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Letters

By Lavender May 8, 2009

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Designer Duds

As a longtime dog enthusiast, exhibitor, and breeder, I was appalled by your article “Hybrid Hounds” [Lavender, April 24]. Your article states, “It’s as simple to craft your future canine as you would a cup of joe…”; and, “When you go designer, you can mix qualities and characteristics in both purebreds, customizing your own pooch.” From personal experience, I can tell you, nothing is further from the truth!
It has taken many years and many generations to establish our pure breeds, to create lineages of dogs that breed true to type, looks, and temperament. Your article fails to explain that when you cross two different breeds, you can only predict you will get dogs—there is no way to predict which qualities in looks or temperament you will get from each parent in the resulting puppies.
Probably the most disappointing aspect of your article was the blatant promotion of a private kennel business that specializes in commercial sale of dogs. You quote the business owner as stating: “Anyone who is looking for a great companion from a breeder that cares about the hybrids they raise is willing to open his or her pocketbook.”

As an ethical and responsible breeder since 1997, I can tell you that if a breeder truly cares about the puppies they raise, they would first open their own pocketbooks, and spend the money to medically qualify, via Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) health certifications, their breeding stock prior to making any puppies. Dogs of any breed, of any mix, can be afflicted with genetic diseases.

Nowhere on the business’s Web site could I find out any information on the health testing done on the parent dogs. No ethical and responsible breeder sells newborn pups on a first-come, first-served basis. Rather, they are raised to the age of eight weeks, and temperament-tested to determine the ideal home. But I could find nothing on the Web site to substantiate the claims that the parent dogs were actually healthy.

Perhaps the greatest injustice your article does is to fail to properly educate the public on how not to get taken by unethical breeders. Instead of the Web site of a commercial breeder who raises dogs to make money, you could have and should have offered the public the resources and tools to make an informed decision about the breeder whom they are considering purchasing a puppy from.

A visit to the OFA Web site at www.offa.org allows prospective puppy parents to check to see what tests are available, which tests apply to their breed/s of choice, and to see which breeders are actually backing up their claims of “raising healthy puppies” with their pocketbooks, and doing the testing to ensure they are doing all that they can to produce healthy pups. This is not limited to purebreds, but if the breeder is crossing two purebreds together, the health qualifications of those parent dogs should be proudly displayed on the OFA site.

Another resource missed for quality local breeders was the Minnesota Pure Bred Dog Breeders Association—www.minnesotapurebreddogs.org.

An additional great resource to aid puppy buyers in reading a contract, so they don’t get taken, or are misled to believe that a 12-month warranty is worth more than the paper it’s printed on, is www.thewrongpuppy.org/Puppy_war ranty.htm.

—Theresa Baker

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