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Old 10-11-2009, 05:10 PM
NajaNivea NajaNivea is offline
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: state of confusion
Posts: 3,652
The short answer: they're still around because we humans go to great lengths to get things we like. Also, because to some extent, dogs have become fashion accessories for a large part of society. They always have been for a certain socio-economic class, but as we've gotten progressively more urban dogs have gotten progressively less utilitarian in general. A shrinkingly small sector of society still relates to dogs as basically utilitarian beings.

Tying in with that, dogs of many "fashion" breeds have gotten progressively more extreme in recent decades. Evidence the Bull Terrier's downface. Frenchies ("English" type bulldogs, too) are bred for tiny hips and enormous melons. They've been bred for that look for some time, but it's only in the last half of the last century that they've gotten quite so drastic... perhaps not-so-coincidentally at the same time that companion animal medicine as a practice took off, and about the same time that dogs went from generally being seen as "tools" to being "furry children". The reason we still have them around despite the problems they have breeding and birthing is partly the reason they've been allowed to get so extreme in the first place--if surgical intervention wasn't possible people would have to breed physically capable dogs. As it happens, it is possible, so as time went on what started out as the occasional aberration became the norm. Puppy buyers are perfectly willing to pay what it costs to make these dogs, and as long as there's a market there will be breeders to supply it.

Lots of people breed "Old English" type (sometimes called "Victorian" or, ye gods, "Olde English Buldog(g)(u)e") bulldogs for this very reason--physically capable animals. They're much closer in form to the bulldogs seen in depictions from the bull- and bear- baiting days.