25 July 2013

Yes, I Am a Breedist Snob

Instead of precluding this post with wordy explanations and heartwarming true stories of the amazing compassion I have witnessed in the past three years I have been involved in dog rescue, I am going to make a few strong statements and give my reasons after the fact.

#1 - The next dog I get will be from a breeder.

#2 - I will never own a mixed breed dog.

#3 - The only breed I will ever own is the German shorthaired pointer.

#4 - I will never own a German shorthaired pointer whose tail is not docked and it must be docked to the proper length per breed standard.

Anyone outraged or at least deeply surprised yet?

The four declarations above may seem more unexpected in light of my involvement in animal welfare and dog rescue.  Onto more bullet points!

- Yes, I volunteered two or three days a week in the isolation kennels (aka "sickbay") at my local animal control shelter for over a year.  I am very familiar with the shelter system and the mind-boggling amount of animals that end up in these institutions.  I know the staggering statistics of how many animals die in shelters each year.

- I began as a foster for an all-breed rescue and fostered 8 mutts (and one cross-breed, which is my GSP/Lab, Lola).  I was actively involved with them for over a year.

- I have run a mostly purebred dog rescue for the past 19 months.  I know there are plenty of purebred dogs in shelters, on Craigslist, or dumped.

- All three of my current dogs are rescues.  Two are purebred, one is a cross-breed (which means she is the result of two purebred parents).  They are all AWESOME.

So... why do I want a purebred docked tail German shorthaired pointer from a breeder as my next dog?

Well, firstly... my dogs are fairly young and barring a horrific accident it could be as long as ten years before I get another dog anyway.  Someday I'd love to downsize to only two dogs, but at this point it's not happening.  I love my three and they're not going anywhere.

I also want to get a bitch because I would like to participate in conformation (show) events.  Have I done this before?  Nope.  But I can learn, will learn, and even if we don't do well it will be an experience for us both.  Why a bitch?  Honestly I prefer smaller, daintier females and large, above standard moose-like, big ol' males.  The ideal combination of dogs for me would be a pretty, standard sized bitch from a breeder and a huge, masculine looking neutered male from a rescue.  I really dislike bitchy looking males.  (See?  Told you I was a snob.)

What do I have against mixed breed dogs?  Solely personal preference.  I don't care much for little dogs, fluffy dogs, scruffy dogs, smushed face dogs, dogs lacking high intelligence, or boring, couch potato dogs.  I'm glad other people do and that dogs with those attributes are able to find loving, permanent homes.  They deserve to be loved and well cared for, but it's just not going to be my home.  Sorry.

Why German shorthaired pointers?  The simplest explanation I have other than "I LOVE THEM SO MUCH" is that they possess absolutely every quality I could ever want in a dog.  They are extremely intelligent, adventurous, enthusiastic, friendly, outgoing, and very Type A.  Everything they do, they do with a bold intensity and combine that with an affectionate, sweet, cuddly nature.  Yes, they are lap dogs!  They are regal and beautiful dogs, but are also goofy and totally hilarious.  GSPs are without question high maintenance with regards to physical athleticism and mental acuity.  They are a lot of work, but if you love the breed this is a worthwhile, fun interaction with a dog who is expertly tuned into you.  GSPs are not for everyone and while most people have certain expectations from their dogs they are a breed that has high expectations of their owners as well.

You may be thinking, "well, okay... but you own an English pointer and clearly love him!"  Yes, I adore Foxtrot.  He's one interesting dog start to finish.  But he's although he is the second Elhew I've has the pleasure of owning, he is also my last English pointer, Elhew or otherwise.  (I can already hear a friend of mine bursting into tears of denial...)  Why?  To me they are a sunnier, happier, and less intense cousin of the GSP.

What's so bad about that?  Nothing.  Okay... not "nothing."  This brings us to point #4.  Two words:  full tails.  I could easily write a lengthy post on this topic alone.  Suffice it to say that once you get whacked with one fifty times a day they tend lose their charm.  I still consider them to be one of the best and most amazing breeds out there, but they just aren't the perfect fit for me.

Which brings us to my final point: while I do not approve of docking dogs' tails for cosmetic purposes such as merely meeting breed standard even though the dog is no longer used for it's original purpose or job, I absolutely support docking the tails of breeds who are still regularly used to hunt, herd, and otherwise fulfill the job they were bred to do.  I fully admit that finding full tails annoying is a totally arbitrary position on my part; however, while I do not and will probably never hunt, I do plan on participating in AKC Hunt Tests and possibly Field Trials with my future dogs.  Even with my current dogs, I would love to (and plan to) do this with Foxtrot and Gatsby once I am able to put a lot more work into training them.  Although I do not have their papers, I can still get a Purebred Alternate Listing (PAL#) from the AKC which allows them to compete in companion and performance events such as obedience, hunt tests, rally, tracking, agility, etc.

In a nutshell I started out immersed in all-breed dog rescue with only rescue dogs and along the way became a enthusiastic purebred aficionado whose next dog will be a puppy from a reputable breeder.

So there you have it!


  1. You're not being snobby, you've found a breed that fills your niche. It's just to bad you never had a llewelin, or that would be your favorite!

    1. I've met Llewellin's and they are too fluffy! ;)

      I will say without reservation that they are the very best of setters, though. :)

  2. Garnet, I applaud you for this post, and more importantly, your decision to publicly state your case! I am curious to see what the reaction to your "breed snob" post is going to be.

    Obtain your next dog from a breeder who breeds dogs to absolutely SHINE in their area of specialization, and you will never regret it. You have no idea how many times I have had this convo with people who try to guilt-trip me into adopting a mutt with an unknown past, unknown genetics, unknown fears, phobias, etc. Like you said in your post, I am sooooo glad there are people who love & adopt those types of dogs into their homes, but it aint gonna be me!

    I am a breed snob and I dont feel the need to apologize for that, or defend my decision on aforementioned snobbery (but it ends up happening anyway, LOL). This has ruffled plenty of feathers in my life, but it is a subject I feel very strongly about.

    1. I am pretty thunderstruck by the support of my friends and acuaintances... although perhaps the more diehard animal rescue folks/anti-breeder folks haven't read the post.

      For me, it's a matter of knowing exactly what I want in a dog and what I want to do with that dog.

      I don't feel that my love of German shorthaired pointers is all that different from my love tea, mystery novels, Middle Eastern food, etc. or my distaste for bell bottoms, fast food, or boring china patterns.

      I known what I like and what I love, but when it comes to dogs I do still feel like I have to defend myself. But I'm sure I'll get over that when my future dog becomes a champion. ;)