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Mutts for the Win!
May 25, 2010 4:39 PM   Subscribe

Hey Spot! Good News! Finally, after 125 years of its existence, the American Kennel Club is letting mutts, or "All Americans," compete in AKC shows in their own category.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy (88 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
Entrance questionnaire:

Q. Who is a good dog?
___ Is it you?
___ Is it?
___ Is it Mama's little baby?
posted by Countess Elena at 4:48 PM on May 25, 2010 [99 favorites]


This mutts be the place.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:49 PM on May 25, 2010 [6 favorites]


And to think that in some countries these dogs are eaten.

(Let the Best In Show quote-off commence!)
posted by griphus at 4:52 PM on May 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


This is a Good Thing. It will lend credibility and prestige (for people who care about such things) to those of us who adopt mixed-breeds and shelter dogs.

Is this the thread where we show pictures of our mutts? Oh good.
posted by workerant at 5:00 PM on May 25, 2010 [7 favorites]


Better alert the millions of dogs roaming the streets of any number of towns in non-US territory: They're now American!

I don't think the Republicans will like this.
posted by not_on_display at 5:01 PM on May 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


I had to use the name "Spot" in the post title because my dog's name is Fanny and we would just get a lot of sniggering from the British.

I was happy to see this news because our girl, Fan, is a mix (3/4 English bulldog, 1/4 boxer) and we always said she would be a great show dog because she has wonderful charisma. She is probably too old for competition now-- she refuses to roll over unless there is soft carpeting underneath-- but there are a lot of fantastic mutts out there that deserve recognition.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:04 PM on May 25, 2010


Another indication of our falling standards under Obama.
posted by Postroad at 5:11 PM on May 25, 2010 [18 favorites]


This is great news, but I don't think anyone but the most hardcore dog-people will even notice a difference, since only Rally, Agility, and Obedience are open to mixed-breeds, and it really never made any fucking bit of sense to exclude mixed-breeds from those competitions in the first place.

On the other hand, the AKC happens to be having a Rally, Agility and Obedience show in my city this weekend, so I'll be rooting very hard for any mutts competing.

And that's a beautiful kiddo you've got, workerant. I'm partial to b&w mutts myself
posted by Ufez Jones at 5:11 PM on May 25, 2010 [7 favorites]


My understanding was "All American" refers to a fictitious team of Gridiron players such as would theoretically represent the USA in international competition. (We do it here with Aussie Rules too).

These All American players are the best of the best regardless of their team. The All American quarterback, for example, is the best there is. The Denver quarterback is only the best quarterback Denver has.

So the analogy would be that these guys, having no "team", aren't the best of breed, just really good at "agility, rally and obedience".

Why yes, I do like beans. Why do you ask?
posted by GeckoDundee at 5:13 PM on May 25, 2010


God loves a Labradoodle?
posted by ennui.bz at 5:13 PM on May 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've always wondered what would happen if you mixed certain breeds, like say, a Schnauzer with a Grey Pyrenees. Am I a monster?
posted by mreleganza at 5:14 PM on May 25, 2010


my dog's name is Fanny and we would just get a lot of sniggering from the British

Teehehehe, "Fanny".
posted by fight or flight at 5:17 PM on May 25, 2010


Pyrenee? Schnyrenee!
posted by swell at 5:25 PM on May 25, 2010


I've always wondered what would happen if you mixed certain breeds, like say, a Schnauzer with a Grey Pyrenees. Am I a monster?

You'd be an enemy of inbreeding, which would be non-monstrous! (Although many would prefer that you just cut their balls off.)

Great Pyrenees.
posted by Sys Rq at 5:27 PM on May 25, 2010


And the award for Best Thai Village Dog goes to... the yellow one with the mange!
posted by goatdog at 5:33 PM on May 25, 2010 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I'm seriously hoping that this will put a dent in inbreeding which is causing huge problems for breeds like Bernese Mountain Dogs, whose average lifespan has shortened from 10-12 years to 6-8 years mostly due to cancer.
posted by BrotherCaine at 5:34 PM on May 25, 2010


Oh great. As if the kennel clubs haven't done enough damage with their crimes against inbred purebred dogs. Now they want to get their filthy hands on the mutts as well.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 5:38 PM on May 25, 2010


If the AKC can make money off of show entries rather than puppy-mill papers, huzzah! Perhaps we'll see an end to that misery.

In related news, puppy mills do not seem to be slowing down.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 5:39 PM on May 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


When they have a leg-humping competition, then I'll be impressed.
posted by jonmc at 5:41 PM on May 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


Why not let the mutts compete in the beauty portion too? And let genetic stability be one of the criteria.
It seems like it would be more challenging to create a really quality mutt because there's more risk involved because you don't know what's going to happen. If you have to really good looking dogs you're pretty likely to get some more good looking dogs.
posted by amethysts at 5:42 PM on May 25, 2010


"All Americans?" I realize it's the American Kennel Club, but seriously?
posted by mwhybark at 5:45 PM on May 25, 2010


Who says Mutts want to compete in your fancy ass dog show, pal. Maybe we got better things to do.
posted by R. Mutt at 5:57 PM on May 25, 2010 [10 favorites]


By the way I didn't mean to imply that creating a quality mutt is a challenge because I really feel that mutts are the best kind of dog. I don't know what I'm saying anymore.
posted by amethysts at 5:59 PM on May 25, 2010


We wanted a mutt, really we did, but do you know how hard it is to find mixed-breed dogs any more? I remember (back in the day, y'know) when every grocery store had two or three sets of dirty-faced kids sitting outside them with a boxful of adorable little bastard pups. Now people make up their own breeds (peekachow, puggle, etc) and charge more than people want for purebreds.

Pfui.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 6:05 PM on May 25, 2010



We wanted a mutt, really we did, but do you know how hard it is to find mixed-breed dogs any more? I remember (back in the day, y'know) when every grocery store had two or three sets of dirty-faced kids sitting outside them with a boxful of adorable little bastard pups. Now people make up their own breeds (peekachow, puggle, etc) and charge more than people want for purebreds.

Pfui.


This is why all my dogs come from the side of the highway. It's where all the best puppies end up.
posted by dortmunder at 6:08 PM on May 25, 2010


We wanted a mutt, really we did, but do you know how hard it is to find mixed-breed dogs any more?

I'm sure your local animal shelter can set you up with a mutt that'll melt your heart, and not cost a mint. Seriously. Go visit your local animal shelter.
posted by spinifex23 at 6:17 PM on May 25, 2010 [6 favorites]


or your local alley.
posted by jonmc at 6:20 PM on May 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


Or the pound, better yet. Save an animal when you get a pet.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:24 PM on May 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


"Go visit your local animal shelter."

Went there first, as a matter of fact. No mixed-breeds under 20 pounds. The lady at the counter told us there was a waiting list. How weird is that? A waiting list at a shelter.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 6:25 PM on May 25, 2010


Finally, a chance for me to win best in show. I'm not a dog, but I am all American, and have been told that I'm a son of a bitch.
posted by klangklangston at 6:26 PM on May 25, 2010 [6 favorites]


Do they have a Piddle Under the Staircase competition?

If so, my dog's a shoo-in.
posted by darkstar at 6:29 PM on May 25, 2010


How weird is that? A waiting list at a shelter.

Ask a homeless guy.
posted by jonmc at 6:35 PM on May 25, 2010 [6 favorites]


Oh great. As if the kennel clubs haven't done enough damage with their crimes against inbred purebred dogs. Now they want to get their filthy hands on the mutts as well.

Isn't this a good thing, then? It seems like it would reduce the pressure for owners to create a overly-inbred line, however wrong-headed that practice is. In a few years it'll all be mutts, one can hope. And mutts are healthier and better looking!
posted by zardoz at 6:50 PM on May 25, 2010


YES! My Blue heeler mix and I are going to tear it up in the obedience ring. We've been practicing for years, but have never had a venue in which to compete.
posted by freshwater_pr0n at 6:52 PM on May 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


You know they're just calling them pointy-eared "mixed-breed" to get them mad enough to win.
posted by dhartung at 6:59 PM on May 25, 2010


A waiting list at a shelter.

Weird, but heartbreaking in its weirdness. If only more shelters had waiting lists. My family has adopted from shelters almost exclusively* for the last twenty-five years, and there were always many animals to choose from. The decision of which one to save has always been hard.

* With one break for a pair of medical experimentation cats, and one purebred cat from a breeder.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 7:08 PM on May 25, 2010


I've always wondered what would happen if you mixed certain breeds, like say, a Schnauzer with a Grey Pyrenees. Am I a monster?

Possibly the equivalent of the Basset Hound/German Shepherd cross my parents once encountered. (Take the GS head, tail, and coloring, then add BH torso and legs.) They were left with...certain questions...about how that had been physically possible.
posted by thomas j wise at 7:56 PM on May 25, 2010


A waiting list at a shelter.

Nowadays there are also a ton of rescue groups out there on top of all the shelters. Even the ones that focus on specific breeds get a ton of non-purebreds. It's a great place to get dogs.

Especially this one.
posted by inigo2 at 7:58 PM on May 25, 2010


A waiting list at a shelter.

I'm currently living in the Cayman Islands and we have a significant stray population, which is the result of a high number of dogs escaping/being abandoned after hurricanes, as well as cultural differences with the ways dogs are viewed here. On behalf of a local animal rescue organization my wife and I, and many others, have flown loads of mixed breed rescued dogs up to the USA for families who can't find good old fashioned mutts - especially in New York. Sometimes up to 15 (spayed/neutered) puppies/young dogs per flight. Dogs are either sent to families or to no-kill shelters - which we don't have here. I'm told nearly all dogs sent to shelters are adopted out within one week of arrival due to the high demand for rescued mutts.

Also, nothing makes US Customs agents smile like a ten pack of mutt puppies .....they normally hold us up for a few extra moments so that they can play with them.

If anyone in Florida or New York wants to adopt a mixed breed rescued dog from the Cayman Islands MeFI mail me and I'll pass you along to the secret underground dog railroad. If in New York many of the dogs are sent in co-ordination with the North Shore Animal League - who are truly wonderful folks. Or feel free to come down for a holiday, find a mutt at the CI Humane Society, and take it home....
posted by inflatablekiwi at 8:16 PM on May 25, 2010 [15 favorites]


Nowadays there are also a ton of rescue groups out there on top of all the shelters. Even the ones that focus on specific breeds get a ton of non-purebreds. It's a great place to get dogs.

We looked at a couple springer spaniel rescue organizations before we bought from a hunter who breeds his working dogs.

There are two problems I have with the rescue organizations. The first is the cost. They wanted between $200 and $400 in adoption fees, which is basically what we paid for our pup-of-known-provenance. I know that, in theory, they're only adopting out purebreds. But they couldn't provide papers (for the most part), and they had a waiting list for puppies. (Getting a puppy was important to us not for the cute factor, but for the no-bad-influences factor.)

Secondly, they wanted to come inspect our house. They wanted a fenced yard. No amount of telling them that we're moving to a farm in six months, and would take our dog to the park every day (which we do) was going to convince them. I understand why these requirements are in place. But the inflexibility is what killed it for us.

That said, show dogs (and their lines) aren't worth it to me. My family has taken to buying working dogs when we don't take in strays. And we've gotten absolutely the best dogs out of this approach.
posted by Netzapper at 8:27 PM on May 25, 2010


thomas j wise - I happen to own a German Shepherd/Corgi mix and down the street from me a neighbor has a Golden Retriever/Corgi mix. That Corgi got around!

Here's our Barney
posted by WASP-12b at 8:31 PM on May 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


That Corgi got a stepladder, is what he got.
posted by louche mustachio at 8:43 PM on May 25, 2010 [11 favorites]


Mutts, like my mom's very elegant (now mature lady-dog) Matilda are awesome. More mutty pics, please!
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:47 PM on May 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


Whatever. This means almost nothing to me.

Fuck the AKC. They can take their fucking breed standards and go directly to hell. They and their ilk have nearly destroyed canis lupus familiaris by mangling the bloodline with inane, arbitrary, utterly impractical and unworkable "breeding standards" that constitute a danger to the animals and an arrogant disregard for their worth and benefit to humans. The AKC seems to think that the fact that they don't pull some of the more ridiculous stunts that the British breeders pull (like, say, culling puppies) they're off the hook for their nutso adherence to pointless, impractical standards which render generations of animals helpless and undignified. If you've ever seen an AKC standard winning German Shepherd, you know what I'm talking about: a 'perfect' Shepherd by AKC qualifications is hardly able to walk, let alone run. And this incessant focus on individual characteristics which have been chosen apparently at random leads to a silly incestuousness that has watered down the canine gene pool until it's thousands of times smaller today than it was a hundred years ago.

Until the AKC stops holding breed-standard competitions entirely and starts endorsing crosses as the most beneficial and practical breeding method, they will not have an iota of my support. And I will continue to denounce them every chance I get.
posted by koeselitz at 8:56 PM on May 25, 2010 [20 favorites]


Oooh, dogs...

‘Stop ranting, grandpa – look at the puppies!’ Oh, all right...
posted by koeselitz at 9:04 PM on May 25, 2010


Fuck the AKC. They can take their fucking breed standards and go directly to hell.

Honestly, that's pretty much how I feel. I'm sure there's some good they've done, but in comparison to the nastiness, it's pretty paltry.
posted by Forktine at 9:07 PM on May 25, 2010 [3 favorites]


More mutty pics, please!

Here's our Charlie!
posted by misozaki at 9:16 PM on May 25, 2010 [3 favorites]


mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey: We wanted a mutt, really we did, but do you know how hard it is to find mixed-breed dogs any more?

As hard as replying to a Freecycle ad, for my 10-1/2wo boy Dexter. Or Craigslist. Or the city paper. Or cardboard ads alongside residential roads. Or paper ads in grocery store exit chambers. Or putting out the word amongst your friends.

Seriously, how hard can it be? As hard as finding a perfect three-leafed clover? Or a lucky rabbit with all four feet still attached? As hard as picking a non-winning lottery combination, I'd bet.

--

My philosophy: Saving a dog - any dog, mixed-breed or purebred - is a good thing. Supporting a puppy mill is A Bad Thing. Don't buy from freaking pet stores!
posted by IAmBroom at 9:24 PM on May 25, 2010 [5 favorites]


Fuck the AKC.

I agree. Between their ultimately inhumane promotion of physically damaging breed traits and their pretty direct support of puppy mills (by refusing to make requirements for papers more stringent), they are a nightmare of an organization.

I'm pretty sure that based on their history this is just another grab at money and has zero to do with promoting the welfare of any breed, or non-breed in this particular case
posted by newpotato at 9:36 PM on May 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


More mutty pics, please!

Oh, ok. Here's our mutt Hope! She's awesome, but we have no idea what she is.
posted by pkingdesign at 9:52 PM on May 25, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'm pretty sure that based on their history this is just another grab at money and has zero to do with promoting the welfare of any breed, or non-breed in this particular case

newpotato, my first thought was, "Hmm, I wonder what's in it (financially) for them?".

And it's still my thought. They aren't doing this out of philanthropy. Nor "philancanity".
posted by IAmBroom at 10:06 PM on May 25, 2010


Here's one of my mutts doing his thing from last night. He's a Chicago pound rescue, and around fourteen years old now, and deaf as a post. Has Cushing's Disease, too. But still a good dog, and still willingly poses for photos.
posted by davejay at 10:15 PM on May 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well, I don't know about obedience, and maybe we have a crack at agility, but if they have an event for being awesome, Zsuzsa is a definite contender.
posted by bumpkin at 10:17 PM on May 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


More mutty pics, please!

Mutt Considered As An Overstuffed Burrito.

Also known as "Midge."

Other aliases include "Combat Wombat," "Shortopotamos," "Dog loaf," and "Roomba."
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 10:28 PM on May 25, 2010 [3 favorites]


I once adopted the puppy of a Rottweiler/Dachshund pairing. The dachshund was the father, I have no clue how that went down, but I imagine it involved at least a box of Franzia. The Dachtweiler as I liked to call the breed never grew to be much larger than his dachshund father, but he was incredibly muscled for his size.
posted by nulledge at 10:52 PM on May 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Nulledge, that sounds adorable! Please tell me you've got some pics to post. (Of The Dachtweiler, of course. Not of the, erm, pre-Dachtweiler festivities.)
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 10:55 PM on May 25, 2010


No surviving pictures that I'm aware of. I sadly did not have that dog very long, he find and ate a pewter mini. This was before I discovered the virtues of crate training. I still feel feel horrible at his loss. Right now I only have access to incredibly cute photos of purebred dogs. Myself, I'm a rescue guy, but the dogs were a package deal with the fiancee.
posted by nulledge at 11:04 PM on May 25, 2010


.

(For the Dachtweiler.)

(And FWIW, the corgi mix whose picture I posted above has eaten things many times worse than a pewter mini, and has lived to tell the tale. This is despite vigilance, crate training, and avid dog-proofing. She is smart and devious, and we've been really damned lucky. We nearly lost her after the time she knocked over the hamper and speed-snarfed 2 pairs of my underwear. . .)
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 11:16 PM on May 25, 2010


koeselitz, newpotato, et. al: absolutely - but isn't this precisely the sign that the various and similar dog-breeding authorities' crypto-fascist systems of rules (which are, of course, their very raison d'être) are coming apart?

Dogs were destined to be mutts - even only this niche recognition of that basic fact seems something to root for. It's just not going to be possible to force the hand on mutt "standards" - or is there something I am missing?
posted by progosk at 11:31 PM on May 25, 2010


Oh sure, now that the best dog in the world is 13 and doesn't want to compete. Thanks a lot AKC!
posted by stormpooper at 5:12 AM on May 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Our mutt.
We found her on petfinder.com. We live in the city and get around by bike & subway, so we wanted a dog that was around 20lbs but had trouble finding a small dog in the local shelters.

Have any of you mutt owners tried the DNA tests that are showing up in pet stores? We have no idea what breeds our dog is (my guess is she's 15th generation mutt) but we're curious.
posted by Drab_Parts at 5:14 AM on May 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


There are two problems I have with the rescue organizations. The first is the cost. They wanted between $200 and $400 in adoption fees, which is basically what we paid for our pup-of-known-provenance.

I paid $260 for our girl. The fees went to funding for their trips down south to pick her and other dogs up and bring them north for adoption. She'd have been killed in the West Virginia shelter where they found her. She was very shy. She had mange. She was skinny and her ribs stuck out. She had brown crust covering her nose and little red sores on her belly. And she smelled bad. When I took her out for a test walk at the shelter, she literally ducked in terror from a moth. It was love at first sight. After I brought her home, she wouldn't leave my bedroom for a week. I had to bring her dinner to her.

When I started dating Mr. Llama, she'd watch us from the doorway as we watched movies. You'd look up, and you'd see half of a little black face peering in.

She's recovered from her neurosis, by the way, into a really nice, confident dog. She's still a little shy with new people and a little skittish sometimes but she's come a long, long way. I remember the first time she let a stranger pet her, I was really proud of her and you could tell she felt like she'd really accomplished something, looking at me me like, Did you see? Did you see?

I love dogs.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 5:51 AM on May 26, 2010 [8 favorites]


God loves a Shih-Poo.
posted by ThaBombShelterSmith at 6:06 AM on May 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


There is no Dog.

Wait, this isn't the latest Richard Dawkins thread? Nevermind.
posted by tommasz at 7:03 AM on May 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


More mutty pics, please!
Buddy!
posted by SAC at 7:05 AM on May 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


OK, I'm a Cat Person but this post has been full of squee!

I always thought part of the idea of rescue societies charging so much (beyond supporting more rescues, including some that will never get adopted) was to make sure you were really committed. I've seen too many "free" pets that just wound up at a shelter because of unexpected costs.
posted by JoanArkham at 7:35 AM on May 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Mutts are the best. I'd only have mutts except for the 8 week old Springer Spaniel puppy my daughter found on the side of the road three years ago. Nobody ever claimed him despite every effort we could make and, well, like I said, that was three years ago. I confess: none of my dogs were planned dogs.

Mutty pics? Meet Perdita, who appeared at my door one morning a little over a year ago, looks kind of like a Rhodesian ridgeback, acts exactly like every happy floppy plott or coonhound I've ever known and of whom even the vet says "Um. Well. Maybe some lab? A little chow? Some shepherd? Who knows?!"
posted by mygothlaundry at 7:43 AM on May 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


koeselitz, newpotato, et. al: absolutely - but isn't this precisely the sign that the various and similar dog-breeding authorities' crypto-fascist systems of rules (which are, of course, their very raison d'être) are coming apart?

Worst. Use of "crypto-facist". Ever.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:56 AM on May 26, 2010


Grrrrriswold!
posted by functionequalsform at 8:38 AM on May 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Now listen, you mutt owner, stop calling my system of dog breed judging crypto-Nazi or I’ll sock you in you goddamn face and you’ll stay plastered.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:45 AM on May 26, 2010


Worst. Use of "crypto-facist". Ever.

Pope Guilty, you're quite right - I should of course have written "crypto-Nazi", though that seemed an even uglier term. Have you watched the linked BBC programme? Its examination of the Kennel Club's eugenics policies was one of the main points.
posted by progosk at 8:59 AM on May 26, 2010


I was in such a bad mood when I got on Mefi this morning, and then I got here and had the fortune of cooing over a ton of mutts! Fixed my morning straight away it did. Thanks y'all. Perked me up more than a cup of coffee.

And here's me throwing my hat in the obligatory, obvious but necessary "puppymills are evil mmk?", treating dog breeds as fashion labels is gross, etc. ring. Yeah. We've got a couple friends here who drink the Kool-Aid wholesale on that shit and it makes me livid, to a point I have to actually excuse myself sometimes when they get too disgusting in conversation about it. Big surprise, they're also the couple who's tried to get pets from not-standard-humane-society-ish shelters and, cough, returned said animals like pairs of shoes or lamps that didn't go with their decor. One time when they had already committed to a dog and were struggling, they were out, happened to come across what they considered a cuter puppy at a shelter-day-event, and actually for a moment considered returning first dog for second. Made my husband and I both sick. And they did end up giving up first dog anyway. And were at least once during the process like "if she'd beeen cuter maybe it would have been worth taking all that effort and time training her, but she wasn't cute enough to make her craziness worth it." Ugh. And drum roll...they're still considering getting another dog now. The girl also wanted for her birthday to get a purebred cat from a breeding mill despite knowing how fucked up that is because she just had to have that kind of cat and no other. She said she'd make up for it by donating the same amount, in the many hundreds of dollars iirc, to the humane society or something. But, just UGH.

Sigh. Getting too annoyed now remembering people like this are everywhere and actually believe they are animal lovers. Puke. Must resume looking at awesome mutts to lower my blood pressure...
posted by ifjuly at 9:02 AM on May 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've always wondered what would happen if you mixed certain breeds, like say, a Schnauzer with a Grey Pyrenees. Am I a monster?

I've always wanted to cross a chihuahua with a St. Bernard. Mainly because, in my imagination, I end up with a dog that retains the exact look and proportions of the chihuahua but the size of the Bernard. I'd get him a t-shirt that said "¡Yo quiero mas, mucho mas Taco Bell!" and hang outside of the restaurants menacing people getting orders to-go.

But, I can assure you, that I most certainly am a monster, so YMMV.
posted by quin at 10:29 AM on May 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


I watched that BBC documentary when it was on the telly and said that I am never ever getting a purebred/show-type dog. Not that I've ever really wanted one, but seeing the genetic issues and deformities was just unbelievable, and then to see people defending their breeding practices!
Our family dog is a dabrador, that is a mix between a labrador and a dalmation. Perhaps labmation is a better word.

Before him we did have a pedigree dog, with papers and everything, she was great too, but the runt of the litter, I think we got her for free.
posted by Fence at 10:37 AM on May 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Proud owners of an elderly chug, adult chin-pin, and still-pretty-much-a-puppy chiweenie dog(chachshund?) here. Sorry, don't have any pictures handy at the moment. All rescue dogs. We think the youngest was abused - he's extremely nervous and has horrible separation anxiety, even after over a year of living with us. We'll never give any of them up except to their maker, though!
posted by owtytrof at 2:12 PM on May 26, 2010



Chiweenie! Chiweenie! Chiweenie!

(It's just fun to say.)
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 4:13 PM on May 26, 2010


This is Mika. She's a Eurasier-Norwegian Elkhound cross.
posted by Mitheral at 5:53 PM on May 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


This thread is so great! I love looking at all your wonderful dogs!
posted by Greg Nog at 8:24 AM on May 27, 2010


There are two problems I have with the rescue organizations. The first is the cost. They wanted between $200 and $400 in adoption fees, which is basically what we paid for our pup-of-known-provenance. I know that, in theory, they're only adopting out purebreds. But they couldn't provide papers (for the most part), and they had a waiting list for puppies. (Getting a puppy was important to us not for the cute factor, but for the no-bad-influences factor.)

Secondly, they wanted to come inspect our house. They wanted a fenced yard. No amount of telling them that we're moving to a farm in six months, and would take our dog to the park every day (which we do) was going to convince them. I understand why these requirements are in place. But the inflexibility is what killed it for us.


What do you need papers for?
I won't get into the puppy vs older dog here because I've done it before. But.

Frankly, I guess this is a difference between me and you, but I consider all those things features not bugs. A lot of rescue groups ARE very picky about who they send dogs to, because they very regularly see first hand what bad owners do. Those adoption fees? They've got two purposes -- to pay the costs that the group has, in operations and food and boarding and everything else for the rescued dogs, and to really make sure that the person adopting the dog isn't just doing it on a whim. They end up with so many dogs that people pretty much got on a whim, and then decided they didn't want so the dog was just left on the street.

And as for inspecting your house? Well, yeah. They're not just going to send a dog to some random crappy location. They tend to want to make sure it's a good fit for both the dog AND the owner. Just because you're going to move to a farm and be the perfect owner, doesn't mean that everyone or even most people will be. The rescue groups look after the dog first, and if they miss out on an adoption or two while NOT putting more than a few dogs in bad situations, than so be it.

As for inflexibility, well, I guess that depends on the rescue group. They see so much bad stuff, they're going to want to be confident. Just because you say things, doesn't make them true to them. Want to make them trust in you? Don't just tell them, volunteer with the group, do things to help them out. I don't mean donating money,
but going to adoption shows, helping them transport dogs, help foster dogs, etc etc etc.

Hopefully this is coherent. Stupid Miller Lite.
posted by inigo2 at 7:43 PM on May 27, 2010


A l s o .
posted by inigo2 at 7:54 PM on May 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


What do you need papers for? I won't get into the puppy vs older dog here because I've done it before.

I said nothing about papers. We threw ours away.

But, the reason I wanted a puppy with a known history is that I didn't want to undo the psychological damage of the abuse and neglect many adopted dogs have. I've been there and done that for my entire pre-adult life. We got a couple of goof dogs, and a whole bunch of them that frankly annoy the shit out of me. I have neither the inclination nor time to play doggy psychiatrist.

Anyway, as I said, I understand why the breed adoption organizations act like they do. And, hey, they had the desired effect: I haven't put their dog in a suboptimal environment.

Of course, they've also defeated their larger goals, as I've purchased a dog instead of adopting at all.
posted by Netzapper at 10:25 AM on May 28, 2010


Of course, they've also defeated their larger goals, as I've purchased a dog instead of adopting at all.

In your specific case maybe, but with a lot of organizations, statistically it's better to do it the way they do for several reasons. One, owner's who aren't prepared for a particular breed are often going to bounce the dogs back anyway (especially really active breeds like GSPs). Secondly, they are going to get more volunteers and donations if they are obviously careful about how they treat their dogs.

Personally, I kind of half-agree with you on this, because when you step back and look at not just the dogs in the care of a particular organization, you start to realize that there are always more dogs in need of a home, not adopting out faster means you have to limit intake, and this applies to no-kill shelters/organizations too, where effectively they are just outsourcing the hard moral decisions to other organizations by not intaking the compromised or problem dogs.
posted by BrotherCaine at 2:27 PM on May 28, 2010


Please ignore the superfluous apostrophe.
posted by BrotherCaine at 2:28 PM on May 28, 2010



I said nothing about papers. We threw ours away.
...
But they couldn't provide papers (for the most part)
posted by inigo2 at 3:20 PM on May 28, 2010


I said nothing about papers. We threw ours away.
...
But they couldn't provide papers (for the most part)


Oh, I did say something about papers. Mea culpa. I guess I didn't mean it in the sense of defined pedigree, just as shorthand that the springer spaniel rescue took the position that "well, it looks like a springer, must be one".

The pedigree itself is meaningless to me. But what was meaningful, and why I went with a purebred instead of a mutt or mix, is that I wanted predictable behavior patterns--not the looks, the behavior. A heeler bred to a spaniel might produce a dog that looks mostly like a spaniel, but it's a crapshoot whether or not it'll have the hunting instincts or temperament of a spaniel. With an adult dog, you can observe the dog and see how it acts--assuming it hasn't been punished for expressing its instincts, or just simply abused. With a puppy, well, it acts like a puppy. Meeting the parents is ideal for a puppy, but this is almost universally impossible with the breed rescues.

Personally, I think the AKC's failing is that breed standards are defined mostly on the basis of looks. Certainly, there is an aesthetic component to dog breeding--I love my boy's big, floppy ears and his butt feathers. But, what's more interesting to me is the inbred behaviors in the various lines of dogs. This is often explicitly bred out of show dogs. Which is tragic, since people assume show dogs to be exemplars of their breed, and seek out their offspring for pets.

For instance, cocker spaniels used to be hunting dogs. I have a flushing-spaniel training book from the turn of the (last) century that extols the virtues of small-game hunting with a brace of four or five cocker spaniels. It goes on at some length about the experience, describing the exuberance with which a brace of cockers will work enormous amounts of cover in short order. [Incidentally, he's definitely not using "cocker spaniel" to refer to springers, as there's a separate chapter for springers.]

This experience is, I believe, essentially not replicable today. Every cocker spaniel I meet at the dog park just totters around looking goofy. They'll certainly play with other dogs, and some of them are quite high energy. But they'll all look on in boredom as my springer flushes robins and doves (and leaves, and sticks, and pinecones). I've read that there are a few breeders trying to bring back a field line cocker. More power to them!

But I'm sure that if they'll successful, they'll fall into the same AKC-marginalized ghetto as springer breeders. My dog is "purebred", and could have been papered had I wanted to support the AKC. But he's unshowable and non-conformant: his ears are too big, his snout too long, his tail docked wrong (I would've preferred no dock, but was too late), and most damning, is mostly white with big spots instead of 50% dark markings.

But, the thing is, he is a springer in a way I feel that most of the showdogs are not. He is fit to the purpose for which the breed was invented. A show springer is, most often, a springer-shaped shell over the generic showdog temperament. And that's a fucking tragedy.

[It's also interesting to note that a dog bred from two AKC-registered parents of breed X will also be considered of breed X, and can be further bred with another X to produce offspring of breed X. This is true regardless of the amount of genetic drift. Find the right dogs with the right genes, and you can breed AKC-registered, short-legged, blue merle standard poodles.]
posted by Netzapper at 5:18 PM on May 28, 2010


Every cocker spaniel I meet at the dog park just totters around looking goofy.

DON'T YOU TALK 'BOUT MY COCKER LIKE THAT!
posted by inigo2 at 8:44 PM on May 28, 2010


Netzapper: “For instance, cocker spaniels used to be hunting dogs. I have a flushing-spaniel training book from the turn of the (last) century that extols the virtues of small-game hunting with a brace of four or five cocker spaniels. It goes on at some length about the experience, describing the exuberance with which a brace of cockers will work enormous amounts of cover in short order.”

I suspect that you're mistaking traits imparted by upbringing and nurturing for breed traits. I say that for several reasons; for one thing, I've met those same dull, glass-eyed cocker spaniels, and it's pretty clear to me that their despondency has very little to do with their parentage and everything to do with how they're treated. Furthermore, the simple fact is that there weren't pure bloodlines along which particular breeds descended a hundred years ago; a century ago, the bloodlines were much more impure, and given to more intermixing. My perception is that the notion of pure bloodlines is one which is generally a fiction. In the specific case of the cocker spaniel, given that no one even tried to establish any kind of pedigree for the cocker spaniel until around the time your book was published, it seems fair to assume that the particularities of cocker spaniels at the time were not particularities of a single distinct breed but rather the particularities of a collection of similarly-shaped animals which were all raised and trained in the same fashion.

Because of this, I don't really think papers mean very much at all.
posted by koeselitz at 9:32 PM on May 28, 2010


for one thing, I've met those same dull, glass-eyed cocker spaniels, and it's pretty clear to me that their despondency has very little to do with their parentage and everything to do with how they're treated...My perception is that the notion of pure bloodlines is one which is generally a fiction...it seems fair to assume that the particularities of cocker spaniels at the time were not particularities of a single distinct breed but rather the particularities of a collection of similarly-shaped animals which were all raised and trained in the same fashion.

A counter-example to your training argument is my current springer spaniel, who has chased birds since he was about four months old. He doesn't chase squirrels, nor rabbits, nor raccoons--he just stares at them, and whuffs a little bit. He chases birds. And he'll run himself dead chasing them. Similarly, he runs, without any direction, a typical spaniel quartering pattern. It's not a random checking-stuff-out pattern (as based on my daily observations of many other dogs, including ones of similar temperament and age), nor is he wandering off for his own exploration. He's working a clear quartering pattern, centered on me, that rarely extends beyond shotgun range in open field.

I didn't train him on birds, and I definitely didn't work on quartering. We got him at 11 weeks, and the breeder didn't work with him at all. He didn't even release him from the dog run, which was definitely not full of birds for the parents to teach him on. Without that you believe dogs communicate abstractly between one another, I can't see any way this birdiness is not inborn.

The way I reckon it is this: you can show me a dog and say "this is a flushing spaniel, who will work in x, y, and z ways." Then, you can provide two kinds of evidence: you can promise real hard; or you can show that his parents, grandparents, and great grandparents did their work well. You show this about his ancestors by keeping records and, perhaps, having competitions with other people whose dogs work in the same way. Keep enough of these records, and they turn into a pedigree. The AKC doesn't enter into this; I'd happily accept yours, dad's, and grandpappy's handwritten note cards. My point is just that breeding for behavior is both possible and, in my opinion, more desirable than breeding for aesthetics. It just so happens that the field and hunting trials in the US require AKC registration, so in selecting a dog whose parents could hunt, we also got a dog who's "purebred".

And, really, you're going to tell me that herding dogs don't display herding behavior? Even show-line Australian shepherds who've never seen livestock in their lives will herd anything that moves, and, to greater or less extents, get agitated when groups of any animal (including humans) are split up.

Also, mind you, this all has fairly little application to dogs whose purpose is just to be pets. If you have a pet dog because you want a furry friend, with no further expectations, that's fine, and breeding almost certainly does not matter in the slightest. I've had many fine mutts. I'm just talking about working dogs.
posted by Netzapper at 12:14 AM on May 29, 2010


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