Is It Ethical To Own A Pug?

Animal life

Now it's official: Several new fashion dogs will soon populate the German parks. This is proven by the official puppy statistics. Where are the pug and bulldog, the previous trendsetters?

He is small, has big, big eyes, a short snub nose and frayed floppy ears that frame his face like a well-parted girl's hairstyle. His fur variants have sonorous names such as “Prince Charles”, “Blenheim” or “Ruby”. Especially “Blenheim”, a deep chestnut red with snow-white markings, makes him a being that could have been designed in a Disney studio. In fact, the character “Lady” from the Disney film “Lady and the Tramp” is very clearly reminiscent of dogs of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel breed. The face of the little spaniel makes it seem as if someone with an image editing program has moved a dog's snout a little more in the direction of the child's scheme.

The ancestors of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel were valued in European courts for their cute appearance centuries ago. Now the ancient British dog breed has risen to become a trend dog in Germany and is well on the way to overthrow the pug from its throne. The rise of the little spaniel is now official: the Association for the German Dog Industry (VDH) has just published its current puppy statistics for 2012. “The trend breeds are smaller dogs that match the child pattern as much as possible,” says Udo Kopernik, spokesman for the VDH. "This is also where the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel belongs." For Kopernik, however, the French Bulldog also has the edge.

Puppies of the traditional breeds German Shepherd, Teckel and German Wirehaired Pointer are still most frequently born in Germany. On the one hand, at least the first two breeds mentioned are on the decline in numbers, while the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (along with a few others) has grown significantly: from fewer than 300 puppies in the eighties to around 800 annually in the nineties and 1100 a year 2012. On the other hand, the puppy statistics by no means reflect one-to-one the number of dogs of individual breeds that are visible on Germany's streets.

“The market is not reflected in our puppy statistics,” says Kopernik. “VDH breeders breed around 300 to 400 French Bulldog puppies a year. But if you look at the leading pet sales portals on the Internet, eBay classifieds, your wildlife and the pet ads, you can easily find 400 French Bulldogs offers a day. Therefore the puppy statistics do not correspond to the impression one gets in the urban centers. The French bulldog is strongly represented there and is currently displacing the pug. "

The number of pug puppies born in Germany is falling slightly at the VDH; the breeding numbers of the French bulldog are stagnating. The tiny Chihuahua, long hyped as a fashion dog, also appears to be less bred. This also has to do with the growing reluctance of breeders affiliated to the VDH towards breeds that have many health problems, says Kopernik. "The problems of the English Bulldog, for example, start with the windpipe and end with the hip." A single litter of the English Bulldog, a heavy, bulky dog ​​with wrinkled skin and shortness of breath, was recorded in the VDH in 2012, says Kopernik. Nevertheless, there are more and more English Bulldogs in parks and on the streets of big cities.

Breeders who have not joined the VDH, including dubious “multipliers”, often from Eastern Europe, meet this growing demand. There are now said to be dog owners who have had their puppies sent to them in a cardboard box with air holes. The “Wühltischwelpen” initiative has recently tried to counteract such dog trafficking.

In the seventies there was already a “dachshund hype”, says Kopernik, which was then also covered by commercial breeders outside the VDH. The breeders organized in the VDH are strictly controlled, they are only allowed to breed one litter per year and bitch and therefore cannot increase their production at will, which is why breeding was relocated at that time. "Today, however, there is no notable breeding of Dachshunds and German Shepherds outside of the VDH." If you look at it this way, it explains why the 13,000 German Shepherd puppies and a good 6,000 dachshund puppies in 2012 are not more visible than Pugs and Bulldogs: In reality, the breeds are probably the same number, the puppies only come from different sources.

It is even possible that a number of dogs, for which Germany is known for breeding, migrate abroad, including German shepherds, for example. Especially among breeders who have an international reputation, the demand is also international. Such animals appear in the German puppy statistics, but never in public - they later become police dogs in Bahrain, for example.

Udo Kopernik also has an additional explanation for why so few of the 13,000 German Shepherds and 3,000 Deutsch-Drahthaar puppies are visible in the city centers, parks and local recreation areas. “In terms of numbers, you should actually see a German Wirehaired Pointer in a normal local recreation area,” he says. But the pups go to hunters almost as a whole. "And a hunter drives his dog into the forest at a time when the normal dog owner is sitting in front of the television or is still in bed." And the German Shepherd? “It's in the dog park,” explains Kopernik. Anyone who gets a sheepdog still wants to do dog sports. “A German shepherd owner usually doesn't even think of taking the dog with him everywhere,” says Kopernik. The pug holder is different. "You take the pug to the Italian restaurant."

Anyone who attentively walks through restaurants is likely to come across the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel more often in the future, because he probably appeals to the same clientele as the pug and bulldog. The breeders of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel organized in the VDH have not noticed a boom yet. “The demand and the breeding numbers are rather constant,” says Uwe Klar, the chairman of the International Club for Cavalier King Charles Spaniels based in Essen. There are up and downs - "but that depends more on the season, people don't buy puppies during the big holidays." However, Klar is already observing the problem of the Cavalier puppies, which come from breeders and from “boot sales”. "The breeders who are affiliated with the VDH observe strict rules, for example against inbreeding and the diseases it causes," he says. “However, one increasingly hears about young Cavalier King Charles Spaniels from other breeds that show primarily heart diseases, such as heart murmurs or reflux. That's a shame - apparently many owners want to save on the purchase, but don't think about the follow-up costs. " A Cavalier King Charles Spaniel from a VDH breed costs 1000 to 1500 euros; among other things, breeders are obliged to have their dogs genetically tested for various diseases.

International comparative data is now providing evidence that the British spaniel could gain long-term popularity. The American Kennel Club (AKC) published its puppy statistics a few months ago. The association celebrates the announcement of the new trends every year with a press conference at the New York headquarters, where representatives of the “Top Breeds” can be shown and photographed. According to American statistics, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is massively on the rise in the United States. From 40th place in the ranking of the most popular dog breeds, it shot up to 20th place within a decade. The AKC annually formulates the trends that have become visible over the past year in a press release. For 2012, the association notes that some small dogs such as the pug and chihuahua lost their popularity - in favor of other small breeds such as the Affenpinscher and the Miniature Spitz. Overall, large breeds became more popular. But Americans are also seeing a move towards sporting dogs - particularly active breeds that the AKC believes include retrievers, setters, spaniels and pointers.

How did the popularity surge with the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel come about? The “Cavalier”, as his fans call him, never really disappeared completely, at least not in the Anglo-American region. In recent years, Cavaliers have also appeared several times in period films, apparently because the existence of the breed has been documented for several centuries. It goes back to dwarf spaniels, which were popular with the nobility since the 13th century. There should have been a British and a continental type. Filmmakers were inspired by this: For example, a Cavalier puppy was briefly shown in a scene in the film “The Girl with the Pearl Earring” starring Scarlett Johansson; In addition, the breed was used several times as an accessory in films that were set at the English court in the 17th century, for example “Vatel” and “The Libertine”. It may have been even more significant that the picky Charlotte got a Cavalier puppy, whom she named "Elizabeth Taylor", on the television series "Sex and the City". After all, Google completes the input “Sex and the City Charlotte” unsolicited to “Sex and the City Charlotte dog breed”.

In the United States, the Cavalier is referred to as a “Toy Breed”, which means that it is seen as a pure companion dog - and indeed the ladies-in-waiting for the small spaniel centuries ago meant that one was only quiet for breeding and selected serene animals that were suitable for living closely with humans. In this respect, the trend towards the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is rather less critical than the popularity of other dog breeds. Ultimately, completely different trends emerged that could only be determined by the appearance of the dogs: the elegant silver-gray Weimaraner suddenly became popular in the nineties, a little later the Magyar Viszla, also a hunting dog - and both of which are hardly suitable for it, in a 3-room -Apartment in Berlin-Mitte to get by. The same applies to the Border Collie, a herding dog that experienced a boom after the film “A Pig Called Babe” and TV commercials, but was under-challenged in families and drove many a keeper with his high level of activity to white heat.

However, the question remains whether potential dog owners have really come to their senses and therefore turn to typical “toy breeds”. Because a second breed, which is currently increasing in number and becoming just as visible to the public as the Cavalier, is again an active herding dog, the Shetland Sheepdog, a miniature collie. What the future will bring is written in the stars. Often there is no external reason for the sudden popularity of certain breeds, according to a study by psychologist Harold Herzog, who scientifically examined the fluctuations in the American pedigree dog population between 1946 and 2001. If some variants suddenly become very popular, it is mostly pure coincidence - and what is more, these breeds are “not necessarily better or more appealing to people than others,” writes Herzog. Only sometimes there are landslide-like changes: namely when a film like “101 Dalmatians” hits the cinemas. That makes us expect a lot, at least for the Shetland Sheepdog: After all, DreamWorks Animation, the Hollywood company that also produced the film “Shrek”, has just announced the prospect of bringing the legendary Collie Lassie back to the big screen.

Tags: bulldog, English bulldog, French bulldog, dogs, dog owners, dog breeds, dog breeding, pug, spaniel, breeding
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Dog breed trends: goodbye pugs? A small spaniel has the edge

By Christina Hucklenbroich

Now it's official: Several new fashion dogs will soon populate the German parks. This is proven by the official puppy statistics. Where are the pug and bulldog, the previous trendsetters?

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