Crossing the line into Dogsnobbery

While the word “Dogsnobbery” has not yet made it into the Miriam-Webster dictionary, it is a common enough term that Googling it brings up over 3.5 million references!  

What is dog snobbery?  It is the feeling that purebred dog owners are superior to mixed breed dog owners, and by definition breeders of quality purebred dogs are superior to those breeding lesser quality dogs. 

What it also is – is a condition that is going to cause the purebred dog world to implode upon itself.    As breeders of health-tested quality dogs, we want to segregate ourselves from the people supplying the pet market and breeding crossbreds, and dogs that don’t meet the standard.   Yet, in doing so I see so often people alienating the very market that they are trying to provide puppies to.

First, I have seen many posts in the last few months about a new website called Paws n Pups  that appears to have scraped club databases for information on breeders.  Yes, this site is advertising crossbreeds also which we as “preservationist” breeders abhor.   But if you look at the listings for your breed, you will most likely find it is a who’s who of your National Club’s breeder’s directory.  

Yet people are horrified at being listed on this page without their knowledge and consent and are notifying everyone that they know of that is listed on it.

My opinion, although it may be unpopular, is different.   I don’t mind being listed on these types of websites.   I look at it as an opportunity to educate.   If someone reaches out to me about should I buy a Cardigan corgi, or  a Pembroke corgi or an “American” corgi (a cross between the two breeds for those unaware) – I WELCOME the opportunity to educate that person and to give them the information that they require to make a good choice.   I will tell them what they should be looking for, how to approach breeders, and give them recommendations to those I would buy a <insert breed here> from if I were in the market for one myself.    So why NOT have your name on there and increase their chances of making contact with someone with ethics and knowledge instead of distancing yourself from Joe Public who may not KNOW to look at the AKC or CKC websites or the Breed Club directories.

And that brings me to my second point I feel really needs to be made about dogsnobbery.  There are some breeds I have a really difficult time referring people to breeders for.  One of the ways that we used to differentiate ourselves from the breeders just out to make money was that we did health testing when they did not.   I have been on the health testing bandwagon for 30 years – testing dogs long before it was fashionable to do so.    But now the pet breeders are starting to health test, and they are winning the battle.   While their puppies may not adhere to the breed standard and many are barely recognizable as far as “type” – again that does not matter to Joe Public.   He wants a dog that is going to live a long and healthy life.   It does not matter to him that his dog is a little long on leg, or the ear set is wrong, or even that the head looks more like a collie than a corgi!  He cares that he is not going to have a dog become incapacited with a shortened or severely restricted life because it is affected with a disease that there is a known test for, even if the science is not perfect.

Preservationist breeders argue that we can’t throw out the baby with the bathwater and maintain type.    Yet look at all the breeds that have eliminated issues, or were recreated by going away from type and carefully breeding back to it.    There ARE breeders who have managed to eliminate those testable issues from their lines and gone back to winning specialties with dogs clear of the health issues.   There was a dalmation with pointer in its background that won at Crufts.   I wrote about my own problems eliminating health issues in this blog post – Pruning the Tree Helps it Develop Stronger.

It can be done     In my mind Dogsnobbery is going to kill the demand for purebred dogs far faster than any of the crossbreeding will.   Just look how quickly Labradoodles and Goldendoodles proliferated.  It isn’t that people don’t WANT a purebred dog – or they wouldn’t give them fancy names and they wouldn’t buy into the “hybrid vigour” myth.   People want a HEALTHY purebred dog, and they need to be able to find the good breeders to get them – those who work to eliminate the genetic junk from their lines.   So before you get on your high horse and ride off into the sunset with the most “award-winning” elite, be sure that your boots are clean of the genetic muck you may be carrying on them.

2016 Wrap up – Beginnings and Endings

So 2016 is drawing to a close, and so are some hopes and plans.   Its been a rough year, and no fairy god mother, knight on a white steed, or lottery win has appeared.   So changes are going to have to be made, and there will be a number of young dogs available for sale or for lease. 

We finished up the year at the Elora Gorge Kennel Club show.   An ending of sorts, but a beginning too, as two of the babies made their ring debuts.

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My ribbon is almost as big as **I** iz!!!

 

Guinness was entered in Baby Puppy (3-6 months) at 16 weeks of age. He looked like a midget, especially compared to the German Shepherds and other large herding dogs, but he held his own and although he didn’t show well with anyone else, he did great with me the last day earning a Best Baby Puppy in Group. Here is his profile in the Best Baby Puppy in Show ring. Lots to love about this boy.

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And an entirely new chapter was written with the introduction of Annik.   It’s funny how many people in the show community now don’t remember that my first love was the wolfhounds.

me-and-ruari-st-martin-nb ruari-group-4-nbkc-2000

Long before the Dolly and Dragoon days – there was the Donovan and Ruari days!

But even though I can’t do that seven year heartache ever again, I needed a large dog in the house, and brought home Annik last summer.

She has gone through some wonky growth periods where I wasn’t ready to let the world see her, but Annik made her debut this weekend also.   Unfortunately as the ONLY Swissy she had no competition and no points, but it gave her lots of opportunity to go from goofball to “almost a show dog” over the weekend.  Thank you Dennis for your patience with her and her antics.   I have lots of high hopes for her in the future, and will need to get the website re-worked again to include her!

Here is her progress over the first show.

 So while it may not have been a “wildly” successful year, it was a good one.  Dragoon ended the year as #1 Cardigan Welsh Corgi in Canada, and #22 Herding dog.    Jolene won the Canadian National and will end up as #7 Cardigan, Hope as #11 and #2 puppy, and Susie will tie for #15.  Gryphon, Natasha and Sean are all close to championships.

In the U.S. there has been several major awards won by the youngsters, and titles earned in Europe also.

But breeding quality dogs is not easy, and without anyone to share it with, is no longer really feeding my soul.   Where at one time there was Chris, and there was a partner to share the joys and sorrows, its now all on me.   Joy is multiplied when shared, and burdens are eased when divided. 

So while there will be Yasashiikuma dogs out representing us, as things stand right at this second, you most likely will not see me. Good luck to all of you who are there to continue to carry the flag, I will be with you in spirit.  I hope all of your show days are successful ones.

Shelley

Cardigans and kids

When people ask me how Cardigans are with children, I always say that they are good with children as long as the children are good with dogs.   By that I mean I don’t expect any dog to put up with hair pulling or fingers in the eyes, but Cardigans are smart enough to remove themselves from the situation and go to a safe place.  Then it is up to the parents to teach the children to respect the dogs wishes.

But sometimes I place dogs in famiilies where children aren’t there where they first go home, but have arrived later.   What happens then?   Well I’d like to share  some photos of  Cardigans who are totally besotted with their new protegees.

badger-and-hugo-feb-2016I’ve been watching these two grow up together for almost two years now, and the close relationship between Badger and his little brother in every photo from infancy through toddler has given me damp eyes to see.  I love the frequent updates of their kinship.

15033963_10157676690445335_1724957623_oDuke has a new little sister to whom he is slavishly devoted.  He is never far from her according to mom, even sleeping under her high chair.

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And Pepper also has a new baby in the family, and this is where she can be found whenever the baby is accessible.  

So we know that young dogs can definitely adapt to having a new arrival in the house.   But what about an older dog?   One that is used to having its own space and own toys and mom’s complete attention for 7 years.

julies-babyJulie is Dolly’s sister, and her mom reports that Julie has taken on a whole new youthful attitude now that she has a baby brother to look after.   Here she was even bringing him one of her toys to play with.

Aren’t Cardigans just the most wonderful dogs in the world?

Chesapeake Specialty

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Jolene was once again my star of the weekend, picking up a 3 point and a 5 point major at the all breed show and the first specialty, and going reserve to the 5 point major at the second specialty.   That gives her three majors with a total of 12 points!

Jack picked up his first points on Friday, and Hope was first in her class at all three shows.  It was a great weekend and very enjoyable, and I thank Anne Taylor and Barb Waldkirch for helping me to get the girls into the ring!  You ladies reminded me of what shows SHOULD be like!