Happy National Purebred Dog Day from the Clever Hounds! Our pack consists of 4 breeds- Silk is an Australian Shepherd, Elf is a Golden Retriever, Juno is a Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen, and the others are Petit Basset Griffon Vendeens. Each of these breeds was bred for a unique purpose and all of them were chosen for our pack because of the traits that preservation breeders have selected for over many generations.
Over recent years (honestly for most of my life), purebred dogs have been a controversial and often misunderstood part of our society. I fully respect the choice of anyone to own the dog of their choice, whether that is a rescued dog chosen without regard for breed, a purpose bred cross breed, or a purebred dog. That said, a well bred dog from a conscientious breeder is probably always going to be my choice. When I bring a dog into my household, I have goals for that dog to compete in dog sports, work as a demo dog in my business, and serve the community as a therapy dog. I won’t apologize for having those goals or for actively seeking the right dog for that role. Choosing the right genetics, health testing breeding stock, and early socialization don’t guarantee success but they do increase the chances.
As purebred dogs have become less “politically correct”, breeding has decreased significantly in many breeds. While it is common for animal rights extremists to blame breeders for homeless dogs in shelters, a 2015 study by the National Animal Interest Alliance found that only about 5% of American shelter dogs are purebred (https://www.akc.org/clubs-delegates/government-relations/government-relations-blogs/survey-reveals-misconceptions-purebred-dogs-animal-shelters/). Despite this, it is common for shelters and rescue groups to claim that the dogs in their care are purebred, as this can be an effective marketing tool to attract families who believe in the benefits of purebred dogs, but who also want to rescue a shelter pet.
The decrease in the breeding of dogs is a topic close to my heart, as PBGVs are a breed that has seen serious decline over the past ten years. We have never been a popular breed, but the number of dogs being bred is now so small that our breed is at risk of not maintaining a sustainable population. In 2019, only 109 PBGVs were registered with AKC. This represents approximately 0.00012111% of the dogs AKC registered that year. At the same time, a quick search on Petfinder at any given time shows multiple shelters and rescue groups claiming to have PBGVs available for adoption. Remember, that only 5% of shelter dogs are purebred, so using registration numbers this would mean that approximately 0.00000606% of the US shelter population are purebred PBGVs. In other words, the dogs being represented by shelters, rescue groups, and individuals as “rescued PBGVs” are almost always something else. Based on the extremely small number of PBGVs out there, the chances that they are PBGV mixes is also astronomically small. Anyone who wishes to adopt a purebred PBGV from rescue really needs to insist on DNA testing to ensure that the dog is what the rescue says it is.
Sadly, the misrepresentation of mixed breed dogs as PBGVs is not only common, but people who should and do know the difference often look the other way. Even the Purebred Alternative Listing department of the AKC seems to rubber stamp every application without question, resulting in obvious mixed breeds being registered and competing as PBGVs. Accepting this practice is not “supporting rescue”, it is supporting lying and cheating. In the performance world, attendance at many high level events or opportunities to compete in finals are limited to a certain number of each breed- if a mixed breed gets the PBGV spot, then a purebred PBGV doesn’t. This is not ok only any level, but especially at a time when our breed is in need of all of the protection and preservation we can get. When someone proudly shows off their rescue “PBGV”, the standard answer should be “have you confirmed with DNA testing?” Testing for breed verification is widely available, inexpensive, and accurate. There is no excuse for not using it for breed identification, especially in the case of our rare and vulnerable breeds. If there really are PBGVs in need of rescue, resources are available for their care. If those resources are misused on Beagle-doodles and other drop eared mixed breed dogs, they may not be available for actual PBGVs in need of assistance.
Hug your dogs today- and maybe take a minute to thank their breeder!