Sunday, July 31, 2016

Ruined Dog Breeds

100 Years of Breed “Improvement” shows how dog breeders have intentionally selected for traits which result in diseases. If “improvement” in looks imposes a health burden then it is not a breed improvement. The dogs on the left are from the 1915 book, ‘Breeds of All Nations‘ by W.E. Mason. The examples on the right are modern examples from multiple sources.

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 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.

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.

I love Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and had three of them. 35 years ago I was not as informed as I am today and did not know that Cavaliers all descend from only six dogs and any inheritable disease present in at least one of the original founding dogs can be passed on to a significant proportion of future generations. Nearly all Cavaliers eventually suffer from mitral valve disease which shortens their lifespan. All three of mine eventually died of it, one at just 6 years old. It was heartbreaking.

We now have Lizzie, a hardy 13 year old mixed breed who came to us from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

More here

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Thanks Bruce!


Rob From Amersfoort said...

Speaking of dogs:

The Nag said...

Rob I posted Martinus Borne's work a while back: