Thursday, December 10, 2009

"I want a dog just like the one I saw in that movie!"

“I want a dog just like the one I saw in that movie”.

These are words that rescue groups cringe upon hearing. Dogs in movies are typically beautiful and attract a lot of attention. This is why they get used so frequently. Unfortunately their onscreen portrayals are rarely realistic when it comes to day to day life with those same dogs. Here are a few things to keep in mind when falling in love with a movie star dog.

The dog or dogs you saw were all trained for the part they played. This typically means they do not act like your average pet dog would in your home. Breed characteristics need to be considered. Just like all Saint Bernards are not really aggressive like “Cujo” and all Jack Russell Terriers are not sedentary like “Eddie” was on Frasier.

Popularity is not helpful to any pure breed of dog. When a dog gets popular due to being featured in a movie, there are always unscrupulous breeders looking to make a fast buck on them. This can mean many are available to buy but they haven’t had the genetic testing a reputable breeder requires. This can mean serious health issues are being passed on in their lines. It also may mean there will be dogs out there with poor temperaments as well. Back yard breeders only care about getting your money, not producing a quality product. (Which is how they are looking at those puppies they are selling.)

Over breeding of any breed also means many end up in shelters or rescue. (all purebreds have a rescue group specifically for them) People get them not knowing about the breed and sometimes it is a bad match. The Disney movie 101 Dalmatians is a great example of this in action. Dalmatians were originally developed as a guarding breed that ran beside horse drawn coaches to keep thieves away. This made them a very high energy dog that can be territorial, something many families weren’t prepared to deal with.

Please do some research before committing to the movie star dog you fell in love with. Find out more about the breed like why it was developed in the first place and the health issues the breed is known to have. This will help you know the lifestyle the dog will need to be happiest, and teach you what questions to ask breeders to find one breeding healthy dogs.

For more information on specific breeds you can go to and Breed rescues are also a great resource for finding out the negatives for each breed as well. Not every breed is a good fit into every home.

Feel free to print this and pass it on. I thought it would make a great back to the "Are akitas right for you" handout for the Hachi movie. See previous post here:


jan said...

Thanks to Beverly Hills Chihuahua and the popularity of purse dogs by celebrities, there is a glut of Chihuahuas in California shelters.

People should also know that a movie dog is played by several dogs, all trained for a certain skill.

Never Say Never Greyhounds said...

Too bad Charlie Wilson's War didn't stir up any greyhound interest. That is probably one breed of dog that would be ok to stir up some interest in a movie since the primary way to get one is through rescue.