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In Defense of the Purebred
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In Defense of the Purebred

I have had five dogs in my life. The current resident is a Chihuahua-meets-dachshund mix named Bananas. Before her, two other “Chiweenies,” all rescues and, before them, a little Yorkie named Apples. But, in the beginning, there was Ruby, a French bulldog. Before Ruby, I wasn’t a dog person. Then a friend brought her Frenchie puppy to a party and the sheer combination of flat face, bat ears, and Mack Truck physique spoke to me. I became a French bulldog lover.

Was it ethically bankrupt of me to want a purebred when millions of shelter mutts were already in need of a home? Quite probably. But I very clearly envisioned how this breed's temperament fit into my life. At that moment, six months of research culminated in a flight to Florida, where I bought a four-month-old Frenchie.

Through Ruby I learned to love all dogs big and small. That's why when people ask me if it's OK to buy a purebred, I always say the same thing: “Yes, just don't be an asshole about it." Here's what I mean: A dog is a decade-plus commitment, so do serious research: Hit the Web and learn everything you can about the breed's wants and needs and its genetic issues. The best breeders do it for the healthy continuation of the lineage and will generally ask tons of questions (of you) and make you promise to give back the dog if you are ever forced to part ways.

Bottom line: Nothing matters more than providing your dog a loving, healthy home. If a specific breed makes that happen, go for it. That's what I did with Ruby, and she was the perfect gateway dog for my becoming the mutt lover that I am now.

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