With Westminster over and Crufts winding up, halfway between Miss America and Miss USA, it seems a good a time as any to look at our standards of physical perfection — for dogs and humans — and where they came from.
Recent evidence suggests that — at least when it comes to competitions — they all may have started with pigeons, or, more accurately, with humans in pursuit of pigeon perfection.
This, be warned, is not a scholarly presentation — just an impish one – but we will cite the work of some scholars, namely historians at the University of Manchester who say they’ve traced the first use of a physical standard to describe what’s desirable, appearance wise, for a certain a breed of dog.
That dog was a pointer, named Major, but what’s even more interesting to us is where the whole presumptuous idea came from that we humans get to declare what’s perfect when it comes to the sizes, shapes, coats, muscle tone, wingspan or snout length of nature’s creations.
It’s one thing to set standards for our own species — be they male bodybuilders wearing too-skimpy Speedos, or women in swimsuits competing in “scholarship competitions.” It’s quite another to think we have the right to decide the right look for the entire animal kingdom — and then fashion those creatures to better please our eyes.
Apparently we have the pigeon — or pigeon afficianados — to thank. Fancy that.
Modern day dog show standards were modeled after the scoring system used in the 1800s to rate pigeons, according to University of Manchester historians.
They say they have discovered the first attempt to define a physical standard for a dog breed – in an 1865 edition of a Victorian journal called The Field. It was written, in reference to a show-winning pointer named Major, by John Henry Walsh, who used the pseudonym of “Stonehenge.”
The historians say that makes Major the “first modern dog.” Walsh took the system of giving scores for different parts of the body from pigeon fanciers, paving the way for the pedigree dog breeds we know and love today.
That led the way to all the other breed standards, and inbreeding and all the resulting genetic problems, too.
Historians at the University of Manchester believe standards caught on because, prior to them, judging was a pretty arbitrary pursuit, and contestants — the humans hoping to win ribbons, trophies and money through their animals — were often unhappy with the results, leading to disputes.
In other words, with standards in place, the decisions of judges seemed less arbitrary — even though the standards themselves are mostly arbitrary.
In September 1865, Stonehenge published a classification for the pointer which outlined what it should look like, and gave point values to the various section of its body – head and neck 30 points, frame and general symmetry 25 points, legs and feet 20 points, color and coat 10 points.
Articles soon followed on the standards for gordon setters, clumber spaniels, Norfolk spaniels, truffle dogs and fox terriers. Walsh’s edited collection was published in 1867.
“The standard set by ‘Mr Smith’s Major’ must surely be one of the most important milestones in the six-thousand-year-old relationship between canines and man,” said Professor Michael Worboys, head of the University’s Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine.
“As dogs came to be defined as ‘breeds,’ they were bred for greater conformity to breed standards, which meant more inbreeding, and more health problems as dogs were bred from a smaller gene pool … Stonehenge’s classifications set in chain a process where dogs were re-imagined, redesigned and remade.”
The standards weren’t pulled out of thin air. Most often they were based on traits a type of dog had already shown. The bulldog, for example was bred to have a form ideal for grappling with a bull, even though bull-baiting had been banned in 1830.
While both dog shows and breed standards got their start in England, Americans picked up on them, including P.T. Barnum, who after holding dog, bird and baby contests, is credited by some with staging the first modern American beauty pageant.
P.T. Barnum is also often credited with the phrase, “There’s a sucker born every minute.” Numerous websites will tell you he said that; many more say he did not — that it was instead the owner of a competing circus.
(The Internet is one of those places that has no standards.)
We’re not totally against written standards, just a little bothered when they are arbitrarily imposed by one species on another, or by one majority on a minority.
There are plenty of places we can use some standards – among them hospitals, Congress and corporate empires, like the one belonging to Donald Trump, the modern-day P.T. Barnum who owns the Miss USA pageant.
When it comes to beauty though — human, dog or pigeon beauty — we think that decision is best made not by a checklist, but by the eye of the beholder.
(Photos: Top left, Sheena Monnin, a Miss USA contestant who, after claiming the pageant was fixed, was ordered to pay Donald Trump $5 million; top right, a pigeon, courtesy of U.S. Department of Fish and Wildife ; sketch of Major courtesy of Dr. Michael Worboys, University of Manchester)
Posted by jwoestendiek March 11th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, beauty, beauty pageants, breeding, conformation, crufts, desirable, disorders, dog breed, dog shows, dogs, donald trump, females, first, form, genetic, humans, ideals, inbreeding, males, miss america, miss usa, perfection, pets, pigeons, pt barnum, shape, size, standards, westminster, written
After a dalmatian owner showed some spotty behavior in Central Park, he has been sued by the man who claims he was attacked by him — aptly enough, the owner of a pointer.
The New York Daily News reports that Jeffrey Drogin, owner of a German shorthaired pointer who has competed at Westminster, is suing the owner of the dalmatian he says he was trying to save his dog from.
Drogin said he had just pulled the dalmatian off his dog when the dalmatian’s owner, Ralph Wachtel, 74, “cold cocked and pummeled” him “without provocation or warning,” according to a Manhattan Supreme Court lawsuit.
“His dog was on top of my dog, attacking my dog, and I lifted him off by the collar and was walking him away from the fight,” Drogin, a 59-year-old Manhattan engineer, told the Daily News.
Drogin said Wachtel punched him in the head, back and face, breaking one of his teeth. “I made a point of not hitting back. I didn’t want to hit a man that was 10 years older than me.”
Apparently there was some ill will between the dogs, and the dog owners, even before the March 8, 2012 incident, which the Daily News said led to assault charges against Wachtel.
Drogin said Wachtel’s dalmatians had previously gone after his dog Homer, and some of his puppies, too.
Drogin is seeking an unspecified monetary award.
The Daily News said no comment was offered by either Wachtel, or his wife — who the newspaper’s “puparazzi” confronted as she left the couple’s apartment to walk the dalmatians, Arrow and Target.
(Photo: Andrew Savulich / New York Daily News)
Posted by jwoestendiek March 8th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, assault, behavior, breeds, central park, dogs, fighting, german short-haired pointer, homer, humans, jeffrey drogin, lawsuit, leashes, new york, park, pets, prizewinning, ralph wachtel, westminster
And, groundless as the accusations are, the New York Times saw fit to print them.
Cruz, a three-year-old Samoyed, died just a few days after competing at Westminster.
The New York Times calls it, “A whodunit that has rattled the show world and ignited tensions between animal activists and purebred-champion breeders.”
Why point the finger at animal rights rowdies for the death of Cruz?
Robert Chaffin, Cruz’s handler, says simply that they are the most likely suspects.
“Unfortunately, dog shows have been plagued by some of these people for years,” he said. “I’ve heard horror stories about other people’s dogs having their setups tampered with, being poisoned, but I never thought it would come to me.”
While animal rights groups have long protested dog shows, tampering with and poisoning canine contestants — a rare occurence — has traditionally more often been perpetrated by the human competitors, either out of jealousy or to better their chances to win.
Based on known facts so far, Cruz’s humans seem to be making a pretty big leap.
Chaffin accompanied Cruz to New York for the Westminster competition and says he paid close attention to everything the dog ate, including a steak he fed him the night before. Despite his monitoring, he said, “It would have been easy for someone to throw something in his cage.”
On top of that, Chaffin said he remembered a stranger at the Westminster show glaring at him and making a disapproving remark about Cruz having been debarked, a process in which a dog’s vocal cords are removed.
Chaffin admitted there was no evidence that Cruz had been deliberately poisoned, and no confirmation that poisoning was even the cause of death.
No necropsy was performed.
Lynette Blue, one of Cruz’s owners said she declined a necropsy because she was confident that he swallowed poison. Blue says she called New York City police after Cruz died to report possible foul play.
Cruz, 3, died on Feb. 16 in Lakewood, Colo., where he was competing in another show. He began vomiting blood, and Chaffin took him to Animal Critical Care and Emergency Services in Lakewood, where he was hooked up to an intravenous drip and received oxygen, but died shortly thereafter.
“We have been devastated and in shock,” Blue said. “This is one of the most painful experiences of my life.”
Molly Comiskey, the Colorado veterinarian who treated Cruz, said his symptoms resembled those of a poisoned dog, but that his cause of death remains unclear. She saw no reason to believe he’d been intentionally poisoned.
“Dogs are dogs. It’s not anyone’s fault. They eat stuff; they get into things; they make bad decisions,” she said.
The Times article points out the possibility that Cruz may have had an undiagnosed genetic disorder, but quotes Blue as saying he had no history of such. The lack of answers, it seems, is leading to some pretty wild speculation.
“We keep thinking of the various scenarios, and it’s starting to feel like something we may never know,” Blue said.
Given his owners passed on a chance to help solve what they see as a whodunit — namely, having a necrospy performed — that might very well be the case.
(Photo: Lynette Blue)
Posted by jwoestendiek February 28th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: activists, animal rights, animals, blamed, colorado, cruz, death, died, dog, dog shows, dogs, evidence, handler, lakewood, mouse poison, owners, pets, poison, poisoned, purebred, rat poison, robert chaffin, samoyed, suspected, westminster, westminster kennel club dog show, whodunit
As that annual parade of the pedigreed known as the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show unfolded at Madison Square Garden, there has been a debate over purebred dogs going on in the pages of the New York Times, at least its digital ones.
It’s worth checking out, especially, in my view, two of the opinion pieces from two of my favorite dog experts.
Alexandra Horowitz, professor of psychology at Barnard College and author of “Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know,” hits on several important points in a piece focused mainly on the link between breed standards and inherited disorders.
She cites research showing that, among the most popular breeds, almost every one has developed some type of inherited disorder stemming from breed standards that prescribe how a dog should look.
Bulldogs and pugs have broad and shortened heads that lead to obstructions in breathing. Many large breeds have debilitating hip and elbow dysplasias. Shar-Peis, because of their wrinkly skin, are prone to eye ulcerations. The Cavalier King Charles spaniel may have a brain that grows too large for its skull, an extremely painful condition called syringomyelia.
By changing the breed standards — making them more health-contingent than looks-contingent, the health of dozens of breeds could be improved, she notes.
Horowitz also addresses the matter of personality. Although AKC breed standards make it sound like a dog’s personality is genetically determined, that’s not the case, she says.
” … A dog is not merchandise whose behavior (outside of a few hard-wired ones, like pointing) can be predicted ahead of time.
“While many owners may see breed-typical personalities in their dogs (we humans do tend to spot just the evidence which supports our theories), there is simply no guarantee that a dog will behave just so. Witness the cases of cloned — genetically identical — pets who have, to their owners’ great surprise, quite different personalities.”
Making it sound like the personality of all dogs can be predicted by what breed they are is problematic, she notes.
“When a dog does not behave in accordance with her ‘billing,’ owners call this a ‘behavior problem’ — the single greatest reason for relinquishment of a dog to a shelter. Thus, inadvertently, breed standards lead potential adopters to treat them more like products with reliable features.
“Dogs are individuals, and should be treated thusly.”
In another piece presented in the Times “Room for Debate” feature, James Serpell, the Marie Moore professor of animal welfare at the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and the director of the Center for the Interaction of Animals and Society, looks at what kennel clubs, dog shows and the breed standards they espouse, has led to.
For one, inbreeding, as a way to produce dogs that most closely fit the written standards, or in some cases the interpretation thereof.
“Not only were the original gene pools of many breeds very small to begin with, but breeders have also accentuated the problem by selectively breeding from relatively small numbers of “champion sires” and/or by mating together closely related individuals.
“Nowadays, many breeds are highly inbred and express an extraordinary variety of genetic defects as a consequence: defects ranging from anatomical problems, like hip dysplasia, that cause chronic suffering, to impaired immune function and loss of resistance to fatal diseases like cancer. The only sensible way out of this genetic dead-end is through selective out-crossing with dogs from other breeds, but this is considered anathema by most breeders since it would inevitably affect the genetic “purity” of their breeds…”
“When standards do more harm than good, they should either be revised or abandoned altogether. We owe it to the dogs.”
A compelling argument is also made by Mark Derr, an author who was among the first to bring attention to the problems that have been created in the quest for purity and predictability: “It is long past time to make changes to standards that improve dogs’ lives or discontinue their breeding,” he concludes.
Less in line with my thinking — but I”ll point you to it, anyway – was a piece submitted by Lilian Barber, who breeds, judges and writes about Italian greyhounds.
Barber, president of the Kennel Club of Palm Springs, Calif., argues that breed standards are about more than appearance.
“Breeding dogs that fit a written standard isn’t just about appearance. Different breeds have different traits. It’s like choosing a vehicle. In many cases a two-door sedan will suffice, but sometimes a truck is needed.”
She continues, fortunately shifting out of the motor vehicle analogy:
”Most breeders of purebreds support research regarding the genetic health of their breeds and plan their matings carefully to insure that the offspring will be healthy. It would make little sense to put time, effort, money and passion into breeding unhealthy dogs … Those dogs are a huge and vital part of our lives.”
You can find links to all the opinion pieces here.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 14th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: alexandra horowitz, animals, breed standards, breeds, cloning, debate, dog, dog shows, dogs, experts, genetic, genetics, health, inbreeding, inherited, james serpell, kennel club, mark derr, new york times, opinions, personality, pets, problems, purebreds, room for debate, standards, traits, westminster
Banana Joe — a fluffy-haired, feisty, football-sized black affenpinscher — won Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.
Banana Joe, whose bouncy step brought him close to winning best in his group the past two years at Madison Square Garden, took home the top honor in what was to be his final appearance, the Associated Press reported.
It was the first ever Best in Show win by an affenpinscher.
He entered the last two Westminsters with a lot of fanfare, but finished second in the toy group both times.
There were 2,721 entries in 187 breeds and varieties at the 137th annual show.
Banana Joe beat out Swagger, an old English sheepdog who was a crowd favorite, and five other dogs to win the title.
The other contenders were an American foxhound, a Bichon Frise, a smooth fox terrier, a German wirehaired pointer and a Portuguese water dog.
Judge Michael Dougherty said Banana Joe “was presented in immaculate manner … He was on the minute he walked in … He’s in perfect condition, perfect body.”
(Photo: (Frank Franklin II/AP)
Posted by jwoestendiek February 13th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: affenpinscher, animals, Banana Joe, best in show, dog show, dogs, madison square garden, pets, sheepdog, swagger, westminster, westminster kennel club dog show, winner
Earlier this year, the Board of County Commissioners agreed to set aside land for a dog park, and selected Bennett Cerf Park, located off Route 27, across the street from the Random House Publishing Co.
The county has agreed to provide the space, but dog park supporters will have to buy equipment and maintain the park.
Supporters of the park will be at the Carroll County Pet Expo on June 16, at the Carroll County Agriculture Center, hoping to raise money.
“We have given pamphlets out around different animal places and at various veterinarians,” said Laurie Walters of Westminster, one of the organizers of the project, told the Baltimore Sun.
The town of Mount Airy has its own dog park, but the Bennett Cerf location would become the first county-owned dog park. The dog park will be about an acre in size and will be located where the park’s tennis courts were before they were removed last year.
Supporters estimate it will cost about $15,000 to get the park ready to open. Initial plans call for building a fence, a double-gated entry and resurfacing the area with grass and stone dust.
“It will be a ‘bare bones’ dog park,” Walters said. “… We won’t have, at the beginning, benches or running water.”
The park will be restricted to members who pay a yearly access fee, probably around $30. Before becoming a member, owners must show proof of their dogs having and license and proper vaccinations.
Walters first approached the City of Westminster in 1997 about creating a dog park. While the city was in favor of the idea, it had trouble finding a suitable location, she said.
The Carroll Kennel Club has pledged to match donations up to $7,500 through the end of 2012, Walters said.
Supporters of the Bennett Cerf Dog Park project will be at the Pet Expo on Saturday, June 16, from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Those wishing to donate to the project can also write to Bennett Cerf Dog Park, Carroll County Recreation and Parks, 300 S. Center Street, Westminster, MD 21157.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 11th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, bennett cerf, bennett cerf park, campaign, carroll county, carroll kennel club, dog, dog park, dogs, donate, donations, drive, fundraising, laurie walters, maryland, park, parks, pet expo, pets, random house, recreation, westminster
The RSPCA and The Dogs’ Trust withdrew their support of Crufts. The BBC refused to broadcast the competition. And Pedigree, the pet food company, canceled its sponsorship of the event after more than 40 years.
(Pedigree — coincidentally? — was excused this year as a sponsor of the Westminster Dog Show, also after 40 years.)
After the documentary aired in the UK, the Kennel Club began taking some steps to revise the physical standards, used in judging, that many argued were leading to issues like cancer, epilepsy and breathing problems in certain breeds.
But how much did things actually change? Three years later — during which time, public indignation never seemed to fully drift onto U.S. shores — the answer seems to be not substantially and not quickly enough
That’s one conclusion of ”Pedigree Dogs Exposed: Three Years On,” which airs on BBC tonight, and is likely to trigger a new firestorm — and just in times for Crufts, the prestigious purebred dog show that runs from March 8 through March 11.
The new documentary was making news even before it aired.
In one interview in the program, Gerhard Oechtering, a veterinary professor at Germany’s Leipzig University, called for pugs and bulldogs to be banned, saying it’s unethical to keep producing members of a breed that can’t breathe properly. Dr. Oechtering called for flat-nosed breeds to be mated with long-nosed ones so that new generations do not suffer from blocked airways, reported the Daily Mail.
Another expert, in a call bound to distress many purebred breeders, goes so far as to urge the public to turn to mutts. “The best solution overall would be to popularize mixed breed dogs as pets because they are much less likely to be afflicted with the genetic diseases that are associated with pedigree dog breeding,” Cambridge University’s Nick Jeffery is quoted as saying in the Telegraph.
Jemima Harrison, producer of both the original and the sequel, said in an interview with the Sunday Express that there have been many positive changes in the three years that have passed.
In the aftermath of the documentary, bans were imposed on mating mothers with sons; fathers with daughters and brothers with sisters. The Kennel Club reviewed breed standards for over 200 breeds and made changes to 78.
The Kennel Club now permits Dalmatian cross breeding in order to normalize the breed’s uric acid genes. Currently, high levels caused by inbreeding can cause stones that make some dogs unable to urinate, leading to bursting bladders.
Still, in the eyes of Harrison, some of the changes in standards have been only minor, like changing the preference for a pug’s muzzle from “short” to “relatively short.”
“The Kennel Club is just tweaking; it is fiddling while Rome burns. We have still the problem of dogs being bred within very small gene pools. You can still mate a grandfather and a granddaughter… They are still being bred to win in the show-ring and the show-ring still has no health criteria. It’s the prettiest dogs that win and it’s at considerable cost to the dogs.”
Harrison is particularly pessimistic about the fate of the bulldog, whose breeders, she says, are “adamant that there’s no need for change”– even though the breed’s shape has become such that mating often requires “mating cradles” or human manipulation, and 80 percent give birth by caesarean section.
“Pedigree dogs are heritage breeds and something to be proud of, but too often their health and welfare are compromised. Fundamental reform is needed before we can be proud of the pedigree dogs we produce in this country,” she said.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 27th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, bbc, breeds, bulldogs, crufts, dalmatians, documentary, dog show, dog shows, dogs, dogs trust, genetic, health, jemima harrison, pedigree, pedigree dogs exposed, pets, problems, pugs, purebred, rspca, standards, three years on, westminster
First the New York Post reported that the city health department had called an end to the annual tradition of Westminster’s winner enjoying a lunch at Sardi’s.
Then the New York Times reported, the same day, that the celebratory meal for Westminster’s Best in Show would be allowed to continue.
Who’s a dog to believe?
After this year’s best in show winner, a Pekingese named Malachy, enjoyed a lunch of chicken and rice, served on a silver platter, word came down from the city health department Wednesday — which apparently had somehow not noticed the annual tradition, despite all the pomp and publicity accompanying it, during the previous 30 years.
Starting next year, the health department said, Sardi’s could no longer invite Westminster’s winner to a meal, except maybe to go. “We can’t be expected to just roll over for the champ. Our primary concern is making sure people and pets follow the doggone rules — ideally without whining or begging,” said city Health Department spokesman John Kelly.
His bad quips did little to appease those upset with the ruling.
Restaurant owner Max Klimavicius pointed out that his special guest was served in a private room on the second floor and said he was sorry to see the ritual end, according to the Post.
Then came word from the Times that the Health Department had discovered a loophole: It’s okay if the department’s commissioner signs a waiver.
(I suggest every New York dog owner request one, today.)
The department said a waiver would be granted to Westminster’s winners in coming years.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 16th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: allows, best in show, calls off, dog show, ends, health department, loophole, lunch, malachy, meal, pekingese, ritual, sardis, silver platter, terminates, tradition, westminster, winner
An 11-pound fluffball named Malachy took the Best in Show title at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show last night.
It was the fourth time a Pekingese has won at Westminster, according to the Associated Press:
“This little stump of a dog beat out the likes of a Dalmatian, German shepherd, Doberman pinscher, Irish setter, a Kerry blue terrier and wire-haired dachshund. A 4-year-old pompom, Malachy wobbled to his 115th overall best in show title.”
Malachy, one of more than 2,000 purebred competitors at Madison Square Garden — representing 185 breeds — won the toy group Monday night.
“Super dog, and he had a stupendous night,” Judge Cindy Vogels said after picking him as best in show. “There’s a lot of dog in a small package.”
Malachy chilled out after his win, resting on a cooling cushion.
David Fitzpatrick, Malachy’s handler and part owner, said the dog will likely retire now in East Berlin, Pa.
“He’ll probably chase squirrels and he’ll be pampered,” Fitzpatrick said.
(Photo: Seth Wenig / Associated Press)
Posted by jwoestendiek February 15th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, best in show, david fitzpatrick, dog, dog show, dog shows, dogs, kennel club, malachy, peke, pekingese, pets, westminster
Wonder why you’re not seeing any ads for Pedigree dog food during the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show?
Apparently, mutts like Roscoe (above) — especially homeless ones — aren’t viewed by the club as sending the right message, so they’ve cut their ties to long-time sponsor (as in 24 years) Pedigree dog foods.
Apparently, some of Pedigree’s ads — the ones promoting dog adoption, the ones featuring sad-eyed mixed breeds as opposed to well-coiffed, prancing purebreds – were just too hard-hitting and depressing for the kennel club’s tastes.
“We want people to think of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show as a celebration of the dogs in our lives,” David Frei, the club’s director of communications and the host of the show for over two decades, told the Associated Press.
“Our show is a celebration of dogs. We’re not promoting purebreds at the expense of non-purebreds. We celebrate all dogs. When we’re seeing puppies behind bars, it takes away from that. Not just because it’s sad, but it’s not our message … Show me an ad with a dog with a smile; don’t try to shame me.”
Pedigree’s ads, club honchos agreed, were getting too heavy-handed.
Frei said the kennel club had expressed those concerns to Pedigree: “We told them that, and they ignored us.”
Taking a look at the newest series of ads that are part of Pedigree’s continuing efforts to encourage dog adoptions — you can see them here — I don’t see much sadness. They seem more an expression of pride. They come right out and say don’t feel sorry for me. They seem to say the shelter mutt is just as valuable, and will make just as good a pet (and we’d argue maybe even better) than a purebred.
Maybe that’s the kennel club’s problem. Maybe they want television coverage of Westminster — the big show began yesterday at Madison Square Garden — to keep the focus strictly on purebreds, which are, for it, the money makers.
Granted, some of Pedigree’s earlier adoption-oriented ads were pretty bleak in tone; and everybody (attention ASPCA and Humane Society) is getting tired of those ads that, while cool for the first two viewings, continue to tug so blatantly and repeatedly at our heartstrings we now switch the channels instantly when they come on.
Granted, too, the Westminster Dog Show is free to choose any advertisers it wants, and the American Kennel Club does fund research and offer programs that benefit all dogs, purebred or not. And, to keep things in context, it’s not necessarily dissing mutts with this particular action; it’s dissing downer, guilt-inducing adoption ads.
But it all comes across a little like snobbery; a little like denial, when it comes to the millions of dogs euthanized each year; a little like let’s stay here in our private fantasy world — not open to the unwashed masses, or those who might be of mixed breeds, even though every purebred, except the wolf, is in fact a result of mixing.
Pedigree has been replaced with Nestlé Purina PetCare, whose ads of peppy, happy dogs are more to the kennel club’s liking. The new partnership was announced last spring.
“They’ve shared with us, when we parted ways, that they felt that our advertising was focused too much on the cause of adoption and that wasn’t really a shared vision,” said Melissa Martellotti, a brand communications manager for Mars Petcare US, which makes the Pedigree brands. The kennel club, she said, is “focused on the purebred mission.”
Martellotti said the partnership had been a boon to Pedigree’s adoption initiatives. In 2007, $500,000 in pledges were received after its ads were broadcast over the show’s two days.
Nearly 3.5 million people watched last year’s show, broadcast on the USA Network and CNBC.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 14th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adoption, ads, advertising, animals, campaign, celebrate, company, david frei, dog food, dog show, dogs, dogs in advertising, dropped, euthanized, kennel club, message, mutts, pedigree, pets, purebred, sad, shelters, sponsor, westminster, woof in advertising