It’s not as if they’re on the verge of extinction, but old English sheepdogs are drastically dropping in numbers, at least according to kennel club statistics.
At the height of the high-maintenance breed’s popularity, in 1975, nearly 16,000 old English sheepdog puppies were registered by the American Kennel Club. In 2009, there were just over 1,000 registrations, according to figures supplied by the AKC to the Associated Press
Breeders blame the decline on the increasing popularity of smaller dogs, and the amount of care and grooming that sheepdogs require.
“People have more to do and less time to do it, and they have lost interest in old English sheepdogs,” Doug Johnson of Colorado Springs, president of the Old English Sheepdog Club of America, told the Associated Press.
Breeders in England are also concerned about the decreasing registrations. London’s Kennel Club registered just 401 sheepdog puppies in 2011, and has put the breed on the club’s watch list, a representative said.
The decline in numbers has been steady in the years since 1975, when an old English sheepdog won best in show at Westminster. But breeders and others don’t really expect the breed to disappear.
“There are too many of us old die-hards that will go ahead and keep this breed alive,” said Johnson, who operates Bugaboo kennel and has 22 sheepdogs.
The breed is believed to have originated in Sussex, England, where they drove sheep and cattle to market.
Pittsburgh industrialist William Wade introduced the dog in the United States in the late 1880s. The Old English Sheepdog Club of America says that by 1900 five of the country’s 10 wealthiest American families — Morgans, Vanderbilts, Goulds, Harrisons and Guggenheims — owned sheepdogs, and also bred and showed them.
As Johnson pointed out, caring for a sheepdog — whose hair can grow as long as 10 inches — is easy when you can hire someone to do it for you.
Sheepdog numbers grew in the 1960s, when they became a common sight in movies and on TV. They were featured in the 1959 movie “The Shaggy Dog,” and starred in two 1960′s era TV shows – ”My Three Sons” and “Please Don’t Eat the Daisies.”
Posted by jwoestendiek December 6th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: akc, american kennel club, animals, breeders, breeds, concerns, decline, decrease, dogs, england, numbers, old english sheepdog club of america, old english sheepdogs, origin, pets, puppies, purebreds, registered, registrations, sheepdogs, united states
In San Francisco, that might be happening — dog owners have mobilized to play a role in the upcoming mayoral election.
Whether it ends up being a decisive role or not, signs are it’s already making the much-needed and often overlooked point that, while dogs can’t vote, their owners can and do.
And, by virtue of that, this point as well, with apologies to Woody Guthrie: This land is your land, this land is my land, but it’s also dogs’ land. So give them access to some of it.
Dog PAC, a recently formed political action committee in San Francisco, held a forum over the weekend attended by seven of 16 mayoral hopefuls. It has since endorsed a candidate in the upcoming election — John Avalos.
At the forum, candidates for mayor in the Nov. 8 election were asked about the cost of dog licenses, dog waste, pet-friendly rental housing and about what has emerged as the biggest doggie issue — the federal government’s proposal to ban off-leash dogs in much of Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The National Park Service is considering mandating leashes in some open spaces and fencing off some popular dog-walking areas to protect native plant and animal species.
With an estimated 100,000 dog owners in the city — with San Francisco being one of several cities in which dogs now outnumber children — dog-owning voters, some pundits are saying, could have a major impact in the November election, and beyond.
In a way, they already are, with some candidates making it a point to publicize their stands on dog issues.
“Making San Francisco a family friendly city means recognizing the multitude of ways in which we define families,” City Attorney Dennis Herrera says on his campaign website. “And in the city of St. Francis, that includes dogs and companion animals.”
Candidate Joanna Rees held her own “Bark in the Park” forum several weeks ago, according to USA Today.
“Dogs are an important part of many families and neighborhoods across our community,” said Rees. “Open lines of communication between City Hall and pet owners … are the foundation of good policy.”
“Dogs are as much an issue as children … There are a lot [of] parent-teachers associations, we’re just like them, but only for the dogs,” said Dog Pac president Bruce Wolfe.
“All different people and all different industries have lobbyists and political action committees looking out for them,” said dog owner Justin Kleisley. “I think it’s good for dogs.”
We agree, and we’d like to see a lot more local dog PACS — from California to the New York island.
Posted by jwoestendiek October 5th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ban, candidates, dog pac, dogs, election, endorsement, forum, golden gate national recreation area, issues, john avalos, mayor, mayoral, national park service, numbers, off-leash, political action committee, politics, power, race, san francisco, vote
A rapidly climbing euthanasia rate at the Wake County Animal Center in Raleigh prompted volunteers to take their concerns to a local television station.
No one disputes the figures: In January, the Wake County shelter euthanized 131 dogs, or about 18 percent of those brought in. By August, that number had climbed to 327 euthanized dogs, or nearly 42 percent of the intake, according to WRAL.
The Wake County shelter is one of the more progressive government-run shelters in the state, and it was working toward establishing a “no kill” policy.
But a rising number of surrendered and abandoned animals, and some bouts with diseases and sickness have forced an increased in euthanizations.
Wake County’s euthanasia rate last year was 28 percent — far better than most North Carolina counties. Orange County (Chapel Hill) had a 33 percent rate; Mecklenburg County (Charlotte) reported a 50 percent rate; and in Cumberland County a whopping 73 percent of the dogs that entered the county shelter last year were euthanized.
Cumberland County, you’ll recall — and if you don’t we’ll help you — is where a private wildlife control company has been hired to round up stray dogs around Fayetteville.
Mims Wildlife Damage Control, working with animal control staff, have hunted down 80 or more stray or feral dogs.
“As of Monday 80 packs of dogs have been removed, 57 of those were field euthanized, 27 were taken to the Cumberland County animal shelter,” said Jon Soles, with Cumberland County public information.
If you’re wondering about that math, yes it does add up to 84.
If you’re wondering what “field euthanized” is, it means shot and killed.
Of those allowed to live, four have been adopted out, and eight are in foster care.
Meanwhile, back in Raleigh, the volunteers say they came forward in an attempt to slow Wake County’s rising rate of euthanasia.
“We really want to come together as a group to figure out ways that we can stop this needless killing of animals,” one of the volunteers, Julie Powers, told the TV station’s investigative team.
Volunteers said they also worry that ongoing issues with the heating and air conditioning units might contribute to sick animals.
Andre Pierce, Wake County’s environmental health and safety director, says the shelter is committed to finding better ways to save the dogs.
“No one wants to euthanize animals,” he said. “We would much rather them go to a permanent home – a forever home – and go out the front door rather than go out the back door.”
Posted by jwoestendiek September 16th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, cumberland county, dogs, euthanasia, euthanasia rate, fayetteville, feral, intake, investigation, kill, killed, mecklenburg county, north carolina, numbers, pets, raleigh, rates, rising, shelters, stray, volunteers, wake county, wral
When I finally pulled out of Fargo, I was certain any visions of fall colors were over. No way, I figured, could any leaves still be clinging to their trees. Those winds, like a heartless gang of thieves, surely stripped them bare.
But, as Ace and I traveled west across the state, there were a few bright exceptions: groves of yellow-leafed trees — birch or aspen — that, by virtue of being tightly grouped together, still sported their fall colors.
The only way I can figure it, they were saved by the copse.
By being huddled together in a group, they – at least those not on the periphery — were able to keep their leaves a little longer. They, like early American settlers, bees in a hive and the huddled masses everywhere found safety in numbers.
You don’t hear the word “copse” that much anymore. In “Travels with Charley,” it shows up a few times. When John Steinbeck camped, it was usually in a copse, alongside a river, which is where you’ll generally find the copse — despite what you might have heard about donut shops.
Driving along, I wondered if the copse might hold some lessons for us humans, or at least remind us of some.
When pioneers set forth across America, they did so in groups, depending on each other, and each other’s skills, for their survival. When Indians attacked, pioneers circled the wagons, recognizing that forming, in effect, a copse, was the best defense. They established towns for the same reason — so neighbors would be close, so that help would never be too far away.
And long before that, cavemen and cavewomen learned — apparently from sources other than reality TV — that, by forming alliances, they could better protect themselves from the elements, evil-doers and scary creatures.
For long time Americans lived a copse-like existence. We established a home. We dropped our seed. We watched it grow. Once it did, it stayed around, mingled with other hometown trees and dropped its own seed. Children lived where parents lived. The apple didn’t fall, or roll, far from the tree; it stayed in its parent’s shadow, at least until it ended up in a pie.
Somewhere along the line, that went by the wayside. Children grew up and ventured off, carving their own paths. Mom and dad, once on the periphery of the copse, shielding us from the nasty winds, were relocated to places they can get some assistance with living.
The copse-like closeness has diminished not just in the family, but in the family of man. We’re less inclined, I think, to help each other out. Rather than thinking we’re all in this together, rather than the stronger helping the weaker, the richer helping the poorer, the franchised helping the disenfranchised, we look out for No. 1.
And the more insular we’ve become, the more we fail to stake up those in need of support, the more we turn away from those stuck out in the cold, the more robbers we produce.
In the 21st Century, when it comes to protection, we rely on the cops.
But maybe the real answer is the copse.
Posted by jwoestendiek October 30th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: aspen, assistance, autumn, birch, colors, compassion, cops, copse, crime, criminal, dog's country, dogs, dogscountry, fall, foliage, groups, grove, help, insular, john steinbeck, leaves, north dakota, numbers, pioneers, robbers, safety, security, shelter, society, thicket, travels with ace, travels with charley, trees, winds