Editor's Page

"Breeder" It's Not A Bad Word

In our sport there are few words more sacred than “breeder.” Unfortunately today the term is often maligned, by animal rights groups, over-zealous legislators and even average citizens, who through various media outlets have attached a negative connotation to the term.

For our 2008 Breeders Feature, in light of the firestorm of controversy ignited by the recent BBC program aired in the U.K., “Pedigree Dogs Exposed,” it’s more important than ever that DR cover the challenges breeders face today. Thus, in “The British Connection,” Simon Parsons addresses the BBC controversy; then Dr. Göran Bodegård, respected international judge and breeder, discusses the impact of that program as well as how the Swedish Kennel Club is addressing its responsibility for the breeding of healthy dogs. It is imperative that the American Kennel Club and all American breeders take heed from what both the Kennel Club in England and  the Swedish KC are already doing — implementing programs to ensure that their systems of judging and their breed standards don’t contribute to the deterioration of  breeds, and taking steps to ensure that the breeders they represent utilize available health testing and don’t breed for exaggerated characteristics that are unhealthy, at times even fatal, for purebred dogs.

As we’ve discussed before AKC is already facing an ongoing revenue crisis, but the health and welfare of purebred dogs in this context must also be addressed. If AKC wants to be considered the “premier registry in the world” it must act now to address the concerns brought to light by the BBC broadcast.

Of course the BBC controversy isn’t the only topic of interest to breeders. The Breeders Feature also includes an article by Danish breeder and behavioral scientist Pernille Monberg, an amazing look at reproductive behaviors in a canine pack that might lead breeders to reconsider methods we commonly use to “force” breedings when our dogs naturally perform according to our plans.

If you have comments about anything you read in DR, don’t hesitate to email me at cmcdonald@bowtieinc.com. With so many issues facing our sport today it is more important than ever that breeders, exhibitors and fanciers have a place where they can express their opinions. We are always happy to hear from you.

   Christi McDonald, Editor



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Fred   Seattle, WA

11/11/2008 11:25:16 PM

Christi, I have to say that I don't think your statement is strong enough. First of all it does not acknowledge that we as show breeders, judges, breed club and AKC administrators, have been grossly negligent with respect to breed health issues, as charged in the

Secondly, saying that we should avoid breeding for "exaggerated characteristics" fails to address the many aspects of designing breeds to be healthy, as is our

As an example - how many show breeders or AKC executives understand the implications and ramifications of small "closed gene pools"? This has been widely discussed by responsible academic geneticists, and is mentioned in the documentary. And who can intelligently address what a non-closed gene pool might mean in the context of purebred dogs? How do genetic characteristics and anomalies propagate in that environment? Many breeds are showing the strain of ignoring these

Not so many years ago, our forebears decided the best way to protect a breed is to not allow any outside influence. This is a rather recent development in an evolutionary sense, realistically an experiment, and it was likely done as a procedural or paperwork simplification as much as a philosophical principle. Now we think a non-purebred ancestor 12 generations back makes a dog a

We must do much more than conscientious health screening. We must truly re-think how we approach conserving and forwarding the health of purebred dogs.

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