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Sometimes you are President of the United States, and sometimes you are just one more confused guy on the bus.

That's what Barack Obama is learning as he struggles to select a dog -- the only Presidential appointment which has a better-than-zero chance of crapping on his carpet in the oval office.

Like most good consumers, Barack and family have gone out and gotten an all-breed book to help them with the selection effort. Because Malia has allergies, and because Barack does not want a small yappy dog, the choice has predictably come down to two breeds: a Portuguese Water Dog and a Labradoodle.

Both dogs are, at their core, curly-coated hunting retrievers of nearly identical lineage.

In 1981 the Portuguese Water Dog was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the rarest breed of dog on earth. It was just about that time that an American vacationing in Portugal discovered the dog, brought a few back to the U.S., bred them, got them registered with the America Kennel Club, and their number skyrocketed.

What happened next is predictable: the dogs became deeply inbred, and a doubling down of recessive genes resulted in congenital defect and disease bubbling to the surface.

The first disease to rear its head was Gangliosidosis, or storage disease, which attacks the nerve cells of young puppies and causes a loss of coordination and body functions which kills the dog.

No sooner was this recessive gene discovered, than Addison's Disease reared its ugly head -- an endocrine disease in which the dog loses weight, energy and muscle mass.

As bad as these two problems are, more health care problems lie in wait for the Portuguese Water Dog as inbreeding within the American Kennel Club's closed registry system is required for a dog with so few numbers.

And yet, the Labradoodle and the Portuguese Water Dog look so much alike than one is hard pressed to differentiate one from another.

Why is this?

The answer lies in the fact a Portuguese Water Dog is little more than an unimproved Standard Poodle, while a Labradoodle is nothing more than a Standard Poodle that has been crossed with a Labrador Retriever to degrade the dog back to its less refined prototype -- a Portuguese Water Dog.

So how are the dogs different?

Simple: their registry (or lack thereof).

While the Portuguese Water Dog is a American Kennel Club registered dog that started with less than two dozen members bred within a closed registry system, the Labradoodle is a planned hybrid, with many scores of thousands of potential dams and sires on each side of its family tree, and no inbreeding at all as a consequence. The result is, by and large, a healthier dog that is unlikely to be burdened by a doubling down of negative recessive genes leading to epidemic levels of congenital defects. The same cannot be said for the Portuguese Water Dog.

The genetic benefits of hybrids -- both in terms of health and production -- are widely known, and in fact most of our agricultural plants and animals on our farms are hybrid animals for that reason.

Why hybrids? Simple: A long time ago, it was found that purebred animals kept in closed gene pools suffered drops in production over time. In some cases, the animals became unfecund, in others they ended up with weak hocks, thin structure, or a propensity to die from minor illnesses. A simple outcross generally put things right again.

But outcrosses are banned in the American Kennel Club which still embraces a "not a drop of foreign blood" theory of breed purity. The fact that this phrase sounds so much like that used by white supremacists, is not an accident.

The U.K. and American Kennel Clubs are built on the eugenics theories of Francis Galton, a cousin of Charles Darwin.

The American Kennel Club simply copied the structure and standards of the British Kennel Club and added their own eugenics man to help sell the deal -- Leon F. Whitney, a veterinarian and prominent dog writer who went on to become head of the American Eugenics Society.

Whitney is so important to the history of the AKC that when the American Kennel Club published Our Dogs: A Century of Images and Words from the AKC Gazette in 2003, they specifically included an essay by Whitney despite the fact that the 151-page book was already crowded with more than 100 color photos. Rarely said: Whitney was so focused on eugenics theories that he called for the sterilization of one in twelve Americans -- an idea that was praised by no less a sociopath than Adolph Hitler.

Science, of course, moves forward, and the eugenics theories of Francis Galton and Leon F. Whitney did not survive World War II.

But the American Kennel Club has held on to its closed registry system.

Why?

The answer is largely economic.

Let's look at the Dalmatian, by way of example. Here is a dog with very serious health problems, chief among them a jaw-dropping level of congenital deafness, and also a tendency to build upuric acid crystals leading to blockage which often requires veterinary attention. In chronic cases in male dogs, a uresthrostemy is necessary. This is a procedure in which the scrotum of the dog is removed and the urinary tract of the dog is permanently relocated to the base of the penis so that the male dog urinates like a female.

Ouch!

The good news is that about 30 years ago, a backcross program with Pointers was put in place in order to create a dog that is visually and temperamentally indistinguishable from Kennel Club registered Dalmatians, but which do not have the same deafness and uric acid problems.

Though these dogs are healthier -- and are Dalmatians in every way -- the Kennel Club will not allow these dogs to be registered. Why? Simple: allowing "healthy Dalmatians" into the marketplace would make the less-healthy dogs that are owned by the top breeders of the Dalmatian Club less valuable. What customer wants to buy a dog from an "unhealthy" gene pool? No one!

And yet, today so many Kennel Club dogs are unhealthy that most Americans are now turning elsewhere for pets.

The graph below shows Kennel Club registrations.

Over 15 years, there has been a 53 percent decline. This is due to many factors, but a large part of the problem has been of the Kennel Club's own making.

For decades, the Kennel Club has ignored or stiff-armed critics who point out that dogs that were once working breeds are no longer found in the field.

AKC Greyhounds cannot be found at the track, AKC Huskies are not valued in Alaska, show ring terriers are laughed at by true diggers, no sheep man would think of buying an AKC collie to tend his flock, and entire registries have been developed to preserve working gundogs against the vagaries of show ring pretenders.

At the same that the working ability of AKC dogs has plummeted, rates of disease and congenital defect seem to have leaped through the roof.

Today breed after breed of AKC dog is riddled with serious health problems ranging from congenital heart and liver disease to juvenile cataracts, shot hips, and epilepsy.

Added to this stack of problems are serious health problems caused by intentionally breeding dogs for defect: brachycephalic dogs with faces so flat they cannot breathe (Pugs, Boston Terriers, English Bulldogs, and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels for example) and dogs suffering from achondroplasia, a kind of dwarfism linked to heart defects and joint ailments (Dachshunds, Bassetts, Glen of Imaal Terriers for example). And then we have the giant breeds, which are cancer bombs on four legs and which routinely die from gastric torsion, as well as the tiny "tea cup" breeds as their associated neurological, bone, and dental problems.

The AKC has fended off all critics, on both fronts, with a single line: "We are just a registry."

If there are problems, AKC officials sniff, then complaints should be directed to the breed clubs.

But the breed clubs are largely powerless within the Kennel Club's structure, and they are dominated by show dog breeders more interested in blue ribbons and green cash than they are in long-term canine health and welfare.

To hear these breeders talk, the health problems of pedigree dogs are never in their own kennels; they are in their competitions.

Oh sure, a dog or two of their own may come down lame, have juvenile cataracts, or die of cancer or liver disease at age three, but those problems are generally waved away. These things happen, they will say, ignoring the fact that they happen a LOT with Kennel Club dogs.

Ironically, the Kennel Club's "just a registry" defense sounded a lot like a business plan to many small-time entrepreneurs in middle America.

Armed with personal computers, and offering nothing more than a scrap of paper and no health guarantees, these new registreis said they would provide exactly that the AKC did -- a piece of paper -- for less.

And they did. And so, as quick as you can say "Bob's your uncle," dozens of new canine and pet registries sprang up.

Today, along with the American Kennel Club and the United Kennel Club, we have:

  • The National Kennel Club
  • The Continental Kennel Club
  • The American Canine Association
  • The American Hybrid Canine Club
  • American Rare Breed Association
  • The American Dog Breeders Association
  • The American Canine Registry
  • The American Purebred Association
  • America's Pet Registry Inc.
  • The World Kennel Club
  • The Animal Research Foundation
  • The Universal Kennel Club International
  • The North American Purebred Dog Registry
  • The Dog Registry of America
  • The American Purebred Registry
  • The United All Breed Registry
  • The American Canine Association
  • The World Wide Kennel Club
  • The Federation of International Canines
  • Animal Registry Unlimited

With the American Kennel Club offering no health guarantees for their dogs, there did not not appear to be any reason for the public not to turn to these registries.

Adding fuel to the fire was the advent of the Internet. Dog owners and concerned dog breeders could now find each other through an endless litany of list-servs, breed bulletin boards, web sites, and blogs.

There was no longer any hiding the defects in Kennel Club dogs, even if the general public did not yet know the full extent of the problems.

A game changer occurred in August of 2008, however.

The good news for the American Kennel Club is that it happened in Britain.

The revolution was sparked by a BBC documentary called Pedigree Dogs Exposed. This television documentary did little more than put on film what canine experts had been talking about for decades, but putting it on film made all the difference.

Now the general public -- dog owner and non-dog owner alike -- could see what the Kennel Club had done done to the German Shepherd, a once-proud dog that in its show ring manifestation cannot walk around a ring without a wobble.

A Crufts-winning Pekingese was exposed as being so seriously compromised by its flattened face and excessive coat that at the ringside trophy photo-shoot, it was sitting on an icepack so it did not overheat.

Disturbing pictures of breeds suffering from serious and widespread congenital neurological defects were also shown. And though the producers of the BBC have been castigated by the Kennel Club for being "sensationalistic," the producers, in fact, held back.

They chose not to show the "rape racks" that female English Bulldogs are put into because they and their stud dogs are so grossly out of shape they cannot have sex unassisted or whelp without a veterinarian being present.

They did not show the fox terrier which is now so large in the chest it cannot reach its fox in the hole, nor did they make mention of cancer, which now strikes down over 40 percent of some breeds such as Scotties and Bernese Mountain Dogs.

But apparently they showed enough.

Due to the tremendous public response to the BBC special, the British Kennel Club has found itself reeling and on the ropes.

First denying there were any problems at all, they then said they had long known there were a few problems within a few breeds -- an obvious lie underscored by the finding of their own breed health surveys.

Now the U.K. Kennel Club has come out with mild modification to dozens of breed standards, and has also banned incestuous father-daughter/mother-son/brother-sister matings.

But here in the United States, the American Kennel Club has not taken even these baby steps forward.

Instead, AKC Chairman Ron Menaker has said that the American Kennel Club intends to aggressively reach out to back yard breeders and the puppy mill community.

Menaker says there is nothing wrong with puppy mills or dogs sold in pet stores or department stores -- he himself got started in dogs with a puppy purchased at Macys.

And as for puppy mills, he notes that the AKC has been registering puppy mill dogs "for the past 122 years" and "we have collected millions of dollars" as a result. Nothing new here! Full speed ahead, and never mind if it is into the rocks.

Which brings us back to Barack Obama and his lovely family.

If they choose a Portugese Water Dog, not only will they be choosing a seriously inbred dog at significant risk for health problems, but their choice is likely to speed up the incidence of those problems due to overbreeding which will occur to fill the market of "copycat purchasers".

On the other hand, if the Obamas chose a Labradoodle, they will be stepping outside of the closed-registry eugenics-based Kennel Club system to embrace a dog which cannot be damaged by that system, as it is not a registered breed.

It will also be another signal that the American Kennel Club has to change its business model -- something that the very top of the AKC seems to realize, but which it is nonetheless confused by.

In his missive to the American Kennel Club in September, AKC Chairman Ron Menaker noted that:

Today, we are losing market share at an alarming rate, especially in the retail sector. We are being challenged competitively and financially. The declining registrations and associated core revenues, if allowed to continue, will fundamentally change our organization going forward. Make no mistake, the very future of the AKC and our sport is at risk.

We can all remember some of the premier "name brands" and companies of the past, leaders in their field. The ones that we thought would be around forever. These giants, these household names, held the same standing as the AKC. Companies such as: Westinghouse, Pan American Airlines, Standard Oil Company, EF Hutton, Woolworth’s, Montgomery Ward, just to name a few.

Sadly, Chairman Menaker seems to have no good idea of how to fix the problem,

Put out a better product? You must be kidding!

Only register adult dogs that have passed basic health tests? Good Lord NOoo!

Require lower Coefficients of Inbreeding? What's wrong with inbreeding?

Scrap standards that require deformity? But exagerations and deformities define so many breeds!

Open up closed registries so that healthy genes can be allowed to come in? But then we wouldn't have a purebreed --we'd just be selling .... mutts!

And so it goes, around and around, proving once again that the problems at the Kennel Club are deeper than inbred dogs.

* * * *

Like this post? Read more at the blog and web site at :: >> http://www.terrierman.com

Originally posted to PBurns on Thu Jan 22, 2009 at 11:57 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Well as a pootie person, (12+ / 0-)

    I don't like what show breeders have done with the Siamese cat in the past half century or so, turning the original robust apple-headed version into a weird little wedge-headed version.

    I wanna quote another British poet.

    by Lazar on Thu Jan 22, 2009 at 12:04:11 PM PST

  •  Nice diary. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Arken, BachFan, fiddler crabby, Lazar

    Thanks. I tend to ignore the AKC entirely these days. It would be nice it Whole Dog Journal (or some like minded people) devised a system similar with the focus more on the health of the animals to try to breed out some of the genetic anomalies.

    This is not going to be easy. But if it weren't hard, somebody else could do it.- Hillary Rodham Clinton (-8.25)(-6.62)

    by psilocynic on Thu Jan 22, 2009 at 12:05:32 PM PST

    •  Britain is already taking steps to that effect- (5+ / 0-)

      http://edition.cnn.com/...

      And while it's nowhere near enough, I am so happy they are doing so. One woman they interviewed said something like, "they're only doing this because vets say so but vets only see sick dogs!"

      I'm not a vet and it's pretty damn obvious to me that bulldogs can barely breathe. Just stand next to one for 30 seconds and listen to the wheezing.

      •  In my line of work I see inbred dogs all day long (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mijita, Arken, fiddler crabby

        It's obviously not my place to talk about it with the owners. The one that kills me is the French Bulldog. They can't breed without human intervention. Left alone the breed would be extinct in one generation. It's time to fix that.

        This is not going to be easy. But if it weren't hard, somebody else could do it.- Hillary Rodham Clinton (-8.25)(-6.62)

        by psilocynic on Thu Jan 22, 2009 at 12:39:39 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I know - I really don't like it (0+ / 0-)

        when animals are bred just to meet some extreme esthetic standard, and it actually renders it difficult for them to carry out their normal lives. Like I've heard that some of the really extreme Persian cats are constantly weeping because of their crazy faces, and need their eyes to be cleaned all the time.

        I wanna quote another British poet.

        by Lazar on Thu Jan 22, 2009 at 02:01:12 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I'm the proud owner of a pound puppy aka mutt (7+ / 0-)

    and I hope that the girls end up with a mutt too!

    Healthy Minds in Healthy Bodies, now discussing fitness Tuesdays -- new day -- at 6 PM PST

    by indigoblueskies on Thu Jan 22, 2009 at 12:06:10 PM PST

  •  Great diary, but a better title would help (9+ / 0-)

    Seriously, this wasn't at all what I was expecting.

    But it's definitely worth reading (I recced it), so why not a better title, maybe "Why Obama's choice of dog breed matters" or something like that?

    •  Thanks - good suggestion (7+ / 0-)

      I changed it to something a little more provocative :)

      P

      •  I think you still need to revise this title (5+ / 0-)

        I skipped over your diary several times to read other ones because I assumed this one was about banking and TARP. Not that I'm not interested in that topic, but sometimes I just don't want to read about it right then.

        That said, this was an informative diary and I'm glad I clicked.

        I've had 9 dogs over the years; 7 mutts and 2 purebreds.  Some of the mutts have had health issues, too, so just because your dog is a mix doesn't, of course, make it immune to illness.  That said, I've always had a disagreement with using "AKC-registered" as a selling point because much of the time it doesn't mean anything substantive. My two purebreds (a yellow lab from a backyard breeder and a Leonberger from a puppy mill auction) had "papers."  Big whoop; completely meaningless.

  •  If it must be a registered breed, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    fiddler crabby, jfromga, bottles

    what's wrong with a standard poodle? They aren't yappy.

  •  Dang. This is a subject about which ... (12+ / 0-)
    ...I knew almost zero when I started reading this Diary. And now, just because I'm always a trust-but-verify kinda guy, I'd like to hear the a take or two from other points of view. But, with that caveat aside, thanks for and kudos on this  quick, easily digestible lesson. A format that could, methinks, be beneficially adapted to other subject matter.

    Americans do not like to think of themselves as aggressors, but raw aggression is what took place in Iraq. - John Prados

    by Meteor Blades on Thu Jan 22, 2009 at 12:12:52 PM PST

  •  humans don't make (6+ / 0-)

    very good judgements for the best interest of dog breeds or any other animal.  We carry odd prejudices and ignorance into the process.  Good diary about the stupidity and greed of breed registries.

    I like my standard poodle more than the labradoodles I've met, but that's just me.  All my standard poodle owning friends figure the fact that standards didn't make the list is prejudice against girly dogs.  Which they aren't.  Smart dogs, sensitive, loyal to the family.

    The couple of portuguese water dogs I've met are a bit aggressive for my taste.  But it couldn't bite more people than Barney managed to do, I'm sure.

    •  I love standard poodles, but I think the (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mijita, fiddler crabby, Lazar

      prejudice arises from the truly absurd pom pom haircuts some people give them (which always appear on the standard poodles in professional dog shows).  It is hard to take a dog seriously with such a haircut; they do a real disservice to a smart, delightful breed.

      Nothing amuses me more than the easy manner with which everybody settles the abundance of those who have a great deal less than themselves. --Jane Austen

      by feeny on Thu Jan 22, 2009 at 01:02:03 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    fiddler crabby

    I've only had rescue pooties myself, and having volunteered at an animal shelter can't imagine getting pets any other way.  I've long been concerned about both the obvious horrors of puppy mills and the less obvious but no less problematic practices of more reputable breeders.  Your diary gives me even more information about these problems.

    I wish more people realized that the quality of an animal is not determined by its price or its bloodlines.  At the shelter where I worked, the volunteers knew the animals, tested them for behavioral and physical problems, gave them love in foster care, and took great care in making suitable matches between families and animals.  I hope the Obamas find a good shelter like this, talk to them about their concerns, and adopt a dog who will be a wonderful companion to their family (and save a life while they do so).

  •  Our pound puppy (11+ / 0-)

    a beagle/Samoyed mix, was almost 17 before she developed any serious health problems: she became hard-of-hearing and developed arthritis in her hips. Before that, she had been perfectly healthy all her life. Sadly, her arthritis is so bad that she can't stand up unassisted or walk for more than a few steps and she is totally miserable.

    This evening will be her final trip to the vet.

    Hige sceal þe heardra, heorte þe cenre, mod sceal þe mare, þe ure mægen lytlað

    by milkbone on Thu Jan 22, 2009 at 12:25:25 PM PST

    •  I'm so sorry, milkbone. (5+ / 0-)

      My thoughts will be with you & your girl tonight, and I'll give my own a special hug & treat in her name. Godspeed to her.

      Do not be overwhelmed by the enormity of the world's grief...You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.

      by Albatross on Thu Jan 22, 2009 at 12:37:05 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I've been in your shoes, milkbone, (5+ / 0-)

      more times than I like to think about.  It's always horrible and you're absolutely doing the right thing.  What a wonderful gift to have had 17 years with your girl.

    •  Thinking of you and your pup (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      fiddler crabby, milkbone

      I just made that last trip to the vets with a 17 yr old pootie a few weeks ago, so I can understand what you are feeling today, milkbone.  She's shared her life with you,  and you'll be there with her at the end.  It's the final gift of love you can give her.

    •  The last, kindest thing to do for your chum. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      katynka, fiddler crabby, milkbone

      She will thank you for this, after she rejoins The Good Dog, whence cometh all good dogs, and to where they all return.

      You'll know she's thanking you when that next dog appears. I know this is a hard time to think of a "next dog". But that next dog is there, nonetheless, ears up, waiting for you. When you are ready, it will appear, in a scamper of toenails, a lanky tongue polishing that grin, just for you.

      Don't ask me how I know, but it is true. It has happened nine times to me. Number ten, Mabelline, is snoozing by the woodstove as I write.

      Good dog.

      I'm the plowman in the valley - with my face full of mud

      by labradog on Thu Jan 22, 2009 at 01:54:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is one of the best (4+ / 0-)

    expositories on the problems with dog inbreeding that I've ever read.  Good job and thanks for bringing up this issue.

  •  I was just talking with my dog trainer about this (7+ / 0-)

    Just a few minutes ago, I was talking with my really great dog trainer (she does house calls!) about the Obama family's naming of these two breeds as their top two picks.  We both agree, the Obamas seem to be making some of the same mistakes that others who have never had dogs make.  And that both of these breeds require a LOT of exercise and a LOT of training to be good family dogs.  We've met a lot of Labradoodles between us, and they are smart and energetic, which can be a challenge to manage.  They can drive you crazy with their energy (the lab) and can be entirely too smart for their own good (the poodle).  But they are cute.  Of course, they are NOT hypoallergenic.  No dogs really are, as allergists will tell you.  

    The dog trainer was worried that their interest in these dogs would cause a huge explosion of interest in the breeds from people who know even less about their temperament, and who mistakenly assume they ARE hypoallergenic, and we'll have the sort of problem with a glut of these dogs being poorly bred and badly placed to feed the demand.

    Now, that said, I'm guessing the Obamas will have very good handlers and trainers, and that huge lawn for the dog to play on, so it'll probably be fine.  

    •  The hypoallergenic requirement is a red herring (5+ / 0-)

      As you noted, hypoallergenic is a subjective term.  Depending on the hygienic practices of the owners WRT to brushing and bathing, any breed can have a low-impact on an allergic human.  

      The allergens can be dander, saliva or just plain old dust that the animal picks up in their coat.  Brushing (outside) and especially bathing will remove much of the allergens.

      It is laughable when people say breeds like the labradoodle or poodle or bichon frise are the best for allergic individuals.  They pick up so much crap in their coats that unless bathed weekly can be a real problem.

      I would recommend to the Obamas, should they want my advice, that they would send a worthy message by taking time to visit any of the many shelters in the DC area and interacting with some of the dogs, or if not that, have any of the rescue groups including pure-breed rescues, over to the White House for an adoption fair.  They would be able to see the temperament of many adoptable dogs and get advice from breed experts on the suitability of the animals available for adoption.

      Acquiring a puppy sight-unseen until the day of delivery is so much more risky than seeing and interacting with a fully grown animal whose behavior is already known.

      •  As someone with allergies (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BachFan, fiddler crabby, MaikeH, feeny

        who's had dogs, all breeds are not equal.  I imagine everyone with allergies is different, but for me, German Shepherds and spaniels are fine.  Any dog, like a lab, bred to go into the water causes a severe allergic reaction.

        And a boxer can't even brush against me without leaving welts.

        My favorite dogs?  German shepherds -- though their tendency to learn how to work the refrigerator and door knobs can be vexing.

        the third eye does not weep. it knows. Political compass: -9.75 / -8.72

        by mijita on Thu Jan 22, 2009 at 01:01:56 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Advice on dog for allergic son? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Catte Nappe

          At our last visit to the allergist, my 16-yo son tested negative for dog allergies.  He was previously allergic.  The allergist told us to stick to hypoallergenic dogs.  If either son starts to show signs of allergy to the dog, we have to get rid of it.  She also said that the dog should be kept out of the bedrooms, and that the boys should shower at night before bed.  My son doesn't like the dogs on the hypoallergenic list - too small and "girly."  

          We also couldn't manage a dog that needed a lot of care.  So nothing has been done on this.  

          •  I think it depends on whether the dog will be (0+ / 0-)

            indoor or outdoor.  And where s/he will sleep.

            I've never had a problem with shepherds -- though someone else has to groom them (that means washing weekly and brushing every day or two).  But they do shed and I was surprised they weren't more of a problem.  

            Generally the bigger the dog, the more work they are.  Dogs that get to spend time indoors need lots of bathing even for people without allergies.

            the third eye does not weep. it knows. Political compass: -9.75 / -8.72

            by mijita on Thu Jan 22, 2009 at 02:11:04 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Two active kids (0+ / 0-)

      Plus one active dog makes a happy dog, to my mind.  As someone who had dogs from earliest babyhood and who had the experience of assisting in obedience training many dogs who outweighed me when I was a kid I have to say there are few experiences more empowering for a child than to have a big animal who obeys them.  I'd guess there'd be a professional trainer who'd come in to oversee the training of the pup (along with training the owners, which is the harder task!) because the last thing the White House needs is a badly behaved, improperly socialized dog around.  My guess is the girls will acclimate to their new surroundings even better if they have an energetic puppy to give them a reason to explore the grounds.  

      I think a Labradoodle would be a nice choice for the family--not nearly as challenging a breed as, say, an Akita or Chow.   Energetic doesn't always equate to hyperactive, and Labs are happiest with their people around them--it's the neglected ones who never have any interaction that go bananas, generally speaking.  

      "Nothing's wrong, son, look at the news!" -- Firesign Theater

      by SmartAleq on Thu Jan 22, 2009 at 02:38:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Good diary,but please put a conclusion at the top (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Arken, fiddler crabby

    Hi there,
    I fully agree with your conclusion and I'd urge you to also state it at the top of your diary as many, many readers will not make it all the way to the bottom.

    Put it simply: the labradoodle is a much healthier breed than the PWD, and the choice made by the new First Family will be emulated by hundreds of thousands of people around the country!  They should choose the healthier breed, not the suffering inbred whose situation will be made much worse by picking the Water Dog.

  •  Now, THIS is absolutely cute! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    oldjohnbrown, fiddler crabby

    Beware the lollipop of mediocrity: lick it once and suck forever.

    by second gen on Thu Jan 22, 2009 at 12:48:13 PM PST

  •  I have to say that I love pugs (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DelRPCV, Catte Nappe, fiddler crabby

    But I'd still love them if their noses weren't mashed all the way back into their faces.

    The last pug I had, Chester, was tack smart, funny, warm-hearted, and a great hot water bottle when you needed one. As pugs go he was pretty healthy while he lived, but he died suddenly of an autoimmune disorder at age 8.

    If someone can rescue that breed, keep the intelligence and the personality and that adorable habit they have of cocking their heads, but lose the laundry list of health problems (no matter if that changes the appearance of the breed) I would be eternally grateful.

    [F]or too many, the cruelty of our system is part of its appeal. - eightlivesleft

    by oldjohnbrown on Thu Jan 22, 2009 at 12:59:16 PM PST

  •  Excellent diary--thanks! Rec'd--Tip Jar? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    katynka, fiddler crabby

    I watched the deterioration of the GSD over the course of 40+ years--our first GSD was a foursquare bitch with a German sire who weighed 120 lbs.  We could show her in Japan, but not in the US because she was too big.  Her sire was a German champion and weighed close to 150.  Those drop-assed, limping, retarded looking excuses for dogs they parade around the shows are an insult to the breed.

    My (rescued) purebred Malemute died at eight of cancer after experiencing joint problems for two years previous to that.  Bad early nutrition didn't help with that at all, but it's scary how short-lived the big breeds are.

    These days I'm sticking with rescued cross breed dogs only--I love so many of the pure breeds but can't bear what's been done to them, healthwise.

    Here they are, Bear on the left (pound puppy, probably a lab/husky mix) and Widget (rescue group, Border collie/Jack Russell mix)

    "Nothing's wrong, son, look at the news!" -- Firesign Theater

    by SmartAleq on Thu Jan 22, 2009 at 01:44:57 PM PST

  •  Standard poodles (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Catte Nappe, fiddler crabby

    great dogs. i had them for years and "backyard bred" 1 litter myself. My father was a big AKC guy and I spent my childhood in the dog world. Dad was dead set against line breeding. He would fly his dogs across the country to be bred.
    For the most part, my poodles were healthy, but I lost  my 11 year old girl just after Iowa in 2004 to gastric torsion. Her son was 80 lbs and lived to 13 when the weakened joints in his back end made him too uncomfortable to carry on, one brother to 14( same situation), but their smaller 60 lb bro is still going strong at 15.  Standards are smart and if you let them go natural with a short clip, they can do a fine impression of a water dog, but have a mellower temperament.
    Now I have a six lb chihuahua, no papers, happy and healthy. If he gained an ounce, he would be disqualified from a dog show because the upper weight allowed a chihuahua (according to the AKC)is six pounds. nuts.

  •  Odd, the purpose of AKC was to verify (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Catte Nappe, fiddler crabby

    the soundness of the dog by providing a reliable history on the genetic background of each dog or bitch through parentage.  

    The reputable breeders that I know are very concerned about weeding out negative genetic traits of dams or sires (however conformationally correct) by not breeding those dogs.  Reputable breeders are dedicated to the health of the breed and understand that problems with hereditary medical issues are often the result of the popularity of the breed and the ignorance or greed of individuals who decide to try and cash in on the fad.  

    Generally most reputable breeders are not fond of AKC for reasons other than you list. AKC is considered an old boys club, championships (and points) are often awarded based on personal relationships rather than on the "best" dog wins.  If you want to get a good, sound dog, seek information from the individual breed's club on reputable breeders, not the AKC.  Look for breeders who breed not just "show dogs" but "working dogs" and have the championships to prove it.  

    I agree with the diary on this point, if the choice is between a PWD or a LD, they should bet the LD because of temperament.  PWD and the LD are not the same dogs.  They have genetically dissimilar backgrounds.  There is on-going research on genes and temperament (agouti), carried on through the cooperation of the reputable AKC breeders, based on original old Soviet research on foxes carried out in the 1940s % 1950s.  

    "Out of Many, One." This is the great promise of our nation" -9.75 -6.87

    by Uncle Moji on Thu Jan 22, 2009 at 01:58:05 PM PST

  •  To hell with a dog (0+ / 0-)

    get em a pony. You have a big yard and a good fence.I guarantee there isn't a little girl in the world that would prefer a dog over a pony.

  •  Great diary!! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    katynka

    Thanks so much for writing this and doing such a beautiful job of it! Highly recommended.

    I've been a lifetime confirmed mutt owner, all of my "kids" rescues. I want my kids to be healthy, happy, smart and be with me for a very long time. I love "mystery" puppies that I'm not sure how they'll turn out appearance and size-wise as adults, kinda like humans. Much more fun. Inbred monstrosities abound and it breaks my heart as well as angers me intensely. How can anyone profess to love dogs (or cats) and do that deliberately?

    As one who suffers from critter allergies, I can absolutely attest that with proper bathing and grooming, allergic reaction can be kept to a minimum. I'm also convinced that being around them all the time lessens the sensitivity - the same reason I use local bee honey to help control my pollen allergies. It works.

  •  Does Obama know yet (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    katynka

    that you can get labradoodles from rescue?  That's how I got my labradoodle (I have a goldendoodle from a breeder as well).

  •  Thank you for this. Really great diary. n/t (0+ / 0-)

    Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence. Conservatism is distrust of the people tempered by fear. ~William E. Gladstone

    by DCBlue on Thu Jan 22, 2009 at 03:24:03 PM PST

  •  Excellent Post: Down With Pure Breed Supremacy. (0+ / 0-)

    The smartest and healthiest dogs I have known and owned were mixed breeds. The most beautiful people I have known have also been "mixed": the children of parents from different racial groups.

    AKC efforts to restrict registration to "pure" breeds weakens and sickens the breeds, just as racism weakened and sickened our country.

    Let's hope there will be a new appreciation for "mutes" of every description in our world.  We and all our animal friends will benefit!

    Organize and Fight Back! Join Kossacksnetworking.ning.com

    by Justina on Thu Jan 22, 2009 at 03:27:54 PM PST

  •  We always had sooner dogs. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JohnnyRook

    No, not an Oklahoma breed.  Our were "sooner eat and sleep than do anything else" dogs.  They were great pets with good temperaments and healthy.  

    I've never liked pure bred dogs.  I used to go to dog shows for kicks.  I only did obedience, though.  Conformation shows were just a bunch of cookie-cutter, ill-behaved dogs whose owners had their noses in the air.  The shows were often loud and smelly - there is no requirement that the dogs not shit all over the place.  Obedience shows allowed any dog that could perform and the shows were quiet, clean, and enjoyable.  The owners were serious about the behavior of their dogs and it showed!

    -7.62, -7.28 "We told the truth. We obeyed the law. We kept the peace." - Walter Mondale

    by luckylizard on Thu Jan 22, 2009 at 04:37:35 PM PST

  •  Fine Diary. I too knew very little about this (0+ / 0-)

    issue before reading it. Thank you for educating me.

    "My True Religion Is Kindness" -- The Dalai Lama/---/Do you know why 350ppm is important?

    by JohnnyRook on Thu Jan 22, 2009 at 06:05:22 PM PST

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