chicago alone.

muppetcow
04-28-2003, 01:20 PM
I'd bring up the cost of getting a purebred from a reputable breeder and then talk about the shelter and rescue organizations and how many dogs are killed...most people who know me wouldn't dream of talking about getting a dog from a breeder, though, since I'm so outspoken in my support of animal rescue organizations.

jenzie
05-02-2003, 02:10 AM
I deal with this situation all the time. Here's how I respond:

I don't bring up the cost factor in my argument, because not only are many people willing to pay big bucks for what they believe is a 'top quality' dog, but because I do not like to make the dogs from shelters and rescues seem of lesser worth. Folks that can only afford to pay a shelter fee are one thing, folks that seek out the "cheapest dog possible" are another. (As well, one of my adopted rescues cost me $2,000 in the first 24 hours of having her, so I don't want to lie! ;))

I don't present the smarter/healither/behavior (or mixed vs. pure) argument, because of my five dogs (three mixed, two pure, all rescues!), it's a mix bag -

My Chihuahua mix, Twinkie (adopted from a shelter) has health problems and formerly had -serious- aggression issues. Whereas my 'pure' Chihuahua, Buster (rescued from a busted puppy mill operation, yay!), is in perfect health and has the sweetest disposition. Furthermore, my 'pure' Great Dane Madison is just as sharp and on the ball as my two mix boys Karmel (Golden-Rottie mix), and Chocolate (German Shorthair-Choc Lab mix).

So what DO I say? Not much. ;) I haul them down to the shelter, suggest/encourage they play with some of the dogs, and let the dogs take care of the rest!

So far, I haven't failed with this method. Once folks find out that "shelter dogs" are normal dogs, you can almost see the light going off in their head.

(With those few that are 'harder to sell' I cheat a little by showing off my dogs. They're amazed that a "shelter dog" can be so pretty/behaved/gentle/affectionate/fill in the blank. Silly rabbits. :p )

And can I just say that I LOVE everyone's suggestions (my tactics are as such because the last thing I want is to lose my point by someone saying, "Yeah well, Twinkie was from a shelter and she had all kinds of problems!" yunno?) and I'm positively THRILLED to have found this place, where so many have their own methods and ideas for dealing with the breeder vs. shelter issue. You guys rock! :D

meatless
08-15-2004, 11:48 AM
There is a big debate about this on the veggieboards right now. Since I am no longer posting there I have not participated in it.

One of my friends is picking up her puppy from a breeder, today. When she first told me about it I very diplomatically questioned if they had considered a shelter dog. She said yes, and listed their reasons for not going that way (all of which are valid, but only insofar as selfish human desires are concerned.) Anyway, someone on VB--an animal rescuer-- wanted to know if her new puppy was from a breeder or a shelter, and she told them and things got a little heated. I intervened to note that our local shelter doesn't seem to have much of a problem with being overrun with dogs at ALL (it really doesn't) but could not let my feelings on the subject stay hidden. Now I think she's angry with me over the incident, even though the person who was challenging her toned down and things remained calm.

Anyway, this is how I feel, copied and pasted from another forum:

feel so sorry for all the homeless cats and dogs. I will never buy an animal from a breeder, but of course I am never going to buy a dog. And a large motivation for me to bring animals into my home is to give homeless animals a good and loving home, which is another reason why I will never make use of a breeder. To me it's at least as much for the animal as it is for my own joy.

I can certainly understand why it would raise the ire or animal rescuers to hear about dogs being purchased from breeders when there are so many out there that are homeless. It doesn't seem to be quite the same way here as much. There are always homeless dogs of course, but I know I have read on our humane society web site as well that they seem to adopt out the dogs quite quickly. Cats are another story altogether. All three of my little angels were shelter cats. I am furious with my younger brother who bought both of his cats at the pet store.... still furious 2 years later. There are two more cats who will be euthanized by his decision to support the factory pet industry, rather than adopt a cat that desperately needed a home.

I know where my dad lives (about 3-4 hours north east of here in a rural area) there are more homeless dogs than can be adopted out, or at least that's how it seems. My dad adopted a beagle that had been in the shelter for more than a year. He's the sweetest little dog ever and really loves the ladies.

Overall though I think it is definitely a more selfish decision to purchase from a breeder than to adopt a dog that needs a home. There are many reasons why it is advantageous to the OWNER to buy from a breeder, but not one of those reasons is advantageous to the dogs sitting in cages waiting for somebody to adopt them. It's easier, it's cleaner, and there's less baggage to buying a puppy that has been raised in ideal conditions. I really admire anybody who takes on these animals and gives them a home. Any breeder that contributes to keeping these beautiful creatures homeless are evil, IMO.

vivisanctor
08-15-2004, 12:39 PM
I think the heaviest argument is that every time you buy an animal from a breeder or a pet store as opposed to a shelter, you sentence another animal to death. Show them a picture of a dog or cat at the shelter near you, and tell them, "This may be the dog who gets euthanized because of you."

It also may be a close second to give people the feeling of 'the valiant rescuer.' Meaning, help them to feel like they're rescuing a wonderful animal in distress.

mouse
09-01-2004, 03:15 PM
Anyone who is looking for a particular type or breed of animal should also be encouraged to go to petfinder.com. It's relatively easy to get people to do this, because it doesn't entail them leaving their home, and they don't feel commited to adopting a rescue--they go just to satisfy their curiosity. Most of the animals on petfinders have their pictures posted, and often a short biography; once you see the faces, you're hooked. :D An acquaintence mentioned to me several years ago that he wanted to get a German Shepherd. I encouraged him to look on Petfinders, and he immediately fell in love with a huge, beautiful German Shepherd who had been badly abused and who has turned out to be a wonderful dog. Just last year, they adopted another purebred dog through Petfinders.

Lacykitten
09-25-2004, 07:36 PM
I was recently talking to this guy who randomly talks to me online. He found me through a mutual aquaintance (well, she is his friend, but not mine) and talks to me now and then.

Anyway he was talking about wanting to get a bearded dragon and a cat (one was a maybe but I forget which)

Anyway... I convinced him to check the shelters and adoption agencies.. and to check TARAS - a local herp rescue and breeder info site, as we rarely have rescue reptiles except for red ear sliders.

So he's decided to keep getting his pets from the shelters - as I said, you are saving a life, rather than taking one away by buying from a breeder.

He's decided to check out the TARAS reptile show this weekend and make sure to talk to people about beardies to see if he really wants one.

It was a good day :) If people are going to buy animals that aren't available to be rescued, that's one thing, and that's okay I think. But people shouldn't buy animals when there are many of them to rescue.

Flower
09-25-2004, 09:18 PM
I've had discussions about this with a few people at my work. I tell them (in a nice, pleasant manner) that if they would spend a few months volunteering at the local shelter that I'm sure that they would change their minds about buying from a pet store or breeder. I also tell them about my experience with volunteering and how it has left a permanent impression on me. After saying this, I've been asked a few questions about it and by the end of the conversation, they seem to be pretty convinced that adopting is the way to go. I think there are a lot of people that just don't know the reasons why it's important to adopt rather than buy. Hopefully with public education more and more people will become aware.

herbi
11-20-2007, 12:21 AM
This article was the cover story of our free daily around here:

http://redeye.chicagotribune.com/red-111907-pets-main,0,219169.story

In the print edition, it was accompanied by a sidebar of the return policies of 3 local shelters (including one I used to work at and the one I think Schmeel still does! :)), comparing them to the whole Ellen DeGeneres thing. :rolleyes: Also across the bottom of the 2-page spread was a list of things you should ask before you consider adopting a pet from a rescue organization. On the whole, I found it really slanted towards "adoptions are a risky gamble and more trouble than they're worth, purebred dogs are super awesome", and I was especially infuriated that they kept mentioning the store that I won't link to but if you read the article you can look it up yourself and be disgusted by the way they sell tiny inbred puppies along with all the accessories you need to go with them - matching sweater and carrying bag and etc... :sick:

Here is my reply, which I think is probably too long for them to print, but, oh well...


Thank you for running an article that mentioned pet adoption as an alternative to purchasing an animal. Unfortunately, I was disappointed in
the lack of balance in the way that adoption was portrayed compared to
purchase. There seemed to be an emphasis on the potential negatives of
rescuing an animal - unknown health or temperament problems, pesky
adoption contracts, and "essential" questions to ask yourself before committing yourself to a shelter pet. The potential drawbacks of purchasing an animal were not spelled out in the same way.

Purebred dogs and cats have just as many unpredictable health problems as
mixed breeds, and they also have many more "predictable" health problems due to inbreeding and the presence of paired recessive genes. Ask any veterinarian, and she can give you a laundry list of the painful (and
expensive to treat) health problems that are common in each breed -
sometimes so common we expect them to happen, and are surprised when they do not. It was especially troubling that your writer essentially
advertised Pocket Puppies as an example of a reputable store. I am a
veterinary technician, and our hospital has seen several of the poor
creatures sold by this establishment come in suffering from
life-threatening hypoglycemia and from genetic defects caused by
unscrupulous breeding aimed at getting the tiniest (ie, most expensive)
dog possible, including liver shunts, cardiac problems, collapsing
tracheas, open fontanelles, abnormal tooth development, and luxating
patellas. If your readers are under the impression that paying $1500 for a
"teacup" dog will save them from nasty surprises like the dental bill paid
by the cat adopter in your article, they are mistaken.

Temperament problems are just as common in purebreds as in mixed breeds. I am also a member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers, and offer behavior counseling and training classes at the hospital, so trust me when I say a pedigree is essentially meaningless. When it comes down to it, every dog and cat is an individual, and you must always be prepared to
deal with unforeseen problems no matter where your pet came from
originally.

The questions you recommend readers ask before adopting are good ones, but I would stress that they should also ask questions before purchasing a
pet. Can you meet both the animal's parents? (Some forms of shyness and
aggression are hereditary - do they have something to hide?) What medical
care has the kitten or puppy received? Was it performed by a licensed
veterinarian, or by the breeder/pet store owner? (Would you let your
babysitter or the clerk at the toystore examine, medicate, and vaccinate
your children, or would you hold out for a real doctor?) Has the medical
history been accurately documented so you can take the information to your vet? (or does someone just tell you "dewormed", with no details?) What genetic problems are common in the breed, or present in this animal's lineage? (Anyone who says "absolutely none" is lying.) What has the breeder done to try to prevent these problems? Is there proof that eyes, hips, elbows, heart, etc have been certified by experts as free of
inheritable defects? What support does the seller offer if you have
behavior problems down the line? Will they take lifetime responsibility
for this animal if you decide at any point in the future that you can no
longer keep him or her? If you are thinking of buying an animal from
someone who can't give thorough honest answers to all these questions,
please rethink it!

Responsible breeders will also have at least as many questions for you
(and at least as stringent a return policy) as any shelter, because they
care about their puppies and kittens and don't want to let them go into
homes where they won't be a good match for the humans' lifestyle, or where they won't get the best possible care. Anyone who will sell you an animal no questions asked, sight-unseen, with the purchase price being the only criteria (this means virtually all pet stores and online "will ship to
you" sales), should NEVER get your money, because they're making it
obvious that profit is their only concern, and where profit is the motive,
animals suffer. (How else are they cutting costs behind the scenes? How do
you know? What proof do you have you're not supporting a puppy mill?)

Readers who want to know more about our local shelters than just their
return policies can go to www.chicagolandtails.com for lists of
pet-related resources in the Chicago area, including breed-specific rescue
organizations for those who have their heart set (purebreds frequently end
up in the shelter system right along with mixed breeds). Every year,
thousands of dogs and cats in Chicago (and millions across the country)
are executed for the crime of being born "unwanted." It is tragic that
someone with the love and resources to house an animal would choose to
spend their money on a "labradoodle", "puggle", "york-a-pom-a-peke-a-chi", or other trendy mixed breed when a pet just as adorable and affectionate is waiting on death row across town. Shelter mutts are now routinely recruited as search and rescue dogs, as explosive-sniffers, and as service dogs for the disabled. They are every bit as intelligent, trainable, loyal, and amazing as any purebred. They come in every shape, size, color, fuzziness, and personality. And as a bonus, they usually come to your home already spayed/neutered, vaccinated, licensed, and microchipped! They bring just as much joy as the fancy designer models. I would love to see them given a fair shake in the Red Eye.

Sincerely, (me)

I'll let you know if any of it makes it into print! (not holding breath...)

Miso Vegan
11-20-2007, 12:35 AM
Great letter. Keep us posted.

MissLovely
11-20-2007, 01:55 AM
Fantastic response herbi! You should have a weekly column.

lizzapearl
11-20-2007, 05:41 AM
I agree w/ MissLovely! :yes: What a clearly-written, well-informed response.

Dugan
11-20-2007, 07:24 AM
Great response, Herbi.

lamb
11-20-2007, 10:05 AM
very eloquent and professional, your credentials and professional opinion add a lot to the article- you're an amazing writer, such clear, organized points! Best of luck, I am hoping really hard your letter gets printed! props to you for DOING something about the article, not just being silently mad, like many other people in the reader-area most likely are. :yes:

shananigans
11-20-2007, 10:57 AM
Awsome letter! I think I'll print that out for reference in case I run in to someone who needs to be convinced in the future.

herbi
11-29-2007, 04:15 PM
Hi (me), thanks for writing in and sorry for the slow response. I think this is one of those topic where even if we filled the entire paper with it we couldn't cover every aspect of the issue. In the end we felt the story touched on some important concerns involving pet adoption and addressed some of the questions we thought readers might have in the wake of the Ellen DeGeneres episode.
Best,
RedEye staff


:blank:

ETA - part of me wants to write back to them, but... *sigh*

bluedawg
11-29-2007, 04:48 PM
:blank: indeed

Emiloid
11-29-2007, 05:25 PM
I had to look up "the whole Ellen Degeneres thing" and I still don't quite understand what all the fuss is about either way.

Chijou_no_seiza
11-29-2007, 05:55 PM
I *think* it was something like this:

adopt dog
give dog to someone else
break rules
dog taken away
cry
cry
cry
complain

Flower
11-29-2007, 08:00 PM
Grrrrr!!! :bomb:

Dugan
11-29-2007, 09:12 PM
ETA - part of me wants to write back to them, but... *sigh*
Too bad. I thought you brought up some valid points in response to the clear bias in their article.

Dandelion
11-30-2007, 08:19 AM
Welp...

Ellen Degeneres purebred pure breed bred dog puppy breeder mixed breed training adoption petstore pet store labradoodle puggle puppy mill redeye red eye chicago chicawgo chicahgo newspaper

teehee
:D

Miso Vegan
11-30-2007, 10:08 AM
:thumbsup:
That oughtta do it!

MissLovely
11-30-2007, 11:54 AM
A friend at work bought a poodle. She was talking about how the woman she bought the poodle from kept him in a wading pool with his brothers. And she didn't handle him. Actual quote: "It's almost as though it's just a business to her."

:blank:

Dugan
11-30-2007, 12:29 PM
I've heard of large scale puppy mill operations, but this?

article (http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/article.aspx?articleID=071118_1_A1_AMWor01213)

GOODMAN, Mo. -- Steve Rook is the president of a company that buys and sells 90,000 puppies each year, but he would never think of replacing "Jake," his 18-year-old dachshund.

So, let me get this straight. A company selling 90,000 puppies/year is not a puppy mill?


A recent World investigation revealed that unlicensed breeders in Oklahoma are dodging federal regulations by selling large numbers of puppies directly to the public through the Internet, newspapers and street corners. Many of the animals come with health problems that require the owner to spend thousands of dollars to treat.

And a USDA licensed breeders is automatically a good breeder? Licensed breeder's dogs never have health issues? Licenses are never revoked?

Said of a Hunte puppy

Adams said she has paid about $4,500 in veterinarian and surgical bills to correct the puppy's medical problems.
So yeah, buying from a licensed breeder doesn't mean you get a healthy animal. Sounds almost like a condemnation of himself, doesn't it?


Hunte, 62, discussed his philosophy, company operations and Hunte's focus on working with breeders to produce quality pets for customers. He also discussed his faith in God.

''When we started 16 years ago, we saw a niche to improve standards and practices and we remain focused on that philosophy,'' Hunte said. ''We also founded the company for God and to carry God's word.''

Well, that changes everything. If it's okay by God, then Hunte must be doing good work, right?

I'm heartened by the responses in the Comments section.

animaladvocate22
12-03-2007, 03:22 PM
I wrote a letter to the editor about the Hunte story. Didn't get published, though. I think Hunte is basically a broker. They get the dogs from puppy mills and then sell them to the pet stores. Regardless, it's an industry filled with cruelty.

walrus
12-03-2007, 03:40 PM
Welp... Ellen Degeneres purebred pure breed bred dog puppy breeder mixed breed training adoption petstore pet store labradoodle puggle puppy mill redeye red eye chicago chicawgo chicahgo newspaper :D
:laugh: :laugh:

downwithapathy
03-18-2008, 04:42 PM
I'm not sure where to put this. Over the years, I've heard over and over that mutts tend to be healthier than purebred dogs. This makes sense to me because there would presumably be a lower rate of inbreeding. Thus, mixed breed dogs probably do have lower rates of recessive genetic disorders. This isn't to say a healthy mutt is more healthy than a healthy purebred dog... just that some disorders are less likely to appear in a mixed breed dog.

Since adopting Zoe, I've read a lot of peoples' views on a lot of things pertaining to dogs. I'm not going to track them down now, but this one I just read conveys the general sentiment.

"Mutts usually come from bad breedings of low quality animals, so temperament is often an issue in these little guys. It's so unfortunate."

What? Bad breedings of low quality animals? What makes an animal low quality anyway? Other comments have said things like "Mutts tend to take on the worst traits of their parents" and "Mutts tend to be less healthy because they are from accidental breedings." Why would puppies from accidental breedings be less healthy than dogs purposefully inbred? I know there are breeders who work to keep problems at bay, but aren't there many more who don't?

This counters everything I've read and learned in the past. Are these views really so common?

animaladvocate22
03-18-2008, 04:44 PM
I'd question who was saying those things.

In my experience, though, I've never heard that.

downwithapathy
03-18-2008, 05:11 PM
I'd question who was saying those things.

In my experience, though, I've never heard that.
I'm not interested in questioning anyone. I don't regard these people as terribly knowledgeable anyway. I'm just really surprised at how often statements like these come up.

animaladvocate22
03-18-2008, 05:15 PM
No, I'm sorry -- I meant I would wonder who was saying those things and if they had a financial stake in what they were saying. I didn't mean to actually ask them questions. :)

downwithapathy
03-18-2008, 05:19 PM
No, I'm sorry -- I meant I would wonder who was saying those things and if they had a financial stake in what they were saying. I didn't mean to actually ask them questions. :)
Gotcha. :) I wondered if that's what you meant, but I didn't feel like thinking through my reply. Laziness means extra work. Life's fun like that. :p

Emiloid
03-18-2008, 07:52 PM
I've never heard that, but it sounds like people trying to justify breeding. It's a really scary POV to hear about, especially if you've heard it more than once! It's probably part of pro-breeding propaganda.

herbi
03-18-2008, 11:02 PM
I've never heard that mixed breeds were less intelligent, nor has that been my experience. Also, if mixes inevitably got the worst of both parents, what would be the point of puggles and labradoodles? :rolleyes:

Having a mixed breed is no proof against health problems, of course, but with some purebreds you are virtually guaranteed to get certain problems. (Has anyone ever met an English Bulldog who was in lifelong health?) And you can still get the same wildcard "who would've seen that coming?!" problems you would with a mutt, too. :umm: Very very few breeders in my experience have genetic health as a priority. Size and color seem to be all anyone cares about for the most part.

The disadvantages of mixes are that you have less of an idea what you're getting. That tiny puppy could end up being medium, large, or extra large. You might not be able to recognize just by looking at her the propensity for some behavior with a genetic component (very vocal? extremely predatory?). And if you get a puppy from a "decent breeder", you will have a better idea of their early socialization history than you would if you got a puppy whose litter was surrendered to a shelter. (If you get a puppymill puppy from a petstore, you can take a pretty good educated guess about the socialization history - it won't be good. :()

It's also true that the more mixed the dog is, the better your chances are of avoiding deleterious recessives. The unassuming little street-cur scrounging around a town in a developing nation may be riddled with parasites but is going to have a sounder structure and a more stable temperament than the offspring of purebreds, due to generations of selection. Of course, this is all just speaking in probabilities. Individual dogs can always break the rules. :)

Despite those issues, I would still never buy a purebred dog. I like the uniqueness of mutts, and I don't want to support the industry.

I don't even know why I'm still talking though, since I answered the real question in the first paragraph - I haven't encountered that attitude in so many words. A lot of my puppy class clients/students have purebreds that they got because they had their heart set on a certain model, or because they impulse-purchased from a petstore, or because shelters "make them too sad", or because they have a general unconscious impression that mutts are less predictable (which in some ways they definitely are) and therefore much less desirable (which is sad), but nobody's ever tried to spell it out and make some sort of statement about "accidental breeding" and "low quality".

abbicus
03-19-2008, 12:01 AM
I tend to get upset when people tell me they got a dog from a breeder, though depending on the circumstances I can understand. Pet stores, though, are another story altogether...
For example, a woman I have met at the dog park who also has a corgi got him from a breeder after looking at the rescue and shelters. When looking for a dog, my husband also liked corgis and I remember looking at petfinder and there were not a whole lot of the breed in my area when I looked, so that doesn't seem far fetched. Plus, she pretty much only likes corgis; other dogs (for some reason I don't get) don't appeal to her. In that case it doesn't seem as bad since she really wouldn't have gone and adopted another dog at the shelter in place of that specific breed. But when people don't even make a good faith effort to try and rescue a dog, its terribly annoying.
I was lucky in that I found my dog at the shelter and thus satisfied my husband's desire for a corgi and my desire to rescue a dog.

The two dogs I grew up with were mixed breeds and I feel they were almost more unique in a certain sense. Indy, my corgi and current dog is, of course, my very special puppy as well, but a lot of his little quirks are actually pretty uniform within the breed (cockroaching, corgi-tude, etc.), whereas a lot of my last dog's behavior didn't seem to be intrinsically tied to her genetic makeup (though in all honesty, I'm quite glad Indy hasn't developed the seek-cat-poop-and-then-eat quirk). I think it is just that corgis are such a strong breed that those breed traits really stand out, but it makes me appreciate mixed breeds more (not that I don't appreciate the strong personality of Indy)

downwithapathy
03-19-2008, 12:03 AM
The disadvantages of mixes are that you have less of an idea what you're getting. That tiny puppy could end up being medium, large, or extra large. You might not be able to recognize just by looking at her the propensity for some behavior with a genetic component (very vocal? extremely predatory?).
My favorite way around this problem is to adopt an adult dog. Of course you can't really know how an animal will behave in your own home until you get him/her there, but there are lots of grownup dogs (young and old) to choose from, and they're generally more predictable than puppies. :)
Personally:

When Love joined our family, she was still young and active, she was house trained, she could sit on command, and she :heart:ed her people more than any dog I've ever met. Easiest, smoothest transition ever. Lots of years of great companionship from a super-sweet little smartypants. :heart: There are lots of dogs with questionable histories (which for me isn't always a reason not to adopt them), but I bet there are plenty of Loves in shelters too. I miss my girly. :heart:

I'm more than happy with my mutts. :) I've never lived with a dog who wasn't well-mixed.

herbi
03-19-2008, 12:24 AM
Yes! :) I argue with myself all the time about whether to get a teeny puppy or an adult when we do finally bring someone home...

Dugan
03-19-2008, 07:43 AM
I'm not so sure that mutts tend to be healthier. I think it might be more the case that in purebreds, there can be known issues with a breed, and so all dogs of that breed are considered unhealthy. Maybe I'm naive, but I would like to think that "good" breeders consider the health of possible puppies more important than genetics for size and color - but I've certainly seen and heard a few examples to the contrary.


"Mutts usually come from bad breedings of low quality animals, so temperament is often an issue in these little guys. It's so unfortunate."

What? Bad breedings of low quality animals? What makes an animal low quality anyway? Other comments have said things like "Mutts tend to take on the worst traits of their parents" and "Mutts tend to be less healthy because they are from accidental breedings." Why would puppies from accidental breedings be less healthy than dogs purposefully inbred? I know there are breeders who work to keep problems at bay, but aren't there many more who don't?

Who is to say the sire and dam are low quality? Sure, they may not meet a breed standard, but that doesn't mean they automatically have poor health, bad conformation, and an even worse temperament. And just because they're purebred, doesn't mean they are high quality - look at what's been done to the GSD over the years.

Overall, though, I have to agree with those that say the opposite - I much more often hear people express opinions that mutts are healthier than pures.

downwithapathy
03-19-2008, 03:13 PM
Overall, though, I have to agree with those that say the opposite - I much more often hear people express opinions that mutts are healthier than pures.
Right. I had, until recently, more often heard the opposite. I think the difference is I've recently strayed in my online reading. Historically, I've been strongly biased toward pro-rescue, pro-adoption sites (to match my pro-rescue, pro-adoption philosophy). My mother used to manage an animal shelter. I'm pro-AR. I've known too many mutts and spent too much time in college bioanthropology classes to think there's some sort of inherent inferiority. I've just never felt compelled to visit pro-breeder websites. When I finally did, I found some of the odd comments I've posted here. The one I quoted was from the the top-rated answer to a a question concerning an aggressive Chihuahua/Pomeranian mix on Yahoo! Answers... a source not noted for accurate information. I hope it's understood than I'm not claiming an inferiority of "pure" dogs, who tend to delight me just as much as the mongrels. I just view this as gross misinformation, and I admittedly don't support the industry.

Dugan
03-19-2008, 03:25 PM
Nope, you didn't come across that way at all, at least to me.

I know nothing of Yahoo Answers. I can say that there is a strong bias toward purebreds in some of the dog forums I've seen. Even with that, I've not seen anything like the anti-mutt quotes you posted. I agree, it is gross misinformation.

squirrel
09-18-2009, 06:04 PM
Can someone give me a good come back line to:
"The way I look at it, puppy mill puppies live such a horrible life, that it's just like a rescue, to me, to buy one from a pet store. They need saving just as much as shelter dogs. I don't think puppy mills are ever going to stop, so in the meantime, I'm going to still buy from pet stores to save those puppies' lives."

Because I get this all the time. Saying "but if you stop buying them from pet stores, it will help shut down the puppy mills" doesn't work. Also, Rhinos' brother's girlfriend had bought now her 3rd dog from 7 mile fair (like a big rummage sale, that also sells puppies. They also sell chickens and rabbits and ducks and things (pigeons, even) to people for food, and they keep them in cramped little cages and stuff them in gunny sacks when you buy them.) :(
That place makes me :cry:
When I worked at the vet clinic and a dog would come in with parvo, we'd look at it and ask "7 mile fair?"
:(

gladcow
09-18-2009, 06:08 PM
by buying from a pet shop, they are putting the money in the hands of the breeders and those who support them (the pet stores, etc). she's paying money to a puppy mill. she's not rescuing shit.

sorry, I was trying to come up with a coherent response, but it went south :umm:

downwithapathy
09-18-2009, 06:15 PM
By buying from pet stores, you're paying to keep puppy mills in business. You may "save" one puppy, but you're also giving them the money to manufacture more, who will suffer just as much. By adopting from a shelter or rescue, you're not only saving one puppy, but you're also paying to save more.

I guess that wouldn't work either. :umm:

squirrel
09-18-2009, 06:45 PM
Yeah both of those are where I usually take it, too. God forbid I "have no ground to stand on" against any more arguments. :brood: I need to make a card like Dandy's that I could whip out of my pocket when confronted, with all the reasons I don't eat meat or buy animals...but that would be a pretty big card...

downwithapathy
09-18-2009, 06:51 PM
See. I don't understand. I think our arguments make a lot of sense.

shananigans
09-18-2009, 08:22 PM
These people obviously have no concept of supply/demand in economics, maybe start there in general and then apply to puppy mills? If they still don't get it, well, some folk just ain't too bright.

squirrel
09-18-2009, 09:34 PM
I know. I understand, I don't know why others can't. But, I guess that's true for a lot of things I believe in. (and I'm sure people may feel the same way about me when I don't agree with them) That's why I need something to say back, I just don't know how to put it that makes me sound like "I have ground to stand on."

lalitasdad
09-18-2009, 10:27 PM
what about trying to change the focus from the puppy they are saving to the dogs at the mill. sure that puppy may have had a pretty terrible life up to this point, but it is what, 3 months old. what about its mother who is a couple years old, has been popping out litters 2x per year, knows nothing of human or conspecific companionship and is destined to continue to live the same life in a tiny little feces filled cage because those who control her now have further incentive to keep treating her as they have in the past. the animals who need rescuing the most aren't the ones for sale. . .

tin can
09-19-2009, 02:34 AM
It is difficult. I often feel sad that, while life is difficult for shelter dogs and the like, things are certainly no better for puppy mill dogs. It's not their fault that they were born into that situation, and there's no-one looking out for them really. I do feel a great deal of sympathy for breeders' dogs. It feels sad that we have to refer to stuff like supply and demand when judging which dogs to save and which to leave.

I agree that we shouldn't buy companion animals from breeders, because we can't do anything about all the suffering out there, but it's not a happy position for me, because it does involve turning our backs on animals who are in an awful situation. :cry: So I have a lot of sympathy with your freind's (?) view, but ultimately agree with you, squirrel. :(

downwithapathy
09-19-2009, 07:42 AM
It is difficult. I often feel sad that, while life is difficult for shelter dogs and the like, things are certainly no better for puppy mill dogs. It's not their fault that they were born into that situation, and there's no-one looking out for them really. I do feel a great deal of sympathy for breeders' dogs. It feels sad that we have to refer to stuff like supply and demand when judging which dogs to save and which to leave.

I agree that we shouldn't buy companion animals from breeders, because we can't do anything about all the suffering out there, but it's not a happy position for me, because it does involve turning our backs on animals who are in an awful situation. :cry: So I have a lot of sympathy with your freind's (?) view, but ultimately agree with you, squirrel. :(
I understand where you're coming from, but I disagree that "no one" is looking out for mill dogs. Certainly not often enough, but still quite often, I see the results of mill closures on pet finder. When mills get shut down, those mill puppies go to shelters and rescues. Work to have mills closed down. THEN adopt the dogs and puppies who were victimized. That's a heck of a lot more helpful/effective than "saving" individual puppies.

tin can
09-19-2009, 07:50 AM
Yeah, sure, but I find it heart-wrenching to think of a puppy being sold by a breeder, or in a cage in a pet shop, knowing that the advice from those of us who care is to turn away and go get one from a shelter (where, though they are also in cages, I'm sure they get a lot more love, care and attention). Once again, I do agree with this advice, but in a sort of regretful way - it's individuals that I care about, not sheer numbers, you know?

downwithapathy
09-19-2009, 08:00 AM
Yeah, sure, but I find it heart-wrenching to think of a puppy being sold by a breeder, or in a cage in a pet shop, knowing that the advice from those of us who care is to turn away and go get one from a shelter (where, though they are also in cages, I'm sure they get a lot more love, care and attention). Once again, I do agree with this advice, but in a sort of regretful way - it's individuals that I care about, not sheer numbers, you know?
Those sheer numbers represent individuals, all of whom are equally worthy of consideration.

Also, this...

"(where, though they are also in cages, I'm sure they get a lot more love, care and attention)"
...and killed when no one adopts them in x days.

downwithapathy
09-19-2009, 08:16 AM
I do love that you're so empathetic, tin can. I really mean no disrespect. This issue just means a lot to me, and I don't want to perpetuate the idea that taking in any dog or puppy is helping dogkind. This topic recently came up on a dog message board that I infrequent. Soooo many clueless people said, "it doesn't matter. They all need homes." Another poster explained things pretty well, but I'm not sure everyone got it. I think there's a degree of defensiveness. They love their dogs and don't want to believe they may have supported something bad in their purchase.

As shananigans said,
"These people obviously have no concept of supply/demand in economics..."

vegankitty
09-19-2009, 09:16 AM
I bought a cat from a pet store. She had been returned, matted and dirty and had been shaved. She looked horrible and was terrified. I overheard them talking about her (I had run in to buy cat food in a pinch) and they were going to send her back to the breeder. I offered them $200 for her so she could come home with me. I had four rescued kittens at home and twelve other cats, so while I felt bad about buying her I still think I did the right thing.

Anyway, squirrel, it is possible your friend doesn't understand because she doesn't want to. By thinking what she does she can justify buying from breeders.

tin can
09-19-2009, 09:30 AM
Those sheer numbers represent individuals, all of whom are equally worthy of consideration.

Yes, exactly - I'm not clever enough to have come to a proper conclusion on the issue that I'm completely happy with, but I tend to align to a large degree with the point of view that one animal's (/human's/being's) suffering is every bit as important as 100,000 animals'. Each individual is separate, and because no one animal of the 100,000 is experiencing the sum amount of that suffering, it doesn't make a lot of sense to me to lump them all together. If 99,999 of those animals are saved, the tragedy is just as great for the remaining one, and I would feel just as bad for that one. :( I guess you could say that I see the suffering as being in parallel, not series. As I mentioned, I'm not completely happy with that philosophy, just because it does feel like many animals' suffering must be worse than one animal's, but on the other hand, it feels (to me) like that one animal's suffering is just as bad as the many's...so it goes round and round in my mind. I don't know what the best answer is, but I do know that what is possible practically doesn't feel like enough - and yet, that is obviously what we must make do with. :umm:


"(where, though they are also in cages, I'm sure they get a lot more love, care and attention)"
...and killed when no one adopts them in x days.

I know we touched upon this in another thread a while back (where I learned that some 'no-kill' shelters do in fact kill some of their animals) but I thought that most, or at least some no-kill shelters really didn't kill any?


I do love that you're so empathetic, tin can. I really mean no disrespect. This issue just means a lot to me, and I don't want to perpetuate the idea that taking in any dog or puppy is helping dogkind. ... They love their dogs and don't want to believe they may have supported something bad in their purchase.

Thanks, Sonja. :) I love your commitment to dogs. I can totally believe that there is often some defensiveness involved in the other side of the issue (to ours, I mean, since we do both believe in the same course of action): Tim (<----) was bought from a breeder. I was only 13 at the time, and should have known better even then, but I do think now that it would have been better to get a rescued cat. When my dad and I went to get him, he was being kept in a small kitchen cupboard, was very timid (hence his name), and was the last of the litter to go. I love dear Tim, of course, and hate to think of his being kept in those conditions, and the possibility that he would have gone to a less caring home, or suffered some worse fate. Of course, you could say the same for the shelter cat who didn't get rescued, but once one has been exposed to an individual, it is very hard to treat (drat, I forgotten the word -) ze (?) as an entry in a supply and demand spreadsheet, which is not a way I really like to think of animals in.

:kiss:

downwithapathy
09-19-2009, 11:38 AM
Yes, exactly - I'm not clever enough to have come to a proper conclusion on the issue that I'm completely happy with, but I tend to align to a large degree with the point of view that one animal's (/human's/being's) suffering is every bit as important as 100,000 animals'. Each individual is separate, and because no one animal of the 100,000 is experiencing the sum amount of that suffering, it doesn't make a lot of sense to me to lump them all together. If 99,999 of those animals are saved, the tragedy is just as great for the remaining one, and I would feel just as bad for that one. :( I guess you could say that I see the suffering as being in parallel, not series. As I mentioned, I'm not completely happy with that philosophy, just because it does feel like many animals' suffering must be worse than one animal's, but on the other hand, it feels (to me) like that one animal's suffering is just as bad as the many's...so it goes round and round in my mind. I don't know what the best answer is, but I do know that what is possible practically doesn't feel like enough - and yet, that is obviously what we must make do with. :umm:

Yes, suffering will always be just as great for the remaining animals. That's even more reason to work against puppy mills by any means you can, and that includes cutting them off financially (which I know you understand, so don't mind me). Until every cage is empty... Until every American is insured... etc. I get that.

It's dangerous not to consider numbers, though, as that can be used as an excuse to do nothing. It's similar to the "factory farming can't be stopped, so I may as well support it!" argument. If more people are on board, changes can be made. Animals will still suffer, and that sucks (so keep working on their behalf!), but in smaller numbers. If two thousand animals were suffering, can you honestly say you wouldn't cut it down to one thousand if you could? If the number shrinks small enough, maybe someday we will be able to stop the practice completely. Change like that doesn't happen over night, though. Unfortunately.


I know we touched upon this in another thread a while back (where I learned that some 'no-kill' shelters do in fact kill some of their animals) but I thought that most, or at least some no-kill shelters really didn't kill any?
Most no-kill shelters really don't kill animals (I assume). Most shelters are NOT no-kill.


Thanks, Sonja. :) I love your commitment to dogs. I can totally believe that there is often some defensiveness involved in the other side of the issue (to ours, I mean, since we do both believe in the same course of action): Tim (<----) was bought from a breeder. I was only 13 at the time, and should have known better even then, but I do think now that it would have been better to get a rescued cat. When my dad and I went to get him, he was being kept in a small kitchen cupboard, was very timid (hence his name), and was the last of the litter to go. I love dear Tim, of course, and hate to think of his being kept in those conditions, and the possibility that he would have gone to a less caring home, or suffered some worse fate. Of course, you could say the same for the shelter cat who didn't get rescued, but once one has been exposed to an individual, it is very hard to treat (drat, I forgotten the word -) ze (?) as an entry in a supply and demand spreadsheet, which is not a way I really like to think of animals in.
None of us like to think of animals as entries in supply and demand spreadsheets. That's another reason not to buy from breeders or pet stores. They are the ones who make animals into products. Shelters just deal with the fallout.

I understand that you now care for Tim as an individual. That's great! Of course I'm happy he found a good home! You would have cared just as much for the cat your family didn't adopt from a shelter. Maybe that other cat found a wonderful home, maybe he found a terrible one or was euthanized. Regardless, this isn't about past actions. All that can be done at this point is to give Tim the best life possible and work to make things better... or at least less bad. :umm:

tin can
09-19-2009, 12:35 PM
If two thousand animals were suffering, can you honestly say you wouldn't cut it down to one thousand if you could?

No, I can't: hence my support for rescuing animals from shelters rather than buying them from breeders. But I can't really, in my logical brain (as opposed to emotional - in fact, also in my emotional brain in a way) see a good reason to prioritise the many over the one: hence my discomfort with the situation. I do agree with you about the best course of action, Sonja :love: - I just can't forget the category of animals that we're condemning to continue their awful existence by doing so.