Congratulations to Uno the Beagle for being judged Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club (WKC) Dog Show.
Great news for Uno and his owners, but in my opinion not so great news for the Beagle breed.
Unfortunately shows like the WKC, and Crufts in the UK, encourage people to go out and buy a dog ‘just like the one that won at Westminster’ – much in the same way people buy dogs they see and like in films, think Dalmatians after 101 Dalmatians and Border Collies after Babe.
Breed rescues are testimony to how many people buy dogs without considering whether or not they will fit into their lifestyle. No doubt Beagle rescue groups will be gearing themselves up for numerous dogs to rehome once the novelty of owning a Beagle wears off for many of these new owners.
From today Puppymills across the US will be going into over drive churning out Beagles to satisfy the public demand for a Beagle puppy – there’s serious money to be made by puppy mill owners from the results of the Westminster dog show.
If you think I’m exaggerating, take a look in the newspaper classifieds, on the internet and in pet shops over the next few months and you’ll see an increase in the number of Beagles for sale.
I’ve nothing against Beagles, they have huge personalities and make great family dogs, but they do require owners who:
- can give them plenty of vigorous exercise – Beagles were bred to hunt their prey to exhaustion;
- are aware their dog may disappear to find the source of an interesting scent that crosses their path and will usually ignore every recall until they have fully investigated the scent; and
- are prepared to put up with a dog that brays. If you haven’t heard a Beagle bray, I strongly recommend that you try before you buy. A friend of mine owned a Beagle and the blood curdling roar that came from this little dog’s mouth was a real crowd stopper, particularly in the dog park!
If you do hear of someone thinking of buying a dog breed just because it looks cute, won Best in Show or because such and such celebrity has one, please do what you can to dissuade them. As we all know these impulse buys usually lead to the dog pound rather than a long and lasting relationship between dog and owner.