So there has been some coverage in the news recently about ethical breeding of pets. Not just dog but cats too.
There are a number of sites and traders now refusing to promote, advertise or support selective animal breeding, to breed in or out desired traits.
There are a number of ‘flat faced’ dog breeds where, due to excessive in-breeding, a number of long term health issues are presenting themselves (ulcerated eyes, breathing issues etc). All this to provide people with a physical end product based on what they think they want from a pet. Cats being bred to support a genetic ‘flat eared’ trait that leads to lifelong joint pain for the cat all because certain celebrities have the same thing.
They are beautiful animals, very cute as well but it comes at a price, not monetary, and are you prepared to pay it? Many people will without a blink and its easy to understand.
We had Harry the Border Collie for sixteen years. He was a Blue Merle collie, bred for the marbling of their coats.
Before we had Harry, I had no idea what a Blue Merle was but he was a beautiful boy, that couldn’t be denied but those looks came at a cost – bad knees. Apparently, a floating patella needing reconstructive surgery at 12 months old is a side effect of the breeding. A cost to the dog, without a doubt, but once healed he was better, fitter, more mobile.
In hindsight, I still wouldn’t have gone without Harry, he was a true blessing. Although he was of pedigree stock, this was uncertificated and so uncheckable.
After Harry died and we decided to get another dog, we carried out ‘due diligence’ by finding a breeder registered with the Kennel Club. Parents whose lineage could be traced back generations with no physical defects like we experienced with Harry.
For everything we didn’t do or check with for Harry, we did with this dog and so we picked up the stunning looking Ted. We wanted a dog with strong genes to avoid skeletal issues and a good looking coat. Nothing flashy, but nice and so we had a lilac collie.
Unfortunately, for Ted and for us, all the checks and balances could not prevent a dog being more style than substance.
For every good thing about Ted, there were two things wrong. He was hyperactive, aggressive and, basically, dangerous. He COULD be lovely but the aggression meant he had to go. Whilst we had him we tried everything to fix the problems and for everyone we did, more became apparent.
After the massive heartache all this caused, we thought we were off dog and a month later, completely unplanned and unprepared, with no checks carried out – George arrives.
George is great and I cannot think how we lucked on such a good dog but here we are.
For me, having been on the good and bad side of selective breeding, it shows that there are pro’s and cons to both sides. We did our best but this is where the nature/nurture argument kicks in – who’s right?
With George, we met the parents and him – job done. That’s all it took to get my hands on what turned out to be one of the best dogs I’ve ever had.
I think, if how a pet looks is the most important thing in choosing an animal, you probably shouldn’t be getting one. What happens when that celebrity you follow gets bored and changed pets to suit their next haircut or sponsorship deal?
Go with your heart, your true heart, not the one you show on social media and you might just drop lucky on the best thing ever.