Sunday

Dogs,Horses,Oprah and Crimes Against Nature

Oprah Winfrey once consulted me about the care and handling of an Afghan Hound puppy she had purchased. I can certainly understand her attraction to this beautiful dog of the desert.She is a well known Arabian Horse fancier and the Afghan Hound it would seem would be a perfect fit.
It wasn't...The Afghan just wasn't suited to her lifestyle and living conditions.The Golden Retreiver as we all know was.
Many people fall in love with a particular breed of dog and try to force it to fit their lifestyle.This is wrong and a great injustice to the dog.
My very good friend Katie raised the superstar race horse Cannonero.After he was shipped out of the country to stand at stud she turned her focus to her other love, dogs.Specifically Salukis and Irish Wolfhounds.Katie said that raising these two breeds was just like raising horse colts...they had all the same needs.Fresh air, sunshine and lots and lots of running to build strong bones and soundness.
These are necessary requirements for any puppy. But the giant breeds need this absolutely without question. If the average Lab puppy exerts the energy to run fifty miles a day, how much space do you think you need for a giant breed?Twice that....so bringing that Saint Bernard,Wolfhound or Mastiff puppy into your 628 sq ft apartment is not going to work. There is simply NO WAY possible that you can raise that puppy to reach it's full HEALTH potential both physically and mentally. Let me repeat...THERE IS NO WAY POSSIBLE THAT YOU CAN RAISE THAT PUPPY TO REACH IT"S FULL POTENTIAL BOTH PHYSICALLY AND MENTALLY!!! Without adequate excercise (i.e. free running all day) your giant breed puppy will not develop proper bone structure and musculature, and will develop painful joint issues.
Another friend, tried to raise a Mastiff puppy in a house with no fenced yard but access to running a couple times of day...he grew up so unsound from his bones being big and his lack of musculature underdeveloped he was euthanized at age five because he was in pain from being so unsound.
Yes, bad breeding accounts for unsoundness but it only contributes fifty percent. The other fifty percent is environment.
Responsible breeders can account for the genes but it is up to the puppy owner to provide the correct environment,anything less than what your breed needs is ANIMAL ABUSE.

Yes, I said ANIMAL ABUSE.It is very hard for me to watch people attempt to fit a square peg into a round hole when it comes to their puppies....Because they LOVE this breed they think they can make it work....well guess what people...YOU CAN'T!!!
If your breed of dog was designed to walk across acres of land to patrol for poachers on the Squires Estate and all you can provide is a postage stamp sized yard and a trip to the dog park then you are abusing your puppy by stunting it's natural development and causing a crime against nature. And yet I see people do this all the time...it drives me INSANE.
I once officiated as dog judge at a Specialty match in Atlanta and I could tell when I was judging the puppies which ones were raised in a correct natural environment and which ones were not,just by running my hands over them.
One puppy in particular was a stunning tri-colour imported from England and was winning Specialties from the get go. The crowd was STUNNED when I dumped this undefeated puppy in my judging. His musculature was horrible and his owner would scarcely let him run because she was afraid he would get hurt.
Instead I put up a so- called backyard dog of no particular great pedigree but who was raised in the correct environment and was both beautiful and SOUND in structure.
I took a lot of flack for that judgement at that show.A whole lot.
As fate would have it, the backyard dog who had never previously won anything went on to become a top specialty winner and the expensive English import who was not allowed proper excercise because the owner coddled him grew up to be an unsound dog with no adult show career.
Now having said all of the above,Oprah and my friend who euthanized her crippled dog, still could have had the dogs of their dreams without great changes to their lifestyles.
How you ask?
By adopting older dogs of their favorite breeds.
Yes, you can have that Mastiff in your 628 sq ft apartment!
An older geriatric dog would be quite happy to retire in your cozy little apartment home. He or she would not require any more excercise than an amble around the neighborhood 45 minutes twice a day and then a really cushy bed to lay in afterward. (cause we know how beat up those Mastiff elbows get) Older dogs of your favorite breed are often free from dogshow breeders who can use the room for that promising showpup they just bred and are thrilled to place their older retired show dog in a home where he can be spoiled with lots and lots of love and attention.
Check with your favorite breeds parent club for breeders who place retired show dogs as well as breed rescue groups.
Yes you can have the dog breed you love, just don't try and force a puppy into an unnatural situation, OK? It's a form of abuse.