Editorial: The rising popularity of small dogs

The New York Times recently published an editorial by Mark Derr titled “The Little Dog Has His Day,” that embraced the rising popularity of small breeds. Mr. Derr is better known for being fond of larger dogs and critical of the breeding practices that has produced mutant toy breeds. According to him, toy breeds are “eentsy, primped and preened, frivolous creatures that tremble and yap.” He is a self-professed “canine sizest.”

In this editorial, he has a change of heart for the small dog because of a recent article published in the journal Science that says a single gene is a major determinant of small size in dogs. This leads Mr. Derr to all of a sudden like small dogs because they’re no longer just small, juvenilized wolves, “diminished in physical and mental capacity.” He realizes that small dogs are, what the rest of us already know, just a genetic variation of the dog species.

I really wish he didn’t jump on the small dog wagon, because twice in his article he points the reader to breeders, with no mention of adoption. Upon hearing his friend say that she is planning to get a small dog after her current large dog dies (sick planning if you ask me), Mr. Derr tells her, “Excellent. Just go to a reputable breeder.” Later in the article he writes, “I would hope that buyers would deal only with responsible breeders trying to produce healthy, defect-free dogs.”

He hit it on the mark when he said “breeders trying to produce healthy, defect-free dogs.” What happens to the dogs that are not healthy or have behavior problems? What happens to dogs sold to people who decide dog-ownership no longer fits into their lives? With over 4 million dogs in shelters each year and over half of them euthanized, the term “responsible breeder” is almost an oxymoron.

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2 Comments

April 12, 2008

Dimitris :

Hi Cindy!

Im from Greece and im leaving in Keene NH.
i own a very rare solid white Husky alredy and i thought to give him and me onother one baby.He loves to play with other dogs.
i decided before 2 months that chihuahua is an amazing breed for me.A friend of mine owns one and i loved her.
I search for a while in Internet for a breeder and the most of them are talking not for dogs but for products.I felt sad cause i think that is not a love for an animal.
Now i know why most of the”reputable breeders” are “responcible”.

However i finally decide to adopt one from a local rescue society.NOW ME MY HUSKY AND OUR LITTLE CHIHUAHUA GIRL ARE THE MOST HAPPIEST BEINGS IN EARTH!!!!!!!!!!!!

THANK YOU FOR YOUR ARTICLE.

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April 13, 2008

Cindy :

Hi Dimitris, thank you for your comment and congratulations on adopting your chihuahua! You are an angel for giving a forever home to a dog in need. I am very curious to see what your chihuahua looks like next to the big husky. Perhaps you’ll post a photo of them on our Photo Gallery (http://yourchihuahua.com/submit-your-dogs-photo/). They must get a lot of attention, walking down the street together.

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