101 White Shepherds?

by Gaby von Döllen When I read today's newspaper, I found an article that did not refer to our White Shepherds. The headline said "American people exploit their Dalmatians", the contents of the article is as follows:

Because of the Disney production "101 Dalmatians" these dogs became no 1 in America. Now they have to acknowledge the consequences. As the film started at Christmas time the problem was even worse. Meanwhile, more and more Dalmatians come to animal shelters, with bad temperament and often abused, too. Many of these dogs are ill or handicapped and are difficult to train. So it is very hard to find a new home or family for these dogs. The warnings of breeders and experts became a reality. A short sentence really shocked me, it reads:
"Nearly nobody wants to adopt a Dalmatian. These dogs are put to death"

When thinking over what has happened with a whole breed just because of a film each dog lover has to be shocked. And none of us should say "this is another breed, this cannot (and will not) happen to our breed". First, being Dalmatian or White Shepherd or any other breed, a dog is an animal, alive and with a right for a happy life. Secondly - how can we know that the next breed in question will NOT be the White Shepherds? What about the difference between Dalmatian and White Shepherd breeding?

And who is guilty?

Disney and other film companies - guilty?

I do not want to describe the conditions for the dogs at the set. Living dogs were the actors, what about training conditions and so on... This is another story I cannot judge as I did neither see the film nor do I know somebody who took part at the production itself.

Fact is that such films are promising big profits, as animals are perfect actors, so cute, so perfect. Unfortunately, in our world everybody seems to be looking for big money without regard for the people or, as in this case, the dogs involved. It is easy to take profit when the victims are not able to defense themselves. The Collies got into troubles when Lassie came to the cinemas, later on the Golden Retriever breed came up to no 1 and now the Dalmatians are the victims. Of course, we are keeping our fingers crossed that nobody in Hollywood or somewhere else where films are produced will take White Shepherds for his production. The negative image of the "dog of Beverly Hills" is more than enough. The breed has it's own troubles. However, nobody will listen to US, when it comes to such a production. As well as they do not listen to those people who are trying to protect the animals and to the people who are running animal shelters and who really know the consequences. The film industry certainly will ignore any resistances as long as they can earn money.

The cinema visitors - guilty?

Let us change the people who are visiting the cinemas and are directly responsible for success or non-success of a film production. They come to the cinemas because these animal films are so romantic, nice or whatever. The parents, who are watching the films together with their children and are buying a puppy later on as they cannot refuse any wish of their children. If nobody saw this film next time film companies would be more cautious when producing an animal film. Perhaps they would never again make a film with dogs. Supply and demand - a simple thing.

Unfortunately, none of us are able to change this situation. And, admittedly, who thinks about the consequences for a breed when he decides to watch a film like "101 Dalmatians"? I think, most people will say: "if I do not go, one thousand other people will go, so I myself cannot change the situation." REALLY ???

The breeders - guilty?

From this sentence of my article, the White Shepherds are concerned, too. In my opinion, the film itself only increased a situation and tendency you can see for any breed. Including our White Shepherds.

The demand settles the supply and as soon as the demand increases, the prices for the puppies increase there will be breeders (more and more new breeders) who are only looking for big money, without thinking about the dogs, who are breeding without looking up pedigrees, without caring about any illness or handicaps. Although the breed is still rare in Germany, there are already White Shepherds ,living in animal shelters. They will stay there for a long time as they have bad temperament or diseases and will probably not be adopted. The newspaper will only write about these cases when the number is high. Like in the Dalmatian case. In our opinion one dog or animal who has to live in an animal shelter is too much.

Some days ago we got a letter from a person who asked us to publish names of "bad" breeders. As much as we loved the idea of doing so, the consequence would probably be a date in court. However, this person seemed to have a reasonable attitude towards breeders but in the next paragraph of the letter he wrote the name of the kennel where he intended to buy his puppy. And this kennel would certainly be on our list to be published ... This meant to us that breeders are using all the tricks they have to sell their puppies. Some breeders are telling lies about others just to convince the buyer-to-be that they are really serious.

For the organizations it must be hard to control all the kennels and members. But sometimes there is the impression that they are knowingly accepting false. There is still the hope that one day in the future the interest of the dogs, of the breed in general will be put above the financial profit.

The buyers are also not informed how a good kennel should look. When talking to people who just bought a puppy (also of other breeds) we found out that they find it normal to find an area with several kennels and many dogs (often of different breeds). It would be great if the people would look for more information BEFORE they buy their puppy.

The dog purchasers - guilty?

The parents who are giving a puppy to their children without having thought about the consequences for the whole family, they are acting more than irresponsible. Christmas is one of the days when people seem to act extremely thoughtless. In the next months, the results will show up at the animal shelter. A breeder who really cares about his dogs and his dogs' offspring, will refuse a litter at this time of the year.

Coming back to our Dalmatians... the wish for a dog is concentrated on a certain breed. For the breed itself it means fatal consequences. In my opinion the MAIN fault for the happenings described in the newspaper article mentioned above was done by the buyers themselves. Not the children who are asking for such a cute puppy after having seen the film. This is quite normal. I can also understand the wish of the parents to fulfil any wish the children may have. But, in this case we are speaking about a living animal, and this is why an adult should be able to act reasonable. Unfortunately, most adults are probably not able to act reasonable...

I would like to point out that a puppy is not a doll or a box of conjuring tricks. A dog means responsibility, continuous costs for many years. So this decision should not be made in one day. The whole family must be involved and each member's opinion should be heard and accepted. In case, if one member is against it is better not to look for a puppy. And even if the decision means "pro-dog": there are so many nice dogs waiting in animal shelters. They are waiting for loving families, they will be happy to have a new home. Even puppies can be adopted from there. White News will always help you to find a suitable dog as they have connections to several animal shelters in Germany. And White News knows whether there are White Shepherds in the shelters.

If you certainly want a dog from a breeder - please do not buy at the first kennel you visit, take the time and compare different places + dogs. You will soon realize the differences.

copyright Gaby von Döllen, Worpswede