Pedigree Dogs Exposed - super interesting documentary

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Emielle
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Pedigree Dogs Exposed - super interesting documentary

Post by Emielle » Thu Sep 09, 2010 8:46 pm

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I saw this on the BBC when it first came out and remembered it today, so I watched it through again. I was shocked and appalled all over again. :/ This program caused a lot of trouble between breeders and Crufts, and the BBC, but all it did was show the facts behind the matter. Definitely a must-see, but in some parts it's intensely hard to watch. The Cavaliers with syringomyelia -where [as far as I know] their skulls are too small for their brains and they have fluid-filled cavities in their spines, causing them extreme and horrific pain in some cases - was the worst. I can't understand why you could do that to any animal.

The odd thing is, the aesthetics that a lot of breeders have sacrificed health for aren't even that appealing to me. Like in the Daschund, Bulldog, show German Shepherd, and Basset Hound, I find their original forms much more handsome. Who said dogs with no faces, no legs, and unnecessary skin are attractive? I think it's why I like Tamaskans so much, because we're going back to basics, to how dogs used to look, and to how they were initially designed to look. Plus, you guys are all so focused on health. It's refreshing.

Anyway, let me know what you think.
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Re: Pedigree Dogs Exposed - super interesting documentary

Post by blufawn » Thu Sep 09, 2010 9:26 pm

I did watch this documentary and although it has had a positive effect with the kennel club being forced to do something about it, bringing in schemes such as fit for function, but it has also been damaging to pedigree breeds and has caused a rise in designer mutts with some people believing these to be a healthier option and not realising that the breeders of these dogs are almost always in it for the money and aren't looking for healthy dogs, just ones they can sell.
I think this documentary was a good idea and very informative, but it didn't work the way it should have.
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Re: Pedigree Dogs Exposed - super interesting documentary

Post by wicca1 » Thu Sep 09, 2010 11:09 pm

no couldn't watch it first time round, and dont think i could watch it now :( .

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Re: Pedigree Dogs Exposed - super interesting documentary

Post by HiTenshi16 » Thu Sep 09, 2010 11:22 pm

I didn't see this, but I did see something similar when I was researching German Shepherds, about how much the show is more like a frog than a dog with its back legs. Dogs back then did look so much better.
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Re: Pedigree Dogs Exposed - super interesting documentary

Post by Emielle » Thu Sep 09, 2010 11:26 pm

I know what you mean, Blu, but people need to do research themselves and find out what they're buying, and what they should expect. This documentary might have made people more likely to buy designer dogs, but it's not the programme's fault that the new breeders are irresponsible, and those buyers are irresponsible with who they're buying from, y'know? It confuses me why people don't seem to think about health testing as necessary, and buy from money grabbers. Surely it would be fairly obvious to spot the good breeders from the bad? :/

And yeah wicca, I had trouble with it too, but I'm glad I watched it. ._.

I don't even know why you'd breed show GSDs to be like that. It's unattractive and unhealthy and unfair. It can't do what it was bred to do. >.> And they did. People have taken dog breeding to extremes to see what they can do, and it's awful.
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Re: Pedigree Dogs Exposed - super interesting documentary

Post by Taz » Fri Sep 10, 2010 12:32 am

I saw this the first time round and personally thought it was far from balanced in its views.

I felt that it was trying to blame everything on either those who show their dogs, or the kennel club. It made no mention of puppy farms and back yard breeders who I believe do far more damage to the health and temperament of a breed than the relatively small number who breed to show.

Lets face it, where do the vast majority of pet dogs come from... Jo Blogs down the road who let his GSDs breed because he thinks every bitch should have a litter, and he'll make a few quid while he's at it. His dogs won't be health tested because he didn't know about anything like that, or didn't want to pay to have it done. As opposed to the breeder who researches their lines, health tests all their dogs, imports new blood lines to keep the gene pool as diverse as possible, breeds for the improvement of their lines and of the breed, vets potential puppy buyers for suitability etc, and shows some of their dogs as a hobby.

But yet, when Mrs X's GSD pup that she got from Jo Blogs is crippled with HD at less than a year old, its the fault of dog showers and the kc.

You find bad dog owners in all areas whether that be pet owners, those who work, do obedience, agility or flyball with their dogs, why should dog showing be an exception to this. The problem is, that that documentary attempts to portray all dog showers or breeders of KC registered dogs, in the same light. Trying to make people believe that the minority of bad owners who show their dogs, or breed to show, are the majority, which simply isn't true. Unfortunately people seem to have bought it.

No doubt the puppy farmer pumping out litter after litter of cockerdoodles, bullshitz, cavachons etc, was and still will be rubbing their hands with glee, at the prospect of all those new customers not wanting anything to do with anything purebreeds.

Don't get me wrong, the kc needed a bit of a kick up the ass, and it got one. I'm not exactly a fan of the show type GSDs, either English, German or American truth be told, and I think what has been done to the bulldog is beyond disgraceful, but that was a trend started by the Victorians, and as the generations progressed and memory faded, people just assumed that that was what a bulldog was supposed to look like, had always looked like. Though they don't have that excuse now.

On the whole though, I feel that the documentary had a great opportunity to highlight both the good and bad within showing and breeding of both purebreeds and designer crossbreed dogs, an opportunity I feel it failed to capitalize on.
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Re: Pedigree Dogs Exposed - super interesting documentary

Post by Sylvaen » Fri Sep 10, 2010 3:09 pm

I watched this documentary when it first came out and, while I agree with the other comments to an extent, I also think it was a very interesting and informative program. It's not perfect (I'm sure certain aspects could have been better addressed) but it was necessary to educate the general public. Now we just need the BBC to make MORE programs to cover all the other issues!

I think the main issue with dog shows occurs as a result of heavy inbreeding (mother x son, father x daughter, sibling x sibling, etc) over several generations, in order to "fix" certain traits. This has resulted in recessive diseases becoming so prevalent within some breeds. Thankfully the KC has now banned inbreeding, which should have been done a LONG time ago... I hope it's not "too little, too late" but at least it's something to get started on the road to recovery...

When breeding "to standard" one of the main problems is when judges begin to favor a particular trait, so then all the breeders start to focus on that trait in order to win prizes... and then that trait becomes part of the standard. For instance: if the standard says "long ears" and one dog is born with excessively long ears, but the judges LIKE it, then all the breeders start breeding their long-eared dogs, to create longer-earred puppies, and over a couple of generations no one looks at the short ear dogs anymore... only the long ear ones and, so, just like that it's become an acceptable trait. One which might come with more health problems: ear infections, etc. Then, if you combine several of these traits: long ears, short legs and long spine, for instance... you start to create a freakish-looking dog that, while it may conform to the breed's ideal Show Standard, is now so far removed from it's origins that it can't do what it was bred to do, let alone live the life of a normal, healthy dog!

This too is why I so admire the Tamaskan. I've always been a fan of the "Primitive / Nordic breeds" (FCI Group 5) because they, for the most part, still retain many natural features, which haven't been too corrupted in the physical sense. Genetically, any purebred dog is a risk though, particularly those bred For Show, so it's important to thoroughly research the bloodlines FIRST and find a compromise between Working and Show lines. Health and genetic diversity are important above ALL else, next comes temperament and then LAST should come appearance. The issues arise when these priorities are muddled up... or when appearance comes before health and temperament or at the EXPENSE of health / temperament!
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Re: Pedigree Dogs Exposed - super interesting documentary

Post by Taz » Fri Sep 10, 2010 5:46 pm

I totally agree with that post. I did find the program interesting, but that doesn't change my view of it.

I thought the BBC's decision to pull out of covering crufts wasn't a very bright move on their part. They could have used that opportunity to cover in more depth the issues raised in that documentary etc. Rather than saying we did this biased program, we didn't like some of things we found, but rather than keep with it and try to educate people further, and be a bit more balanced about it, we'll just sod off, which helps no one at all.

Out of all the primitive type breeds that are recognized by either the UK Kennel Club or FCI, I'd say my favorite would have to be the Korean Jindo. Not that I've met any yet, as there seems to be fewer of them than there are Tamaskans at least over here anyway, they just sound (from what I've heard) like a breed I'd enjoy owning.
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Re: Pedigree Dogs Exposed - super interesting documentary

Post by blufawn » Fri Sep 10, 2010 6:10 pm

I also agree the BBC backing out of Crufts was a daft idea and has made no difference to the numbers at Crufts nor has it stopped bad breeders, and Crufts is still televised, just on another channel. The BBC has just lost viewers really.
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Re: Pedigree Dogs Exposed - super interesting documentary

Post by malamutemick » Fri Sep 10, 2010 7:00 pm

Once Again It All Boils Down To Money! The BBC Had A Great Opportunity To Force The Kennel Club To Make Changes But Had No Balls & Just Dropped Crufts Like A Hot Potato In Case They Upset Some Viewers, They All Tried To Sweep It Under The Carpet. However I Do Think That After Watching PDE Most People Think That ALL dog Breeders Are Irresponsible & Only In It For The Money Which I Have Found To Be Quite The Opposite :x

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Re: Pedigree Dogs Exposed - super interesting documentary

Post by Misaya » Fri Sep 10, 2010 9:07 pm

I didn't know the BBC pulled out of Crufts - I thought Crufts had refused them permission to film it.
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Re: Pedigree Dogs Exposed - super interesting documentary

Post by Emielle » Fri Sep 10, 2010 10:18 pm

Basically I think this film raised a lot of valid points, but because some people then don't use what they've learned to improve how they talk to and handle breeders, designer dogs will end up with the same problems. I don't think it's this film's fault that there are now designer dog puppy mills, or that people are still buying dogs from disreputable breeders who don't health test or display dogs' pedigrees. It's the buyers fault. Most people will buy a dog because they find it 'cute' or attractive in some way, because the dog is more a toy or an object to some than an animal with thoughts and emotions. One of my friends recently told me quite excitedly, "Dogs have personalities, isn't that amazing? They all act differently." It confused and worried me a bit, that some don't seem to realise how intelligent and amazing these animals are.

Anyway, I'm rambling. Puppy mills will only get business if people are irresponsible enough not to ask the right questions, and if they saw this program you'd think they'd be /more likely/ to ask them. Basically? It's not the documentary's fault. It said a lot of the right things, and should at least scare people into being more careful. Plus the documentary focused on show dogs and Crufts and the breeders involved in those things. You can't expect it to cover puppy mills and backyard breeders and animal shelters too, simply because they have dogs. I do think that they should have made a follow-up about those sort of issues though.

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Re: Pedigree Dogs Exposed - super interesting documentary

Post by Taz » Sat Sep 11, 2010 12:38 am

*Long post warning*

I can see your point however, the program was called "pedigree dogs exposed", not 'dog showing exposed', therefore they had a much wider range of subjects they could have focused in on. Instead however, they decided to focus solely on the dog showing community, when the issues it raised are in fact more widespread than just within that one circle of dog owners. Maybe they should have made a series out of it, instead of a one off.

Like you said, most people get a dog because it looks cute, without doing the research into the breed or the breeder before deciding to get that breed from that breeder and, like I said previously, the vast majority of people are getting those dogs from Jo Blogs down the road, not from the breeder of last years Cruft's champion.

I'd happily bet money that there are far fewer show breeders out there than there are BYBs and puppy farms! I'd also bet money that out of all the dog owners in the UK, those who show their dogs are in a minority. I'd also say that not all people who show, breed, and that for most, showing is just a fun activity/hobby that they can enjoy with their dog/s. Out of those who show their dogs and breed, I'd say that the kind of people represented in that program, do not make up the majority.

Whilst of course the dog showing community has some responsibility for the state of pedigree dogs today, I don't feel that they're the only ones responsible for the mess, and I'd say that through shear volume of numbers the aforementioned BYBs and puppy farms should be given a larger slice of that pie!

I feel that dog showing was used because in some ways it is an easy target to go for. Less people do it, less people buy from show breeders, therefore, less people are likely to get upset by a documentary that implies that they're all cruel, selfish individuals who don't give a stuff about the health and well-being of their dogs, and that each and everyone of them are all knowingly breeding disease-riddled mutants.

The KC can change breed standards, it can retrain its judges, it can implement compulsory health testing (breed specific) as a registration requirement, it could get its house in order, but that won't have any impact on the vast majority, because the vast majority don't show, they don't breed to the (or any) standard, they don't health test their dogs, and they don't KC register them either and, in the case of designer crosses, they can't KC register them, unless its on the activity register.

Both the issues surrounding dog showing and BYB/puppy farms have to be addressed, instead of using one as a scapegoat, whilst effectively ignoring the other.
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Re: Pedigree Dogs Exposed - super interesting documentary

Post by Sylvaen » Sat Sep 11, 2010 2:14 am

Well said Taz.
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Re: Pedigree Dogs Exposed - super interesting documentary

Post by Taz » Sat Sep 11, 2010 12:27 pm

Thanks. :D
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Re: Pedigree Dogs Exposed - super interesting documentary

Post by blufawn » Sun Sep 12, 2010 2:26 pm

I totally agree.
Being involved in the show world I obviously know a lot of people with show dogs and I always buy my dogs from show homes.
The majority of the dogs sold from show homes have restrictions and all health tests done, because in order to belong to the breed clubs and be respected by the show community (and therefore be chosen by judges) you must conform to the breed club rules which will always list health tests to be done, mandatory for breeding. People who are well known for not conforming to standards or doing health tests or breeding too many litters will generally not be picked out by specialist judges even if the dog is nice.

My Deerhounds parents had all health tests done and liver shunt testing, microchipping, vaccinations etc and when I bred my Deerhound at least three people from the Deerhound community emailed me to make sure I had done the correct health testing on my dogs, and I think a few more phoned up pretending to be interested customers just to check up on me and make sure I was legit. I would have been frowned upon and shunned by the Deerhound show people if I had not done the health tests or been able to answer their questions correctly.
I know Deerhounds and Canadian Eskimo Dogs are rare breeds and so it doesn't count so much as the labrador and chihuahua breeders, but in my experience show people are much better at looking after their dogs and having the correct health tests than people who have a pet litter with the dog down the road. I honestly think they are the people who do more damage to the breeds than anything else.

I would like to see a system where only licenced breeders with good show stock are able to breed, I also think the amount of litters they produce a year should be limited, but no kennel club would ever go for it because they would loose too much money from backyard breeders who more than likely register thousands more litters a year than show people do.

I think this documentary did a lot of damage to pedigree dogs from show homes and it will only be the backyard pet breeders who will benefit and that is all wrong as they are much worse. I think the BBC seriously need to think about adding another documentary and showing 'both sides of the story'
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Re: Pedigree Dogs Exposed - super interesting documentary

Post by Emielle » Sun Sep 12, 2010 2:52 pm

I actually agree with you both now, Blu and Taz. xD Now I've read all that, is was very biased against show breeders and most pedigree dogs. There are good show breeders that care for their animals and do health tests, and try to better the breed, but there are others who are the opposite. I suppose this programme showcased the latter, which is good and bad. It'll hopefully have made people more cautious and ready to ask questions of breeders, but as you both said it'll also push them towards that friend that keeps 'accidentally' mating their dogs, or puppy mills, or 'designer breeds'. There should definitely be a follow-up documentary, to see what the KC has done since, and to focus on other issues in the Pedigree dog world like mills and backyard breeders.
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