Monday, January 7, 2013


 What are your feelings? Pure-bred or mixed?  Pedigree or mutt? Today's post is not meant to be controversial or scientific. It is purely anecdotal. I think my answer is mutt, but on the other hand, I'm in love with certain behaviors of specific breeds. I know, I know, that's a cop-out. I'm comfortable with that. haha

Today's case: Leroy. Leroy is a full-bred Chinese Shar-Pei from a reputable breeder in New Jersey. In fact, if you like Shar-Peis you can check out Leroy's sister, Baby Jane, on Animal Planet's series Too Cute: Shar-PeisBaby Jane is somewhere in the mix below too.

Leroy's dad, Luke, received Leroy as a gift, so the initial sticker price is off-the-record. Leroy was a lovable pile of wrinkles from day one.

He was very trainable as a pet, and was fully house-broken and well-mannered in a reasonable amount of time.  

However, Leroy's expenses had only just begun. The first issue was the basic maintenance. Shar-Peis have to have their wrinkles cleaned pretty much daily.  They have very strong oils in their coats (to which many people are allergic) and thus require frequent baths. They shed tremendously and typically have sensitive skin.  They also require very specific eye care. Despite Luke's regimented and thorough approach to caring for Leroy, eventually he required a double eye-lift. Yes, you read that correctly. A double eye-lift.  It costs thousands of dollars and can often be necessary for Shar-Peis because the folds of skin can get too heavy and cause irritation or prevent them from opening their eyes.

Once Leroy recovered from the eye surgery another issue arose, separation anxiety. Despite the fact that Luke was only gone about 8 hours daily for work, Leroy did not handle his alone-time well.  He got walked for at least an hour a day, he started taking holistic medicine to calm him, and he responded by eating a window sill. And a door frame. And some dry wall. And the kitchen counter. And more dry wall.  The end result is Leroy now spends a lot of quality time with his grandfather Randy while Luke is at work.   

This was Leroy's submission to Dog-Shaming.
All of the above describes the down-side to having a high maintenance breed. However, at the end of the day Leroy is still incredibly lovable. He is playful and polite and so loyal. He is spitefully cute and everyone who meets him can't help but like him.

<---- full disclosure: Leroy is sharing a stolen moment with me, under the table

Below, Leroy fell asleep on Mr. Hedgie.

So, we go back to the original question. Pure-bred or mixed?  You can get pure-bred rescues, so it doesn't have to come down to that. Is having a mixed breed any guarantee of perfect mental and physical health?  Obviously not.  Is getting a high-maintenance type of breed just asking for trouble?  What are your thoughts? Share them in the comments, and if you have a full-bred rescue we'd love to hear from you!

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