Pure bred vs. well bred …

What exactly does that mean … “pure bred versus well bred”?  In my many years of involvement with rescue, I’ve had countless “pure bred” Apsos with “papers.”  Papers being a document saying the dog was registered with the AKC (or any of the other questionable registries which have sprung up to circumvent AKC’s DNA requirements).  However, having “papers” in hand does not mean the dogs in question were “well bred.”  “Well bred” meaning they had the qualities and characteristics that make an Apso “an Apso” … a dog possessing breed type.  “Well bred” meaning the breeder strived to produce a dog that could, on any given day, survive at altitude in its native homeland of Tibet (this link contains an excellent article on what makes a Lhasa Apso).  “Well bred” meaning the breeder could document at least five generations of dogs and the health of those dogs.  Dogs whose pedigrees reflect a multitude of champion relatives — not just one or two champions in five generations.  Dogs whose breeders stand behind what they produce for the life of the dog.

Next question is  … where does one find a well-bred dog?  Certainly not from a pet store as supplied by the puppy mills.  Or a “backyard” breeder  (“BYB”) who has thrown a couple of dogs together for a quick profit.  Despite the broad brush used by the animal rights movement to paint all breeders, the majority of show (hobby) breeders strive to produce sound, healthy dogs.  Hobby breeders cannot keep every dog they breed and maintain a breeding line — much like rescue can’t keep every dog that arrives in foster care.  These breeders often have retired champions, young adult show prospects that didn’t turn out as well as anticipated, or pet-quality puppies available for placement … well-bred dogs that need homes of their own.  And for much less than what you’d pay for a puppy produced in the mills and sold by a pet store. 

Always an advocate for rescue, I also believe in providing prospective families with options other than the petstore or BYBs.  A sad fact is 100% of my rescues have come from either pet stores or backyard breeders.  So even though one is obtaining a “rescue,” they were produced for profit with little thought given to their health and breed type. 

Remind your family and friends what breeding does: Every kitten or puppy born is a death sentence to a shelter cat or dog waiting to be adopted.

As a responsible owner and long-time rescue volunteer … I take an exception to the above statement. If not for the responsible, ethical breeders, good representations of my chosen breed would have vanished into the mists of the Himalayan mountains decades upon decades ago. It is only through the work of quality breeders that the Lhasa Apso has survived a forced flight into Nepal, Bhutan and India as well several genetic bottle necks and the invasion of the Chinese into Tibet.  
 
I have more than done my part when it comes to rescue. However, it is not by any of my actions that there are dogs and cats in shelters. Now, I am supposed to give up the breed I love … and have worked tirelessly for … because someone else was irresponsible?  That *all* breeding is bad and my only option is to accept what is coming out of the mills?  That my only choice is an ill-bred dog with a myriad of health problems?   Seriously??  Perhaps if the statement had made mention of “puppy mills,” it would go a bit further in educating the public.
 
Following is listing of well-bred dogs looking for homes of their own.  While these dogs are located in the western half of the US (or Canada), they can be flown to a new home.  In many instances, dogs can travel to other areas with exhibitors headed to shows.  Depending on location, a road trip may be in order.  Don’t like the full coat?  No problem … Apsos can also be kept clipped in a “wash-n-wear” version.  
 
Vinnie:  retired champion, on the larger size, about six-years old.  Very loving dog; great with adults, never been around children; teens would be okay.  Needy in that he wants to be right with you on the couch, etc.  Would need to be neutered.  Located in New Mexico.
 
Zach:  retired champion, almost two-years old.  Still in full coat.  Quite loving and a lap dog; enjoys sitting in the recliner with my husband and will do so for hours.  A real people dog.  Needs a home where he is an only dog or could live with a female dog.  Located in Wisconsin.
 
Big Boy —  He was 1 year on Aug. 30.  I gave him a haircut yesterday; he has a wonderful coat. His markings aren’t as red as his brothers.  I don’t think that he will be hard to housetrain as it was going good until I got sick. The brother didn’t have any accidents. He is very playful, gets along good with other dogs and kids. He is very sweet!!!  Located in Minnesota.
 
Oreo and Ready — retired champions (4-5 years old).  Fully housetrained, would be spayed/neutered prior to placement.  Oreo is very outgoing, wags her tail at everyone, never met a stranger.  Ready is more of a “got-to-get-to-know-you” type; probably do best in a home with no other males.  Located in Utah.
 
Gracie — red/white parti-color female, 10-weeks old.  Dew claws removed, dewormed, tattooed (ID), vet checked, first vaccs.  She loves to have attention and is very playful. She loves toys and actively plays with her brothers. She loves people and has had lots of interaction as she was born and raised in my family room. Located in British Columbia
 
If interested in any of these dogs, please contact me directly at:  ApsoRescue@aol.com.  Serious inquiries only … the breeders of these dogs are looking for owners that will commit for the life of the Apso.
 

I am a Lhasa Apso …

Ch. Everglo Zijuh Tomba

By Ellie Baumann 
Lhasa Tales ~ Nov 1977
 
I am a small dog whose ancestors managed to adapt to the rigors of the Himalayan plateau. The fittest survived, prospered and, eventually, some of the descendants reached this country in the early Thirties. I am descended from this stock.
 
Adverse conditions high in the mountains of Tibet forced my evolution to follow paths on which other high altitude dwellers were also embarked. Since the area from which I came is an especially cold one with killing frosts as early as August, my body structure had to adapt to the cold as well as to the height of my homeland. I have a shorter tail, shorter limbs, and shorter ears than dogs who live in the tropics. My body is very sturdy and solid with short, heavy bones. I look as if I could go long distances and not tire easily.
 
Under my coat is a sound body that is quite heavy for its size. People are surprised when they find that under all that hair is an animal who is put together like a tank. I need heavy construction to stand the stress of cold and altitude.

I have not been in this country too long compared to some other dogs you see at a dog show, but those who already know what I look like will probably remember very clearly where you first ran into me. I am not like any other dog that you would meet on a city street or a county lane.

I have a long coat that stretches down to the ground and completely covers my feet. Some people call me the “Jelly Bean” dog because I come in all colors. I can be one solid color or a blending of several colors. I can be plain, or I can be spotted. Of course, with a long-haired spotted dog, the coat just keeps growing and the spot stretches out into a stripe instead. If that happens, I’m called a parti-color. I’m even brindled but again, as the coat grows longer and longer, those brindle lines all run together and you have something like layers of different colors – an overlay.

My head is a little hard to see sometimes for there is so much hair on it. I have a beard. Yes even our ladies are bearded – and my ears blend right into the beard and all the rest of the coat. And, unless the hair is out of my eyes, you wouldn’t know that I could actually see you for my eyes are well hidden by what my owner calls the “head fall.” My tail is generally up, carried in a curl over my back and it’s often hard to know if I really do indeed have a tail. It can be held so tight to my back that you don’t know that it is really there, until I straighten it out and stretch it out on the ground behind me when I sit down …

Sometimes I can be found in a pet shop, but I hope that if you go looking for a Lhasa, you will go to a breeder who is trying to produce the perfect dog rather than the one who is out to sell a litter a month or so many dozen puppies a year.

I am a breed that was raised to be an indoor dog. In Lhasa – the capitol of Tibet – I used to live in the palace of the Dalai Lama before the Communists took over, and in almost every big monastery in Tibet there were a lot of my relatives living right there with the monks. Some people call me the “The Holy Dog of Asia” because of this, but all that I really did was to keep the monks company in their lonely and cold cells. Some people say that I am the faithful dog who followed the Lord Buddha around and who could be turned into a ferocious lion in the twinkling of his eye. I guess that is why so many call me the “Lion Dog.”

The AKC Standard alls for me to be the golden colors of the lion, but the Tibetans say that their lion is the mythical snow lion who is always white with a blue mane. I haven’t seen any white Lhasa with a blue mane so far, so I guess we’ll just have to stick with the western idea of how a lion should be colored.

I can live a long time if you care for me properly and my breed generally outlives the great big dogs, like the Saints and the Danes, or the little ones like the Chihuahuas and the Pomeranians.

There aren’t any bad personality traits in my breed that have to be beaten out or trained out of me in order for me to live in close contact with all kinds of people. I have an even, obliging disposition.

Of course, when I’m going to a dog show, then I look super beautiful because that is first of all, a beauty contest, and I want to look my very best. But with general care and brushing, I can stop traffic on any street, for I am a beautiful, graceful and elegant animal.

After all, I AM A LHASA APSO!!

_____________________________________________________

 Editorial note: Dog shows were originally started in the mid 1800s in England as a means of evaluating breeding stock … a process which continues today. It is not a “beauty contest” as noted above … although some might argue otherwise. Dogs shown in conformation events are not being judged against each other. They are judged against the written standard which outlines the “ideal” dog for that particular breed. If interested in learning more about the dog show, AKC has an excellent resource … A Beginner’s Guide to Dog Shows.

Okay, call me paranoid but …

… the following article just underscores what I’ve known for years.  That pets rely on their humans to keep them safe from harm and it is our responsibility to ensure their well-being.  Think of your Apso as a perpetual two-year old.  Would you leave a toddler outside unattended for the day … left in a car at the grocery store … allowed to roam the neighborhood without supervision?   Uhhh, I didn’t think so.  And your Apso — a perpetual toddler — should be supervised closely as well.  These are not isolated incidents happening to “other people.”  Take heed, pet owners.  The life you save may be sitting at your feet this very moment …

American Kennel Club Cautions Owners: Pet Theft on the Rise;

AKC Appears on NBC’s Today Show Offering Tips to Keep Pets Safe

Dog Owners and Breeders Advised to Keep Dogs Safe at Home and on the Road

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

 

The American Kennel Club® is warning pet owners and breeders about an alarming rise in dog thefts in recent months. From parking lots to pet stores and even backyards, more dogs are disappearing. In the first three months of 2008, the AKC has tracked more than 30 thefts from news and customer reports, versus only ten for all twelve months of 2007.

 

Media reports have chronicled the escalation of these “dog-nappings” from all around the country. Incidents have included armed robbers entering a breeder’s home, tiny puppies being stuffed into purses at pet stores and most recently, purebred pets being snatched from cars in parking lots and even shelters.

 

“The value of pets in people’s lives has been on the rise for a long time and now we are seeing thieves trying to capitalize on this. Whether they seek to resell the dog, collect a ransom or breed the dogs and sell their offspring, thieves seem to be attuned to the increased financial and emotional value pets have in our lives,” said AKC spokesperson Lisa Peterson. “Losing a treasured family pet is devastating to the owner.”

 

“Criminals look for weaknesses and exploit them. They know pets can’t protect themselves, so that means owners need to be alert,” said Lt. John Kerwick, a law enforcement K-9 handler and the President of the U.S. Police Canine Association, Region 7. “Be wary of anyone who approaches you and asks too many questions about your dog or where you live. This is a red flag that they may be out to snatch your pet.”

 

Peterson added that “These ‘dog-nappers’ are misguided and naVve. They’re stealing living beings, not jewelry that can be pawned. Plus, it’s unlikely that they can sell the dogs for high prices without proper registration papers, and these inept criminals are not realistically going to collect a ransom. Caring for a dog — and especially breeding — is a time consuming endeavor that requires a lot of knowledge. Thieves will find themselves with a frightened and confused animal that needs a lot of care.”

 The AKC offers the following advice to prevent your “best friend” from being a target of a crime:

At Home

Don’t let your dog off-leash — Keeping your dog close to you reduces the likelihood it will wander off and catch the attention of thieves. A Saint Bernard that had wandered away from his owner in Nebraska was snatched up right off the road.

Don’t leave your dog unattended in your yard — Dogs left outdoors when no one is home for long periods of time can be potential targets, especially if you live in a rural area and the fenced-in yard or dog runs are visible from the street.

Keep purchase price to yourself — If strangers approach you to admire your dog during walks, don’t answer questions about how much the dog cost or give details about where you live.

Breeders need to be aware of home visits by potential puppy buyers — Criminals posing as would be “puppy buyers” have visited breeder homes to snatch dogs, while other homes have been burglarized when the owner was away. From Yorkies in Los Angeles to Bulldogs in Connecticut, thieves have targeted young puppies of these highly coveted breeds.

On the Road

Never leave your dog in an unattended car, even if it’s locked — Even if you are gone for only a moment, an unlocked car is an invitation for trouble. Also leaving expensive items in the car such as a GPS unit or laptop will only invite thieves to break and possibly allow the dog to escape.

Don’t tie your dog outside a store — This popular practice among city dwelling dog owners can be a recipe for disaster. Reports have surfaced of such thefts in Manhattan. If you need to go shopping, patronize only dog-friendly retailers or leave the dog at home.

Be vigilant when entering or leaving establishments or venues catering to dogs such as grooming salons, veterinarians, doggie day care or hotels — Be aware of your surroundings, such as slow moving vehicles, or people watching you and your dog. Carry pepper spray as a precaution and, if possible, don’t walk alone late at night or stay in a well lit area.

Recovery

Protect your dog with microchip identification — Collars and tags can be removed so make sure you have permanent ID with a microchip. Keep contact information current with your recovery service provider. Several pets have been recovered because of alert people scanning and discovering microchips. For more information and to enroll your pet in a 24 hour recovery service visit www.akccar.org.

If you suspect your dog has been stolen — Immediately call the police / animal control in the area your pet was last seen.

Have fliers with a recent photo ready to go if your dog goes missing — Keep a photo of your dog in your wallet or on an easily accessible web account so that you can distribute immediately if your pet goes missing.

AKC Appears on NBC Today Show to offer tips on keeping your pet safe