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.