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  • Friday, November 29, 2019

    To each his dog

    To each his dog

    After careful consideration, the decision is made: it is time to adopt a companion on all fours. There are new decisions to make: do you have to get a dog from a shelter? Should we choose a purebred dog instead? Which race to choose? 


    Breed or not?

    The little black dog does not know if he is purebred, from illustrious lines, or if he is a happy mixture of this and that. For him, all that matters is to find a friendly master who will meet his needs for food, care, exercise and affection.

    Humans are concerned about his race or lack of race. However, there are many advantages to choosing a purebred dog, says Linda St-Hilaire, Quebec representative on the board of the Canadian Kennel Club. "There is predictability with a purebred dog," she says. If I buy a German Shepherd breed, I know the weight, the pace, the behavior he should have. I know his energy level. I can even meet at least one parent. "Of course, there can be differences," like in any family. " "In the same litter, there are bigger, smaller, quieter, more excited ones."

    There are still strong trends, and a good breeder will go to great lengths to make sure his dogs end up in a suitable adoptive family. "Many will check the lifestyle of the adopting person, they will look if she travels a lot abroad, if it has a plan B in such a case, says Ms. St-Hilaire. The majority of breeders do not want the dog to pick up half of the year in a pension, in a cage. "Some breeders will check if the family has a fenced yard. "Some will refuse to sell a dog to a family with young children because they know their breed is not appropriate for that," says St-Hilaire.

    A good beast for less

    Anita Kapuscinska, director of communications at the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), argues that shelter adoption also has its benefits. Notably that of countering the problem of overpopulation of animals and give a second chance to animals that deserve it.

    "Adopting is often much cheaper than getting a dog from a breeder or on the internet," she says. The adoption fees at the SPCA include sterilization, microchip, first basic vaccines and a health guarantee: if the animal gets sick, the family can come to the SPCA to see it by a veterinarian and for see the type of treatment he needs. "

    She especially argues that the dogs at the SPCA are good animals. If they were abandoned, it was not because of behavioral problems, but because there was a change of lifestyle in the initial family.

    "Every animal on the SPCA undergoes not only a veterinary evaluation, but also a behavioral evaluation," says Anita Kapuscinska, of the SPCA.

    "Every animal has its personality, regardless of race, DNA, physical appearance," she says.

    Prospective families should consult an adoption counselor who can refer them to the right animal for their particular situation. "We encourage people to visit shelters, to be patient," says Kapuscinska. Maybe they will not immediately find the ideal dog for their lifestyle, but with a little patience, it will come. "

    Urban legends and new problems

    It is sometimes said that purebred dogs are more likely to have genetic diseases. Linda St-Hilaire, from the Canadian Kennel Club, refutes what she calls an urban legend. "In the last 20 years, there has been a lot of work done to eradicate a number of genetic diseases that affect certain breeds," she says.

    "Breeders are testing dogs to only breed healthy animals."

    In addition, with the advent of the internet and assisted reproductive technologies, it is easy to get in touch with breeders from other continents to diversify the genetic makeup. We talk about artificial insemination or the loan of a male for a short period of time.

    Ms. St-Hilaire indicates that some 50 Quebec members of the Canadian Kennel Club will be attending the World Dog Show in Amsterdam in August to meet breeders and dogs from around the world. No less than 33,500 dogs are already registered for the event. "I'm going to see real dogs I've seen on the internet, I'm going to meet people. That's what good breeders do. "

    She says that people who make crosses to create designer dogs, like the "labradoodle" (labradorood and poodle), do not necessarily test these animals for genetic diseases.

    "There are lots of tests for the eyes, the heart, the blood, depending on the breed, but they do not break their heads with that," she laments. They sell their dogs three to four times more expensive than a pure line because they are rarer. There are people to buy them, but in the long run it can be a problem. "

    To each his dog

    Here are some examples of dogs that would be appropriate for particular situations. 

    The allergic

    "There are hypoallergenic breeds, but it's never 100% guaranteed," says Linda St-Hilaire, Director of the Canadian Kennel Club. There are breeds like the poodle that are famous for that. This is why they are used to all kinds of crossbreeding, claiming that their characteristics will automatically be transferred to their offspring, which is totally absurd from a scientific point of view. "Anita Kapuscinska, Director of Communications from the SPCA, reminds that people who are allergic to dogs are not necessarily allergic to hair. They may be allergic to dog saliva. "We recommend people check with their doctor to see what really causes the allergy."

    A family with children

    Depending on the energy of the family, the good old golden retriever may be a good choice, says Linda St-Hilaire. "People do not think about it, but a dog that is very good with children is boxer," she continues. She added that, in general, working-dog animals (such as shepherds) are good choices. "They are looking for the presence of the human, as opposed to the burrows that are more independent." She warns against the temptation to choose very small dogs when young children are sometimes not very delicate. For her part, Anita Kapuscinska of the SPCA recommends taking the whole family to the shelter when it comes time to adopt a dog. "It's a decision that affects the entire household."

    A small apartment

    Pet dogs, or those in the toy dog ​​category, are good choices for a small apartment, says Linda St-Hilaire of the Canadian Kennel Club. "People sell their property, go to a condo and go on trips. They go to smaller breeds, such as Chihuahuas or Pomeranians, that were hardly seen a few years ago. They are easier to take on a trip and they require a little less exercise than a labrador. "Anita Kapuscinska, from the SPCA, recommends going to talk to neighbors before adopting a new four-legged companion. "We are going to make sure that a very good-looking dog will not be placed in that family," she says. We do not want to create problems in the neighborhood. "

    A great sportsman

    Border collies and French spaniels are popular with top athletes, says Linda St-Hilaire, Director of the Canadian Kennel Club. "A lot of people do canicross, they run with their dogs," she notes. These are dog breeds well suited for that. "Athletes can also look to the golden retriever or the Bernese Mountain Dog. "There's also the Jack Russell terrier, which active people like a lot. It's in a smaller package, but it has a lot of energy. "At the SPCA, the animal's exercise needs are obviously considered before being handed over to someone. And vice versa. "If the family is very active, it will not be suggested to adopt a dog-potato," laughs Anita Kapuscinska.

    And the pitbull?

    When you see the list of recognized breeds on the Canadian Kennel Club website, you can not find the pit bull.

    "It's not a breed like that, it's a cross between different breeds that people call pitbull," says Linda St-Hilaire, Quebec representative at the Canadian Kennel Club.

    She laments the bad reputation of this type of dog.

    "They are often very good family dogs, they are often very good with children."

    "But because some have been poorly trained and misused, that's what we remember."

    She admits that some people like to show up with these "macho-looking" muscular dogs, as some people choose to drive a Mustang rather than a Golf. "That does not mean that these people are using this dog's abilities badly. I think 99% of people who have dogs like this are responsible people. This is unfortunately the 1% we find in newspapers."

    SPCA Director of Communications Anita Kapuscinska says the agency ensures that the dogs she offers for adoption are safe for the public. People who are looking for a guard dog must go elsewhere. "If someone is looking for an animal to protect themselves, we will ask additional questions. If he wants a guard dog to protect his land, we will suggest something else, like an alarm system."

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