Jonah Goldberg

As a general rule, if you find that your normal dog needs to be put on antidepressants just to get through the day, maybe you shouldn't have a dog. Or, perhaps you shouldn't have a breed that can't tolerate long periods of inactive isolation.

For example, when I see city residents walking border collies - the Nietzschean ubermenschen of the canine world - on leashes, it drives me crazy. These dogs were designed through eugenic engineering to work their minds and bodies every day at enormously high levels, not get a few minutes' walk to Starbucks.

At first, I couldn't stand the cable TV show "The Dog Whisperer" because the host, Cesar Millan, uses New Agey mumbo jumbo about "energy" and "color" to explain himself. But after watching a few shows, you realize that Millan knows what he's doing, and to the extent he uses some silly buzz phrases, it's because he needs to explain to often clueless dog owners that - surprise! - dogs need to exercise. In almost every episode, at least one of the dogs is a mess because he's left alone all day and doesn't get out much.

Some breeders are finally catching up with reality and breeding dogs that make sense for modern urban living. Portuguese water dogs are great, but most condo owners don't need a dog to deliver messages between fishing boats. Of course, traditionalists object to the new crops of labradoodles (Labrador/poodles) and puggles (pug/beagles), but this is absurd. Most dog breeds were created to do jobs like rat-catching, herding and the like. There aren't enough openings for those jobs today. But there is still a lot of demand for the love of a good dog, so if we're going to have dog breeding at all (I'm very pro pound dog), why not breed to fit today's needs?

It sure beats the Brave New World of medicating dogs to keep them from being dogs.


Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
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