Today's post in the New York Times' blog Room for Debate was called "Feeling Guilty About Your Purebred Dog?"
I couldn't help but read it. The Room for Debate blog gets opinions on a hot topic from four different people who are in-the-know. I think all of the authors who shared their opinions on purebred dogs made decent arguments, but I liked Francis Battista's opinion the best.
After I read the debate, I had to read the comments, too. Well, not ALL FOUR pages of comments, even I don't have enough time for that. But I did read the first page of comments.
One of the commentors (commentators?) went OFF on Ted Kerasote who happens to be one of my favorite authors and, I have to say, I mostly agreed with what the commentor said. Kerasote blamed some of our dog problems on shelters that are antiquated and not very creative in how they find homes for dogs. I think he's right in one sense -- the shelters are antiquated, mostly because they are underfunded -- but I think they're doing the best they can and their hearts are in the right place. Blame can more realistically be spread among irresponsible owners, irresponsible breeders, and ignorant people who adopt dogs from irresponsible breeders. There is plenty of blame to go around, I just don't think that spreading any of it to shelters is very productive.
I also don't understand some commentors' insistence on buying purebreds because they'll "know" what the dog's personality will be like. That sounds like something akin to racism to me, and maybe someday it will be just as taboo! I believe that a dog's personality has much more to do with its individual genetics combined with its early experience (just like people, eh?) than its breed alone. Breed alone might be a reasonable guide, but I hope that people don't actually believe that a Golden Retriever will be a great family dog just because it is a Golden Retriever. I guess the existence of breed-specific rescue groups proves that when we buy a purebred for its advertised qualities, we don't always get what we paid for.
Here in Mexico, purebreds are rare, but they do exist. Most of them are little tiny Chihuahuas and they are about as cute as can be. If I could find one to rescue, I'd stick it in my pocket in a heartbeat. Whenever I see any other purebred, I start looking around for the Gringo owners. Being surrounded by mutts is a bit of a relief from breed-crazy America!