Dog breeding – the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Without selective dog breeding we’d never have some of these awesome dog combinations such as my new favourite, the pomsky.
These guys are freakin adorable! They are so cute I forgot for a moment how I feel about breeding dogs.
A lot of good can come from dog breeding, such as these adorable pups. Breeders are constantly mixing it up and “inventing” new dog breeds and I think its neat that due to artificial insemination we can have breeds that were physically impossible before.
*It should be noted that MANY dog breeders are just normal, good, caring folks who have gorgeous dogs. If you are one of these, please note that this rant is NOT directed at you. *
I watched a documentary that made me cry deep down in my soul. It was about dog breeding has turned into something almost horrendous. Over the years Man ( and Woman) have bred dogs for specific features such as the dachshund.
It was bred to scent, chase, and flush out badgers and other burrow-dwelling animals, while the miniature dachshund was developed to hunt smaller prey such as rabbits.
See that? It was developed. That word bothers me even more that I know that these selective traits come with undesired traits as well. Due to their elongated bodies they are very prone to having back issues as well as hereditary epilepsy, granulomatous meningoencephalitis, dental issues, Cushing’s syndrome, thyroid problems, various allergies and atopies, and various eye conditions including cataracts, glaucoma, progressive retinal atrophy, corneal ulcers, nonucerative corneal disease, sudden acquired retinal degeneration, and cherry eye. Dachshunds are also 2.5 times more likely than other breeds of dogs to develop patent ductus arteriosus, a congenital heart defect.
This is something WE as humans have done to these poor animals just so that they will ” look the part”.
We’ve changed some dogs so much that their gene pool is so shallow that even a fly couldn’t drown in it. For example, the gene pool of 10,000 pugs in the UK is the equivalent of only 50 individuals.
It seems incredible that at one time the Bull Terrier was a handsome, athletic dog. Somewhere along its journey to a mutated skull and thick abdomen the bull terrier also picked up a number of other maladies like supernumerary teeth and compulsive tail-chasing.
A shorter face means a host of problems. The modern Boxer not only has a shorter face but the muzzle is slightly upturned. The boxer – like all bracecyphalic dogs – has difficulty controlling its temperature in hot weather, the inability to shed heat places limits on physical performance. It also has one of the highest cancer rates.
The English bulldog has come to symbolize all that is wrong with the dog fancy and not without good reason; they suffer from almost every possible disease. A 2004 survey by the Kennel Club found that they die at the median age of 6.25 years (n=180). There really is no such thing as a healthy bulldog. The bulldog’s monstrous proportions make them virtually incapable of mating or birthing without medical intervention.
The Dachshund used to have functional legs and necks that made sense for their size. Backs and necks have gotten longer, chest jutted forward and legs have shrunk to such proportions that there is barely any clearance between the chest and floor. The dachschund has the highest risk of any breed for intervertebral disc disease which can result in paralysis; they are also prone to achondroplastic related pathologies, PRA and problems with their legs.
The German Shepherd Dog is also a breed that is routinely mentioned when people talk about ruined breeds; maybe because they used to be awesome. In Dogs of All Nations, the GSD is described as a medium-sized dog (25 kg /55 lb), this is a far cry from the angulated, barrel-chested, sloping back, ataxic, 85-pounders (38 kg) we are used to seeing in the conformation ring. There was a time when the GSD could clear a 2.5 meter (8.5 ft) wall; that time is long gone.
The Pug is another extreme brachycephalic breed and it has all the problems associated with that trait – high blood pressure, heart problems, low oxygenation, difficulty breathing, tendency to overheat, dentition problems, and skin fold dermatitis. The highly desirable double-curl tail is actually a genetic defect, in more serious forms it leads to paralysis.
Once a noble working dog, the modern St. Bernard has been oversized, had it’s faced squished in, and bred for abundant skin. You will not see this type of dog working, they can’t handle it as they quickly overheat. The diseases include entropion, ectropion, Stockard’s paralysis, hemophilia, osteosarcoma, aphakia, fibrinogen deficiency.
Watch the documentary that changed my view
There is a lot of ugly in the breeding world unfortunately. One breed mentioned in this documantary is the Rhodesian Ridgeback. The ridge on the Rhodesian Ridgeback is a distinct characteristic of the breed, it is a genetic trait, the presence of which is claimed to make the dog more prone to suffer from dermoid sinus. The Ridgeback Club’s code of ethics states that “ridgeless puppies shall be culled”.
Yes culled. Definition; to control the size of (a group of animals) by killing some animals. This has since been rectified due to the massive feedback from people like you and me who are outraged in hearing this. The Rhodesian Ridgeback Club calls “absolute nonsense” the program’s claim that the ridge “serves no purpose” and says the ridge “defines the breed from any other large brown dog without a ridge which might be considered a crossbreed i.e. mastiff x pitbull or boxer x mastiff.” Regarding the code of ethics statement which says “Ridgeless puppies shall be culled at birth,” the Club points to the statement that follows, “if a breeder finds this morally impossible the puppy shall be homed…” as indication that culling is not mandatory.They have since revised their code of ethics to say “no healthy puppy will be culled.”
I wish I could say that is the worst of the ugly, but living in Quebec, I can tell you it gets even worse.
The Ugliest: Puppy Mills
If you dont know what it is I will tell you as I force down the bile that has crept into my throat. A puppy mill is a commercial dog breeding facility that is operated with an emphasis upon profits above animal welfare and is often in substandard conditions regarding the well-being of dogs in their care.
In puppy mills, females are sometimes bred every time they are in heat to increase profits, resulting in gradually decreasing sizes of litters. As puppies, mill dogs are also often weaned from their mothers well before the eight to ten weeks recommended. Puppies are taken from their mother when they are 5 to 6 weeks old and sold to brokers who pack them in crates for resale to pet stores all over the country.
Quebec has been home to some of the largest and most disgusting mills. Did you know that technically puppy mills are not illegal? Canada’s cruelty laws do not protect mill dogs, unless they are in terrible conditions! Our government does not regulate commercial breeders as they do in the U.S., so they cannot even be tracked, so we don’t know who they are, where they are and what they are up to.
WARNING! These are pictures from mills in Quebec, not for the faint of heart.
We have very little animal protection laws in Canada and it makes me a very upset kitten.
The next time you are asking how much is that doggie in the window, consider not just the actual money you are spending but the price these animals are paying for our vanity.