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Veterinarian speaks out on "hybrid vigor", cross breeds and Westminster

November 15th, 2010, 10:50 PM
Veterinarian speaks out on "hybrid vigor", cross breeds and Westminster
.by Karen Susan Kearney on Tuesday, September 14, 2010 at 5:53am.Permission to crosspost:

Thank you Libbye Miller DVM for stating:

"Adorable mixed breeds" get cancer, epilepsy, allergies, heart disease, and orthopedic problems just like purebreds. I see it every day in my veterinary practice but mixed breed dogs aren't tracked like the purebreds so they have a reputation as "healthier" that is actually undeserved in many cases."

It is so sad that a lot of folks, including young veterinarians these days, buy into the "hybrid vigor" baloney. The vet schools have been infiltrated by the Animal Rights Extremists, who are teaching them this junk science in order to push their agenda.

All animals have a certain amount of genetic load, which is to say there is absolutely no animal without some genetic problem of some sort of another. Know anyone who wears glasses? Has allergies? Thyroid problems? Weak knees? Flat feet? A skin condition? Arthritis? A gapbetween their front teeth? These are all genetic imperfections.

No human is genetically "clean." Neither is any individual of any species on earth. So this idea that dogs should not be bred because they might have a genetic problem, and that breeders are somehow "evil" for breeding them, is ridiculous. Every single individual of every single species has at least a few genetic conditions.

To use PeTA's logic, all breeding of all kinds (including having human babies) should halt immediately. And to be honest, Ingrid Newkirk (the woman who founded PETA) does believe exactly that. She thinks that humans should become extinct, along with dogs, cats, etc. This ridiculous scenario is precisely what she would like to see happen.

So folks, if that is what you want...if you agree with IngridNewkirk's whacky views, send your hard earned money to PETA. They will help to ensure you are not able to own a dog or cat or hamster or any other pet in the future. They will see to it that you can't eat meat or fish or eggs or any type of animal-based nutrition. They will work to shut down places like Sea World, the zoos, etc. so you cannot observe the many wonderful animals on the Earth. Eventually, once they accomplish these things, they may turn their efforts to making it illegal for humans to procreate.

If you don't agree with their extremist views, wise up and start supporting those who truly do love, care for and enjoy interaction with other species here on our little blue planet.

The fanciers of the breeds, those you see exhibiting their dogs at Westminster and other dog shows, work very hard to eliminate serious genetic conditions. They screen their breeding stock with every available test. They research pedigrees before breeding into other lines, to check for similar clearances in those animals. They contribute money to research organizations to further the work being done to track down genetic problems. They contribute blood, cell samples, etc. from their own animals to help with DNA and genome studies. They have made great progress so far, and they continue to work hard at it.

Are there unethical breeders? Certainly, there are. Just as in any group of humans, you will find the good and the bad. United States VP Elect Joe Biden, for example, managed to find a not so good one when he got his new German Shepherd puppy. I don't know who did his research for him, but they obviously didn't do their homework if they were looking for a responsible breeder. Joe has the right to get his dog from whomever he wishes, but if he was trying to set an example of purchasing from a responsible hobby breeder he went off the track this time. That's too bad, but it was his choice.

Unfortunately, breeders like that may be a lot easier to find because of their high volume and high profile. If you are looking for a nice family pet from a breeder who will be there for you forever, you need to do due diligence. You won't get that from a pet store. You won't get that from the guy selling dogs out of his pickup truck in the WalMart parking lot. You won't get that support from a high-volume breeder, either. Yes, it takes a little more time and effort to find someone who really cares and does all the work to breed the healthiest, happiest puppies possible and then stands behind those puppies.

This is a living being that will be part of your family, hopefully, for many years. Isn't it worth a bit of effort to find a breeder who will be there for you and that puppy forever?

And guess what? Shows like Westminster are a very valuable resource for finding breeders who do care and who use the best possible practices, as well as for learning more about the various breeds.

Bravo to USA Network for broadcasting the Westminster Kennel Club show all these years. May they enjoy continued success through the ongoing inclusion of such programs. I will be eagerly watching this year's show!"

Dr. Libbye Miller

November 16th, 2010, 07:26 AM
Oh if only people would listen to important speeches like this one. Unfortunately people think Morkies and labradoodles etc. are really breeds and try and explain to them that they are very expensive mutts which they could have gotten at any shelter or rescue and saved a life instead of creating the demand for more of these dogs. By not buying these breeds it would certainly put a lot of money hungry people out of business. But if it changes one persons mind it is a start

November 16th, 2010, 10:06 AM
MIA, thank you for posting. Very informative. I sat anxiously through Westminster waiting for the winner and was very excited to see the beautiful Scottish Terrier take top honors. I'm familiar with the two kennels that produced this dog and they are both excellent. My old, dear Mac (:angel2:) had Anstamm lineage and was a very healthy dog who lived well into his geriatric years.

Finding a great breeder takes so much time and research, but it is so worth the effort. I admit we didn't know what we were doing when we got our first dog, but got very lucky. My breeder is wonderful. She put a sweet pup in our arms and helped counsel us years later when it was time to help our Mac cross over; this is a priceless relationship. We were on her list for a pup for nearly a year--she only has one litter every year or two even though she could place many, many pups. The health of her dogs is way more important then the very few dollars she may make from a litter. And, any puppy she produces will have a home with her for any reason throughout their lives. That is comforting to me. There were several times I could have gotten a Scottie pup from a horrid BYB puppy farm "breeder", but I chose to wait for a sound, healthy pup. Will he have a long, healthy life and reach 15 years old? Who knows, but I feel the odds are more in my favor.

And the breeders of this breed are working diligently to find solutions to health problems and trying to stop breeding dogs with genetic issues. Transitional Cell Carcinoma (bladder cancer) is seen in Scotties so much more frequently than any other breed. The Scottish Terrier Health Trust is doing ongoing research to see if there is a genetic component for this awful disease (strikes dogs when they are older and finished with their breeding time). Scotties are a great sample pool for this study and the information being discovered may well translate into helping treat HUMANS with cancer or finding genetic markers. In my eyes, this is taking a horrible illness and making our losses worthwhile. I've posted in the past about my rescue Scottie. She died from kidney failure due toxicity of her chemo drug used to treat TCC. If some good can come of this some day....

Thanks for posting the article. Here, you are preaching to the choir though. I hope many others will find this information.

Floppy Dog
November 16th, 2010, 04:37 PM
Here, Here!

When I decided to purchase a dog, I did over a year's worth of reasearch. I chose a pure bred American Cocker Spaniel because I knew what I was going to get vis-a-vis disposition, activity level, intelegence and companionship. Lady has lived up to my expectations and more.

As a matter of fact, the worst dog we ever had was a mixed breed. All our pure breeds (German Sheapherd x2, Sussex Spaniel & Cocker Spaniel) were exactly as advertised. I have been told on numerous occasions by my various groomers that many of the "designer dogs" turn out to be less than the sum of the parts. Laberdoodles especially tend to be so stuborn that they're difficult to train.

November 16th, 2010, 07:02 PM
Seeing I bred and showed dogs on and off for 30 years, naturally I like this article. I was prepared to give my brother a Shetland Sheepdog puppy when he decided he needed a dog but instead he bought two "designer" breeds, (no doubt at a ridiculous price), a Maltese/Shih Tzu cross and a Westie/Shih Tzu cross, one of which had a problem where its leg bones weren't growing at the same rate. He was quoted $1300 for the operation to correct that quite some years ago, and when I asked him what it did finish up costing him he wouldn't say, so a lot more probably. He could have had a nice sound little pure breed, but there you are.

November 17th, 2010, 08:42 AM
I wonder why it is though, that some pet health care plans ask lower premiums for F1 mixes than for purebreds? I am a licensed insurance broker and I know insurance companies don't give breaks unless there is very good evidence. I don't have pet insurance and I found out when a dog walker told me her Wheaten/Poo was charged a lower premium than either a purebred Poodle or SCW. I wish I could see the data they used to determine that F1 mix was going to cost them less money.

From the insurance companies' point of view I think I can see a reason. Lets take Labs, my breed. We now have genetic testing for EIC and CNM, which are more prevalent in Labs, I think, though do occur in some other breeds but not many. Reputable Lab breeders will make sure EIC and CNM do not occur in their litters by screening the parent dogs.

But Labs are one of the most popular and thus poorly bred, dogs in NOrth America and have been for what? 17 years? Is it safe to say there are likely more badly bred, yet registered, Labs, than well bred? This is conjecture on my part but lets say yes. So cross a Lab with a breed that does not have a history of EIC or CNM and you reduce the chance of seeing those ailments in your litter.

One huge hole I can see in my supposition above is that the crossing involves a breeder knowledgeable and experienced and reputable in both breeds and I, for myself, think that is possible but in reality, rare.

I'm just sorta thinking out loud. My own Lab is purebred and from a well recognized breeder so I hope no one thinks I am bashing the article. I like the article but I find it does not really discuss hybrid vigour in much detail. It veers into PETA and proper research to find a reputable breeder but really does not give us much scientific background on hybrid vigour. Hybrid vigour is a scientific fact. I'd like to see more scientific data on why it might apply to petunias and not to dogs. I'd like lots more information. I'd like links to data so I could point to information that is more than what I believe but what is proven to be.

Did I make any sense? :confused: If not, start bashing. :)

November 21st, 2010, 12:34 AM
It all makes sense and I have nothing against buying a dog from a reputable breeder. Yes some breeds have been changed by breed clubs, I recall when that little bit came out in the UK. Alas there are hundreds of years of breeding behind some breeds and I hate to loose them. I own purebreds, mind you they are adopted but I knew what they were going to be like based on breed. I have had mutts too don't get me wrong. Breeding mutts on purpose and this trend is killing me I think it's pathetic and irresponsible, the fact that people are actually paying for the dogs is asinine. I remember when I was young people could barely give them away and now silly people are paying in the thousands for them!!! ROFL It's just insane.

As for the insurance, apparently nobody told them either. I have had two friends loose mutts at a very early age to an odd form of aggressive cancer. YUP those mutts sure guarantee health. My purebred just died at 19. Hmmmmmm. Like anything there are no guarantees in life but breeders breeding properly are doing their best to breed the very best quality dogs in all aspects. They aren't just tossing two dogs together and hoping for the best.

I am not ashamed to say I love purebreds dogs.

November 21st, 2010, 03:58 AM
IMO pure breed or not it shouldn't really matter I love them all just the same. A stray dog with all kind of random mixes could be the best creature in the world to me.

November 21st, 2010, 11:36 AM
I love them all too but the point is one shouldn't be breeding mutts.

November 21st, 2010, 12:35 PM
IMO pure breed or not it shouldn't really matter I love them all just the same. A stray dog with all kind of random mixes could be the best creature in the world to me.

Exactly how I feel. Not everybody wants a purebred, more importantly is that dogs are not over bred, and are not bred if there are genetic issues with the male or female.