For the first time in the history of the prominent Westminster Dog Show, mutts will be allowed to participate in the competition. Up until now, only purebred pups were welcomed to this high status spectacle. (Interestingly the American Kennel Club has allowed mixed breeds to participate in agility, obedience, and other sports for years.) However, before you share the news with that sweet loving pup sitting next to you, let’s go over some of the specifics.
Yes, mutts, or mixed breeds will be allowed to enter the Westminster Dog Show, but only in a new agility category. For years, since the 1800s, in fact, only the purely purebred pups have been lucky enough to enter the competition. For many of those years, dog owners have claimed this was unfair because so many mutts are beautiful, stunning, loving creatures that surely deserved their day on the dais.
Furthermore, many animal protection organizations maintain that showcasing purebreds in such an exclusionary manner only reinforces the idea that purebreds are simply better. This faulty notion isn’t just a false opinion; it causes damage. It is likely this view of purebreds that cause puppy mills around the country to continue operating. Puppy mills are often places of despair and neglect. Too many cases of animal abuse at puppy mills have continued for years.
Yes, the chance for your average mutt to enter their agility contest will be a chance to show the world that mutts are just as talented as purebreds. But is it just a compensation prize designed to draw attention to an exclusionary organization that perpetuates the attitude of dogs being recognized for their purebreed label and not for the loving, smart, and wonderful creatures that all dogs— registered and mutts alike— truly are?
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