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One of the hardest obstacles to overcome is the stereotypes the general public has about specific breeds in dogs. For the majority of the time, it is the owners and not the dogs that have created the bad reputations or the misconceptions about certain breeds..
Bigger is not always more aggressive – Mastiffs are incredibly gentle and not generally aggressive. The smaller breeds are not guaranteed not to bite – the only difference between their bite and a much bigger breed is the size of the bite – ALL dogs can bite if not socialized properly.
Some breeds are referred to as 'hypo-allergenic’ but all dogs will produce some forms of reactions in humans who are sensitive to animal dander. Labradoodles (Labrador/Poodle cross) are marketed as ‘hypo-allergenic’ and command greater prices accordingly. The original intent to produce dogs for the blind that did not cause allergies; this mix was proven to still cause allergies.
Many of the ‘purse puppy’ breeds were thought to thrive in these pampered environments. As time went on, some of the breeds were bred smallest to smallest and new genetic illnesses began to develop in breeds which previously were not known for them (i.e. liver shunts now appearing in petite Chihuahuas). It has now been shown that breeding in closed environments, and the smallest to the smallest, has not created healthy, well-balanced dogs.
To differentiate themselves from puppy mills and the reputation this industry now has, backyard breeders and petshops insist their puppies are not ‘mill puppies.’ Reputable breeders do not sell to petshops nor to backyard breeders and usually have a waiting list for any of their future litters. Backyard breeders have now moved onto the Internet, selling puppies but yet insisting they are not a puppy mill breeding for profit. The general public usually learns the hard way after the arrival of a sick puppy and extreme vet bills, but there are still enough in the general public that believe the beautiful websites created on the Internet by these puppy sellers.
Finally, the general public believes that dogs found in pounds are the rejects, bad tempered, ill and sick or just bad dogs. At least 40% of the dogs found in shelters and rescues are actually purebreds! And with the worsening economy, even more GREAT dogs can be found in your local rescue or shelter, needing to find their new furever home!
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|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|