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The importance of purebred dogs

Original Publication Date: April 18, 2016
By C. Sue Furman, Ph.D.

Dogs have lived with humans for thousands of years. They are so successful because they adapt to the needs of the humans whose lives they share. Through the years, dogs have learned to guard, hunt, track, herd and do many other tasks to serve the masters who fed and cared for them. Early on, people learned that if they bred dogs good at a certain task they would get offspring that were also good at that task. So folks began to breed dogs for certain physical and temperament characteristics that best served the job they wanted them to perform.

Today, we no longer need to use dogs in the same way. Most of us do not need a hunting companion so we can put food on the table for our own survival. That means English cocker spaniels and Irish setters are devoted family members that perhaps hunt for sport. The cute little Yorkshire terrier was originally bred to kill rats in textile mills. Their job has been phased out, so they too are popular pets.

The skills of some breeds are still used to perform critical jobs today. Search and rescue dogs find people at risk. Others work as therapy dogs. Labrador and golden retrievers excel as guide dogs for the blind, and German shepherds are frequently used by police to detect drugs and by the military to find explosives and IEDs (improvised explosive devices). We rely on traits that may have been bred for different chores in the past but now are perfect for jobs today.

It has been more than 15 years since the Kennel Club of Greater Victoria Inc. has put on a dog show in town. This year, that's all going to change because this May 14 and 15, an all-breed dog show is returning to the Victoria Community Center. Only entered dogs will be allowed into the facility, so leave your pup at home and turn out to see a marvelous collection of purebred dogs competing for ribbons. See if you can determine what skills each breed possesses. Ask the owners and handlers for information about breeds that intrigue you.

The importance of purebred dogs The importance of purebred dogs
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To learn more about breeding purebred dogs using the latest technologies, attend the Canine Reproduction Educational Seminar offered as a highlight of the all-breed dog show. The presenter, Randy Froehlich, DVM, of the Victoria Animal Hospital, is a reproduction specialist who started the International Canine Semen Bank (ICSB), the world's first commercial canine semen freezing facility.

Mark your calendar to attend the upcoming dog show sponsored by the Kennel Club of Greater Victoria on May 14 and 15 at the Victoria Community Center. There will probably be many breeds that you have never before seen in person. Join us and have lots of fun while experiencing a purebred dog competition.

Sue Furman, Ph.D, has published two books and a DVD on canine massage and teaches classes in pet massage, acupressure, first aid and CPR. See her schedule and submit questions at