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Sources and Selection
Some 4.8 billion years ago, the earth's crust solidified. Oxygen began to flow freely and circumnavigate the surface of our planet for the first time. The rays of the sun penetrated through the cloudy atmosphere. Biospheric chemistry combined to create air, water, light, heat, electricity and many ecosystems that stirred the earth. Life began. Its first form was probably blue-green algae. Across the geologic time divisions of 3 billion years came the biological genesis of bacteria, multicellular life, marine invertebrates, fish, fungi, plants, forests, amphibians, swamps, reptiles, volcanoes, dinosaurs, birds, insects, flowers, mammals, whales, apes and man.
Many scientists believe that the earliest mammal from which the domestic dog originated roamed the earth between 65 and 40 million years ago. This prehistoric creature is from an extinct genus of carnivores known as the Miacis that probably lived in the forests of North America, Eurasia and Asia. They are thought to have had low skulls, long slender bodies, long tails and short legs. They survived by preying on smaller animals. From this weasel-like mammal sprang seals, raccoons, bear, cats, hyenas and the entire organization of canids that include the fox, jackal, wolf and dog.
The life we live today is inextricably bound to the chain of events that started with the creation of the earth itself and which has brought us to the next moment of experience. These are useful and interesting considerations as we sit enjoying the comfort and safety of the human family, which most certainly includes living happily with a dog.A Guide to Dog Sources
It's easy to get a dog.Puppies are everywhere; some of them are even free. Acquiring a dog over the back fence may be easy but it is not the only way to get one nor is it the best possible source. The new dog in your life will become a member of your family and will be with you for approximately 15 years. Selecting a dog for long life and good health is greatly influenced by where you obtain the animal. Acquiring a healthy dog with a good temperament and emotional stability should not depend on luck alone. There is a great variety of attractive dog breeds from which to choose, and if you are thinking about getting a dog you should consider them. The American Kennel Club recognizes 137 purebred dog breeds for registration and the United Kennel Club accepts 167 (most are the same breeds registered by AKC).Therefore, it is not necessary to impulsively accept the first puppy that becomes available. There are so many ways to get a dog that it is foolish to rush the process and settle for one that is not necessarily appealing or one that is unsuitable for your life situation. When looking at the puppy in front of you, try to envision it as the dog it will grow into. The ability to choose, and choose intelligently, makes a great difference between developing an enjoyable relationship and one that ends in disappointment and failure. The first step in making the best possible choice is to become familiar with all the places one can find dogs. Where to look for a new dog should be determined by what kind of dog is desired, how much money one is willing to spend, and--most important of all--the reason for wanting a dog. The best reasons for getting a dog are to enjoy it as a companion animal, to compete in dog shows, obedience or field trials, or to breed it as part of a carefully planned line of purebred dogs. It is safe to assume that the vast majority of dogs are acquired by those who simply want a pet. Bear in mind that kennels, pet shops, shelters and pounds are only as good as the people or the administrative bodies regulating them. They may be excellent, adequate, inadequate or even worse. Only an informed, knowledgeable shopper can tell the difference and make the correct choice.Kennels
Purebred dog kennels are the most important source for acquiring a puppy that is most likely to possess the physical and behavioral qualities expected of its breed. A fact that may surprise first-time dog buyers is that some puppies purchased from a kennel are more expensive than those obtained from other sources. The higher prices are often due to the scarcity of the breed, but may also exist because of the time and expense involved in creating a fine line of dogs that meet the breed standards set forth by the American Kennel Club or the United Kennel Club. Producing beautiful, healthy, happy puppies is a time-consuming activity that demands skill, knowledge, and the expenditure of a considerable amount of money from the breeder. Breeding or showing purebred dogs is most often done for the love of it. Only a few ever realize a profit from this activity. However, some kennels are better than others.
The name of a kennel is simply a prefix to a dog's official name and is used by breeders in the registering and showing of dogs. It is recorded with the American Kennel Club (AKC) or the United Kennel Club (UKC) for a fee and, if approved, the kennel is granted the right to use the name exclusively for a specified period of time. In reality, however, a registered kennel name does not indicate or even imply an endorsement of that kennel by a registering organization or that it meets any standards for kennel operations. A kennel is merely a facility where one or more persons breed purebred dogs. Its quality must be evaluated personally. A proper kennel is operated by breeders who are devoted to hygiene, knowledgeable dog care, canine health, sound dog behavior and temperament, in addition to the genetic quality of their dogs based on selective breeding. Effective immunization regimens must be maintained. Veterinary medical attention is a vital aspect of kennel operations.
A kennel is not merely a name written on a pedigree. It is a place where dogs are bred, born and housed and is best evaluated by the quality of the dogs it produces. Most kennels are established inside or outside the homes of the breeders. It may be an elaborate building set apart on a large stretch of property or simply be a few dog runs made of chain link fence set in a concrete slab that is attached to the side of the breeder's home. Some homespun kennels consist of enclosed spaces for dogs inside the house or apartment. A kennel inside the home is usually improvisational and only suitable for small dog breeds. However, what is most important about a kennel is the excellence of its care and its reputation for producing sound, healthy dogs of high quality, rather than its luxurious facilities.
Good sanitation is important for the health of the animals as well as for the aesthetics of the kennel. Fecal matter should be removed as quickly as possible and urine washed away. Kennel floors and concrete slabs as well as food and water bowls and most other surfaces should be swept and mopped frequently with a 1 part bleach to 32 parts water (1:32) solution, or 4 ounces per gallon of water, and then rinsed with clear water. This simple mixture disinfects against many viruses and disease-causing microbes. Although hygiene practices vary, you should not be confronted with an unpleasant odor when entering a kennel. Good sanitation, however, is not the only criterion for evaluation.First-time dog buyers should know that most breeders use the terms pet quality or show potential puppies as categories of dogs that are for sale at their kennels. Litters of puppies are produced on a limited basis by those who breed them for noncommercial purposes.Those who produce purebred dogs that meet breed standards are likely to be involved in dog shows because dog shows provide an opportunity for breeders to compare dogs and exchange knowledge. A kennel need not win first place ribbons to produce outstanding dogs, however. Dogs entered in shows are exposed to the scrutiny of breeders, exhibitors, show judges and other knowledgeable dog people. Breeders gain credibility and recognition when they consistently show dogs of good quality. Competing at dog shows is a form of show-and-tell for breeders. The quality of their dogs reflect the quality of their breeding programs and the management of their kennels. Dog shows require their entrants to be pedigreed dogs that are registered with the AKC or UKC, depending on who is sponsoring the show or competitive event. Such dogs must be in good health and come from acceptable breeding lines as demonstrated by their pedigrees. They must also be of sound temperament and measure up to the established standard for their breed if they are to compete in dog shows and bring prestige to their breeders, owners and handlers.
A dog with show potential is usually more expensive than any other. It could cost thousands of dollars depending on the breeder's or the dog's reputation. Show dogs are the result of years of effort by a breeder who is aiming to meet the standards of perfection set down for his or her particular breed. To produce such dogs requires a knowledge of genetics, the mechanics and psychology of mating dogs, whelping puppies, nutrition, behavior, socializing puppies, and many other aspects of dog health and behavior. Breeders who develop quality show dogs rarely sell them or their puppies to those with no intention of showing them. It is a matter of pride and purpose that well-intended breeders and dog show exhibitors want their show quality dogs to be campaigned, which means to compete in major dog shows along a national circuit. Campaigners hope to win a Champion title for their dogs by winning at dog shows and scoring points toward that end. Furthermore, these exceptional dogs have much to offer to the breed and should become part of a program that aims to better the breed.
Not every puppy in a litter, however, meets the demanding standards for its breed and therefore must not be shown. Dogs that will not be shown, which make up the majority of most puppy litters, are casually called pet quality puppies and will be sold as companion animals. Pet quality puppies are healthy, beautiful animals that do not meet every strict requirement of the breed standard. Sometimes the coat color is slightly off or one paw may turn out just a bit, or the muzzle may be too short or too long, and so on. Nevertheless, breeders are quite fussy about the homes in which they place their babies. They try to evaluate a prospective purchaser and determine if that person will be good to the dog and provide a proper home. Many require that the prospective owners agree to neuter the puppies they buy or accept a limited registration certificate, which means that the offspring of the dog cannot be AKC registered. When purchasing a dog from a reputable breeder, expect to be asked many questions and try to understand how concerned they are about the well-being of the puppies they have brought into the world. Some breeders are quite emotional about letting go and saying good-bye to their puppies. It is like sending a child off into the world, away from home.
When selecting a kennel from which to purchase a puppy it is sensible to ask if the kennel owner is also an exhibitor. This is a fair question. The point of developing a sound breeding program is to have your dogs compete in dog shows. Of course, not every breeder is involved with dog shows. Some have retired from that activity or are involved only to the extent of supplying show dogs to exhibitors. The pedigree of your puppy tells the story. A pedigree is an official record of your dog's family tree and is on file with a dog-registering body such as the American Kennel Club or the United Kennel Club. A good line of dogs may have one or more dogs with a Champion title in it, or is traceable to good show dogs or possibly even to the foundation stock of the breed. Ask if after-purchase support or a health guarantee is offered. If the breeder does not have the AKC registration application or registration certificate available at the time you acquire the dog, the seller should give you a written bill of sale that includes the name of the breed, sex and color of the dog. It should also include the date of birth, the registered name and number of the dog's sire and dam, and the name of the breeder. These should be written into a sales agreement.
One of the advantages of purchasing a puppy from a kennel is the opportunity to see it interact with some or all of its littermates and one or more of its parents. How a puppy behaves is an important aspect of selection. Much can be learned about a puppy by observing its parents. It is quite likely that one or both will be available. (See "Behavior," on page 12.)
A kennel must house its animals in adequate spaces or dog runs that are large enough for comfortable movement and rest. Anything less is inhumane and unacceptable. Dogs that are housed in outdoor facilities must also have some form of indoor shelter where it is warm and dry in the winter and cool in the summer. Dogs that are housed indoors should have light, ventilation, places to rest and room to move. A well-fed dog is obvious. It is healthy and energetic. These are basic necessities for all dogs, including males at stud. A special space, separate from the main group of dogs, is required as a whelping area for pregnant bitches to give birth in and to nurse their newborn puppies. A kennel that does not offer these basic necessities may be creating dogs with potential behavior problems.Finding a good kennel is not as difficult as it sounds. The best method for starting your search is to attend a dog show. There, one can find many exhibitors who operate kennels and are willing to answer questions after they have met their obligations in the show ring. Kennels can also be found directly through national breed clubs. Ask about them at the American Kennel Club or the United Kennel Club. Look for breeders in the classified ads of dog magazines, which are available on newsstands and by subscription. Kennels from all parts of the United States and Canada advertise in these magazines. Both the AKC and the UKC offer a breeder referral program that will put you in direct contact with a member of a local dog club in your own community.
Current dog publications offering interesting dog articles, dog show information and breeder ads for prospective puppy buyers are:
Coonhound Bloodlines (UKC)
Dogs in Canada
Dogs in Canada Annual (see "Puppy Buyer's Guide")
Dogs USA Annual (see "Puppy Buyer's Guide")
Front and Finish
Hunting Retriever (UKC)
Pure-Bred Dogs/American Kennel Gazette (AKC)
In the past, browsers and customers would stand outside a pet shop to watch a window full of puppies either sleep in one large canine coil or tumble all over themselves as they competed for human attention. This reflected a time when pet shops were not the subject of controversy and criticism. More recently pet shops have been severely censured for the living conditions they provided for their puppies and the poor quality of their animal sources. As a result, many pet shops have changed how they house and display their animals. They no longer dump dozens of small dogs in a front window in order to attract potential buyers. They have gotten the message that this practice causes the young dogs to injure each other or pass along contagious illnesses such as worms, fleas or various skin ailments. Most pet shops now show puppies in clean, well-lit, spacious cages that are wall-mounted and attractive to look at. For better or worse, pet shops are still a significant source of dogs that are purchased as companion animals, despite all the bad publicity they have earned concerning the so-called puppy mills where many pet shop dogs come from.Some pet shops obtain their puppies from local breeders or from various reasonable commercial sources rather than from "livestock wholesalers" who in turn get their dogs from puppy mills. Chances are good that dogs in shops of this kind spent the first weeks of their lives in satisfactory living conditions and were bred from healthy dogs.
For some pet owners, it is of no significance whether a puppy is purebred or not. They only involve themselves with the pleasures of owning a companion animal and are not concerned with the dog's genetic history or its registered pedigree even though it may have a bearing on the animal's health and behavior. Few who want a dog know that many pet shops obtain their dogs from puppy mills. A puppy mill is not simply a dog factory churning out large quantities of cute little dogs.
A puppy mill is one of hundreds of breeding operations that is most often housed on a farm and is owned by those who do it for the extra money it brings in. It most often consists of kennels crammed with dogs housed in inadequate cages stacked one on top of the other. The kennel dogs are there for one purpose, to breed puppies in large quantities. In puppy mills dogs are not selected or rejected for mating on the basis of good or bad health, inherited diseases, or because of good temperament or severe behavior problems. All male dogs and all female dogs are mated. The puppies resulting from these matings receive little or no human attention and are sold to wholesale distributors irrespective of their state of health or behavior. In some instances, they bear little resemblance to the breed they are supposed to represent.
Although some good dogs have been purchased from pet shops, there is no way for inexperienced buyers to know in advance about the dog they have purchased and, therefore, they may be getting an animal with a serious illness or behavior problem. A number of serious medical conditions, such as hip dysplasia, are inherited and not apparent until long after the dog has been taken home, where he has crept into the emotions of the unsuspecting dog owner. To be fair, this can happen with any dog from any source. However, dogs from puppy mills are riskier buys than dogs from noncommercial breeders.
Obtaining a puppy from a pet shop is less risky if the animal is in obvious good health, has no apparent behavior problems, is handled by loving humans on a daily basis and is maintained in a clean, pleasant environment. A pet shop is a practical, if not ideal, alternative.
When obtaining a puppy from a pet shop one should be concerned about the shop itself. It should be well lit, clean, cheerful, odor-free and obviously hygienic. No more than one or two dogs should be in a single, spacious enclosure unless it is of generous proportions. It is potentially unhealthy, unsanitary and behaviorally damaging to place large numbers of puppies together in window displays. One sick dog can quickly spread its illness to the others. This is especially important to prevent the spread of internal or external parasites. Such an arrangement can also encourage the formation of abnormally aggressive or shy behavior. Sales personnel and others handling the dogs should be gentle, affectionate, knowledgeable and careful. Handling a dog incorrectly can be dangerous for the animal and the humans.
Dogs purchased from pet shops may be purebred (with or without registration papers) or mixed breeds (which are unregisterable). A purebred puppy is eligible to be registered as an individual dog if both its parents were registered with the American Kennel Club or the United Kennel Club and the litter from which it was whelped was registered by its breeder. It is only fair to say that many satisfactory and unsatisfactory companion animals have been purchased from pet shops. The same can be said of kennels and shelters.Some pet shops do not sell any animals, but rather serve as an unofficial shelter and clearinghouse to give away unwanted or stray puppies and kittens. This service has important humane connotations despite the fact that business considerations are involved. The astute shopkeeper of such businesses create dog-owning customers who then purchase all their supplies at his or her establishment. It is good business.
Pet shops are magnetic attractions for those who are entertained by the look or the antics of animals on display. They offer prospective pet owners the convenience of being close to home. Many pet shop purchases are made on impulse which, of course, can be a disastrous mistake whether a pet is acquired from a breeder, a shelter or a shop. Acquiring a puppy should be a choice based on careful consideration and planning and not by reacting to one's own emotional responses or need for instant gratification. Many pet shops are beautiful to walk through, and many displays are designed to attract the attention of children so that they will influence their parents to make an impulse purchase. It is far less disastrous to impulsively buy a goldfish than a puppy.
When acquiring a puppy it is advisable to know what you want before making a purchase (male, female, mixed breed, which breed--longhaired, shorthaired, coat color, etc.). It is also critical that you understand the needs of a dog and your willingness to satisfy them. Longhair dogs require grooming and combing on a regular basis. Some breeds cannot bear to be left alone and require more personal attention than others. Terriers are high-energy, active dogs that are quite demanding. It is important to educate yourself about dog breeds and dog care. Dogs require medical care, personal attention, sound nutrition, clean surroundings, baths, grooming, obedience training and housebreaking. Be certain you are willing and able to provide the needs of a dog for the next fifteen years. Sales people at pet shops know how irresistible a puppy is once it is placed in a customer's arms. Just say "no" if the puppy is not the kind you wanted or if you have any doubts or reservations. (See "A Guide for Selecting a Dog" on page 10.) Education, investigation and determination are the necessary elements for choosing the right dog.
Selecting a dog from a shelter is a most important animal source to use. In many cases you are saving a dog's life by rescuing it from euthanasia. Shelters give dog lovers a wide range of choices plus the opportunity to provide safety and comfort for a homeless animal. The possibility of obtaining a good dog or puppy from one of the thousands of animal adoption agencies found all across the country is excellent. There are simply not enough homes for the many dogs that are lost, abandoned or born unwanted.In some cases, homeless animals in a shelter spend the remainder of their lives in grim, indoor dog runs waiting to be adopted or euthanized. Animal shelters often bring people and dogs together, fulfilling the needs of each. They are often the safest, most efficient, economical source for acquiring healthy, endearing puppies and dogs. Their good works reward humans with the pleasures and delights of dog ownership while affording the opportunity to do something kind for an animal in need.
Many full-service animal shelters are sufficiently staffed with skilled professionals and expert workers, including veterinarians, veterinary technicians, administrators, animal handlers, peace officers, humane education specialists, and so on. There are also many volunteer rescue organizations with caring workers that are unfunded, unchartered and, in some cases, unlicensed. Although it is impossible to assess the quality of their efforts in general terms, it can be said that their work is often effective.
Some shelters are time-honored philanthropic associations underwritten by well-managed investment portfolios, bequests and wealthy donors. They may also receive funding from local or state governments in exchange for animal control services. Others rely solely on the contributions made by adopters. Many shelters and humane societies are affiliated with or recognized by national organizations such as the Humane Society of the United States or the American Humane Society. They can be found in the Yellow Pages under "Animal Shelters" or "Humane Societies." The larger establishments, such as the SPCA of San Francisco; SPCA of Boston, Massachusetts; ASPCA (New York City); or the Hamilton County SPCA (Cincinnati) are full-service organizations offering adoptions, veterinary service, information and education, animal abuse investigations and in some cases animal control. They provide their respective areas with essential animal services and have become indispensable to their communities.
There are many types of animal shelter operations in major urban areas. For example, Chicago has a city agency, the Commission on Animal Care and Control, and several important private agencies such as the Anti-Cruelty Society or the Tree House Animal Foundation, Inc. Functioning in a unique fashion is the privately funded and independently operated Tree House Animal Foundation. Although its adoption facilities are mostly for cats, it has pioneered many new programs which have had a direct impact on the stray animal and pet ownership problems which exist today. Their humane programs for dogs as well as cats include emergency veterinary medical assistance, cruelty investigations, low-cost neuter/spay, no-cost neuter/spay, low-cost vaccination, pet behavior counseling, pet-facilitated therapy, a pet-care hotline, and a pet food pantry for needy pet owners, in addition to public service radio and television announcements which supplement their many informative publications. The Tree House Animal Foundation is an innovative model for the ideal private shelter.
An extremely active adoption agency and animal shelter is the North Shore Animal League and Hospital in Port Washington, New York. This busy shelter is responsible for placing thousands of dogs and cats in decent homes every year. Unlike most shelters it reaches out for adoptions way beyond its own community.
To understand a shelter's policies one must become familiar with local animal laws and conditions. A nongovernment animal shelter, operating under the legal restrictions placed upon it by legislation, is often prohibited from collecting stray animals off the streets. In some communities private shelters are prohibited from accepting lost or abandoned animals. That responsibility may be reserved by statute as the work of a government agency, such as a city dog pound, or a private animal agency licensed by a city, town or county. The ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) in New York City was typical of this arrangement. In addition to its adoption programs, veterinary hospital, animal shelter, humane education efforts, and cruelty investigations, the ASPCA was formerly commissioned by the City of New York to carry out animal control policies that included dealing with injured, lost, stray and abandoned animals from the streets. No other animal agency or shelter in that city was allowed to do so. The ASPCA employed a team of uniformed animal control officers whose job was to investigate violations of the various animal laws of New York City. They were empowered to issue citations and summonses. Recently, the city government of New York assumed many of these responsibilities.
Other private shelters in New York City may only accept unwanted animals from their owners. Even with these restrictions, private agencies such as the Humane Society of New York and the Bide-a-Wee Home Association, and hundreds of other adoption agencies throughout the country, accept thousands of unwanted dogs and cats from their owners each year. The animals are given medical attention, neutered when possible, fed, housed and cared for until proper homes can be found.
Many who have adopted dogs from shelters have described the experience as pleasant, exciting, interesting and always filled with emotion. The thumping of a tail hitting the sides of a crisp, new travel carton can only be interpreted as the sound of pleasure and gratitude as you take home your new puppy from an animal shelter.
An important source for acquiring dogs and puppies is veterinarians. Thousands of clinics, private practices and animal hospitals throughout the country help dogs find new homes. Veterinarians have traditionally served their communities and their clientele as go-between for those who must find homes for their dogs and puppies and those who are looking for a pet. Many animal hospital and veterinary office bulletin boards are full of notices about puppies and dogs in need of a family. It is an important source to consider when acquiring a new pet.
The correct approach for selecting a pet is not to consider which is the best dog, but which is the best dog for you, your home and your lifestyle. Do you want a dog that demands a great deal of your attention and affection, or one that is somewhat reserved, has a more subtle personality and doesn't need that much personal interaction? There are breeds that are very active and some that sleep most of the time. Which is a plus or a minus for you? Some dogs need to be groomed often, particularly the longhaired breeds such as Afghans, Yorkshire Terriers, Lhasa Apsos, and so on. Some breeds hardly need any grooming.
Whether to live with a male or female is of no importance if the dog is to be neutered or spayed. A whole male dog will roam if given the opportunity and will fight with other males for territorial rights or for higher rank.
Unspayed females experience estrus ("heat") at least twice a year. A female in estrus is little understood by the novice dog owner. The behavior of a female in estrus is meant to attract a male dog
|1||Sources and Selection||3|
|3||The Human-Animal Bond: Attachment to Dogs||47|
|4||Puppies and Pediatrics||51|
|8||Canine Nutritional Requirements||85|
|10||Diseases of Dietary Origin||105|
|13||Pregnancy and Parturition||128|
|17||Congenital and Inherited Disorders||164|
|19||The Eye and Disorders||178|
|20||The Ear and Disorders||194|
|22||The Skin and Disorders||213|
|24||The Circulatory System and Disorders||244|
|25||The Muscles and Disorders||256|
|26||The Skeleton and Disorders||261|
|27||The Urinary System and Disorders||269|
|28||The Nervous System and Disorders||278|
|29||The Respiratory System and Disorders||285|
|30||The Digestive System and Disorders||295|
|31||The Liver, Pancreas and Disorders||305|
|32||The Endocrine System and Metabolic Disorders||311|
|33||The Immune System and Disorders||320|
|39||Clinical Signs of Disease||421|
|40||Surgery and Postoperative Care||435|
|41||Convalescence and Home Care||444|
|42||Home Emergency Care||451|
|43||Procedures for Life-Threatening Emergencies||459|
|App. A. Zoonotic Diseases: From Dogs to People||469|
|App. B. Vaccinations||477|
|App. C. Diagnostic Tests||484|
Posted April 16, 2002