Dogs are not dollar signs. This is both a personal stream of consciousness post and a sort of public service announcement/op-ed piece. In other words, you have found me up on my soap box today.
Yesterday, I had to have my beautiful little dog, Hanna, put down. Hanna was not yet a year old. A little more than a year ago, I had to have my sweet Cavalier King Charles Spaniel put down. Betsy was only four and a half years old. Why did Betsy and Hanna have to die so young? Because of poor breeding practices by the purebred breeders from which they came. Neither did any sort of genetic testing. Both were irresponsible.
Hanna’s breeder decided to develop a “designer” dog and mixed two purebred breeds. To my knowledge, they did no genetic testing. In doing that, they created puppies with extreme fear aggression who couldn’t learn and who were fear biters and worse. They didn’t know what they were doing. It wasn’t Hanna’s fault. She should never have been born.
In Betsy’s case, she developed a fatal genetic disease called syringomyelia that was incredibly painful. It could have been avoided by genetic testing and Betsy would never have been born and would never had to endure the pain she endured.
Both breeders saw dollar signs instead of sweet puppies.
I don’t pretend to know the answer to this problem since breeders of purebred dogs are not subject to any sort of controls by any governing body except the American Kennel Club and various regional clubs that set the breed standard and govern showing purebred dogs. Unless the various breed-specific clubs impose some sort of rules and sanctions, there are purebred dogs that are going to become extinct. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, for example, is thought to have about fifty percent of dogs carrying the gene for syringomyelia, the condition that killed Betsy. Many breeds are known to be fear aggressive, like Hanna, and the condition is almost impossible to treat. The dogs have to be put down. I could cite many more examples.
Be very careful if you buy a purebred dog. Question the breeder about their breeding practices. Ask about genetic testing. Ask if they offer a health guarantee. Don’t just fall in love with a puppy, pay a huge price, and walk away. Ask questions. Get guarantees. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a lot of vet bills and a broken heart.