Why Social Media Is Ruining Our Dogs?
Social media is where we spend most of our time and dedicate our attention to. It’s fun, useful at times, and it allows us to consume the type of content we like. Over the last years, the content has become visual with more photos and videos, and less text.
Dogs and puppies are eye candy and we all love to see a funny video of a dog performing a crazy trick. The problem with the various social media channels today is that content doesn’t stop to funny videos.
Problem Of Extreme Dog Breeding
Dog owners used to be divided into two main categories: those who owned mutts, and those who owned purebred dogs. We’re not going to get into which one is better as it’s a very personal choice.
Nowadays, there are three categories of dog owners: those who own mixed breeds, those who own purebred dogs, and the new kids on the block, those who own hyped up breeds.
The latter owners, who are proudly showcasing their trendy dog, are causing the canine species a lot of harm. These dogs, from so-called designer breeds, are fruits of this virality syndrome. Owning a regular dog is so average, the smallest, the biggest, the weirdest puppies and adult dogs attracted a lot more attention — i.e: likes, shares, comments!
And don’t get me wrong, I also type a “awww” comment every now and then at the sight of a super small pomeranian.
But what does this virality mean for the breed as a whole? Profit-obsessed dog breeders are pumping out extreme-bred puppies because people are ready to buy them. These breedings are purely based on eye-catching looks and appearance, never on its health and genetic material.
Most of these dogs such as Chihuahuas, Pomeranians, French Bulldogs, American Bullies and the likes have been bred to please eyes of social media addicts and a lot of them are now living unhealthy lives with brachycephalic syndromes, breathing problems, arthritis and more.
Even some of the best dog insurances are thinking about adapting their policy coverage for these breeds at risk.
Dog Breeders Are Now Marketers
Browse breed-related hashtags on Instagram and you will notice how many breeders are doing pure marketing for their kennels. This is especially the case with bully breeds such as the Bulldog, American Bully and Pitbull.
Marketing your kennel is great if you are breeding genetically-sound and healthy puppies, and are using social medias to raise awareness and showcase your hard work. Unfortunately, it’s not what is happening.
Instead, there is a rise in “bloodline names” based on pricing high just to mimic quality. Bully breeders are using blood from notorious bloodlines such as Greyline, Razors Edge or DDK and then give their all into posting pictures daily, promoting that holy blood.
The marketing is in your face and based on names more than a thorough pedigree analysis, health screenings or achievements.
Take the American Bully, a very new dog breed — each breeders is trying to create its own unique category within the breed because it’s a young breed so there is room for leaving a legacy. Now, the breed is almost pointless since there are too many different directions breeders have taken: micro, pocket, standard, standard small, XL, XXL, giant, exotic, and more.
By trying to constantly come up with the new best breed, these breeders have destroyed it. Quality should drive marketing, nothing else.
Unregulated and Unmonitored Marketplaces
Facebook Groups and Instagram have now become leading marketplaces for those seeking to sell or buy a puppy. On Facebook Groups the problem is larger since even protected species can be found in some closed groups.
Facebook Groups are convenient if you want to buy a new puppy: you have the illusion of safety since the seller is on Facebook, it’s right there always available on your smartphone, and it’s in the app you are constantly on anyway.
On these platforms, dogs are considered as simple commodities, just like you would sell a used chair. The breeders are keen on selling as soon as possible and usually offer discounts for same-day purchases.
Their photos are taken on the go just to illustrate the dogs and very little information is given, let alone details about breed-specific health screenings. Puppies are sold next to pet clippers and other dog grooming supplies.
Instagram, owned by Facebook, is also planning on adding selling features which will inevitably boost dog-related transactions and because Instagram is extremely visual, temptation would be inevitable for a lot of people.
On social medias, you have all the convenience but no guarantee at all — and if you message most sellers to ask annoying but required questions for any responsible dog lover, they will most likely ignore you since they have plenty of prospects a lot less difficult than you.
Last Words… (Of Hope)
Not everything is bad with the influence of social media on our beloved pets — you have a lot more awareness raised about rescuing and shelters, too.
More and more videos of beautiful stories of dogs saved from hell appear and sensibilize people to become more responsible dog owners from now on.
Plus, for those buying a new puppy, social media is allowing you to stalk the breeders on your shortlist and hope to find more clues about whether or not he or she is a quality ethical dog breeder. If no, you can add them on Facebook directly and see what they are sharing! The last thing you want is a breeder who is waking up only when there is a new litter of puppies to sell.
Lastly, networking is important and there are so many avenues on social channels to meet new like-minded passionate people. It’s also much easier to stay in touch with people we’ve met at dog shows and see what they are up to.
Overall, social media is a mirror of our Western societies and behaviors. There is some good, some bad and some ugly things to see on social media when you love dogs.
Article written by Lazhar from BreedingBusiness.com — a passionate dog lover trying to educate responsible dog breeders one article at a time!