Are Mutts Smarter Than Purebred Dogs?
How to Choose Your New Best Friend from an Animal Shelter
Among the biggest victims of the economic recession are the once beloved family pets surrendered to shelters as their owners deal with extended joblessness. The U.S. Humane Society estimates 6 to 8 million dogs and cats enter shelters each year – and 3 to 4 million are euthanized.
“We don’t have firm numbers but we know anecdotally that the communities that have been hardest hit by the economic downturn are seeing that reflected in their shelter intake numbers,” says Inga Fricke, director of sheltering issues for the U.S. Humane Society.
“And, unfortunately, while the majority of the public is in favor of adopting pets from shelters, very few – usually about 20 percent – actually do. That has recently gone up slightly to the mid-20s.”
Fricke and retired police officer Irvin Cannon, a confirmed dog lover whose new book, For the Love of Dog Tales (www.FortheLoveofDogTales.com), gives voice to man’s best friend, hope people getting back on their feet will consider adopting a shelter dog.
Cannon was a poor kid growing up in Detroit when his family took in a stray dog. It surprised young Irvin that his father would be willing to share the family’s meager groceries with a dog, but he soon discovered the return on their investment was enormous.
“You won’t find a better companion, whether you bring home a mystery mixed-breed or a purebred Labrador,” he says. “Everyone thinks mutts are smarter and generally healthier, but really, it all depends on their mix of breeds and which breed strain is dominant.”
Border collies and Rottweilers are two of the smartest breeds, Cannon says. But they tend to have other traits, too, which are just as important to consider when choosing what dog best suits your lifestyle. Remember – dogs are as individual as people. A dog’s breed, or breed mix, is no guarantee that it will have certain traits.
That said, border collies tend to need lots of room to run and lots of attention – they’re high-maintenance, Cannon says. If you can’t spend a lot of active time with them, they’ll be unhappy and you’ll have problems.
Rottweilers are fast learners and lovable family animals, but they also tend to have bold personalities associated with pack leaders. If you are not an experienced dog owner, or if you have young or shy children, you might want to consider a different breed.
Dominant dogs that are allowed to bully their family members, dogs that are kept on a chain, dogs that are not neutered, and dogs that are allowed to run loose can become problem dogs that may bite.
Here are some other tidbits regarding breeds:
• Among other dog breeds known for intelligence: Shetland sheepdogs, golden retrievers, Labrador retrievers, poodles, Australian cattle dogs, Papillons and Doberman pinschers.
• Bulldogs, beagles and Basset hounds all start with ‘B’ but get much lower grades for smarts.
• Some breeds have tendencies toward problems such as deafness, blindness or hip dysplasia, remember, these are genetic issues that are inherited. So if you’re mixed-breed includes some German shepherd, it may also have hip dysplasia (a problem with the joint’s bone structure).
• If you’re in the market for a purebred dog, you have a 25 percent chance of finding one – although maybe not the breed you want – at a shelter. If your heart is set on a specific breed, check your area for a rescue group specializing in that breed.
Be aware of designer dogs and so-called perfect dog breeds and their health issues…
Right now, the entire Pekingese breed is in crisis. It is so plagued by health issues and inbreeding that many people say the breed may not even survive. The biggest issue is Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome – the upper airway problem that plagues short-nosed, flat-faced dog breeds…
…And speaking about King Charles spaniels, who are also bred with skulls that are too small for their brains, veterinary neurologist Clare Rusbridge said:
“The cavalier’s brain is like a size ten foot that has been shoved into a size six shoe; it doesn’t fit. It is described in humans as one of the most painful conditions you can have, a piston-type headache. Even a light touch – a collar, for example – can induce discomfort.
“If you took a stick and beat a dog to create that pain, you’d be prosecuted. But there’s nothing to stop you breeding a dog with it.”
Is this truly our idea of the perfect dog – the best in show? Is this how we want to judge and recognize the best characteristics for our best friends?
Isn’t it time for people who love pets and care about animals to rise up and bring this sham to an end?
The only thing that’s pure in the “purebred” industry is the lifetime of pure suffering that’s being inflicted on dogs by this morally bankrupt industry.
Adopt a shelter pet… just like your favorite celebrities…
“According to People Pets, (Jennifer) Aniston confirmed to GQ magazine that she and boyfriend, Justin Theroux, recently adopted a Pit bull/boxer mix named Sophie. Several sources reveal that the adoption took place from the Utah-based animal rescue, Best Friends.”
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