Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Three million page views and a couple of mutts

Overnight, the PDE Blog achieved the milestone of having attracted three million page views since my first post on 11th November 2010 four and a half years ago.

Since then I have written 344 posts (including this one) and the blog now averages around 2,000 page views a day (less during quiet times, and up to 10,000 a day during busy times).

The big spike you can see above was the coverage of Crufts 2011 centering on the terrible state of the Neapolitan Mastiffs at that year's show -  A parade of mutants is the blog's 8th most read post of all time.

The most popular post remains World's first striped pug - in fact an April Fool, although an astonishing number of people still fall for it. Second is The bald truth about the Chinese Crested which explores how the dogs are shaved for the show-ring. A new entry in the PDE Blog Hall of Fame is The demise of the Great Dane - a post raising concern about the very heavy Eurodanes published just two months ago and already the 4th post popular post of all time.  At number 6 is Bull Terriers: head case which continues to attract a lot of interest (mostly from Bull Terrier owners outraged that I should suggest that there's anything wrong with distorting this breed's head into a joke).

There are quick-link references to all the most popular posts down the right hand side of the blog if you scroll down a bit.

Four posts that have attracted over 200 comments apiece:

Pedigree Dogs Exposed - Three Years On (285)
Bulldogs @ Crufts 2013 - Part 1 (263)
Huffington Post in a huff over mongrels (251)
A topline to die for (217)

And here's who has been reading it... thank you America.. ;-)

I recently had to close the Pedigree Dogs Exposed Facebook page because it was taking way too much of my time to moderate - but I will continue to write and maintain the blog as I feel there is a need for a continuing critical eye on the world of purebred (and other selectively-bred) dogs.  

My 'proper' job is as a TV producer is very demanding - and I am currently in the middle of making a  series for BBC2 exploring a new potential treatment for Parkinson's Disease; I also run a busy dog rescue and, currently, have eight dogs of my own to care for, train and walk. 

Some of you will already be familiar with my amazing Jake - a GSD/Doberman/Setter x, now 13 and still running like the wind - perfect heart, perfect joints and near-perfect hips - as was revealed recently when we took the opportunity to x-ray his hips when he was under sedation to check a foot injury. He's a clear outlier so can't claim much for his muttish good health - but it makes you realise what's possible for even big dogs (Jake is 32in tall).

This is Jake playing/running in slo-mo a few weeks ago. 

This is the youngest of my dogs - Curly Girlie (official name Gemma but the nickname has stuck). This was shot last Sunday on Salisbury Plain where we walk every day, rain or shine. Curly is three-quarters Irish Water Spaniel and a real delight; hopefully free of the litany of health problems suffered by the purebred IWS, although at only 18 months old, it is of course way too early to tell. I was a little tempted to keep her entire as I thought she might have something genetically to contribute to the breed if she proved her health - but in the end decided it was impractical in a multi-dog household (and with even my neutered males still very interested in in-season bitches). She was spayed two months ago.


  1. Congratulations on 3 mil views! When I read about your 3/4 IWS you filled my heart with hope that someone like you could introduce outcrossing to the breed but I appreciate the problems that would cause with all your other dogs. Do you know of any enlightened IWS breeder who is not burying their head in the sand and looking to save the breed in this way?
    My last two IWSs were offspring of supreme champions which I naively assumed would offer health and longevity. How wrong was I. I won't bore you with a list of their health issues but losing my most faithful companions at the tender ages of 7 and 9yrs was almost too much to bear.
    I'm keeping my fingers crossed that there is a glimmer of hope for the water spaniel in a downward spiral of inbreeding.

  2. Well done, Jemima, as always. Yours is the only dog blog I read anymore, not only because it has loads of great information - especially on the value of heterosis (high genetic diversity) in animals - but also because it's professionally conducted, and devoid of the petty power tripping and snippiness I see in other dog bloggers.

    Re: hip dysplasia
    No tetrapod (amphibian, reptile, bird, or mammal) species is immune to hip dysplasia, and even wild canids and mixed dogs can get it from time to time. Sometimes this has to do with how they're reared: confined to a crate most of the day, or running on slick floors. However, even if a dog does get proper activity, then closed-registry pure breeding (inbreeding) makes hip dysplasia more likely. "Breeding away" from it is helpful, but there's no substitute for heterosis. So, I'm not surprised your handsome boy, Jake, is so healthy. He's outbred, and lucky for it. I hope Curly is likewise lucky.

  3. Beautiful dogs. Wonderful lady. Thank you for all that you do.

    Jake is a fabulous dog and I would love to have a 'Jake' myself based on how he looks if I am honest. But he looks like a healthy and sound example of what a dog should look like. What is his temperament like?

  4. I was relieved to know that the FB page was closed - thought I'd been blocked. Keep up the excellent work - you are a voice of reason in the otherwise very strange world of dog breeding. Nice dogs too.

  5. Keep up the good work. I will also be interested in following your BBC series on Parkinson's. Thanks.

  6. And little Finland is fourth in the list of countries. But I think there is THE record as Finland has 5,5 Mill. inhabitants so every person has 62,3 pageviews and USA only 28 pageviews / person. ;)

  7. Gemma is such a beautiful dog! :)

  8. Oh, wow. Jake is gorgeous! And so lively. GSD mixes are always my favorite.