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Affectionate, good-natured, adopt-able Mastiffs at a previous show

We at Houstonia are all about mutts of indeterminate origin.But some people really want pure-bred dogs, and while we don’t judge them for that, we definitely do judge those who do business with cruel puppy mills. Instead, get your good boy or girl from a reputable breeder, or better yet, rescue it. Yes, rescue a pure-bred dog.

This month, more than 15,000 doggo enthusiasts will descend on the Houston World Series of Dog Shows, where they’ll admire beautiful, perfectly groomed specimens of every imaginable breed, cheering them on as they compete for Best in Show. They’ll also have the chance to interact with over a hundred rescue groups, many of them for specific breeds.

“We’re about all dogs, not just pure bred-dogs or ones that enter the show,” says chairman Tom Pincus. “People can come in to see all different rescue groups, pet the dogs, talk about the breed, learn about the attributes for that breed, and see if it’s right for their family.”

Breeds show-goers can get to know include American Brittanys, Basset Hounds, Border Collies, Cocker Spaniels, Poodles, Beagles, Great Danes, Pit Bulls, Boxers, German Shepherds, Dachshunds, English Bulldogs, Chow Chows, Yorkies, Mastiffs and more.

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Marcia Lawless rescues dachshunds.

Across the country, 25 percent of pure-bred pooches end up in animal shelters, having been adopted by people who didn’t know what they were getting into. Educating people about a breed’s characteristics and health concerns is an essential part of the adoption process.

“A lot of times people will say, ‘I need to get rid of this dog, I took it home and it bites, or it barks a lot,’” says Marcie Lawless, vice president and intake coordinator for Dachshund Rescue, Education & Adoption Mission (DREAM), which has been participating in the Houston dog show for four years. “We know so much about the breed. We know their quirks, that they’re escape artists, they’re diggers, they’re hunters. We can properly inform people about all of this.”

Adopting from a group like DREAM is typically more affordable than going to a breeder, Lawless adds. Costs run from $75 to $300 for a dog that could otherwise have a $1,000 price tag. Many of these pooches are already spayed, neutered and implanted with microchips, to boot.

And saving a helpless animal feels good. “A lot of people feel like they’re a part of something, and love to feel like they’re a part of the rescue,” says Lawless. “It’s more than just adopting a dog from us.”

Houston World Series of Dog Shows runs July 19–23. Free Weds; $5–15 Thur–Sun; free for children 12 and under. NRG Center, 8400 Kirby Dr., houstondogshows.com

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