Breeder Issues

No; though there will be fun stuff today, I will not stop beating this drum, because it needs saying/ beating.

Jess from DesertWindhounds, in a comment at Retrieverman’s on why “can’t we just all get along?”

“Tell you what. When I stop getting harassed by total strangers for my breeding decisions, we’ll all get along. When people stop making false reports to animal control as a way to intimidate and harass breeders they don’t like, we’ll all get along. When small purebred breeders stop supporting legislation that would make it illegal for me to own an intact mixed breed dog, we’ll all get along. When breeders stop ganging up and plotting to get a man’s dogs away from him for no good reason, we’ll all get along.

“When people stop denying that the science does, yes indeed, show that inbreeding, close breeding, and not breeding enough individuals in the population is bad for the population as a whole, we’ll all get along. When purebred breeders stop denying that statistically, mixed breed dogs are healthier, we’ll all get along. When breeders stop denying there’s something wrong with using popular sires, we’ll all get along.

“When breeders stop acting like total idiots (looking at you, Dal club), we’ll all get along. When breeders stop insisting that a crossbreeding would definitely bring in ‘new diseases’ (gosh, can’t you buy healthy, tested stock in other breeds?), we’ll all get along. When breeders stop confusing genetics involving THEIR dogs as opposed to POPULATION genetics, we’ll all get along.”

Grrrrr… shout it from the rooftops.

16 thoughts on “Breeder Issues”

  1. I'm not sure what Jess is referring to in her first paragraph. All of the "small purebred breeders" I know are vehemently against mandatory spay/neuter laws. There has been a tremendous amount of activism on the part of the purebred dog fancy to defeat every California state wide initiative for mandatory sterilization of ANY dog. And I would like to see the statistics that really prove that mixed breed dogs are healthier. Who actually keeps statistics on the health problems and longevity of mixed breed dogs? And finally, perhaps I live in the somewhat rarified world of the Scottish deerhound, but I dont know any deerhound breeders who dont decry the idea the indiscriminate use of "popular sires"–i.e. those who win at shows. Personally I think that those of us working to preserve historic rare breeds and those of us working to create hybrid-vigorous new ones should be friends, not enemies.

  2. MaryAnn, Akilah– I agree we should work together or "hang separately"– tell other purebred people! You'll get no opposition and plenty of support here.

    I think the threat in CA has been obvious and up- front and has had the salutary effect of uniting various "factions".

    But in other states including NM the "persecution" Jess alleges is real. I think breeders of AKC dogs often think AR will never go after them.

    They are wrong. Which is why show breeders should stop pointing the finger at "us". We do not go after them, and we are not their enemies– unless they think our pointing out the dangers of inbreeding is hostile.

  3. Ha! Jess, some MAY consider you a "horrible bitter old bitch", but you are still RIGHT(as in accurate with your tirade). You think the ant-brindle saluki faction are bad? Just try dabbling in WOLF-HYBRIDS for awhile–you'll be ostracized by virtually all of modern humanity, not just self-righteous(and ignorant) show dog people! Luckily for me, when I did dare to acquire and keep wolf hybrids(from which I learned a lot, and gained an amazing perspective on the whole dog domestication world, as well as human prejudice I otherwise would never have known), I ALREADY WAS rather reclusive and spent most of my time in the woods with the wolf dogs(who were tractable, dependable and faithful to me till their last breaths in decrepit old age, unlike all the treacherous humans constantly telling me how wrong I was….), so such peoples' opinions were little more to me than the annoying buzzing of distant insects……L.B.

  4. Devil's advocate (and maybe a bit of mirror-holding for a moment): The long laundry list could be summarized as "When people do things the way *I* think they should, we can get along." I realize you didn't intend it that way, but that's one way of receiving the message. Something to think about, maybe?

  5. JT: Too many people (one of whom blocked my dogs' registration in SPDBS, one of whom threatened to get the authorities to neuter my dogs) telling ME what to do! (And the two are on OPPOSITE sides of the inclusive/ exclusive saluki controversy).

    OTOH yr advice re bird though everybody was skeptical was right– see above. I can admit ignorance!

  6. I had problems with the browser, delete the extra if this gets posted twice.

    Mimi, if you live within five miles of the border BP can come on your property any time they want. They are not trespassing. Putting forth your side of the story, or attempting rumor control in a conflict is not what I'm referring to here.

    Steve knows the exact event I was referring to, where a whole mailing list of people stood aside and watched a group of rabid idiots plot to get a man's dogs away from him, even though he had only three dogs and had bred one litter. I wrote about it on my blog. I sometimes wonder what these people talk about around the water cooler at work. Do they say, "Oh yeah, I had a great weekend, make fake calls to AC because I just didn't like this guy, then started a rumor about them! Very productive weekend for me."?

    I was harassed repeatedly over my litter of Salukis last year. And I'll admit I had some fun with it, on my blog. The same person recently attempted to mess with me again on a public mailing list. I don't know this person, I've never met them, I was polite during our initial contacts but for some reason they decided to bother the hell out of me. There is a culture in dogs that encourages this behavior, and it thrives because nobody will say, "Hey, quit that."

    In the past two years two breeders of my acquaintance (not including Akilah) have had animal control called on them, with false allegations, as 'punishment.' That is sick behavior, especially in this climate where your dogs can be taken away because their water is dirty or they have a scab.

    Mary Ann, you are sheltered. I don't mean that in a bad way. I followed AB 1634 in CA closely, and the rhetoric from so-called responsible 'show' breeders against backyard breeders or 'designer dog' breeders curled my hair. It happens with darn near every law that comes up. "We've just got to stop those backyard breeders, but this law won't do it without affecting me and my show dogs." Thanks so much, I AM A BACKYARD BREEDER. You just alienated the vast majority of breeders in the US. And you wonder why the show fancy is practically the only ones who speak up about these laws? Because we horrible BYBs get nailed to wall all the time, so we are used to keeping our heads down. Something the people on the VERY large canine reproduction mailing should have taken into consideration when they actually had a discussion about whether people who cross-breed should be banned from the list, or whether cross-breeders should have their questions answered or not. Nice. One for all, all for one. Not.

    JT: Sorry to be blunt, but bullshit. I really don't care what other people do with their dogs. (Steve, maybe you could link to the whole thread on Retrieverman for context.) Whatever blows your hair back, just take good care of them. JUST DON'T FEEL YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO E-MAIL ME, COME ON MY BLOG AND INSULT ME, or spread nasty rumors about me because I do things differently.

    On a different note, denying the science, which is partly what I was talking about, is stoopid. The science is what it is, if you choose to use it, fine, if you don't, fine, but don't deny it. The pet owning public will eventually be the ultimate arbiter (see Prop B in Missouri and the situation with the KC in the UK after PDE), and they are increasingly aware of the shortcomings of closed registries, and denying the science WILL come back and bite you in the ass. I DO NOT want gov't or anyone else telling me how to breed my dogs (yet, strangely, some people feel they can do just that), and repeatedly asserting that dogs are just so magical that inbreeding depression and gene loss are just not a problem, while producing dogs that are genetic nightmares is going to get the gov't involved, because obviously you don't know what the hell you're doing and need to be told how to do it! Why doesn't anybody get that?

  7. I think this is the link to the right Retrieverman post.

    I get a bit uncomfortable when people whom I know, who would resolve all debates in 5 minutes in person, find themselves in debates that go on forever in comments. For the record: I think Jess has reason and science on her side. But we need to have more show (and trial) breeders understand the problem of the closed "box"– the system that accepts it as natural has been the only paradigm most breeders have seen for over a century. Many have never had the relentless science so much as presented to them.

    We will never convince those that try to hurt or compel others, but none have showed up here yet (I know who they are)– for the rest, flies, honey, vinegar…?

  8. The reason we have such splendid variety of breeds is BECAUSE "backyard breeders" of the past several millenia constantly experimented and crossbred dogs to a purpose(and that purpose was NOT conformation dog showing! Which is only a little over a hundred years old), so actually so-called "backyard breeding" has a much more time honored priority, which it is simply WRONG for modern, narow-minded, non-functionally oriented folk to try and eradicate! Mary Ann–much as I love Scottish Deerhounds, they cannot begin to function as well as the American Staghound counterparts anymore–were I to seek this type of dog, I would prefer to get one of these Staghounds, which are products of crossbreeding! They tend to be healthier and longer-lived AS WELL as more functional, and I certainly have a right to choose such a dog if I wish(I actually DO wish to acquire one or two before I kick the bucket), and the people that breed and actually hunt with them have the right(or should) to breed them. If they are abusive to their dogs, or unethical in their breeding or selling practices, then they simply won't get my business, and I'll be sure and warn away all my acquaintances. I know plenty of AKC show conformation breeders whom I think have HORRIBLE ethics regarding their dogs–it very often becomes all about the ribbons, and as individual living creatures, the dogs lives are greatly(in my opinion) compromised in the process. But I would also never think about trying to DESTROY ALL conformation breeders because my view of dog keeping/breeding does not agree with the tiny, narrow, Nazi-like views of SOME Conformation Show Breeders–THEY are the ones who attack and villify and try to destroy others, so it cannot be a matter of us deciding to "agree-to-disagree", akilah and J T, until these people stop THEIR attacks! Decent backyard breeders(and yes, there are many–I would say they are in the majority, actually) are simply acting DEFENSIVELY, and long may their banner wave! This IS AMERICA by gosh, which is where diversity of ideas and the freedom to pursue happiness is SUPPOSED to be every citizen's RIGHT!….L.B.

  9. Steve, Thanks for the acknowledgment. I kinda have a leg up. Started flying when I was 11, and spent a LOT of time with those birds in Africa. Contrary to the yammering, nobody else comes close in that aspect, and this subspecies is a bit different than the ones in Pakistan and S. Africa, both visibly and in practice.

    Give him time to grow up, pressure off, and you'll find he's both endearing and capable. I was watching some footage of Edwards' bird's first hunt the other day, and noted that the flight characteristics are apparently genetic, as it's nearly identical to the way they flew in Africa. The fatal flaw in every attempt so far is that people are trying to fly them as a non-social passager. It's understandable to do so, since most other raptors are non-social… but as you found out, it's a pivotal difference.

    Kinda amusing that Bill offers advice, and that nobody phones me about them. Why would I know anything about them? I'm just the only Westerner to spend any significant time in their company, and the guy who found, trapped, manned and brought them over in the first place. 😛 Duh!

    I'm glad you're doing well with the bird now. Looking forward to very good things, and to you coming to enjoy his company.

    Jess? No clue what your drama was about, but since I didn't even begin to deserve all that vitriol, I'll assume you were having a bad day or something.

    All the best,


  10. Jess, and LB, your points are well taken. I probably DO live in a very sheltered world and am too busy being a doctor to take in all of the politics of the dog world.I too would be classified as a "back yard breeder", having bred one litter of deerhounds in 30 years of ownership. As far as that goes, all of the deerhound breeders that I know (and I know almost all of them since I have served on the SDCA board and am currently on the health and genetics committee) are "back yard breeders"–none have professional kennels and the top conformation deerhounds in the country have always, with very rare exception, been amateur owner handled. There are typically fewer than 50 deerhound litters registered in the country per year, and people who want one generally have to get themselves on a waiting list. As for their functionality, it depends on what function you are describing–it is illegal to hunt deer with dogs in most states in the US (maybe all), and deerhounds are not well tested on desert jacks or coyotes. Lure coursing is fun for the dogs, but it doesnt even begin to simulate what an uphill chase after a highland stag would be. So I dont know if staghounds are more "functional", if by that it means that they can catch more rabbits. Our breed certainly has serious health problems, however opening the studbooks to other large sighthound breeds, who have the same health problems, isnt likely to fix that! My hope is that genetic testing (and we're close to finding the osteosarcoma gene) will. I love Steve's brindle Tazi, and I'm sure I'd like the halfghans (but only if they have less hair than a show afghan–it's the only reason I've never owned one!). I just dont want to see the deerhound go away, or all purebred breeders damned. Mary Ann

  11. Good luck, Jess! Me, too, know what it is like be on a black list of a club. It's eyes-opening; you neve could thought these clubs would use such means as they did to you, to me.. Wishes fr. Bridget.


Leave a Comment