Guest columnist Carolyn Alexander is a Bull Terrier breeder, AKC judge, and Legislative Liaison for the Del Monte Kennel Club, and a member of several other dog clubs. She is also the Bull Terrier Breed Columnist for the AKC Gazette. She writes about the importance of unified efforts to oppose breed-specific and anti-breeder legislation.
Bull Terrier people tend to be among the more insular of AKC breed families. It is time, however, to cast our awareness and fellowship farther afield. That doesn’t mean we pay any less attention to Bull Terriers, but we do need to consider extending our familial embrace to include the wider world of dogs and to be concerned with all issues affecting canines and their owners.
All dog breeds and their owners are facing assaults of varying degree and issue based primarily on litigious societies, animal rights activists, and negative publicity about everything we do. Many city governments are trying to pass mandatory spay/neuter laws. Lavishly funded animal rights groups espouse improving the living situations for animals, but in reality mislead the public with their emotional appeals. We face organizations and laws that would limit breeding, no matter how carefully and conscientiously planned.
People with bull breeds and with certain large breeds deal with all these issues and must also fight breed-specific legislation.
What we must remember is that there is a brother/sisterhood in dogs, and especially in purebred dogs. We need to support our breeds and our brother/sisterhood through membership in local kennel clubs, in local and national breed clubs, and in support of breed rescue.
The special bond that bull breed owners share is based in part in a collective prejudice we have endured because of how our dogs look. Scapegoating is an ignorant form of power-gaming that singles out the innocent for unwarranted blame and bad treatment. This kind of discrimination is fostered by those who want easy solutions and quick fixes.
As purebred dog owners, regardless of the breed, we need to remember that we have an important place within AKC and in the history of canines. We have many friends in the dog world. It is time to celebrate our relationship and friendship with others of the canine community. We need to be united in our efforts to fight unhealthy, unwise discrimination based on appearance or breed name. The deed, not the breed.
Adapted with permission from “Banding Together”, AKC Gazette, August 2011, by Carolyn Alexander.
The opinions expressed by guest columnists may not represent the views of the American Kennel Club®.