A Dalmatian in the UK has given birth to eighteen – yes eighteen! – puppies. You can see the story here. By the way, the media loves the references they can get in about it not being exactly one hundred and one, but being a good start.
This may well be a record for a Dalmatian, although the overall record for the biggest litter of puppies still belongs to the Mastiff who had a staggering twenty four pups in 2005. Can you imagine the work involved in helping the bitch bring up all those puppies? An ordinary sized litter requires a lot of input and supervision from the humans involved, but with all those pups, the mother couldn’t produce enough milk, and so some would have to be hand fed on a rota basis. Cute – but not so cute in the early hours of the morning, when all you really want to do is sleep.
In the States, PETA has written to the president of the USA Network, trying to persuade them to follow the BBC’s example in dropping coverage of Crufts, and drop coverage of the Westminster dog show. (http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/unleashed/2009/01/peta-to-usa-net.html )
It does occur to me that what we should be doing – on whichever side of the Atlantic we live – is ensuring all breeders carry out necessary health tests, and that puppy farming is simply stamped out. Most importantly, we should be legislating against puppies being sold in pet shops. That would be a huge step, because nobody who visited a puppy farm would want to buy a pup born and brought up in those awful conditions, nor would they want to make any financial contribution to those who ran the establishment.
There are those who are crossbreed devotees, and those who love pedigrees, but there is room for both. If we persecute the established Kennel Clubs rather than reforming them, we leave the way open for unscrupulous individuals to fill the void we create. And we think it’s bad now, it could be far, far worse.
Out of interest, what’s the biggest litter you’ve heard of, and in what breed? And does it matter to you whether dog shows are on television or not?