Todd Hartley: I’m With Stupid
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO, Colorado
Last week, as some of you may remember, we here at I’m With Stupid tackled the story of Seamus, the Irish setter that Mitt Romney stuck in a cage on the roof of the family car for a 12-hour drive to Canada in 1983. We’re not going to talk about that again, but as long as we’re on the subject of dogs, we have a bone to pick (get it?) with the Westminster Kennel Club, the hoity-toity organization that crowned a Pekingese top dog at its 2012 show at Madison Square Garden a couple of weeks ago.
At issue is the WKC’s decision to drop Pedigree dog food as a sponsor of its signature event after 24 years. Why? Because some of Pedigree’s ads promote the idea of adopting mixed-breed dogs from animal shelters instead of shelling out a small fortune for a purebred canine. According to the WKC’s director of communications, the decision was made because the ads are depressing and sad, but I think we can all recognize anti-mutt bias when we see it.
This bothers us because we happen to be the owners of a particularly wonderful mutt, and we have no doubts whatsoever that when it comes to matters of downright doggy-ness, our mutt, who goes by the name of Tansy, is infinitely superior to any Pekingese and deserves recognition as such.
First of all, Tansy weighs in at about 60 pounds or so, meaning she can go outside without having to worry too much about predators. Pekingese, on the other hand, at an average weight of 8 to 10 pounds, are in danger of being carried off by hawks any time they set foot outdoors.
Tansy also has a snout that closely resembles those found on wolves, the common ancestor of all dogs. Pekingese look as though years ago, when they were still capable of running, they all ran at top speed into walls, leaving them with flat, smooshed faces and pronounced underbites.
Though she supposedly has little or no retriever blood in her (a DNA test labeled her a mix of Shetland sheepdog, beagle, jindo and various other breeds), you can throw a tennis ball 100 yards
for Tansy and rest assured that she
will bring it back to you in a matter of seconds. Throw a tennis ball any
distance for a Pekingese that feels inclined to fetch it, and you will probably grow old and die before the dog returns.
As far as health issues are concerned, Tansy has a virtually spotless record, with the one exception being a case of vomiting when she was just a few months old. Pekingese, meanwhile, are known for having back problems, dislocated kneecaps, arthritis and difficulty breathing. They are also highly susceptible to heat stroke, catch colds easily, have trouble giving birth and suffer from high rates of obesity and congestive heart failure. And, because of their unnaturally flat faces, Pekingese even have to worry about their eyes popping out of their skulls.
In fact, when you get right down to it, the only area where a Pekingese may be able to out-doggy Tansy is barking, which Pekingese are rather apt to do, but we don’t think that’s necessarily a good thing. Yappy dogs might get your motor running, but we don’t especially care for them ourselves.
But our point is not that Pekingese are bad dogs. You may have one, and it may be a loving companion and the greatest thing that ever happened to you. That’s wonderful. We’re just saying that if one defines “dog” by a pet’s appearance and other characteristics, there’s just about no way a Pekingese can lay claim to that title. Its ancestors might have been dogs once upon a time, but nowadays we’re not sure what they should be called.
The truth of the matter is that there are only three types of dog in North America that can really be considered purebred: wolves, coyotes and foxes. Anything else is a mutt. Rather than considering them purebred, we should consider Pekingese and similar breeds exactly what they are: hopelessly inbred and far worse off as a result.
In our experience, mutts are healthier and smarter than the average purebred, and they’re every bit as loving, protective and deserving of a good family as any other dog. If the people at the Westminster Kennel Club can’t recognize that, then to hell with them. Pedigree dog food is better off without being associated with a bunch of highfalutin’ snobs like that.