Hating Dog Breeders Is Cool Now

Jan 27, 2015 by

Hating Dog Breeders Is Cool Now

In case you haven’t already heard, the domain name registration and web hosting company Go Daddy has released a commercial that, perhaps inadvertently, paints a bad picture of dog breeders.  The commercial, which is certainly doing its job and getting the amount of attention that the company would have hoped for, is creating waves in the dog community. But if nothing else, the conversations that accompany this ad shines light on the fact that the public perception of dog breeders is steadily worsening. And we need to do something about it now.

 

I work directly with dogs and owners on a daily basis. When I meet a new client, one of the questions I usually ask them is where they got their dog. Many people in my area have gotten their animals from rescues. I live in a part of the United States that receives more rescue animal shipments than any other region. My state was one of the first to modify legislation in the interest of preventing a constant flow of sick and parasite infested animals from being adopted out before they had been checked over by a veterinarian. There has been a near constant push and shove between rescues and legislators here, though most of it happens out of the eyes of the general public.

 

What the general public is seeing, however, is much much worse. My state is also on the crux of approving legislation drafted to prevent pet stores from selling puppies. If Facebook comments and “likes” are indicative of the general public’s opinion on pet stores, this legislation is being welcomed to the state with open arms. But, once again, there are other things going on behind the scenes. When I ask dog owners where they purchased their dog, I also often hear “from a breeder” or “from a pet store”. And, though I can’t accurately count how often this happens, this revelation is frequently followed with “but I know I should have rescued one.”

 

So what does this mean? It means that people are still willing to make what they believe is an immoral decision so that they can have the kind of dog that suits their lifestyle. It means that we still need dog breeders.

 

With that in mind, let’s go back to the Go Daddy commercial for a minute. There are a handful of ways that this commercial can be interpreted, and a five minute session of scrolling through YouTube comments reveals that most people are upset about it- they just aren’t all upset for the same reason.

 

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Breeders aren’t happy with Go Daddy because the commercial shows a neglectful owner leaving a bunch of puppies in the back of a pickup truck, drop one, and then immediately hand it over to the first buyer as soon as the puppy miraculously shows up after traveling back to its family.

 

Breeder haters aren’t happy with Go Daddy because they believe the commercial says that breeders are encouraged to use Go Daddy.

 

Read that again.

 

The animal rights groups have us all so turned around about what is really happening in the world that nobody who hates dog breeders questions the treatment of the puppy. Nobody is able to separate abuse and neglect from dog breeding. In fact, if you remember last January, another ad created quite a stir when a puppy from a breeder was portrayed as a rescue dog in a Budweiser commercial. It is officially politically correct to hate dog breeders.

 

I will add here that I don’t think Go Daddy is dog savvy enough to know what kind of politics they were getting involved with when they made that commercial. I think the intention is much different than the way that breeders and breeder haters are taking it. It was meant to be a blunt and offensive spin off the aforementioned Budweiser commercial. But it doesn’t seem that anyone in the advertising department took into consideration how wide the gap between dog breeders and rescues has become. They probably are not aware of it, just as they are not aware of how sensitive either side has become to attacks on their image.  The more time I have spent as an admin of ILRDB, the more I feel like I have stepped into a war zone. I find that both sides often have justifiable opinions, both sides are rife with extremes that make us all look crazy, both sides include ignorant mean spirited people who seem to have only joined the fight to be as vindictive as possible.

 

So this is the problem…and now we need a solution. What action can be taken to help the image of dog breeders?

 

1) Think critically first, emotionally second: This is the first the most difficult step. If you see a picture of a bunch of dogs in a crowded dirty pen, ask questions before you pass judgment.
Remember Niobrara Great Danes, the breeder that was harassed by an internet activist for having a bunch of dogs living in muddy conditions? When proof came out that the photos were staged by an angry friend while the breeder was in the hospital, a lot of people ended up with foot-in-mouth syndrome. This is the same lesson we’ve been taught since we were kids and for some reason we’re still having trouble learning it- think before you speak.

 

2) Talk to your kennel clubs about positive PR: I spent a few hours listening in on a phone conference with APRI representatives about how to help the image of dog breeders and persuade legislators to protect the rights of dog breeders.

 

This is a conversation that the AKC has been decidedly absent from. The biggest name in purebred and well-bred dogs in the United States seems reluctant to campaign for the people that support them. Yes, the AKC has a part in fighting legislation occasionally. But a group with so much reach should be doing so much more, in my humble opinion. Let’s figure out a way to help them do it, or just do it ourselves if they are unwilling to.

 

3) Attend AKC Meet the Breed events: I know I just said a few not-so-nice things about the AKC’s lack of involvement in the campaign for dog breeders, but this is an equally important issue.

 

I learned a lot of what I know about dogs from the Meet the Breed events at my local pet expo. A lot of dog breeders tend to assume that potential or uneducated dog owners can come talk to them at shows and learn all they need to know there, but I personally hate interrupting somebody while they are obviously prepping a dog for show, and I know the general public would feel even more out of their element in such an atmosphere. Dog shows just don’t attract crowds like pet expos do.

 

Donate your and your dog’s time to sit for a few hours and educate people. Yes, you are going to hear some things will frustrate you to no end. Yes, you might have to listen to the same comment (“I heard Border Collies are great pets because they are the smartest dog!) over and over again. Just do it. Grin and bear it and give at least one person a reason to think that dog breeders are not as awful as they have heard.

 

4) Advertise: Advertise your puppies absolutely everywhere that will allow you to do so. Facebook, Kijiji, Puppyfind, Ebay, Hoobly.

 

I know some of you are gasping for breath at the mere thought of putting your precious dogs on a classified site, but this absolutely NEEDS to start happening. The only experience that the public is getting with “responsible” dog breeders right now is through a television. They see sporting events or conformation shows with fancy dogs that are so far removed from their reality that it never even occurs to them that they could be the proud owners of a show dog’s sibling. Good. Breeders. Need. To. Advertise.

 

You can’t get mad at Joe Schmo for buying a poodle from somebody you don’t like when you never gave Joe a way to reach you instead. Don’t expect people who are not dog savvy to know where to look to find a dog. And don’t think that just because they aren’t as dog savvy as you that they can’t be educated. Take time to explain your breed to them. Be an advocate for purebred and well-bred dogs and dog breeders.

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Photo Credit: JB Photography https://www.flickr.com/photos/jbphotography/

 

5) Write to your legislators: This is the one that everyone hates doing because it’s time consuming.

 

The reason technology in this day and age is so wonderful is that you can force absolutely anyone to listen to what you have to say. (Proof positive- you just sat through a 1500 word blog post and you don’t even know my real name!) If you don’t like how things are going for dog breeders in your town or state, let the legislators know about it. Be your own defense- DO NOT wait for somebody to defend you.

 

If you need help, reach out to local kennel clubs, Facebook groups, or ILRDB. We are more than happy to help guide anyone in the right direction when it comes to fighting legislation that harms dog breeders. And if you are personally being targeted, there is always The Calvary Group. The point is that there are a lot of options for dog breeders to make themselves heard- please take advantage of them.

 

It may be politically correct to hate dog breeders right now, but I think this is just yet another sign that dog breeders should stick together and fight for their rights before it is too late.

(Since the creation of this article, Go Daddy has removed the advertisement and will not be airing it during the Super Bowl).

 

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20 Comments

  1. Bob

    There’s no political agenda required to be a responsible breeder. Most people don’t realize that it’s a love for producing healthier and more sound animals, with better temperaments, that is the sole goal of a responsible breeder.(RB’s) RB’s don’t make money. They invest decades of their lives in producing healthier animals. Most people don’t know that genetic issues don’t show up much before 3 years old. RB’s guarantee their dogs for life. But a puppy from a rescue ( yes, you will pay hundreds of dollars) and you get a 30 day guarantee — maybe. In a few years, when you have your family member come down with some genetic issue, that you now have to medicate for the next 10+ years, the savings over the price of a dog from a RB is long gone.
    Rescuing a dog is a wonderful thing. You can brag about it to all your friends, and get pats on the back for being s nice person, but if everyone stopped shopping at the “Price” store and went with the health provided by a RB, most of those rescues wouldn’t be there to begin with.
    Many dogs wind up rescues because they’re not the right breed for that person’s lifestyle. RB’s make sure that their dogs go to hoes that are educated about the breed, and know what they’re in for. On top of that, there is ALWAYS a return clause in an RB’s contract, saying that the dog MUST be returned to them if for any reason you can’t keep it.

    • KK

      what an excellent point!!! Coming from both sides… running a purebred rescue and having waited THREE YEARS for my well-bred puppy from an RB I hear it all the time, especially from other rescuers who are anti-breeder. People really need to realize this!!!

  2. No birth is the first step toward extinction. Breeders are the people who truly love dogs. They devote their lives and resources to preserve the many breeds of dog developed by every tribe and nation of the world. Animal rights activists hate dogs and people. It’s the only rational explanation of their behavior.

    • Farm Dog

      Hi Cindy,
      We know. That photo was just used to prove a point.

      Farm Dog

  3. Joan Parisi

    I am not a breeder. That said, I wouldn’t buy a dog from anyone other than a breeder. I want a PUREBRED dog. I want to know, within reason, what size my puppy will be, what kind of coat s/he will carry. I want to know what health tests have been done and I want a dog that has been well bred, well socialized and will fit in with my lifestyle. So far as I know, I’m still living in a country that allows me free choice, therefore, I will always have a purebred and anyone else is free to have any thing that they choose.

  4. Firstly,I am responsible breeder! It is in my contract that I have first refusal if the puppy/dog is no longer wanted or cannot keep any longer. I had a male returned to me at 7 years of age and was able to find him a forever home. This way none of my dogs that I have bred end up in a shelter/pound (that I am aware of). Secindly, yes, I do alot of breeding because not every puppy born is a show prospect. I spend alot of time with my puppies in their development and socialization. It is ALOT of work but to me it is a labor of love. It is my life, my love and my passion!

  5. Debbie Wolfe

    Very well said. I hadn’t really thought about how advertising could be used a channel for educating the general public and not just a way to maximize production and sales, which is how I believe many of us have viewed it. Another suggestion I would make to responsible breeders is to keep their websites up to date. I can’t tell you how frustrating it is to try to research a kennel only to discover they haven’t updated their site in a decade.

  6. Beth Sullivan

    I have always got my dogs and I just got my cat from a responsible breeder people need to learn that they are different from backyard and puppy mills. I have had a few haters try to shame me for going to a breeder and I don’t pay any attention to them because I know that responsible breeders are great and they care about they’re dog/cats and they are healthy and guaranteed. I did not find what I was looking for in a rescue and I did my home work and made sure the Responsible breeder I went to was good before I even purchased a puppy or kitten. I take getting a pet seriously and I want to make sure that I am getting a healthy pet. I have never gone wrong going to a responsible breeder.

  7. Cheryl Costello

    I have been a participant in fighting some of this draconian legislation. Anyone remember California’s AB1634? It was my first step into the belly of the beast. I had no knowledge of puppymills other than the media pictures and like everyone else, I believed them. But, I also knew that the perception of breeders was wrong. The ones I knew were devoted people who lived and breathed their dog breed.. Their job was and still is 24/7/365. They did not work 9 to 5 and go relax at the end of shift….there was no end of shift. their knowledge of animal husbandry was extensive and I admired them….I still do. Twenty years ago there were no rescues in my state and if there were, none were local, so the dog breeders got together, informally, and rescued their breed. We received owner surrenders, dogs from shelters and dogs tied to our front door or in a box. There were healthy dogs, sick dogs, mentally unstable dogs. Most of the bills were paid out of our pocket. We went thru the same issues that rescues go thru today but we did not have a network of volunteers or fosters. We were the fosters….why did the breeders do this? It was to help our breed and to find homes for those who lost theirs. We had to make decisions that were painful.
    Today, there are rescues devoted to rescuing only with a good group of volunteers. But what is disappointing to me is that they have bought into the perception that all breeders are bad. Breeders and rescue should be working together. after all, the ultimate goal is re homing the dogs.

  8. The feud to define “reputable breeder” is a long way from over, and probably never will be, but it is utterly inconceivable that any such would ever agree to sell to a third party. I cannot discern the author’s position on this matter, but the lack of condemnation of the practice comes very close to at least tolerating it.

    This is a conversation that the AKC has been decidedly absent from. The biggest name in purebred and well-bred dogs in the United States seems reluctant to campaign for the people that support them. Yes, the AKC has a part in fighting legislation occasionally. But a group with so much reach should be doing so much more, in my humble opinion. Let’s figure out a way to help them do it, or just do it ourselves if they are unwilling to.

    This is a futile pursuit. The AKC is dying, slowly, a victim of its own “success”, which mostly is opposite of any rational and scientific concern for dogs, a subject I wrote about some months ago. (An even better source is my friend Heather Houlahan in 2010 in her essay, “The Emperor’s Striptease”.) The AKC is at war with itself; it cannot tell the puppy millers to get lost, as they generate so many registrations. Neither can it blow off the Westminster participants and their multi-thousand-dollar campaigns. But the two have fundamentally different and opposing interests. The question therefore becomes, which breeders?

    4) Advertise: Advertise your puppies absolutely everywhere that will allow you to do so. Facebook, Kijiji, Puppyfind, Ebay, Hoobly.

    My question is, why are you creating puppies for which you had not ascertained qualified homes long before the prospective pairing? My background is in working dogs — herding dogs, particularly — and no breeder of my acquaintance with any repute would sell their dogs in such a manner.

  9. Tracy

    the politics of dog breeding are a turn off to the younger generation and even those of us that have been involved with a breed for decades. Breeders have to get over themselves and remember why they started, they need to mentor and stop trying to tear apart newbies. I don’t understand why some “longtime” breeders are willing to trash thier customer base and the future breeders of dogs, and then don’t understand why the general public doesn’t like them. The only way to counter the anti-breeder sentiment is to come fast and hard at the public about some truths about some rescues (importing, bad breeders creating intentional rescues, etc), and the truth about RESPONSIBLE breeders.

    • Farm Dog

      Tracy,
      This might very well be the best and truest comment posted here. Thank you.

  10. Kristin

    If all dogs were responsibly bred, there wouldn’t be soooo many rescues out there. And, if you’re not breeding, spay and neuter! Be responsible!!!

  11. Kelley

    You are so right about dog breeders needing to advertise. I have been looking for a Basset breeder for at least 6 months. Just looking to find a breeder. Not expecting to have a puppy right away or anything. I FINALLY found one and sat and emailed them a long email telling them about myself, what I wanted in a dog and what I wanted to do with him, and got back a oneliner about how they had no puppies right now. It is frustrating.

  12. Esme Kaye

    I have never understood the argument that purebred dog breeders are responsible for the over-population of “shelter dogs.” Isn’t that a lot like blaming your grandmother’s parenting for your own child’s indiscretions? I am a hobby breeder of purebred dogs, and only purebred dogs. I do everything in my power (including repossessing a puppy once) to ensure that every dog I sell goes to the best possible pet home AND that it is spayed or neutered before 6 months of age. I require documentation from the vet. I screen carefully for any sign of dishonestly on the part of the adopters. But I can only do so much. A vet’s certificate can be falsified, as can the follow up phone call I make, especially if the family moves out of state. I’m also human, thus fallible – so I can be fooled. If somebody is bound and determined to retain their puppy’s jewels then they can probably get away with it, but it won’t happen by accident. After that, it’s a little bit out of my control.

    But seriously, how often do you find a litter of purebred puppies in a shelter?

    • Farm Dog

      Agreed Esme. Well said. Thank you for your hard work and your dedication to your breed!

  13. Lin

    I am convinced that a breeders best tack against the AR people is to become known in their communities. Show up at everything with beautiful, healthy, well behaved dogs. Be nice, be welcoming, be informative. Local shelter having an event? Show up and support it…with your dogs. I have 2 purebred collies and I’ve not yet been rebuked. I admire the rescues, you see. It’s hard for people to be ugly when you are complimenting their dogs!

  14. Junie

    I’m not a dog breeder, never have been, and in fact, I’ve have rescued several dogs in the past.

    However, I do believe that dog breeders need to “police their own” so that the good and great examples outshine the examples of bad breeders.

    Some people are happy doing their part in rescue by rescuing a dog instead of buying a purebred.

    But there are also people who prefer to buy a dog from a breeder for various reasons that can and do involve the breeders knowledge of the history of the dog, the lineage, and also the record keeping regarding the animals vet history too.

    There is a place in this world for both rescued dogs, and also purebreds coming from a breeder.
    But in order to counter-act the negativity coming from rescues at breeders and vice-versa, honest, ethical, and honorable people need to “police their own” no matter what side they’re on, and that won’t happen unless take the time, and put in the effort to help make it happen.

    Interesting blog I read recently addressing this very thing about “the battle” between rescues vs breeders.

    http://4graceandtruth.wordpress.com/2015/02/08/to-adopt-an-animal-or-not-to-adopt-that-is-the-question/

    • Farm Dog

      Hi Junie,
      The problem with policing dog breeders is the subjectivity of what is and is not “responsible”. Breeding is a very controversial subject to begin with- add in the fact that people want others to do as they do and nothing more and you’ve got a long and arduous debate that only very rarely ends in agreement.

      I completely agree though- there is a place in this world for everyone.