In Defence of the Labracockadoodleshihtzu

A letter published in the Montreal Gazette has been making the rounds in dog rescue circles. I originally heard about it from the author of Kobi Pup and am sorry I clicked over to read it myself. I hesitate to share the link here because I don’t think it deserves any more traffic than it has already received but at the same time, I can’t go without saying something.

Mostly, the letter just makes me sad. Sad for the author who seems to have a lot of misplaced anger and sad for the dogs she describes. It’s a shame her experiences – rather, the experiences of some people she knows – have been so negative. It would have been nicer if she could have done her research before putting pen to paper. I’m sorry she felt the need to take out her unhappiness on animal welfare organizations and the dogs they help.

I’m also sorry people in her life have been so judgmental about her choices. In my opinion there is nothing wrong with choosing to purchase a purebred dog from a breeder. It’s not my place to tell anyone where to find the newest member of their family. I’d rather they not meet someone on the side of the highway or make their purchase at a pet store, but nor am I going to write a mean-spirited letter about dogs who come from such places. Dogs don’t get to choose where they are born any more than we do. And I like to think we are all doing the best we can with the information we have.

What makes me feel even sorrier for the letter writer is that she seems to have such disdain for mixed breed dogs. She is missing out on something pretty awesome. Though I’ve never met one, a “labracockadoodleshihtzu” sounds like a pretty awesome companion. I’d adopt one in a second. Just picture it: the energy of a lab, the temperament of a cocker spaniel, the brains of a poodle, and the convenient size of a shih tzu. Sign me up!

I don’t want to get into an argument over which is better, purebreds or mixed breeds, as I don’t feel it needs to be an either/or scenario. All dogs have the capacity for loving and meaningful relationships. Genetics just aren’t a factor for me. It comes down to lifestyle and personal choice. Some people love pugs and others love labracockadoodleshihtzus. Both have a right to live in safe homes full of love. I will never turn up my nose at someone who searches the world for the perfect Sheltie puppy. I’d like to think this same person will grant me the same respect when I head to the shelter to find my next dog.

It’s too bad the writer of the letter has closed her mind to the possibility of a mixed breed dog from the SPCA, or any other organization. When approached with an open heart, the dogs speak for themselves. She is missing out on a life-changing experience. But it’s her choice. And it is one the dogs currently in shelters might be grateful for.

14 thoughts on “In Defence of the Labracockadoodleshihtzu

  1. Having purchased 2 dogs from breeders – and then even bred them! – I can somewhat understand her anger & frustration, though. There are an awful lot of people that are all too happy to jump down my throat – both in person, and even more so online – about the choices my husband and I have made.

    They don’t care that both of us have always previously adopted from shelters, nor are they interested in WHY we went a different way this time, or …. whatever…. their way is the ONLY right way. There are an awful lot of very judgemental (and even snotty) people out there… and this particular topic is one that seems to attract them all.

    I haven’t bothered trying to defend hubby & my decisions the way that woman did hers … but I can understand why one might be tempted.

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  2. That woman is an idiot – not because she wants a puppy she can mold and shape herself. I would NEVER criticize someone for that, but because her poorly thought out, self entitled nit twit of a post actually makes everyone on her side of the argument look all the worse. What a shame that not only does she condemn every dog for their poor experience and lack of training (not once in any of the examples does she even hint they sought the guidance of a qualified professional), but that she contributes to the problem by becoming a “back yard breeder”. Absolutely, there are pros and cons on either side of the issue. Too bad we can’t all live and let live without trying to tell people why they shouldn’t adopt or why buying a puppy is wrong.

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  3. I just read that article, and I’m not sure what I think. One the one hand, I sort of get what she’s saying about everyone jumping down her throat for purchasing a purebred. Many people, both in real life and online, have criticized and nagged me because all four of my dogs are from responsible breeders. I’ve also been a responsible breeder of titled Mastiffs. Never mind that nearly every single other animal I have is rescued (the cats, the cockatiel, heck even some of my chickens are rescued!). I bought a dog, so that must mean I’m a terrible, heartless person with no regards for the welfare of animals in shelters, when nothing could be further from the truth.
    But on the other hand, she worded her opinion in such a way that it makes her sound very small minded, and also she gives off the air of holier than thou, which is quite hypocritical given that that’s what started her article in the first place.
    Probably an insignificant part, but her saying the first dog she’s talking about had “dominance” issues so that’s why the owners gave it up is completely laughable to me. Dominance theory is disproven.

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  4. I understand her point. There is in the past few years such a growing prejudice against purebred dogs and breeders. I have even lost some dear blogging friends who were tired of getting hate comments because of their love and devotion to the breed that they just decided to hang up their blogs and go into breed forums. There should be in the dog world an appreciation for all dogs and an understanding of people’s love for a purebred dog which has the characteristics that each person looks for in a dog.

    I have two purebred Poodles and two dogs of questionable parentage. The lovable mutts came from loving homes that sadly had to give them up and where they didn’t develop behavior problems. I’m kind of tired of everyone pushing shelter dogs on people who may not be prepared to deal with the kind of problems that many shelter dogs have.

    No one should criticize someone’s choice of dog any more than their choice of a mate, friends, a car, a job, a hobby or any other choices that people make in life.

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  5. I can see her point, but I think she worded it poorly. We have four purebred dogs at our house, but people always assume that the Greyhounds are rescues. The questions about the Shepherds are different. We did get Kuster from a responsible breeder, and we did so for very specific reasons. We wanted to socialize him well and while there are no guarantees that he would grow up to be able to do the SAR job, we felt that we did all we could to stack the deck in our favor. He comes from a line of proven working dogs, and not only are they good workers, they have outstanding personalities. At this point, I feel that we more than got what we paid for when we got him, and I make no apologies for the decision we made. It wasn’t like we had the space to add another dog if he didn’t work out.

    There seems to be a hidden, or not so hidden, agenda by a lot of SPCA groups to demonize purebred dogs and responsible breeding. I understand that it’s frustrating to see a lot of homeless dogs there, and on the side of Greyhound adoption, I know a lot about that, too. There are no guarantees in life. There will always be dogs who need a new home for a variety of reasons, some very justified and others very frivolous and ridiculous. There is a need for adoption groups, and they’re all competing to place dogs.

    I don’t think people should judge anybody on either side of the fence. Some people don’t like dealing with the puppy stage and prefer an older dog. Others want to get a puppy and mold him or her as much as possible. Some people have the time and patience to work with a problem dog and others need or want an easier dog. None of them are wrong. Even the people who realize a dog isn’t for them and adopt a rock aren’t wrong. We’re just all very different. It would be nice if all dog owners realized that we’re more alike than we are different. We all care about our dogs and want the best for them.

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  6. I get this woman’s point, but she probably could have worded it differently. Not every dog from an animal shelter is damaged goods & I have quite a few friends that have lovely adult pets they adopted from various agencies.

    Getting a purebred dog does not come with a guarantee that your puppy will blossom into a great adult dog. Getting an adult dog from a rescue situation can come with a lot of work, and quite sadly, most people overestimate their dog handling skills. They take the dog on because it looks happy, sad, scared, cute or whatever and really don’t sit down to observe the dog & if they will be able to manage the dog properly so that the whole family will be happy.

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  7. I feel sorry for anyone who hasn’t known the love of a dog, whether that dog be a pedigree or a mixed breed. Your life is enriched by the unconditional love.

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  8. The writer sounds like someone who is easily disappointed.

    I think the mind set of a person who adopts from shelters and one who buys from breeders may be different. Some people are looking for specific predictable characteristics in a dog, which may be physical or something in their temperament. Others just want a dog. Of course, there are many purebred dogs in shelters too, which beggars the question – did some previous owner find them somehow lacking despite their pedigree? Or was it just some thing lacking in the owner?

    As with a child, I don’t think there is any guarantee for how a dog will turn out. Personally, I lean towards nurture over nature. Otherwise, a very high percentage of the human race will have no chance.

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  9. Hmm…that woman just sounds bitter and angry. I can’t take her letter seriously due to its lack of research and even the way she describes adopted dogs. You do not “buy” a dog from a rescue. She also failed to mention all the downsides of purebred dogs-like all the health problems some have.

    If she has such extensive knowledge into dogs and breeds and behavior, perhaps she should have lent that wealth of knowledge to her friends and family when they were looking to bring in a dog into their homes.

    I know some will read her letter and be turned off to rescue dogs. That’s ok. I just hope they do their research into what dog breed they decide on and learn all its negatives since she failed to mention any.

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  10. I think that there are many good reasons for getting a dog from a reputable breeder, but I also believe in rescue. I don’t want to criticize or judge either side. I think people need support. Many people get dogs (myself included) having absolutely no idea what they are getting themselves in to. If people have done the research and decided which breed will work best for their family . .good for them. But there are many dogs in shelters, purebred and mixed, that will make amazing pets. People just need to know what will work for their family and we should not condemn them either way.

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  11. Aaaaaah… She makes me sad.

    Its just sad to know that someone who has dogs and bread them and trained them, can believe that just because the rescue dogs were previously owned, they are not as good as her purebreds.

    It makes me sad that she is shutting herself out from abundant love that she can get from a rescue. And the immense satisfaction that comes along with it.

    It makes me sad that she sounds so judgmental about what “other” people she knew have told her. And that she has never tried to rescue one herself.

    I have a purebred Lab at home and I know that he is not a piece of cake to handle or train to be around my 10 month old son. On the other hand, the strays that I feed and take care of around my housing colony are better at responding to my son’s handling than my 1.4 year old “purebred” lab. If you ask me who I would prefer…my answer would be…”I would want both to be in my life”

    It really makes me sad that she not only condemns a good organization and their efforts; but also is blatantly discouraging others from adopting. If that’s not prejudice, what is?

    What makes me more sad is that she for one second does not consider the fact that whether pure or mixed, a animal has equal right to love, care and respect. And every soul in the world can be mended with love, and time. And its the human’s responsibility to mend, and heal…coz it was another human that had hurt…

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  12. I think it’s unfortunate that she and her family/friends had such a horrible experience with dogs from shelters. However, regardless of ‘how your dog was raised from a puppy’, it can go either way. I recently read a blog (Can I find it? no… and can’t remember which blog, sadly) talking about how the ‘perfectly raised puppy’ can still grow up to develop issues, just as the dog you adopted at 5 years, whose history probably includes starvation and beatings can just as easily be perfect as can be shortly after arriving in your life. I got Gwynn from a breeder (albeit, a breeder of Aussie-doodles… not exaclty pure-bred, I know), and felt a huge amount of guilt over it (the woman does have a point about the antagonism of rescue vs breeder). However, this is my first dog, I’ve never had a dog before, and no, I would not have been able to cope with serious issues in a dog. More importantly to me, I needed a dog that I could test, allergy-wise, on my sister, not one who lives in a building my sister can’t actually go into without high doses of allergy medication. It’s a choice for the individual, and I’m sorry that woman’s family didn’t choose well (don’t choose a dog because he ‘looks pathetic’, choose him because, in talking with people at the shelter, interacting with the dog, etc, you feel that you two would be suited to each other. It might just be a pure-bred golden… or a Heinz-57 šŸ˜›

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  13. Interesting post. I think that writer definitely could have used different words. She sounds frustrated to me. I think what she was trying to express about mixed vs. purebred dogs is that with a purebred, you can select temperament. Obviously selective breeding is not a guarantee, but it does make it more likely that you get the temperament that you want.

    I commend you on not being judgmental about the decision to buy a purebred over “buying” a mix. (Yes in fact you do buy a shelter animal. The shelter can call the fee anything they want, but there is a fee and in some cases around here, it is a big fee.)

    Unfortunately, there are many people who are not as open as you. The phrase “don’t shop, adopt” just puts me right over the edge because it is usually coupled with a whole holier-than- tho diatribe about saving a life. It does wear at times.

    Unfortunately I do know people who have adopted truly dangerous dogs from shelters. When they let the shelter know, there was no support. In one case the dog was eventually euthanized (after 2 visits to the ER by her owner and over 75 stitches between the two incidents). It was heartbreaking for the people involved. That dog should not have been adopted out. At the very least the behavioral issues should have been disclosed and the placement should have been more carefully done.
    But by the same token, I know of people who have had good experiences. I think it depends on the dedication and honesty of the rescue.

    It sounds like the writer is speaking about one shelter (or location) in particular. Rather than be defensive, the shelter would do itself a favor by considering her criticisms and seeing if there was a way to improve their practices. Their goal should not be just to place animals, but to make good placements.

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  14. I would never condemn someone as to where they get their dog from. I have no problem with RESPONSIBLE breeders.

    To me it doesn’t sound like the people whose experiences she was showcasing did anything to HELP their dogs. A dog who spends their life in a garage isn’t learning any life skills, a dog that urinates everywhere could have a physical problem, a dog that fights may be a fearful dog. It sounds to me like a bit more understanding of dogs is in order.

    I’m sorry that her experience has colored her world in such a negative way.

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