Several things came across my Facebook feed and showed up on my favorite vicarious veterinary forum this week with a similar theme.
I must conclude that a lot of veterinarians are somewhat irrational breedists.
Why do we (vets) insist on being breed purists? We aren’t dog show judges. We aren’t dedicated to preserving the genetic purity of any one breed. When we see some admitted mutt with a cute little face we melt and feel happy and gush over how adorable he is. Yet, when presented with a dog that is a putative cross between known breeds, particularly if the cross is given a name, some veterinarians completely lose their shit.
“He’s a Puggle-Morkie cross!” the owner proudly announces at the first puppy visit.
“You mean, he’s a mutt!” the vet snaps back.
This behavior baffles me. Why the resentment?
Some vets say it’s because owners pay a lot of money for these dogs, and “they aren’t even purebred”. Who cares? If the dog is well looked after and has a good home, is it really any of our business how much anyone paid for the dog? People can spend their money in any way they wish. Maybe clients should judge us on how much we spent on our cars, or homes. It makes about as much sense.
Some vets say it’s because the breeders are making a lot of money selling non-purebred dogs. Again, who cares? Is it really any of our business what someone else chooses to do to make a few extra bucks or as a hobby? As long as they are taking care of the dogs and have the financial wherewithal to look after the breeding animals, why do we demonize perfectly nice people who choose to breed dogs that don’t have pedigrees? And why is this the puppy owner’s fault?
Some vets say that people shouldn’t be breeding dogs at all, that people who want pets should be adopting from shelters. Fair enough, but in some areas of the country (like mine) small breed puppies simply don’t show up at shelters. If someone wants a puppy, they often end up obtaining them from hobby breeders. And I don’t think I have any moral high ground to stand on, being the owner of a couple of purebred animals myself.
And what is the special resentment people have toward poodle crosses? Locally we’ve had a huge surge in the popularity of Labradoodles and Goldendoodles, and lots of vets are looking down their noses at these dogs. Some of the snark comes from the attempt of breeders to present these “real” breeds and make them sound more legitimate. It’s true that until you can breed these dogs true for a few generations it’s hard to argue that they are a distinct breed.
All of that is kind of beside the point. Why do vets care? Isn’t a doodle just like any other dog that we see, with their own grooming and health issues, inherently neither healthier nor more diseased? If you cut them, do they not bleed? Do we get bent out of shape when we see the result of an “accidental” breeding between two mutts? Nope.
So I don’t get the anti-poodle sentiment, or why veterinarians even care about which dogs got together to produce the patient in front of them. Just mind your own business, treat what you’ve got in front of you, and be glad it’s a puppy that you can play with for a bit. Because seriously… they’re adorable.