by ecorazzicontributor
Categories: Animals
Tags: .
Photo: Breed judging / Group judging

The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is considered the second longest continuously held sporting event in the country, and last night they narrowed down the field of 2,500 competitors and found their “Best in Show.”

“GCH Foxcliffe Hickory Wind” aka “ Hickory,” a 5-year-old Scottish deerhound, was named the winner. This is in spite of new dog breeds participating this year, including the Bluetick Coonhound, Redbone Coonhound, Cane Corso, Leonberger, and the Icelandic sheepdog.

But of course, glorifying pure bred dogs and promoting the message that these are the “Best” of the dog world, means that an estimated 4 million shelter dogs are euthanized in favor of buying from a breeder. At last year’s show, when the winning dog was announced, protesters held up signs that read, “Mutts Rule” and “Breeders Kill Shelter Dogs’ Chances.” And for this year’s show, celebs like Jane Lynch spoke out openly against the dog show.

We agree with Lynch in that dog shows work against shelter dogs, but what do you think?

  • lab rat

    I think it’s a lot more complicated than simply saying pure bred dogs kill shelter dogs.

    How about the tons of puppy mills that are cranking out dogs? The dog show folks hate them – they are not the problem, but unaltered dogs, overbreeding of mutts and puppy mills definitely contribute to all the shelter dogs being put down. Now we have the added pressure of people wanting “designer mutts” THAT I really disagree with!

  • Joe

    Though I own shelter dogs, this is a bit of a stretch
    So it’s these people’s fault that dogs are euthanized? Really?
    What about the idiots that don’t get their dogs fixed and let the dogs roam around.
    Have you seen a lot of show dogs roaming around the ghetto or countryside recently? I haven’t.

  • Becky

    This article was probably not targeted at me since I disagree with it wholeheartedly. I feel that people who breed dogs are preserving a legacy that goes back to the beginning of when humans started keeping dogs as companions. Partly what attracts us to mutts in the first place is the diversity and variety of shapes and sizes they come in, which is all a result of generations of breeding which wouldn’t exist if people had not bred for certain purebred traits over the years.

    Many breeders and kennel clubs contribute to shelters and humane organizations, money that would not be there if people did not support them in the first place. I would not be surprised if partly what draws people to buy and own dogs (and adopt from shelters) is watching dog shows, admiring the various breeds and the beauty that is the canine in all its shapes and conformations. Consider all the rescue organizations out there that keep good, beautiful dogs out of shelters and find them good homes instead of facing euthanization. These good people exist because people have come to love and follow a dog breed (and will often take mixed breed dogs as well). Many of these organizations strongly support responsible dog ownership and education which goes beyond just taking a dog home and giving it food.

    I would say anyone who thinks that breeding purebred dogs causes mutts to be euthanized is not looking at the big picture. If you want to keep dogs from getting euthanized be responsible with your own animals first. Remember a pet is a commitment for life. Spay or neuter your dogs and cats. And teach your children how to be loving and responsible to their pets. If that’s not good enough, step out and educate your community on responsible dog ownership or start your own no-kill shelter and be glad that there are people out there inspiring others to love dogs as much as you do.

  • Rebecca Horn

    I LOVE the Westminster Dog Show because they are all beautiful dogs and I always want to know which dog will win Best In Show. BUT…I am an avid supporter of shelter dogs who are also beautiful and need loving homes. When I see an article of dogs that are killed every year because they aren’t adopted, I just want to cry. I HAVE a shelter dog who is also the best dog I have ever had in my 46 years of life. I want everyone to consider adopting a shelter dog or puppy because they are actually the best dog in show in my honest opinion.

    • Imforthewhales

      I agree…shelter dogs are great. I have one that I got from the RSPCA..he has state titles in agility competition. a fantastic dog and i cannot understand why he came to me half fed and unsocialized. Anyone could see he was great.

      I also have a purebred dog which I bought for sports competition. I paid three times as much for this one. Also a great dog, and the breeder takes great care where they place their puppies.

      So I have both kinds of dog. Both are great.

      The problem with shelter dogs…why there are so many … is puppy mills, indiscriminate breeding by both breeders and boguns, incorrect placement of puppies with the wrong people…and the wrong people owning dogs in the first place.

  • Adri

    Well, if the AKC didn’t enable puppy mills (real puppy mills, not breeders), by supplying them with official AKC papers for their puppies, I might feel differently about Westminster. They make a lot of money from these puppy mill operations and lobby hard against legislation to shut them down. That’s what I hate about Westminster; that the AKC is behind it (Westminster shows only AKC-recognized breeds and is the main way for the AKC to publicize).

  • Amber Anderson Bifulco

    I totally agree that dog shows such as this perpetuate breeding and enable puppy mills. Shows like this create a demand, and someone will supply because breeding is easy money, especially when you deny veterinary care, appropriate housing, etc. Every dog you buy from a breeder is another dead dog at the shelter.

    I work for an animal shelter and I foster dogs and overpopulation is a big problem that people outside of the sheltering community have to start taking responsibility for. Just because you don’t have to see it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. If you care about animals, you would not support breeders and the like. If you view dogs as status symbols, you will. And chances are, those dogs will end up at a shelter. Too often I see people dump dogs they spent hundreds of dollars on because they were not prepared for the responsibility involved. Or, since these “pure” breeds are often inbred, the dogs are afflicted with health problems. We have a dog now who has seizures and other neurological issues and its on us to find a compassionate, responsible individual who will adopt her and pay for another person’s insensibility.

    I can’t believe all of the comments here from people who support the Westminster dog show or openly support breeding in general. So troubling! These people should reexamine their ethics. Seriously, its so simple. Adopt. And when you do, the animals are already up to date on their vaccines, spayed/neutered, temperament tested, and likely micro-chipped.

  • Bear

    At least 25% of shelter dogs are purebred. Some shelters go as high as 50%. You have about as much chance finding a Westminster dog or one of it’s breeding in a shelter as a Triple Crown Winner at a pony ride. Reputable breeders do not sell on the internet, in newspapers, pet stores or parking lots. If you can’t see the mother dog or where the pup was born, it’s a puppy mill.