Good Dog Q&A with Dr. Hutchison and Dr. Greenfield

Dr. Hutchison & Dr. Greenfield explore ethics in dog breeding.

by Dr. Judi Stella, PhD - Head of Standards & Research at Good Dog

Dr. Hutchison & Dr. Greenfield are leading veterinarians with expertise in canine reproduction at nationally top-ranked Animal Clinic Northview veterinary hospital. They sat down with Good Dog to explore ethics in dog breeding and what needs to happen to bring real change to the system.

Why are screening and standards so important?

The dog world is constantly changing and evolving. With the rise of technology, this industry has seen a drastic increase in unethical and irresponsible breeding practices. Unfortunately, dogs and their well-meaning, but unsuspecting, owners have been suffering because of it. It's essential to address and understand all the nuances across different breeds, hybrid breeds, breeding programs, and consumer needs to make a meaningful difference.

Good Dog's comprehensive approach to evaluating breeding programs is grounded in evidence-based research with an equal emphasis on physical and emotional canine health. Their commitment to education and science benefits both new owners and responsible breeders. The public will be able to make more informed choices, and breeding programs can grow and improve with the information, guidance, and support that's needed.

What makes a breeding program "good"?

Several characteristics should be considered when evaluating a breeding program. Policies, welfare, enrichment, reproductive practices, veterinary care, health testing, and environment should all be examined. However, taking a categorical approach would be counterproductive in trying to assess the quality of a breeder. A lot can differ among breeds and programs, so it's essential to have an assessment framework that can handle such variabilities.

One of the primary factors that determines welfare is the quality of care. Prioritizing the well-being of their dogs and standing behind their dogs for life are two essential elements one would find in a responsible breeding program. Responsible breeding programs demonstrate a commitment to producing physically and emotionally sound dogs. Screening potential buyers to ensure a good, permanent match between dog and owner is also critical.

How has the dog world been affected by unethical breeding practices?

By prioritizing profit while simultaneously disregarding the health and well-being of their animals, disreputable breeding programs are directly contributing to the issue of dog abandonment and irresponsible dog ownership. Dogs who have health and behavioral issues often find themselves abandoned or relinquished by owners who were ill-prepared to deal with those issues that were a direct result of unethical breeding practices.

Unethical breeding practices have had a devastating impact on the dog world. Responsible breeders often face misguided attacks and are unfairly grouped in with disreputable breeders. The evolution of these stigmas and misconceptions have directly contributed to a decrease in the number of well-intentioned breeders of many dog breeds. Compounding this problem is the fact that it is becoming increasingly difficult for the average person to distinguish between reputable and disreputable breeding programs. Good Dog’s commitment to educating the public on these issues, coupled with its promotion of responsible breeders, is desperately needed.

What impact can Good Dog make on the industry?

Good Dog’s approach has the potential to transform the dog world for the better. This is the first platform to have a thorough and comprehensive approach to standards and screening. Good Dog is addressing deep-rooted issues in the dog world in a thoughtful way. Their scientific and systematic approach, combined with their commitment to educating the public and supporting responsible breeders, is the fundamental catalyst needed to make that critical shift towards elevating standards.

The latest advancements in genetic and orthopedic testing are powerful tools in identifying and preventing heritable health conditions. Establishing community-based and science-backed standards allows Good Dog to unlock their potential and significantly improve canine health for generations to come.

Good Dog has brought a new level of trust and security to the dog world. They are bringing crucial and necessary improvements to the dog world and our clients love being a part of their Good Breeder community. We’re proud and excited to be a part of this new organization that is dedicated to healthier dogs and committed to such an important mission.


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