How dog breeders have “improved” breeds over the past 100 years.
- The basset hound never used to sit so low. The dog has suffered changes to his rear leg structure, has excessive skin, vertebrae problems, droopy eyes that are prone to ectropion and entropion, and excessively large ears.
- The bull terrier used to be an athletic dog, but over the years his snout was mutated to be oversized and bending downwards, leading to respiratory issues. Many bull terriers have supernumerary teeth and are compulsive tail chasers and air biters owing to brain deformities.
- The boxer now has a much shorter face with an extremely short snout. The hindquarters are also lower. Like all brachycephalic dogs, the boxer has difficulty controlling his temperature in hot weather, meaning they are prone to overheating and collapsing in the summer. The boxer also has one of the highest cancer rates among dog breeds and many modern day boxers suffer from seizures.
- The english bulldog has evolved into a creature that suffers from almost every known disease. A kennel club survey conducted in 2004 found that they die on average at only 6 years and 4 months old. They cannot mate without human intervention, and cannot give birth naturally due to their giant heads. There is no such thing as a truly healthy bulldog.
- The dachshund, at one time, used to have functional legs and necks for their size. Their backs and legs have gotten longer, chest jutted forward, and legs have shrunk to such proportions that there is barely any clearance between their chest and the floor. Obese dachshunds usually have to actually drag their bellies across the ground. Their risk for intervertebral disc disease - which can result in paralysis - is extremely high. They are also prone to achrondoplastic related pathologies, progressive retinal apathy, and problems with their legs and joints.
- Pugs are the most inbred breed of dog in existence - an investigation carried out found that amongst the 10,000 pugs found in the UK are so inbred, the gene pool consists of the equivalent of only 50 individuals. They are extremely brachycephalic, and suffer severely from all the associated problems - the folds in their face frequently get infected, they struggle to breathe (making snoring/snorting/huffing noises even without moving), they have high blood pressure, low oxygenation, often collapse and die in the summer or if allowed to overheat, dentition problems due to their skulls being so curled in, and perhaps most shocking - their double curled tail is actually a genetic defect, and in its most serious forms leads to paralysis and many dogs needed a wheelchair or being euthanised if this progresses. These dogs are usually culled if they fail to produce this ‘attractive’ trait.
Healthy puppies that do not succumb to these ridiculous modern day breed standards are usually culled. One very heartbreaking example is the rhodesian ridgeback. The ridge is actually a genetic deformity - a mild form of spinal bifida - and puppies born without this ridge are healthy - but since the ridge is their namesake, healthy puppies are normally culled at birth and only those with noticeable ridges are bred from, thus passing the disability down to future dogs. Below is a ridgeback alongside a healthy, ridgeless dog.
3 to 4 million dogs and cats are killed every year because shelters are too full…. people are choosing to buy from breeders or shops instead of offering them a home.
Homeless animals outnumber homeless people by 5:1.
Only 1 in 10 dogs will ever find a permanent home.
25 PER CENT OF DOGS THAT ENTER SHELTERS ARE PUREBREEDS.
Please consider adopting a homeless dog. Please don’t encourage breeding these animals when there are so many being killed every year. Breeding is a profit, not “just” a hobby, and even if you think your breeder is reputable, they are still churning out puppies into a world where pets are seen as disposable.
Fuck breeders. All about money. Meanwhile, the dogs that are constantly bred suffer extreme health problems, while all the dogs that are left at the shelters are killed because no one adopted them.
*YELLS AT EVERYONE TO ADOPT INSTEAD OF BUYING FROM BREEDERS OR PET SHOPS. AND SPAY/NEUTER YOUR PETS*
I’ve spent the last few months looking through adoptable dog websites and every time I read “surrendered by OWNER” I get murderous urges. If you leave your dog at the shelter because its just too “inconvenient” for you, you’re an asshole. I dont care if he doesn’t get along with your kids or someone’s allergic or he pees on the carpet or you just dont have time or you’re moving houses, you train him or find another home yourself, or I will take that as a free pass to put nails in your kneecaps.
Ooooh! Ooooh! Let’s talk German shepherds, too!
So. One of the most popular and recognizable dog breeds in the world. I grew up with these guys, and my very first job in high school was working at a tiny kennel that bred GSDs for show (but mostly for very lovable pets). I learned at that job that it’s just not as simple as “breed stud A to bitch B and get lots of puppies and money”. Because American-bred shepherds (and, sadly, some European lines now) are primarily bred for looks, not work. Moreover, those “looks” are terrifyingly deformed compared to what the dogs were originally supposed to look like.
This? This is Horand von Grafrath. He was THE first German shepherd dog, owned by the breed’s founder, Captain Max von Stephanitz. Horand came from a long line of German herding dogs, and von Stephanitz was a member of the Phylax Society, which was formed to standardize dog breeds. Horand was born in 1895, and died sometime very early in the 1900s. You can see he’s got a strong back and his legs are well underneath him; he looks solid, if not the most beautifully polished dog ever.
See this? This is Strongheart. A skinnier dog than Horand, but again well put together. He was a famous movie star in the 1920s, and he was prized for his appearance as well as his athleticism. Still, you can see that stretched-out stance in the back legs that would come to typify GSD conformation and how it was shown off.
Don’t know Strongheart? Well, how about Rin Tin Tin? He was rescued from Germany by a U.S. soldier in WWI, and went on to become an even more famous movie star. Again, not perfectly polished, but he could move, and he became one of the most iconic GSDs ever.
Now, skip forward to the 1950s. GSDs are even more popular than before, with a revival of Rin Tin TIn in a new show. By now you’re starting to see the obsession with big heads in this breed, especially in the males, along with more “showy” conformation. Still, the backs are mostly straight, and the legs are still solidly underneath their bodies.
But what the hell is happening here in the 1970s? Notice how the dogs’ backs are getting roaches, and the back legs are bending to match—look at the hocks on the dog on the right in particular. How did this happen?
Meet Ch. Lance of Fran-Jo. This dog took the specialty GSD show world by storm in the late 1960s; he was the Grand Victor in 1967, which is about the highest honor a dog can win in the specialty ring held by the German Shepherd Dog Club of America. If you study the pedigrees of American-bred GSDs, a HUGE chunk of the GSDs bred for the specialty ring go back to him, to include a fair amount of inbreeding. And you see some of those weird conformation traits, like the pointy nose and overly angular hock? Well…they just kept getting worse:
See this? This is the 2010 GSDCA Grand Victor, Ch Scher-Lo’s Rogue of Karizma. That is the dog who was supposed to be the best-built male GSD in the country at the time according to the German Shepherd Dog Club of America. And before you think it’s just the specialty dogs (all-breed dogs are supposedly better built), this is the dog who went to Westminster to represent the breed:
Now, Westminster is not the be-all and end-all of the all-breed GSD show world, but it is by far the best-known show with the most people watching it on TV. And this is what was represented to us as THE GSD.
So what do you get out of this besides dogs who are pretty and polished but have the weirdest damned shape? Well, you get back problems—my own last dog, who came from one of the very few litters bred at the kennel I worked at, even with careful breeding to avoid hereditary problems, had to be euthanized at the age of 7 due to spinal myelopathy. GSDs are also notorious for hip and elbow dysplasia—in short, their limbs don’t fit the sockets right. There are also widespread temperament problems; we were lucky in that we had a kennel with only about half a dozen adult dogs at any time, spoiled rotten, and with wonderful temperaments. But there are plenty of American-bred GSDs who are skittish, flighty fear-biters because so many of them were over-bred for looks and money instead of care and good tempers.
This doesn’t mean GSDs can’t be good dogs; Anzio, my last one, was the best dog I ever had, a complete sweetheart, and I miss him terribly. But it’s also why I’ll be going with a rescue when I get my next dog, rather than buying a puppy.