The movie industry is at it again. With this past weekend's number one opening of Beverly Hills Chihuahua, it has simultaneously forced parents to sit through another stinker (Chihuahua earned a 44 percent on Rotten Tomatoes) and stave off their children's inevitable requests to pick up one of these pocket-sized pups on the way home.
Over the years, this kind of popularization of specific dog breeds hasn't been good for the breeds featured on screen, leading to overpopulation, inbreeding, and worse. Perhaps the most glaring example occurred with the Disney classic 101 Dalmations and its 1996 live-action remake. Thousands of parents brought home a tiny spotted friend for their jubilant youngster, wholly ignorant of this breed's less-than-ideal "family pet" status. In fact, Dalmations are among the top "biting breeds." Their overpopulation has lead to a massive homeless problem within the breed and all-too-many sad puppies needlessly terminated after a family realized they simply couldn't handle the notoriously unruly breed.
Other examples include Frank the Pug from Men in Black and Eddie the Jack Russell Terrier from TV's Frasier. Pugs might look cute, but their list of health problems is almost endless. Jack Russells are cute and smart, but unless you have the proper time to exercise this intensely energetic breed, they'll soon be bouncing off your walls and tearing up your wardrobe.
Movie and television popularity of breeds often leads to inexperienced breeders jumping into the game to make a quick buck. The result can be improper breeding methods and inbreeding. Worse than that, puppy mills often place young pups in unsanitary conditions and, in some cases, abuse them.
So the next time your kid dances out of the latest Disney talking-critter flick begging for a trip to the pet store on the way home, talk them into a trip to your local shelter. Surely their short attention spans will be quickly swayed when they see the wide selection of sad-eyed future best friends eager to head home and please a new master. Posted 10.06.08 by reelz