Archive for Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Now that we have identified the percentage of homes, and the gross number of people who have dogs, we should take a look at where those dogs originate. What is the source of supply of the dogs people keep?
The APPMA National Pet Owners Survey of 2005-2006 has some figures relating to where dogs were obtained in table 6. Like most studies, this is a great start and leaves many questions arising from the need for greater detail. No state or locality has done any other study of which this writer is aware.
Due to multiple response questions the following statistics may add up to over 100%. In 2004 the greatest percentage of dogs (32%) were obtained from a friend or relative. This does not exclude the source from being the actual breeder. Actual breeders provided a close 31%. Animal shelters/humane societies were the source of 16%. People going through newspaper ads and private parties found 13% of the dogs. Strays accounted for a whopping 9%. Gifts from others were 6% and pet store sales 5%. Included for the first time was the “rescue group category, at a strong 5%. This equaled “puppy of own dog” at 5%.
Some of the overlaps can be explained. The breeder is the owner of the dam of a litter when the pups are born (AKC definition). Therefore the breeder may also, and likely, be a friend or relative. It is the best guess of this writer that the combined categories of friend/relative, breeder, newspaper ad/private party, and puppy of own dog would yield mostly breeders in the strict definition as given above.
Within the definition of breeder there are a myriad of degrees. One way to describe breeders is “intentional” and “unintentional”. This may describe either purebred dog breeders or those who produce mixed breed dogs (mutts).
The intentional breeders, in reverse order of volume:
1. The avocation breeder, one who studies the attributes of the breed, is steeped in breed history, has an extensive knowledge of dog heredity including genetic problems, and exhibits their selections of breeding in dog shows. These are the medium priced dogs available to the public who seeks purebred dogs. They breed to keep their “line” of show dogs going.
2. The newspaper ads/private party sources may be the lower priced dogs, coming from occasional breeders who may have many reasons for puppy production, and may or may not repeat the process as time goes by. These folks go with the times and have a desire to sell quickly for the going rate within a scale of prices.
3. The Commercial breeder. The pet store sales may be the higher priced of the three categories, as costs of delivery to the store, personnel to care for the dogs, store facilities all add to the price necessary for profitable sale. Also financing by the store eases the sale, as well as having all the necessary food and equipment available at hand. Plus, the pet store has a number of commercial breeders available to supply whatever breed of dog is desired. The store may be the only source of the desired breed at the time of purchase. This is a direct function of supply, demand, and convenience.
For those folks who just want a dog, the animal shelters, humane societies and the appearance of an amiable stray may satisfy that need. Of course, strays may be either mixed breed (mutt) or purebred. The survey did not identify either in this category.
What the survey did identify was that the dog owners were long time owners of dogs. The average time of owning dogs was 19 years (table 7). The dog owners do seem to consistently own dogs.
Of the dogs owned, more than half are purebred. When the surveys were begun in 1996 the percentage of purebreds was 57%, rising to 58% and 64% in 1998 and 2000 respectively, falling to 63% in 2002 and 61% in 2004. Household income plays an important roll in choosing a purebred as 68% of the dogs in homes of $60,000 annual income were purebred. That purebreds are valued more highly is illustrated by the average amount paid for a purebred dog only of $489.00. Small purebreds commanded an average of $655.00, Medium size purebreds brought an average of$797.00 and large purebreds brought the average of $397.00. These averages are from all sources, including owners that paid no money for their dog.
With small dogs, purebreds occupied 70% of all small dogs. Purebreds tied with mixed breeds for the medium size dogs, but came in at 61% for the large breeds.
At this point, we see that more than half the dogs obtained came directly from the breeder or a friend or relative. Shelters, humane societies, and rescue groups provided about one third as many dogs. Pet stores may have provided from six to twelve percent, depending on where the gift dogs were obtained. These figures, being derived from multiple response questions, are probably as close as possible to get, but still leave a lot of questions unanswered. What is clear is that the breeders are the source of the dogs that consume the goods that are made for dogs. The expertise of the breeders, in the number of dogs produced, is not determined, nor is it addressed in the wording of AB1634. The only breeders not addressed in AB1634 are the commercial breeders supplying 6% to a possible 12% of the dogs provided as found by the APPMA survey.
Next –More economic analysis of AB1634.
 APPMA National Pet Owners Survey 2005-2006, Table 8
 APPMA National Pet Owners Survey 2005-2006, Table 8a
 APPMA National Pet Owners Survey 2005-2006, Table 9
 APPMA National Pet Owners Survey 2005-2006, Table 8b