Author Topic: Whether to rescue a poorly bred Bichon or buy as close to Breed Standard as possible  (Read 7386 times)

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Offline bichondad

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I was reading Del's old thread on the bichon "breed standard" today (great thread ... thanks Del  :clapping: ), and it got me thinking .... (always dangerous ...  :wink:)

Milo came to us as a rescue at 3 months, probably from a puppy mill, and lacks many of the qualities described in the breed standards (e.g. wrong proportions, larger than standard, lacks halos around eyes, tail not erect enough, lacks some dense undercoat, elbowed gait, etc.). But his temperament is 100% bichon-esque, he is very smart (as in obedience training smart) and he is as beautiful to us as any dog we have ever known!   :boy:  Now that we are searching for his brother/sister AS A COMPANION FOR MILO AND US -- NOT TO SHOW OR BREED, we are asking ourselves whether we should again seek to rescue what in all likelihood will be poorly bred bichon (because we do believe in that cause) or whether we should instead source a breed standard puppy (and thus support the breed and ethical breeding practices -- a noble cause also).  It strikes us that these two goals are mutually exclusive, unless of course you are lucky enough to rescue a breed standard puppy. Somehow I think the odds of winning the lottery on any given day are better.  :laughing:

Buying a show quality bichon is pricey -- and I can't say I am enamored of the what little I have learned about the bichon show dog world.  The truth is we have champagne tastes on a beer budget. :wink2:  We understand the health concerns associated with buying from puppy mills and back yard breeders (Milo came to us with his hidden genetic health baggage) and we will not intentionally take that risk again.   Still no breeder can guarantee that your puppy will not eventually develop some breed specific genetic illness -- the best they can do is replace the dog -- which is one way that these poor fluffs end up in rescue in the first place I think. 

I raise all these issues because I don't know which way to go here ... and I know that once I commit to care for a dog -- I make a lifelong commitment to do so.  It has always been thus with every dog I have ever owned.

To buy or to rescue .... that's my question I guess. 

TIA,


George 

Offline Freedom (Sandie)

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The 2 are not necessarily mutually exclusive.

I volunteered with Small Paws Rescue; I've had 10 bichons in 7 years.  Some of them did come with all their papers!  Hard to believe, I was not anticipating this.  I don't think you can tell from the write up of the dog, however, if it is from a breeder or not.

I would save the money for the pup's old age; you KNOW you will need it for something, even in a quality bred dog, old age means vet bills IMO.

Just take your time, you will find one that is a good fit for you.

(PS Did you join Bichons Rock yet?  )
Bichons Frise': Tasha, Willy, Riley, Belle, Frankie
Cats: Crystal, Ebony, Bobby, Tommy, Tuppence, Mandy, Emma

Offline bichondad

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Thanks Sandie.  I believe you are right, and rescue is probably the way to go for us.  Yes I did Join the Bichons group. Great steer! Thanks!  :thumbsup: Just got a lead from our groomer this morning about a 1 year old bichon in rescue locally.  She just got spayed today.  Neglected and matted up but she needs a good home.  Hope to see her tomorrow and will keep you guys up to speed. 

Offline bKay, Bullett & Coco

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Interesting topic!  I purchased my Westie and Lhasa Apso from breeders that had champion bloodlines (probably WAAAY back!  :original:) and besides the Lhasa being cryptorchid and only having 1 kidney, he was ok healthwise - sarcasticly said.  At least he had a normal bite where the Lhasa's I've seen here in Arkansas all have a huge under bite with crooked teeth.  NOT breed standard!  My Westie was normal until he was neutered at 5 months then due to the medication used it caused a pancreatitis attack so bad we almost lost him.  Pancreas was damaged so he had repeated attacks & developed diabetes and suffered the rest of his short life.  I wanted as close to breed standard as I could afford too. 

Now I have Bullett that came from an animal shelter and is probably either a poorly bred Bichon  or a mix and Coco who is full Bichon but not sure of his breeding.   I have a friend (again, in Arkansas) who said she bred bichons for years and they are just a mix between a maltese and poodle!  :ohmy: Maybe Bullett comes from her lines!  Both are healthy with Coco being 9 yrs and Bullett approx 10 +.  Since I don't show or intend to show it doesn't matter to me.  These two guy grabbed hold of my heart so I was the one chosen. 

I think it's basically 'the luck of the draw' what you get either way but can cut down certain genetic defects if you buy from a good breeder.  My two rescues are healthier than the ones purchased from a breeder.   I'd be interested to hear about other examples from our members here. 

K

Offline bichondad

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Like you Kay, I have been on both sides of this issue in the past, and appreciate reading other members experiences.  50 years ago we called poorly bred or mixed breed dogs "mutts" (apparently not too politically correct these days what with high priced "designer breeds" and all) and mine (lab/collie mixes; retriever/shepherd mixes) were the healthiest and most balanced creatures I have ever raised (except for Milo of course -- :wink:) and lived long, happy lives (17 years plus).  OTOH, my AKC registered "champion-bloodline" Australian Shepherds -- while incredibly beautiful, agile and smart -- succumbed to cancer at 11 and 12 years respectively after a long and expensive battle for life.  I'd like to think that I paid the same amount/quality of attention to all my dogs over the years -- fed them well, loved them and exercised them right -- so my sense about breeding, based on my experience, is similar to yours.  There is just something incredibly special about bichons, whatever their lineage, that distinguishes them from other dogs and makes me want another.  Maybe I'm the one that has changed over the years, not the dogs  :confused:

Offline bichondad

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Not to belabor (or over simplify) the point but unless you own a wild wolf of course, after thousands of years of experimentation all of today's dog breeds are mixed, to one extent or another, and continue to be toyed with genetically today.  It is said that Bichons began as a mix between water spaniels and standard poodles in the 1500's (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bichon_Frise) and the breed has been "tweaked" numerous times since.  Regrettably, the whole idea of "pure-bred" often means inbreeding (see here: http://www.petmd.com/dog/care/evr_dg_purebred_dogs_complications) which may lead to the types of illness we are talking about Kay, and why a mixed bichon might ultimately be healthier than one bred from a long line involving relatives or a genetically related pool of dogs.  Even the most careful and ethical breeder of the finest examples of the breed can be certain that some bad recessive gene from a descendant does not worm its way into the life of a puppy. 

Offline pam

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We bought Pepe as a puppy from what I now know was a hobby breeder.  He does however have an excellent pedigree and over the years has been remarkably healthy.  He does now have a couple of issues but that is only to be expected I think.  Poppy our Bolognese came to us via bichon fries rescue  and through a fluke I am in contact with her breeder.  Her pedigree is supposedly excellent - she has had cruciate problems twice now and what the vet describes as wobbly joints.  Her teeth are awful.  Bengy - our huge baby - is another rescue (with false pedigree papers).  His health issue has been kidney stones but this was resolved and touch wood everything is ok.
It sounds like a catalogue of woes but I really don't think in the scheme of things we have done too badly. 
In Britain there are so many iffy breeders that I don't think anything can be guaranteed.  For me now rescue is the way to go.
Good luck with your decision
Pam