Reverse snobbery

You know what I fucking hate? The idea that buying a purebred dog, even if it’s bred by a responsible breeder who screens, tests, trains and educates, is killing innocent pound puppies. I get it on the bulletin boards I’m on and casual comments elsewhere.

“Don’t buy from a breeder – adopt!”

“All breeders are causing this pet overpopulation!”

“Rescue – don’t breed!”

“How could you get a dog from a breeder when there are so many already needing homes?”

It used to be that purebred dog owners were the snobs, parading their fancy dogs in front of the lesser mongrels and mongrel-owners. Now it seems that everyone who ever plucked a dog out of the pound or SPCA deserves the Nobel Prize while people with the temerity to pick a dog whose background and breeding is likely to suit their lifestyle and goals should hang their heads in shame. At the very least, they should be proclaiming their intention to rescue “next time”, to make up for the terrible sin they made in the deliberate purchase of a delibrately bred dog.

Never mind that some breeders are nearly obsessive-compulsive about their breedings. Forget the fact that some of these people spend thousands of dollars to test their dogs clear of genetic disorders and demand that the dogs they breed to have the same tests proving that they are not afflicted. Ignore the part where these people never make money off of these dogs, because they are spending it all on the continued health and welfare of the animals that they breed.

While I agree that irresponsible breeders are causing the current overpopulation of dogs, I hardly think that ALL breeders are guilty of this sin. I have yet to see a dog from a reputable breeder in the adoption circuit for the simple reason that they screen owners and demand first refusal if the owner cannot or will not keep the dog. The people who buy from these breeders are not just looking for BreedX; they are looking for a member of BreedX that is less likely to fall prey to genetic disorders or develop weird temperament problems.

Rescue and adoption are terrific ways to get a pet. But they aren’t perfect. There are a lot of happy endings in the rescue world, but there are also a lot of horror stories too. You can’t save them all and sometimes when you try, you end up hurting more than you bargained for. Pain that all the fuzzy bunnies and rainbows that rescue/adopter enthusiasts throw at you can’t alleviate. Shibas are not a forgiving breed when it comes to neglect or abuse – you can end up with a dog who fear-bites or goes catatonic when faced with routine family life.

I’m not saying that people should not rescue dogs. I think that it’s a noble and responsible choice, especially for someone who has the time and knowledge to work past the quirks that a dog – especially a Shiba – can have acquired during a hard-knock life. And it is very often successful – there are many stories of successful adoptions and happy lives.

But it isn’t the answer for everybody. And if I decide to go a route which I believe will bring both me and the dog I introduce into my life the least pain and most happiness, I’m not going to feel guilty or responsible for someone else’s choice to breed irresponsibly.

Don’t Call Me A Pimp

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The Misanthropic Shiba

2 Comments

  1. If there were not breeders, dogs would go extinct. Extinct!!!

    While domestic-animal-extinction may be the ultimate goal of PeTA, I think most of the rest of us don’t want it.
    (And I’m someone who DID rescue a dog from a shelter).

  2. I have the 2 most wonderful mixed breed dogs in the world who I adopted from the SPCA as adults. One of them is part Shiba Inu, which is how I found The Misanthropic Shiba. They were both housebroken (the SPCA didn’t know that) and extremely well behaved. Either I’m very good at blindly picking dogs or very lucky. Or they picked me. The longer I live with them, the more I tend to believe that.

    That said…I have had some surprises from them. One of them is a little timid, and the other is an escape artist. Also, they are both double coated, and they shed twice a year on different schedules. (Doing the math…this is 4 complete “sheds” a year.) When I found this out, I bought a new vacuum and decided a little dog hair was no big deal between friends. You see, in my innocence when I adopted, I didn’t know about double coats.

    There is much to be said for a dog that is predictable in terms of temperament and appearance. But I must admit to a personal weakness for mystery mixes. And yes, I do pat myself on the back a little for adopting. But I don’t criticize people for buying purebreds. They really can be a much better fit for most people.

    Hopefully, as more and more people spay and neuter their pets, there won’t be so many mixed breeds needing homes.

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