I’ve played this game of dog blogging for several years now, and I can tell you that there are three ways to play the game:
The first is to be the milquetoast. Write nothing but blog posts in which controversial facts are not revealed. This game can only be played successfully if you have a compelling narrative about your dog or very good photos.
The second is to be a gamecock: fight everybody. You can get a lot of hits from drama, but it only works when you haven’t pissed everyone off. Once you do that, people won’t listen to you. And trust me, there are some bloggers who have learned the hard way about that one.
The third way is to pick your battles.
This is my strategy. There are some people I know who won’t listen to me, and honestly, they don’t care.
I get a lot of comments from trolls. If I feel that I might be enlightening to others by taking down the troll, I take down the troll.
I allow well over 90 percent of all comments to go through, but if I’ve decided that I’ve wasted enough time trying to argue with someone, I just delete the comments.
This is not a democracy. You can easily get your own blog for free and write about how awful I am.
Just don’t expect me to link to it!
I don’t think you can do this right by being a shock jock.
You can write screeds against the AKC all day long, but if your only solution is to get a border collie, a Jack Russell, or a pound dog– or a cat!– you’re wasting your time. The first two breeds are inappropriate for many homes, and not everyone wants a random-bred dog. Not everyone wants a dog that could have behavioral problems as a result of being rehomed several times, and many people do want a specific type of dog that might be next to impossible to get a shelter. (And I don’t want an effing cat!)
This is why if you’re doing nothing but AKC-bashing, you’re not solving any problems.
You’re just intellectually masturbating. Masturbation always gives you some pleasure, but it’s always a solitary process.
And you’re not going to solve this problem by attacking the AKC, which, in all honesty, is low-hanging fruit.
No, you really have to attack the full scale problems of caprice and vanity that have run amok in the domestic dog’s gene pools.
And if you’re only doing that to the AKC, you’re missing out on a whole lot.
You are exculpating the “working dog” people who celebrate inbreeding, even when it winds up failing in them in the long run.
You wind up exculpating the people who mass produce bird dogs, border collies, and hounds in terribly run-down kennels. We would call such people puppy millers if they were breeding small companion dogs, but because they are breeding “workers,” they get a pass.
You also wind up creating a major problem for a breed when you say its own place is doing its work. Ever see any turnspits? What about Belgian trekhonds?
With the US sheep industry on life support, who is to say that the same fate might befall the border collie? Within border collies, there is a near theological belief that they must be used as sheepdogs, but with no sheep to herd, what will they be?
They will become novelties, where people who own them buy them a few sheep for them to herd.
In effect they will become border collies on the border collie reservation.
That’s not a good long-term strategy for any breed of dog, but when these same people tell you that the way trial border collies have been preserved is the way to save all dogs, you know there’s something wrong here.
These people very rarely get called out on it, but when they do, their main retort is back to the get a cat or pound dog absurdities.
This is not a solution.
And never mind that it’s very easy to see the hypocrisy of people railing against inbreeding in AKC dogs, when they never say a word about popular sire issues in a wide variety of trial dogs.
This game cannot be played with the AKC being the cowboys with the black hats and the border collie and Jack Russell people being the white hats.
There are a lot of black and white hats on both sides, but most are actually gray hats.
And somewhere along the line we have to come up with workable solutions.
We can’t do that by constantly ranting against the same people over and over.
It’s satisfying to spin your wheels.
But it solves nothing.
I am for ending the closed registry system, but I’m not for ending selective breeding of dogs. I think people should be able to get the sort of dog they want, and if they want a particular type of dog, they shouldn’t be judged for it.
I am for creating sustainable gene pools in domestic dog populations. By sustainable, I mean ones where we have enough genetic diversity to control genetic disease. I don’t mean turning all of dogdom into a random-bred free-for-all.
And I am for changing breed standards so we produce physically healthy animals. We shouldn’t be producing a type of dog that is just physically unfit when it meets its breed standard. And here, I’m thinking of Clumber spaniels, Neapolitan mastiffs, and bulldogs. These dogs have physical deformities associated with meeting their standards, and it would be much more humane if we just changed the standards so these features were not selected for.
These are not radical steps, but they are almost impossible to implement.
One reason they are impossible to implement is because the reformers are often too strident to talk sense.
And in this way, they become the mirror image of the dog fancy.
And they are wasting their time.
No one is going to listen.