Editorial - July 10, 1998
In America the word "bitch" almost universally expresses a term of opprobrium - a
put-down at the very least, often used as an out-and-out expression of profanity,
indicating a lack of good character or moral turpitude.
When I returned from Finland with Bella, I mentioned to my maiden aunt that Bella was
my foundation bitch, and that good lady blanched. She thought that was a terrible thing to
say about such a nice little doggie!
Actually, the bitch represents the finest and truest in the domestic canine: fidelity,
protection, unconditional love. Most long-time dog owners prefer a bitch over a dog as a
pet if only because the bitch comes into heat perhaps three or four weeks of the year
while the dog remains in heat 365 days a year. And there's much less ceremony
regarding bladder function.
I suspect that the unpleasant connotation of the word derives from the sexual
inclinations of the domesticated female canine which, deprived of a wild canine
upbringing, will usually stand to any male who happens her way without being the least
In the wild, females of most if not all canines specie take one mate and only one mate for
a lifetime, but domesticated bitches are raised by people and never allowed to form a
proper pack hierarchy or to form their own pair-bonds, so they have no idea of what
constitutes canine mating customs.
In this respect at least, most of us (myself included) have debased our dogs. And being
human, we blame them for it.