Dog Shows

Is Westminster Dissing Shelter Dogs?

It’s not just the dogs making headlines for Westminster Kennel Club this year. This year’s WKC dog show is “dogged” by controversy since Westminster ended their 24-years long sponsorship by Pedigree in favor of the more fun and happy Nabisco Purina Petcare brand. This decision has us wondering, is Westminster dissing shelter dogs?

WKC spokesman, David Frei, told reporters that Pedigree took the wrong approach with their advertisements.

“Show me an ad with a dog with a smile. Don’t try to shame me,” Frei said. “Our show is a celebration of dogs. We’re not promoting purebreds at the expense of non-purebreds. We celebrate all dogs. When we’re seeing puppies behind bars, it takes away from that. Not just because it’s sad, but it’s not our message.”

Pedigree’s focus has been on the rescue and adoption of shelter dogs. Apparently, WKC doesn’t want the heartfelt messages tainting their perfect, pure-bred image. Giving shelter dogs a home isn’t a shared vision between Pedigree and WKC, so the relationship was ended.

While the ads might not have been favored by the Westminster Kennel Club, they were certainly effective. In 2007 alone, over $500,000 was pledged to help shelter dogs during the 2 days of the WKC Dog Show that the ads aired.

Despite losing their sponsorship agreement with Westminster, Pedigree continues to fight for shelter dogs, holding their annual Pedigree Adoption Drive at the same time as the famous dog show. In fact, Pedigree has pledged that any time anyone interacts with their facebook page, they’ll donate a bowl of food to a shelter as part of their “Every Dog Dog Show” event.

Although Westminster may be dissing shelter dogs, we’re in big support of Pedigree’s continued efforts to promote adoption.

Here’s an example of the type of commercials that WKC didn’t want its viewers watching during their dog show:

Have you ever adopted a shelter dog? Tell us about your four-legged family member(s) below!

6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Barbara B

    Feb 15, 2013 at 11:45 am

    I have been a “foster Mom” for rescue Cockers for the past four years. I have seen all manner of dogs come through our rescue. We pull some from shelters, we buy some at auction where the puppy mill breeders sell their dogs, we take in owner surrenders. I did earn my “foster failure” badge a year ago, when I adopted a ten month old Cocker, who was pulled from a shelter. All any of these dogs want is a loving home, firm hand, and regular schedule that includes good food, exercise, socialization and affection.
    I am always disappointed by people who will purchase a puppy from a resource that is what we call a commercial breeder (puppy mill) through a pet store or other resource.
    There are good quality and conscientious breeders out there who stand behind their dogs and will take them back if the owner feels they can’t take care of the dog.
    I wish the world was perfect, but alas, it is not. So rescues will exist. There is nothing wrong with being a good, quality breeder and showing dogs. Shows such as Westminster do help pique people’s interest in pet ownership.

  2. Sandra K

    Sep 5, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    I have always adopted dogs from shelters. My beagle who I had for 15 years came from the animal shelter. I loved and enjoyed the days thay we spent together. Now I adopted 2 beagles from the shelter they are my heart,I cant change where they came from I CAN CHANGE WHERE THEY ARE NOW!!! Abbie my little girl a one year old and Annie my 5 year old.. Shelter dogs are the best!!!! Adopted now!!!

  3. minpin mama

    Mar 3, 2012 at 4:11 pm

    I have adopted a rescue dog, and am fostering another. In my opinion, any publicity to promote saving an animal’s life is worthy.

    As Karleen stated, shelters and animal control are overwhelmed with pets that are surrendered simply because the owners didn’t know what they were getting into. (And unfortunately, a good number of those dogs have come from breeders or pet stores.)

    Shelters and rescues need all the publicity available to them to assist in finding homes for their animals. I say “kudos” to any organization or business that is willing to help make a difference.

  4. Barb T

    Feb 16, 2012 at 9:13 pm

    Pedigree, while supporting some shelters, is, just as Purina, a dog food business. They do whatever they think will bring them business. They are NOT altruistic, all for the shelter dogs, NOTE, please, their brand NAME!!!

  5. Sharie

    Feb 15, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    I am a shelter worker and believe in everything we do. There are so many wonderful dogs, cats and small critters that need homes. How could anyone not support an organization for raising awareness and caring? These may appear sad but are also true. Reality hurts but we can all make it better. You know we get a lot of pure breeds in the shelter and they are treated no better or less than any of our animals. Why don’t people try standing up for something instead of bowing down to the upper crust? Every pet needs a voice, too bad WKC does not believe that. God bless all the animals pampered or not. All of my animals are shelter pets and are the best things that have ever happened to me. I want to say “Kudos” to Pedigree for believing in all animals and trying to do the right thing.

  6. Karleen Meyers

    Feb 14, 2012 at 9:45 pm

    I have 2 rescue shelter dogs one is a purebred Golden Retriever, my other rescue is a Great Pyrenees/Collie mix, they are both gorgeous dogs and they are the best companions ever!!
    We need to call out and remind people if you can’t take responsibility for you animals don’t take them in. The only dogs that should be in shelters or rescue should be folks that have taken ill with no one to help care for their pets which is a whole different issue, folks who have lost their income, home, etc. Don’t get a pet if you have not done your research!! Know your breed and/or breed mix, I can tell you I know both sides of my Pyrenees/Collie Mix you can see the Collie traits as well as the Great Pyrenees traits.
    I love the pedigree commercials, they do make me cry, maybe Pedigree can do a before and after video of the dogs in the commercial, from “down and out” to for us that grew up in the sixties, a E TICKET –“denoted the best rides at Disney land” on their collar jumping around, groomed up and ready to go to their forever home. Either way people will adopt pets doesn’t necessary need to be a sad commercial “it’s all how you spin it”

    Don’t kick Pedigree to the curb for champion homeless dogs!! WKC should work with Pedigree, just like we would expect with our shelters/rescues facilities “work with them” the solution is easy if it’s over a sad dog face, my god there are endless ideas for commercials that can have a great outcome and get the message across.

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