Over the past few years, I have come into the unhappy knowledge that many dog breeds have essentially become degenerate due to inbreeding and breeding for particular characteristics. So for example, German Shepherds (my favorite breed, if I were to choose one) have a tendency toward problems with their hind legs. Some breeds suffer from “Chiari-Like Malformation”, which means that the brain is too big for their skull. I believe this relates to brachycephalic breeds like French Bulldogs. The latter have issues with their breathing due to their short, often flattened snouts. Hand on heart: this is…just…cruel.
I should mention that there are two brachycephalic breeds for which I have a terrible weakness: Pugs and Boston Terriers. I find them funny and irresistibly adorable. But with the above knowledge, I’m not sure that I could buy one in all good conscience (that is - from a breeder; a rescue dog would obviously be a different story).
So let’s look at the issue from a purely unselfish point of view. If we’re going to act morally and compassionately towards dogs, should we just spay/neuter all the remaining members of certain breeds (and adopt better breeding practices for others)? If you agree with my proposition that we sterilize certain breeds out of existence, which ones would you suggest we do? Or is there a less drastic solution to the moral problem of dog breeds which we humans have caused to be degenerate?
To be clear, I have no pets. I would love to have a dog so much, but don’t have the conditions for one at present. Were my conditions to ever change, I would love to get a German Shepherd or other wolflike breed, or, if I could only get a small dog, some other specific breed, but knowing how many dogs are put down, suspect that I would end up going to the shelter and adopting any mutt instead…
That’s how I feel about pugs too…they’re so adorable and I’ve wanted one a long time, but I can’t imagine having to listen to my beloved pet struggling to breathe.
Do you know the Australian “Bondi Vet” TV series? It’s a reality show where a vet, his colleagues and associates help all manner of animals in various ways. In one episode, there was a French Bulldog who had to have plastic surgery done to increase the size of his nostrils. It’s sad to think that we’ve done that to our furry friends.
The SharPei is a breed defined by pathologic skin. I owned one once (the dog was gifted to my kids). I bathed her every other day and medicated her ears/eyes daily. She was a sweet dog, but the breed should be extinguished
Some genetic problems aren’t essential to the breed, and a good breeder will try to breed away from them. Hip dysplasia, for instance – individual dogs with the problem certainly shouldn’t be bred, but wiping out the whole breed seems excessive. There’s such a thing as a healthy German Shepherd.
But when the damaged condition becomes part of the breed standard? That’s awful. We certainly shouldn’t be deliberately breeding dogs (or cats, or anything else) who can’t breathe properly, or who need massive continuous human assistance in order to prevent skin infections.
I’ve never been comfortable with dog breeds that are characterized by would would be considered deformities if they occurred in a more “normal” breed, like short muzzles (especially when they produce breathing difficulties), short legs, dwarfism, etc. I wouldn’t want to have such a breed myself. I wouldn’t mind if such breeds went out of style and people stopped buying them and they went extinct. I’m not sure I would outlaw them though.
I don’t think “normal” dog breeds like German Shepherds should be included though. It is theoretically possible to eliminate the genetic problems through selective breeding. The breeds are otherwise OK.
Regular (American ?) Bulldogs are one that would qualify. Great Danes are another. I don’t think they should be outlawed but like others I wish people would quit buying them.
Dachshunds: their disproportionately long backs lead to intervertebral disc disease and paralysis.
Dachshunds: their disproportionately smart-ass attitudes and exceptional intelligence will be the downfall of humanity when they decide to overthrow us puny humans at take over the planet. Foundations have been laid, People!
Oh, I thought ‘Degenerate’.