I recently attended an event with several other dog  writers, most of whom were a younger crowd who wrote blogs or published local  pet newspapers. It was an eye-opening experience. As with any group of dog writers, we talked about our own dogs and shared their pictures. Almost every other writer had cute mixes and we all cooed over how cool they were. A few initially thought my dogs were also pretty cool, but that was when they still thought they were mixes. I could swear that once they found out my dogs were an actual breed the compliments and interest stopped. OK, maybe my imagination. 
 
Or maybe not. I was interested in an article one writer wrote about a hairless pit bull. Because I'm interested in genetics, I was anxious to find out if the writer was sure of the dogs' parentage (yes, supposedly two fully coated pit bull parents) and if they'd had any DNA testing done or otherwise made the dog's DNA available to researchers. It was the last comment that led to indignation on the part of the writer, who proclaimed the owners had neutered the dog because they refused to allow the AKC to make another breed from it, and that they had been offered thousands and thousands of dollars by breeders but had refused because of their ethics. I tried to explain that AKC
doesn't make breeds that way, but that from a scientific viewpoint it would be interesting to know if the responsible mutation was the same as that causing hairlessness in other breeds (this dog also had dentition similar to that seen
in hairless Chinese Cresteds and other breeds thought to arise from the same mutation). I'd like to think I convinced her that no ethical breeder would be interested in creating a hairless pit bull (although I suppose some might think a toothless one might be a good idea) but I am not sure I fully succeeded. 
 
Fast forward to dinner talk---and another writer who proclaimed show breeders were responsible for shelter dogs. Huh? Yes, she said:  In their quest for a dog with some perfect trait, they bred litter after litter, and sold the rejects for $5 to $15 each. These rejects then ended up in  shelters. She knew this was true because for one thing, look at the dogs on Petfinder.org. Most are purebreds, but not show dogs---obviously breeders'  rejects. With the help of another experienced writer I explained that the dogs  on Petfinder are usually labeled with a breed name to increase their exposure and interest level to browsers, and very likely to make them noticed by breed rescues that may take on a dog that is partly their breed. (I just visited Petfinder and found 36 Salukis or Saluki mixes listed. Of them, one is a saluki---anyone in New Jersey want a 7-year-old black and tan female Saluki?  http://www.petfinder.com/petdetail/22844275 ---and one other is a very cute sighthound mix: http://www.petfinder.com/petdetail/21871898 . Just because a dog  is thin or has a brush tail does not make it Saluki or even part Saluki). We  also pointed out that simply from a financial viewpoint it would be stupid to
sell puppies for $15; the same money goes into creating a pet puppy as a show  puppy from the same litter. And finally, we explained that reputable breeders  love their dogs and often place show quality puppies in pet homes because they  want the best homes and lives for their puppies. Again, I suspect we failed to  convince her, but perhaps we at least planted some doubts.

Purebred dog breeders are fighting a bad reputation.  We've blamed the mainstream media for that, but the problem may be more  insidious. When our own writers---the people who purport to know about dogs, and
who the public rely upon to inform them in turn---are so terribly misinformed about purebred dog breeders, we've got a problem.

 


Comments

Kerrie Kuper
05/03/2012 10:41

excellent blog entry Caroline!

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Evelyn Hunter
05/03/2012 11:01

I talked myself blue in the face to supposed enlightened people who should have known better concerning things like you just mentioned not to mention the people who swore ALL Dobermans "turned" on their owners when they came 2 years old, etc , etc etc. I hate breeders (Supposedly) who raise AKC puppies now and cannot even pronounce the Breed NAME ie Doberman Pincher or their pronunciation of Shih Tzu and they are adding to the problem because their other information they are sending out with their puppies is just as stupid.

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CC
05/03/2012 11:14

A problem with most jobs concerning dogs is that they require little education about dogs. I'll never forget reading in a writer's magazine that a good way to break into writing was to write about pets because all that was required was a love of animals. Really? Is liking kids all that is required to write about rainsing them? The same with breeding. And even rescuing. Many people don't like to learn from books, so that leaves word of mouth, and what their neighbor told them...I wonder if we could start a community college course about dogs and dog care.

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Nan Anastasia
05/03/2012 14:17

A scary new breed of writers, CC, whether they're writing about dogs or anything else without any research or fact-checking! Good post.

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cc
05/07/2012 08:32

Thanks, Nan, and you're right. I blame the Internet. Because, well, it's always to blame. But truthfully, traditional publishers add layers of people informaton must get past--editors, fact-checkers, copy editors...and each one is a huge help. Some Internet sites also do this--but most smaller ones, and of course blogs, don't.

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Sharon Wilson
05/04/2012 09:27

I agree. Excellent blog, Caroline. You are so right about misconceptions about purebred dogs. Convincing people of the truth is difficult...nearly impossible...when you have "writers," generally perceived as experts, producing articles based on currently politically correct opinions that are factually incorrect. There ought to be a requirement for research, research and more research...then fact checking with real experts before putting pen to paper...or rather finger to keyboard...as now is the case.

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CC
05/07/2012 08:34

I am trying not to feel like the crochety old curmidgeon of a writer here; I've always felt like an advocate of the mutt and shelter dog, but now I find myself defending the purebred. It's black and white situation---unless, of course, you're talking Boston Terriers. Wait, there's still brindle and seal...See?

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Evelyn Hunter
05/04/2012 09:49

Hope when they are doing their research they don't get shot down like Carolyn by someone who should be very willing to speak up anytime to promote true facts on their subject.One "I am too busy and more important than you" (though how you can be more important than Caroline on this subject I fail to see) can knock a big hole in your research.

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CC
05/07/2012 08:29

I so agree, Evelyn! I hate to use the excuse of "I'm just doing my job" but I sometimes wonder if the people I HAVE to interview knew how difficult they make it when they simply don't respond with a "Sorry, I can't manage that" instead of ignoring me. Most of the articles I write couldbe done in one or two days were it not for getting quotes from people; by the time I'm through hunting them down, begging them to answer, reminding them, reminding them again, then giving up and trying somebody else and repeating the process, only now the first has finally responded so I can't use both sources---I have gone from a article where I could have made a decent fee to one where I'm getting paid 50 cents an hour. OK, I know I have gone off topic...

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Jeff Tilt
05/06/2012 22:31

Perhaps I'm showing my well known lack of patience, but I'll bastardize Lincoln's quote about the common man and say God must love fools because he made so many of them.

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CC
05/07/2012 08:37

Um...wait--that doesn't speak well for the democratic process!

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Valerie
05/07/2012 11:23

Great post CC.

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cc
05/07/2012 13:25

Thanks, Valerie! and thanks for reading!

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Elise
05/12/2012 16:28

Wonderful blog. I find it very sad that the animal rights people have poisoned the minds of so many with their misinformation.

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05/12/2012 17:32

Great article, Caroline. Sadly, those of us currently breeding purebred dogs may be the last of the people who can and want to.

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Rod
07/18/2012 09:31

I am a little late in reading this topic. If these writers are the new norm in the dog writing field, then it sounds like they are not professional journalists by any stretch. Which, unfortunately is the new norm for most published writers -- national news and science included -- of recent generations. They leap to conclusions on flimsy, second- and third-hand "evidence" and they run with their prejudices. Give me a Caroline Coile or Kim Thornton any day of the week over this new crowd.

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Rod
10/01/2012 08:53

Caroline, isn't it time for another blog entry? It's been, like, nearly five months now. Don't you have any burning issues to unload (or is it upload?)?

Here are potential topics:

Hill's Science Diet changes its ingredients for the first time ever! New, yes, but really improved?

47% of tested dog foods have falsified ingredients.

A new documentary, "PET FOOleD", about the pet food industry, is in the works.

(Notice a trend here?)

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CC
10/01/2012 11:27

Hey Rod!

The good news is that I have enough paying jobs I haven't had time to write on my blog! The bad news is I haven't had time to write on my blog! And yes, I think I DO see a slight trend in your topic suggestions...

But even though I write a nutrition column, I confess I seldom write about dog food for fun. I am interested to hear more about the study you mention of falsified ingredients as well as the documentary though. Do you have links?

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