View Full Version : NYT debate: feeling guilty about your pedigree dog?

18th February 2010, 05:34 PM
Very interesting debate online at the New York Times with four respondents:


18th February 2010, 07:03 PM
This is a very interesting discussion. I certainly don't want to start an overly heated debate, nor step on any toes -- just offering my opinion.

I do have guilt over buying a purebred dog. I actually consider myself to be an animal rights supporter (please don't shoot me) and take fairly extreme measures to conform to my personal beliefs. I am a vegan, try not to wear or use leather, never wear fur, etc. I guess I'm a big hypocrite when it comes to my dog.

My reasons for wanting a purebred cavalier were significant enough to fight off my feelings of guilt. I have small children and absolutely had to have a good handle on the dog's temperment before bringing her into our home. I could have gone to our shelter, but not knowing a dog's background or socialization exposure was too large a liability to me. I tried various rescue groups, but no one would place a rescue in my home due to the age of my children. I completely understood their reasoning as most rescue dogs in my area are mill survivors. Those dogs just shouldn't have to live with the quick movements and loud noises children sometimes make.

Holly's breeder had me bring the family to meet her before she would consider placing a puppy here. She then informed me that she would be choosing the puppy for our family, not the other way around. It's worked out very well, but not without a lot of plain old hard work by the adults here.

To be completely honest, I do worry that the large sum of money we paid for Holly could have gone to help many homeless dogs. But I wouldn't change a thing about my family now. Holly is one of the best things that's ever happened to me and I treasure her more than words can express. I think one of the hardest things about being a grown up is that life is never black and white.

18th February 2010, 09:07 PM
This is a very hard one. Deciding to own a dog is a very personal decision.

How many people on here could honestly say that if they didn't have a Cavalier, they would choose a "mutt" from rescue instead? I know we would not. If I couldn't have a Cavalier, I don't think we we would have a dog at all. :eek:

I guess all we can do is what is right for us - my answer to people who criticise the money we spend on the dogs, saying that it could be better used elsewhere, is to ask if they are prepared to give up their holiday/tv/stereo etc {whatever THEY choose to spend their money on} to donate instead.

I have had rescue Cavaliers in the past, also retired show/breeding dogs. I have also fostered for rescue, and continue to fund raise for rescue, and to help and support health and welfare projects. This is my way of helping those not as fortunate.

Cavaliers fit in with our lifestyle, we adore their temperaments and everything about them, other than the heartbreak of dealing with health issues :(

We all need to be going to health focused breeders, and supporting them, and encouraging others to do likewise, thereby eventually forcing the bad breeders out of business.

18th February 2010, 11:08 PM
How many people on here could honestly say that if they didn't have a Cavalier, they would choose a "mutt" from rescue instead? I know we would not. If I couldn't have a Cavalier, I don't think we we would have a dog at all. :eek:

If I could not have a Cavalier I don't think I would have a dog. My husband spent years trying to persuade me to have a dog, before Molly and Dougall I used to rescue Persian Cats. When the last one died, I decided no more animals and certainly no smelly dogs! Then I had an encounter with a Cavalier. I was completely taken in with the temperament and the beauty. I am ashamed to say I became obsessed, even though I did the research, I didn't do it well enough. I didn't even choose Dougall, I asked the breeder to save me one and I chose Molly because, she was the only one left in the litter. I couldn't choose!

Having got both Molly and Dougall and now knowing what I know, I felt terribly guilty afterwards, which is one of the reasons I decided to rescue Dotty, which I do not regret and once she is settled, I will probably rescue another.

It is very difficult, I don't think there is a right or wrong answer as long as we all do our bit for rescue and help others. They are all beautiful and they all need loving homes.

Cathy Moon
18th February 2010, 11:59 PM
That is a very thought provoking article, and I liked reading the different viewpoints.

Choosing to own a dog, and which dog to own, is a very personal decision, and I like the idea of respecting others' right to choose in this matter.

I love having cavaliers and adore the breed, and I don't feel at all guilty about buying pedigreed cavaliers from hobby breeders. We've made a decision to support only cavalier breeder(s) who do comprehensive health testing and following protocols.

At the same time, I respect my two sisters for welcoming rescue mixed breed dogs into their homes.

When you think about it, it makes no sense to judge others, who are ignorant with regard to puppy mills when they buy puppies from pet shops, not knowing any better. If we (hypothetical 'we') care so much, what have we done to educate the public? What have we done to make puppy farms illegal?

19th February 2010, 11:59 AM
I like other breeds than cavaliers and lots of mixes too -- to me, it really depends on the individual dog, though there are aspects about breed and breed personality that are attractive, too.

I think Peta and other activists on this issue (regardless of who they are and where they fit on the welfare/rights spectrum) waste a chance to educate properly on a larger scale, though, and dilute and confuse their message by poor targeting of the wrong groups for the wrong things. Show breeders such as those protested at Westminster only produce a tiny fraction of the purebred dogs -- far more, the vast majority, come from puppy mills/farms, large scale pet breeding operations, and casual (backyard) breeders or the typical internet 'pet market' breeder that usually undercuts the show breeders in price.

I would be arguing to persuade those who get purebreds from the crap breeders to go for rescues or to truly health focused breeders who properly test,which tends to mean good show breeders. Get the clueless neighbours and cottage industry breeders out of the picture. Then, protest about many show breeders and clubs producing more for the show ring than healthy, long-lived dogs not cursed with high levels of painful and debilitating genetic disease.

I have always found it ironic that some who argue most vociferously against purebreds are the folks in rescue/animal advocacy work who have a nice collection of... purebred rescue dogs ... and will get the most excited about every purebred posted to rescue websites, and on crossbreeds, eagerly debate the exact mix the dog might be etc etc. :rolleyes:

19th February 2010, 04:26 PM
I had two rescue X breeds from puppy until they where pts when they were 15 years old. Then for two years we didnít have any dogs because my Husband didnít want the heartbreak again and we both worked full time. We came across the Cavalier because my Neighbour got a puppy and we used to look after her when they went out for the day or we just borrowed her for a cuddle. We completely fell in love with the breed and I canít imagine owning any other breed. If my Harley wouldnít be so boisterous I would love to rescue, and I have been thinking about it a lot lately. Sometimes I think rescues are more appreciative of what you do for them.

20th February 2010, 05:46 PM
most of the dogs i had in my life were rescue dogs. some pure bred, some 'mutts'. it really did not matter to me. it was the individual dog i saw, and decided to share my home and life with.

now i have 4 purebred cavaliers, not because i want 4 purebred dogs, but because i want cavaliers with their wondefully clever minds and gentle temperament.

i selected some good, responsible breeders, and consequently paid quite a lot of money, and feel rather good about it because my money goes to people who actively do something to improve/'save' the breed. i am here thinking about cavalier health issues.

24th February 2010, 11:45 PM
I do not feel any guilt at all about choosing to own a pure bred dog. Our dog before Lucy & Charlie Brown was a rescue and while I adored her and wouldn't trade the 11 years we had her, I would never choose to take on a dog with an unknown background/temperment again. That is not to say that you couldn't have a Cavalier with some behavior issues, but for the most part I think there is a better chance of getting what you want temperment-wise when you buy a known breed from a reputable breeder. Our rescue dog had fear aggression issues which required me to essentially keep her separated from most people outside my immediate family members for the entire 11 years we had her. She had to be muzzled to be examined by a vet and could not be left at a kennel or boarding facility because she wouldn't let anyone other than members of our family put a leash on her. No one could enter our house unless Lady was on a leash or locked up in a room because she was so territorial. Despite working with numerous professional and spending thousands of dollars on training from the time she was 6 months old and even medicating her at one point for her anxiety, we were never able to resolve her issues. She was a wonderful dog in a million ways but I don't think I would want to go through an experience like that again. Obviously, I was committed to her because many people would have given up on her and either given her back to the shelter or had her put down, but I loved her and I am glad that I stuck it out with her even though it limited us in many ways. Because of that experience I spent a lot of time researching different breeds before we got Lucy and Charlie Brown and knew long before our last dog had to be put down that I would want a Cavalier as my next dog. I could not be happier with the choice that I made. I love having Cavs...they are by far the sweetest dogs I have ever encountered and I don't plan on having any other dog breed from now on. That is not to say that there are not other wonderful breeds and mutts out there. I know that there are...but Cavs are the right breed for me.

25th February 2010, 07:46 AM
I don't think anyone should feel guilty for choosing a purebred dog. The people who should feel guilty are the ones leaving their pets loose, or turning them over to shelters. As long as you are responsible for your dog it makes no difference what the dog's breed or type is, it is the people who are abandoning dogs whose behavior is shameful.