Pet-owners vs breeder-owners
(some differences is more about country vs city, and
has not so much to do with the status of the owner)

All of us have to be novices sometime. Of course there are novices who don't know enough to really see the small signs that might be there to tell that the dog is sick. But on the other hand, most pets are living closer to their owners than kennel dogs. With no kennel facilities, the dogs is around the owner all the time. We sleep with them, eat with them, watch TV with them, and since we only have one or two dogs, we take them with us when we go visiting. Maybe we actually have a better chance to spot if something is wrong.

Vet care
Maybe the pet-owner is more prone to take the dog to the vet all the time, even for small things, because we can afford it since we don't have to feed 15 dogs. And also because we don't have the vast experience of the breeder who knows when really to take the dog to the vet or not. Does this mean our dogs get too many antibiotics, destroying our dogs immune systems?

If you are having a kennel and a lot of dogs, you don't live in the city or in a suburb, you live out in the country somewhere. Your dogs are not meeting so many other dogs, except at dogshows or maybe obedience training. Your dogs are not exposed to so many kinds of viruses and bacteria as the pet-owners dog who live in the city. The dog who lives in an apartment has to go out several times a day, and living in the city or a suburb means meeting other dogs every day.
It is also quite possible that the owners themselves in the cities, are much more exposed to viruses and bacteria among the crowds, at work, in the shopping malls, on the commuting train... We do pass these things between us, man and dog. If you live out in the country outside a smaller city, you are not exposed the same way.

A kennel dog who lives in a kennel house and is outside most of the day, will not suffer much even if the owner is a smoker.
I am smoking. All my dogs have been passive smokers since they share my apartment with me. And God only knows what that does to their abilities to withstand infections in the tonsills for instance.
It would be most interesting to know how many Sudden Deaths have shared their lives with smokers.

Here you will find the biggest difference. To live in an apartment or a small house with such a tiny garden it is not enough to exercise on, means walking. If you have a single dog, or even if you have two, it is hard, if not impossible to give them the same amount of exercise as a kennel dog.
A kennel dog has play mates, plenty of space to run in and probably the opportunity to do that all day long. You just have to look at the muscles on a kennel dog and compare it to a dog living in an apartment, to know this is true. You can walk your dogs for hours, you bike them, and it is still not the same. The dog living outdoor is getting a lot more fresh air. And the country dog is most likely not breathing as polluted air either.

As a pet-owner, especially if you are not at all into dog shows, you probably give your dog something easy, something you can buy in a sack. And you are not likely to buy a premium food, in Sweden one sack of premium food is somewhere around 53 US dollar at the moment. Very few pet-owners cook their own dog food.
But of course, there is also the group like me, even if we are not breeders, we show our dogs and we give them the best food we can, even if it costs a lot.

Breeders can't afford to keep 10-15 dogs on premium food unless they are sponsored. They give premium food to their show dogs and lesser quality to the others. And they cook their own food! Probably they give both. And where do they get this food? The meat comes from the butcher and what does a Swedish butcher have if not Swedish meat? And Swedish meat is free from hormones and antibiotics!

Most brands of ready made food, the ones you buy in a sack, are not made in Sweden. They come from abroad and I am not sure I even want to know what is really inside. Apart from all the chemicals inside, what is in the meat? Hormones and antibiotics? When you feed a couple of dog generations this food, like we have done for the past decade, will it affect the immune system?


Where does Shêtan fit into all this, what was his life like?



All text and photos on the section "Sudden Death in Sighthounds" on my homepage (Starcastle Hounds) is copyright 1997-2001 to