Pedigree Vs Mixed Breed Dogs.
Lest anyone think I am taking sides here, I have to say first that I firmly have one foot in each camp. I own 2 year old pedigree Rottweiler and Kamau, a 6 year old, male mutt that crawled under my gate from Karura forest late one night. My Rottie is very lovable, protective and territorial. (all are genetic traits) He thinks he is a big baby and would like to sit in my lap all day if I let him. He learns quickly for a tidbit or my praise. On the other hand my lovable mutt really likes to work to please me. He likes food, but it’s not his primary motivator. He has adaptive learning, which my Rottie does not seem to have or he chooses to not to use. Kamau (born in the forest) learned to drink from the water cooler (yuck) after just 10 days in the house! My previous Labrador has never even thought about drinking from the water cooler, although there had been a cooler in our house for all of the 12 years I had her. If the cooler had dispensed dog biscuits it would be another story. Kamau watched me open the doors into the house for a few days, but then decided to open the pantry door as that’s where his favorite treats were kept. Dogs that have lived rough in the forests, streets and villages are likely to score higher in adaptive learning as only the smartest live to reproduce. Unfortunately, you never really know what sorts of breeds the dogs are made up of or what they had to do to survive. That’s where the adaptive learning comes in; they have had to adapt to survive. There are some fascinating stories including pictures of street dogs that learned to take the Metro into the city of Moscow, Russia to forage for better food, and then they commute “home” to a suburb for a safer place to sleep at night. With a street dog, usually comes a high prey drive. They have had to hunt to survive. This may not bode well for those of you with an indigenous dog and a cat, pet bird or chickens. They also may be very wary of humans if they were chased away from animals or cooking smells by stick bearing or rock throwing humans. Most have had a socially impoverished start to life, so may require remedial training and extensive socialization to become a normal dog and to participate in normal group activities (training, walks with other dogs and acquiring new dog friends) On the other hand many of these dogs tend to be very healthy as they have not been over bred by greedy unethical puppy mill type breeders. Pedigree dogs have the advantage of being a known quantity. You can easily predict how big they will be, what they will look like and most importantly their temperament. Dogs that have been bred by responsible, ethical breeders should be better dogs than their parents, that’s always the goal, to breed a better dog; in health, confirmation and temperament. If you have small children or are new to dogs a pedigree dog of the correct breed for you and your family’s lifestyle may be the better answer. There are certain ethical breeders that have such reliable lines of correctly tempermented dogs that not only can I recognize which breeder the dog came from but even correctly guess what the dog’s reaction will be when exposed to new situations in puppy class. The KSPCA (020 243 0318 or 020 240 4837) www.KSPCA-Kenya.org has many great dogs looking for homes year round! Sometimes they are full of little brown dogs and sometimes they have dogs that are purebreds or resemble mostly purebreds. East Africa Kennel Club www.EastAfricaKennelClub.com has lists of dogs (both pedigree for sale and mixed breeds for rehoming) (0734 650 213 or 020 209 2319) Remember, do not buy any animals from the roadside. Puppies from the roads side often die within days and you may expose your family to potentially fatal disease, like rabies. It’s also illegal to buy wildlife! Tortoise, Lovebirds etc. all belong to the Government of Kenya. Be wary of buying puppies from a bulletin board in a shopping center. Be sure to ask for the registration papers from the East Africa Kennel Club. If you are paying for a purebred dog, please get the EAKC registration papers. If buying a purebred, check for blue registration or Class 1 meaning the parents have low hip scores and your dog will be less likely to have hip dysplasia. It’s really a matter of personal preference, but you may also find that rehoming a dog may be a better fit for your family. Adding a new puppy is like adding a toddler. If you have children under 8 or 10 years of age you may find that an older dog (past adolescence) may be a better fit for you. An older dog would be past the jumping, teething and chewing and your children may be able to play with them immediately instead of being worried about sharp puppy teeth. They would also be housetrained, so you can get a good night’s sleep instead of getting up every few hours to take a puppy out to toilet in the yard. Have a look at the rehoming section of the website to see dogs photos and descriptions of dogs looking for homes.