Pooch Owners Howl At Dog Guide

The American Kennel Club has yanked the latest edition of its standard dog guide from book stores after dog owners yelped that it maligns some of the most popular breeds as unsuitable for children.

Scotties, dalmatians, Yorkshire terriers, rottweilers, dachshunds and 35 other varieties of pooch were suddenly deemed "not good" for children in the 19th edition of The Complete Dog Book, the bible of American dogdom that the AKC has published since 1929.

Within days, breeders and owners who had snapped up the hefty volume at $33 were snapping again, at the heels of the AKC.

The pedigree-conscious organization reacted as if it had been caught sleeping on the furniture.

"I can tell you that the book has been recalled, and the book will be reissued," Sam Perry, a vice president and general counsel for the AKC, said in a telephone interview Wednesday. He declined to comment on the contents.

The recently published edition carried new information boxes for each breed with data such as size, trainability and shedding tendencies. Under "Children," the boxes marked breeds as excellent, good or not good.

Some dog owners felt their formerly reliable pooches were inexplicably being dissed.

"Nobody quite knows who put that information in, and a number of the breed clubs around the country are not pleased with it," said Patty Brooks of Strafford, Missouri, whose husband, Fred, is a breeder and president of the Scottish Terriers Club of America. "The information certainly was not supplied by anyone who evidently knew what they were talking about."

In fact, the information boxes listing dogs as ill-suited for children are sometimes contradicted by the book's more detailed remarks about temperament.

Scotties, for example, are said to be "loving and gentle with people," while the more obscure wirehaired pointing griffon is described as "trustworthy...an excellent family dog."

Jere Mitternight of Metaire, Louisiana, secretary of the Dachshund Club of America, said dog owners are just defending their breeds.

Mrs. Mitternight, who owns seven dachsunds, said the dogs are great with children but cautioned against the smooth-haired breed for small children. "The puppy mills are turning out a lot of those dogs and their temperament is bound to be bad," she said.

Paddie Swift, a mother of two walking her dalmatian, Griffen, in New York's Central Park on Wednesday, said, "I think the American Kennel Club has bit itself in the foot."

The list includes the Akita and whippet, chihuahua and toy poodle, while some breeds with more dangerous reputations, like the American pit bull, are listed as good with children.

By Richard Pyle. 1998 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed