They’ve fought by our sides, caught our food, managed our livestock, protected our homes, and warmed our beds and hearts for centuries — yet until last year, there was no day honoring purebred dogs.
A year and a half ago, Puli owner Suzi Szeremy noticed the omission: “There’s a National Dog Day, National Mutt Day, National Rescue Day, National Puppy Day, and even a National Poop Scoop Day, but nothing honoring the purebred dog.”
Thinking that dog ownership needed more balance, she started a Facebook page, threw up a picture, named it National Purebred Dog Day — and forgot it! When she remembered to check it a few days later, she was astounded to find it had 3,000 likes. She was even more surprised to see how many likes there were by last May 1, the first National Purebred Dog Day.
“As far as I can tell, only word of mouth lead to sources as varied as Psychology Today and the AKC to mention or write about the day on their social media platforms, and at day’s end, over one million people expressed interest in a day that hadn’t existed six months before. Hundreds of pictures of people with their beloved purebred dogs were posted on Twitter and Facebook, on scores of different pages. Now as we look to this May 1, NPDD’s Facebook page is ‘kissing’ 40,000 page friends [likes]. It suggests to me that the day has resonated with people who love their purebred dogs.”
One state — Colorado — has even officially recognized Purebred Dog Day.
National Purebred Dog Day is about more than just a single day, though. It’s about purebred dogs every day. The NPDD Facebook page is a mix of trivia, “guess the breed” challenges, celebrity purebred-dog gossip, and breed information, with an emphasis on education.
“I don’t find it enough to simply suggest that a Beagle, for example, is special, I want to explain WHY it’s special,” explains Szeremy. “What is it about this breed that makes it the perfect fit for the right family?”
“From Uggie and Snoopy, to Rin Tin Tin to Lassie, from Brian Griffin and Santa’s Little Helper, to Presidential dogs Bo, Barney, Fala, and Laddie Boy, purebred dogs have held an important place in American culture and history,” says Szeremy.
National Purebred Dog Day celebrates the diversity, heritage, and predictability of the purebred dog. It may also save them. With some dog breeds in danger of extinction, a day of recognition and celebration may give a push toward salvation. Many breeds have already become extinct, and at least 20 AKC breeds are in danger of dying out — and even more that were never even popular enough to be one of the AKC anointed.
We may no longer need them to control otters or turn spits, just as we don’t need Model T cars, Clydesdale horses, or King Tut’s sarcophagus, but we do need them, really, if we are to maintain ties to our past. Just as we visit a museum to see the history of mankind, marvel at the earliest tools and weapons, and trace the evolution of technology from the wheel to the space ship, the history of the dog is intertwined with ours. Purebred dogs are a living link to our past and an irreplaceable part of our present — and we hope, future. Give the NPDD video, which makes the case for the holiday, a watch:
Szeremy cites yet another reason for it: In a culture in which some people choose to denigrate purebreds, it’s time they were given equal time.
“In the conversation about responsible dog ownership, the voice of the purebred dog owner has been largely left out, but worse, the culture of purebred dog ownership has been painted with a very broad brush,” says Szeremy. “Having a day of recognition opens an important dialogue because at the end of the day, the emphasis shouldn’t be about whether someone buys a rescue dog, adopts from a shelter, or gets their dog from a respected breeder invested in their breed, it should be about potential dog owners doing their homework and getting the best fit of dog for themselves so that both dog and owner have a fulfilling lifelong relationship.
“For some people, a mixed breed from the pound, or a rescue dog, is a great match, while others prefer the predictability of a purpose-bred dog bred by a breeder who will stand by their puppies. I’ve had all of the aforementioned as companions in my life and believe that informed decisions about who we have as our canine companions should be respected.”
Read more about purebred dogs on Dogster:
About the author: Caroline Coile is the author of 34 dog books, including the top-selling Barron’s Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds. She has written for various publications and is currently a columnist for AKC Family Dog. She shares her home with three naughty Salukis and one Jack Russell Terrier.