Westminster Dog Show Ditches Sponsor Because Ads Make Everyone Cry

Anyone who sat down to watch the Westminster Kennel Club dog show this week probably likes dogs, and might even have one. That’s why Pedigree brand dog food has been the event’s major sponsor for the last 24 years, even though it’s unlikely that the dogs in the ring eat such pedestrian fare. This year, Purina has replaced Pedigree as sponsor. Why? Was their contract up? Slashed ad budget? No. It was because Pedigree’s commercials about the plight of shelter dogs were bumming everyone out.

“The feedback we got from our primary audience was that they were seeing commercials that made them want to turn the channel,” a show spokesman told the Associated Press.

Other than a disagreement between the kennel club and Pedigree, this drags out divisions in the world of dog lovers: between the owners of purebred and designer dogs, who adopt from breeders, and the owners of all ancestries adopted from shelters and rescues.

The Christian Science Monitor framed it in familiar Occupy Wall Street terms: Pampered show dogs are the elite canine 1%, while their relatives languish in shelters, wishing for a human to call their very own. Snobby Westminster doesn’t care about ordinary dogs without homes? Then ordinary dog owners will rally around Pedigree and parent company Mars.

Westminster spokesman David Frei denies that there’s class war at play here, telling the AP:

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.

Here’s my favorite ad from the old Pedigree campaign. By “favorite” I mean, “made me want to weep, then adopt every shelter dog in a ten-mile radius.”

Contrast that with Purina’s spot, which features amateur footage of dogs being happy, wagging their tails, and doing fun and inspiring things.

Wagging tails replace sad eyes in Westminster ads [AP]
Dog Show Says Brand’s Ads Were Too Sad, But Pet Owners Rally to Pedigree’s Side [AdAge]
Is Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show dissing shelter dogs? [Christian Science Monitor]
Nestle Purina: Great [Video]


Edit Your Comment

  1. clippy2.0 says:

    Both of my dogs are rescues, and I still always change the channel when I see those horrible commercials. Yes, I know it’s good to let people know that animals are abused and need rescuing, but I don’t think there is ever a good excuse to flash images of abused animals on TV

    • clippy2.0 says:

      Gah, curse you lack of edit key. I meant to type in “but at least the pedigree one’s were in good taste. It’s more those sad music, sad puppy commercials that I hate”

      • Coleoptera Girl says:

        Do you think the same can be applied to commercials that flash equally sad human images? Starving children, etc? I’m honestly curious.
        I agree with you, though. There are better ways, even if it’s just to mix the images of rescued animals and animals in need of rescue.

        • clippy2.0 says:

          I feel the same way about all of those types of commercials. I think the only ones I can really stand are the “save the tigers” commercials, because they have sad music, but have tiger cubs playing in a meadow. Imagine if those commercials actually showed the things they were talking about; tigers being poached. yeah, that commercial would be pulled asap. Seriously, just show commercials of the after effects, not the before.

    • Dallas_shopper says:

      I disagree. Some people don’t realize these things are a problem unless they actually see it. Probably not the best idea to air ads like that during the Westminster Dog Show, but I don’t have any problem with those kinds of ads.

    • Tegan says:

      Same here, my dog growing up was a rescue and all three of our cats are from a shelter, but I change the channel when those commercials come on. Good message, but they make me cry and feel bad for not being able to adopt 30 animals in our 700 square-foot apartment.

    • whiterussian says:

      These dogs are not necessarily abused, they are just waiting. I volunteer at a shelter and we try to make their existence as comfortable as possible.

    • cyberpenguin says:

      You really should watch the Pedigree commercial before commenting.

      None of the dogs were abused… they were expectantly awaiting someone to give them a home. They were happy and eager dogs ready to play outside the kennel in a home of their own.

    • sparrowmint says:

      Not that that was an accurate description of the commercials in question, but by the same token, I’d then prefer to never have to see a commercial for third world children or St. Jude’s children’s hospital commercials full of sick and dying kids. The abused animal commercials can go as soon as the sick and poor kids commercials go.

  2. Browncoat says:

    Sad dogs are sad.

    • JennQPublic says:

      Someone is going to have to explain to my dog why I’m squeezing her so hard and sniffing a lot. :-/

    • caradrake says:

      Damn you, Consumerist. I had the volume off and that commercial still made me teary-eyed.

      I wish we were allowed to have dogs in this rental. It’s probably the main ‘meh’ thing.

  3. bdgbill says:

    Don’t be too jealous of these “pampered pooches”. They spend two thirds of their lives sitting in plastic crates and a big portion of the remainder being blow-dried. The average trailer park mutt probably has a happier life than any of the Westminster contenders.

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      i had to do a cat rescue pickup at a cat breeder once – they had gone bankrupt and abandoned the house and all the animals. the entire back room and back porch was crates no more than 36 by 36 inches, stacked 4 high. many of the cats were dead by the time we were called and that was only because the neighbors noticed cats escaping. none of the breeding parent cats were socialized. they just lived in those crates, some of them all through hot florida summers on the back porch, their whole lives, having litter after litter of fancy pedigreed kittens.
      the kittens who got go to be show cats or pampered pets had it lucky by at least that much.

      • who? says:

        I guess I’m not sure what a puppy (or kitten) mill has to do with how show animals are treated. They’re very different things.

        • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

          the breeder i had to do a rescue pickup at was a show breeder. they were breeding [and neglecting] purebred show cats

    • FreeMarketFan says:

      That’s not entirely true.

      I was involved a bit in the whole dog-show circuit and knew many of the handlers on a personal level and their respective breeders. These dogs live very good lives and for the most part are done showing by the time they hit 3-4 years old. (Either because they are a champion or just not material and not worth the costs associated with the shows)

      You only need 15 points to become a champion, with I believe 2 or 3 majors (can’t remember if it’s 2 or 3)….Where majors are usually 3-4 points and the others vary depending on number of dogs in the breed.

      When a dog hits champion – it’s usually breeding time and relaxing and chilling out. Breeder gets champion in the blood-line and dog gets to relax. Most of those dogs aren’t thrown in “plastic crates” more like going to a show in the van chilling in the back seat.

      So yea – as long as the handler and breeder are cool, the dog has it great

    • Kate says:

      Actually you are wrong. I showed dogs for years and most show dogs are beloved pets.

    • who? says:

      I have a “rescued” show dog. She had a very good life in a very good home before we got her. All of the dogs in that home were well trained, well cared for pets. My dog’s life as a non-show dog isn’t any better or worse than it was as a show dog, just different. She’s well cared for either way.

  4. dulcinea47 says:

    Purebred dogs are not “adopted”. People BUY them from breeders. For lots of money.

  5. alexwade says:

    When I wanted to get a new cat when my last one died, I went to PetCo and got two rescue cats. If ever I want another pet, I will always get a rescue.

    • The Slime Oozing Out From Your TV Set says:

      I make my own rescued pets at home! :)

      A friend of a friend found some kittens in a dumpster, and we got one. Our youngest, boss of that dumpster cat, was on the verge of dying from the summer heat last year.

      • 99 1/2 Days says:

        Same here. Was planning on going to the pound and adopting, and less than a week before I had the day available, an adorable long-haired cinnamon lynx point kitten hollered at my husband’s restaurant’s back door on a very snowy day and demanded to be rescued first. She stank and was undersized (no longer) but healthy. Now two months later she’s perfect and running around like a spaz driving us all insane. The night we got her the low was 17¬∫, so there’s no doubt it was a timely rescue.

  6. DragonThermo says:

    Surely it is possible to make a commercial extolling the virtues of adopting a cat or dog from a shelter (before the HSUS or PETA euthanize them and dispose of them in a Dumpster behind a grocery store) without making showing images of sad, abused animals with a sad Sarah McLaughlin song in the background, making everyone cry or turn the channel.

    How about a message like “You like these dogs? There are some perfectly good dogs and cats waiting for you to adopt them at the local shelter!”, showing images of happy people with their happy dogs and cats.

    • Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:


    • airren says:

      ITA! What a great idea. I would love to see a positive commercial about pet adoption. I can’t watch those Sarah McLaughlin ones either.

      All 6 (currently 4 at the house, 2 in doggie heaven) of the dogs we’ve had over the years have been rescued from somewhere. Damn fine dogs each of them. I’m betting showing that these dogs can be happy and super companions would get more people down to the shelter than the sad sad dogs…

    • jvanbrecht says:

      I hate those ads.. I cannot watch them… and I live with 2 dogs and 2 cats.. all rescues.

      “hi, I’m Sarah Mclachlan, and I’m about to ruin your whole fucking day”

      That is what that ad causes.. it is more of a detriment then anything else, because I won’t watch it.

    • juggler314 says:

      It’s more difficult than you think. Most people that are not already “in the know” will just gravitate towards a pet store – where it’s all cute as hell puppies (genetic/social problems to show up later). Particularly with “blue collar” types that just don’t have the time/money/incentive to look into these issues. I have neighbors that have two dogs…and we foster rescue dogs – still they talk about buying another dog at a pet store – even though they have conscientious neighbors who tell them all about the wonderful rescues they have (and they love all the dogs that come and go). The only way to get a large majority of people to change their ways and start going to shelters/rescue organizations is to shame them into realizing what it is they are doing/supporting by buying a dog at a pet store or from a breeder.

      • CubeRat says:

        I disagree with you, and I believe that DragonThermo has a point. I’ve read several articles about increases in shelter adoptions after better photo’s of the animals were posted. At one shelter, a professional photographer volunteers and takes cute photos – that replaced the photo shot with kitty/doggie in a carrier looking terrified.

        An image of a injured dog does not make me want to adopt a dog, I change the channel. And I absolutely hate the ASPCA ads. I contribute to the local SPCA but not the national ASPCA.

      • JennQPublic says:

        I think it would be much more effective to focus on the positives to adopting a rescue dog, particularly that adult dogs may already be trained and more settled, less destructive. Puppies are adorable, but raising them is a chore. Showing happy owners with their obedient, loving dogs might make dog ownership seem more appealing.

  7. deejmer says:

    Sorry Guys….but since when did an ‘adopted’ puppy become a ‘rescue’? It feels to me to be really self-aggrandizing to claim you rescued it. If you had dragged it out of a frozen lake maybe…but really your Fido was just someone else’s sloppy seconds.

    • clippy2.0 says:

      I know you’re just being a troll, but I really hope you get hit by a bus ^.^

      • deejmer says:

        You’re an idiot. All i’m saying is that people have decided to change the term for something thats been happening for decades. Its a symptom of our “oh look at me culture, did you see how important it was that i got that dog”. To wish I get hit by a bus makes you the fucking troll.

        • clippy2.0 says:

          Let me get this straight, you’re being serious? So to start off, let’s point out that because of the massive quantities of animals in shelters, a great number of them have to be put down; generally the rates of survival are tied directly to the budget. Secondly, at least for where I live (in the Northeast) Most dogs at shelters and humane societies are transplants; dogs and cats rescued off the streets, brought to southern shelters, and then brought up north to attempt to find homes for them. Both of my puppies came north this way; one was found by a lady who dedicates herself to findings strays off the streets of Puerto Rico and helping to find them shelters and homes in the US. My second was from Alabama, moved up north to avoid being put down. Not every animal in the shelter is just someone’s “Oh I’m moving and have this pure breed so I need to find it a new home but I’m too lazy”. Dogs and cats in shelters are put down, plain and simple. If saving an animal from being killed isn’t rescuing it, I don’t know what is. So yeah, get hit by a bus

          • airren says:

            Hey clippy2.0. Our latest dog came from that shelter in AL that is behind trekking all those pups up north (we actually live in AL). Glad to hear another success story. I know it’s terribly difficult for these folks to find funding to get all the pooches in the trucks and transport them all that way – super happy to know they are getting saved.

            • clippy2.0 says:

              That’s awesome to hear! I always like hearing good stories. I had been raised with pure bred dogs, so I hadn’t really ever considered adopting. Once I saw him, it was love at first sight. Now I know I would never bother going for a pure bred, rescues and adoptions are the way to go!

          • Bsamm09 says:

            Wow. Telling a person to get hit by a bus because they don’t agree with the term “rescue”? Thank god he didn’t use “you’re” instead of “your” cause you probably would’ve hoped he got date raped.

            • deejmer says:

              I think thats what I was getting at. I was making a point that people have run away with this term, and I think its odd. I didn’t wish harm on ANYONE or their animal. I like animals. I’ve ADOPTED animals from the HUmane Society which does put down animals. I was trying to make a point and be a bit funny/snarky while I was at it.

              Meanwhile, Clippy 2.0 apparently feels more strongly about an animal and how someone refers to them, in the meantime *wishing i’m either harmed or killed by a bus*.

          • sponica says:

            the same’s true for dogs at my animal shelter….if we didn’t truck them in from the south there would BE no dogs available for adoption.

            now cats are a different story…we practically have to pay people to adopt cats (in the form of waiving adoption fees on cats when the population gets too high)

            can someone PLEASE explain to me why municipalities don’t regulate cat ownership the way they regulate dog ownership? I’d gladly pay a 3 or 5 dollar fee to register my neutered cat if the town charged 50 dollars for unaltered cats if it meant that the cat population would decrease

            • SmokeyBacon says:

              In the town where our vet is there is some kind of law about unaltered dogs and cats and additional fees that have to be charged – I can’t remember exactly what it is because 1) I don’t live in that town and 2) I always spay/neuter. But they do have to pay extra (I want to say it is related to the annual rabies shot somehow) if they don’t have it done. (Obviously this wouldn’t count if the animal isn’t old enough, but they wouldn’t be getting the rabies shot at that age anyway). Of course someone who wouldn’t get the spay/neuter done probably isn’t a good owner and doesn’t get an annual check up or rabies shots anyway.

        • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

          It’s not exactly a new term. When I was a kid, we got our first dog from the Homestead Dog Rescue back in 1975.

        • webweazel says:

          deejmer has a point. He could have said it quite a bit better than this, though.

          If one gets an animal from HSUS, I think it’s considered ‘adopted’. We used to work with a ‘rescue’ organization, and it’s completely different. HSUS to us, just takes them in and stores them until they go to another home. A rescue organization saves lives that would otherwise simply be discarded, especially by the HSUS. In fact, quite a few of our group’s animals were received from HSUS when their time ran out and they were going to be killed.

          For instance, we got a Boston terrier that was rescued from the needle at HSUS, and he was the coolest dog we have ever had in our house to this day. The only one of the fosters who slept in our bed every night. (We still regret to this day not keeping that one.) Also, we found a stray young black kitten in our yard that needed her front leg amputated because of an injury. We got her into the group, she got her surgery, and found a great home with lots of other kitties and became king of the kitty tree. Then, we had a husky who had his tail chopped off and was starved and neglected. A concerned neighbor convinced the shitty owner to give the dog up and brought him to our group to help him. He went to a foster home, but the situation there with other huskies in the house was not working out. (Huskies like to fight each other constantly, evidently.) He had so much stress, he was losing his hair, and his fur was stiff and wiry. He was so out of control, our house was his last chance. We worked with him daily, he calmed down, his fur grew back and softened, and he found a wonderful home with people who love him dearly. That’s rescuing.

          All of our pets are rescues, except for our oldest dog, who was a gift. One dog was being given away on freecycle as a group of puppies that some people found dumped on the side of a road. One other dog was a stray, we’re guessing from people who moved away and left the dog behind to fend for himself. Our two cats are brother & sister who were rescued from a dumpster next to a boat manufacturer.

          We have a calico kitten right now that was a stray I found one afternoon. We are getting her shots, and her spay surgery, and training her, and will be finding her a home as soon as she is ready.

        • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

          Could the difference be that instead of rescueing the dog ourselves, we’re adopted a rescued dog? The “rescuer” is simply the middle man. Then by association, we are recuing them, too.

          After all, if adopters weren’t around to adopt, no one would be rescuing the dogs in the first place.

    • Dallas_shopper says:

      Total crock in my case. My dog was picked up off the streets in Dallas by the city and taken to the pound. He was scheduled to be euthanized the same day that a local rescue group had a spot open up in their kennel, so he was rescued TWICE. He was with the rescue group for six days before I adopted him.

      Basically that dog came within hours of being killed by the city of Dallas. So yes, he was rescued.

    • alexhohio says:

      Our dog was rescued from a breeder. She had been left outside (in northern Ohio) for months and rarely fed. She was literally rescued, as in physically removed from the bad environment. After a couple years of hard work and a few thousand in vets bills, we have a great (but very skittish) dog. I would say that qualifies. Nice troll by the way- you have gotten a lot of angry responses!

    • BD2008 says:

      You didn’t run into a burning warehouse or climb on the roof of a flooded barn to save the dog. You went to the pound because it is cheap. You don’t love dogs nearly as much as you love the idea of people thinking you’re a hero. You ever notice people who buy their dogs rarely discuss how they got them, versus these morons who work the phrase “She’s a rescue” into every conversation? When I was a kid, all the sofas in my house were freebies we got from other people who were throwing them out. My mom never once referred to them as “rescues.”

      -Adam Carolla

      • deejmer says:


        • clippy2.0 says:

          You know the quoted person is a comedian right?

          • deejmer says:

            Yes, I like Adam Carolla and I know he is a comedian. I was saying “exactly”, because he was good [better] at expressing the same sentiment I had. If you listen REALLY closely, you’ll understand he’s making fun of douche parades like you. Lighten the fuck up.

      • sparrowmint says:

        It’s not always very cheap. Maybe some local city pounds are if you have one in your area (all the municipalities here contract out to private humane societies and shelters), but shelters can and do charge hundreds of dollars for shelter dogs. More for puppies, even more for in demand purebreds if one comes through. Every one I’ve been acquainted with in three different cities has charged significant amounts of money for their dogs. Of course, they come already neutered/spayed, with their shots, etc, so you’re saving money that hopefully would have been spent at a vet’s office, but by no means could it be compared to a free couch grabbed out of the garbage. Of course, as soon as someone compares a couch to an animal, it’s obvious there’s a problem with their point anyway.

    • Jillia says:

      Maybe, but it depends. Our last 2 dogs were actual rescues. The one who died a few years ago was a stray wandering the streets, starving. The other one who is still with us, his owners left him to rot locked up in the basement after they moved out. I hope they burn in hell. My boyfriend, who is a cop, along with a few other guys went to the house after getting multiple calls about the poor thing howling all night. He was the one who actually kicked in the basement door, fastened a makeshift leash (65 lb. shepherd/husky mix, wasn’t sure if he was going to be hostile or not) and put him in the back of the cruiser and took him to BK for a bacon cheeseburger. He’s a hero in my book (and especially the dog’s!).

      We recently adopted a dog from the local SPCA. We didn’t rescue her, persay, but she was initially rescued from an outdoor kennel, emaciated and missing large patches of fur. When they went to spay her, they found a cancerous tumor on her ovary and had it removed. Former owner is being brought up on animal cruelty charges. Beautiful dog, but considering the missing fur and medical history, she had been there for months and was basically unadoptable. They pretty much gave her to us for nothing (we regularly donate anyway). I kind of like to think we rescued her from a droll life of a 6×6 kennel, devoid of love and attention, because some people might not think she was beautiful enough. She’s happy and healthy with us now, and even growing some of her fur back!

    • Julia789 says:

      My “rescue dog” was tied to a trailer, shot in the face, and set on fire.

      She was indeed rescued by a girl in the trailer park, and taken to a vet who operated on her, did intensive care for months, and then put her up for adoption at a shelter.

      I call her adopted. I did not rescue her. The little girl in the trailer park did. Thanks to her, the dog has a nice pampered life now. She should get a girl scout medal or something.

  8. nopirates says:

    i like dogs so the westminster dog show makes me want to vomit

  9. DjDynasty says:

    That commerical made me want to cry sitting here in Starbucks. I have 1 designer dog, from a breeder, dumb as a brick, Knew he wasn’t show quality, nor breeding quality. I got him because no one else would. he was a clearance puppy like Marley, and 3 “other” dogs 2 labs, 1 Jack Russel., that were given to me because otherwise they would go to the kill shelter. I have adopted many cats from kill shelters to prevent them from being killed. Even though I believe in no-kill shelters. I found a successful home for the Jack Russel, and one of the two labs still needs a new home because legally I can’t keep more than 2 dogs in my residence at one time.

    I’ve had a number of unwanted dogs over the years that people have given to me, that I have found new homes and fostered them on their way to a forever home. Each time giving the new owner a fully trained dog that can work with special needs and elederly people.

  10. Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

    There’s no money to be made with sad dogs. I wish there was, otherwise our county shelter wouldn’t have to put down 7,000 animals a year. A few months ago, they had to put down every single dog because of a distemper outbreak. During the spring, it’s not unusual to have to put down cats within 48 hours and dogs within 5 days (state minimum) because of capacity issues.

    I sat on the board for about 6 months before resigning because it was so nerve-racking. Spending a day at the shelter makes you want to go home and throw up.

    • sponica says:

      spending a day at THAT shelter does sound like that…..spending a day at my shelter (while a ton of work, especially on the cat side) is usually fun.

      i think they did have to put down some dogs last month because one of the transport dogs had distemper, even though ALL dogs are vaccinated upon entry, it takes time to become effective.

      during kitten season, the shelter will basically waive all adoption fees in order to entice people to adopt cats, as literally every square inch of space that can be used for cats is used for cats.

      the shelter partners with a couple restaurants to do fundraiser dinners every year and they generally sell out.

      they’ve partnered with some shelter in Alabama (I think) to transport dogs up north. Dogs don’t spend much time at the shelter, generally if there’s a transport on a Sunday, most of the dogs are adopted within 7 days because there’s a tremendous dog shortage up here.

      it’s just too bad not all shelters can operate as efficiently as this one.

  11. shoes says:

    There’s a positive ad I really like – I believe its for the Maryland SPCA. The dog rescue guy shows up with a dog, and it runs in slow motion and jumps into the new owners arms. Its sweet. Love the slogan too – “feel the warmth of a cold nose”.

  12. Gman says:

    The cynic in me wants me to think they rejected the commercial because either breeders pushed to get it removed or because the dogs they were showing were not true purebreads and thus not in line with the guidelines of the event.

    But I really really hope that is just my crazy mind making stuff up. I hope it is just because the dogs are too sad.

  13. Pigfish99 the randomly insane says:

    at least they’re both better than those sarah mclachlan commercials.

  14. SmokeyBacon says:

    I have less of an issue with the Pedigree ads – it is the ASPCA and HSUS ads that are the worst when it comes to sad animals (both dogs and cats). Yes the pedigree can be sad but the ASPCA and HSUS are guaranteed to make me cry. Just thinking of them makes me want to cry actually.

  15. daveinva says:

    I’m a supporter of shelters– have a shelter cat in the house right now– but I’m also not a foe of breeders: as long as we’re not talking puppy mills, there’s a role for high-end breeders as well.

    But I agree completely with the “bad commercials” sentiments above. Commercials that make you want to change the channel are ineffective by definition. There are a lot of pluses to adopting that can and should be emphasized well before we see doggie and kitty jail camps.

    Guilt is not the emotion we wish to engender in pet adopters.

  16. speaky2k says:

    I liked the Supperbowl rescue dog add… Here Wego! It was a happy ad, well except for the fact it was showing the consumption of yellow fizzy liquid instead of real beer.
    My Dad, Aunt, and I all got our cats from shelters of some sort. Before that we always got kittens from a farmer. The dog my girlfriend got wasn’t truly a rescue because it was from a private home, but in our opinion it was rescued from the family who horded dogs.

  17. Tim says:

    Positive or negative, the point is the same: there are many shelter dogs that will die if they’re not adopted. When you choose a breeder dog over a shelter or rescue dog, you’re denying a home for a shelter/rescue dog.

    • SmokeyBacon says:

      I totally agree – if you are really interested in a specific breed there are breed specific rescue groups out there who can help you out with that. If you adopt from them then they have room to rescue more – hopefully saving them from a kill shelter in the process (from what I have seen most breed specific are no-kill shelters).

    • Kate says:

      No you aren’t. You are choosing to get what you want, that hardly stops you from also rescuing a dog if that’s what you want to do too.

      • who? says:

        I’d just say it differently. If you’re buying a dog from a puppy mill or backyard breeder, you’re contributing to pet overpopulation by giving money to unethical or uneducated breeders. If you’re going to buy a purebred puppy and you’re not buying it from a breeder you’ve thoroughly researched, you’re probably part of the problem.

        • JennQPublic says:

          Why do you assume a “backyard breeder” is necessarily unethical or uneducated? I would much rather buy a purebred dog from a family who has a personal love for the breed and connection to their puppies, than from a “professional” breeder (not a puppy mill, but a show-breeder) who likely has far more dogs than they could possibly treat as ‘pets’.

          Serious breeders of any animal generally need to keep a high amount of stock on hand, and breed them continuously, to breed for the traits they are focussing on. My dog came from a family who chose their ‘stock’ because they fell in love with them, not because their foreheads had the perfect slope for the breed. She was raised in their living room, not a kennel. I consider this preferable to buying from a “professional”.

  18. sirwired says:

    “Our show is a celebration of dogs. We’re not promoting purebreds at the expense of non-purebreds. We celebrate all dogs… “

    Then why, exactly, are only purebred dogs allowed to compete at the show?

    • parv says:

      They are the proxy of the unwashed masses.

    • FreeMarketFan says:

      Because of how the shows work.

      You go by breed-group-best of show. You’re comparing Macintosh Apples in Macintosh Apple pure-bred. Then Apple to Apple in group then Fruit to Fruit in show.

      Plus it’s an excuse to keep the unwashed masses out!

  19. Bionic Data Drop says:

    If Pedigree or Purina gave a crap about dogs, why do they dog food that is terrible for them? No legitimate dog lover would feed their animal anything from either of those companies (see http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com and decide for yourself) The only reason they get away with making such garbage is because of the lack of legislation on animal food.

  20. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    This is clearly class warfare, but not because of the classes themselves. It’s because of their mindsets. Uppity purebred owners want purebred dogs and take pride in those animals and winning in dog shows. The low-born care about companionship and keeping dogs healthy, and are animal lovers. It’s not about the sport to them, it’s about the experience of owning a great dog.

    And similary to how the rich generally don’t seem too interested in hearing about the plight of the poor, rich dog owners really don’t want to hear about the plight of poor dogs. Especially when the plight is their own doing, by pushing the industry of purebred dogs and puppy mills, which encourage unhealthy dogs with health problems. No one wants to listen to a commercials that says how bad a person they are.

    • capnike says:

      I wonder where you are coming from? I guess it’s easy to paint every one involved with dog breeding with a broad brush. The breeders i know are compassionate dog lovers, they know that loving care for their animals makes for not only better sales but helps in finding good homes. Most of those breeders have mixed breed dogs as well as their purebred stock.
      Yes, there are abuses, those are among the most insidious abusers. In my mainline post I note that one of my dogs is a purebreed – he began his life in a ‘puppy mill’ and we ended up with him whan a “pet store’ sold him to a family that could not care for him; we accepted him and now he has a wonderful loving home.
      The true breeders do not sell their dogs to ‘bad’ potential owners, they don’t need to.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        I’m not sure I implied breeders are selling to “bad” owners. I don’t think my tirade went into this facet of dog breeding.

    • Kate says:

      Bull Loias. People show dogs because they are interested in that breed of dog, and like competing and like owning dogs.

      Most people who get a dog pretty much throw them in the back yard all day and hardly pay any attention to them. People who are in the fancy educate people about their breed, make sure who they sell to will be educated responsible capable owners and don’t breed just to sell.

      You really have no idea about dog showing – most who do it are fairly poor who give up other luxuries to support their expensive time consuming hobby. There are a lot of older women who do it. Women who work as vet techs, receptionists, and other low paid positions. They do it because they love dogs and love the breed they show.

    • JennQPublic says:

      I bought a purebred dog, because I know that having a dog that fits my lifestyle and preferences will make me a better dog owner, and will give her a happier life, and getting a purebred gave me a much better shot at predicting what I was getting. I couldn’t care less about dog shows, and I picked my dog over others that looked truer to the breed, because her feisty personality fits well with mine.

      I like the idea of ‘rescuing’ a dog, but getting a dog that wouldn’t fit well into my household would not be doing either of us any favors.

      • sarahq says:

        “getting a purebred gave me a much better shot at predicting what I was getting”

        Consider adopting an adult dog next time, instead of purchasing a puppy from a breeder, and you’ll have an even better idea of the dog’s personality.

    • Kestris says:

      Really now.

      I chose my Champion bloodline pure bred Akita from a reputable breeder because I wanted a companion dog, not because I wanted a show dog. And that’s exactly what I got. For 14.5 years, she was the best fourlegged companion I could have asked for.

      My current Akita is also purebred. The only difference is that she came from Akita Rescue who rescued her from a shelter along with her mother and 5 of the other 7 siblings that survived after their ‘owner’ dumped them there at the age of 1 week.

      She’s also a great companion dog.

      So yeah, your ‘class warfare’ schtick is a crock of bull.

  21. capnike says:

    If you look at thew above ads, the Pedigree is a ‘hard sell’ and the Purina a very ‘soft sell’. Either one is appealing to a certain audience.
    As others have noted the “Sarah McLaughlin” ASPCA ads DO in fact make many people change the channel; BUT they must be effective ‘donation’ getters for a very abusive (money wise) 501c3.

    Note: My family watches Westminster every year (for at least the past 15). And we currently own 2 dogs – 1 purebred and one ‘mixed’ breed; both who came to us under’middle ‘ circumstances – neither shelter rescues, nor bought from breeders.

  22. Cat says:

    Westminster Kennel Club is supported by breeders of pedigree dogs. People adopting shelter pets cut into their supporter’s profits.

    Like any other business, they don’t like competition.

  23. Jules Noctambule says:

    I loathe those sad pet ads, and I do think that for every person who they make cry and want to adopt, there’s another person who responds by feeling the animals are unhappy and will make bad pets. Unless fundraising is the only goal and not adoption, why not show them happy, playful and affectionate in a new home instead?

  24. HogwartsProfessor says:

    Why don’t they show the dogs being happy and playing with their new family and say “X% of this dog’s friends didn’t get this chance. Adopt a shelter dog today! This is how much fun you can have and save a doggie’s life!”

    I would MUCH rather watch that than the sad animals gazing at me through a fence with sores on their little faces. Okay now I need a damn Kleenex….*snif*

    That would get the same message across without being such a bummer.

  25. Belle says:

    This is a very effective commercial. LIke Laura, I cried and I wanted to run out and and adopt every dog I saw. They should continue to air this to get more people to adopt.

    I understand why people get upset about this but I find it to be a bit like burying your heads in the sand. If this gets more people to adopt, I’m all for it my tears be damned.

  26. Nyxalinth says:

    One of the best pro-adoption ads I saw was for older cats. It was animated, and shoed a fly buzzing around. A flyswatter smacks the fly, and the text reads “Fly swatter: 1.99 at your local store.”

    Then a scene of a fly buzzing around again, and this time, a cat’s paw smacks it. “Flyswatter: free when you adopt an adult cat from our shelter!”

    something similar with dogs a burglar alarms would be cool :)

  27. CosmosHuman says:

    My Cosmo was a “reject” from the breeder as he is less than 51% white…such a travesty!!! He couldn’t be a more happier Jack Russell Terrier…and I love him dearly!

  28. Miss Malevolent says:

    “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.”

    Translation: “Ads that make you think are such a bummer guys…*snaps gum* *twirls hair*

  29. alexhohio says:

    We adopted a rescue dog that had been seriously abused and neglected by her breeder. Weighed 7 lbs when we got her- she now weighs closer to 20. When you factor in all the vet bills to get her well, our “free” dog was more expensive than a purebred. Would do it all over though, any day. That being said, as soon as those ASPCA ads with Sarah McLaughlin come on, we change the channel immediately. We always wonder how many viewers shows lose from people doing the same thing…

  30. phobos512 says:

    We have four animals in our family – three cats and a dog – all of whom were adopted from rescues/shelters.

    I hate those damn commercials and so does my girlfriend. I don’t want to hear about starving animals who will be killed unless they’re adopted, I don’t want to hear about kids with cleft palates, I don’t want to hear about little Abbujuju in Somalia… And I don’t want junk mail about any of that nonsense either.

  31. OneMHz says:

    Seriously, why can’t the commercials show how happy the pets are after being rescued? Doesn’t that send the better message about it?

    • h3llc4t, breaker of office dress codes says:

      You may be interested in some of the other Pedigree commercials, then, like this one:

      There are some very funny rescue commercials out there. This one is one of my favorites.

  32. daynight says:

    It is amazing to me how many people are so concerned about being discomforted for the duration of a commercial. It is good that it affects you. It is good that you have feelings. It is good that have the desire that all troubles in the world would be resolved.
    But troubles exist. We all know that to go to the gym to improve strength, stamina and health is a good idea. Then we think that it may involve sweating. So most people stay home. No sweat.
    Take a moment to feel, to be awake, to be aware. You don’t need to save the world. You need to understand the nature of consequences and that there are choices within reach that make a difference. Even if that choice is simply to witness and feel.

  33. ducktownhusker says:

    Americans should learn to get over their stigma of eating dogs and cats.

    You don’t see animal shelters overrun with cows and pigs, do you?

    Problem solved.

  34. The Slime Oozing Out From Your TV Set says:


    I can’t blame the show. That commercial is almost as bad as the Sarah McLachlan one. Not quite at that level, but close. What they aught to do is show a few seconds of animals like that, then show equivalent animals (IE, same type of dog or cat) playing with their new owners.

  35. Shouhdes says:

    Hi Im Sarah McLachlan And Im About To Ruin Your Day.

  36. JackieEggs says:

    I don’t recall who said/posted it but yes, showing a commercial with a family or 6 with a dog playing & healthy, ( whether rescued or adopted ) is a great idea.

    What people need to stop doing is placing their unwanted/unable to care for animals on those FREE sites without checking who will be adopting them. One woman posted she is giving away her 1 year old cat bcuz her teenage boys abuse it… Why the erf doesn’t she discipline her teens ( or put them up on Craigslist

    I still think shutting down the breeders for about 5 years would at least help the number of unwanted/unable to care for dogs and cats.

    Owning a certain breed of pet or any dog/cat shouldn’t be considered a status symbol!!!

    just my opinion.

  37. Kestris says:

    Except, once in a while, a show dog at Westminster IS a Rescue dog- http://www.lifewithdogs.tv/2012/02/rescued-weimaraner-to-show-at-westminster-2012/

    Me, I’ve owned both types- An AKC registered Champion bloodline bred Akita and, currently, a Rescue Akita. I wouldn’t change either decision to own either dog.

    Besides, if you want a purebred dog, chances are, Rescue has exactly what you’re looking for. Sometimes even with AKC registered papers as well.

  38. scoosdad says:

    It wasn’t so much the tone of the ad that I didn’t like, but the fact that if you stuck it out for both nights of the Westminster show, you saw that same f**king ad over and over and over and over.

    I admit to switching channels to avoid it. But it wasn’t the message, it was the utter repetition of it. Purina was guilty of the same thing this year.

    Cable networks who run all day marathons of the same program do this too. They have maybe two sponsors and their own programming promos, and by the second or third viewing of a show, you’re throwing things at the screen every time an ad you’ve already seen three dozen times comes on again.

  39. Kuri says:

    They should have showed that video of the dog running and jumping i na meadow and then said “Make a dog this happy, adopt today”

  40. DanGarion says:

    Two bad both brands version of dog food is crap.

  41. Robert says:

    I have adopted shelter dogs, but I don’t feel like being bummed out while some commercial is trying to ram it down my throat that the dogs need help. They take it to extremes showing footage like that. Not to mention the commercial last soo much longer than other commercials, so I have to keep flipping back & forth between channels to see when it’s over.

  42. catgirl4276 says:

    I think, from a cultural standpoint, the term ‘rescue dog’ is a backlash against words like ‘mutt,’ ‘mongrel,’ ‘cur’ and ‘stray.’ For decades, purebred owners lorded it over shelter-mutt owners, implying or even stating that their paid-for dogs were better than their ‘sloppy seconds’ dogs.

    And then we started calling them what they are: rescues. Rescued from the needle, from abuse, from puppy mill raids where mama dogs were caged, repeatedly raped and starved while they produced litter after litter…they’re all rescues. The fact that there is no path for a nice, neutered rescue, even an obvious purebred (you’d be stunned how many breeders in rural areas just dump their ‘factory seconds’ at the SPCA,) to compete or even be acknowledged as a valuable, loved pet by the self-appointed Powers That Be in the dog world is, very naturally, coming off as offensive snobbery to those of us who think a dog is a dog, and that while there will always be another buyer for the $500 designer Chorkie puppies, the $25-to-adopt Yorkie-Chihuahua mix who was dumped by sorority girls for eating a purse might get the needle any day.

    Last year, I hand-raised (and by that I mean bottle-feeding,) two puppies for the county SPCA. One was a little lab-mix female, born to a stray mama that nobody seems to be able to catch. She and her siblings were hidden in a drainage culvert by Mama Dog and though the Humane Officer climbed bodily into the pipe, only this one escaped an awful death by drowning. Her little eyes weren’t even open yet. We named her after a favorite television character, and in the fullness of time, she grew strong and smart and was adopted by a family who is on-the-job training her as a service dog to an autistic child. Ten months after I first met this little puppy, I got word that ‘her boy’ has begun speaking in full sentences for the first time, in order to tell people about his beloved dog.

    The other puppy was a purebred beagle. An older man was driving along a country road, saw a newer truck drop something in a Walmart bag out the window, and then he noticed the bag moving. He stopped, found the week-old puppy inside, and raced him to the shelter. The humane officers recognized the truck’s description as that of a local hound breeder who sometimes drops off unsalable dogs at the shelter but who had had his breeding license threatened should he do so again. (The law was swiftly repealed for just this reason and breeders continue to make more factory-second dogs for us shelter volunteers to care for and then put down when people choose their $400 siblings instead.)

    The reasons for the puppy’s being dumped? He had an entirely-correctable hernia at his little navel (surgery can fix that at neutering time, but the scar marks down a show dog’s score or disqualifies him, and this little fellow’s actually healed up on its’ own,) and the white stripe on his face didn’t go up as far as his siblings. Apparently hunting beagles that MATCH are more important than not throwing a puppy out of a car window to die!

    So my husband and I raised him, alongside the various dumped and orphaned baby kittens we look after each kitten-season, and the little fellow grew to be a personable, affectionate dog with a fondness for cats and children. A good friend from elementary school drove five hours out and five back to adopt him after seeing his pictures and video on Facebook (we had her name him early in fostering, so he’d know what he was to be called early on,) and today, the little fellow not only joins her at the school where she teaches on certain days, but accompanies her to the senior citizens’ home and the children’s hospital where she volunteers. Everyone loves him, and she has already called in happy tears twice because a sick child or a dying old person has been comforted by the little fellow.

    But, of course, such dogs could NEVER be WESTMINSTER dogs. They are not GOOD ENOUGH. They are just RESCUES.

    Sloppy seconds to you, maybe, but to an autistic boy and an altruistic schoolteacher, they are the dearest and closest companions a person could have. And to an ornery cat-lady who never had a dog in her life, they were the revelation I needed to see what they’ve meant by ‘man’s best friend’ all these years.