Who would have thought, when I wrote a column last year addressing the fact that the Bulldog was number 12 in AKC registration rankings, that in one year the Bulldog would muscle its way up to number 10? This is the first time since 1935 that the Bulldog has made the top 10, and it’s received much attention in the media.
My concern is that this kind of popularity has a downside. Just go online and search “Bulldog puppies.” We’re greeted with beautiful websites of pastoral scenery and cute Bulldog puppies being offered for sale by people we’ve never heard of. But the public is impressed and puts down a lot of money for a pup sight unseen. It’s discouraging to realize that an increasing number of people will get involved in the production of dogs, especially in the popular breeds, with the idea that popularity will guarantee a source of income. There is nothing more disturbing than the mass production of puppies by people with no background in the breed and for whom money is the only motive. We must get the message out that this is not a good way to buy a puppy. We must continue to educate people that raising a litter of puppies is a serious commitment that requires a lot of work and a lot of love.
We live in an age of superlatives. The dog game has exploded with more and more dogs being bred. It’s time to step back and stop promoting our breed so heavily, and start encouraging only selective breeding. Years ago, we had no need for rescue because the individual breeder stood by the pups he sold. Today, all breeds have rescues to take in unwanted dogs. We now must accept the fact that not all unwanted dogs are strays and that purebred dogs are ending up in rescue. This is a very sad situation. Serious breeders must make it clear that they stand by the dogs they sell and that no dog they’ve bred will end up in rescue.
As I grow older and more experienced, I have become increasingly impressed with the importance of the individual serious breeders whose sincere commitment to their breed and hobby has helped the breed prosper. These breeders give their heart and soul to their hobby, and have used their efforts to support of the best interests of their breed. They have helped prevent deterioration in their breed despite the mercenaries.
Now that our breed is number 10, we must be vigilant in educating the public about the breed and where and how to purchase a Bulldog puppy. We owe it to our beloved sourmug.
In closing, let me congratulate Cody Sickle and Rock for winning a Group II at the Westminster Kennel Club show. Congratulations also go to Ch. Newcomb’s Shine Man Curtis for being the only AKC champion of record who is a college mascot.
Amelia Averil, 8 Willow Brook Rd., Hillsdale, NJ 07612.