Dogs Should Only Be Bred With A Purpose

Jun 28, 2014 by

Dogs Should Only Be Bred With A Purpose

I want to talk about what it means to breed with a “purpose”. There are a lot of people who frequent I Love Responsible Dog Breeders who are very, VERY passionate about working dogs, sport dogs and performance breeds and to those people I tip my hat.

It takes a very motivated and dedicated person (and dog) to be truly successful in working trials and obedience competitions, dock diving, earth dog trials, fly ball, I could go on forever. And I would be remiss to not mention the thousands of hours service and guide dogs and their handlers put into becoming a cohesive team.  Their bond is amazing, no one would dispute that. There is no doubt in my mind that the continuation of these amazing breeds and bloodlines is safeguarded by knowledgeable, committed breeders who dedicate their lives to creating an animal that is balanced and able to perform its function.

But where does that leave the rest of us?

I take exception to the idea that having a dog whose main purpose is to act as a companion means that owners looking for a good pet should be shunted off to only look at rescue options.  The vast majority of dogs are companions first and foremost and there are entire breeds whose function is to be good company.

It is every bit as important to make sure you are breeding a Maltese that will be as sweet, loving and healthy to perform its function as it is to make sure you have a Border Collie with the drive to herd. I have Chihuahuas and I am very proud of the fact that mine are good tempered, well socialized and friendly. I worked really hard to train them and set them up for success in terms of the things I wanted but I am eternally grateful to my original Chihuahua’s breeder for creating a dog that was healthy so I had a great place to start. And I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that the world is currently FULL of poorly bred and dismally raised “Chihuahuas” that only marginally resemble the breed. I don’t think it’s right to say that because they have no working purpose it doesn’t matter if they’re bred with a goal in mind. Being bred to be a top-notch companion is a laudable goal in and of itself.

Most families who are looking to add a dog to their home are looking for a dog that will be a good buddy to their kids and a fun addition to their home life. And while many rescue dogs can fit that bill, people need to have options that allow them to choose a carefully bred example of a companion breed. That companion or toy dog cannot fulfill its purpose if no thought has been put into their physical soundness or temperament. This notion IS important! By encouraging and supporting the ethical breeders of ALL breeds to do the best they can and by validating that folks who put their energy into making a truly great Havanese or Coton de Tulear, we elevate the entire practise of dog breeding rather than choosing to privilege those whose passion lies only with performance breeds.

Ideally, every dog would come from a situation where someone put time and effort into making the very best litter of puppies they possibly can. As far as I’m concerned, this is as true for a litter of Belgian Malinois who will compete in French Ring as it is a litter of Shih Tzus who are destined to delight their families with their antics and silliness.

Regardless of where they came from, every dog has a purpose. Even if that purpose is being a pet.

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1 Comment

  1. Carole Olson

    Thank you for this article. I agree with you whole heartedly. I happen to have a Shih Tzu that fits our family perfectly and we got him from a great breeder of Shih Tzu and having bought him from her I am privy to a whole life time of information and advice regarding anything that might possibly come up with Eli….He is a happy, healthy, energetic little clown of a boy…He delights us even though he is a misbehaving little boy at times…He delights in taking his little ball and pushing it under a low lying table and when he tries to get it out and can’t he comes and gets me to get down on the floor and dig it out for him…ONLY TO DO it all over AGAIN!