A Great Dane waits to be judged during t

  Research is what I’m doing when I don’t know what I’m doing.

  – Wernher von Braun

Today is the last day of the Krufts dogs show.  Quite a few of my friends are talking about it (with British accents, of course).  My friends typically fall silent when I enter the room, though.  They know I’m a huge proponent of rescue and shelter dogs.

They don’t understand that I also love the purebreds!

Believe it or not, the two can live hand-in-hand.  Just because I love purebreds doesn’t mean I support puppy mills.  Just because I love and champion rescue dogs doesn’t mean I feel all breeders should immediately cease breeding.

There are indeed a finite number of homes, and what seems to be an infinite number of dogs in the words needing those homes.  When a client hires me to help them with dog selection, after making their list wants and needs for their dog, we always shuttle off to the local animal shelter to find the dog that fits that list.  However, sometimes the list is very, very long.

For example, when I made my list for Sparta (obviously not knowing her yet), on the list was large, black, good with kids and my cat. Not much of a list, as she was going to be strictly a family pet (and she is).  I was able to walk into the local shelter and have my pick of dogs that fit that profile.

But what if your list is longer?  Say…you need a dog who is intelligent, agile, hard-working, low prey-drive, medium sized and can work as a pack?  Oh, and has a natural ability to herd sheep?  In other words, you are looking for a Border Collie. Yes, there are some dogs at shelters who can fit this bill, but not many.  The list is too precise.  Dogs are not commodities to be exchanged if they don’t work out.  Due diligence is integral.

That’s why we have specific breeds.  You are even using a breeders services when you are at the kennel.  Want an over-grown lap dog?  Take a look at the lab mix in Cage 5.  Want an exercise partner and general “buddy” dog?  There’s a Boxer/Pit mix in Cage 17.  You are still using breed standards to find the perfect (rescue) dog.  I’ve stated many times, the breed standard Jack Russell Terrier would not be a good dog for me, and I know this because of the breed standards for the dog.  The dog isn’t bad, but just like a size 6 shoe, it doesn’t fit me.

A dog can be a commitment lasting more than a decade.  That’s longer than most marriages these days. Do your research.  Check the local shelter, but be realistic:  if you don’t find a dog that fits your wants and needs, wait. Find a breed-specific rescue.  Or even go to a breeder.  Just do the prep work to make sure you can love and care for your new pet for the rest of their life.  Keeping dogs out of the shelter is a huge step in eliminating the need for shelters to begin with.

“Someone” has to maintain the jaunt in a Jack.  ”Someone” has to preserve the lovable Labs.  There are so many puppy mills out there, or back yard breeders interested in making a buck.  Don’t lump the true, respectable breeders in with them.


Keep calm and pilot on


Kerry Stack
Darwin Dogs
Dog Training in Cleveland, Ohio

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