Safety Concerns Stoke Criticism of Kennel Club

The American Kennel Club is best known as the go-to place for registering purebreds and as the governing body for dog shows. But the club is coming under increased scrutiny.

Comments: 283

  1. Money/fees play too important a role in the AKC. Lots of good people - but the problem people get ignored.

  2. State legislators have no idea how their proposed legislation affects breeders and even pet owners who own multiple dogs. Many of the proposed regulations are ridiculous such as the stacking cage one - veterinary office would have to be enlarged to accommodate such.

    The problem is that the AKC sees ANY legislation as a loss of potential revenue from their high-volume breeders (they want and need all those registration fees!), and instead of educating legislators and working WITH them on appropriate legislation, opposes them every single step of the way. Somehow, the AKC does not realize it is playing right into the hands of animal rights groups which would like to end purebred dog breeding and even pet ownership. It's an enormous mistake on the part of the AKC.

  3. Animals rights groups - and I speak as a member of several of them - are NOT against pet ownership. But I do agree that purebred dog breeding should be greatly reduced, since it adds to an immense cost on society/taxpayers and the animals themselves, since there are not enough homes for all the pets out there as it is.

    I consider purebred breeding as a consumer compulsion - people think of dogs like handbags, and they just have to have these certain "brands" of dogs, ignoring the impact of their purchases on the millions of other dogs that are just as quality but left homeless or euthanized (at taxpayer expense). Purebred breeding is irresponsible and selfish, for those reasons.

  4. Many large volume, commercial breeders have their own registries now and do not use the AKC. Also, there are many of these types of breeders who raise their dogs in a humane and caring manner. Just because they don't share the same ethics and morals, doesn't make it wrong.

    It is very unfair to those Animal Rights groups to paint all breeders under the same term. To me, substandard breeding is substandard breeding. They want to guilt the public into getting a dog that might not be right for them.

    To JB, yes, the AR groups want to end our rights to own an animal. It has been said time and time again. Make it too expensive to own a dog by driving up vet fees, supply fees, etc. If you spay and neuter everything, there will not be enough dogs period! Also, if there is so many dogs dying in shelters, why do we import nearly 500,000 dogs a year from other countries? How many local dogs die because these imports took their home?

    Where there is a demand, they will be supply. Shelters just have to learn how to market their dogs better without bashing and blaming breeders. Many are now selling dogs brought in from other states too. This is becoming a big business for them.

    It's all about choice. People still have the right to choose what pet is right for their family. No one should be forced to take a shelter dog, many of which have their own bag of issues to deal with.

  5. The AKC has not taken responsibility for the many abuses in the purebred dog business. They keep protecting backyard breeders. And many of these breeders are selfish; some are actually hoarders. Many purebred dogs are messes thanks to breeding practices.

  6. There isn't anything wrong with backyard breeders. I've gotten several dogs through the years through "backyard breeders" that were just fine. Its actually breed standards made for show dogs that have caused most of the genetic problems.

  7. The whole dog show mentality is cruel to the animals. The adults seek fame and money and the dogs are helpless victims who cannot protect themselves. So much money is involved with little to no oversight and the A.K.C. has become a breading ground for abuse.

    How very sad. Thank you to the NY Times for exposing this.

  8. So you think that show dogs get dragged from show to show, and then dragged around the show ring against their will. Like any endeavor, I imagine there are abuses, but it's obvious from your comment that you have never been to a dog show; otherwise you would have seen dogs that absolutely loved the attention of the show ring. I have shown 4 of my own dogs, who all enjoyed it. I would never show a dog that didn't.

  9. One more thing. If you for a moment think that there's money to be made showing dogs, you are most sadly mistaken.

  10. whole wheat or rye?

  11. Obvious cases of cruelty are horrible and should be dealt with harshly by local law enforcement. My concern is when private animal cruelty groups are allowed to come into people's homes and confiscate animals. Dog shows have had troubles with animal rights extremists letting dogs out of crates because they believe crates are inherently cruel. According to many of these groups guidelines, anyone who crates their dog while they are at work is committing animal cruelty and could have their dog taken away. Animal rights groups are already stealing dogs left tied up outside in people's backyards claiming they are 'rescuing' them, then re-homing them for a nice big donation. Not everyone has the same standards when it comes to pets. How soon until these animal rights crusaders have the right to confiscate any ungroomed dog with long toenails being walked at a park. To some in these types of groups, that alone is a sign of neglect and abuse. And the fact is, these groups make money off the adoption fees they collect after confiscating these dogs. A puppymill raid is a very profitable thing for many of these groups. Euthanize the sick and injured, get a bunch of donations, then charge 500+ in adoption fees for the purebred rescue puppies. Great racket they have.

  12. Wow, Caroline. I'm going to think the best after reading your "comment" and hope you are simply ignorant and not a shill for the AKC. For one, animal protection groups don't need to "steal" dogs; they have more than enough dogs, cats, horses, etc. who have been neglected, abandoned, or left at their facilities that they are trying to feed, shelter, provide health care for, and re-home. They don't need to look for ones that don't need their help. Second, most every group runs at a deficit --- the cost of trying to take care of animals who come to them one in poor health is exorbitant! They ask for a few hundred dollars adoption fee to try to offset some of the costs, but, for most, it barely makes a dent. I could go on refuting your points; instead, perhaps you might volunteer at a shelter and gain some real knowledge and perspective. It might come in handy next time you give an opinion on this subject.

  13. Let's get real Caroline. There needs to be minimum standards for which animals are cared for and quite frankly, if you don't agree please do us all a favor and don't ever own a dog, cat, or animal of any kind. Yes, not everyone has the same "standards" for caring for animals; some have "substandards" and that's what the laws and these rescue groups are attempting to address. If you think tying up an animal who is social by nature alone in a backyard for 24 hours a day is fine, you are absolutely part of the problem.

    The AKC is no more than a money-making machine and they don't care how dogs are cared for. I've seen it first hand in NY with certain AKC-certified breeders who sell sick dogs for $1200+ and leave the new owners to fix the problems that they have caused. Talk about a great racket. When those breeders are reported to the AKC, the AKC couldn't care less. They will tell you themselves they are not an enforcement agency and all they do is register animals for a fee. Another great racket.

    And the "500+" in adoption fees you say that rescue groups charge (you exaggerate-- I've never seen any organization charge more than $200- $250 in NYC) is to recoup the medical and care costs for abused and neglected animals. Rescuers make no money at this; in fact most lose money as they find themselves contributing their own funds to care for the overflow of used and abused animals that show up at their doorsteps every year.

    Your comments are, at best, are disingenuous.

  14. Sounds to me that you and some of the owners cited look upon the dogs as fungible commodities rather than living creatures.
    Moeover, your notion of a puppymill raid being "profitable" for anyone would do the Birthers proud.

  15. This is a tragic story, and I hope that AKC members and officials will rally to create and enforce its own regulations to prevent the registration of animals from puppy mills. States are developing definitions, AKC has a chance to lead or follow.

  16. It's only normal to expect perfection from such an auspicious group and organization as the AKC. However, as I have learned especially with the breeding of purebreds ...there are always some negligent and awful people that abound in-that arena. They really only care about the bottom line....cash and how much that label "AKC" may mean to loving and vulnerable folks who just think they are paying $2-5 thousand for that "AKC" registration...when in fact they probably could have adopted that very same dog that was given to the rescue because of poor breeding and inbreeding. Such a calamity for these dogs and worse yet for the poor person who gets' the "lemon". Such a sad state of affairs ..for an industry that used to be so pure and decent and elegant...gone by the wayside because of greed.

  17. Please, folks, get a dog or cat from a shelter, not a breeder and especially not from a puppy mill.

  18. Yes! But, you don't really know which breeders run puppy mills. You know they will clean things up for your visit, so it's hard to judge. Just adopt!!

  19. There is nothing wrong with getting a dog or cat from a breeder if the breeder is responsible. Not all breeders are "puppy mills".

  20. Most breeders are responsible and truly love their breeds; they would never do anything to harm the breed. They are devoted dog lovers.

    Yes there are always some "bad apples" who ruin it for everyone else.

    That being said: I have only dogs (and cats!) who come from shelters, or were abandoned, or rarely, were strays. Among them, have been some purebreds. Your local shelter has a fair share of expensive purebred dogs (and cats!) who were abandoned, even running loose on the street -- and nobody ever came to claim or even search for them!

    My last visit I saw several purebred chihuahua, a bichon and an Italian greyhound -- all sad and terrified. Other visits I have seen MANY beautiful dachshunds and German shepherds. I've seen purebred Siamese and Himalyan cats, too.

    My own dogs have been purebred border collies, abandoned at horrible inner-city dog pounds -- herding dogs who belong out in the country. How did they end up there? I'll never know.

    All shelter dogs are NOT homely pit bull/boxer mixes (though there are plenty of those, and most are adorable sweet gentle dogs). Please, PLEASE adopt from shelters -- the need is very great. We still euthanize millions of young healthy dogs each year!

  21. Breed "standards" have produced breeding to an arbitrary beauty image that is not necessarily in keeping with the overall health, mentality and life span of these pure bred animals. Just look at the breed descriptions and take note of the breed specific health issues. It is really appalling. I have been an owner of dogs (also cats and horses) all my life and find the healthiest are those with widely mixed backgrounds with little potential for the appearance of recessive characteristics. But in the race for money and prestige, there are many breeders who are ignore common sense in choosing their breeding pairs. The AKC should be looking to placing more emphasis on healthy blood lines (without close blood lines) for entrance to the show and then on the healthy physical attributes rather than sheer image requirements and coat color. Frankly, mixed breed mutts are both beautiful and healthier in general and I would go as far as suggesting a "group" be dedicated for them. Judging for not necessarily uniform but rather healthy confirmation and even-temperedness for all the groups.

  22. The notion that mixed breeds are inherently healthier is a myth. A genetically unhealthy puebred crossed with another dog -- mutt or breed -- may or may not pass along the flawed genetics to a mongel puppy. I have had mixed breeds with congenital defects (heart nurmer, cataracts, hip dysplasia). I have had mixed breeds die of cancers that are associated with one of their component breeds.

  23. We also do not know if a random bred dog is inbred either. Most shelter dogs come from friends and neighbors whose dogs are allowed to breed. It's very conceivable that your friend or neighbor's dog had puppies and they kept a male. When he became old enough, he could easily breed his mother. Same as if someone got two littermates, a male and female, and didn't realize what age they became sexually mature. The brother breeds the sister and you have an inbred litter of puppies. I am sure this happens quite often as well. And no, there is no guarantee that a random bred dog is any healthier than a purebred. In fact, thanks in big part to the AKC, we have DNA testing available for certain genetic disorders. It is quite easy to test and breed accordingly knowing you will not produce affected dogs.

  24. AKC registration is nothing but a piece of paper. There is no guarantee that the purebred dog that you buy is of the lineage claimed. And inbreeding is also rampant. I traced a basset hound I owned many decades ago and if the certification and lineage were accurately reported, the dog's father was also his mother's father.

    Having said that, I think the abuse cited is an exception because if one walks into a "fancy" purebred dog store of if you obtain a pet directly from a breeder, it's going to be pretty obvious that a dog has an eye infection or periodontal disease. What won't be obvious are the long-term health problems caused by inbreeding.

    I think the AKC can solve some of these problems by having automatic annual inspection of large breeders and perhaps using DNA tests to establish true lineage. And maybe RFIDs can play a role as well, although I suppose some dog owners would be opposed to implanting them in their animals.

    I am not opposed to the continued breeding of pure-bred dogs as long as they're not being bred for traits that cause pain or health problems for the dogs. Animal Rights groups are nuts if they think they can convince the American public to give up their pets and many of their most vocal members are pet owners. Rightly or wrongly, we are a nation of pet owners (even if I'm not one of them). According to the Humane Society, 39% of U.S. households own a dog and 33% own a cat.

  25. You may call Animal Rights groups "nuts" and I agree -- but I have lived to see many groups that were rightly called "nutjobs" rise to national prominence and force their political agenda on all the rest of us sensible people -- out of guilt or a desire for "political correctness".

    Animal Rights groups often disguise themselves as "humane societies" or rescuers, but in fact, their goal is not rehome animals but rather to end all pet ownership as "slavery". Read Pete Singer if you don't believe me!

    Their other agenda is to force veganism on the rest of humanity, by screaming that "meat is murder!" -- real murder, an actual crime -- and making all meat, dairy and egg consumption illegal. Read Mark Bittman if you don't believe me.

  26. Concerned Citizen, I don't think you've quite understood Mark Bittman. Since he publishes his work regularly in this very newspaper, it should be easy enough to read his work, in which he advocates eating fewer animal products. He is also a strong advocate for the humane treatment of all animals, including those raised for food.

  27. I've read Peter Singer. He is a philosopher, not an activist. When he puts out an apparently crazy idea, like "owning pets is slavery," he's not trying to shut down Petsmart -- he's looking for other philosophers to find the flaws in the argument that led to the conclusion "owning pets is slavery" -a critique that goes beyond "That's crazy, pet's aren't people."

  28. Plenty of blame to go around on this subject, but some of these AKC comments seem self-serving as do the ASPCA comments to a greater degree. Equal, however, is the need to have horders and puppy mills reported...nobody can inspect that which they do not know needs inspection! AKC could be more sensitive to individual expressions of concern, but so could the breed clubs that advise the AKC and the many rescue organizations are a long way from perfect.

    What is lost in all the verbal wrangling is constructive and unified attention, across those organizations, to our companion animal needs...too many puppy litters are bred and puppy owners may not be carefully evaluated as a good match, physically and mentally, for the breed...far too few dogs are socialized and trained...far too many are rescued and evaluated as unadoptable, which may or may not be true in the long run but sometimes the short run is the only path to dealing with the glut of needy dogs.

    Every good dog deserves a good home...with intelligence and sensitive common sense, surely it would be possible to define what constitutes a good home and work together toward that goal...the time to start is now, while the attention of the world is on Westminster.

  29. AKC registration has nothing to do with the quality of the dog or the dog's parents. All that is needed for AKC registration is for both parents to have been AKC registered and the AKC cares ziltch about animal health and welfare.

    When I was involved in breed rescue our breed rescue organization bought out the breed stock owned by a puppy mill. One of the dogs, an elderly male, was at least 11 years old; his papers said he was four. I sent a copy of the registration papers, in to the AKC, along with pictures of an obviously old dog (showing arthritic legs, missing teeth and white muzzle) and an opinion letter from a vet that the dog was at least 11. The only thing the AKC did was cancel the registration papers that came with the dog; nothing happened to the breeder. The AKC acted similarly on another rescue dog that a breeder sold with papers saying he was a Yorkshire Terrier. That foot-high, 20 pound Yorkie lived with me for the next ten years.

  30. That makes me laugh. In this day of microchips and RIFD tags, they apparently still base AKC registration on .... a piece of paper?

    You can take a piece of paper and hand it off with ANY dog. Obviously that senior male dog was not the same dog as in the papers given with him. They took papers from a younger dog -- perhaps who died -- and simply attached it to another animal. Very deceitful. That elderly dog deserved a loving home in his old age, BUT it is unfair to sell him as show or breeding stock.

    Your "giant Yorkie" made me laugh, too. I'll bet he was a wonderful and grateful dog, who made your life very happy.

  31. Shelters in the U.S. kill an estimated five to six million dogs and cats per year due to lack of space. Many of the dogs killed are dumped by breeders when the dogs either didn't sell or are of no use any longer. Dog breeding should be a thing of the past. Those of us working diligently to ameliorate the needless suffering of animals are faced with an ever steeper hill to climb as we combat the mass production of greedy breeders. In my opinion, in this day and age, there is no such thing as a "responsible breeder."

  32. Even worse -- today it is common to see people "breeding" oddball mixes like "cocker-poos" and "pug-wha-whas" and "labradoodles".

    These mixes don't always work -- they are not true breeds, and they do not "breed true". So you can get a litter with a few cute tiny dogs or ones with curly fur, and the others are a mess. The un-cute ones go to the shelter.

    I do not believe in ending all dog breeding --- that is ridiculous. But we need to end AMATEUR irresponsible breeding and puppy mills.

    We should be ENCOURAGING the adoption of adult dogs anyhow. Adult dogs are better pets all round, need less work, don't chew up all your furniture and are very grateful for a loving home. It is only in the last few years that shelters have "wised up" and now charge more for a puppy than an adult dog.

  33. It appears the AKC cares as much about the dogs as KFC cares about the chickens.

  34. I couldn't bear to read this whole article, so maybe I shouldn't comment. But I'm going to anyway. I am a volunteer at a local Humane Society shelter. My husband and I have had 13 rescue or stray pets, many of them old animals whom nobody will adopt. We bring them home to give them a few years of peace at the end of their lives.

    My experience in the shelter has led me to be philosophically opposed to the concept of keeping animals as pets. It leads to the mistreatment and euthanization of millions of animals each year. At the very least, why don't we have mandatory spay/neuter laws? Breeders can get an exception at the expense of a yearly license and inspection. Breeders such as the ones in this article will be shut down.

  35. Wow thank you for being so brutally honest. This is exactly the mindset of your typical Animal Rights extremist. "opposed to the concept of keeping animals as pets." Tell that to the millions of dogs who are in great homes being loved and cherished. There are many, many good people in this world who are quite capable of caring for their animals. You are only basing your views on what you see in the shelter. They can be depressing but if you can't handle maybe you should get out.

    Mandatory spay/neuter does not work. It only targets the poor and makes them have to give up their animals because they can't afford to spay/neuter them. Besides, according to the ASPCA 78% of all pet dogs are already spayed and neutered.

  36. That's sad and I hope you re-think that. I think you are brainwashed by the Animal Rights fanatics, who equal pet owning with "slavery".

    Though millions of pets are destroyed -- a tragedy -- many millions more are in loving and happy homes. Humans have kept dogs as pets for over 40,000 years! and cats for almost 10,000 years. Dogs and humans have co-evolved, to the betterment of both species -- we have a very unique bond in all of animaldom. It is not to be trivialized.

  37. Kat, since you've rescued animals as I have, I think you'll agree that dependent animals like dogs and cats need continuing love and care, and that keeping them as "pets" (for lack of better word) is a way to do that.

    So I'm not against pet keeping in that sense, but I continue to work toward recognizing the personhood of nonhuman animals in order to protect their basic rights, which means they would no longer be bred as objects of property to be owned by humans who produce and kill them at whim.

    Indeed, I am an animal rights advocate, and I regret that nonhuman animals are trapped in a system of human selfishness and arrogance. The fact that you've rescued homeless pets seems to have been lost in some comments, and nowhere did you mention "slavery".

    To say that animal rights is "extremist", or to condone the killing of millions of homeless animals because of some imaginary benefit to a nonhuman species suggests a mentality that subscribes to the gratuitious exploitation of living beings who have many of the same interests and feelings as we do.

  38. I would say if you by from a breeder, go visit the breeder several times to get to know your dog and see the conditions that it is being raised in. Don't buy from a pet store that likely sources from these high-volume breeders. Shelters and rescue organizations are great, but it sometimes can be difficult to to adopt from them or find the right dog. Different geographic areas have a preponderance of different dogs (pit bulls in the South, huskies/german shepherds in the North, chihuahuas in LA, etc.) and while you should always look at the particular dog and not the breed, sometimes people just can't accommodate a certain size or type of dog.

  39. I can tell you, that in the Rustbelt Midwest, we have mostly pit bulls and boxers (and mixes of the two) in our shelters. That's because they are bred irresponsibly, not by formal "breeders" but by amateurs, mostly in poor urban centers. If the dogs are not fighters -- or if they make poor pets -- it is off to the shelter or out on the street. Our cities now have packs of feral dogs; this was unheard of just a few years ago. We've had feral cat packs for decades, though. Our shelters struggle to trap, neuter and release -- they try so hard, but the numbers are overwhelming.

    The second largest group is Shepherd mixes, the third is chihuahuas. Sadly, the fad for a "tiny dog in your purse", started by the hateful celebritard Paris HIlton, ended up here as well -- and after the dogs passed the "ultra tiny cute stage", like Paris's own poor Tinkerbell, they got the boot. Many were NEVER housebroken or socialized, and they need a lot of work to be made into good pets.

    I volunteer at local shelters, and it is a sad, sad thing.

  40. Basically, if the breeder does not maintain a waiting list - chances are the breeder is probably running a puppy mill operation. Also, if the breeder is willing to ship out the puppies - that fact also should be viewed with suspicion. Prospective dog owners need to request to go and personally inspect the breeder's place - any hemming and hawing by the breeder over that request should also be viewed with suspicion. When we got our puppy, we waited for over 2 years, and then also went to inspect the breeders facility, and then finally had to personally go over by flight to pick the puppy up (back as carry on!) And of course, the breeder had her own questions for us throughout the process - acquiring a dog from a good responsible breeder should be akin to adopting a human child!

    Trouble is the AKC cannot possibly inspect all of the breeders affiliated with them - prospective dog owners need to do some due diligence themselves!

  41. The pure breeds that the AKC sanctions and that are shown at dog shows are often badly inbred because the characteristics that define the quality of the breed are largely arbitrary physical shapes and sizes that can be isolated most easily by inbreeding and back-crossing.
    The problem with this practice is that terribly deleterious alleles of genes often are bred into the breed at the same time. So you have purebred dogs with high incidence of skull bones failing to join, hip dysplasia, and on and on. Breeders can cull the dogs that have the obvious defects, but that practice does little to eliminate the bad genetics.
    Even a working dog like a border collie, which used to get its papers based on robust and skillful sheep herding now has an extensive AKC standard document that is overwhelmingly focused on physical appearance (size, shape, color).
    So for myself, I would rather have an interbred, indeterminant lineage dog as a pet, just to avoid supporting the purebred breeding enterprise.

  42. Keep in mind that there are also alternative breed organizations. Border collies have had their own breed organizations for generations and they continue to operate, stressing working characteristics rather than appearance. Ditto for Jack Russells and probably many others.

  43. A few years ago, the shiba inu breed became very popular, especially to folks living in the greater New York City area. Shibas are cat-like in temperament, and according to National Geographic, have retained the highest level of wolf DNA of any breed. Because of their strong will and independent nature, it could be expected that a large number of shibas would end up in shelters. Even so, shibas were then and continue now to be over bred in puppy mills, discarded when they aren't perfect or salable or have served out their reproductive usefulness. Shibas represent one breed out of the 150 breeds recognized by the AKC - there are thought to be almost 500 dog breeds in the world. The AKC as well as all other international dog breed associations are only interested in perfect specimens, the ideals in confirmation and disposition. These associations members don't serve the greater good of their canine breeds or the welfare of anyone but themselves and their participation in an expensive hobby. At the very least, this is a hobby similar to Toddlers and Tiaras. And at its worst, the AKC and other kennel clubs promote ONLY the ideal dog, a very small percentage in any breed, dooming anything except the perfect dog to the likelihood of being cruelly mistreated, abandoned and euthanized.

  44. I'm glad the AKC is getting some negative attention. I think they are a shameful organization, and that the breeding of purebreds should be greatly curtailed and regulated. The AKC also fought a mandatory spay/neuter law in California, if I remember correctly - it's disgusting that they did so, as that would greatly reduce the number of homeless pets.

    There are too many homeless dogs as it is, and it is wrong to treat dogs as though they are brands. People should think twice about buying any dog just because of its breed - check out the shelters, mutts are much healthier, and need you!

  45. I have adopted two dogs, one a purebred and another of indeterminate ancestry. Both have been as cute, loving, and appreciative as any dog I could have bought from a breeder. I would encourage anyone to adopt as well as contribute to organizations such as the Humane Society, which does its best to prevent cruelty and to find good homes for worthy candidates.

  46. If by "the Humane Society" you mean The Humane Society of the United States, HSUS does not run local shelters. They are an advocacy group. They have no connection to local humane societies (just as the ASPCA has no connection to local SPCAs). If you give to HSUS, your donation will remain with them and will not reach your local humane society.

    Also, given that local humane societies and local SPCAs often have contracts with city and county governments to serve as open-admission shelters, and that these local nonprofits are part of a system that puts 50 percent of its intake needlessly to death, I recommend checking to make sure your local humane society or SPCA is No Kill before donating to them. The blog Communities Achieving 90% tracks the increasing number of open-admission, publicly funded shelters that save 90% of their animals, the minimum standard for No Kill status:

    http://www.no-killnews.com/

  47. Karen: thanks for posting that information. The Humane Society of the USA does advertise a LOT on TV, with celebrities and entertainers, and their ads are VERY MISLEADING, it sounds like they run shelters or at least fund them. As you say, they are ONLY an advocacy group -- and they are infiltrated with PETA types.

    It is NOT THE SAME as your local humane society OR SPCA or Animal Protective League. For this, please use LOCAL respected shelters. Any animal warden will tell you gladly which they are! They desperately all need donations of money, supplies, food -- as well as volunteers to clean cages and walk dogs -- and they need good adoptive families.

    Where I part ways with you is "no-kill". I understand the sentiment, but no-kill shelters keep unadoptable dogs for a lifetime in cages -- with no hope of a home or family. This is not much of a life. Meanwhile, another dog is denied a chance at adoption and ends up euthanized before getting a chance.

    The best shelters adopt out ALL puppies and kittens, MOST adult dogs and at least half their adult cats. But they must euthanize, because the numbers are simply overwhelming. If all shelters were no-kill, we'd have millions of stray animals on the street!

  48. Concerned Citizen, I think if a shelter is run well, it will enlist volunteers to walk dogs, provide play time in the shelter, and foster care at home. That shelters are "overcrowded" is no excuse for killing healthy or treatable animals, which is not euthanasia. At the same time, I think shelters and animal advocates should take a stand against breeding, because after many years of advocacy I've learned this is the only way to stop the killing.

  49. Unless a purebred dog's registration was a mark of quality rather than just lineage, what is the purpose of it? You could have a litter of malformed, diseased puppies, but as long a both parents are AKC registered, that litter will be AKC also. It means nothing. Look at the English bulldog, where breed standards have led to dogs with high levels of physical problems.

  50. Bless Ted Paul for his courageous stand and for his willingness to welcome "imperfect" rescue dogs into his life and home.

    I have rehabilitated puppy-mill breed dogs since 1996. It's difficult to describe the condition many of these dogs arrive in: toothless, or nearly so; every vertebra in their spines distinct and palpable; footpads raw and rotting, burned by the ammonia of their own urine, which they've stood in for years; ears partly bitten away by flies; suffering from the canine equivalent of kwashiorkor. Some of these dogs can be rehabilitated and adopted by easygoing, patient people; others are so feral, so damaged, from a domestic point of view, that they are barely able to function outside their wire-crate prisons.

    Most puppy mills are housed on old farms. Local people know about them but need to get along with their neighbors, so while they may anonymously contact local animal control and/or the Humane Society, they are unlikely to publicly identify or rebuke puppy millers; they need to live alongside them. It shouldn't be only local people's responsibility to stop milling; where's the AKC in all this?

    For decades, the AKC has countenanced ill treatment with its minimal monitoring and its self-serving lack of curiosity about the kennels that registers large numbers of litters. If *you* think there's something suspicious about someone who is registering *eighty litters a year*, why doesn't the same alarm sound among the AKC's professional staff?

  51. So, by this logic, since there have been so many shootings and killings recently, we should shut down all gun manufacturers and assume all gun owners are bad?

    Of course not. They are negligent and crazy people in all walks of life. AKC registration is considered the most valuable of all registrations, so even the worst of breeders will try to have AKC registered dogs. To go after the AKC is illogical. AKC has given millions of dollars to help rescues in disaster and has a health foundation to research health issues. This piece is emotional and looking for a scapegoat. How do you police mentally ill people that hoard dogs and mistreat them? Hopefully by education in the schools (which many dog clubs do) as well as having publications such as this one write articles about good animal husbandry.

  52. The evidence in this article suggests, to me, that the AKC has become focused on promoting the "industry" of dog breeding over the interests of the animals themselves. In much the same way, the NRA has become focused on advancing the interests of the gun industry, over promoting responsible gun ownership. What the two have in common is a business model which emphasizes "selling the product" over responsible advocacy.

  53. The AKC has turned a blind eye to the puppy mill industry. Period.

  54. Funny that you mention gun manufacturers and gun owners. It's an interesting analogy. Most gun owners are law abiding folks, just as most dog owners are people who genuinely love dogs. On the other hand gun manufacturers are just as happy when crooks buy their guns as when law abiding citizens do. (Let's not even go where they actually sell more guns if people are more frightened.) The proof in the pudding is when they fight any attempt to oversee who buys their products. Ditto for the AKC. They make money when people register dogs. It's to their financial advantage to keep as many people as possible breeding and then to claim that they are being vilified because of a "few bad apples." Sound familiar?

  55. When I buy a dog I investigate the dog's parents and the breeder. I make an effort to visit the kennel where the puppy was born. The AKC performs a service by maintaining a registry of pure bred dogs. My own observation has been they are quick to act when presented with proof that the sire and dam of a dog are not what the breeder claims. The problem is that many members of the public believe that AKC registration guarantees quality. Others believe that price guarantees quality. The best way of obtaining a satsifactory dog is to do some research: become an informed buyer. The AKC provides to the public the standards for all the breeds it recognizes. The standard describes the dog that the breeder is trying to produce. The AKC also provides links to breed clubs which maintain lists of breeders. People are foolish to pay upwards of $2000 for a puppy without investigating the breeder. Puppy mills exist because buyers are more than willing to pay top dollar for an animal they know nothing about. People who are not willing to research the purchase of a dog are much better off getting one from the pound.

  56. Research is, of course, good. But the AKC is no help and their breed standards are silly. The Europeans do a better job, partly because they are still more connected to *working* dog standards than to arbitrary appearance standards.

  57. You lost me at "When I buy a dog . . ."

  58. Have to agree. I'm a golden retriever nut, but the best dog I have ever had is a Newfie-Border collie-Chow stray mix, spayed, nine years old, in great health, curious about everything, affectionate. She came into our lives as a one-year-old in heat obviously looking for some protecton and a home. The rest, luckily for us, is history.

  59. The AKC's "breed standards" have also damaged several generations of dogs. For example, their decree that a proper German Shepherd must have a body that slopes downward from front to back has led to hip dysplasia being bred into the line. Having had a mixed-breed dog that was more Shepherd than anything else, and having seen her suffer from crippling disability, made be very angry against these "looks-based" criteria which have worked against the health of the animals. I'm told the same problem has damaged collies. The search for "perfection" has created a lot of misery.

  60. What this shows is that the AKC has only the best interests of its members in mind, and not those of the animals they care for. The "looks-based" criteria you speak of have nothing to do with the health and well-being of dogs, and everything to do with the superficial vanity of humans.

  61. It has also happened to other breeds when they become popular; unscrupulous breeders go for the money.

  62. I've had three German Shepherds with sloping backs from AKC show dog families. Not one of them has had hip dysplasia, and neither did any of their relatives.

  63. It seems to me a good many of the people who breed animals are in it simply for the money. In the end, man is the cruelest animal of all.

  64. Most people who breed animals genuinely like them. Exceptions might be industrial-scale production of livestock. Puppy millers are profit-making enterprises which, historically, were encouraged by the USDA as a small-farm sideline. They are prevalent among the Amish.

    Dog breeders who think of themselves as "the Dog Fancy" are very much not in it for the money, it is a money-losing endeavor -- a hobby. The AKC bureaucracy may make a nice living, but their constituency, mostly middle class middle aged women, are animal lovers one and all. That they are short-sighted to the point of blindness does not negate that fact.

  65. You're right -- "a good many of the people" who breed animals do it for money. But others -- responsible, small-operations breeders -- do it because there's something about that kind of dog that fascinates and moves them.

    And you're right -- we are the cruelest species on earth . . . when we are cruel. And then there are human beings who are the very best that human beings can be.

  66. kms, these mostly middle class middled aged women are causing terrible harm! If they really loved dogs, they would not breed them into the vulnerable state of nonpersonhood that they are assigned to by law. For the dogs who wind up in shelters -- either directly or in generations that follow down the line -- or who are killed by private vets for not suiting their owners in one way or another, it doesn't matter whether their breeders "loved animals" or just loved profit. They are victims of human selfishness all the same.

  67. The golden rule applies. How we treat animals is a reflection of ourselves. Is it any wonder we have millions without health care, extensive factory farming and are causing climate change?

    We can do it together, one individual at a time. Make your daily choices wisely.

  68. time for the akc to reevaluate their standards

    for years they have stumbled and are in need of new leadership.

    no more business as usual.

  69. Visit the place where your prospective puppy is from. Is it clean and well-maintained? Do the dogs look healthy and clean? Do the owners seem to have the monetary resources, time and know-how to properly breed and care for their dogs and puppies? Ask about whether the puppy has been examined by a vet and ask to see the records. The puppy should received standard shots, vaccinations and tests. Ask them about the puppy's lineage as inbreeding is common and leads to serious genetic problems. Ask about the puppy's relatives: how many, their health, where they live (do the breeders even know?). Do the breeders provide a guarantee so that, for a reasonable period, you can return the puppy and get a refund? Even with all this screening you could wind up with a problem dog but you will increase the chances of a happy, healthy pet if you do this type of checking.

  70. People who buy at a pet store don't have the opportunity to visit the place their puppy came from.

  71. Studying the pedigree will answer many of those questions.

  72. Obviously you shouldn't buy at a pet store exactly because you cannot check on the things I've mentioned.

    Studying the pedigree does not address all the issues I've mentioned.

  73. many breeds have rescue groups. we rescued two wonderful dachshunds that came from the same home but were not related. they have brought much joy to our lives. in the past we bought puppies and that was fine. today however, we would always go to C2CDR (coast to coast dachshund rescue) a little googling will get you to any breed's website, read the bios of dogs waiting adoption and you are sure to find a wonderful dog. when you have a human baby, you get what you get. here you can pick by reading their stories. one will surely 'speak' to you. and your life will change (for the better) forever.

  74. The AKC is a great resource for learning about various breeds for prospective pet owners and they put on a great dog show every year in New York. Beyond that, what the heck do you want? The AKC is no different that any of our state agencies. It's dysfunctional at the detailed level. It's up to the pet owner to review these breeders. Go and look for yourself before you buy! Inspect their facilities; otherwise go to a shelter and save a poor animal from euthanasia.

  75. They aren't a great resource for anything and their actions are reprehensible.

  76. The whole expose makes me sick to my stomach. Imagine being the defense lawyer for these horrible abusers. Thanks, NYTimes, anyway.

  77. Great thanks are due to the ASPCA and the various animal protection people who walk into these hellish situations. They are the true animal lovers.

  78. Animals are not put on this earth for human exploitation. Puppy mills, Pet stores, backyard breeders seem only in it for the bottom line.

    Visit a shelter, adopt an animal in need, and spay and neuter. These companion animals will make you truly rich.

  79. A single dog can be kept poorly and subjected to abuse. Twenty dogs could be kept in fabulous condition with lots of love. The answer isn't in restricting numbers but in care. Certainly do not buy a "purebred" from a pet store. There are breed rescue organizations if you want a specific breed and are good at working with a dog who someone abandoned, and if you want a puppy there are good breeders who screen their dogs for health issues of their breeds and home raise their puppies well. A good breeder will screen the prospective owner to make sure they are appropriate for the breed and for caring for and training their dog. If you talk to a breeder who doesn't ask you a lot of questions and give you a lot of information, you have not found a responsible one. Responsible breeders have an expensive hobby and do what they do for the love of the breed. A lot of the types of legislation that are commonly proposed to prevent these ugly situations actually hurt responsible hobby breeders and do little that affects for-profit puppy mills.

  80. The key is to buy from the breeder so you see how the dog was raised. I had an extensive phone interview from a breeder BEFORE being allowed to even see the puppy, and then we had another two hour talk before we could buy from them. They had incredible requirements for the new owner which I was happy to comply with - buying over the internet and having the puppy shipped to you makes it easy for puppy mills to exist. This is a new family member you are getting - also research the breed fully. As you say, the AKC only verifies that the parents are purebred - it's your responsiblity to make sure the breeder is doing a good job with selecting only healthy, sound parents. Make sure the parents are OFA certified etc. I have had rescue Newfoundlands and purchased them from breeders and they have all been fantastic dogs - one advantage of owning a purebred is you have a good idea what they will be when they mature. They are not necessarily prone to more illness - my friends with mutts have had just as many health problems with their dogs.

  81. Restricting numbers is also an issue. There is no breeder, no matter how careful, who can care for a 100+ dogs. Frankly, there is no breeder that can care, truly care, for more than 20-30 dogs.

    It is time, past time, that we begin to limit these large scale breeders. Especially we do not need to add to the numbers of dogs we have in this country. Millions of dogs are euthanized because they have no home.

  82. AKC registration is not a stamp of approval of the dogs or the breeder or the puppy mill. It's a certification that the puppies were purebred from a registered sire and dam. Championship heritage is desirable, but the typical puppy mill will not have had a champion progenitor in generations. Still, it's not hard to acquire a champion and put it too work in the mill. What makes the Hamiltons unusual is that they appeared to be both ethical (improve the breed) breeders AND puppy mill owners, perhaps using the former to mask the latter.

    Puppy mills are essentially livestock operations overseen by the USDA.

  83. As a matter of fact, there is not even any guarantee that the alleged sire and dam are in fact the parents of an AKC-registered litter. You could put down anything on the paperwork you send in to the AKC.

  84. AKC registers litters without a vet certifying the health and lack of congenital disorders for each puppy. Deaf puppies and puppies with subluxations are then sold as AKC registered without the buyer being aware that the puppy is defective. The Jack Russell Terrier Club of America requires an individual-per-puppy vet certificate of good health before it will register a puppy from a litter. It does not just register a litter. Unfortunately AKC now is registering "Russell" or "Parson" terriers to get in on the action, so the buyer must now be very aware. Get a vet check first for your intended purchase of a puppy if from an AKC litter!

  85. The division of Jack Russell's into two groups is symptomatic of all that is wrong with the AKC. What was once variability within a breed is now two different breeds. The result is a loss of genetic diversity and an increased likelihood over time of genetic problems. A smaller gene pool equals a greater chance of two recessive genes showing up in one animal.

  86. First, I don't see what is so bad about banning stacked wire-bottom cages -- too many substandard breeders have abused these. I don't think it is unreasonable to only permit non-wire-bottom cages to be stacked. More sanitary in every way.

    But the main point I wanted to make is that the real problem with the AKC is its fostering of extreme breed standards that have resulted in genetic problems for many dog breeds, such as bulldogs who can't give birth naturally, King Charles Spaniels with all kinds of chronic health issues, tiny Chihuahuas whose eyes are prone to popping out of their sockets, etc.

    Some breeds are now caricatures of what they used to look like, such as the German Shepherd, with its exaggerated crouch and associated hip issues (that's why some police departments go to Germany for their K-9 recruits -- the animals there are much sounder physically). The canine genome is pretty malleable, but eventually something's going to give.

    Not to even mention the still-practiced cruelties of docking tails and cutting ear flaps!

    Give me an honest mutt with hybrid vigor any day over these poor doomed creatures. And, you can get those from a shelter anywhere.

  87. How many times do people have to say this.. the AKC has NOTHING tp do with breed standards.. the breed standards are written by and are wholly exclusive to.. the BREED CLUB.. NOT THE AKC

    as for 'mutts'.. who wants to breed mutts?/ these are the dogs that fill the shelters.. so is that what you want.. people breeding mutts for shelters?

  88. You are correct, the AKC does not originate any breed standards, and though I did not actually state that it does, I can see how what I did say could be interpreted that way if you wanted to.

    So. Perhaps the AKC does not come up with the detrimental extremes in breed standards, but they could certainly put the brakes on them. Instead they appear to rubberstamp whatever destructive standards breeds come up with. With their high profile, I would think they could be quite an influence and a force for good. But I don't think they are making the effort they could.

    As for mutts, nobody "wants to breed mutts" -- and that is why there are often fewer problems in them. It's the over-engineered dogs that concentrate the harmful, often recessive traits. Yes, I would rather have a healthy mutt from a shelter than a papered dog with built-in self-destruction. I have friends who have suffered this and it is heart-breaking. Yes, I might prefer the Cocker Spaniel of my childhood, but that dog is gone, bred away for fashion and in its place an unfortunate, difficult creature.

  89. Suxty something million dollars in revenue, nine inspectors nationwide... Sure they're serious about checking on their cashfarm puppymill...

  90. Has anyone else noticed the namesake of one of the main characters in this story? Margaret Hamilton - "And your little dog too!"

  91. Mike Chilinski gets my vote for worst of breed.

  92. Why attack someone personally? If they say something that you disagree with, attack their logic or their facts. Attacking them personally does nothing to advance understanding and is the lazy way to participate in a dialogue.

  93. I think the headline is a little misleading, as we are talking about cruelty here and not "safety". The only reason for having a pure bred dog is if you need it to do a job, such as a herding or hunting dog. Many of the breeders of working dogs hate the AKC because it doesn't judge working ability but some standard of beauty. So for a good working dog you should look to independent breed specific clubs and not the AKC. For a pet, you are much better off getting a mix and hoping that genetic heterozygosity will make up for poor breeding practices. The AKC has regulated a small gene pool for each breed for the last 125 years and we are seeing the results of this experiment in eugenics in poor health--increased genetic diseases, shorter life spans, hip dysplasia, etc. Dogs are bred to look a particular way, even if it seriously damages the dog's health. Look at German Shepherds and English Bull Dogs for the unluckiest of breeds so far.

    BTW, the post by Caroline perpetuates some of the myths pushed by the AKC. There are no documented cases of any group ever letting dogs out of their crates, puppy mills are not raided for profit, and the fear that someone is going to break into your home and rip your dogs from your loving breast is just plain silly. Take your fear-mongering elsewhere.

  94. Well said. It is common to hear talk of "show" versus "field" lines for many AKC breeds. For an AKC dog to be a "Champion" means only that it successfully competed in the show ring. There are many show champions that are completely useless in their breed's original purpose. (The other side of that coin is those breeders who are able to title their dogs in performance in herding or hunting, as well as in conformation, and possibly in areas such as obedience or tracking or agility as well.)

    As an alternative there are established breed clubs such as the many clubs for European hunting dog breeds which maintain their own registry (usually with the parent club in Europe) and require that a dog meet performance, conformation, temperament, and health standards in order to be considered breedable. The performance requirement means that exaggerated conformation does not become a problem the way it did in "show" German shepherds.

  95. The Article is a bunch of BS. The AKC is a record keeping service to document the lineage of pure breed dogs. That's it. They are not responsible for the individual treatment of every animal registered. That's on the people who own the dogs. Also we have governmental agencies charged with doing inspections on high volume kennels. The AKC has no legal authority to do an inspection on anyones property...they are not police. Nor should they be. Nor do you want private companies to be given this power. Just because a buisness provides a service does not mean they are responsible for the outcome. Eharmony is not responsible if your new internet boyfriend turns out to be a psycho. Ford is not responsible if you use your car to kill someone. The gun store owner is not responsible if he sells you a gun and you shoot up a school with it. You are! But hey were are in the day in age where if someone can be indirectly tied to a sin, he's a sinner.

  96. If they are merely a record-keeping service, why do they lobby against animal protection laws they don't like?

  97. Jen they are looking out for ALL breeders when heavy handed bills are proposed by the Animal Rights extremist groups. These groups are great for attacking the AKC for standing up for breeders rights. Most of these laws though written and said to cover only substandard breeders, affect them all. I am thankful that the AKC is exposing anti-breeding laws and protecting our rights. If you read the actual proposals, there is language in there aimed at hurting the average breeder. Stop believing the lies spread by the HSUS.

  98. Almost ALL shelter dogs come from puppy mills or ignorant backyard breeders.
    Repeat: Almost ALL shelter dogs come from puppy mills!

    Adopting a shelter pet is a crap-shoot. You may be adopting a puppy with expensive medical or nutrition problems. Or a dog or cat that has been "re-homed" several times because of behavior problems. You're almost certainly paying 100s of bucks for a mutt. (Some buyers get lucky though).

    Sadly, the AKC used to do a better job of policing breeders using the AKC neame. Responsible AKC breeders need to kick unscrupulous people out.

    Bottom line-- be a good dog buyer. Know where your animal is coming from. If you adopt from a shelter, you have no way of knowing its true history. Shelter workers often don't know and many have been known to make stuff up to sound important.

    Buy from an AKC breeder that sells with an AKC CONTRACT. That way you know what you're getting!

  99. As a volunteer at a local animal shelter, I'd like to know the source for your statement that "Almost ALL shelter dogs come from puppy mills." In addition, the idea that "many [shelter workers] have been known to make stuff up to sound important" is insulting to hard-working, dedicated shelter staffs around the country who are trying to save the lives of animals--some from AKC breeders--that have been surrendered or abandoned.

  100. You say "mutt" like it's a bad thing. That mutt may be healthier and more stable than an inbred full-breed dog.

    Spend time with a shelter dog before you make the final decision to adopt. Find a reputable, experienced dog trainer who can evaluate the dog for deep-seated behavioral problems vs. those that can be corrected, or at least well-managed, through training. Shelter dogs can be wonderful.

  101. Most shelter dogs are mixed breeds, not something puppy mills specialize in, so your point that almost all shelter dogs are from puppy mills is specious. Buying a puppy from a breeder is just as much (if not more) a crap shoot as adopting an adult shelter or rescue dog. Our shelter/rescue dogs are temperament tested and have health checks. It is far more difficult to evaluate the temperament of a puppy than an adult dog, so chances are you know less about what you are getting than with an adult shelter dog. Simple genetics predicts that it will be harder to breed a healthy dog when you have a limited gene pool and an increased chance of deleterious genes being expressed and passed on. Mixed breeds are not perfect and they can have health/behavioral problems, but the odds are better for them than for a purebred dog. Since the AKC doesn't give out ribbons based on health, longevity, and temperament, I don't see how you can argue that an AKC dog is better in any way other than in meeting some breed standard based on looks.

  102. As a dog owner who knows folks involved in AKC, I can say that, without a doubt, the club puts the benefit and welfare of dogs a far second from ideals of "purity" and pedigree --and profit and showmanship. The AKC can become agitated about the lineage of a dog, but is hardly bothered by ensuring even the most minimal standards of animal care --as long as the dog is bred to conformance, there is practically no concern about the health of the animals or the ethics of breededrs.

    Further, to what is an enormous shame, the AKC generally opposes any DNA tests or controls on breeding to limit genetic disease. Responsible breeders, who would voluntarily submit to steps to limit genetic disease (like limiting breeding until several years of age, to determine if the parents of a litter do not present genetic diseases) are thwarted by the AKC's emphasis on maximizing the profit of breeders and on discouraging the imposition of these rules. In consequence, unethical breeders make money and close their eyes while generations of dogs inherit and transmit terrible genetic diseases --many extremely painful.

    The AKC does need to completely change its emphasis, and make the benefit and welfare of dogs their number one concern --and must move away from profit-making and eugenics. If the club is to become admirable again, it needs to expressly and help introduce diversity into dog's gene pools and help eliminate genetic diseases, which are today rampant in AKC breeds.

  103. So your whole tirade is based on the fact that you know folks involved the AKC?

  104. Not true! Genetic testing is up to the breeder, and is in practice encouraged or discouraged by breed groups -- not the AKC. One of my dogs is AKC registered, bred by an AKC Breeder of Merit. That breeder tests for the one prevalent genetic issue these dogs carry. All ethical breeders for this particular breed do such testing, making certain that carriers don't beed to carriers.

  105. $61 million in revenue and 9 inspectors nation wide? No surprise that this is the result.

  106. Anybody who needs to put his dog in a contest to find out from other people whether he has a good dog is beneath contempt.

  107. Would you foretell the future by naming your doberman Gaudy. Or is that too bright and showy and more attributive to a large breed of something with something more in the motion by a snap of the finger to control a passage and could be the cork on the fishing line.

  108. What?

  109. I have registered one litter with the AKC. Chocolate lab with 11 puppies. That was so much work, but the care my daughter and I gave those puppies is what every breeder should do. They were healthy beautiful dogs. It makes sick to read about these breeders who abuse their dogs for a profit. I'm glad they are jail.

  110. Cruilty comes in many forms. Maltreatment is of course the worst. Dogs are among the most trusting and loyal animals in existance and the vast majority of owners understand and care for these companions. The problem arises when money, presige, and egos get involved. The dogs themselves become secondary.

    I am a retired dairymen and my most valuable trusted and constant companions were my Border Collies. I have owned several over the 40 odd years that I owned cattle. They are tireless workers with a high degree of intelligence.

    I was very dissapointed a few years back when they appeared at the Westminster Kennel Club show. Why? I am affraid these breeders will change the standards of what they look like and breed the instinct for herding right out of them. Herding is not an important trait for a show dog and at present they are not docile companions, they are working dogs unlike any other. So if you are going to breed them for sale to the general public they will need to change. Money will rule and the breed will suffer.

    I have seen to many times where people will buy them and before long they develop behavior problems out of shear bordom. Chasing frisbees or other toys for an hour a day isn't enough. Unless you have lived and worked with them there is no understanding. Enough said.

  111. Several sources I've read that rate dogs have strongly emphasized the needs of herding dogs: A golden retriever will, indeed, be very happy retrieving a duck from a pond, but they seem to like tennis balls and Frisbees as much as dead birds. Herding dogs cast in the role of golden retriever will end up herding the children, the cats, the dog owners, cars, or anything else. And they need a LOT of exercise.

  112. Most dog lovers don't recognize -- and the AKC certainly ignores -- the difference between a dog that developed into a breed type over time for a specific use (like the border collie, the lurcher, the Canaan dog) and the purposely-designed breed (the doberman, many breeds of terrier, etc.). I, too, was sad to see the border collie get AKC recognition.

  113. I have a friend with two border collies as pets, and I dread visiting her. Why? They bark continuously, looking you straight in the eye....they want a job! They want something to do! Then they get screamed at for barking...Why on earth someone would want a good working dog for a pet is beyond me.

  114. Thanks to the NYT for covering this important phenomenon. I have had purebred dogs throughout my life, and my father was a well-known and respected AKC judge for nearly 5 decades. I agree that the AKC needs to spend more time inspecting the facilities where AKC-registered dogs are raised, because, unfortunately, a minority of those kennels are, in fact, dangerous to sustaining the very breeds that the AKC seeks to promote.

    That said, I also need to address sweeping accusations in comments here and elsewhere that AKC kennels are by nature puppy mills. Please understand that most show dog breeders tend to be true hobbyists who do *not* raise dogs for the purpose of making money. Instead, they raise them for the sport and hobby and because they love dogs and want to promote the human-canine bond. The distinction is important. You are normally not going to make much money at all if you are truly caring for the puppies (i.e., good vet care, good food, ample indoor and outdoor space and personalized attention to each dog). That's why the only people who profit are usually those who run substandard puppy mills.

    Also, my advice to anyone considering adopting a purebred dog is to make sure to visit the specific kennel facilities where the dog has been raised. If the breeders won't allow an inspection of the facilities, avoid that facility and let the AKC know if the kennel is advertising AKC registration but not allowing buyer inspections.

  115. I'm curious as to the breed(s) you own and your father bred. Did they have docked tails or cropped ears?

  116. I agree 100% with most of the comments here. However, groups like PETA can't be written out of the equation; they are famous for euthanizing animals that they "rescue" from "slavery." This greatly undermines the 99% of the normal population who are against puppy mills and the like.

    Having said that...get a dog from a shelter. My companion on Earth from childhood until my 20's was an awesome Basset/Beagle blend from (ironically) a breeder who didn't keep the mama dog locked up well enough and one of the beagles got frisky with her.

  117. Every companion animal I've had has been rescued; in the digital age, this is easier than ever with websites like petfinder.com. Many people claim it's still not "easy" enough to get a dog, but I think it's too easy.

    People didn't take long to forget about the much talked-about "puppy-mill" segment on Oprah; here in Manhattan, I always see people crowded around the window of American Kennels on the Upper East Side and other pet shops around town.

    I've talked to people who bought their puppies from pet shops because the facilities were clean, and they didn't appear to be abusing their dogs. One woman told me her sister had bought her a Boston terrier puppy from a pet shop simply because "I wanted him."

    Some people have rationalized buying a puppy from a store because, "I wanted to get her out of a bad place"—not realizing they were opening a slot for another puppy-mill puppy to fill…and so on, and so on, and so on.

    Face it, people don't want to know where their dogs come from.

  118. Don't slam PETA. The were the first to truly bring animal cruelty to the forefront with courageously strong-minded campaigns that finally woke people up about the rampant cruelty to animals....all animals.

  119. I agree with you about PeTA, except that they aren't "euthanizing" animals who can be rehabilitated. In the report I read, PeTA killed about 96% of the animals it took in, and most could have been saved.

    "Euthanasia" is nice word that animal shelters are fond of because it hides a horrible truth -- i.e., PeTA and 99.9% of shelters are killing animals who could be adopted. Too many people still fall for the "pure bred" myth, while shelter animals are dying.

  120. The AKC is a widely misunderstood organization. It does not exist to police breeders. It exists to provide an umbrella organization for people who enjoy the hobby of breeding show dogs. Dog show hobbyists hold 19th century idea of racial purity (aka breed purity) essentially as a quasi-religious, do-not-confuse-us-with-your-science belief. The AKC registry's purpose is to enforce this belief system. Genetic laws have caught up with them, and most AKC breeds are now riddled with inherited diseases, many peculiar only to the tiny gene pool of that breed.

    The general dog-buying public has increasingly begun to grasp the situation; the AKC, while it still has just as many dog-show participants as at its peak in the 1990's, has seen puppy registrations plummet to 1950's levels. That's because a huge number of people used to register their puppies with the AKC who had no intention of showing the dogs, for the added value and cachet. Now the AKC may be forced to return to its origins as a dog show hobby organization, albeit with a vastly sicklier population of dogs.

    Dog hoarders really don't have much to do with the AKC. They have mental problems. And the laudable practice of adopting rescue or shelter dogs is a separate issue as well. There is in fact no organized means to produce healthy sane puppies in this country. I wish there was.

  121. It is just as easy for a dog hoarder/breeder to register pups with the AKC as a reputable breeder/shower of dogs.

  122. "Dog show hobbyists hold 19th century idea of racial purity (aka breed purity) essentially as a quasi-religious, do-not-confuse-us-with-your-science belief." Such nonsense! In animal husbandry, a "breed" is established when animals of a desired conformation breed true through several generations. In dog breeding, a "purebred" is a dog of a recognized breed that has his progenitors recorded for X number of generations. Breed standards exist as a template for breeders and judges. What is it about any of this that you find objectionable? There are different breeds of horses, cows, sheep, chickens, cats, pigs. All domestic animal breeds were established by selective breeding for type and use. There is no such thing as "breed purity", as all domestic breeds have antecedents in wild ancestors. Some breed snobs do go on about having "ancient" breeds, but ultimately we are all walking around with variations of the wolf genome on the ends of our leads.

  123. AKC has for the longest time simply been an organization for dog registrations. I have heard the clamor about the need to go to a European system in which breeders are subjected to scrutiny...blah blah blah. I have seen the dogs that come from so-called reputable breeders in the UK and elsewhere - those dogs also have genetic disorders, etc.

    My wife and I have been to national dog shows and watched dogs being abused by their owners, etc. At the same time, we've met and have over time become friends with highly conscientious and caring breeders.

    It is like anything else that involves humans -- when the ego gets in the way the animals suffer....and it is the people and the money involved that hurt the dogs. I don't see any way to end this situation....most people frankly are not as good as their animals... and that is spoken after almost a half century of experience with show horses and dogs.

  124. Forty Three years ago we bought our first German Shepherd Puppy from a pet store, knowing nothing about puppy mills, etc. Periodically since that time, various organizations have done "exposes" on puppy mills, etc. The Amish in Pennsylvania are a group that is currently being targeted for puppy mills.

    The abuse keeps on. The AKC and the clubs affiliated with it are AFRAID of any animal humane legislation. The AKC affiliated club I belong to staunchly supported a woman who was keeping 15 German Shepherds in her home, and is against almost any bill that is proposed on either the state or national level.

    Most breeders, who are truly concerned with the health and well-being of their dogs and their breed are really afraid that ANY animal welfare legislation will restrict their "hobby". And the AKC really lends a blind eye to genuine abuse.

    This will go on forever in spite of front-page articles in The New York Times.

  125. This will go on as long as (a) people keep registering dogs with the AKC and (b) people keep buying AKC-registered docs. We can make change happen; boycott the AKC.

  126. "Pure bred" is nothing more than inbreeding. All dog breeding for profit should be banned. Pure and simple.

  127. I agree that would be a great start to meeting the needs of dogs -- but I think the real answer is to ban breeding until dogs are no longer designated as property and their basic rights are guaranteed protection. Until such time, there's no justification for breeding because there are millions of healthy or treatable dogs in need of homes. It's time for our human interests to take a back seat to what dogs need.

  128. I think ending breeding for profit would be a great start, but dogs also need us to recognize them as persons in their own right who have protection of their most basic interests. There are now and probably always will be millions of healthy and treatable dogs who need our love and care -- and surely no justification for breeding more.

  129. I'm not sure "Silence of the Lambs" evokes the intended image in the context of puppies.

  130. Sounds like the A.K.C. is the same vintage, and as out of date, as the N.R.A.

  131. Am I missing something about Hailey Parker's lawsuit? What is it for? Did the AKC do something to harm her business?

    Also, I don't understand why that anecdote is important for the article. One random dog breeder is trying to distance herself from the organization. OK, so? Is she somehow significant, or is her action indicative of a broader trend?

    I'm not arguing for or against the AKC, I'm just saying that the article confused me, at least with the Hailey Parker example.

  132. The lawsuit mentioned in the article was filed by Ms. Parker and me in behalf of the coton de tulear, a rare breed, in the hopes of protecting it from the fate of other breeds who have been recognized by the AKC. As background, one of three Coton breed clubs, with very few members, have filed to be the "parent" club with the AKC. The other two breed clubs, representing the majority of Coton breeders, and our national rescue group are all opposed to such recognition. They want to retain the integrity and health of this wonderful breed and fear that AKC recognition will undo all the good work of the code of ethics breeders. Unfortunately in today's society the only way that we could try to stop the process is through litigation -- thus the lawsuit. Remember our breed is not part of the AKC "family" so this is not a random effort on the part of one person ---Many breeders and human companions of the Coton have repeatedly said "NO to AKC!" and support the lawsuit so that we can retain our rare breed status and hopefully the genetic positives of the Coton.. I think we're joined, in principle, by a lot of breeders of other dog breeds who have seen what happens first hand and perhaps now wish they had fought against recognition when they had the chance..at least that's what I hear when I talk to them about our suit.. I hope this better explains the correlation between the article and the lawsuit.

  133. In 2007, a bill came up in the California assembly, called AB1634, that would have required the spaying/neutering of all dogs and cats over six months of age unless the owner qualifies for and purchases an intact animal permit. This law was not enacted due to the intense lobbying by the AKC.

    The AKC is a lobby group that exists to protect the economic interests of commercial dog breeders, at the direct expense of animal welfare.

  134. there should be mandated inspections of kennels which put out over a certain number of litters annually - it is difficult to maintain responsible breeding of multiple litters - a properly cared for litter of pups is a LOT of work to have around - and doing this more than twice a year would be exhausting - puppies require close care and watching of the pregnant bitch for 65 days, and close care and expense of raising a litter of pups from 8-12 weeks to point of sale - people have no idea how much work this is until they do it - it would be a red flag to me of a breeder were seeking more paperwork than two or three litters a year - and call for an inspection of the kennel operation.

  135. AKC, NRA, NASDAQ -- they're all the same. They just operate in different industries.

  136. Spay/neuter is desirable, but it should not be mandatory. For a different perspective on the typical claim that it would solve many problems, including shelter killing, I recommend Christie Keith's 2010 blog post on the subject:

    http://www.doggedblog.com/doggedblog/2010/08/mandatory-spayneuter-sacrif...

    Mandatory spay/neuter pushes shelter intake up because some poor pet-owners are unable to comply with the law and end up relinquishing their animals. It is only kill-shelter communities that pass this legislation, so the pets are then likely to be killed by the shelter.

    No Kill sheltering includes free or low-cost spay/neuter services. Poor pet-owners, who are much less likely to spay/neuter simply because they cannot afford the procedure, will willingly do the right thing if it is made financially possible.

  137. Human beings...the "superior" species...hmmmm....

  138. How can the AKC claim to have dogs' best interest at heart when they allow breed standards which have distorted the dog so much that is unhealthy? The pug can hardly breathe and the French bulldog can breed only through artificial insemination. Some breeds cannot give birth safely without medical intervention. They also mandate that certain breeds be shown only with cropped ears and tails. This has been outlawed in most other countries. It is very simple to say that any dog born after the date of the ruling my not be shown with cropped ears and tails. Those older dogs who have been cropped may still be shown. This ruling wouldn't even cost them any money to enforce. They should also be using the registration fees to have the SPCA inspect kennels at least once per year with little to no warning to enforce some basic rules. They obviously can't be trusted to do it themselves. I wonder why they would be against outlawing stacked wire cages? Until the AKC stands up for some very basic humane treatment they can't claim they have any dog's best interest at heart.

  139. You can't blame all dog deformities on the AKC. It is unquestionably unethical to purposely breed animals that are not viable, yet many dog breeds are developed from genetically mutations and deformities. The flat-faced, short-legged, bow-legged breeds have dwarfism lurking in their lineage, for instance. This predates the AKC. Where I call foul on the AKC is on their awarding championships (and therefore their breeding recommendation) on very young dogs of breeds that develop painful and life-threatening issues later on. The King Charles Spaniel is one such breed.

    These bulb-headed spaniels can suffer (indeed, commonly suffer) from a deadly, etremely painful malformation of the skull that causes Syringomyelia -- a crushing of the spinal cord at the base of the skull. It is not always evident in pups, and can often become symptomatic only years later. Meanwhile, a breeder who knows this malformation runs in his line will show a young dog intensively, attain champion, and then immediately breed the dog. An ethical breeder would wait a few years to make sure his dog was sound. But under AKC practice (and, it should be said, the same is true with other pdigree organizations), there is no requirement for a breeder to delay until it's clear the dog is genetically healthy.

    From what I've seen, all efforts that have been made to control the proliferation of genetic disease particular to any single breed have been implemented by breed organizations. Not enough do.

  140. AKC: American Kill Club. Rescue dogs and cats, don't buy from puppy mills and pet stores. Our rescue cat is a loving, beautiful animal. Too bad her mom and brother couldn't be caught. How cruel of AKC to not do its duty to protect these helpless canine friends of humanity. If they could speak, what would they say about the treatment these poor animals in the story received? Has every moral fiber in this nation been ripped apart?

  141. Bless you, Sal, for giving a home to your beautiful cat. The way we treat animals truly reveals our humanity -- or lack of it.

  142. The AKC is a joke. Their only interest is collecting fee, primarily for registering dog. Hence more dogs more fees. The answer is state laws limiting the number of dogs any individual can have, requiring a license for breeders with substantial fees to finance inspections and severe penalties for abuse or mistreatment. I am a long time lover of field trial Labrador Retrievers.

  143. I have boycotted the AKC and its activities for decades. They have willingly turned a blind eye to the horrors of puppy mills, all so they could charge their registration fees. Why don't alarm bells go off when breeders register dozens and dozens of dogs each year? And Westminster Kennel Club can keep their stupid Madison Square Garden dog show -- it states in their "entry requirements" that only dogs that win at "AKC Licensed or Member shows" are eligible. There's a link to the AKC on their website as well. Shame on them all.

  144. After a lifetime of taking in dogs from kill shelters, rescue groups, and one very ditzy neighbor, I purchased an AKC purebred from a carefully researched and humane breeder with healthy, award-winning lines (the dogs, not the breeder, natch). I felt like a traitor in buying a dog, but I'd fallen in love with a breed and I'd had a spectacularly bad and traumatizing experience with one rescue. I thought I'd earned the right to take the easy route for once, after taking on so many dogs that others had damaged and thrown away. You can get tired of dealing with problems others have caused.

    But buying a purebred is not necessarily the easy route, folks. Next time I have a place for a dog, I'm going back to shelter adoption. Best dogs I have ever had.

    My AKC purebred, from international championship lines -- though loved, healthy, and in a forever home with me -- is a perfect example of AKC-style breeding for shape, coat color and showiness over temperament and ability. My working breed is too big and heavy boned (a body conformation that shows well and wins prizes in the US) to do the work he was meant to do. He is clumsy and lacks drive, whereas his breed should be quick-footed, agile and tenacious. His temperament is unsound for a working breed, tending towards fearful. The point of his breed was lost in the breeding. Does this matter if his destiny is to be a pet? Yes, it does, if you care about the breed.

  145. Talking to Europeans about how Americans breed their dogs and horses...they have nothing but contempt for our lack of interest in improving a breed, just making them look "good". People who want a really good dog pay the money to get it from European stock.

  146. If you had done your research properly you would have realized that your dog was not the right dog for you, and you would have purchased a puppy from European/working lines. No one held a gun to your head and made you buy a show-bred dog. That you are not happy with your dog is not the fault of the breeder, or the AKC, or even the dog. Did you not look at the parents and guess he might be "too big and heavy boned", or lack "drive"? Did you consider going to a performance kennel with a proven track record?

    If not, your complaint is akin to buying a Honda Civic and complaining because it isn't capable of off road racing. After all, it IS a car, no?

  147. Hear, hear! This expose of the AKC is *long* overdue.

    What is particularly odious about this organization is not just their lack of standards for breeders and canine welfare, but their overt $$$ lobbying and vociferous objections to any legislation that would improve the welfare of dogs and clamp down on the existence of puppy mills.

    The other thing they objected to in Massachusetts was a bill proposing a public registry of animal abusers. I mean, really?

    Don't support the AKC. Go to your local shelter or breed rescue and adopt.

  148. I raised dogs for a number of years, all registered with AKC. When one registers a litter one is send the number of certificates for each puppy in that litter. If a puppy dies one is SUPPOSED to return that certificate. There is no sort of tracking at all. There is no checking of the honesty of those who raise so-called pure bred dogs. The whole system depends on the honesty of the breeders, and that is certainly open to question in many cases. The system used by AKC lends itself to fraud.

  149. That is why anyone who does want to buy a pedigreed dog should make the effort to get to know a breeder, know the breeding lines, know the reputations of the other kennels in the pedigree. The same people who would never buy a tv without doing extensive product research will go to an unknown backyard breeder for a dog, or buy one online from an out-of-state puppy mill. I don't get it.

  150. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) deserves a lot of credit for exposing the truth about the AKC and puppy mills: http://www.humanesociety.org/assets/pdfs/pets/puppy_mills/report_akc_bre...

    In addition, the HSUS has assisted in numerous raids of bad breeders and puppy mills around the country, many of which have turned out to be AKC breeders. The latest AKC breeder to be busted was Elle Magrum of Lockport, NY. Magrum surrendered more than 60 Pomeranians to a local SPCA after they were discovered living in utter squalor, crammed in filthy cages. Magrum's website proclaimed she was a breeder of "quality AKC Pomeranians."

    The AKC claims "no other organization does more to protect and support dogs." From the number of regular ads the AKC places in pet trade magazines, like Kennel Spotlight which caters to the commercial kennel industry, it appears the AKC cares more about registering the dogs in puppy mills rather that fighting for them when they fall though the inhumane cracks of the pet trade!

  151. Look and see how much money the HSUS actually spends on caring for dogs, supporting shelters, helping to provide low cost spay and neuter programs, or educating on dog (or cat) care. It turns out that they are not an organization that does much to actually helps dogs and cats in need. Less than 1% of their budget went to grants to shelters while dozens of their employees make 6 figure incomes and they have put millions into their pension funds. Over a third of their total budget goes into marketing. They are not affiliated with your local animal shelter.

  152. Heather, you misunderstand the mission of HSUS. They are a national organization. Much of their budget is spent on education, lobbying for animal-friendly legislation, disaster assistance and yes, assistance with raids on puppy mills. They do not pretend to be affiliated with local shelters; that is not their mission.

  153. Nice to see that Heather can read billboards. HSUS is an animal advocacy organization and supports animal welfare by promoting animal protection laws, call attention to the animal "industry" and its cruel underbelly, and investigating animal cruelty and enlisting law enforcement to help with mill raids. They are not directly affiliated with city and county animal shelters.

    The AKC is an organization that is dependent upon registrations, among other things. They will stop all efforts that negatively impact that revenue, just as the NRA does.

  154. The AKC is a scam, plain and simple. Breeding pure bred dogs should be illegal.

  155. That's absurd.

  156. This is a crazy remark - but there should be checks and balances and a clear expectation of "reputable" breeders - I don't see any of those described here.

  157. Absolutely correct. It makes things out of sentient creatures. It's obscene and decadent to lavish so much money breeding dogs for show when for a pittance you could acquire a loving, loyal, lifelong companion and rescue a dog from suffering and death. The AKC competition is a sickening spectacle. Rescue a shelter dog. Save a life.

  158. 61 million in annual fees but only 9 inspectors ? Stick to rescues and mixed breeds, you will not be cheated.

  159. As an avid reader of the NYT's and a long time dog breeder, I must take Mary Pilon and Susanne Craig to task for writing such an incredibly superficial article basically filled with he said/she said quotes.

    Heads up ladies - just because someone says something doesn't make it true. A half-million dollars spent on rescuing 161 dogs? Really??? But it makes good fodder for fund raising. And I was dismayed to read the quote from Ed Sayres about a "genetically traumatic environment" which is complete nonsense that only the truly gullible would fall for. I could go on, but I'm not getting paid to do this and I would be doing what an editor should have done with this article in the first place.

    This is not to excuse any mistreatment of any dog whether mixed breed or purebred.

    Because dogs are an important part of our culture, because those of us who love them and breed them know that there is a great deal at stake in forming public opinion, please do your readers a service by speaking to one of the many thousands of dedicated and ethical purebred dog breeders in this country the next time you run an article like this. It is quite obvious that the writers simply don't get it, and the facts would provide them and your readers with an important education.

  160. They spoke the truth.

    Face it.

    Just go the grooming section of the A. K. C. show's to see how often the welfare and comfort of the dog is disregarded for the benefit of the owners winning in the completion.

    I am thrilled that the Times did this investigation.

  161. Questioning the facts in the article is fair and reasonable, but arguing that it should have been balanced with a discussion extolling purebred dog breeding reflects a misunderstanding of journalism. This wasn't an article about all purebred breeders. It was an article about one of them; the failure of a self-appointed industry overseer to execute its responsibilities; the suffering and death that results from greed and hypocrisy; and the damage that the AKC has done to its members by failing to do its duty.

    To say that an article touching on the AKC's failure to police its members should be balanced by a discussion extolling the virtues of purebred dog breeding is akin to saying that a story about government corruption should include a discussion of all the good things government does for people; or that an article on insider trading should be balanced with a discussion about how stock markets help raise capital for roads, bridges and hospitals.

    By that standard, animal cruelty -- or government corruption or insider trading -- would never get exposed or corrected.

  162. Anyone who pays thousands for a pure bred dog is no animal lover. If you truly loved animals, you'd rescue a dog from a shelter.

  163. That is overly simplistic and judgemental, and simply not true. I say that as someone who has rescued and loved and buried almost a dozen rescued dogs. I purchased a pedigreed dog from a responsible, ethical breeder who also does rescue. Stop hating in the name of loving animals.

  164. if you know dogs, you look for a breed that compliments your life style and has a personality you will appreciate. Getting a dog from a shelter is getting a dog that has already been messed up at least twice, first by the people responsible for the breeding and then the first owners who ditched it.

    It takes a talented and patient saint to make them whole again -- but it happens.

    Most of the dogs at my local shelter are pit bull mix and that reveals our national paranoia just as surely as the gun issue. Pitts can be a real sweet dog -- but it's a slippery slope having a dog designed and bred to kill.

    I always look for a dog bred to herd, watch, retrieve or point. I prefer bird dogs, but when my wife required that I accept her small dachshund, Adolf, I learned to appreciate the little b.... He had nerve.

    I have had dogs for over 60 years and read several hundred books on them and one of the things I've notice is that nowadays everybody, like Guido, is an expert.

    But I have never trusted the AKC. And I doubt that London, Lorenz and Kjelgaard, the best of canine's chroniclers, would approve of them, either.

  165. We went to a breeder, and bought a "show reject" dog for a fraction of the price -- she has a "unacceptable white mark" that "does not conform to the breed standard". In other words, a dog that would have been destroyed. We can't name the breeder, and had to have her spayed (which we were going to do anyway), so as to protect the breeder's reputation.

    She's an awesome, smart, loving italian greyhound, and we love her! The full size rescue greyhounds (which we have had 3, all which died at 14 or 15) are just too big for me now, as I get old.

    If you want an awesome, low dander, gentle and mellow dog, get a racetrack rescue greyhound -- they are just the best!!

  166. We need an aggressive spay and neuter program for the people involved.

  167. I meet otherwise intelligent people in my Greenwich Village dog run who truly believe that their pet store puppy - usually sick with a parasite - came from a top of the line breeder. They believe this because they are provided AKC papers upon purchase. The new owner is then sent for a "free vet" visit, with a veterinarian who gets paid by the pet store to say the dog is okay. The public needs to understand the AKC and where most puppies come from. Responsible breeders do exist, but most are backyard breeders, and many of these AKC-registered dogs come from puppy mills. The NYC shelters are bursting with dogs - and cats - many of which are pure breed. Most are dumped because pet stores and irresponsible breeders just want to make a buck and don't care who buys it. That's why it's important to adopt, not buy. I hope this story will not fall on deaf ears.

  168. als, I cannot speak for NYC shelters -- but in my Midwestern Rustbelt area, the local shelters ALL HAVE purebred dogs AND cats -- my last visit I saw a bichon, several chihuahuas, and an Italian greyhound....a small skinny shivery animal. Imagine "losing" such a dog on the STREETS and never looking for him? We are talking about an $900 dog. People are horrible.

    It is very common to see nice shepherds, corgis, aussies and other dogs. I saw a canaan hound as well. I don't mean mixes, I mean "purebreds without papers". My own two purebred border collies were shelter dogs, and one was at the "dog catchers", having been found running loose on the streets.

    It is depressing how many "lost dogs' are abandoned and their owners never bother to pick up a phone to make a cursory call to see if they were located.

  169. Have about investigating cat breeders? I've spent $4k in vet bills on former breeding cats that I got from a breeder. She loved them and they are sweet cats but they had medical issues she should've known about and taken care of.

  170. Linda j Moore it actually does cost that much to do such a huge rescue.
    Transportation, gas, kennels, food and let's not forget the vetting bills of each of the surviving animals, spaying, shots, injuries, disease, and malnourishment equals big bucks at the vets....but you being a greeder probably don't take your animals to the vet and couldn't possibly understand the cost.

  171. Pilon and Craig got it right. Finally the paper of record exposes the cruel sham that is the AKC. We celebrate Westminister when it simply puts a gloss on the horror show that is breeding in this country. Of course AKC opposes progressive animal rights legislation. They don't want to diminish their profits made on the backs of the animals they claim to care about.

  172. Westminster celebrates the "perfect" specimens of a dog breed -- complete with the many genetic monstrosities that plague these dogs. Eye problems, skin issues, breathing problems, enlarged hearts, bad hips, cancers...the list is quite extensive. "Responsible breeder" seems an oxymoron in a world choking with dogs who die by the millions every year. Yes, I work in a breed rescue and many of our dogs are not abused as much as they are neglected or the victim of human circumstance. The AKC should clean up their act, at least. At best -- change their mission to education and re-homing needful dogs.

  173. For many years, I associated the letters 'AKC' with high quality when searching for a dog to purchase. What I found was that AKC dogs (I've owned several) often had genetic disorders leading to disability or early death. They were costly, breeders selling AKC dogs can charge for the AKC label. Having a pedigree was no guarantee that the dog would lead a healthy and long life.
    After the last dog died, I went to a rescue group, wanting to explore adoption of a homeless dog. My current dog, having been abused, came with behavior issues. Patience and consistency have paid off. I now have a delightful canine friend. To those unfamiliar with rescue, I strongly recommend it. There are too many homeless, often abandoned dogs in America. Paying the high price for 'AKC' will give you a no better dog and you will feel good about what you did.

  174. Perhaps if you had asked your breeder for health clearances on the parents and a written health warranty you may have saved yourself some heartbreak.

    The AKC's Canine Health foundation has found so many DNA markers for specific disease that reputable breeders are now able to test a dog's DNA and find out if the dog carries a gene for certain disease or not. This way we have eliminated many of them. Good breeders test their breeding stock for genetic problems and don't breed affected dogs.

    If you did your research, you would have been able to find a good breeder. You have no one to blame but yourself.

    I have an AKC dog and she is the PERFECT dog.

  175. It is true that many rescue dogs (adults) have behavior problems. I wish there was a way to address this -- I wish trainers and behaviorists would give more generously with their time to rehab some of the basically good shelter dogs who were abused. It would help infinitely with rehoming these dogs.

    If I was a billionaire, I'd sponsor such a program, but right now, shelters are struggling mightily just to keep euthanasia rates down and find homes for as many dogs as they can!

  176. "I have an AKC dog and she is the PERFECT dog." - Doglver68.

    You are a AKC breeder. What else would you say?

    "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!" - Upton Sinclair

  177. If you skim the Internet for purebred-dog rescue sites, you'll see pages upon pages of animals that have been at worst abused, and at best, neglected and starved. When the dogs are lucky, neighbors or, eventually, the police, call the local animal-rescue societies or breed rescues, and they end up in foster homes waiting for people to adopt them.

    The dogs have heart worms, mange, eye troubles. They're twenty pounds underweight. They fear contact with people. The rescue organizations try to cure them, tame them, and get them decent homes.

    There's no way that a reputable breeder needs more than, say, two or three intact males and and four females. It's a shame -- and worse -- that the AKC is resisting regulation. Even just in terms of dollars and cents, there's such a thing as quality control.

    Not to mention the sheer inhumanity of money-hungry "breeders" torturing these poor animals for profit.

  178. Stop making up things about breed rescue for the sake of drama. There are plenty of dogs in breed rescue who simply lost their homes for reasons that have nothing to do with poor health, abuse, or neglect. Dogs go stray, families lose homes to foreclosure, couples divorce, children develop allergies to the dog, one dog in the household takes a dislike to the other, someone marries or moves in with another person who hates dogs, or...the most common reason for giving up a dog ... a puppy becomes an adult dog and is no longer wanted. Don't trash rescue or shelter dogs to make a point. They are not all abused. They don't all come with baggage -- even if many do.

  179. Exactly me not! It is easier to adopt a dog or sway the public by saying an animal was abused. Unless you witnessed the dog being abused, you can't not honestly say this. A poor temperament is a poor temperament. But it does make for a good story and most people allow themselves to be emotionally manipulated when they say the dog was abused and feel sorry for the dog. Shelters are very well aware of this.

  180. There ARE abused dogs and they can be a problem in adoptions -- fear aggression. But most dogs are good companion animals and blossom in loving homes.

    Most dogs are abandoned simply because of irresponsible owners, who lose interest once the dog is not a "cute puppy". Or they move. Or their landlord won't let them have a dog. Or the dog is "too big". Or a kid develops an allergy. Or they get evicted. Or they get divorced and nobody wants a dog. Or they have a baby, and think "the dog will hurt the baby" or they have no time for the dog anymore. Worst of all, sometimes an owner simply dies or goes into a nursing home!

    Abandonment rates have soared with the economy down, and so many folks foreclosed on. If you get thrown out of your home, and maybe have to go to a shelter or live with relatives -- what do you think happens to the dog or cat? If LUCKY they get turned into a shelter. Most are just left behind in empty homes or thrown out on the street.

    I rescued a dog a few years back who was left on a busy freeway median strip -- 8 lanes of busy freeway traffic, in 100º heat in August -- and no way for the poor creature to get off the median strip. I took her home and she was adopted by a loving neighbor. My last cat was abandoned in her famiy's garage and was starving to death, when I took her in. They moved away without her.

  181. I like cats. If you think about mistreating a cat the cat will scratch your eyes out and get away from you. If they are affectionate toward you YOU have earned it.

    Oh, one more thing - I have never stepped in cat feces....

  182. "Oh, one more thing - I have never stepped in cat feces...."

    Really? I have. And hair balls and vomit. But then, any creature that gets old is bound to have accidents, even cats.

  183. To B. in Brooklyn: I am not talking about hairballs, I am talking about big steaming piles left on 180 feet of my lawn along the street here in Rome, GA and I am talking about Providence Park in Washington DC where those proud dog owners looked the other way every night and on Saturday morning 4 soccer games are taking place with 88 six year olds sliding around in dog feces. I lived there, I saw it.

    And just so you know, my last cat lived to be eighteen years old and the two I have now are five. All were rescues and they don't go outside. They are healthy and well adjusted and they have a clean litter box, therefor no "accidents".

  184. I've stepped in half-digested mouse that has been regurgitated....more than once...at night in my bare feet. Woke up one morning to find same on the pillow next to my head. But I still am fond of cats....

  185. We currently have 9 rescued dogs ranging in size from Australian Shepherd to Mastiffs. The most recent arrival is a Mastiff who had been so badly abused that he would bite in response to petting, even had to have my wife's arm x-rayed to rule out fractures. The rescue organization was considering euthanasia, but we persevered and the only injury potential now is from his barreling into us for affection. I know it is not probable, but he seems to be conscious of his good fortune and grateful as does a one-eyed three legged great dane mix who is always smiling.(do dogs really smile?) Don't be concerned about crowding, they have over six hundred netwire fenced acres including 8 or 10 lakes and ponds in which to wander. Would that humans were as appreciative of a good home. As I am sure your other rescuers know the love and affection from the rescued outweigh the bother and expense.
    Spay and neuter should be mandatory for all pet owners but probably also for a large percentage of the human population.

  186. Bless you.

  187. Indeed dogs smile....and horses do too. You just have to look more carefully...

  188. The AKC sounds a lot like the NCAA.

  189. And the NRA.

  190. Fighting all attempts to correct problems within the "industry?"

    These guys sound like the NRA.

  191. you will note that the HSUS/ASPCA/PETA also call themselves an "industry" the "sheltering industry" It is quite common. These "industrialists" also a have magazine that goes to the shelters. Wan o know what they advertise? Gas Chambers to kill animsl.. yes really..

  192. Alice, care to provide some proof of your outlandish accusations?

    That should be interesting, since it doesn't exist.

  193. My family has raised a wide variety of animals for 40 years trust me the AKC has never had a reputation for mandating breeding dogs for health and or their wellbeing. That registry just issues pretentious little pieces of paper, and breed standards that strengthen genetic illness to service human vanity.

  194. well them who should be "allowed' to breed dogs? you? your friends..?? just who is good enough to breed a litter of dogs.. Most people only register ONE litter of dogs to the AKC in in their whole lives.

  195. The same ASPCA and HSUS that are being sued for Federal Racketeering charges? The ASPCA that just settle for $9.3 million for paying a witness to testify in an abuse case against The Ringling Brothers Circus. And we're supposed to believe them? The AKC does a lot of good for ALL dogs. They donate millions to the AKC Canine Health Research to find cures for diseases that affect all dogs, not just purebreds. Yes, even your random bred shelter dogs have genetic defects. I know, I've owned a few of them. Hip dysplasia, epilepsy, aggression, etc. Show me solid statistics that a dog obtained from a pet store is any less healthy than one obtained by other sources?

    This is nothing more than the Radical Animal Rights groups' (ASPCA and HSUS) usual propaganda that is put out just before the Westminster Kennel Club dog show. So much is overly sensationalized and used to emotionally manipulate the public.

    Are there bad breeders? Of course. Does animal abuse happen? Of course it does. There are laws against it and those who are guilty of it will be dealt accordingly. Did you know that rescuers are also guilty of neglect when they get too many dogs and can't say no? They have dozens upon dozens of dogs that are kept in substandard conditions as well. You can't blame AKC for that.

    As for me, I prefer the predictability, size, look, temperament and health of a well-bred purebred. I have owned many in my life time. I would never own anything but.

  196. I wonder, given a comment like this, whether the AKC has hired the Center for Consumer Freedom, the "non-profit" lobby firm that also represents tobacco, fast food and alcohol. The Center for Consumer Freedom loves to call the Humane Society of the United States and ASPCA "terrorists."

  197. I was wondering the same thing Mara. It's certainly interesting to hear their messaging from posters here.

    I take it you support elephant abuse Dog luver68? Because the entire suit was motivated by Ringling being found guilty of abuse of elephants. Google "SLAPP suit" and you will see the game Ringling is up to, which is essentially suing to silence animal advocates.

  198. I am not paid by any one. I do a lot of research into the Radical Animal Rights Groups. I see how many people they hurt that have done nothing wrong. I see their protests. I see how they twist and pervert the language. I see how they manipulate photos and videos in an attempt to bring in more donations. Never let a good crisis go to waste. Where'd all the money from Katrina go? I see how they misuse funds. I saw the failed partnership with Michael Vick. They wanted to kill all his dogs and went to court trying to get the ok to kill them all. They took in millions of dollars to save his dogs and spent it all fighting in court to kill them. Great organization. I don't care how WP spins it, the HSUS is a corrupt organization and I don't need Humanewatch to tell me what I already know. Besides, if they are so unfactual and are in fact lying about the HSUS why is it they've never won a case against them? They take their facts from the HSUS's own paperwork. Less than 1% to actual hands-on shelters. Both Charity Watch and the American Institute of Philanthropy has awarded the Humane Society of the United States a “D” rating in its Charity Rating.

  199. The AKC is first & foremost a registry used to trace the bloodlines of dogs. Over the years, it has evolved to license various dog events, including agility, lure coursing, field trials, obedience & tracking to name just a few. The AKC does not establish breed standards. It is the national parent club of the particular breed & its members which establishes the breed standards for conformation, temperament, gait & function. Most, if not all, national breed parent clubs have both national & local rescue programs. These are groups of breeders & owners who, without any tax dollars, rescue, obtain vet care & re-home dogs of their specific breed. Since they are knowledgeable about the breed, they foster rescues & educate the adopter. Taxpayer funded humane societies only give the older, more sickly purebred dogs to local breed rescues. If they get a litter of purebred pups they refuse to turn them over to breed rescue because they can make a lot of money off the adoption fees of a purebred litter. National breed club members of AKC breeds are generally small breeders who do not make money from breeding but breed high-quality dogs, guarantee the dogs they breed & educate the buyers. They are far different from puppy millls, where profit is the sole goal. This article & many of the comments demonstrate ignorance about the AKC & ethical breeders, while wearing rose-colored glasses regarding humane societies & mixed-breed dogs.

  200. Another outright lie:

    "Taxpayer funded humane societies only give the older, more sickly purebred dogs to local breed rescues. If they get a litter of purebred pups they refuse to turn them over to breed rescue because they can make a lot of money off the adoption fees of a purebred litter."

  201. Most of these criticisms reveal gross ignorance of the functions and scope of the AKC. AKC's two main functions are the maintenance of accurate pedigrees and the oversight of dog shows run by local dog clubs. It licenses judges, show superintendents, and others who actually perform the work. Dog showing is the largest participant sport in the US by a large margin, and I know from long experience that both dogs and humans enjoy them greatly.
    AKC also does extensive educational outreach. They discourage breeding for such reasons as letting one's children watch the birth process, and recommend that only knowledgeable people engage breeding - preferably at a scale that allows the entire breeding stock to be house pets. (And that, in my experience, is the way most AKC-registered dog breeding takes place.)
    AKC does try to run kennel inspections but it is not a humane society and has neither the resources nor the legal authority of such institutions. The main responsibility for policing puppy mills lies not with AKC but with local (inadequately) tax-supported entities.
    There is a place for purebred dogs and there is a place for rescue dogs. It is the latter group rather than the former that contributes the most to shelter overflows.

  202. Why then are they engaged in lobbying against better animal welfare laws?

  203. Dianne, they are for existing welfare laws. The problem with some of the proposed laws is that they target the small home-based breeders too. The proposed APHIS laws would hurt most show breeders, many who, like myself, are already licensed and inspected by my county as a hobby breeder. AKC is not for limits. You can have 4 dogs and neglect them or you could have 400 dogs, a paid staff to take great care for your dogs. This is the problem with stereotyping all breeders and lumping them in one category. The AR groups like HSUS propose and back such laws in an attempt at controlling numbers and eventually reducing them the point that most people can't afford to breed. Often times these bills contain language that deny breeders of due process and charge them outrageous amounts of money to take care of their dogs while in custody that most breeders can't afford to get their dogs back when they are found innocent. There are several breeders who are currently suing the HSUS for illegally stealing their dogs. The AR groups are great at twisting and perverting the language as they see fit. They are trying their best to vilify and discredit the AKC and breeders.

  204. Why do you think that purebred dogs don't end up in the shelter system? I hate to break the news, but all breeding contributes to shelter overflow -- animal abuse and neglect are "breed-blind".

  205. le gredin: You might want to read the story again. Mike Chilinski is the fellow sentenced to five years in prison for his brutal treatment of dogs.

  206. Brutal? See this type of language is what the ARs pervert in attempt to sensationalize the story. I saw photos of the dogs and the facilities. I also know he was looking to hire help with the dogs. It wasn't a pretty facility but the dogs were safe and yes they had food and water. Some were in various stages of blowing coat and some were on the thin side. There is more to this story then you are being hand fed by the HSUS propaganda machine. It was indeed a sad story that this fellow fell on hard times and his health took a turn. Rescue groups were called to help with getting the numbers down, but then the HSUS swooped in for the publicity, hyped the story, and voila, more anti breeder rhetoric for them. Never mind the person who fell on hard times, he's evil--put him away. AR don't care about the people. They don't care to help them through rough times. They just want to take away their animals and put them in jail. Demonize them all to push their agenda.

  207. Point very well taken. I did read it but hurriedly, and the name did not stick with me. You are right. He is a very low form of beast.

    I'm just so sick of people in online comment sections who respond to anything that they disagree with by just attacking the person whose comments they oppose that I thought that was again happening here. My apologies to you. You were not doing that.

  208. Though some breeds may look flamboyant, AKC is a rather humble and unassuming organization. They rarely call attention to themselves or go to lengths to blow their own horn.

    Typically they just quietly go about providing the structure and record keeping for 20,000 shows, trials and events per year, maintaining the framework for 5000 affiliate clubs, and curing canine diseases..

    Once a year for Westminster they take the national stage to promote their oldest, most beloved tradition.

    But lately the reader-hungry media and the Animal Rights groups have taken to piggybacking off Westminster's publicity in an opportunistic plea to increase their own mileage through some wildly contrived pre-dog show dirt-slinging.

    Last year they used a sponsorship change to inflame mutt-lovers by accusing AKC of being heartless towards shelter pets.

    But the B-grade sensationalizing and gross melodramatic exaggerations only cue the signature wailing from their small cult following. The Animal Rights version of pulp fiction has a very short shelf life; mainstream America has recognized it's all tactic and gone numb to it. Last year Westminster's viewership broke its record.

    Our diverse, magnificent purebreds, and AKCs huge contributions to the health and welfare of all dogs will be joyfully celebrated for the 137th time on Monday and Tuesday, and America will love it.

  209. Here's a different perspective. Border collies that are registered with border collie associations (by breeding or merit) are a diverse breed with one thing in common: a particular kind of herding behavior. They are big ones and small ones; rangy ones and lean ones and compact ones; big boned and fine boned; short haired and long haired; black and white, red and white, and tri colored. When I walk mine, people often ask what kind of dogs they are and some are surprised that they are all one breed. What they share are their herding behaviors and even those vary to some degree. All of this is representative of genetic diversity within one breed. None of my dogs have died early of genetically passed on cancers; none have suffered from other genetic diseases. All have lived long healthy lives by dog standards.

    Along came your wonderful AKC and it decided to add borders to their breeds. Although they kept the wording of the older standards which allow for much physical variety, in fact AKC border collies are one genetic type: long haired, small, fine boned, and almost always black and white. In a few short years, the AKC border collie has become a type recognizably different from the original breed. The cost has been the loss of much genetic diversity. The herding? AKC herding is not necessary for success in the ring and even the competitions themselves are so truncated and dumbed down that they are pretty meaningless. AKC borders may be "pretty" but the cost is high.

  210. Kudos to you ceilidh from Boulder!

    The fact is that only a small number of purebred dogs are actually working dogs. Few dogs on display at WKC fulfill their working heritage although the announcers will always talk up the ones that do. How many corgi's nip at cows' heels? I'm sure it's been a while since many of the Cocker Spaniels you will see have actually "cocked" any game.

  211. hmm let's see 1. Don't buy a dog from a "puppy mill" ..1, down
    2, Don't buy a dog from an AKC breeder.. 2 down
    3 don't buy a dog from a "backyard breeder' 3 down
    4, don't buy a dog from the internet 4 down
    5. Don't buy a dog from a place you have never seen 5 down
    6. Don't buy a dog from the newspaper 6 down
    7 don't buy a dog from a pet store 7 down

    ALWAYS " ADOPT".. whatever that means .. from a a "shelter" a place where they kill dogs if there is not enough 'space' and then blame you because of your lack of 'responsibility .
    each "shtler dog " is castrated regardless of age or sex.. so there will be no more of them.. so let's see
    7 places NOT to buy a dog.. 1 place to buy one that will also ensure there won;t be any more dogs.. except of course from people who should not be breeding dogs in the first place..the "irresponsible slob who dumps his dogs at the shelter" is now a better source than the hobby pure bred dog breeder
    how does that make any sense what so ever..

  212. No-kill shelters across the country do not put down large numbers of animals, like some traditional shelters do, but instead work hard to find homes for all animals. People can make the choice to support no-kill shelters and rescues instead of adopting from shelters that do euthanize--and that choice is widely available. Making an argument that it is wrong to adopt animals from shelters because they kill some of the animals does ignores the alternative choices that people have .

    You are splitting hairs when you call one set of breeders "irresponsible slobs" and the other so-called "hobbyist." Never mind that the 'hobbyist" who finds a "good home" for the puppies of her dog has no control over whether those puppies will breed when they mature. Breeders may think they are only responsible for finding good homes for their dog's puppies but they are inherently responsible for any generations that follows.

    The bottom line is as long as you are breeding dogs you are adding to the over population of future generations of dogs. The buck does not stop with the breeders' dog but with all subsequent puppies born thereafter.

    If we get to the point where dogs and cats are not being killed in shelters by the millions and there are actually shortages of dogs in the world then we can start having conversations about your fear that "there will be no more of them." Until that day comes, your point is moot.

  213. AHA! You have figured it out. Correctly, of course. Very few people get it, so congratulations! It's interesting how little people comprehend, even when confronted with the facts in big bold letters. Of course the AKC opposes more regulations. We are dismal at enforcing the ones we already have, which, when you think about it, is just what these groups hope for. They specialize in crisis marketing, and without a crisis, they have no product to sell. Talk about "in it for the money" . . . In the '70s, 1 in 4 dogs ended up in the pound. That's 25%. Nowadays, by the HSUS and ASPCA's own statistics, we are down to between 3%-5% That's amazing, yet no one celebrates that, no crisis to force our wallets open. With repeated scolding of the public, pretty soon there is no acceptable source for a family pet, as you pointed out so clearly. Restricting breeding, breed bans, pet limits (to prevent another phony manufactured issue called 'animal hoarding', infinitesimally rare), space requirements for ownership, anti-hunting laws, insurance restrictions, and changing us all from our pets' "owner" to their "guardian", and we will be a long way towards the ultimate goal of the animal rights groups - a vegan society. The saddest thing here is that the AKC funds the Canine Health Foundation, which benefits all dogs. The money that supports the CHF comes from the parent breed club members . . . the BREEDERS.

  214. Believe it or not doggirl, most reputable breeders, myself included, sell our pet puppies on spay/neuter contracts and do follows up with every puppy buyer to ensure the dog has been altered. I do not advocate early spay/neuter as there is now conflicting information about how unhealthy it can be to the dog if spayed/neutered too early. Also in my contract is a return clause that states if for any reason the owner can no longer take care of the dog for whatever reason, that it is to be returned to me for re-homing.

    Sorry to burst your bubble, but breeders are not the problem. Look at the facts. Look at where most shelter dogs come from. Check out this link: http://www.astraean.com/borderwars/2012/06/now-only-2-of-dogs-die-in-she...

  215. So many of my friends have adopted dogs from the South....after paying a heavy "adoption fee". My suspicion is that is a scam. That puppies from there are being milled, then basically "sold" by charging a big fee to people who adopt them.

  216. Nature abhors inbreeding. Beings naturally have mechanisms to avoid it, including human taboos against incest. Inbreeding is forced upon dogs in some bizarre, failed eugenics experiment that has destroyed their health. They are plagued by dangerous recessive genes.

    Never buy an inbred. Adopt instead. And it you want a healthier dog, get an interbred, not an inbred. Be smart, not cruel.

    Watch the acclaimed BBC documentary "Pedigree Dogs Exposed." You can find it on-line, including, as of now, here:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yZMegQH1SPg

    This led to the BBC ceasing to broadcast dog shows. America should be next.

  217. Law enforcements busts of puppy mills are not uncommon. You can read about them in news reports on the Internet. Puppy mills sell AKC registered dogs.
    And the AKC does lobby against legislative bills to help reign in the puppy mill abuse.

    As for the HSUS and the ASPCA and what they have to say about puppy mills, they are the ones that are often called in by law enforcement to help when puppy mills are busted and there are hundreds of dogs needing to be removed and cared for. That is something else you can read about in media reports of puppy mill busts on the internet.

  218. The American Kennel Club is only a national registry of purebred dogs. It is not a true policing organization as many people writing here seem to think. I think that the only recourse they have when a valid complaint is filed is to expel the offending member.

    In order to be able to show a dog the owners/handlers have to be AKC members. The individual AKC breed organizations and their members have the responsibility of maintaining the breed standards. The individual breed clubs should, and very often do, report breeders, owners and handlers for abuse or corrupt breeding practices. These breed clubs are also very active in DNA testing and registration to find and eliminate genetic problems in cooperation with several veterinary schools.

    Dealing with the AKC is much like dealing with the government. It's the only game in town, it responds at a snails pace, it's self serving and it responds to its bottom line.

  219. Actually Susan there are no individual memberships in the AKC. Therefore not only do you not have to be a member of the AKC, it is impossible to be one.

    AKC is made up of member clubs that hold events like conformation, obedience trials, rally trails, herding trials, hunting tests, field trials, etc. These clubs hold upwards of 17,000 events a year and bring in more than 1 billion dollars to local economies. You can be a member in one of the clubs if you wish, but do not in order to show your dogs.

  220. As a purebred puppy owner, this story's thrust is chilling to me. Helpless animals abused and stressed, mistreated. I bought my puppy from a family breeder chiefly concerned that his dog's puppies would find good homes. It was an unplanned pregnancy. Both parents are AKC registered and this was a key factor in my purchase of our dog. The sire and dam are trackable, lending accountability in my eyes of their owners. They are not able to hide behind commercial anonymity. The very crux of mass production is a leverage of quantity over quality as well. Potential dog owners must really consider taking on that risk with a living being whic they will be takinglifelong responsibility for. And the AKC must reiterate its values, of increasing the wellbeing of dogs, and truly devote its resources to discouraging the terrible hording mistreatment described ithe article.

  221. Not a very responsible breeder to have an "unplanned pregnancy". And if the breeder was "chiefly concerned" with the dogs being placed in a good home, why charge you for the unplanned, therefore extra, puppies? Seems to me somebody was selling you a bill of goods along with the puppies.

  222. Bloodlines alone are inadequate measures of animals who should be selected for breeding. There are organizations that add health measures, performance, and conformation to breed standards. AKC has no standards other than cash flow and parental blood lines.

    In no event should unhealthy animals be bred, and those who prefer pure bloodlines should be more selective.

  223. The AKC should be deeply ashamed of this story - in America deeply concerned with humane treatment of animals it has an obligation to ensure that breeders who register puppies have behaved in an ethical manner. Perhaps jurisdictions should consider legal provisions that would ban breeders from using AKC registration in advertising if the AKC has not been vigilant in preventing abuse - this would strike the AKC in the pocketbook, which is unfortunately where they seem to focus.

  224. Kudos to Ted Paul

  225. Until the punishment fits the crime, abuse of animals will continue. I've seen time after time these cruel people abuse, torture, murder animals and get probation. Why is torture and murder of animals somehow less serious than if committed on a person? Every living being deserves the same rights and happiness on earth. Money is the route of all evil.

  226. Yes and the money grubbing animal rights group HSUS took in one of the worst animal abusers in the country, Michael Vick. With a $50,000 grant from the PA Eagles to "reform" him and untold millions they raised to help take care of his dogs. They made lots of money off this one. He served NO jail time for the actual abuse, but rather served a meager sentence on racketeering and gambling charges. The ironic thing is that some of the money raised from this "crisis" went to fighting rescue groups in court. You see, the HSUS wanted to KILL all of his dog and fought in court to have this done. Thankfully the rescues took them in and rehabed all but one. So where did the rest of the money go that they brought in for to "save" Vicks dogs? Oh and Wayne Pacelle himself announced that Vicks would make a great dog owner again. Lovely, just lovely. I doubt any of his dogs were AKC.

  227. As a photojournalist I covered this event for many years. The most touching thing I ever saw came from the Pedigree truck parked outside Madison Square Garden, urging adoption over purchase from a breeder. The following year -- my last year shooting at Westminster -- Pedigree was dropped by the AKC as a major sponsor of the event. I'm so happy to see that the Times is covering this side of the story. As many comments have stated, the AKC has spent megabucks in actively preventing legislation that would shut down puppy mills, something a concerned American public has been begging for for years.

    Please, rescue your family pet; teach your children to look out for those less fortunate. The American animal shelter system is bursting at the seams with good boys and girls -- family pets-to-be -- who need the same thing purebred dogs and cats need: Exercise and a warm home in winter. Family, and love.

  228. You have only anecdotal evidence here - shame on you if you are a journalist. Pedigree was not honest. The company was given plenty of opportunity to promote their brand on the biggest stage ever for dogs, the Superbowl of the world of dogs, and they blew it by thumbing their noses at the Westminster Kennel Club (not the AKC at all), refusing to make some adjustments to some of their ads, to keep the tone more celebratory. They were asked to keep the guilt trip to a minimum, celebrate purebred dogs as well as mutts, because rescue is for ALL dogs. They refused to cooperate. To be a fly on the wall of those meetings . . . I am in the marketing business, this was pure stupidity. The WKC has now given that big stage over to Purina, who celebrates rescue, purebreds, and mutts alike, in wonderful, positive and uplifting ads. I always liked the Pedigree ads, but they were heavy on "puppies behind bars", and out of touch with the org they were working with/for.

  229. One more example of "it's all about the money" attitudes in the dog show world.

    As someone who works in pure bred rescue I can vouch for the tightrope line you walk. The breed barely tolerates our fund raising booth at shows. When its time for the rescue parade, oh how the spectators disappear. Of course we know who bred virtually every dog that comes through rescue, but never reveal that. We contact the breeder and ask them to take responsibility for the dog but that rarely happens.

    doG bless the small number of breeders who are able to acknowledge the dark side of breeding and who work with rescues to educate the breeders and find homes for cast offs.

  230. You can tell a Lot about an organization when it is put into a dilemma between its stated mission and money. Asked to choose between the welfare of the animals that form its presumptive reason-for-being and coin of the realm, the AKC will follow the scent of money, every time.

    To the limited extent that the animals DO matter, the wrong things are important to AKC. When you breed to an arbitrary conformance/appearance standard, you lose characteristics that have defined some breeds' utility and brilliance -- read Donald McCaig's excellent The Dog Wars to understand this tragic impact on his (and my) beloved breed: the border collie. Watch the BC at Westminster -- it won't win and it looks miserable -- every year.

    Those very conformance 'standards' have deleterious effects on some breeds -- so we get german shepherds with hind-end deformity and weakness, pugs that cannot breathe properly, and french bulldogs who require cesarean sections to deliver their grotesquely heavy-headed pups. Ridiculous and ultimately shameful.

    AKC's ban on neutered animals in its shows contributes to shelter killing, and is a further demonstration of the first point, above. As the saying goes, if you're not part of the solution (as they surely COULD be), you're part of the problem.

    Down, AKC. Now, play dead.

  231. Hoosier Lifer is right on. When my dear Weimeraner died of lymphosarcoma at the age of 7 we called the breeder to let them know only to find out that 3 years earlier our dog's father and one of that dog's litter mates had died of the very same cancer. Did they ever think to let us know? Of course not. After, we took a good look at his AKC pedigree and found generation upon generation of inbreeding. The same names appeared multiple times not only in one parent, but on both sides of our dog's family. The parents were cousins many times over from a line where dogs had even been bred to their own offspring! This breeder cared about looks and nothing else. I now have 3 wonderful, healthy, rescued cross-breeds. The average person wanting a pet has no need of a purebred. And nothing can compare to the rewarding feeling of knowing you are giving a good home to a dog who needed one.

  232. A good friend of mine has had five golden retrievers in her life of owning dogs. All but the latest one (only a year and a half old) have died of cancers common to goldens at relatively young ages. Ditto for a neighbor's five year old golden. Why? Inbreeding. Talking to AKC types means listening to fools discussing the virtues of line breeding, ie inbreeding. Perhaps not as badly as your dogs, but dumb nonetheless.

  233. Again, someone without any knowledge of proper breeding terms. Breeding dogs that are related is line-breeding. Many breeders do this to bring in good things from a bloodline, health, conformation traits, etc. Inbreeding is breeding father to daughter, mother to son and full brother to full sister.

    I'm sorry that your dog died at an early age. I looked up lymphosarcoma and it says it is a common cancer in dogs and there is nothing to suggest it is a hereditary disease. Many dogs get cancer, yes, even random bred dogs. But to blame the AKC and breeder for your dog's cancer is utterly ridiculous.

  234. The fact that we have so many dogs (and cats) in shelters - more than we have people to adopt them - is clear indication that we are breeding too many animals. Some people think that purebred dogs are 'better'. We've had both a purebred and a mixed/rescue dog, and both have been wonderful. The issue with AKC, is the assumption that 'papers' mean quality. If so, then the AKC has a duty to ensure that this is so. Impossible? Probably. But why would someone need to have 25 sexually intact dogs? How many puppies do we need? If the AKC is for animal welfare and not their own self-perpetuation, there should be some checks and balances to curb this rampant pet overpopulation.While I do enjoy watching the dog shows for the beauty of the animals, there is a weird ego gratification that seems to go on with respect to lineage, etc. etc. I mean, we're still talking animals here, and as humans we need to keep our egos in check and be good stewards of that which has been entrusted to us.

  235. Pet overpopulation is a myth. Shelter overpopulation due to regional culture should be addressed. According to the CDC, some US shelters bring in approximately 500,000 dogs a year from other countries to adopt. Some shelters in the New England states bring dogs up from southern states--usually cute adoptable puppies and leave their mothers to rot in the shelter. They do this because they are feeding into the market to turn over the dogs quickly and make $$$ too.

    The ASPCA estimates that 78% of all pet dogs are spayed/neutered.

    Here is a good site for more information on shelter statistics. It's time to stop blaming breeders!

    http://www.astraean.com/borderwars/2012/06/now-only-2-of-dogs-die-in-she...

  236. We do not have an overpopulation of pets. At a time when standards and expectations for animal shelter management are rising rapidly, we still have an overpopulation of animal shelter directors who would rather kill animals -- and pretend the public is somehow to blame -- than effectively care for and rehome the animals in their care or return them to their owners.

    " . . . we do have actual math on the subject . . . . According to a study conducted by the Humane Society of the United States and Maddie’s Fund, there are, in reality, far more Americans adopting pets every year than there are pets entering U.S. animal shelters."

    http://oisforonward.com/2012/05/sadly-there-are-too-many-cliches/

  237. Ah yes, the 'pet overpopulation myth,' brought to you by..... wait for it..... dog breeders. You can't make this stuff up!

    It's simple math - far too many animals for the potential adopters / owners. Here's an explanation from Spay First: https://www.facebook.com/SpayFirst/posts/481466941915093

  238. The AKC fought tooth and nail against Proposition B in Missouri. This bill would have required stricter standards for the care of breeder dogs in the state, including doing away with stacked cages, and ensuring proper exercise, food, and clean water.

    What kind of organization that claims to be about dogs would fight something like this? Let me answer: the same organization that gets most of its money from dog registrations by puppy millers.

    The AKC is a joke, and it's time legitimate breeders break from the organization.

  239. Why does this world even contain "legitimate" dog breeders? Dogs are just dogs, or should be; look at the results of horrific inbreeding, dogs who cannot breathe (their noses are bred too flat), whose brains are too big to fit into their tiny flat overbred skulls (spaniels) and who bang their heads on the walls to try to stop the pain. And overbred shepherds whose "AKC approved" back legs have such serious arthritis they almost drop to the ground WHILE BEING PARADED around at the show, basically they are dragged around, as their owner is still looking for a medal for a very very sick dog. This is unconscionable cruel eugenics of animals by rich and greedy immoral people and I'm upset again. But now, dogs cannot exist in the world we have made without us. They are our victims.

  240. No, the joke is that after HSUS got the bill passed by deceiving people who were clueless about animal husbandry, the Missouri legislation plainly saw that it stank and they voted to change it. Then a group of knowledgeable people got together and fixed it. And HSUS was so mad the legislators were able to change their lousy law, they spent $400,000 trying to change Missouri's constitution so the legislators couldn't fix the next lousy bill they got passed. Except the people of Missouri weren't falling for it and when they realized they were wasting their time HSUS finally cut bait and split town. But not after flushing $400,000 of donor money right down the tubes for spite when the people who donated it thought it was going to be spent for the benefit of shelter pets. AKC was dead on the $ to fight and fight it in every other state where HSUS tries to hoodwink the public.

    And let's not forget the rest of the story..Missouri's entire agriculture industry fought it and all the sportsmen fought it because they know HSUS is out to eliminate all animal agriculture and all hunting and fishing along with all pet ownership.

  241. dogsdontlie, your post is so rife with misinformation, I'm not sure where to start.

    #1 Providing care for dogs is not rocket science; millions of American households do it without a problem, and it certainly doesn't require background in "animal husbandry." That's what I would call obfuscation.

    #2 HSUS is extremely upfront that they are not a shelter-funding organization. If you were a donor, you would realize that. All of their materials talk about them providing care, legislative advocacy and emergency response for ALL animals, domestic and wild, companion, equine and livestock. Not just animals in shelters. You know, the things shelters can't do.

    #3 Please please please provide proof that HSUS is out to end animal agriculture and pet ownership. This is nothing but fabricated paranoia perpetuated by industries that exploit animals.

    A few sources for you:
    On the myth of eliminating agriculture: http://www.humanewatch.info/blog/myths/myth-agriculture

    On the myth of eliminating pet ownership: http://www.humanewatch.info/blog/myths/myth-ban-pet

  242. The term "pure bred" is a misnomer. No dog breed is pure, just as no human ethnic group is pure. Unfortunately for dogs, their heritage was/is artificially manipulated to make them elite products for human purpose or novelty. This has caused them over 300 genetic abnormalities, and degraded dogs outside this "pure" class in turn. As long as dogs are marketable products their most fundamental rights cannot be protected -- they will remain subject to the whims of those who use them for profit, and to owners who are unable or unwilling to care for them, which leads to killing millions of healthy or treatable dogs each year.

    The artificial breeding of living beings, whether as a self-serving hobby or paid occupation, is not a sport. Dogs bred to specifications have isolated gene pools, and I think they should be known in this way with an understanding of the harm involved - not by the outdated, dishonest term, "pure bred", that is promoted by an outdated, dishonest organization, the AKC.

  243. Breeding is a hobby for most. They enjoy it and enjoy their dogs. They also enjoy doing things with their dogs whether it be showing them, hunting with them, training and competing in obedience/rally/agility trials. That is where the sport comes in. Dogs love sports. My dogs love to compete.

    There are good and bad in all aspects of life. You cannot legislate common sense. You can, however, hurt the millions of good people who enjoy spending quality time with their purebred dogs.

    "If people don't want a purebred, they don't have to get one. If animal rights radicals don't like purebreds, they try to legislate them out of existence."~Me

  244. People who buy and breed purebred dogs are arrogant and (for various superficial reasons) care little for dogs and more about status and recognition. Purebreds are nothing more than dogs that are overbred and in-bred-- usually mated with siblings and parents and often have genetic problems that they suffer from throughout their lives. Purebreds often end up coming from puppy mills that treat dogs cruelly and turn man's best friend into a profit -making-machine. AKC is complicit in the over breeding, in-breeding and the genetic/physical problems found in many purebreds.

    People that care about dogs do not breed them, period. They do not buy them at pet stores or through puppy mills. They do not get them from the local "free-to-a-good-home" breeders down the street who are too ignorant or lazy to spay their dogs. People that care about dogs don't care if their dog is a mutt or a mixed breed. They support animal shelters and rescue operations by adopting unwanted and abandoned dogs and do not contribute to the free-market mentality of dogs as goods to be purchased. And people that care about dogs always spay and neuter them.

    AKC and people who support them do not put the interest of their dogs above their own egotistical beliefs that dogs are properties and objects here for their own pleasure, to be manipulated genetically to the detriment and well-being of the dog, to be bought and purchased as a commodity and to be continuously impregnated year after year.

  245. I agree with you except in some cases people need purebred working dogs. It is a bit unfair to call a rancher arrogant and superficial if he wants a Border Collie for herding or a Great Pyrenees for protection. The ranchers I know do not buy from pet stores but from other ranchers who breed their best dogs. Since these dogs are bred for their working ability instead of for show, most of them are healthy and raised in a nice environment, i.e., out running with the livestock instead of a crammed kennel.

  246. Sorry, but you've been drinking the wrong Kool Aid...your charges are completely without balance or justification. Please open your mind to the possibility that predictible temperment and conformation appeal to many of us and that careful breeding turns out wonderful companion animals that are NOT inbred or abused but are the cherished family members many of us are honored to live with.

    AKC checks breeder records; you might find the minutes of their board meetings instructive...there regularly are breeders who did not follow AKC rules who will never be permitted to register another litter, with resulting loss of value of any litters they do breed.

    Like many of my friends and neighbors who also love and live closely with their dogs, both purebreds and rescues, I never met a puppy I didn't like and I have lots of mutts who are good friends, but I chose to live with an ancient and noble breed and have done so for over thirty years, each individual was different in personality, each did the breed standard proud, and each was much loved and mourned at their passing at advanced old age. They were not, and the current ones are not, any of the ugly things you so broadly suggest are regular examples of purebreds.

  247. Let's see, doggirl - by the fact that I love a specific breed of dog, you feel entitled to say that I am arrogant, superficial, care little for dogs, status conscious, greedy, and hold "egotistical beliefs" (huh?). I care so little for dogs that I volunteer as a trainer so that someone's formerly cute puppy doesn't end up in the shelter at 18 months of age, out of control. I am so status conscious that I visit schools, hospitals, nursing homes with my very well trained - purebred - dogs to teach kids how to be safe around dogs, or to cheer up someone who had to give up their own dog. You "know" that my purebred dogs are overbred, in-bred, and have genetic problems that cause lifelong suffering. Notice something here, the missing connection in your ugly rant? I'll give you a hint; it's not about the dogs at all.

    You 'know' that I put my own interests over my dogs because I train them to find missing people, volunteer with law enforcement to find forensic evidence, justice, and train others to do the same? Here's the big difference I alluded to earlier. I care about people, as well as dogs. I have not been quite as disappointed in life as you have, maybe. I love people and dogs, as do the breeders I know. And the wonderful person who bred my great dogs donated them to me so that we can continue to make life better for as many people as possible. Arrogant, greedy and selfish?

  248. All dogs deserve to receive the same kind of love, respect and care that humans deserve. Puppy mills should be called abuse mills. How anyone could harm such a beautiful creature as a dog is beyond me. Thank-you Mary and Susanne for writing this story and exposing the AKC.

  249. Worst of breed, homo sapiens - There is really no shortage of candidates.

    Unfortunately.

  250. An earlier commenter used the expression 'worst of breed', and I had meant this as a Reply to his comment.

  251. "sapiens". hmm. wondering about how we keep thinking this is what defines us in the animal world.... I might have a different view, as I read the paper.

  252. The HSUS scams thousands of dollars from an unsuspecting public using their massive media events, attention-grabbing legislative proposals and Hollywood spokesmen. The HSUS misrepresents itself and takes advantage of every single "crisis" issue it can find to try to profit from it. Its main activities are comprised of promoting laws to restrict use/ownership, propaganda in support of such laws, and fundraising/self-promotional actions. While it has no relation to local humane societies and animal shelters anywhere in the US, HSUS does control dozens of legal corporations throughout the world. Despite its image as a cash-strapped animal protection agency, the HSUS has become the wealthiest animal rights organization on earth.

    Despite HSUS's public claims that it seeks only to ensure animals are humanely treated, the group's values and actions are tilted toward eliminating humans' use of animals entirely, including ending lifesaving biomedical research on animals, funding anti-breeding campaigns, and reducing society's consumption of meat and egg products.

    Animal Welfare, as opposed to Animal Rights is concerned with the health, safety, and the future of animals, not to mention the quality of life for both animals and humans.

    Bottom line...don't want a purebred?? Don't get one! Go get a shelter mutt and leave the rest of us alone!

  253. you're a victim of well-funded lies, funded by the animal torture industries.

  254. Annie, care to provide facts to back up your obvious bias against the Humane Society?

    I have yet to see a single piece of misrepresentation from them. However, as this article and your comments demonstrate, industries and people who profit from exploiting animals make misrepresenting reality common practice.

    The Humane Society of the United States is rated a 4-star charity (the highest possible) by Charity Navigator, approved by the Better Business Bureau for all 20 standards for charity accountability, voted by GuideStar’s Philanthropedia experts as the #1 high-impact animal protection group, and named by Worth Magazine as one of the 10 most fiscally responsible charities.

  255. Annie, people on here want to say the AKC is all about the money, but what about the HSUS who pays their 555 employees nearly $38 million a year? That's a pretty penny. Think about how many shelters that would help? So who is all about the money here?

  256. I'm surprised that this story is not still on your front page (web) Sunday at noon.

    Or maybe I'm not.

  257. Why would this be front page news? It's just merely a smear campaign against the AKC to try to distract from the greatest dog show in the world, Westminster! It's is filled with lies, perverted language and spin that it my stomach turn. Nothing more than Animal Right extremists propaganda. I am looking forward to watching on TV.

  258. My experience with breeders of pure bred dogs is 100% at odds with the impressions left by this article. Anecdotal evidence of a few malefactors not a peer reviewed study is brought forth to support the agenda of those who likely oppose the ownership and breeding of pure bred dogs in this country. The AKC by sponsoring the sport of conformation and its other goals does a great deal for dogs at all levels of our society including not least our younger ones. I have not met everyone in the AKC but those I have met are dedicated to the betterment of canines. No one is perfect but as a lawyer I look at evidence not argument ad hominem to attack this wonderful organization. I was brought to the world of dogs by the AKC. The ASPCA should be working in tandem with AKC not lobbing verbal attacks to help our canine companions. If not, I will seriously re-think my status as a Guardian member of ASPCA.

  259. Mine is absolutely in line with the article.

    We bought an AKC puppy mill cocker spaniel when I was young, from a pet store. Two previous families had bought and returned him.

    He was a very sweet dog, but exceptionally needy - probably due to lack of maternal care as a puppy, which is common in stressed breeding females. He would cry if left alone for 5 minutes. He went blind by age 6 and became incontinent by age 8. We had to put him down shortly thereafter. My experience with him was heartwrenching, and is one of the reasons I'm now strongly opposed to puppy mills.

  260. Will, The ASPCA is no longer out to help animals, they have partnered up with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and are now geared more towards pushing Animal Rights agendas instead of Animal Welfare. They just settled their portion of a RICO suit against them for paying a witness in an abuse case (which was dismissed without prejudice). The amount of the settlement was $9.3 million. The HSUS is still in court on their portion.

    This is why the HSUS is so opposed to groups like Humanewatch as they expose the hypocrisy behind these Radical Animal Rights Groups. I do hope you reconsider your donation to the ASPCA and if you really want to help shelter animals, please consider donating to your local shelter. I know they are hurting for funds as most people think by giving to the HSUS that their donation will get to their shelter. It is terribly misguided and misleading, but that is what lines their wallets ($37.8 million towards salaries and pensions for 555 employees) and those of their lobbyist fighting to take away our rights. They try vilify the AKC and breeders in an attempt to get what they want and that is to end all breeding, period!

  261. I'm not sure that attending some AKC events is any closer to a peer reviewed study than surveying the ASPCA/HSUS for their opinions. Both anecdotal, no?

    Quality breeders have been walking away from the AKC for decades. In the 1980s, when the AKC was more than happy to register any deaf, ill-tempered, dysplastic dogs for a fee, many breeders stopped dealing with the organization altogether. AKC standards have caused splits in breeds. There's the AKC Labrador, Setters and Border Collies and then there are the dogs bred for the temperament and job for which they were intended (not trotting around a ring).

    If the AKC had the wellbeing of dogs in mind and truly represented the "sport" of conformation, it would enforce quality over quantity. Standards for breeds like the English Bull Dog, Pug, Boston Terrier would encourage the breeding of healthy dogs and not for the extreme brachiocephalic profiles en vogue today. AKC standards for those breeds encourage the production of dogs who cannot breed, birth or breathe without expensive surgeries and procedures. In what sport should a wheezing, farting, oxygen deprived specimen take first prize?

    The AKC in its current state is nothing more than a moneymaking scheme. Their registrations aren't worth the paper they're printed on and it's a shame.

  262. Powerful article... The American Kennel Club has lost my support. It's clear that the AKC is more interested in amassing money from registration fees than it is in ensuring the welfare of dogs.

  263. Yes and you should also have no respect for the HSUS who donate less than 1% of its income to actual hands-on shelters yet pays its top people 6 figure salaries. Between their 555 employees, they get paid nearly $38 million! Just imagine how many pets in shelters that would help!

  264. Dogluver68 - HSUS is NOT a shelter funding organization. We have thousands of shelters around the country doing the job of sheltering dogs and cats. We need an organization like HSUS to address the needs of the millions of other animals - wild animals, livestock, equines, exotics, animals in labs, zoos, circuses - and all the other issues beyond shelters, such as laws to protect dogs in puppy mills; to rescue dogs from puppy mills and to prosecute puppy mill abusers - all of which shelters cannot do, but HSUS can, and does.

  265. Growing up at a top breed/show kennel (our dogs were extremely well cared for we never had more than 3 litters a year and never more than 20 individuals, of all ages) I learned very early that whenever an animal is the source of income or prestige, that animal will (and must) be pushed to maximize its potential, usually not to the benefit of the animal. The practices described in the article concerning companion/pet dogs are not unlike practices in the equine industry (breed/ performance show horses) avian industry, feline industry etc. For every extraordinary individual in the show ring/track there will be 1000's of discarded non performers. Making money on animals is a brutal business. Unfortunately the AKC has devolved into a profit pursuit organization rather than the guardian overseer it once was.

  266. France is another country where dogs are not properly protected and breeders not properly inspected.
    My family has always had poodles, a race I know very well. My present female is the first French-bred poodle I have had. She comes from a breeder frequently showing his dogs at the most prestigious French-Kennel-Club expositions and was recommended by the French Poodle Club. I was very careful choosing this pup.
    She's a sweet little female - but was bred for a beautiful fur. And at age 6, this poor dog alone has suffered more serious medical problems than all my family's other poodles taken together. I'd never look for a dog from a French breeder again
    The French don't care about all the illegaly imported dogs from especially former Soviet countries either ! Plenty of pups are exhibited by - often illegal - foreigners on Parisian street corners. I yet have to see a policeman arrest such traders.
    Another big problem here is "dog fashions" - breeds go in and out of fashion. The last big wave was the Jack Russel breed. The French puppy mills cause fashion breeds to lose their specific qualities.

  267. A good, balanced story.

  268. "Best In Show" was a movie that, having attended 12 Westminster Dog Shows, is not far from the reality of the AKC and it's members that organize these elaborate Canine Beauty Contests. I would recommend this film for anyone thinking of purchasing a breed. It will give you a feel for the folks who follow this "sport". Yes it is classified as a sport and is covered in this newspaper in the Sports section. Perhaps the loosest definition of spor that exists.

  269. 'Best in Show' was a comedy and intended as such. It focused on the
    dysfunctional personalities of owners/handlers, very few of whom I have
    ever seen in the ring in the last seven years. They would not survive the real competition. In addition, Best in Show said nothing about the real competition at dog shows which lies in competition within each breed. For owners of
    dogs, the real sport is winning in your breed. Most of us aspire to finish our dogs in our own breed, very few attain Best in Show. The movie said nothing about the real world, starting with the media reps, to the hotel staff to the humans. The only 'surviving' realists in the film are (as usual) the dogs!

  270. Having been around dog people a lot I disagree with will506. I thought it was a documentary. I've met all those people.

  271. I've been to Westminster a few times and I agree--Best in Show is spot on. Never seen so many strange fanatics under one roof.

  272. People who would say that the AKC isn't an 'enforcing body' are overlooking the fact that they gave passes to breeders who were abusing their animals. How does that meet their standards? How do sick, cancer ridden, starving dogs meet AKC standards?

  273. All the more reason to support dogs' rescue. Adopt a rescued dog.

  274. As a life long down owner and the owner of a 14 yr old Husky I have to point out that the rescue groups out there are nearly impossible to work with. A woman literally measured my yard to the inch and determined it was 3" too short. Even with the means, seeming facility, and experience of having a husky for over a decade, I was told I was not suitable. But my money was ok. Simply ridiculous.

  275. A " dog power couple. " What a stupid world.

  276. There are far too many dogs (and cats) already in the world, and in shelters...on the streets...for there to be any reason for people to be paying outlandish sums for 'purebreds'. It's disgusting that so many animals are put down each year, and then on the flip side you have people who say they love animals, but then only a purebred will do. It's repulsive.

    On a related note, all 'pet stores' should be outlawed. The animals generally live horrible lives in those shops and if they aren't sold, we all know what happens.

  277. In all the comments I have read, there is one thing missing: a recognition that buying or adopting a dog are similar in one major way. And that is that both are long term commitments that many people are not capable of fulfilling. A dog requires time, exercise and love no matter what the age or breed. We are breeding far too many dogs for the number of people who can provide good homes for them. We need to see that fewer dogs are bred and that the people who breed them are honest and knowledgeable. It doesn't necessarily mean multi hour interviews and detailed contracts; it means making sure that people know what they are getting into. Dogs and cats are not commodities; they are sentient beings who want to be with us, play with us and work with us. People who breed dogs need to see dogs as more than commodities for profit and the organizations they belong to need to hold them responsible for ethical behavior. And now it's time for me to take my dogs for a walk around our fields.

  278. Finally. I am so glad to see attention to this issue. My name is Elliott Podolsky and I am a 14.5 year old Maltese dog. You got it. A dog. I was whelped at a puppy mill in Humphreys, Missouri and my litter was AKC registered.

    The facility where I was born, which housed over 100 dogs, was inspected by the USDA several times. Violations were found each time. How do I know? My pet parents used FOIA to obtain copies. The dates are from just prior to my whelping to just after I was shipped to a Westchester pet shop.

    I am registered with the AKC and have a pedigree. My grandmother is the same on both sides of my family. That's right. I am inbred.

    I have been very sick on and off. I have had behavior issues, too, which might be inherited.

    My family contacted the AKC by phone, in person at dog shows and, I think, by email to try to get the breeder's AKC privileges revoked. They sent the USDA report to prove they had facts. Nothing happened. In fact, they were told there was nothing that the AKC could do, even with the proof right there.

    So, AKC, please listen up. My parents want to support your good works and your activitie. My mom loves dog shows. All of us want to see purebred dogs strong, healthy and well adjusted (mentally well.) Our family is not against you.

    Please issue AKC pedigrees only to responsible, humane breeders and set clear criteria for what that means. Enforce the criteria through the parent and local clubs. Please!

    Thank you for listening to a dog.
    Elliott

  279. As stated in the article, taxpayers do foot the bill for a lot of animal welfare situations. Everything from law enforcement to shelters to prosecution is paid for by taxpayers.

    With that in mind, perhaps it's time to introduce a tax credit for those who spay and/or neuter their animals, as well as for adopting from a government-owned shelter, i.e., the local pound.

    It doesn't have to be a huge credit but simply an acknowledgement of the money we've spent in keeping fewer animals off the street, taking care of them and lessening the burden on govt.

  280. I think that is terribly unfair to responsible people who do not wish to alter their animals.

    I pay extra to keep my dogs intact. It costs me $65/year per dog. I own 5 dogs. I have to also have a hobby breeder permit, whether I breed or not. That's another $275/year. I am inspected annually. So in order for me to have my dogs legally, I have to pay $600/year. My dogs do not get out of their yard. My dogs do not reproduce at will. I do not dump dogs at the shelter (in fact I've taken dogs from the shelter and re-homed them). Why is it that someone responsible like me have to pay so much for the irresponsible owners who let their dogs run loose and reproduce at will? Does that seem fair to you?

    And btw, the ASPCA estimates that 78% of all pet dogs are spayed/neutered.

  281. Absolutely! I've argued in NYC for licenses for unaltered animals to be as high as $350...about the cost of the surgery.

  282. Dogluver -

    I'm just curious as to what provisions you've made in case something happens to you and you are unable to care for your animals? What then?