Archive for November, 2008

Here’s a picture from the BBC Documentary Pedigree Dogs Exposed showing the difference between a dachshund 100 years ago and today.

An intensely researched BBC documentary on the the health problems of purebred dogs aired in England in August and is causing a fury in dog circles here. The BBC spent two years researching Pedigree Dogs Exposed. The BBC interviewed geneticists and documented what many dog people long suspected: that breeders are mating dogs for cuteness and ignoring health, producing puppies that have health problems that show up only later.
One-third of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels may have a neurological disorder, they found. As a result of the program, the British Kennel club is reviewing all their breed standards and already revised standards for the Pekingese, the Daily Telegraph reports. They used to be bred for a flat face, but that caused breathing problems. Australia is looking at their standards, too. The RSPCA and other sponsors withdrew from Crufts.
The Blog Terrierman has had some great coverage, but most Americans haven’t been able to see much–especially since YouTube took down clips.
I wonder how long American dogs and dog people will have to wait to see the documentary and benefit from the impact of the investigation.

I wrote to BBC America asking them to show us Pedigree Dogs Exposed.

Where to See Animals in Europe
Where to See Dog Events Unrelated to Breeding

Read Full Post »

Dog Run Halloweens

I got to be a judge at New York City’s biggest dog Halloween event a couple weekends ago. The Tompkins Square event regularly gets hundreds of dressed up dogs these days. The mere fact that there is some competition for biggest event shows how big dog Halloween events have become. Petsmart did a survey and found 16 million people were going to dress up their dogs this year.
I used to run this same event about a decade ago. We were the first and for a long time the only one in the city to do it. Now there are several big dog Halloween events and many contestants who go from contest to contest with costumes they’ve gone to tremendous efforts to make.
We had several costumes by clearly professional designers, Ishmael and Moby Dick, Dogs Playing Poker and Rapunzel, to name just a handful. It’s almost like they’re the pro marathon runners and everyone else is excited just to be in the competition.
In my mind dressing a dog fits perfectly with Halloween–it’s all about what you don’t have to do but want to do.
The events are also a great way to see dogs–dogs who are happy to get attention. My dog Jolly has always seemed to like to go. He didn’t mind the costume and really seemed to preen when people would pay extra attention to him on the street. This year he went as a judge with me.

Where to See Dog Events Unrelated to Breeding

Read Full Post »