I’M SURE none of us who watched the (otherwise in many ways rather naff) opening ceremony for the Commonwealth Games were expecting to see all those Scotties!
Most of them seemed to be thoroughly enjoying themselves, as one would expect from the ‘Diehard’, and showed remarkable fortitude considering some of them had to accompany more than one of the teams parading in the arena.
What I found fascinating was seeing all the different reactions on Facebook of other dog people who were watching too. Some thought the whole thing quite delightful, excellent publicity for pedigree dogs. Others’ first reaction was to think of the dogs’ welfare, especially as it was a hot day and the dogs had those little jackets on. We known now that they were in fact very well looked after.
Some, like me, were curious as to how all the dogs had been sourced, knowing that only a relatively limited number of Scottish Scotties ever appear at the shows. You can read the answers in last week’s issue of DOG WORLD.
Some felt it was a pity that only one of the country’s native breeds had been featured, especially as some, like the Dandie Dinmont and the Skye Terrier, are very much in the vulnerable category and could do with all the publicity they can get.
Conversely others wondered whether this exposure was necessarily a good thing for the Scottie, which for several decades has been at a steady level of popularity, just nicely above the vulnerable mark. Knowing how easily influenced is the general public, with it taking very little to push a breed into worrying levels of demand – the Frenchie being the current most obvious example – one has to be so careful that something like this doesn’t cause a similar explosion, which is invariably accompanied by a rise in purely commercial breeding, especially of so-called ‘rare’ colours such as wheatens.
Indeed the Kennel Club reported an immediate rise in enquiries about Scotties, and one can only hope that this does not lead to anything too dramatic in terms of people trying to buy one without doing the appropriate research first.
A typical comment comes from Lesley Gilmour-Wood who writes to me: “As a Scottie owner I was thrilled at those great little dogs at the Games. I do hope, though, that this does not have the effect of people buying because they are ‘cute’.
“Remember the Dulux dog and the Dalmatians and the devastating effect on rescue afterwards? I have already had two people ask where they can buy a ‘blonde’ Scottie.”
I these circumstances it is always difficult to know what is the best course for responsible breeders and breed clubs to adopt. There is always the worry that if serious breeders are too restrained about actually producing puppies, the public will turn to less reputable puppy producers who are not so scrupulous. Rather a Catch 22 situation.