Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Huffington Post in a huff over mongrels

Huffington Post

Unthinking prejudice against crossbreed dogs always makes my hackles rise, and there was a bad case of it last week in the Huffington Post - a piece written by Jody Thompson.

Thompson referred to "designer dogs" as "just mongrels", said that it was a terrible idea to cross breeds such as the Labrador and Poodle and stated categorically that such crosses were no healthier than purebred dogs. She also advised people that if they didn't want to get a rescue dog, they should go to a Kennel Club breeder.

Not surprisingly, a few Doodle owners took exception in the Comments section and I whizzed off an email to the Huff Post to ask if they'd like a "counter".  The answer was yes, they'd be more than happy to consider a rebuttal.

So I wrote it and sent it to them over the weekend. But it turns out that Jody Thompson is the Huff Post UK's Blog Editor and as such has the say-so on whether or not to accept my piece. 

This morning, she got back to me and turned it down, saying I had twisted and misinterpreted what she'd written.  Ms Thompson says she is only interested in the piece if I take out the bits criticising her (she didn't think they were fair) and make it a more general article in defence of crossbreeds.

I replied:
"I think you’re taking this a little too personally.  
"I have been a journalist for 30 years. I have written for all the UK nationals and been a commissioning editor for two of them. Alternative views are the lifeblood of the free media because they generate interest and debate. Of course, I shouldn’t have to tell you that. 
"Very unsettled to learn that the Huff Post censors in this way ie. employed editors who turn down material because they can’t tolerate an alternative view to their own.  I mean, really, what’s the worst that can happen? Some people will agree with you; some people will agree with me. Don’t think the world will end. 
"Your piece was on an area I specialise in and the comments to your piece make it clear that others interpreted it exactly the same way I have done. In other words, it is a fair challenge."
"I’ll publish both pieces side by side on my blog (two million pageviews by the way…).
Let’s see what my readers think."
So here we go.  First, you'll need to pop over to Huff Post for Thompson's article, which you can find here.

Read it?
Here's my counter.. let me know what you think.  I can take it on the chin, promise...
Six years ago, my documentary Pedigree Dogs Exposed revealed the horrifying levels of deformity and disease in purebred dogs. The cause? A century of inbreeding and pursuit of show-ring ribbons under the auspices of a Kennel Club stuck largely in the scientific dark ages. 
We showed gasping Pugs, Bulldogs that couldn’t mate or give birth naturally, show-bred German Shepherds dragging wobbly back-ends, and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels screaming in agony because their skulls were too small for their brains.  
The film had an enormous impact. The BBC pulled out of broadcasting the Kennel Club’s flagship show, Crufts (after 42 years). Crufts also lost its main sponsor, Pedigree. Then the veterinary profession, welfare organisations and three independent reports backed the film’s findings. The Kennel Club, finally, was forced to act to clean up dog-breeding. 
The film is often charged with sending puppy-buyers in their droves to buy “designer dogs” -  Labradoodles, Cockapoos and a host of other combinations often being sold under the “hybrid vigour” banner.  There is nothing more likely to give a purebred dog breeder the vapours than to tell them how much some of these pups fetch. How very dare someone just chuck a Pug in with a Beagle and cop £800 or more for the resulting mongrel “Puggle”.  
Yep, you’re allowed to charge money for a pedigree dog. But, the moment you take money for a deliberately-bred mutt you are by default morally and ethically bankrupt, however good a breeder you are; however healthy and personable the dogs themselves turn out to be. 
.Jody Thompson, whose family owned a purebred Golden Retriever, joined in on the designer dog bashing in the Huff Post this week. She turned a snooty nose up at the “Dorkie” (Dachshund x Yorkie) she met on the train and advised everyone that if they could not be persuaded to take on a rescue dog they should go to a nice Kennel Club breeder. The message was clear - purebred is good; these half-caste crossbreeds and mongrels are inferior, not worthy  - "...why even bother with a 'sort-of' dog," she wrote. 
I hope Thompson is aware of what she’s buying into here.  The reason purebred dog breeders hate designer dogs so much is because it undermines what they do... the belief, very deeply entrenched, that purebred dogs are inherently superior to mutts; that show-ring success and a pedigree as long as your arm somehow mitigate for trapping the poor creatures in tiny gene pools polluted by ever-spiralling rates of dysfunction and disease.  
And if all this talk of purity and innate superiority is beginning to make you feel rather uncomfortable, you have a reason to be. It is well documented by canine historians that Kennel Club breeding as we know it developed alongside the eugenics movement. 
Purebred dog breeders also love to tell you how combining two breeds will result “in the worst of both”.  This makes little sense scientifically.  Of course you can get some strange-looking results from crossbreeding, but on the whole Nature is a great moderator. A “dorkie”, or any other designer crossbreed, is likely to be a half-way house between its two parent breeds. A “dorkie” won’t have as long a back as a Dachshund (something which contributes to a 25 per cent incidence of back disease in Dachshunds) and it will be longer-muzzled  and have a bigger mouth than a Yorkshire Terrier, reducing the risk of the often severe peridontal problems that blight Yorkies.  
A first generation cross of these two breeds is likely to suffer from fewer single-gene disorders, too. Both breeds can suffer from eye problems - but they’re different ones caused by different recessive mutations. For the pups to be affected, both parents have to pass down the same mutation; much less likely if they are different breeds.  
In common with all crossbreed dogs, Dorkies are also statistically likely to live longer - a year or more extra on average (Longevity and mortality of owned dogs in England - O’Neill et al, Veterinary Journal, December 2013). This is good evidence of the hybrid vigour enjoyed by crossbreeds and many studies confirm it. 
Ironically, purebred dog breeders deny the science while enjoying the benefits of it on their plates. Your morning toast? Very likely to be bread made with hybrid wheat. Your steak for supper? It may say Aberdeen Angus on the packet, but it only has to be 60 per cent purebred to be allowed to use the moniker. Same goes for eggs, chickens, corn-on-the cob and lots of other types of food. 
The reason farmers use crosses is because the wheat grows stronger, the maize grows sweeter, the poultry thrives better and the cattle grow bigger. Indeed, the hybrid vigour so dismissed by dog breeders is one of the things keeping our farming industry afloat (if barely). That’s not to say that farmers don’t maintain purebred lines too – they do. But it’s often a more expensive business because the yield is less; fertility often diminished.  
Insurance company data also confirms the crossbreed health benefit. Most charge lower premiums for crosses and mixed breeds. This isn’t because they’re “anti-pedigree” – an accusation often levied at anyone who dares sing the health-merits of the average mutt. Nope, it’s the financial bottom-line that cuts the ice with the actuaries. They’ve calculated the risks by looking at their data (ie claim history) and priced their premiums accordingly. 
And yet despite all this, Jody Thompson berates designer dogs because they are “fashionable”, apparently unaware that the most currently-fashionable dogs are purebred Pugs, Bulldogs and French Bulldogs - dogs with faces so flat and nostrils often so pinched that many spend their whole lives in a state of oxygen deprivation.  
Worse, Thompson urges would-be buyers to eschew designer dogs (“just mongrels” as she calls them) and go to a Kennel Club breeder of purebred dogs for their puppy. 
But the issue here is not whether a dog is purebred or crossbreed. This is a question of responsible breeding independent of a dog’s genetic provenance. 
Are there shocking breeders of “designer” dogs? Yes. 
Do they make exaggerated claims about their health, happiness or hypoallergenic properties of their dogs? Absolutely. 
But the same applies  in purebred dog breeding too. Worse, the latter is given a veneer of respectability by an organisation that presents itself as a welfare organisation when it is actually nothing of the sort. The Kennel Club is a trade association; the equivalent of the Tobacco Manufacturers Association; there to defend the breeders’ not the dogs’ best interests. 
Certainly, a Kennel Club pedigree certificate is no guarantee of anything - over 80 per cent of licensed volume breeders (puppy farms) in Wales register at least some of their dogs with the Kennel Club and there are no health-test requirements for the majority of breeders.  Even the KC’s Assured Breeder Scheme, although better than it was, has holes in it.  There are breeders within it still indulging in the kind of inbreeding that would make your hair frizz and few mandatory health tests; none at all for some of the most blighted breeds. 
Dogs are amazing creatures. I have nine sitting here with me as I write this - a mix of purebred  and crossbreeds; loved and treasured equally; none better nor worse than the other.   The difference? I know the Flatcoated Retriever at my side has a 50 per cent chance of being dead from cancer by the age of nine (and many of them die long before that).  The mutts? They might live to 15 or they could be dead at four. Their muttness does not make them immune to illness.  But at least I don’t have to experience the cold curl of dread that I feel every time I look into a Flatcoat's eyes.
Despite popular perception, I am a huge fan in principal of the selective breeding that has produced the extraordinary variety of  size, colour and ability we see in our dog breeds.  Watch a Saluki run, a collie gather sheep, a spaniel bust a drug-smuggler or a Golden Retriever guide the blind and it is surely hard for anyone’s heart to not sing. 
It’s just that we have to  breed ‘em smarter - and that means learning from, not trashing, mutts.   In particular, we need to drop the “purity at all costs” meme and recognise prejudice towards mutts for what is is: a distasteful legacy from the early 20th century that has no place in a science-savvy, welfare-conscious society.


  1. Bravo Jemima! I am going to have some fun on the comments page at the Huffy Huffington Post. It is staggering the idiocy at large in the media. Uniformed opinions has replaced informed empiricism.

  2. She's an idiot! Your counter piece has just completely embarrassed her. It is one of the snobbiest and utterly inaccurate pieces I have ever read on dog breeding in the media. She probably has a mate in the KC or who breeds dogs and the purebred Meme has taken hold without thought or reason. Shocking that it even got published without any credible references!

  3. I am the proud owner of a 4 year old "miniature" Labradoodle -a fashionable designer crossbreed. The term "designer dog" and the assumption that we aquired him because of his fashionable status really annoys me and is the main reason why I describe him as a "Lab cross" when people ask.
    Before getting our puppy, we spent a LOT of time researching... I was actually a member of a busy "doodle" forum for 2 full years before we brought him home. The reason we wanted a labradoodle was hybrid vigour (ours is a first generation cross -and yes, the cost-of-pet-insurance-as-proof argument occured to us too) and also that we loved the type of dog he is. Lighter boned than a show lab, lower exercise needs than a field lab (although he obviously still needs his exercise) intelligent and friendly with all (like both his parent breeds are) and with a much more manageable coat than a poodle (Having picked a first generation cross, and chosen one of the flatter-coated pups in the litter, we have a dog who in size and hairiness is like a slightly wirier looking springer spaniel.) Yes, he sheds. We knew he would, as that information is widely available on the internet to any potential owner whose research goes beyond pets4homes.
    Oh, and as far as back yard breeders and puppy farmers are concerned: Our dog came from a breeder who tested both his parents for PRA and hip scored them (we saw the test results and checked them.) He was brought up in her house, and we met both his mother and his sister (from a previous litter.) Another very well known labradoodle owner that we considered but eventually didn't choose due to distance, also PRA and hip tested all parents. She only bread 2 litters a year (one from each of her two bitches, who were both certified pet-as-therapy dogs) and (shock-horror) had a puppy camera live 24/7 where potential owners could watch the puppies from birth until they left for their new homes.
    Of course there are unscrupulous designer dog breeders... Of course there are unscrupulous pedigree dog breeders... It only means that owners should do their research carefully and not get side tracked by fashions, wild claims or (cough cough) unfounded assurances by well known organisations.

    -Anna in Devon

    1. Sorry about the many typos, I was being distracted by my children... I meant another ŵell known doodle *breeder*, and she bred 2 litters a year ( not bread!)

    2. And that is shocking, why on earth does she need to breed 2 litters a year, average 10 pups/litter totals 20 puppies, 20 more puppies looking for good homes for at least 10 years. AT £800 per puppy x 20, that is the reason she is breeding two litters a year, purely and simply for money. I don't doubt she looks after her dogs and is probably proud of her dogs but there is absolutely no excuse for breeding so many puppies in one year, none. You will have to excuse my rudeness, but it underlines why there are so many "dogs of the moment" filling up rescue centres be they shar peis, staffies, poodles, jack russells, greyhounds, doodles, huskies, gsd, labs, English springers, collies and so the list grows and grows and goes on and on.

    3. Georgina, I live in Canada so I don't know your statistics. I KNOW that in Canada we do not have enough well bred dogs being produced, even in combination with all that are available from rescue, to meet the demand for homes that want new dogs each year.

      So I have to ask you, who seems to be of the opinion that 'less' breeding is better even from 'good' breeders, what are your numbers in the UK?

      Do you know how many dogs are required to replace the dogs that die yearly (attrition)?

      Do you know how many are looking for homes yearly from UK rescue centers?

      Do you know how many are bred yearly by 'good' breeders?

      How do those numbers crunch together?

      A skim of the numbers I have found shows the UK has more people looking for pups to fill 'attrition' needs than are being bred by good breeders AND being offered by rescue centers combined as well.

      Same as Canada, probably, the difficulty in getting rescue dogs homed is not because of an overpopulation issue but simply because home matches are not being found for the dogs in rescue.

      We have a similar problem with foster children as well. Lots of homes want babies while children/teens live in foster centers.

      Telling people to not 'have' babies is not going to send them to the foster centers.

    4. Georgina- So long as they have the resources and do the appropriate medical tests (which it sounds like they do) having two litters a year from two SEPARATE bitches is not a real shocker or health risk (as long as the bitches are retired after a certain age of course). I have seen many breeders come into practice who operate on the same sort of premise of having several bitches and only having one litter from each a year, and frankly as far as breeding goes this is the best way to do it. However I do agree with your point at the end that rescues should always be the first option, it is obvious breeders will still breed, and this is a much healthier practice than some of the other breeders I have seen (and these are both KC accredited and unaccredited breeders I am referring to).

    5. Georgina, the greyhounds filling rescue centres are all ex-racers. So few show-bred greyhounds are bred each year. I understand why the dogs you've listed end-up in rescue: people buy huskies because they're cute, without considering all that coat, and the inordinate amount of exercise they require (all on-lead because huskies have iffy recall, so best left to the people doing cani-x, bikejor, etc). GSDs: fantastic dogs so long as they've been bred for temperament, but sadly prone to the most awful health problems; JRT: they're not renowned for their sweet dispositions; we all know about the plight of the staffie, sadly bred by low-income families to get a bit of money. Springers and collies: great dogs in the right homes that are willing to put the time into their mental and physical exercise. Is this the fault of the dogs? Of course not, it just shows more education is required, so people know how to find the right dog for their lifestyle.

      Stop knocking the good breeders. The world needs more good breeders, not fewer. The reputable breeders are health-testing, selecting for healthy stock, lovely temperament and sound conformation. They are socialising the puppies before they leave for their new homes and imploring the owners to do the same. They are also very careful about whom they rehome to, warn the owner about the horror of adolescence (more adolescent dogs end-up in rescue than at any other stage in their lives) and will take the dog back at any time (another incentive to breed nice dogs). The dogs fromthese breeders are not clogging-up the rescue centres; it's the dogs from puppy farms and other unscrupulous breeders with dodgy health and unpredictable temperaments. Thousands are being imported from Eastern Europe each year, after being raised in puppy farms and weaned too early from their mothers.

      By taring every breeder with the same brush, new puppy buyers don't know where to go - how did you source a caring breeder, if all breeders are evil? This Patricia McConnel article explores this issue: https://www.patriciamcconnell.com/theotherendoftheleash/breeders-versus-rescues "...I’ve had people treat me as if I was a social pariah. Breeders, even the really good ones, tend to be castigated in this country, and yet, shouldn’t we be reinforcing responsible ones? A truly responsible breeder maintains responsibility for every pup he or she raises, which means that the number of dogs going into rescues or shelters would drop so significantly that they would have to redefine their job."

      I understand Jemima uses Avid dual-address chips - one address for the rescue, the other address for the new owner. The new chip law is coming into force in 2016. Chip the dog with Avid chips, where one address is the breeder's. I'm sure there will be plenty of breeders who move and don't update the details, but it may be a start.

    6. There are so many troublesome breeders, ones who flood their breed with dozens of litters from the same stud, people who incestuously breed relatives together, breeders who shun normal dogs and even slightly impaired dogs only breeding the very most extreme types, breeders who don't do health tests before breeding, breeders who breed their bitches every season year after year, breeders who keep their dogs in little shipping crates, breeders who don't get their dogs vet care, breeders who feed their dogs cheap grains without enough meat or vitamins, breeders whose dogs never get to go for a walk....

      Isn't a bit bigoted to condemn a cross-breeder for breeding two litters in one year?

    7. I think you have all misunderstood my point. I cannot believe for one minute that there is a shortage of pedigree puppies wherever one lives. I have always advocated good breeding from good breeders for good owners. To suggest otherwise is and would be pointless and stupid. These breeders deserve a great deal more recognition from Kennel Clubs, promoted and the reason why they are so much better than buying from puppy farms/mills highlighted. I do think and agree with the Australian legislation whereby anyone who breeds dogs regularly must be registered as a business, thereby meeting all safety, legal requirements and welfare matters. I don't have facts or figures per se but that doesn't make my comments unfounded or incorrect. If one were to look at the rescue situation in say Ireland a month after Christmas, it is unbelievable. The private rescue Black Retriever X are already trying to rehome healthy young dogs (some only 4 months) from this area, so I do not believe that there is a shortage of dogs for homes. The only solution being advocated is to breed more and more, and these puppies are from closed genetic pools where it seems there are huge expensive bills for the owners and total misery for the dogs. Chipping is definitely a positive move and the type used must be able to be read internationally. I think it would do all of us some good to take some time out and go down to a rescue centre at this time of year. Maybe then you will understand why I feel so strongly that dog breeding has to slow down considerably to give these unplaced dogs a chance. If KCs promoted dogs in rescue homes as an alternative to having the latest, most expensive breed to show off, then the public would be more informed as to which dog they finally add to their family. No it isn't bigoted to condemn a breeder for breeding two litters in one year. Not at all, finding suitable homes for possibly 20 puppies per year of a big hairy energetic dog is taking a big risk, not for them, they've pocketed the money, but for the dog and the new owner it is risky. I have a friend who has a labradoodle, he is gorgeous, big boisterous, charming. He has at least 2 hours free galloping every day and is a very sociable dog. But he is hard work and many hours are spent keeping him happy - but he is lucky. Sadly her friends who saw her dog, wanted one and bought one and those dogs have not been so lucky. Those people had not taken on board the dedication it takes to keep such a dog and if one were to multiply this situation then it won't be long before doodles of all descriptions will end up in rescue centres. My friend felt really responsible about these puppies but she couldn't take them on, the breeder didn't want to know and so those puppies have been passed on and probably not just once in their lives. I definitely feel that breeders need to take responsibility for dogs who have fallen on hard times, good breeders already do it and will often keep the dog themselves rather than subject the dog to more trauma, but BAD breeders need to be accountable. The idea of donating the sale of one puppy per litter to a public fund should be implemented, the minimum per litter to be decided. The point about staffies being bred by "poor" people to generate income is probably true but for me the biggest worry is dog fighting and the income from that is truly the reason for breeding. I showed a gundog breed for 40 years, bred about 6 litters during that whole time and do have a bit of knowledge of how the dog fraternity works, during that time I had no idea just how corrupt it was and it shames me to think I was part of that scene. So when you accuse me of berating good breeders it is totally unfounded because I considered myself to be a caring, genuine dog lover who happened to enjoy showing their pet and had a litter from that pet so that I could carry on showing. Making money from my dogs was never in the equation hence my belief that good breeders of today have the same moral ethics.

  4. Looking at the two articles, I have to say that I don't think that the authors are quite as far apart in their point of view as it would first appear. It's just that one (Jemima) has considerably more background and knowledge on the subject

    I think that the Huff Post author is coming from a place of misguided compassion. Because she is uninformed about the KC's dirty underbelly, she lacks perspective on the matter. It's not a crime to not know better, just a crime to not try to know better...which is why her rejecting this article concerns me.

  5. Whilst I don't disagree with what you are saying, you didn't mention one of Thompson's main criticisms of designer dogs - that they often come from puppy farms. I couldn't care personally whether you get a pedigree or a designer dog as long as they have had the appropriate health tests and come from a good breeder who loves and cares for her dogs.

    1. She does mention it; by pointing out that over 80 per cent of licensed volume breeders (puppy farms) in Wales register at least some of their dogs with the Kennel Club.
      Purebred, designer or down at the local shelter, you have a high chance of picking up a puppymill dog, simply because they are more available. They are successful because they do a great job of flooding the market.
      "Designer" or "Purebred" if you are looking for a puppy, you should be shopping for a breeder whose practices you approve of. Period.

    2. If other breeders would quit insulting crossbreeds, then more smaller breeders, and more established breeders would join in to improve the health of the puppies they bring into this world.

      Many purebred puppies come from puppy farms and from breeders who don't care about health. No breed, no crossbreed either, has only all good breeders or only bad breeders.

    3. Puppy farms can be a big problem because their dogs are often closely related, and as the decades roll by, the big puppy farms determine what the breed will be.

      But big puppy farms usually breed purebreds, not crossbreds. They have so many puppies to choose from, they can do well in breeding special show dogs who become popular studs.

      Big puppy farms are a problem, but they are not usually breeding crossbreds. Many crossbred puppies come from homes with just a few pets.

  6. It seems to me that a union of two strong dog loving ladies would be of great benefit to dogs. Jody is doing what we've all been guilty of, seeing, hearing, reading and taking what is presented as fact whether good or bad. PDE has made me learn not to accept what I am seeing, hearing, reading. What needs to happen in dogs is a total slow down of breeding whether designer/purebred/mongrels. Black Retriever X alone is dealing with a lot of young healthy dogs who are proven to go on and make wonderful pets and friends but if they had not been saved would have been destroyed. Multiply up what they are trying to achieve and the figures are sickening and highlights for me just how many dogs are being killed year on year so that breeders can generate capital for themselves regardless of the whole effect on the dog population worldwide. If the KC or Government (god forbid) organised a one year ban on breeding dogs just think of how many lovely dogs could be homed from rescue centres. If the argument comes back that they may not want an older dog, a mut, whatever, then IMO they are not true dog lovers. It highlights for me that they want the status symbol, i.e. they bought from so and so, it's KC reg. it cost hundreds of pounds and if that is the real reason for purchasing a dog, I would suggest they buy a bigger tv, the latest dishwasher or other piece of expensive hardware it would suit their needs better. Leave dogs alone. The point made on one of these blogs that just because people are familiar with dogs doesn't mean they actually understand the true needs of our dogs and I include myself, if we love dogs we should never stop trying to learn and listen and try and understand somebody else's viewpoint. Jody will hopefully use her skills and her exposure and start a wider understanding within the people who read her blog. Perhaps I am wrong, I don't know but I do know that dogs are suffering and how I would love to be able to stop it.

    1. Who is going to breed the next generation of healthy, carefully bred dogs if breeding is banned for a year? Bitches have a limited window from which they can be bred - lose a year and you've lost a chunk from your gene pool.

      You're assuming that everyone who doesn't want a rescue dog, doesn't like dogs. I have a rescue dog. I also have a dog that I've had from a puppy. Having a dog from a puppy meant I could socialise him during the window of opportunity and beyond. Put the time and effort into training and socialising a puppy and you reap the rewards when the dog is an adult. My dog from a puppy doesn't have the behavioural problems that beset my rescue dog.

      As mandated by the rescue, my bitch was spayed before she overcame her nervousness, meaning she lost the calming effect of her hormones. The APBC recommends nervous bitches are kept entire until they've received help in overcoming their shyness. http://www.apbc.org.uk/system/files/private/summary_sheet_of_spaying_risks_and_benefits_bitch.pdf

      This now means I am having to deal with the problems associated with her nervousness on a daily basis. She has grown progressively worse with her noise sensitivity too, making fireworks hugely problematic for her (and us). Noise sensitivity is typical in spayed bitches. If she had been my dog from a puppy, I would have chosen an ovary-sparing spay or tubal ligation, which would have ensured she kept the beneficial hormones without being able to reproduce. Additionally, the health benefits of spaying have been exaggerated - a reduced risk of mammary tumours is frequently cited as a valid health reason to spay. However, these studies have now been shown to be biased: "Nine were judged to have a high risk of bias. The remaining four were classified as having a moderate risk of bias. One study found an association between neutering and a reduced risk of mammary tumours. Two studies found no evidence of an association." http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1748-5827.2011.01220.x/full

      Additionally, here is an article by a vet who used to work in rescue euthanising the unwanted dogs. When she opened her own practice, she used to mandate that all her patients were neutered.. this was until they started coming down with endocrine diseases. http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2013/09/30/neutering-health-risks.aspx

      My other dog is entire, because the health risks of castration outweigh any health benefits. If I'd had him from a rescue, they would have castrated him despite this, even though you can render a dog incapable of reproducing with a vasectomy. http://www.apbc.org.uk/system/files/private/summary_sheet_of_castration_risks_and_benefits.pdf

      Most rescues are still mandating that all dogs in your household are vaccinated every year, this is in spite of WSAVA guidelines.

      Whilst rescues continue to castrate and spay all the dogs in their care, I won't be getting another rescue dog, especially as most of them expect your other dogs to be neutered too. This is despite the fact they can sterilise the dogs without performing gonadectomies. Are there dogs that will benefit behaviourally or medically from neutering? Yes, of course, but lets reserve neutering for those dogs.

    2. I agree that more pragmatic approaches to spaying and neutering need to be considered. Tubal libations, vasectomies would be perfectly OK. Dogs require circulating reproductive organs to prevent their adrenal system subsiding to Cushing's disease for example. However, I'd always adopt over buying a puppy. With an adult dog, what you see is usually what you get. I have a spayed bitch whom I adopted as adult and she is certainly not noise sensitive. In fact, she is a fabulous house dog and had clearly been given a lot of attention and love and was given up due to the death of her owner. Just because your experience has been troublesome, don't assume everyone else's is. I would never expect a bombproof dog from a breeder or a rescue organisation. Some dogs have nervous systems that are more tightly wired than others genetically, couple that with poor socialisation and you certainly can have a challenging adult. However, embracing the science based techniques based on behavioural understanding, it is possible to help these dogs with desensitisation, patience and teaching alternative incompatible behaviours to help with their issues. The problem is, most people don't have the time, inclination or knowledge to put the effort in, which is understandable. But give me a knowledgable owner of a reactive rescue dog over an average owner of a pedigree anyday! We need more dog savvy owners who truly understand dog sociability and behaviour. Embracing a rescue do with support from a modern force free and progressive trainer can be the most thrilling, rewarding and ultimately educating experience. It can also be frustrating too. We need to quit labelling dogs. Particularly Rescue Dog. They are usually dogs who have been given up on or have been taken in as strays. It's just another label that inflicts a whole load of prejudice on the animal which is often not helpful for either people or the dogs.


    3. Hi Fran, I too have a rescue and two dogs purchased as puppies. The dalmation rescue is now in her 15th year and came via my vet. I have had her for 7 years, she was 8 when she jumped into my car and refused to get out. She is spayed and I, and she, have been lucky that she has had no physical problems. However, she did have some mental issues caused by her previous owner and to overcome them I just ignored her, I didn't try to make myself trust her, I gave her space to trust me and the minute she realised I loved her she has been absolutely superb, a funny old dotty thing but much loved. The terrier, Jemima is a spoiled brat and behaves thus and I absolutely adore her for all of her naughtiness. The cocker was and is my last puppy and is just plain adorable and the way she covers the forest on her walks is as if she was on speed. I too have had whippets both of whom were healthy and lovely dogs. But drawing away from our own dogs we and they are lucky, we try to understand their needs, we protect them, we love them unconditionally. That is not the case with thousands and thousands of dogs that have been bred just so that the breeder can accumulate money. That is not a good enough reason for their existence to be just generators of capital gain for greedy people. Dogs should be bred by good caring people who want the absolute best for their dogs and puppies and those puppies new owners. It is heartbreaking to read and see the number of animals that are dumped at best and cruelly treated at worst. It is an undeniable fact, there are too many lovely dogs being destroyed and the only way to overcome that is to stop breeding. A year out of a breeding programme is nothing, there is no loss of genetic diversity I don't understand how that could be detrimental. What I do understand is that unless there is a massive slow down internationally dogs are continuing to be disrespected and treated appallingly. In country's where dogs are eaten the conditions in which they are kept is incomprehensible, why such cruelty, I don't understand it. Spaying young puppies at 8 weeks cannot be good for the puppies and should only be undertaken at the right time for maturity and I agree too soon probably does create hormonal inbalances thus mental issues, I don't know but it doesn't seem the right thing to do. The methods of neutering should be advertised and the public made aware of different procedures that can be undertaken that may be better for their dog. Like us all, unless we are educated and given a wider choice we are ignorant the same applies to new dog owners. The more publicity regarding dogs welfare the better and the sooner it is done the better. It is all about preserving dogs, giving them the best quality of life and to do that humans may have to take a back step and focus more on them and less on the money that can be generated from them. Dogs have a huge impact on the economy but more importantly they are a vital part of the wellbeing on the human condition. Somehow I doubt dogs would be so disrespectful to us if they had the upper hand.

    4. Maybe there is an IUD that is safe for female dogs? It should be able to be inserted by a vet during the first season, and only removed if puppies are desired. Maybe a veterinarian or human gynecolgist could comment if this has ever been tried on large breed bitches?

    5. Anon 22.01: I know training helps. She now goes for walks, whereas she was afraid to leave the house when we first had her. We got up at 5am when it was just geting light, when there was no one around - no people, no traffic, no dogs, no noises - to walk her. It would take us 20-minutes to get to the rec which is 2-minutes away. We bribed her with food every few feet. This kind of dog is not a good candidate for spaying.

      There is only so much that training and socialisation can do to help counteract temperament. We know this is true, otherwise why do puppy books tell you to run away from a litter where the dam shows any sign of aggression? Also, why bother choosing a particular breed or cross, if every dog, regardless of breed, has the same temperament? Patricia McConnell is one of the top behaviourists, and this was her experience raising a pathologically fearful pup. https://www.patriciamcconnell.com/theotherendoftheleash/what-training-can-do-and-what-it-cant

    6. Fran, a very well known black lab breeder came to my rescue. I had a young bitch who was a shaking wreck in public places. I did exactly what you are doing with your whippet. Wrong. I was told in no uncertain terms that my action was confirming to the dog to be afraid, I was rewarding her fear with words, titbits, pats. She told me to move forward with her, ignore her hesitation, not to speak and when my dog got into stride with me was the time to tell her quietly she was a good girl. She took my bitch from me and walked off with her, the dog slammed on the brakes, she was given a gentle tug and off she went! Ten minutes later she was led back to me confidently walking by the lady's side, she handed her back told me to walk off and I did. For the first time ever I was able to show this lovely bitch without her cringing and refusing to move. I was told to walk her in town centres on a slip lead, cattle markets, anywhere where there was a lot of noise and distraction. I stopped showing the bitch for some time and when I took her back in people couldn't believe the transformation. The lady concerned came over and my dog was really pleased to see her, total recognition and confidence that here was a lady she trusted. I'm not saying this will work with your little whippet but it may start to help if you ignore her and pull her forward etc. Another friend had a very fierce terrier who hated other dogs. Great with people and 100% with children but other dogs, never. She was advised to put a mirror on the floor, when the terrier charged it, take it away and when he stopped titbit him. In a very short period of time the terrier stopped charging and became more manageable. Still feisty, but knew that if he considered his attack and decided to stop it, he got a reward. Keeping quiet seems to be the answer and moving forward taking the energy with you is where success appears to be successful. My bitch was much more confident and happy in public spaces once she learned to trust me and ctually went on to enjoy showing tho' she was more of a class filler than a winner.

    7. Fran, I had the pleasure of meeting Patricia McConnell when she was in the UK in November. I am very well read and have educated myself with qualifications in behaviour and training, based on science and evidence. Not all rescue dogs will be pathologically fearful or aggressive and let's face it, if you are going to a shelter for a dog, you should hopefully have an understanding of what your capabilities and limitations will be in adopting a dog with no history.. There will indeed be a genetic ceiling for any dog regarding it's reactivity but pathological fear would I am sure be assessed by a good rescue organisation, such as the dog's trust. Trisha wrote about her aggressive puppy experience in 'FOr the Love of a Dog' too. I am not really sure what point you are trying to make here. There is no doubt about it, adopting isn't for everyone and I don't believe in no kill shelters either. There are sme dogs who are more like predators than family pets and are not safe in the community, as management strategies tend to fail, even by the most educated and experienced owners. However, Trisha is also a big supporter of rescue organisations too and has an ex puppy mill breeding bitch CKCS who lived in a cage for years and whom is on her way to becoming a therapy dog.

      Jean Donaldson tells the tale of when she visited a breeding centre for Guide Dogs in the States, they had a dog from their breeding programme who failed as. Guide Dog, who was adopted out into the countryside. The dog for the first few years of it's life never met any strangers, never went anywhere new and only occasionally went to the vet. A behaviourist who assessed the dog said that the dog was on,y 'mildly reactive to novel stimuli', hence the power of genetics and solid breeding for temperament,

      Crossing to adopt a dog, particularly a dog who may be socially challenged by our complex world, isn't something I did to feel smug or noble. It just seemed the right thing to do for me and my own particular philosophy. Whether to adopt or source a well bred dog from an ethical breeder, there should be absolutely no judgement involved. It's nobodies business but your own.

    8. No plan will work if it involves trying to get everybody to do something. You can't get everybody to quit breeding for a year. Not going to happen. And even if it were possible to get a one year ban on breeding, most people wouldn't rescue a breed they don't want, they would wait until the ban was over, then get a puppy. That just isn't an answer.

      Maybe if you could state your goal in simple terms, i MIGHT be able to help think up an idea with a better chance of success. What EXACTLY would you want a one year ban to accomplish?

    9. Simply have a restraining order that means that less dogs are bred. I can't logically think of a better solution to help dogs and the excesses we are experiencing. I agree that people will hold off until a ban or whatever was finished but in the hope that they were true dog lovers and really wanted a dog in their lives that they may be persuaded to think laterally and have a lovely rescue. But I'm sure that there are others who would come up with a much better solution, other than the obvious, which is to just kill all the dogs in rescue and remove the problem overnight. But any suggestions you can make Anon 21:51 could well start the ball rolling in a more positive outcome for the betterment of dogs, all dogs.

    10. Georgina 2339, I do know a few good points about some of the problems in rescue - at least in my old area, where I lived. But I'm am no expert or anything. I know enough to know that rescue is a topic that could fill whole blogs. But my experience is more in the area of this post, and the topics of PDE concerning better breeding for dogs.

      Mostly I know about various problems in rescue more than answers, but I will mull it over for awhile. I do know that adopting more out isn't going to work as well as having owners love their dogs and keep them - not turning them in to rescue to begin with. And part of that means selecting breeding stock by choosing which dogs make easier pets.

    11. The main point I was trying to make is: It is not good policy to neuter shy or nervous dogs, as it can make them far worse, but most rescues ignore this fact. They're also in denial about the growing evidence that neutering can be detrimental to the health of the dogs. I don't want to risk the heartache of health issues that can be linked back to neutering, and therefore I won't be getting another rescue dog. I want full control over the decisions made pertaining to my dogs' longterm health.

      My shy dog is an ex-racer, direct from the trainer, via a rescue. She had just come out of her season so hadn't been spayed, but I had to have her spayed due to the rescue's policy.

      Her shyness is due to a lack of early socialisation and temperament, and training can only go so far in helping dogs like this. Apart from the fact that I would have socialised her as a puppy, I wouldn't have spayed her. Whereas the rescue has a 'spay everything even if it's not in the best interests of the individual dog' policy. There are alternatives to spaying that render the bitch or dog incapable of reproducing, whilst leaving the beneficial sex hormones intact.

      And Georgina, that was 3-years-ago, my bribery tactics worked, she now happily goes for walks. She learned to associate the outside world with food.

    12. Brilliant, pleased that she overcame her fear. Psycology, whether for human or animal, is a very useful tool and there are so many different ways of applying it successfully. The technique I learned has helped me, my dogs and friend's dogs too (all gundog breed) but I can well see that food (even for a whippet - my two however, would have starved!! rather than deign to take a titbit - one was a Deepridge Mintmaster daughter out of a Peppard bitch and was so haughty and graceful) but nonetheless I will store that little tip in my "dog brain department"...... thanks.

    13. Hi Georgina 2339,

      I haven't forgotten you. I'm still mulling over the problem.

      In the US many dead purebreds aren't counted because they are killed by private vets when their owners don't want them. So from the point of view of government shelters working to reduce costs, these dead purebreds aren't an issue. These dogs didn't come in their door.

      Tricks were applied which shifted kills to dogs before they actually arrived at a shelter, so these were again private kills, off the record, and so, not their problem.

      This left many of the dogs at the pound as unclaimed strays, not owner turn ins.

      Are you looking for ways to shift the location of the kills or the responsibility for them? Or to reduce costs? Or are you trying to help the dogs who come through your doors? Or trying to help one breed?

      Or are you trying to reduce early death in healthy young dogs? If the latter, you might find that you only know a tiny tip about what goes on behind other dog people's closed doors, and that saving dogs from shelter deaths, affects just a small number of young dog deaths.

      You can't draw conclusions from shelter deaths alone. But also from finding out "Where did they all go?". If a breeder keeps puppies to show, but the ones that don't win just keep disappearing, where did they go? An odd breed, not at the pound, not in breed rescue, and she didn't re-home him, because she talks forever when she re-homes a dog.

      This is when you realize your show friend is a serial killer. (Of dogs, but of her own dogs, that she planned, bred, raised, and showed.)

      I'd like to say that culling young healthy show dogs by vet injection is rare, but that would be a lie. Competitions need to give A, B, C, D grades. Not First, Second, Third etc. Certainly not winner-takes-all of the points - it just turns some people into creeps, competitive monsters who then try to woo or put on airs to convert other to their cold lifestyle. Poor dogs. And you can't spot these people, I can't, they seem normal.

    14. Hi anon 3:45. Unless a dog is old and sick, or a young dog that has an incurable disease or is so traumatised I absolutely do not condone, recommend, accept that death for a dog is the ultimate solution to over population. It is abhorant and inhuman. My anxiety for the whole dog population regardless of background is that there are too many dogs being voluntarily bred internationally. Internationally all puppy mills, puppy farmers should be closed down immediately. The overbreeding is going to be detrimental ultimately to all dogs, because it is these dogs that are from closed genetic pools. If you go to the next stage and accept cross breeding as becoming the norm and the solution for improved health then those offspring are only going to be healthy for a few generations consequently the break down of health recommences. So then the next stage will be using mongrels on a quarter to three quarter purebred to reintroduce "vigour". This will work for a few generations and then? Then? I guess the next step is to go international with the use of mongrels, but ultimately if one looks at the situation as a stack of cards, one can only take so many cards from the bottom before the whole stack collapses. This is a purely simplistic personal viewpoint and is totally, absolutely not scientific/genetists/fact based. So, what I have been trying to convey is this, slow down pedigree dog breeding and that those dogs bred are from a health checked background and bred by responsible, knowledgeable dog breeders. Kennel Clubs internationally have to be much more proactive for all dogs including mongrels. They have a duty to bring them honestly into the forum as equally deserving of good homes and are equally as delightful as companions, service dogs, obedience etc etc. If one were to visit, for instance, a private rescue scheme Black Retriever X where already a large number of dogs have been misplaced and to give those dogs the best possible chance of being rehomed a number of kind, generous dog lovers foster and rehabilitate dogs for the best outcome. It is completely voluntary. The UK KC has huge sums of money swilling around and they must contribute set up a funding whereby rescuers can obtain assistance. Likewise dog breeders should contribute the sale price of one puppy per litter into a rescue scheme. People, in the main are good, kind, generous but there is always going to be a stream of despicable, psychopathic, self servers who want for themselves regardless of how they achieve it. They are in dogs too. Just to reiterate, I do not condone mass killing of dogs to solve a "problem" I do condone a slow down and a respectful consideration when breeding dogs and that rescue dogs are given a fairer deal, they deserve it too. Your last paragraph is chilling. Thanks for your response, more food for thought.

  7. If I ran The Huff, I'd hire you (Jemima) for a once a month article on dogs. People need to step away from all the purebred propaganda that keeps getting repeated. Your article is better, both more readable and it is accurate. Thompson might be a nice person, but she doesn't have the latest and best information on dogs.

  8. Sadly the great majority of "designer dogs" are not health checked at all and because of the ridiculously high prices paid for them they have been jumped on by the back yard breeder who is usually ignorant of these inherited diseases and just out to make maximum profit. Runts from shih tzu litters are now being marketed as "imperial" and sold for twice the price to gullible people. Owners of labradoodles could find themselves with a dog with both PRA from the poodle and hip problems from the labby.

    1. Runts from Shih Tzu litters are still purebred, they are just runts. You might be very wise about not breeding runts, they can be weak and hypoglycemic.

      Crossbreds can have genetic diseases but fewer of them suffer from genetic diseases, and fewer of them suffer from extremes of form. But no type of dog is perfect.

    2. I think what chrysalis is trying to say is that breeders who breed "designer dogs" are frequently no more responsible or knowledgeable than the average purebred breeder. Those who use the term "designer dog" to describe their puppies often mean it quite literally, at least in the U.S. They are breeding dogs primarily as fashion accessories with little or no consideration given to temperament or health. A lot of these breeders will talk at length about the hybrid vigour of their dogs, but never bother to do any testing, or even keep track of longevity or cause of death in sold dogs. Sure, their dogs are statistically less likely to have problems, but this has little to do with the breeder's intentions. From what I've had experience with, responsible breeders of crossbred dogs try hard to distance themselves from the term "designer dog" due to all the bad connotations.

    3. Is a purebred dog breeder who knowingly breeds dogs to have conditions which cause them to suffer, better or worse than a breeder who breeds for fashion?

  9. To me, the only problem with Thompson's article is that she uses the term "purebred" instead of "well-bred". Big difference!

  10. Shivering Shades of California! First a dangerous dog act, then what, a news writer who is against crossbreeds, what next, a law that says there will only be one permitted breed, no crossbreeds and no other breeds?

    Let people who want a Dorkie to have a Dorkie - without people ranting about it.

  11. I am very disappointed that HuffPost didn't print your rebuttal. Their articles are usually more reasonable than the average junk spewed out by British papers.

    There are advantages to knowing the dog's ancestry. For example, if I was to buy another Whippet, I would know which dogs to avoid having in my dog's pedigree due to health issues. In particular, I know which kennel to avoid at all costs and to ensure that my dog never has any of those dogs in its pedigree, because the health problems are too severe and the breeder is in denial. She's an ABS breeder too, and the KC did nothing when they were informed.

    Lurchers, on the other hand, are typically robust, hardy beasts that are less prone to the health problems of their constituent breeds, even though I doubt their sires and dams are health-tested. However, they're still prone to the musculoskeletal injuries that beset running dogs.

    I don't understand the issue with cross-breeding and would like to see an end to the snobbery associated with purebred breeding. So long as records are kept, whereby unhealthy dogs can be weeded out of the gene pool, I don't see what the problem is. However, when I put outcrossing to the geneticist at the AHT at Crufts last year, he told me the KC were looking to breed from dissimilar lines, rather than outcross. For example, out of the thousands of KC registered Labradors, it's likely that Labradors in Scotland have very different lines to Labradors in Cornwall due to their geographical isolation. Therefore, breeding from these two very separate lines would bring the COI down. So, whilst all these dogs will have lost genes, the hope is that the different lines will have lost different genes. Does anybody know whether this is a sane avenue that the KC is going down, or are they simply delaying the inevitable? I think they're delaying the inevitable until cross-breeding becomes more acceptable to purebred dog breeders.

    This doesn't work in Whippets though, due to the problems typically associated with popular sires. Three dogs saturate the UK Whippet gene pool: Sooty Sam and Strike While the Irons Hot (working lines), and Hillsdown Fergal (show lines and sire of Ch Pencloe Dutch Gold Crufts BIS winner, also a popular sire). In order to get distinctly different lines, breeders have to go outside of Europe (seeing as all the European dogs stem from HF).

    One thing that does irk me about Doodle breeders are those who neuter the puppies at 8-weeks-of-age before they go to their new homes, so that the owners can't breed on. I have not heard of this being done by purebred dog breeders, but I have heard of some of the larger rescues doing this (e.g. RSPCA). One thing not mentioned is that I understand some Doodles have coats that mat terribly, which owners would struggle to maintain.

    I'm in agreement with Thompson about the husky x poms though - there are too many huskies desperate for homes as it is, and I imagine many owners would struggle with the coat. Not all crosses are carefully thought out.

    1. There is no reason the kennel club, or some dog club, couldn't register Lurchers and other dogs bred like then.

      I think you are very correct that different saving strategies work better for different breeds. But a club could allow breeders to use a varieties of different strategies in the same breed.

      One simple technique would be for the club to allow all litters to be registered. A pedigree could be offered with mixed breeds too. It might listed all the dogs' ancestors and their breeds. One might have to read back several generation to find the purebred breeds, but the awards, training, etc of ALL dogs could be listed with their names on their pedigree.

    2. There needs to be major changes in how people choose which dogs to breed, and a switch from a few people producing many litters (like puppy farms and home farms) to many people who produce just an occasional litter.

    3. It is VERY common in America for purebred dog breeders to only sell puppies if the new owner signs a mandatory neutering contract when they buy a puppy. This has been typical for 30 years or more. It means that most puppies NEVER have any liters while the puppies the breeder keeps has litter after litter.

      A better contract (if the breeder insist on this sort of clause in the contract) would be if the contract said that a bitch had to be spayed after she had one litter, or after her second litter if all health tests had been done, passed, and recorded properly, before the first litter.

      I don't like mandatory neutering contracts for most puppies, especially for small breeds whose puppies can easily find homes.

  12. Fabulous rebuff. I am a proud owner of two poodle cross somethings which I rehomed. They are both now 15 years old and have old man issues but nothing of the sort of problems that so many pure breeds have. Personally I'd never buy a dog from a breeder, whether they be pure or cross, I will only ever rehome, but if I did I'd only choose a cross. I find the Huffs article blaming crossbreeds for all problems relating to puppy farms, health issues and irresponsible ownership completely ludicrous.

  13. Of course there isn't anything "wrong" with purposely cross-bred dogs, other than perhaps the outrageously high price charged for some of them, but I suppose the free market principles of "willing buyer and willing seller" rule in that realm.
    I do hope you will continue to point out, as you did toward the end of your piece, that the choice of those wanting a nice dog isn't limited to either a high-priced designer cross-bred or a highly inbred, unfunctional purebred with dodgy health issues from show breeders. There remain a small number of breeders of true working and sporting dogs who don't have the inbred problem and weren't bred for looks or show ribbons. These breeders may have puppies or adults available for those who want a nice purebred pet without the issues of the show-breds. Racing Greyhounds, available in England, Ireland and the U.S. through various rehoming groups, are an example of such adult dogs, and can be a good choice for someone motivated to provide a home for a dog in need yet who want a healthy purebred dog of known pedigree, and not at a price requiring the taking out of a second mortgage.
    Please always remember the purebred working and sporting dogs -- not every purebred is bred for the show ring ! (And good on you for end-running the Huff Post's attempt at censorship).

    John Parker

  14. As to your question about different lines of Labradors: if all the lines come from the same foundation stock, then it wouldn't be much of an out-cross but would be better than more inbreeding.

    As to your question about delaying the inevitable: the answer to the problem is "outside of the box" in which the question has been framed. In other words, you need to re-frame the question.

    The real issue is what criteria is to be used to select Labradors?

    If you cross lines of Labradors, but then only breed 5% of those crossbreds, then of that 5% who did breed, you only let 5% of the females have litters, and you let the top 2% of the males to sire the majority of the litters, then in a 10 years of this you will be right back where you started, but with inbred crossbreds.

    The key is to change the system which singles out a few dogs over others. What needs to be done is to NOT breed dogs with bad genes, but to have a few puppies from each of the rest of the dogs. There are ways to do this, but people are slow to change.

  15. At least you didn't call her an idiot! -- Rod Russell, Orlando, Florida USA

  16. Actually I think you both have good points BUT you both use unwarranted rhetoric and take extreme positions. The irony is that you both love dogs and want the best for them. You'd be far better off having lunch or coffee together and seeing what you agree on, and making an well-argued case for decent breeding (of whatever kind), abolition of puppy farms, eschewing designer dogs (be they pure or cross bred) and the organisations that encourage them... You probably agree on way more than you disagree over....!

    PS you could call me a mutt, mongrel or designer cross-breed (dad was a Border, mum a Parsons - does that make me a Parder or Borsons, ??)

  17. For all the comments about over breeding - there is a solution!
    If, by law, the breeder had to take responsibility for every pup they bred, the over breeding would stop over night! Rescue centres could invoice the breeder of the pup for ist care, or the breeder could have the pup back (as many responsible breeders already do). Bingo - problem solved! Ah but it takes political will to bring in such a law. We are halfway there with all dogs needing microchips. Next step would be an individual passport (as is already done in the horse world) that stays with the dog for life.

    1. Law is a last resort. You don't want to go there first. Besides, laws don't always don't work as well as gentler tactics. Think of how laws like prohibition in the US didn't work, and the problems that still exists with dangerous dog laws, and how, while some people love these laws, other people hate these laws. Education and demonstration can work better.

      Although good leadership from the KC would be helpful during the turmoil of changes to come.

  18. The only way hybrid vigor occurs is if the pure bred gene pools being crossed do not carry the same genetic diseases? I suggest everyone reviews which breeds carry which genetic diseases and then decide if the "designer breeds" are really worth the extra money. Also hybrid vigor one occurs in the first generation of a cross between two gene pools; hybrid vigor is not possible for subsequent generations (based upon genetics).

    1. No, hybrid vigour is a generalised benefit (vigour/fertility/fecundity) that is a feature of the increased heterozygosity that is likely to result from the crossing of two different lines, independent of whether or not they carry the same genetic diseases. And yes, the F1 generation is the one most likely to benefit, but even F2/F3 generations may get some benefit (after all, they are still likely to be more heterozygous than an inbred purebred line).

    2. One of the main reasons stated for going to designer dogs is to reduce the risk of genetic diseases AND the hybrid vigor is claimed for the reduced risk. This is a fallacy if both breeds carry the same genetic diseases.

    3. What does one get by crossing to inbred lines? Offspring that are likely more healthy than the parents but now carry the genes (genetic mutations) of both inbred lines. Outcrossing inbred lines can increase heterozygosity for the inbred lines; but I'm not convinced that using two inbred lines to produced a new breed is a wise choice genetically.

    4. "I'm not convinced that using two inbred lines to produced a new breed is a wise choice genetically."

      That is exactly how many of our existing dog breeds have been made.

      PF, you're supposing the aim is to "produce a new breed" but it very often isn't. It's to produce a fairly predictable, attractive F1 cross that sells well. There is little appetite, generally, to go further as Labradoodle/Cockapoo etc breeders are, in the main, aware of the pitfalls in doing so.

    5. Most of our breeds were produced from dogs/breeds prior to the current level of inbreeding.

      If you read peer reviewed research papers/articles on genetics (as opposed to the popular press) you'll find that many researchers in this field indicate that hybrid vigor in F1 crosses is highly dependent upon the relatedness (overlapping genetics or genetic mutations) of the two inbred lines being crossed.

    6. This peer reviewed study supports what I have been saying; crossing two inbred lines with the same genetic diseases is just as likley to produced F1 crosses with that disease as crosses within each inbred line.

      Prevalence of inherited disorders among mixed-breed and purebred dogs: 27,254 cases (1995–2010)
      Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
      June 1, 2013, Vol. 242, No. 11, Pages 1549-1555
      Thomas P. Bellumori, MS; Thomas R. Famula, PhD; Danika L. Bannasch, PhD, DVM; Janelle M. Belanger, MS; Anita M. Oberbauer, PhD

      Objective—To determine the proportion of mixed-breed and purebred dogs with common genetic disorders.

      Design—Case-control study.

      Animals—27,254 dogs with an inherited disorder.

      Procedures—Electronic medical records were reviewed for 24 genetic disorders: hemangiosarcoma, lymphoma, mast cell tumor, osteosarcoma, aortic stenosis, dilated cardiomyopathy, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, mitral valve dysplasia, patent ductus arteriosus, ventricular septal defect, hyperadrenocorticism, hypoadrenocorticism, hypothyroidism, elbow dysplasia, hip dysplasia, intervertebral disk disease, patellar luxation, ruptured cranial cruciate ligament, atopy or allergic dermatitis, bloat, cataracts, epilepsy, lens luxation, and portosystemic shunt. For each disorder, healthy controls matched for age, body weight, and sex to each affected dog were identified.

      Results—Genetic disorders differed in expression. No differences in expression of 13 genetic disorders were detected between purebred dogs and mixed-breed dogs (ie, hip dysplasia, hypo- and hyperadrenocorticism, cancers, lens luxation, and patellar luxation). Purebred dogs were more likely to have 10 genetic disorders, including dilated cardiomyopathy, elbow dysplasia, cataracts, and hypothyroidism. Mixed-breed dogs had a greater probability of ruptured cranial cruciate ligament.

      Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Prevalence of genetic disorders in both populations was related to the specific disorder. Recently derived breeds or those from similar lineages appeared to be more susceptible to certain disorders that affect all closely related purebred dogs, whereas disorders with equal prevalence in the 2 populations suggested that those disorders represented more ancient mutations that are widely spread through the dog population. Results provided insight on how breeding practices may reduce prevalence of a disorder.

    7. You need to read that a little more carefully, PF.

      No difference in 13 disorders.
      Mixed breeds more likely to be affected in just one disorder
      Purebred more likely to be affected in 10.

      So obviously, it depends on the disorder but - overall - mixed breeds are less likely to be affected than purebreds.

      This study has been hugely misrepresented in the media - including, shamefully, by UC Davis itself.

      Rightfully ribbed on the Border Wars blog here:


    8. I'm not saying mixed breeds are more likley to be affected; I'm saying F1 crosses of two pure breeds with the same mutations are just as likley to be affected as the individual pure breeds. The similarity in incedence rates indicates that those mutations are present in all breed and dogs produced from those breeds.

      I don't read the popular presses spin on studies I read the studies.
      The author of that blog spewed so much BS about topics he thought he was an expert on before he started the blog that I never bother to read his opinions.

    9. When making breeding decisions to avoid genetically linked disorders (and thereby improve the health of the offspring) one should not use differences in breed appearance as a gauge of dissimilar frequency of mutant alleles associated with genetically link disorders but one should look at the incidence rates of the genetically links disorders in the two breeds to be crossed.

    10. This doesn't have to be a problem. There are ways around it. The simplest is a 3 breed crossbred. For example:

      Say you love Flat-Coated Retrievers BUT the breed keeps dying of cancer way too young. There is NO test for cancer genes in flat-coats. So what could the Flat-Coat club do?

      A) They could allow crosses with Golden Retrievers into the stud book - nothing in the name "Flat-Coated Retriever" says the dogs have to be black. The club could allow only black Flat-Coats in the ring, while permitting gold colour to be used in breeding.

      B) They could allow crosses with black Labrador Retrievers. Yes the F1 generation would be short haired, and could not be shown, but half of the 3/4 pure flat-coats would be long haired. But what if 3/4 pure Flat-Coat is still too high of a cancer risk?

      C) The answer could be in a 3 breed cross, you cross your Flat-Coats to Golden Retrievers, and keep 1/2 Flattie puppies. I cross my Flat-Coats with black Labradors and keep 1/2 Flattie puppies. But neither of us inbreed our own lines, when you want to breed your half Flattie bitches, you borrow one of my 1/2 Flattie studs, in exchange, when I want to breed one of my half Flattie bitches, you loan me one of your 1/2 Flattie studs.

      Either way, the puppies are 2/4 (1/2) Flat-Coated Retriever, 1/4 Golden Retriever, 1/4 Labrador Retriever. Yes, there is Flat-Coat on both side (there has to be if it is to be mostly a Flattie), but we haven't doubled up on gold colour or short hair, we have opened up the diversity, and can get some puppies to continue with, who will be foundation stock.

      And aren't short haired dog are still technically adhering to the description in the name? "Flat coat" being the old term for "not curly coated"?

      So long as only black long haired dogs can be shown, and judges look for typical Flat-Coated Retrievers in the ring, the diversity of type in the home will not much affect showing, but will improve health.

    11. Dogmaps: I put a similar scenario to a show-breeder. Her concerns were:

      1. Introducing health problems into a breed that currently doesn't have it. Whether this is unfounded or not, I don't know.

      2. People don't have big kennels anymore. They have, at most, 7-dogs, probably fewer. These will be dogs at various stages of their show career. People can't afford to own dogs that can't be shown, or are also-rans. One possible way around this, is to co-own a promising bitch from the F1 litter that doesn't live with the breeder. She is then bred from, and for the breeder to then co-own a bitch from this litter which can also be bred on. Co-ownership is something breeders do anyway.

    12. Appropriately for this post, the Huffington Post did an article on 3 way crossbreds on Nov 20, 2013, entitled "Is the Cava-Poo-Chon the World's Most Perfect Puppy!" (Sue Manning).

      Crossbreed breeders are always stuck with the same question "What can I do after the F1 generation?"

      It is easy to sit on the sidelines and tell crossbreed breeders to only produce F1 puppies - and the science is behind that idea, especially for breeds with health problems. But the head doesn't rule the heart, does it?

      What happens when you produce doodle puppies and there is that one puppy who captures your heart - you want to keep him, but you know he will have 3/4 puppies, not true hybrids? Will your heart rule and you start selling 3/4 puppies as F1s? Will the heart rule even over the pocket book, and you advertise your darling's puppies truthfully as 3/4? Or will your head rule and your heart break, as you sell everyone of the F1 generation?

      But there is a third way. Keep your favorite doodle favorite bitch puppies, but never backcross them to either of the two foundation breeds. For example: you love Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, but the health problems in your dogs are giving you nightmares, so you buy a Cocker Spaniel stud and sell CavaCock Spaniel F1 puppies. But you want to keep some of those F1 puppies. But what to breed the F1 puppies you kept to - back to the CKCS and health troubles, or back to a Cocker Spaniel and loose uniqueness?

      There is a third way. Of all the breeds, pick your favorite which isn't a CKCS nor a Cocker Spaniel, buy a healthy compatible stud of that breed. Say an old style Maltese. Now you have mostly your CKCS girls, your one Cocker Spaniel stud, your CavaCock girls, and your one Maltese stud dog.

      Your puppies will be MaltCavaCock puppies, and the original F1 CavaCocks, unless/until you decide to retire your CKCS girls. How long can you keep buying/renting other breed studs? Keep your goal, your vision in mind. Are you trying to recreate King Charles' spaniels like in the old painting, but without breeding back to CKCSs or flat-faced breeds? Or just wanting nice silky haired spaniel type dogs from your own custom selection of puppies?

      If you stick with a generalized type, where you can advertise something similar to: "nice little mixed spaniel type puppies with silky coats, bred for health and temperament" then list the major breeds in the puppies, will you find good homes for them in your area at a worthwhile price? (if selling price is a factor to you). Temper your dream/goal with practicality.

    13. The only problem with this is that there will have to be a pedigree form with breed used. If a lot of breeding occurs in one area there is a high liklehood that siblings will unknowingly breed together because the owners will just "put them together". The genetic breakdown could be catastrophic in a very short period of time. However, if people have a pedigree showing the dog breeds used and their names it may prevent some "accidents". But ultimately if people can make a quick buck from dogs without any responsibility for their welfare they will, and that is not good.

    14. Hybrid (sometimes pronounced as "high-bred" on American farms) vigor is something which is observed. It can also be measured in agricultural production.

      Not doubling up on harmful recessive is probably a huge part of hybrid vigor, but people knew about hybrid vigor from first breeding mules centuries ago, long before Mendel's peas.

      In addition to not doubling up on known major harmful recessives, outcrossing negates the negative effects of other, unknown less harmful doubling of recessives too.

      Also, in addition to not doubling up on negatives, outcrossing can provide for a healthy variety of protective traits, like in the immune system. It is as if a purebred might have 5 genes that protect against X, and 3 genes that protect against Y. But a dog only needs 1 gene of each type, and a mutt might have 1 gene to protect against X, one gene to protect against Y, one gene against Z, one against Q, etc....

    15. Fran 1905,

      Outcrossing has to be done right. When you buy/rent a stud of another breed, you have to learn about that other breed too. You need to health test the stud before you use him. You need to know what health trouble to look for in his breed. You have to know about his relatives. You should know if breeders in his line bred whatever was winning, or if they looked for uniform health in the whole litter (as opposed to 75% healthy, and several long lived examples).

      Breed ring wins don't matter in an outcross. You want a healthy dog of a different breed, not necessarily a show winner.

      Yes, you can introduce different recessives into your line. But if you don't inbreed off that stud or his breed, you reduce the risks.

    16. The problems of doubled recessives is a much reduced risk in F1 generation puppies (the parents are purebreds of different breeds, or mixes that don't have any breeds in common, for example mother is a boxer X collie hybrid, father is a Greek stray with no boxer and no collie in him).

      As stated above, by PipeDreamFarm, you have to make sure the breed you choose for an outcross doesn't have any of THE SAME harmful genes as your breed.

      If the puppies are never going to be bred, then the harmful recessives in the parents aren't a problem, so long as they aren't doubled. However, WARNING, many genes called "recessive" are really co-dominant.

    17. The question in the debate above could be re-phased as:

      "Can an F1 puppy have both hybrid vigor AND a set of doubled harmful recessives?"

      That's getting into theory instead of practice. I 'd rather discuss practice, but I will give my opinion. Lets say you have a litter of peke X pug puppies. Maybe they have flat faces, but they are free of other problems in either parent, so are comparatively more healthy.

      So I'd say you could have hybrid vigor as well as some doubling of harmful genes.

      Yes, flat-faces might not be recessive, but I chose flat faces as an example because it can be seen.

    18. Fran 1905,

      Myself, I would rather dogs go into rings for scent-matching, or taken into a field for tracking, than having dogs judged as they currently are, but people are often more comfortable with step by step change.

      If dog shows changed, the need for one person to keep lots of different dogs for breeding would evaporate.

    19. Good point Georgina 2326! Crossbred and mixed bred dogs should have a microchip, a pedigree, and registration papers. Is the KC listening?

    20. Let me demonstrate what I've been trying to convey.

      Below are possible crosses with two theoretical pure bred lines: Breed A and Breed B. Which cross is least likely to have genetic health issues (i.e. healthiest cross)?

      1) Breed A X Breed A
      2) Breed B x Breed B
      3) Breed A x Breed B

      Most people will choose cross 3 simply based upon hybrid vigor.

      Now let me add the incident rates in these 2 breeds for various genetically linked diseases. Many of these diseases are currently found across multiple breeds (likely due to the same genetic mutation).

      Breed A
      Hemangiosarcoma (20%)
      Lymphoma (<1%)
      Osteosarcoma (1%)
      dilated cardiomyopathy (5%)
      hypothyroidism (2%)
      elbow dysplasia (10%)
      hip dysplasia (10%)
      atopy or allergic dermatitis (<1%)
      cataracts (1%)
      epilepsy (5%)

      Breed B
      Hemangiosarcoma (<1%)
      Lymphoma (20%)
      Osteosarcoma (2%)
      dilated cardiomyopathy (5%)
      hypothyroidism (2%)
      elbow dysplasia (10%)
      hip dysplasia (5%)
      atopy or allergic dermatitis (10%)
      cataracts (1%)
      epilepsy (2%)

      Now which cross is least likely to have genetic health issues?

    21. PipedreamFarm 1423,

      I could understand your point better if you would just ask about your exact breeding problem, otherwise I feel like you are trying to get me to argue theory pointlessly. What exact cross are you contemplating, because options and problems vary with breeds. Also it matters what the puppies are bred for, are you thinking of slipping in a cross for field work and so require a dog to appear breed-typical, or is this for something like changing coat in a working sheepdog where purebred type doesn't matter?

      You have narrowed the answer to "a, b, or c" , and I am marking "e - none of the above". I feel like its a trick, because a, b, and c could all be bad choices, and in some situations, each of these choices could be the right choice.

      Since they are a common topic on this blog, lets use Flat Coated Retrievers (FCRs) as an example. Suppose I ask "Would crossing a FCR with a Golden Retriever make for healthier puppies?"

      Well, assuming that the exact cross in mind involves crossing the healthiest Golden Retriever who can be borrowed with the healthiest FCR bitch that can be bought, the answer can, mostly, be narrowed down to one more question "From whose point of view is the question being asked?"

      Will it help the Golden Retriever gene pool? I don't know how bad off Goldies are in your area, but they probably aren't that bad off yet.

      Will it help the FCR gene pool? Probably yes. That's why I would consider the puppies "1/2 FCR" not "1/2 Golden Retriever". The Golden made a deposit into the FCR gene pool to help it, the FCR did not enter the Golden Retriever gene pool. If the puppies are ever bred, they will be 3/4 FCR, the Golden addition would just have taken a brief swim in the FCR gene pool then gone home. Much like the bobtailed boxers, the corgi went home alone - no boxers got into the corgi gene pool. The gene transfer was one way - into the boxer gene pool.

    22. I am trying to convey my issue with the attitude that F1 hybrids are automatically healthier than pure breds because of hybrid vigor, using the above theoretical example.

      "You have narrowed the answer to "a, b, or c" , and I am marking "e - none of the above". I feel like its a trick, because a, b, and c could all be bad choices, and in some situations, each of these choices could be the right choice."


      Hybrids will receive genetic material from both pure bred gene pools. If the same genetic mutations are present and at similar rates in both gene pools a hybrid will be equally at risk for the genetic disease as pure breds from either gene pool. If the rates are dissimilar than the hybrid will have a reduced risk compared to the breed with the highest rate and an increased risk relative to the breed with the lower rate.

      The other thing to be aware of is many breed organizations will only list the rates of the top few genetic diseases in their breed. That does not mean there are no other genetic diseases present in the breed; they are just at low rates (perhaps <5% or <1%).

    23. Fran 1905, I read your comment and felt so sad to read the part about people can't afford to keep dogs they can't show or who are also-rans.

      I know this is so true of show breeders. The show breeders almost always starts to get too many dogs (unless they are wealthy and have kennel buildings and a kennel maid). Too many dogs in the home, and some of them not any good in the ring. What to do?

      The road forks, which way to go? Become a dog hoarder with dogs stuffed in crates stacked to the ceiling? Or get rid of the losers. Die loser Die? Or tell pet owners they shouldn't get a puppy, they should give up that delight to 'rescue' a show-ring loser cast off?

      That is the truth. Not out of a book. Ringside chatter. Advise from show breeder friends. People just telling me how they "dealt with the problem" - they took the dogs to the vet and paid him to kill the losers. That way they could keep breeding to get more dogs for the show ring.

      People have told me about how they have also-rans and retired winners stacked in crates in a backroom, and how the dogs each get out for 10 minutes in the morning to pee, and for a little longer than that in the evening to eat and poop, and that many of these dogs are old and have not been out of this rut since they were a young show dog.

      This is almost always what happens when dogs are bred for use in competitions, and some breeders get obsessed to win, and get into only the showing part, not the loving part.

      I don't like to be so truthful that it bothers the guilty, but this is something which can make people as cold as breeding for the dog fighting pit.

    24. Anon 16:52 I may be wrong but I think Flat Coated Retrievers and Golden Retrievers are closely linked, because one was bred down from the other er cross bred/designer dogged many years ago, both to retrieve but in a slightly more specialised manner. Fran, your words are so right and so sad. It is much better if breeders rehome their dogs rather than "store" them. What a life for them, shameful. With the recent exposure of the French Bulldog KC Assured Breeder just how many dogs are there suffering in the pursuance of the warped idea of "perfection"?

    25. PipedreamFarm 1729, You are right, as far as one disease is concerned, and assuming that your own dog has or carries the recessive genes, and if we want to look at just one trait.

      But you can't make sweeping statements about hybrid vigor if you going to say "well, let's look at just this one situation where out-crossing wont be helpful."

    26. Please, please read carefully all of my comments.

      This blog post is about F1 hybrids (designer breeds) not out-crossing to improve breeds. I am taking to task the simplistic view that F1 crosses will automatically be healthier than pure breds from either breed. Well-chosen out-crosses clearly have the potential to improve the genetic health of inbred gene pools.

    27. Hi pipedreamFarms 1130, I think I am mostly in agreement with you, in that, if both parent have the same recessive genes, some of the puppies will get a double dose - no matter if the parents are pure, or crossed, or mutts, but the chances of the parents having the same recessive genes is much less if they are different breeds. But that is a generalization - a thing of numbers and percentages, to know if two breeds are a good match, you have to tell us what breed you have. Otherwise we are just arguing about ONE problem out a vast sea of improvement, and any dog breeder worth the fur clinging to their pant would know that if their own dogs suffer from xyz disease, and they want to out-cross for health, they wouldn't out-cross to a breed with MORE xyz disease.

      But even puppies with xyz disease could still have hybrid vigor, as other recessives wouldn't be doubled up. So they would be improved, but maybe not well enough.

      Yes, breeding just to produce the F1 generation, is vastly different than out-crossing then breeding back into your own line (which has to be done with greater stud selection), or joining two gene pools into one breed (which has to take people into the equation.)

      For Example: say you have a nice little terrier breed whose gene pool is drying up (loosing diversity and general healthiness, becoming too inbred), and you are looking for another breed to make a hyphenated breed, with both your breed, and the other breed, shown as they are now, but re-labelled as two varieties of the same breed, so that the option of healthy out-cross is there, and these F1 and beyond puppies can be sold with a "purebred but cross-variety" label.

      Maybe, while you are debating which other little terrier breed to accept, someone says that racing greyhound have better hip, lets pair with them. Well that is true, racing greyhound do have better hips, hearts, and eyes, than many other breeds, but it isn't likely to fly with the terrier breeders, despite the logic of it, and how well the boxer x corgi cross went.

      There's that FEELING that two terrier breeds are artificially divided, and that the crosses between them are still somewhat purebred. For people who love the word "purebred" and the images it invokes in their imaginations, a greyhound cross, no matter how logical, just wont be accepted.

      To other people in the same breed, they might just pause for a moment and say: "A terrier lurcher?" hmmmm, "Okay".

    28. "But that is a generalization - a thing of numbers and percentages, to know if two breeds are a good match, you have to tell us what breed you have."


      The predicted health of a "Designer Breed" (F1 hybrid) is highly dependent upon which two breeds are being crossed. So we should not accept an F1 hybrid will automatically be healthier than pure breds from the breeds being crossed. The predicted health of a cross is dependent upon the genes of the parents (and gene pools) being crossed. This is the same genetics principles used within a single gene pool; going to a "Designer Breed" (F1 hybrid) does not side step principles in genetics.

      The breeding we do is based upon function (work). I don't care what the breeds are; I only care about how well both perform the function. In fact our breed registry will register any dog as a border collie as long as it can perform the function. We have beardies and dogs of unknown heritage registered as border collies.

    29. Hi PipedreamFarm 1518,

      Yes. Exactly true. I would hesitate to discuss hybrid breeding without knowing the breeds involved, lest someone try to apply it to a different situation.

      I love what you wrote about your registry, a registry that groups dogs by their profession, not by the profession of their ancestors.

      I've said before: most breed names are like our last names. A person named Smith isn't likely to work as a smith, but still has inherited the last name from some long forgotten ancestor. Same with last names like Farmer, Cook, Potter, Cooper, Miller, Taylor, Hooker, Fisher, Seaman, Baker, Goldsmith, etc, - people were given a name at birth, then they earned their last name, for example Joe the Fisher, Percy the Wastrel, Peter the Singer, Harry the Potter....

      At some point in time, people took the name of what their father did, not what they themselves did. Otherwise we would have names like Sally Blogger, and Heather Programmer.

      Dogs are the very same way. When was the last time Setters "set" birds for nets to be tossed over them, in a pre-gun day? When was the last time Bulldogs bulldogged bulls? What percent of terriers (from the word terre or terra, meaning earth) go into the ground after beasties?

      But people still say weird things like my dog was bred to........ No, your dog wasn't (one look at his coat tells all) your dog has been bred to be sold as a pet, behind that, his ancestors were bred as show dogs (read his pedigree), somewhere way back in time:

      Your Wolfhound might have had ancestors who were wolfhounds that actually killed wolves in Ireland,

      Your Malamute might have had ancestors who were part of the Malamute tribe's dogs, but your Malamute isn't even a sled dog, and none of the dogs back in his 7 generation southern US pedigree have been employed as sled dogs....

      The capital letter in Setter, Hound, Bulldog, should be indication enough that it is just part of the breeds' name (but it usually isn't enough). We don't capitalize working dogs (just the names), for example no capitals in working: hounds, terriers, sheepdogs, bully dogs - it is the breed Names we capitalize, and that means the dog's ancestors did this work. The dog might, or might not, have some interest or some partial instincts for this work, he might even be good at it and get unfairly seen as one who only has the name, much like a true fletcher might also have the last name of "Fletcher" , and yet get assumed to be only named Fletcher.

      So few people make arrows nowdays, my spell-corrector thing keeps trying to change "fletcher" to "Fletcher".

      So, I'm glad to read that somewhere out there is a registry which knows that Border Collie doesn't have to be a name, it can still be a profession. I'm of the opinion that there ought to be more breeds created that are by professional abilities, not what long dead dogs once did. Silky Haired Pet Dogs anyone? Being a pet is a profession too!

      PipedreamFarm - do you want to tell us what country this registry is in?

  19. Anon 10:24, there would be a howl of protest from pedigree dog breeders because they will claim that it is not their puppies that are trapped in rescue. And to some point they are correct. However, for every puppy they breed means that a number of lovely dogs, regardless of background, are either destroyed or have to wait in rescue centres until a home is hopefully found. These dogs are as good as any other dog, just as deserving, make just as wonderful a pet, the only difference for them is that they won't make their breeder richer. And if they were deliberately bred for money then that breeder just off loaded as soon as possible when it was a puppy to whoever would pay the price. The chances are that the owner wanted something to amuse the children for a while, or it was a status symbol, and as soon as that kudos was lost because the dog became unmanageable and an inconvenience or because of their inadequate being the dog becomes a problem and is dumped in whatever form that dumping occurs. The only thing to suffer is the dog. Anyone who has a litter of puppies will have to register it with a local council, the puppy will have to be microchipped and possibly a passport issued. To achieve this traceability there will be cost and that cost will rapidly become inflated after inception when councils realise that there is an income to be made very easily indeed. In exactly the same way as the Kennel Club receive a very healthy, cost effective income from dog lovers and to a point abuse the trust of dog owners but more wickedly the actual dogs. Somehow, someone will devise a dog tag that will have to be worn at all times by all dogs and owners who refuse to comply will be fined or whatever. I am at the end of my dog owning days but my life has been enriched by having them in my life so abhor the thought of government intervention because dog ownership will become a witch hunt and that doesn't serve anyone's interests, especially the dogs. However, unless a slow down and a responsible attitude is adopted by dog breeders I fear for dogs and their true wellbeing. I really do feel that the KC must accept their responsibility in the over production of dogs, councils will have to accept their responsibility regarding licensing puppy farmers and the Government to absolutely stop the importation of puppies from overseas. The latter because there is going to be a rabies outbreak, children damaged from unwormed puppies and other health risks, but again puppies will not have to endure the transportation and ghastly conditions they are subjected to at a very early age. Never forget the dogs and the hundreds of kind, unselfish people who try and do their best to help the dogs who end up in rescue centres by fostering them, rehabilitating them to allow the dogs to become the much loved pets of their new owners.

    1. Someone really needs to go to a rescue and count how many are there from show breeders, then you can point the finger. In the 3 rescues ive worked in the majority that turn up are staffies then a a small percentage of other breeds . I theyd lly like to see any statistical proof of a high amount of pedigree pups of show breeders being there.
      Also not everyone wants a rescue, I for one want a known quantity which only comes from having the breed I choose that fits in with mine and my familys way of life, we should not be made to feel guilty for giving pur puppies the homes they have when we do it the right way by going to good ethical breeders.

    2. Hi Anon 17:21, the thing is the purebred breeds found in rescue centres do not have paperwork consequently traceability is impossible. However, if microchipping legislation goes ahead then that will help to a point. Also, unless the breeder has made an effort to keep track of their stock, they may not know that their puppy has been dumped or given up. I expect some bright spark will come back with that it is impossible to keep track of all stock, I'd counter the argument with that that breeder is guilty of overbreeding and that overbreeding is to make money. Simple. But for the good breeders they will know where their stock is and offer continued support throughout the dog's life. I agree that not everyone wants a rescue but the dogs are there nonetheless and given a chance they would make equally successful pets. A good dog centre or voluntary rescuer will be able to assess a dog's temperament, the size is obvious, the coat is obvious and they will have a pretty shrewd idea if the people will suit the dog and give him the best possible life to the end of his life. Staffies are criminal. My brother has a rescue one and she is the sweetest, dearest, smelliest dog ever. A breed taken on and abused by totally the wrong end of society. Despite it's robust bullyboy image they are very soft, gentle creatures. This breed particularly should have a ban on it from a breeding point of view, most definitely. To see a Staffie behind bars with a minimal chance of being rehomed because of it's unfair reputation is sad. When I see my brother's following his boys around, watching tv, playing in the sea, sitting on the front seat in her capacity as the navigator, sharing her toys and titbits, she makes me smile. Don't feel guilty about pure bred dogs and owning them, I own three different breeds, what I'm trying to say is that if there were less about then the lovely dogs in rescue would get a chance to prove themselves. In future I will have an older rescue most definitely, regardless of it's background. I'm not sure what an ethical breeder is these days because the amount of breeding against the amount of capital raised because of that activity makes me very sceptical about their motives, so be very wary and don't rely on the Kennel Club for their opinion re Assured Breeders Scheme.

    3. I jabe bred 8 puppies in six years, I check in once a year with alll if I don't hear from them.all are healthy and I am a show breeder, there is good and bad in all. I wish people would not lump us all together.
      Also we don't jist get rid, I have one dog who is paralysed in his rear after a accident, I have chosen to take on this responsiblty and I wouldn't jist get rid because I can't show him anymore.

    4. That's great anon 19:39 and it is reassuring, I kept in touch with everyone who had bought a puppy from me too right up to the last day. So thank you for caring about your puppies. Sorry to hear about your paralysed dog, keeping him well takes great consideration. I showed for 40 years and really regret the time lost now that I understand more about the true state of pedigree dogs internationally.

  20. Why is dog breeding taking so long to understand the actual virtues of cross breeding ?
    Even the throughbred(tb) industry except it. With tb's you can get an Exmoor pony put it to a TB and register it with them and it will be classed as Non-tb and will have a Non-tb passpost your horse is then as a resgistered Non-tb even eligible to race on the flat or over jumps, unlike cross breed dogs that are now I believe allowed to field trial in the USA unlike in the UK, you don't have to desex them. Then the tb register do even crazier thing, if you breed back over eight generations from your Exmoor pony it then is classified as a pure tb and gets to go on the General Stud book for tb's. With all the snobbery in the horse world, if they can get their head round cross breeding as a positve aspect to breeding, why can't the pure dog breeders ?
    Most of the horses that won medals for us at the London Olympics where cross breeds and some mixed. Most all the pure breed registers for native ponies in the UK run part bred registers alongside pure breed registers.
    Bad breeding is bad breeding whether crossing or pure. The issue is bad breeding of dogs not crossbreeding.

    1. Quite a number of people have observed how messed up dog breeding is, and made snarky comments about what might be wrong with purebred dog breeders themselves. But it think a main problem is that the dogs aren't judged by performance, by work.

      Another major problem is that judging events should drop out the lower 1/3 of dogs entered, but leave all the other owners happy, with their dogs passing. (It doesn't have to be 1/3, I pulled that fraction out of the air).

    2. The kennel club do have the same system of accepting crossbreds from outcross matings into the breed registry and labelling them after a few generations as purebred. The breeder does have to apply to do so with a reasoned argument for so doing, and of course other breeders may choose not include the stock in their breeding programs. Why because most people show for a passtime and few can afford to keep animals who are not competitve, which the crosses initially won't be, until bred back into the breed and type re-established, and also homes need to be found for the less predictable crossbred pups, as dogs ahve litters not just the one foal.

      Also I don't know where you get the idea that in the UK non breed dogs competing in events have to be neutered? in fact conversely the KC allows neutered dogs to compete in breed events, and Activity regsitered dogs are bred from.

    3. I had always understood that unless there was a health problem that resulted in a dog being neutered, then the dog could not be shown? Perhaps there has been a revision since my days. I never did quite understand it however, if a dog met the standard and was healthy, it should have been just as competitive to stand against entire dogs. I always thought that cats who had been spayed were labelled "Premiers" or something similar, I can't remember exactly. But if showing was about comparison then outwardly there is nothing different, the only difference being that considerable sums of money can be generated from one dog whilst the neuter is a cul de sac. Though my opinion of KC breed standard breeding is beginning to wain somewhat in that from a dog's point of view it may be a severe hazard aka bulldogs, gsds, etc etc etc.

    4. Hi Barbara,

      Let me check if i understand correctly, if I have a reasoned argument for adding a beagle into a pug breeding program to improve breathing and agility ability, the KC would accept that after a few generations as a pure pug?

      But the pug breeders would reject my pugs with improved breathing because the judges still favor squished faced pugs?

    5. Anon 1238,

      Does make one think that maybe, like each type of dog attracts a different sort of person, that maybe breeding dogs to enter them in shows attracts the sort of people who, aren't necessarily crazy or anything like that, but some of them fail to notice or react to suffering.

      Bulldog breeders often don't seem to notice that their dogs are suffocating, that they are suffering from hypoxia, that even the puppies struggle to breathe after a short jog.

      Bulldog judges have given wins to many Bulldogs who clearly have not been given the surgery they need to breathe without struggle.

      Look how breeders and judges have made pugs worse than they were, not better.

      And look and listen to the winning peke! OMG! How could people do that to their dogs?

    6. Hi Barbara 941,

      There's a clash in my mind between remembering the uproar over Fiona the healthy LUA Dalmatian who was a tiny little bit Pointer, and the idea that the KC allows out-crossing to other breeds, and after a few generations will accept the puppies as purebred.

      There was the bob-tailed boxers from that Welsh corgi affair. Any other examples? If this out-crossing is so accepted, why haven't I read more about it? What sites should I add to read about other examples? Or is this something new?

  21. I think that the ultimate result of breeding strictly to a purebred breed standard is the continued loss of genetic information, to a point of exhaustion. For purebred breeders, it is just a matter of whether they get off of this train of destruction before it reaches its last stop. -- Rod Russell, Orlando, Florida USA

    1. You hit the nail right on the head !

  22. Time to start a new KC ! Start small and grow year by year. I bet you that's the one thing they fear the most.

    1. YES, but will any group get it right this time or will it just be more of the same old rot?

    2. It could be done.

    3. If the charters goal is to promote responsible and informed dog ownership in the community and their purposeful sustainability into the future, you create a culture who values those goals and the organization to support and grow that.

      The trick seems to be, Keep it simple. Rules and regs. should be mainly for administration purposes. Not to rule out possibilities, but to promote them.


    4. Yes, every dog, neutered or intact, should be allowed to be micro-chipped or tattoo numbered, registered, and to have his pedigree recorded, even if his is the only name on it except "unknown". He should have full use of having his MC number, health tests, DNA results, etc recorded, and if not having behavioral or contagious health problems, or parasites, should be allowed to enter any event, and have his scores recorded just like the special purebreds.

      Or would that be like asking special classes to welcome regulars?

  23. Thanks, great response. Purpose bred dogs were the beginning that went wrong. I like BCs and have had three. I just rescued a BC x 'Queensland.'
    Too bad we can't go bad to the purpose bred dog, even lap dogs. Conformation has to be down on the list.

    1. Yes, much change is needed.

  24. I am slightly confused by the crossbreeding argument. On the one hand we had an argument whereby we were told that pedigree dogs were heading into a cul de sac and that within a very short period of time there would be very few purebred dogs. In that argument a point was made the different breeds could be interbred and the genetic pool increased and improved. Then a point was made that this interbreeding would be detrimental to dogs per se because the damaged genes from purebred dogs would just spread and spread and outdo the healthy genes. So now I am totally woolly headed about which is the best way forward for dogs. Whichever is the correct philosophy/fact the overbreeding of dogs will have to stop and during the cessation for whatever period settled on, the dog population will have time to recover from human influence. The KC's assured breeder scheme is shambolic, their recent revision proves that they were only ever interested in the income from it. Why? Rather than offer to invest in many more inspectors who could inspect breeders and really make the scheme a valid professional scheme, their solution to the problem was to hike the price considerably, lots of breeders have withdrawn so the KC have created their own solution. If they had really and truly set up the scheme to protect dogs they would have gone out of their way to make it work, done everything in their power. But they haven't, they have "exonerated" themselves by pleading poverty because they couldn't afford to finance it in an effort to drum up sympathy and "understanding" that they were struggling up hill with it all. With a surplus of £12M swilling around that is an unworthy attempt to dupe people, a very poor show indeed. I may be wrong, probably so.

    1. You are confused because we are still discussing this piecemeal, still taking in more info, still working out which way to go. Can't say I'm not chipping in. Un-lurk everybody! Add your knowledge and experience.

    2. Hi Georgina,

      There are many different ways that will work. It just requires that a GOOD plan is chosen, and implemented. Different breeds, or even parts of breeds, could go with the plan of their choice. Everybody doesn't have to go with the same plan.

      One of the main choices would start with:
      A) work with the KC (or whichever KC is in one's own country) to improve it.
      B) work around the KC, ignore it.
      C) set up another dog club.
      D) set up another dog club, but let the KC buy it out.
      E) keep reminding the KC of the problems, and asking for their opinion of the odds that they will be implementing good ideas we offer them, but have in mind the option of starting another club, one not for just designed for kennel owners but for pet owners.

      After those main paths are debated, then other branches off the chosen main path can be explored, like:

      How to improve or slowly phase out conformation rings? I favor offering events so easy, fun, social, and worthy that people will like them better than conformation shows, and even long time show breeders might want to dip their toes into the new events. (Don't get me started, I've been known to type until the skin on my finger tips gets worn down - like a dog that wont stop fetching his favorite toy.)

    3. Hi Anon 01:57, your last paragraph made me smile, I've got a horrible we could type until not only the skin on our fingers disappears but up to our shoulders! As frustrating and annoying as KCs are they are in place to be the most effective way forward for the betterment of dogs. Personally I found their pontification, pomposity, arrogance appalling, their belief that they are untouchable and omnipotent. Somehow, in some way, gentle persuasion has to be the way forward and as PDE has shown us giving them niggling prods with a fairly sharp stick regularly. It is astonishing how quickly we all forget, the nonsense of the ABS has already "gone underground". The KC solution was to hike the price of membership, people mumbled and grumbled, but it is now off the agenda. In the meantime dogs are being bred and sold to people who believe that ABS means "gold standard" and that all checks have been undertaken, we know differently. It is dishonest. If I was one of the ABS genuinely good breeders I would be scandalised that my money was being used to back this dishonesty. I would discontinue my membership immediately. I suspect that a lot of the breeders who have withdrawn are good breeders who do not want their reputation slurred by this behaviour. So who is left on the ABS? Puppy farmers, bybs, and greedy bad breeders. So what does being an ABS breeder mean now? Not a lot in my opinion if I were to buy another puppy I would not be going down that road or seek KC advice but Mr and Mrs Public will because they are impressed by what the KC promote themselves to be, dog lovers, caring, honest, sincere - really? So I would target good breeders who love their dogs and dogs in general. They have a right to breed, show and enjoy the particular breed they have chosen but they will also admire and want the best for other dogs, regardless of their background. In short they will by sympathetic and open minded regarding dogs. Perhaps we could club together via PDE and create a fund that would allow a year's advertising in the dog weekly papers or whichever media that people use these days. Not propaganda as such but a constant reminder the hazards of closed genetic pools, undesirable exaggeration and whatever else is relevant for healthy dogs now and in the future. If I knew then what I know now I most certainly would have avoided line breeding (effectively inbreeding), and it is why the breed I love but no longer own is in such a shocking state as are many other breeds. I really don't think that dog showing will fade away because human beings are competitive animals and will always want to compare and ultimately win. In reality is a load of nonsense and if they broke it down , to pay £25 for a piece of cheap flimsly card that measures 3"x4" is ridiculous and that is only if you win. Most of us were and are class fillers and it is a total waste of money. But take the monetary side away it is a really nice way of spending time with dog lovers in sometimes really nice locations and the pastime can be a lifeline for lots of lonely people who can mix socially without the awful stigma of being a single person. If I have completely muddled you up, sorry, but if only the KCs could shake themselves out of their jelly mould and see what we see and hear what we are saying the dog world would be better and the dogs ALL OF THEM much healthier. I believe that moggies can be shown at Cat Shows so why can't there be classes for mongrels?

    4. In nature, everything that dies opens a niche up for something new. Sad as it is when a big old tree dies, it leaves a place for new trees to grow in the sunlight.

      Every old herd alpha male that passes on, leaves room for the next generation's male to sire an even younger generation.

      We forget the past, so that we can learn new things, and live in the present time.

      Hopefully, dog people can let go of the way we have been doing dog shows, because it hasn't been good for the dogs. It is a big challenge to be able to adapt and change, especially when people get older and their mind is like an active blog and an active email account that has been used for 50 years - there's loads of info stored there, but it is not always easy to find.

      Be what choice is there? To change with the new information, or to block it off and live like with Alzheimer's disease? Not that blocking off uncomfortable new information and refusing to adapt to new ideas could actually give a person Alzheimer's disease, but stubbornly refusing to adapt and change certainly would leave people wondering about why a person can't accept new information and adapt to it.

      I think organizations, because they maintain the paths we usually follow, have a responsibility to seek out new routes, and to make a path that their followers can trust. If a road washes out in a flood, you don't tell drivers to plunge ahead. You find a safe detour around the wash out. If need be, you build a bridge nearby and when it is ready, you route drivers to the new route over the bridge. You don't award drivers who say "I'm not driving over the new bridge, I am going to drive the same route I always have, and if my car gets stuck in the river bottom, you can come tow me out again".

  25. "The reason farmers use crosses is because the wheat grows stronger, the maize grows sweeter, the poultry thrives better and the cattle grow bigger. Indeed, the hybrid vigour so dismissed by dog breeders is one of the things keeping our farming industry afloat (if barely)."

    Hybrid vigour in farming generally means an animal is abnormally large and produces lots of meat, or it lays an abnormally high number of eggs. It does not necessarily mean they are healthier or live longer. Farmers use these crossbred strains because of this (and not all commercial strains of farm animal are crossbred). There is such a thing as outbreeding depression where genes from different gene pools clash unfavourably and produce detrimental results when combined -- and it is a recognised scientific phenomenon as much as inbreeding depression is. I keep various rare breed chickens and am careful not to inbreed them. A relative buys crossbred strains produced for egg production, and they share a pen with some of mine. What invariably happens is that the crossbred egg chickens lay plentifully but then are spent after two years and go into decline, laying very few eggs, and become ill and die before they are four or five years old, whereas the breed chickens continue to lay moderately and last until six or seven. Obviously this is anecdotal, but if hybrid vigour is so great at making animals healthy and long-lived, why do these birds fall to pieces when my somewhat-but-not-heavily-inbred birds outlast them?

    Meanwhile, who is to say that mutts aren't inbred? I feel this is a bit of an outlandish premise. Terms like 'dorkie' and 'cock poo' are just marketing labels that don't mean anything. If there is no pedigree, there is no way of calculating a COI, and frequently from enthusiasts of these animals I hear there is no pedigree and you don't need one because it's healthy and it's got hybrid vigour. In the case of a genuine old-school mutt whose parents' origins are completely unknown, it could be very inbred and nobody would be able to tell. Indeed I recently heard from someone who had a rescued mutt that was sold to its original owner as being a cross between a poodle and a Border Collie. The person who had bought it only found out afterwards that its parents were full siblings. It developed hip dysplasia and died from cancer.

    Yes, mutts are great, especially for someone who just wants a dog and isn't particular about what temperament or appearance they want, but there are lots of great mutts in shelters, and I find it distasteful and demeaning to mutts for them to be bred as novelties with silly marketing labels slapped on them, and anyone breeding them for such reasons is not contributing to any long-term goal other than paying off their mortgage. And yes, some people breeding breeds suck, and inbreed and produce dogs with exaggerated features that are harmful to them, but some people breeding breeds are making use of scientific research and putting a lot of work into keeping their breed sustainable for the future.

    1. Bad breeding practice is bad breeding practice. If you inbreed cross breeds then you have a problem and if you just breed for one specific trait you will have animals that burn out.
      Chickens crossbred for high egg production and cows purebred for high milk production.
      I have watched over 30 years of milking cows the decline in their general health as cows have just become a big stomach and undder on legs through inbreeding pure animals and some are now starting to understand that actually breeding for allround health with a bit of a drop in yield actually will bring the same profit from the herd because better health means better fertility, better feet (big problem in the Dairy Industry is lamness) and less veterinary visits. How are these herds that are coming to understand these benefits of breeding a healthier cow going about it ? They are cross breeding.
      Bad breeding practice in cross breeding is just as bad as bad breeding in pure breeding.

    2. What would the COI be on an F1 dorky? (One parent pure Yorkie, one parent pure Dachshund). No inbreeding at all!

    3. That's an interesting point about the chickens. It is important to know what to select for. You get more of what you select for.

    4. If you take two Dorkie's that are related, say they both have the same Dad and breed them together, you then are inbreeding cross breeds.
      The first cross can produce a 0% COI but actually in some groups like lets say Poodles and Spaniels because they originate from breeding pools that no so long ago in evolutionary terms where split, you might actually not have a 0% COI.
      COI I find can be very misleading and manipulated easily. If ten or twenty even generations ago your dogs had a lot of common ancestors your dogs then have a high COI but if you jump forward a few generations and then calculate the COI and it drops significantly, which COI do you think the breeder is going to go public with ?

    5. "Bad breeding practice is bad breeding practice. If you inbreed cross breeds then you have a problem"

      Then criticise bad breeding practices. Don't victimise breeders of either breeds or mongrels with generalisations.

    6. In some places, like the UK, it is possible that some entire breeds are inbred, and that it is not possible to have a purebred of that breed who isn't also inbred, especially if the breeders just breed to show lines. UK pugs are said to be very inbred as a group.

      If a breed started out from a small foundation group, then they are an inbred breed, and it is not possible to have a purebred of that breed who is not also inbred.

      Unfortunately, when dog shows first started, and show breeders plucked a few dogs out of their generalized gene pool to show and over-breed them, what happened was that the puppies from the dogs who weren't picked, failed to find homes, and their lines came to a dead halt. This can not be undone. Those genes are lost forever and will never be recovered.

      In some places, like Greece, Russia, and the Cook Islands (where there is a free ranging breed that lives by catching their own fish out of the water and eating the fish raw), the gene pools of the free ranging dogs are shrinking as we speak, because strays are being neutered.

      When Western people move in with show dogs, local people often quit seeing the unique health and value in their own dogs, like in medium-small sized dogs that dive and catch their own fish out of the ocean, and the local people buy Western breeds, and the local breeds die off.

    7. Anonymous 13:28, I was not victimising anyone just answering the question , that you can get inbreeding in cross breeds and that bad breeding is bad breeding whether cross or pure.
      If you read on you would of then of read about how pure breeding Dairy Cattle for one goal has done so much damage and how they are correcting this is by cross breeding.
      Then at the end I even say "Bad breeding practice in cross breeding is just as bad as bad breeding in pure breeding", which I would hope most would take as me saying the issue is not pure or cross but bad breeding.
      Please read what I said again.

  26. Re. the 'snobbery' accusation. Would it not be fair to say there is snobbery on both sides of this? Mutt buyers and breeders equally if not moreso seem to claim that their dogs are superior, calling breed dogs 'inbreds' and 'mutants' and claiming their owners and breeders are stupid.

  27. Surely not all crossbreds have "hybrid vigour"
    Many years ago I had a pedigree but field-bred spinger spaniel bitch, my mother's pedigree shih tzu boy escaped and they got in with each other when we did not realize she was in season.
    She had 8 puppies, one was deaf/blind, bob tailed and deformed at birth, 4 of the other puppies had extremely deformed front legs, they all had massive hernias
    I dont know why this happened but they were an accidental cross breed that I never wish to repeat.
    Also on my farm (uk) the calves only have to be 50% aberdeen angus and have a black hide to be sold as "Angus" meat in supermarkets and burger chains. We dont cross them for hybrid vigour or anything, the calves are born nice and small with narrow heads so are easy birthing, and then they are worth more than pure dairy bulls.

    1. The first cross has hybrid vigour and it depletes each cross onwards. Hybred vigour also known as heretosis happens when two things are crossed that are not closely related normally same species but different breeds. If you put to crossbreeds together who have the same Dad or Mum you are inbreeding and as we see with the Labradoodle as going for what they think is the golden egg, KC approval they have made a standard and to get the dog breeding like clones of each other have gone down the inbreeding road. I crossbreed in an attempt to improve health in my dogs and my eye vet as told me that Multifocal retinal dysplasia is being seen in Labradoodles at a worry number. I would take a guess that like pure breeding we might be seeing the over use of certain sires in them and it only needs a couple of them carrying the gene for this and as most know you then will see further down the line it being coming a problem, if many of the breed trace back to just a few sires.
      Cross breeding has to be done with as much care and I don't see it as creating new breeds but healthier types of dogs that can help to open up gene pools of pure breeds.
      Imagine Poodles as a breed with three types. Imagine Spaniels as the breed and then types. Hounds as the breed and then types within that breed.

    2. Field Spaniels are very inbred and so are Shih tzu's and they must of been carrying lots of the same mutations hence the deformed pups etc.

      If you breed two dogs together that carry the genes for the same genetic disorders then you will breed dogs with those genetic disorders but the chances of two dogs that are not related carrying the same gene disorder is less than dogs that are related. As pure breed dogs are related in their gene pools then two pure breeds are statistacally more likely to be carrying the same genes for a health problem.
      Put simply we like dogs all carry lots of genes and I'm simply going to call them good and bad genes. If your not closely related then the chances of you both carrying the same bad gene is less but if you have several common ancestors and this could be ten or even more generations back and the gene pool has been closed off for a time your chances of both having the same bad gene is increased considerably and your offspring having the genetic disorder you carry with your bad gene.
      Simple I know but I find people get it when its explained like this.

    3. It would be nice to know about how you choose which cattle to breed, and which not to breed.

      Sounds like something happened to that litter, maybe the pups were early? Or the bitch ingested some chemical while pregnant?

    4. I agree totally. I couldn't have said it any better.

    5. Mmm and I think the example is a bit misleading. Because both of the parents were purebred from breeds that are "unhealthy". So I don't consider them to be mutts. My understanding of a mutt is a dog that is the result of generations of "street" matings by sort of "natural selection" i.e. no human input whatsoever. I accept that if "packs" roam in a local area for a period of time that there will be inbreeding at some point but in the main it is more likely that "street bred" dogs will have a wider genetic input? Thus there is less chance of inherited disorder saturation which equals healthier dogs. Physically they may not be the prettiest dogs in the world but their temperaments will, in the main, be first class. So as sad as the Shi Tzu/springer litter was I think it is a redherring re the argument for mutt versus purebred health.

    6. Thanks for all of your replies regarding my original post about the deformed puppies, the mum was a springer spaniel not a field spaniel, and she had a very low inbreeding score, it was an accidental litter, the puppies all have/had such lovely temperaments and are pretty charming little dogs.
      Cattle are chosen on health and longevity as to wether they are bred from or not, soundness of feet and legs, feet that dont overgrow too fast, good mothering skills, easy and unaided birthing, small birth weight, temperament etc etc, even in the breeds they are never kept or bred just for looks.
      The litter of puppies was right on time, and she had not ingested anything, she was not let off lead out of sight. she was young (1 year at birthing) and father had slightly bowed legs. it was like they had inherited a sort of dwarfism gene, but I will never know, both parents are no longer with us and father was castrated after the litter

  28. It is well documented by canine historians that Kennel Club breeding as we know it developed alongside the eugenics movement.
    I stopped reading at this statement old saw.. red herring, straw man.. whatever you lose

    1. If you stop reading when you see something that is historically accurate but you don't like it, well I'm afraid you maybe looking like the loser.
      Eughenics was being applied to all breeding of animals at that time, took a while for Darwins theory of evolution to catch on and when the KC was formed it was from a creationist point of view as well, that humans are above all other species and know best but as we slowly learn about genetics we are learning that we have got it wrong and variation not exaggeration is the one rule we need to learn.

    2. Modern ideas to do with genetics also developed from ideas that started with eugenics (initially, the idea that traits among individuals were influenced by heritable factors and thus could be controlled, which today still stands). Just because something bad came about from an idea, that does not mean good things also did not come about from it and that the original thing is discredited by simple association. This invokes Godwin's Law -- i.e. that an argument becomes indefensible when it resorts to ad hominem comparisons between Hitler and/or Nazis or something affiliated with them and the opponent.

    3. Because of your belief in Godwin's Law we are all censored and cannot mention the word eughenics because some of you will believe any thing if Law is put after a surname and then get on your rather loosely girthed high horse. Hilarious !

    4. Gowin's Law is just a form of censorship.

    5. And inferring an opponent in a debate or the position they hold is comparable to Nazis and/or Hitler is just a form of ad hominem attack, no better than calling someone a bounder or a cad or a big stinky poo. It's not a proper argument but a logical fallacy that weakens the position of those who resort to it http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reductio_ad_Hitlerum and it has no place in any reasonable, adult debate.

      Also, since we are stooping to ad hominem attacks, better application of spelling, punctuation, and grammar would assist you in trying to construct a cogent argument.

    6. The only one attacking on this comment and mentioning Nazi's are you, ironically.
      Good example of condescension as well with the comment about grammar.
      This evokes Knob's Law, I'm afraid and no one wins or loses because its not about winning or losing.

    7. Eughenics was here before Hitler. The KC was founded over 150 years ago, so why are you so offended by the use of the word eughenics, for a lot of us it does not mean just a connection with Hitler but an ideology established in Victorian times. Are you saying no one can talk about the KC and the practice of eughenics because Hitler also employed some of its ideology ?
      No one here is saying, "Your a Nazi." The inheritable idea comes from eughenics but the other ideology for most is not palatable but within breed clubs many of the ideology of the eughenics movement is practised, the pure aspect is an eughenic ideolgy.
      I lose I keep mentioning eughenics and before you point it out, sorry for the bad grammar. Hope you can understand this.

    8. If you look at it logically and it was presented as a legal argument this ad hominem argument may be valid.
      Hitler believed in purism of race and believed in the Eughenics movement. Now what we find indefensible to be practiced on the human race by the Nazi movement, we have no problem with applying to other species of animals. That is a valid comparison
      Then in the legal argument you could give examples of such practices as, perfectly healthy pups being culled because they lack a ridge or the colour of their eyes does not fit in with what their idea of purism of their pure breed etc.
      I don't think this comparison devalues and if worded right can make people think more about our ethics on breeding other species rather than just ourselves.

    9. If you are going to point out that someones spelling, punctuation and grammar are not up to what you expect and wish to ad hominem attack them you should say something along the lines of, " Your spelling, punctuation and grammar are no better than a three years old." Ad hominem is about comparing not pointing out a fact and can be comparing a valid comparison or not.
      Your Wiki link is another opinion which you consider strenghtens you argument about censoring open discusion, which means the freedom to use the word eughenics without someone down your throat thinking you automatically are saying the KC are Nazi's but unfortunately you have weakened any discussion with a cheap jibe at a persons spelling punctuation and grammar which any reasonable adult will find offensive and uncalled for.

  29. Go get 'em, Jemima. I wanted to leave the following comment below that Huff Post article, so I'll just include it here, if that's all right:

    Sure, animals should not be viewed as fashion accessories, be they of pure or mixed lineage, but I applaud the recent trend to mix dogs and loosen breed genetic bottlenecks. Dogs are domestic wolves that have been with people for over 30,000 years. For most of that time, they were healthy animals with great health and temperament. They fit into a few types (primitive, herding, guarding, and small), and they thrived. Over the past couple centuries, though, some people have taken it upon themselves to treat dogs (and other animals) like silly putty, to be molded into whatever shape they like. Shrink the legs? Sure. Flatten the face? Why not. Make them too bulky or flabby to move? Go ahead. And even those with normal proportions have been inbred to the point of genetic disorder. All three of the dogs I've had have been rescue dogs of mixed lineage, and they and I were all the better for it. Labeling dogs as "designers" is problematic, but at least it's a welcome departure from the eugenicist inbreeding that has been the status quo for far too long.

  30. The point here is that all this controversy around “designer dogs” should not be used as an excuse to keep dog breeds as closed populations. Outcrossing (crossbreding) is just another tool of selective breeding and should be available for breeders to use, at their own discretion, without having their dogs thrown out of the genepool.

    1. You are already looking at the end goal. I agree. But change scares some people. It confuses others. So I am happy with opening the world to crossbreeds. In time I would like more emphasis on converting the word "breed" to mean dogs that do well at the same task, instead of looks. For example: all the dogs who play well with a Frisbee, and who have parents who also did could be the same "breed".

    2. Many breeders of breeds are open to, or would even consider doing themselves, a carefully chosen outcross to a different breed that would bring in a bit of diversity, if there is facility for the offspring to be recognised as the breed and minimal risk of bringing in further problems. The fad for the breeding of novelty crossbreeds for money by people throwing together any combination of two dogs because they can make a silly word to describe it, with no intention of improving diversity within a breed or any other long-term ambition, undermines these efforts and makes it extremely difficult for such suggestions to be taken seriously by breed clubs and fellow breeders.

  31. Georgina, might i try to comment on more than one of your comments at the same time? You seem to be upset about homeless dogs in rescues.

    Non-dog people might just say "Too many dogs? Call a vet, have the extras PTS. No more dogs, no more problem", i'm assuming this is NOT what you mean.

    Suppose all the dogs in rescue did die or were adopted overnight, what would happen the next day? The rescues would begin filling up with more dogs, much of the same types that the rescue takes in on any other week. So that wouldn't solve the problem in the long run. Even if the rescue was totally emptied in one night through death or adoption - by the next month, no change. (Although it would change no-kill shelters' population, because they have long term residents that are considered "unadoptable" or "hard to adopt" or just not cute.)

    For rescues that have limited space, and only offer dogs one last, limited time, FINAL chance, adoption makes the greatest change in the life or individual dogs, but it doesn't solve the problem of the continued flow of more unwanted dogs.

    So the answer must be to slow the number of dogs being given up by their owners.

    1. Yes Dog Map I am indeed upset by the unnecessary suffering and destruction of perfectly nice dogs. I do not advocate automatic destruction of dogs, god forbid. But people who are so focused on continuing to breed from closed genetic pools (aka breeds to KC standard) because they can make money from same will never be generous of spirit and accept that they are flooding the market. Puppy farming needs to be stopped immediately because herein lies much suffering, sick puppies, overbred bitches, cheap prices and a lot of heartache for new owners. Take them out of the equation would help the dog population. Then if show dog breeders who do in the main produce well reared (forget the genetic overload aspect), socialised and hopefully a support after sale new owners would get a better deal. But all dog breeders will have to register their litters with local councils and the puppies microchipped (at an age when it's safe) so that there is total traceability for all puppies bred. That will safeguard the dogs, I don't care one iota if the breeder is uncomfortable, for me it is all about the raw deal dogs experience and somebody needs to start protecting them. There is also the argument that if breeders continue to breed then perhaps the proceeds from one puppy sale should be donated to a "public" care scheme to help dogs who have to be rehomed. After all, according to them, they are not breeding for capital gain (so why breed more than one litter p.a.) it is so that they can run on a puppy for the future (really?) how many puppies can one person handle in a puppy class? No, it is all about money. Your point about the centres filling up immediately is a little excessive, I would hope that as breeding is more controlled then the population of dogs who need to be rescued will lessen and those that do there is more time and resources to be able to rehome them successfully. The breeds seen in Rescue seem to be staffies, gsds, collies, jack russells and those breeds deserve better and the KC should be persuading those breeders to reduce their breeding and most definitely not accept any more registrations from puppy farmers (and the KC know who they are or they should if they have granted them Assured Breeding status!!!!). I deserve a good bashing I get very cross by people's apathy towards dogs and I am outspoken and accept critiscm for my presentation. I don't wish to offend anyone or be rude to them knowingly, I am just expressing my views by the written word. It is one of the joys of living in the free world our ability to be able to say what we feel.

    2. Interestingly most breeders and myself include, who regisster their litters with the Kennel club do only breed one litter or less a year.

      I support my breed rescue and donate 5% of gross puppy sales (this is not profit) to breed rescue and to our breed clubs health/DNA reserch fund).

      I very rarely have bred two litters in a year (I have two sets of bitches only 15 - 18 months apart, so their ages influences breeding timing). It is a numercially small breed (a very healthy old breed, but not fashionable) with these days less than 100 puppies registered a year, so breeders need to breed import new lines etc to keep a viable gene pool in the UK.

    3. And if you could spread the word Barbara amongst other breeds how beneficial would that be to dogs.. It would be so good if others would adopt your ethical stance and your could make the KC aware of it, because it may make them think of a way of rewarding good breeders of good dogs. I firmly feel that there should be a "rescue fund" set up by breed clubs and people like you who prove they love their dogs and not just the profit therefrom could spearhead a whole new way of thinking about dogs at KCs, internationally. The UK KC has considerable surplus funds and if just the interest from this money were used to help rescue centres and the promotion of mongrels as equally worthy pets. The KC cannot standby and preach care and understanding for dogs when there are so many private rescues struggling financially to help thousands of gorgeous dogs who deserve better than being pts. Dogs are dogs whatever jacket they are wearing and the KC need to get off the wooden fence now before somebody winds a few strands of barbed wire around it. Please, please raise this with your Breed Club and try and persuade them to contact the KC and spread the word. The KC will have to respond to them because I believe your breed club is paying an annual fee and it would be very unprofessional of the KC to ignore them.

  32. Bravo! Before I found a place for my next book, a very critical social history of the dog fancy in the U.S. and U.K., I encountered terrible bias from editors at some of the most respected old houses, and some of the top agents in NYC. As I'd predicted, these people all know each other and they tend to own Golden Retrievers,Yellow Labs, and French Bulldogs. What I hadn't foreseen was how far they'd go in allowing brand-name identification and some archaic notions on blood "purity" -- not to mention their willingness to ignore a vast and growing body of evidence that something's very wrong with many "purebreds" -- to influence their professional decisions on what dog books are worthy of publication. Even prestigious publishers of academic text and trade books turned me down because I was too "opinionated." Well, yes. Crackpot ideas on pedigree and formal perfection inherited from the Victorians are responsible for the shape "purebreds" are in today, though it is true that "designer dogs" can suffer from all the same disadvanges when produced on an industrial scale. A missed opportunity for real improvement.

    1. So what's the title of you book and who did publish it? Sounds like what I would like to read.

    2. A MATTER OF BREEDING: A Biting History of Pedigree Dogs
      Beacon Press, 2015.

      Many thanks for your interest.

    3. 2015? Is that a typo, or does it come out next year?

  33. Something some people seem to be confused about - hybrid vigor is a trend. It means that hybrids are more likely in general to be healthier, live longer, etc., not that any individual hybrid animal will get those benefits. It's a numbers game.

  34. Anyone want to guess why HuffPost woudn't accept our comment?

    "Hybrids: the result of deliberately mating animals of two of more breeds to produce predicted characteristics. Histories of many "purebreeds" show many started as hybrids. Virtually all genetics texts list benefits from hybridisation as increasing genetic variation ("fitness") This decreases with sequential inbreeding/line breeding (so "F6" Labradoodles have similar genetic fitness to purebreds, true genetic fitness advantage comes in the first generation). Purebred breeders denying this effectively admit they don't "get" genetics; "Oodle" breeders championing genetic advantage after 6 generations ditto. The science isn't hard.

    Research suggests reasons why owners choose hybrids are manyfold.
    Some did genetics #101 and aren't hookwinked by genetics claims,or are unhappy with genetic issues un-addressed by breed clubs.
    Some good owners are scared of breeders. Some want a pup deliberately bred as a pet (not breeding program cast-offs) Some just want something different.

    The world's moved past "hybrids from puppy farms" rants. Consumers know any large'ish breeder is in the RSPCA cross-hairs. There is no evidence that Hybrids are dumped in greater % than any other dog group. You can still find an individual rotten breeder in EVERY group. No (or poor) advice is prevalent in all sectors.

    The real enemy is groups & media frightening potential good owners. "Breeders produce genetic problems", "Hybrids/puppy farms" and "Pounds recycling behaviour problems" - All used by groups against each other. Economic analysis shows pet buyers inhabit largely non-substitutable different source markets. Time to fight for responsible pet ownership, not each other."

    1. Maybe, you wouldn't get published because your opening statement is wrong (and includes unmatched quotation marks). Hybrids aren't restricted to animals, you can't hybridize between more than two breeds, and you can hybridize between species as well as breeds. Not all hybridization is deliberate . . . any field botanist can tell you about finding natural hybrid plants.
      Maybe your part of the world has moved past hybrids from puppy farm rants, but both the puppy farms and the rants are still out there. Google "AKC Hunte" and you'll find lots on the volume breeding programs supported by AKC. I am all in favor of purposeful cross breeding, and not big on the AR agenda, but still, it grieves me to see dogs farmed and marketed like commodities.

  35. "The reason purebred dog breeders hate designer dogs so much is because it undermines what they do..." which is to breed "designer dogs". Pedigree dogs have actual DESIGN SPECS - detailed drawings and measurements that must be adhered to. Purebreds are, by definition, the only true "designer dogs".

    So it's risky for pedigree proponents to bandy the term "designer" around as an insult to mixed breeds ... which, confusingly, are of course the very opposite, lacking any design specs.

    I wonder if Ms Thompson looks at her Chinese friend and her Anglo husband's [stunning] children with equal disgust - "Eeeew! Designer kids! Shouldn't be allowed. We should breed Anglo to Anglo, Chinese to Chinese, African to African. Oh, and short muscular Africans should only mate with other short muscular Africans, and lanky Africans should only make babies with other lanky Africans."

    Idiotic and offensive, right? But that's what she's saying.

    Not a very good thinker, for a journalist.

    1. Crumbs, what an analogy, very uncomfortable reading but you are absolutely correct, I wonder if Jody has read your comment because surely it will make her revisit her comments. It summarises the nonsense of closed genetic pools and the desireability of some breeders to inflict excessive "breed points" on innocent dogs.

    2. So agree. Both my dogs are crossbred - as was my great-grandmother! Not sure how 'designer' great-granny came into being (family mystery) but the dogs were deliberate crosses, one of two farm terriers (neither a KC breed), one of two workers. Designer? The terrier? No - bred as pets. The big chap? Yes, the litter was mainly bred to work.

      Why did we get x-breds? Talked to the vet. Health. Full stop.

    3. Anon 11.22: Interesting you should say that, my vet seems to have all cross-breeds too. I haven't asked him why, but I think I might do next time I see him. I won't be surprised it he cites health as his reason, and I'd be interested to hear more.

    4. "I wonder if Ms Thompson looks at her Chinese friend and her Anglo husband's"

      Anthropomorphising. The Chinese people weren't developed as a breed for a particular historical purpose, and neither were the English people. The Chinese person and the English person did not get together to make a child to sell because they thought it would be a marketable novelty. The child will not be destroyed in an animal shelter if nobody wants it.

    5. I think, Anon 13:32 you've gone off line. I don't for one minute believe that anon 01:55 was anthropomorphising. She has given an analogy about how some people hate diversity, want to stick to the line and will continue to pure breed until the earth stops rotating. She isn't saying that Jody Thompson is one of those people but I think what she is saying is that if she can't accept crossbreeding in dogs then she may find it abhorant that humans have babies by someone outwith their own ethinicity. I think that is what Anon is saying. Anon has made a very clear point that should make us all think about tolerance and the double standard of the human condition.

    6. At the risk of sounding like an AR nutter, which I am not: If the hypothetical Anglo/Chinese couple chose to mate because their babies would be really cute, and therefore would fetch a higher price on the slave market, I think most of us would be disgusted.

    7. Hi Jennifer 1211,

      I'm not so sure that I'd agree that letting dogs choose who they want to mate with, like people do, is a great idea, human babies are often conceived in love, lust, or a drunk haze. At least the dogs don't get drunk or drugged. But maybe the dogs would have chosen each other better than what dog shows have, certainly true of many breeds!

      Few people, or dogs, mate with the idea in mind of making cute offspring, its when people kick love and nature out, and impose cold standards, based on faulty ideas, that we get problems.

      People aren't dogs. Dogs aren't people. There isn't any movement to change breeding laws to be the same for both groups. We don't sell babies. Slavery is illegal everywhere (at least for men). Some places still can let puppies run free, but many places can't - the dogs they breed aren't smart enough.

    8. Dog's would choose their mates the way nature intend! Through scent and pheromones, this way, the immune system gets to 'decide' who is the fittest and healthiest match genetically. Our genetics shape us unconsciously in the regard. We interfere far too much with companion animals in this regard. Forcing animals to mate because they fit a breed standard physical blueprint is shocking.

      Although, it is important to selectively breed dogs for health and temperament in lots of way. Ensuring the they're sociable, relatively unreactive to environmental stimuli, not aggressive to their own kind, like humans, don't suffer from SA etc. we just need to back away from breed standards full stop and restructure Dogdom in the best interests of society and welfare.

    9. Anon 15:07 Why wouldn't you let dogs choose who they want to mate with? My current dog is an Indian Pariah Dog mix from the streets of India. These primitive dogs breed without human intervention. It's survival of the fittest in a difficult environment.. these dogs choose their mates and only the smartest, strongest dogs get to breed like in the wild. Dogs aren't artificially selected and mated to each other. The result is that these highly intelligent and hardy dogs are not known to possess ANY hereditary illnesses and have a life expectancy of around 16 years... enough said.

    10. Anon 1549,

      This is true in Mexico and parts of rural South America too. Where there still are some free roaming dogs who are free of the taint of western showdogs.

      Some people might call these dogs the coated variety of any of several hairless breeds. Since this hairless gene is dominant, one parent must be hairless. With western influence, the hairless variety is not as esteemed as it once was. But these dogs are, like the free ranging dogs of Moscow, able to live on the streets.

    11. Anon 14:44, correction. The California Law that wasn't passed, like laws in LA and Santa Cruz County, required sterilization for all except registered breeders. However, in theory, anyone can register dogs for breeding. Cross breeds can be registered as easily as purebred. You (the owner) just have to have a clean record with the authorities (eg, not lots of complaints about your dogs, and not a lot of dogs ending up in the pound), a vet exam saying the dog was healthy, and paying of extra registration fees. In practice, at least in Santa Cruz, this resulted in most people not registering their dogs. The county doesn't have the resources to enforce the ordinance.

    12. Hi Jennifer 2014,

      Did you follow all of the revisions on state bill 1634, from when Levine introduced it until the end? I did. It was so extreme, I just could not believe that it could be real. One might be able to ignore it if they don't breed, and don't get caught, but there wasn't any way to stay within the law and still breed dogs like lurchers or puggles. It should still be able to be found over on the California state website, "as introduced" with all the revisions after that. It was so biased in favor of breeding special showdogs, that it was beyond biased and into stupid. Lots of dog people hissing at that one, except, of course, those who thought they'd be exempt and one of the few breeders left standing.

    13. The revisions of bill AB 1634 started in February of 2007, and were not halted until August of 2008 - that is a year and a half of re-writes. We aren't talking about little typo correction, these were major changes in a state bill that that starts off with no person in the state of California shall own or posse a dog or cat 4 months of age or older unless it is spayed or neutered. Then it follows with you can get an exception to this IF......

      The next part is where the words in the bill keep changing, and changing, and once past, in California, can easily be changed again. Basically you need to buy a permit from your local government (some of which don't have them), your dog must be a purebred registered with the UKC, the AKC or ADBA, your cat must be registered with TICA or it's of to the vet for a snip snip down there. There are other exeptions, but they kept changing. AB 1634 was scary.

    14. Strangely, wikipedia has a page on AB 1634, but it only has the last watered down version, and the only useful link is a dead link. The real introduced version is on the bill list of 2007-2008 of the CA official government site: www.


    15. And one version of California's AB 1634 wanted all dogs over 2 years to have entered a purebred dog show or event from one of the 3 accepted kennel/dog clubs, and I don't know how many shows, if any, two of those clubs had in 2007 in California or which breeds they recognize, but it would have been inconvenient to have to enter even old dogs every other year to renew the permit. And how would you get a permit for a non-recognized breed or a mix like a lurcher or farm collie? On some versions of the bill, you couldn't.

      Biased against designer dogs, healthy hybrids, crossbred dogs, unpapered heirloom dogs, etc. And where does this sort of dislike for non-club dogs start? Well, articles like the one from the Huffington Post give the impression that dogs bred for health and good pet qualities are not as special as showdogs, and that all dogs should be special showdogs like Pugs and Pekes, not Dorkies or Pomerriers.

    16. Hi Anon 1549,

      It says something about the current dog breeding system when someone who really knows dogs looks feels a little envious of you for having a street dog that's been free bred for ages. But so many purebred dog breeders sell puppies that develop genetic health problem that I would want another purebred again.

  36. Jemima, another absolutely wonderful piece of thoughtful writing. You made my day. Thanks! (And I've had nothing but purebreds my entire life, because they were the only ones allowed to do agility/obedience until very recently).

    1. Non pedigreeand unregistered purebred dogs in the UK have been allowed to compete in Agility Obedeince etc for a very l;ong time,(they had to register on the Activity Regsiter and given an official name) certainly for as long as I have been involved in pedigree dogs (over 20 years) and as long as my Obedeince trainer who competed to test C (over 40 years).

    2. Hi Barbara,

      Allow to compete yes, I read that on the KC site, but it doesn't say if people can register NOT neutered dogs for activities. Are intact male crosses and intact female mutts allowed to join?

    3. Hi Barbara 854,

      The words: non pedigree and unregistered purebred dogs.... sounds to me like it would exclude dogs as they are (or were?) in the US, where you could enter a dog in some events if it looked pure and was neutered, even if you didn't have the pedigree. But you couldn't enter a mixed breed dog. Last time I checked the AKC, some events allowed mixed breed dogs but when you got into the details of it, your dogs had to be neutered.

      It would be nice to read that other places aren't so snooty.

      If un-neutered mixed breed dogs have been competing side by side with breed competition dog for that long, why is the web full of purebred dog breeders saying nasty things about designer dogs and healthy crossbreeds?

  37. If you read Jody Thompson's article sympathetically, she has a point. There are corporations, in the US it's the Hunte Corp., that produce designer dogs, AND pedigree dogs, on an industrial scale for sale in pet stores and over the internet. Their prices are high. They specialize in fashionable breeds and crosses.
    I don't think JT was so concerned about the X-breeding aspect as she was about the commodification of dogs. It was a bit witless to imply that all dogs of fashionable crosses are from such places . . .there are some excellent breeders of cross breeds who do health testing, who properly socialize their pups, screen puppy buyers, etc. JH routinely implies that all pedigree breeds are inbred, malformed, heavily laden with genetic disease, and extreme conformation, when in practice, you can still find healthy, natural looking dogs in many many breeds. The very name of the blog annoys me if I think about it in a critical way. (Knowing pedigrees is part of a solution, not the problem. The problem is selecting by unhealthy criteria. If I bought a DD, I'd hope to know its pedigree). So what. Journos exaggerate and overgeneralize to make their point. Sometimes they slight someone in doing so.

    1. What's wrong with having 2,300 breeding bitches, if you love all of them?

      And 50 very happy stud dogs too? All each in their own little nice clean concrete and chain link cage with a run that gets hosed down every day, winter or summer, rain or shine! And a kennel maid to feed them once everyday.

      LOL! I made the other side's argument for then, so all can read it - just to be fair of course. And, of course, High Volumn Breeders aren't hogging the market if they allow each person to have one litter of puppies per lifetime (of the owner, not each dog) - which was in one proposed California law. Perfectly fair, not.

  38. I would love for the KC to have a registration and pedigree service for all dogs, and to offer a smorgasbord of pet-friendly events where any microchipped dog can register and enter.

    If it wouldn't be asking for too much tolerance from the breed ring crowd, maybe pet-dog people could have a bigger corner of the tent? A place on the shelf that holds the stud books, where new volumes could be added, a stud book for all the dogs with a degree in carting, a stud book with all the dogs who have a degree in scent matching, a stud book with dogs who have passed tests in at least 3 different events.

    1. They do it's called the Activities register, and people even breed litters from their activity proven dogs. I think we are the only (or one of very few) countries that allows all dogs to compete in activities (Obedience, Agility etc) other than conformation against breed standards (showing). I think the only events that mixed breeds, unregistered purebreds and out and out mongrels cannot compete in is Gundog Trials and Sheep dog Trials (the latter are run by the ISDS).

    2. Sadly, some people also breed litters from dogs who are not activity-proven, and use the activity register in a fraudulent way, claiming their dogs are 'KC registered' when they aren't in the sense it's usually assumed to mean, and sometimes it may even be used to launder stolen dogs, since no proof of ownership or parental identity is needed.

    3. I have a question, does anyone know the answer, and will take a moment to help me?

      Would the KC accept a Lurcher type mix of unknown parents, who is NOT neutered into the activities register? Could he compete in agility?

    4. The Activity register will take any dog on it, but its purpose was for dogs wishing to compete in flyball etc but now it solves a problem for the KC for Assured breeders who also breed cross breeds but it does not record family trees and you will pay the same to register a cross breed dog with the KC as a pure breed. Its letting cross breeds in through the back door of the club house, pay the same as the pure but only allowed in the visitors bar.
      The problem was to be on the Assured Scheme any dogs you breed have to be registered with a recognised club by the KC or with the KC, now with some Assured Breeders also cross breeding needing a register for dogs to fulfill the Assured rules the KC have said they can register them on the Activity register, even if they are not going to do any of the activities. This kills two birds with one stone, Assured breeders cross breeding fulfill the Assured scheme and the breed clubs are happy because its just a Activity register not breeders register and also some extra revenue for the KC.
      The KC will take breeders money that are on the Assured Scheme for registration of cross breeds but rule 2.7 Under the Assured scheme you are not allowed to promote cross or mixed breeding. I think this is a bit discrimatory, if they are wishing to promote good breeding practice but it seems only for pure breeds, so much for looking out for the welfare of all dogs.
      The funny thing is though by excepting cross breeds on any register are the KC breaking their own Assured Scheme rules and how can an Assured Breeder not be contravening this rule if they also breed cross breeds? and if you are selling a litter of pure breeds under the Assured Scheme and are asked by a potential client about cross breeding which they know you do, are you going to have to say, "No, comment", so you either have censorship here with the Assured scheme or discrimination or both.

    5. Anonymous 13:09 The answer is yes, your dog can be registered on the KC Activity Register and compete without being neutered. Go to the KC website and you will find the PDF form to fill in online if you want to and the rules of joining the Activity register.

    6. Hi Anon 2229,

      Thank You. See this means that the KC is set up where it could have activity based stud books and breeds. And just as when the KC changes it's breeds' standards, and so affects the FCI, so changes in Britain and Europe change the world.

      It's like that poem about a nail fell off a horseshoe, so the horseshoe was lost, so the horse went lame, so his rider had to drop out of his unit, and without him, his unit lost a battle, and because that battle was lost, the war was lost.

      Or the poem about how the wind from the fluttering of a butterfly's wing set in motion a series of changes. We can save the dogs from the future they will have if we do nothing, and let uncaring people "trot this pony until he drops".

      We can save the dogs.

    7. Hi Anon 2214,

      Thank you for the peek into the KC's window. And for answering my question. It sounds like the miscegenation rules at the KC are crumbling from within. But not to worry, the locking of each little gene pool into its own little box wasn't a good idea anyway. The future can be more fun, more social, and healthier for the dogs. And we can design dogs that are useful members of society.

      We must be brave in the face of change, because we must plan for the changes to be good, and easy.

    8. Anon 2214, it is more than a little discriminatory. Crossbred dogs should be treated the same as purebreds. Equal treats for all the dogs.

    9. Hi Anon 927,

      Thank you for the reply. Microchips will help with the stolen dog problem. And I have a good feeling about the activities register sorting itself out into something very good.

      Lurchers, Dorkies, Puggles, MaltPoms, what-have-yous, can all have a pedigree. I'm sure plenty of Lurcher people can tell you the names of their dogs forebears for several generations.

      And purebreds should come out for activities too.

    10. Hi Barbara 849,

      Thank you for the reply, now I understand. Mix breed dogs can get on the activities register, compete in activities, not be neutered, and they can be bred. (If I understand correctly).

      The activities register, of any type, wouldn't interest me if dogs had to be neutered, it isn't always a good thing for the dog, and I will never go back to breeding purebreds again.

      This makes me happy. There is a future, a path already started.

    11. A cross breed breeder register will come with the KC eventually and funnily the people that snear at it now will be the biggest users of the opened gene pool in the future. Thaty's my mystic Meg prediction.
      I just look at the KC's history. When Cavalier King Charles Spaniels where seperated from the King Charles in 1942, the King Charles brigade where disgusted but now you will find many King Charles breeders also breeding the Cavalier. I often wonder because of so few King Charles Spaniels around whether this phonomena might be that these breeders are indulging in a bit of behind closed doors cross breeding but would it really be cross breeding for two breeds that share very common ancestory.Lol
      I know of other breeds that other breed clubs sneered at but now embrace, so I think these pure breeders have shown that they can be a fickle bunch and although they might throw their toys out of the cot at Mummy KC at first, if a cross breed breeders register comes about, just like any child, they want Mummy to love them, so they will play with the new toy eventually.

    12. Hi Anon 1135,

      Yes! The only breeders who wouldn't like new fun social activities with their dogs are likely to be breeders who have been producing physically, mentally, or behaviorally challenged puppies.

      However, they can outcross to a better compatible breed and be up to average in one or two generation, and breed on from there.

  39. Lab/Golden Cross; Labradoodle; Labradoodle, Australian; Labrador ... It's been proven that all breeds being tested for prcd-PRA have the same mutation. Obsolete breeding programs due to scientific evidence is still bad breeding. Guardianship and Stewardship does not relate to so called Beauty vs Health to the Welfare of any Canine.

  40. This polarization is destroying any chance people have of achieveing real solutions to wide spread problems for dogs in modern society.

    Its all too easy for sweeping assumptions to be made, misinformation to be promoted,and impossible to discuss the holistic breeding of dogs. Or holistic solutions.

    Poor average Joe is expected to make wise, informed decisions. In the end, thats what it comes down to. People recognizing their responsibilities, and a society that promotes that. How ?!. In this climate? It takes a huge effort to see the forest for the trees. Thats a lot of research for average joe whos more likely to find a source of information and think hes done. Thats it.

    IT IS a holistic problem. Its not just pedigree dogs that need help.We need a holistic organization. Not a bunch of people trying to look better than all the other bunches of people.


    We see mention here of cross breeders who don't health test.Yes, its often needed. But how the hell did we get to a stage where its accepted even "mongrels" are at such risk of inherited disorders? If we are going to accept that, surely we also have to accept that the policies of the K.Cs are affecting US, The community. The environment.

    Is there a known population of "mongrels" that aren't going to have any pedigree lines added in future? A large enough control group thats bred solely for dogs that fit best into their community ? For viability in their community? No?

    So alternatives to known pedigree breeds are being slowly choked off just the same. We allow that, and laws increasingly support that.

    In Auss, we have new legislation in 1 state that any breeder is a registered business. A license won't be granted to anyone not a paid member of an approved breed registry.

    Why do we continue to accept its come to health tests and laws and still not see the root of the problem?

    1. Same thing almost happened in the state of California, which holds a high population percentage of the US. They were going to ban all dog breeding, but with exceptions for purebred showdogs and a few special others, the revisions went on and on. Luckily it failed on the state level, but a similar bill passed, either Los Angeles County, or L.A. city (I forget which, and since the city is in the county....).

      Source: political -dog-law, yahoogroups, prop 1634.

    2. If you are looking for a big picture, there is a static page (not a whole blog) that pretty well sums up what we have (by gene pool type etc) to work with. An overview of dogdom, not a map for change, except as a possible first major leap for dogkind.

      The brown 'links' on the right side, aren't links, they are a static image, like of a table of contents. I find it easier to scroll through for an over-all look, then click on the "read more", but you can go through the site with "older" and "newer" post clicks. But you would have to come back here to comment, as the page doesn't have a place for comments.


      There are many roads that lead to Rome, this is just one example of one map.

  41. Puggle Alert!

    I see so many English Bulldogs in ads here in America, that you'd think they've replace the Bald Eagle! Not just on TV, but ads in store, in flyers stuck in newspapers. Hardly ever see an American Bulldog (a big strong bully breed), but the snorters are the admans favorite.

    But this morning, 17 of January, the dailymail online uk, has a puggle! I'm happy to see him or her, and hope puggles become popular ad-dogs. Hey Huffington post, you got any puggles? The one on the dailymail is being held by John C Kelly, who ....

  42. If someone wants to start with pigs on a small scale, the advice usually given to them is not to buy pigs of a commercial crossbred strain which are developed to grow at maximum rate and are more specialised in their diet and care needs, and contrary to popular belief are not necessarily any healthier or more 'natural' than breed pigs. Usually, a small-scale pig owner will start with two pigs of an old breed to rear, with the idea that they are helping to preserve heritage breeds and that the pork will taste nicer, and may if they enjoy the pigs graduate to keeping and breeding a sow of that breed.

    There are always going to be sources of crossbred commercial pigs so long as there are breed pigs, and we need them because the population cannot be sustained on expensive rare-breed pig meat. But the breed pigs are seen as important living history and worthy of preservation, so why is there no parallel seen in dogs? A crossbred farm animal is a genetic dead end as they do not generally produce anything useful when bred and only exist as end products to be slaughtered and consumed. Note that this is not the same as when an outcross is done with the intention of going back into a breed to improve upon it or recover some diversity (which the KC does allow in breed dogs, if one knows what one is doing). 'Designer' mutt breeding parallels commercial farming in what it produces, breed breeding parallels small-scale farming of rare breeds, and outcross projects like the LUA Dalmatians parallel the outcrossing carried out by farmers to improve stock with specific goals in mind.

    Breeders who care about the future of their breeds liaise with geneticists, and regarding all breeds geneticists are fairly unanimous in two basic recommendations that will increase the genetic health of breed gene pools: a. more individuals (especially more males) should be bred, and b. there should be an aim to make breeding contributions from each animal used for breeding reasonably even, i.e. no more popular sires. In light of this, would it not be more responsible to encourage people to own breed dogs that have been bred sensibly by breeders who heed these recommendations, since most dogs do not produce just one or two offspring per litter, and in order for the breeders to have dogs to further the breed, there will be surplus puppies that the breeders must have a market for? While mating bitches and raising litters should be left to people prepared to put in a lot of time, money, and research, breeding males can be owned by most responsible dog owners. For someone who is more ambitious and prepared to study before they buy their dog, perhaps owning an entire male of a breed with a favourable genetic attributes such as a low COI and having him health tested and allowing him to be used at stud once or twice should be promoted?

    1. Breed geneticists are also pretty agreed that shutting off genetic pools is also deterimental, especially if the idividual population falls below 100 individuals. Researchers in health conditions especially brachycephalic dogs are advising that cross breeding is the only way to save some breeds.
      I have kept commercial breed pigs and rare breed pigs. The only difference with the ones we had where that the pure breed pigs where more adapt to living outdoors, due to having more hair cover.
      The commercial pigs are bred to finish quickly and to live in big pig units, so having lots more hair would be a disadvantage, so this shows that they have been breed for that purpose and one could say, with success.
      Preserve heritage is a funny thing, as agriculture has only been around for a wink of an eye in evolutionary terms and humans intervention in breeding domestic animals and for agriculture account for about 1% or less in some species of these animals evolutionary time on the planet, so it is always questionable exactly who's heritage are you preserving ?
      Breeding in agriculture is usually breeding for an exaggeration(much like pure dog breeding), like high milk yield(most Dairy cows are pure Holstein and due to being bred and very inbred, for high milk yields, suffer poor immune systems etc), lots of eggs, lots of meat etc and uses both pure and crossing to acheive these goals and is not an holistic approach to breeding.
      Cross breeding should be looked at as a way to improve the general health and well being of dogs and actually looking at dogs as types rather than breeds might go some way towards this.

    2. I think pig breeders are more rational about pig breeding than dog breeders usually are about dog breeding.

    3. Why do we call all dogs "dogs"? We don't call all horses "stallions".

      We often call all cattle "cows" , and all people "men".

      Our language reveals old, very old, biases, and a glimpse into how life was very very long ago.

      Men once wrote of "men" meaning our whole species because women were so restricted that they stayed home much of the time, and often encounter roving men if they tried to flee, and women couldn't be in most professions anyway. CouncilMAN, deliveryMAN, policeMAN, postMAN, coachMAN, etc.

      Cattle are often called "cows" because few people kept a bull - you only need him for one minute per year.

      We call all dogs "dogs" because, in some places, especially with larger hunting breeds, few people were permitted to own a bitch. I wouldn't want to go back that direction.

      If one feels the need to place restrictions, one could place restrictions on the number of intact bitches per owner or per property. Or only show male dogs in conformation, which would reduce the number of bitch puppies hoarded by show breeders, where that is a problem. Because male dogs tend to fight more, females are often better pets for many people.

  43. You said:
    "Alternative views are the lifeblood of the free media because they generate interest and debate. Of course, I shouldn't have to tell you that.
    So Jemima that is rather the pot calling the kettle black because in your so called documentary in the 1 hour rant against pedigree dogs you only gave about 12 seconds for the Kennel Club to reply, hardly balanced is it.
    You went on to say
    "Very unsettled to learn that the Huff Post censors in this way ie. employed editors who turn down material because they can’t tolerate an alternative view to their own.
    I seem to recall thats what you do on this blog for the same reason.

    And again
    I mean, really, what’s the worst that can happen? Some people will agree with you; some people will agree with me. Don’t think the world will end.
    The thing is that more people will agree with them as their research for this is based wholly on fact and not hysterical hype.

    And again
    "Your piece was on an area I specialise in
    So what are your qualifications to "specialise" in this area"?

    And again
    and the comments to your piece make it clear that others interpreted it exactly the same way I have done. In other words, it is a fair challenge."
    That would be a first for you !

    And again
    "I’ll publish both pieces side by side on my blog (two million pageviews by the way…).
    Let’s see what my readers think."
    I doubt very much that you still have the same pageviews as you did in the early days and most of your so called readers are obviously looking for material for the stand up they are about to take part in.

    The research about pedigree v crossbreed health is irrefutable, even the Labradoodle Trust says that on their page.

    1. Anon 1208,

      What "stand up they are about to take part in"?

      When is it? Where? Are people going to bring their dogs, like a Million Man March? Or is it going to be indoors? Are only fit dogs welcome, or can pugs and pekes come in a pram? Do I need to sign up, or just show up?

  44. Um, what's a "so-called reader"?


    PDE/PDE2: 2 hours of television.
    Kennel Club: 42 years of completely uncritical, unchallenged, fawning coverage of Crufts.

    Pageviews: daily average now 2,000... more now than ever before.

    Censorship: almost every comment gets published - always the case.

    Labradoodle Trust simply lists all the problems that labradoodles can suffer from. It isn't evidence of anything.

    1. The same 2 thousand people evrry day looking to see what to argue over next.

    2. Jemima,

      Maybe Anon 1208 has a good idea? Maybe the people who want healthy dogs should have a march. During nice weather, of course.

  45. The Ladradoodle Trust says, "That any dog is suceptible to illness or disease."
    Qiute right they are in saying that and breeding is a numbers game. If you reduce genetic pools and especially if the pool have low founder population the chances of inherited disease is greater and their are numerous papers on this.
    So when an animal is crossed for the first generation, because they have little or no common ancestory the chances are lessened for inherited disorders. Note I said lessened, not that a cross breed won't have an inherited disorder.
    The Labradoodle was first crossed I believe for a purpose, not better health, but a dog that did not moult so much but could still be used as an helping or guide dog, so a holistic approach was not taken just like most pure breeding. Unfortunately two breeds where put together that both suffer to a higher than average for the general dog population with hip dysplasia.
    Unfortunately like pure breeding there is a lot of bad cross breeding and it is bad breeding that is the problem. People should get down from the preaching on both sides and work together instead of trying to score points from each other at any juncture.
    The KC are not censored and have more than enough time to make a program to counter the PDE ones. The fact that they only made a little comment on the first PDE, shows more that they are out of touch and thought the program would have little impact and the news would of been chip wrappers in a couple days. How wrong they where on that. I think it evoked 3 enquiries, one on behalf of the governament. Have you read them ?

    1. Usually crossbred dogs are healthier than purebred dogs.

      A Jug, a Rug, a Bug, a PRug, a Fug, a Dug, a Hug, a Lug, a Mug, a Nug, a Tug, a Quug, a Scug, a Spug, a Westug, all all likely to be healthier than a purebred Pug.

      Also more likely to be more healthy than a Pug are: Labugs, Goldugs, Poougs, Shepugs, Collugs, Boxugs, Staffugs, Schnugs, Pointugs, Greyugs, Whipugs, Beardugs, Shugs, Corugs, Dobugs, BCugs, and most other crosses too.

      I might not hold hope for improving puppies' health by crossing a Pug with a Bulldog, Peke, CKCS, or any heavy, wrinkly, or shorter legged dog, but I have seen pug X dachshund dogs which seemed to be an improvement over both purebreds, and I could still clearly see both parent breeds in the dogs.

      But, no person can say that 100% of the dogs will be healthy.

  46. And let's not forget Puggles, and PugPins. I notice that photos aren't in the comments, so if you want to see how very handsome a pug mix can be, take a gander at this cute little guy, whose image is in public domain (I think he is a PugPin, but it just says "mixed breed dog":


  47. JH: After rereading the lot, I think you're off base. I doubt " the Huff Post censors in this way ie. employed editors who turn down material because they can’t tolerate an alternative view to their own." It seems to me your article might well have been accepted if it were more succinct and to the point. Looks to me like JT pushed the button for a lecture on the downside of purity and the need for opening gene pools. Problem is, JT doesn't make the 'purity' argument. Her target is commercial mass production of fashionable cross breeds, and her advocy it 'get a rescue rather than a petshop (or internet distributor) puppy.

    btw., It's not clear, in your post, where proposed counter article ends. Your text begins in small italic font, and then the font gets bigger and bolder, but remains italicized. If the entire italic part is your comment it is way way too long...at least twice the length of the article it was commenting on. Otherwise it's just a bit too long.

    It's clear from comments that people want to talk about cross breeds and their advantages. Why not just write on that, rather than twisting JT's article and using it as a strawman?