100 Years of Breed “Improvement”

For the sake of honest disclosure, I will admit to owning “purebreds” (the ‘pureness’ of purebreeds is a discussion for another time) but I also have mutts. All the dogs I’ve had since childhood had a few things in common, they were friendly, prey driven, ball-crazy, intense, motivated, athletic (crazy dogs are easier to train) and none had intentionally bred defects. I would never buy/adopt a dog whose breed characteristics exacted a health burden.(Asher 2009). That just incentivizes people to breed more of these intentionally unhealthy animals.

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. To be able to make an honest comparison, I’ve chosen pictures with similar poses and in a couple of cases flipped the picture to get them both aligned in the same direction. I had to skip some breeds I wanted to include because of the lack of detail in the older photographs.

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.

The Basset Hound has gotten lower, has suffered changes to its rear leg structure, has excessive skin, vertebra problems, droopy eyes prone to entropion and ectropion and excessively large ears.

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.

It is unrealistic to expect any population to be free of genetic diseases but show breeders have intentionally selected for traits which result in diseases. Conformation breeders claim they are improving the breed and yet they are often the cause of these problems. If “improvement” in looks imposes a health burden then it is not a breed improvement..

No dog breed has ever been improved by the capricious and arbitrary decision that a shorter/longer/flatter/bigger/smaller/curlier “whatever” is better.  Condemning a dog to a lifetime of suffering for the sake of looks is not an improvement; it is torture.

Further Reading

Dog Breed Historical Pictures.

Breed-Predispositions to Cancer in Pedigree Dogs - ISRN Veterinary Science

The Price of a Pedigree – Dog breed standards and breed-related illness  - Animal Welfare Group (PDF)

A healthier future for pedigree dogs (2009) – Associate Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare (PDF)

A healthier future for pedigree dogs – 2012 update – APGAW (PDF)

Pedigree dog breeding in the UK: a major welfare concern? – RSPCA (PDF)


Asher L, Diesel G, Summers JF, McGreevy PD, Collins LM. (2009). Inherited defects in pedigree dogs. Part 1: disorders related to breed standards.  Vet J. 2009 Dec;182(3):402-11.

  1. Bull Terrier
  2. Basset Hound
  3. Boxer
  4. Bulldog
  5. German Shepherd Dog
  6. Pug
  7. Saint Bernard
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717 thoughts on “100 Years of Breed “Improvement”

  1. Pingback: Fotografía e historia, dos complementos valiosos

  2. Some things are better left alone. It’s obvious, in our attempts to change the original proportions and characteristics of our beloved dogs, that it has proved to their detriment. It has resulted in problems for the dogs as well as the owners having to pay for the consequences of these modifications.

    • They will go back to “breed standards” when the AKC judges start judging on the correct dog and not what is pretty and in fashion…IMHO I have seen a huge decline in the world of Giant Schnauzers over the past years from being a robust hard coated dog to a slab sided giraffe necked tall hair dog. It is really sad because as long as the judges are handing out wins for these dogs they will keep breeding away from the breed standard. I personally have correct Giants and they don’t do well against the fashion dogs.

    • Ok, just no. Your assumption here is that the ancestors were healthy, and that is simply not true. Purebred dog breeding originated in Victorian times, which was the 1800′s. WELL before people really understood genetics (they didn’t even understand that diseases could be water born, they thought they were spread through smell). And they were basically little better than backyard breeders of today, just breeding together whatever they thought was cute because they lacked the information required to make informed decisions. It’s only been within the last few decades that responsible breeders have had access to the routine genetic testing and the tracking of pedigrees and health data that allows them to make informed breeding decisions. Responsible breeders of today are working to correct the health problems bred into the breed FROM THE VERY BEGINNING.

      • The problem I’m highlighting here is that “breed type” is directly associated with many health problems. Breeders are creating and perpetuating diseased dogs because they like a certain look. Conformation breeding is really a product of post-Darwinian society; breeders did know of the problems they were causing and most of these don’t require genetic testing. Responsible breeders are the ones who realize that you can’t breed for extreme phenotypes while at the same time claiming you are breeding for healthy dogs.

        • I agree with Mus Musculus. Admittedly, dog breeders come in a variety of types, and in my opinion the only responsible breeders are those that work to keep the breed first healthy, and only then when the breed is healthy in compliance with the breed standards as far as looks are concerned.
          The trouble with today’s breeds is that the gene pool has shrunk over 50% so the likelyhood of inbred litters is only growing. Especially with breeds that have been ‘in fashion’ for a certain period, the results in terms of congenital defects, general health issues and even character are disastrous.
          The Malinois for example used to be a much coveted breed in the Dutch and Belgium Lowlands, but nowadays many people shy away from the breed because they have both health issues and their character is totally f**ked up. Which is a shame because they once were fantastic working dogs, nowadays they are often bred mixed with Hollandais to create a working dog that has a stable character and agility of the Hollandais and the drive of a Malinois. I have also watched in horror what they have done to greyhounds and mastins for show lines. I own a spanish galgo and a mixed breed galgo/greyhound and one purebred Mastin Espanol from a working line (all from rescue, I might add). The bulky, overly muscular creatures with their unnatural long necks that are passing for ‘greyhounds’ and the bulky, stocky, covered in burly flaps of skin molochs shown as ‘mastin espanol’ at shows are a far, far cry from my elegant, athletic working dogs. My dogs are healthy and all still very well even if over 10 years old, the mastins I have known from working lines mostly lived well into their 12, 13th year. Something one of those overdesigned, overbred showdogs will not likely match.

          • The AKC just made things worse when – unlike most of the world – they designated each Belgian variety as a breed,closing down the registry and creating a bottleneck.

      • BS.

        Border Collies have been a breed for centuries. But not a “conformation” breed. Rather, a working breed, bred for fitness, intelligence, and bidability. The results are brilliant, but threatened now by AKC breeders of Barbie Collies.

        If you breed a dog for looks, you’re breeding a disaster. If you breed a dog for working ability and fitness, they might not please show dog judges, but they will also not endure the same sorts of genetic defects that show dogs suffer from

        • Dinna matter what it looks like. If it works sheep it’s a collie, if it dinna work sheep, it’s just a dog.

          The diversion between the Beauty Contest Confirmation and the working Field Trials seems to get worse as time goes by in many of the breeds. They’re going to end up with basically two different breeds – Confirmation Labradors vs Field Labrador Retrievers. But short of re-writing Breed Standard rules to have Confirmation dependent on Field Trial success, I’m not sure what can be done about it.

          • I don’t think you have to rewrite the standards just yet; that may be a good place to aim but for now there could just be a collective decision among judges and breed clubs to stop awarding BB and BIS to exaggerated traits.

            • Sure, you could try to have a consensus and the smaller and more closely knit a breed society is, the more likely it is to work. But fashions come and go, so to eliminate the exaggerations in the long run, I do think you will have to write breed standards more closely. But that’s just my relatively uninformed opinion, could very easily be wrong on that point.

              There are a couple of different problems here and I think we need to separate them out to address them properly. First is what you’re talking about are ‘design flaws’ which lead to genetic and physical problems with the dogs. You think that a consensus between breeders, judges and clubs could deal with that problem. Just knowing human nature, I’m less sanguine about that point.

              Second is just plain old poor breeding practices. There may be nothing wrong with the design, i.e. breed standards, but poor breeding will lead to all sorts of mental and physical problems. I tried to read a couple of books on dog genetics and breeding, but my eyes started to glaze over, pretty complicated stuff. Still, as to your point, if the design of the dog is flawed, then all the good breeding the breeders can breed won’t fix or address the physical problems.

              Third is the tendency of confirmation breeders to breed out the working qualities of the different breeds. Technically, I guess they don’t breed the qualities out as much as not select for them. Same result. Hence Shepherds’ “Barbie Collie” crack and my point about the Field Retrievers vs the confirmation Labradors’

              I should have made clearer I was talking about Shepherds posting.

          • It’s kind of funny…Everyone is running down confirmation dogs because they breed to much towards looks…they are so different from the field trial dogs.. well maybe the field trial dogs should also be putting some effort into making their dogs, although talented, look just a little more like the breed they are suppose to be. Sorry a lot just look like mutts. Many of the field trial labs look like hounds. Sorry but it’s true. These things run both ways, and it might not be true for all breeds, but the same health problems run in both field labs and show labs. There should be a middle ground, and I do know a lot of show breeders who’s dogs do both.

            • You’re right. There’s no inherent reason a Labrador Retriever shouldn’t look like a Labrador (confirmation/show) and retrieve like a Retriever (drive/ability). That is of course separate from any health problems of the breeds. I remember one old field guy lamenting the point you make, that the field dogs don’t even look like the breed any more.

              I’m more familiar with the diversion between field and confirmation in the Sporting Dogs, but I would bet the same diversion in there also in the Working/Protection breeds. I’m using the Labs to make the point because there seems to be such a large diversion between the two groups.

              I do think at least part of the problem is that the confirmation people and the field people don’t easily mix and do kind of look askance at each other. The fault of course, lies less in the stars or the dogs than human nature (us vs. them) and as a practical matter, time and money – it’s difficult and expensive to get a Championship.

              I’m unaware of any Labrador CH (Confirmation Championship) that has a FC (Field Championship) or the other way around if you prefer. I’ve heard of only one CH which was well on its way to a MH (Master Hunter) and I don’t think any Labrador FC could get a CH . There are breeds where the two types mix and/or are one and the same, Brittany (Spaniels) being one, but even with them, there have been fewer Dual Champions over time.

      • cultures have had myths about inbreeding for a long long time before genetics. scare stories that doing so will give birth to monsters or whatever. its a bit patronising for you to think people had no idea.

  3. This isn’t scientific at all. One old picture, one new picture of two different dogs. Please.

    • During the 1950′s Cocker Spaniels were popular as a great family pet because of their temperament. American breeders began to breed for anything but temperament. Breeders will breed for whatever will win despite the Standard. Popular winners were used extensively and Cockers became known as nasty pets. A number of breeders would not play the game but eventually what used to be a family pet returned after a lot of years. Other areas of the world inspect litters as they are born to keep the breed as they should be, because all dogs should have good temperament as well as resemble the breed standard.

  4. This is entirely flawed. A lot of these changes are not cosmetic, or intended. Besides, these breeds exist in the first place through selective breeding — the “before” pictures still display a breed that would not exist without selective breeding, not only that, but they exist in the first place only to serve man. If you are offended by that concept, it is understandable, but be offended that the breeds exist in the first place, not at how “society has ruined dogs present day”.

    • ‘Serving man’ is actually a noble cause. But when a breed is taken to the point of perpetual ill health and routine physical defects over the standard deviation of ‘norm’….. I think it’s time to re-evaluate the current breeds and strike out for some new ground. Get inventive like the breeders have done over the centuries.

      • I would like to point out that the “bull terrier” pictures are two different breeds. One is a pit bull terrier and the other is a bull terrier. Two different breeds. Breeds evolve over time just as the human race has evolved. Because they are bred from one gene pool, sometimes a fairly small gene pool, they get even more refined. This is also the reason health issues arise.

  5. I have a book called British Dogs, by Hugh Dalziel a dog show commentator in the 1890′s who was making the very same point about breeding the extremes to become the norm in breed standards. The Collie once looked like a border collie.

    • Hugh Dalziel was also a well-know drunk and I found that documented in several primary source materials which I quoted and cited in my book “Dog Shows Then and Now: An Annotated Anthology.” You can’t take one isolated source from the past and consider all things said accurate, relevant, or the gospel.

      • And you can’t assume someone is wrong just because they are a drunk – that’s a logical fallacy.

        • Except that I’ve researched and read plenty of primary source accounts of his behavior. Like the time he judged Westminster when he was drunk and the show committee sobered him up so he could rejudge his assignment later in the day. Also, when you compare his descriptions of particular dogs with the descriptions of others of the time, as well as with the known photographs or drawings of those same dogs, he is way off base. He was an alcoholic from all accounts and one has to question exactly how many brain cells he burned up in the process of perpetual drunkeness – to the point of not taking anything he said as gospel without further inquiry and from a legal standpoint, whether he is,indeed, a competent witness.

          • nice way to divert from the FACT dogs have degenerated due to the actions of selfish and stupid breeders and showers. (but that guy was a drunk!,judge much?)

          • You’re kind-of proving my point. You don’t distrust him just because he’s drunk – it’s a pattern of behavior that you’re responding to.

  6. Goes to show that breeders are nothing more than money selfish a-holes. You really love a breed? Or a dog for that matter? Then adopt, foster, or volunteer at a shelter or rescue. Let’s stop being so damn greedy and get perfectly fine, loveable dogs and cats off death row.

      • Amy why do you lump all breeders into the same “pack” as it were? I have a performance breed, Borzoi, I hunt with them, course with them and, oh yes, show them because judges need to SEE a working dog. Conformation-only people have created lines within my breed I wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole. However, my Borzoi breeders all have the same philosophy on our breed that I do – form follows function. Good using hounds, genetic clearances, sane and sound are paramount in breeding stock. Not all breeders are bad and if people would select a breeder as much as they do a breed, perhaps we could get somewhere.

        • Why do you care what others think of your dogs. The evidence indicates for the most part “breeders” do not know how to love, themselves, anyone else, or their property…

          • You obviously don’t personally know many breeders because that statement couldn’t be further from the truth.

            • Perhaps if you were a little less rude and condescending people might actually listen to what you say. But you obviously get your kicks off that rude behavior and commentary.

              • No kicks here. Only genuine love for dogs. “Breeders” were responsible for three generations of suffering due to their practices in dogs i had now dead too soon…

                • Not all responsibility falls on the breeder. You as a purchaser need to do your homework as well. If you support poor breeding practices, well you are just as much to blame. Ignorance is not an excuse. There is a learning curve, everyone needs to go through it, some chose not to and stay in the dark blaming the breeders for all that is wrong. Don’t want to lose a dog to degenerative problems? Do the leg work before you get one, find a good breeder, ask questions…it’s really not that hard. You don’t just get the best handed to you on a silver platter….

                  • LCS, Sorry, but you are WRONG! Having worked for a breeder or 2 in the past I can tell you that there is ABSOLUTELY NO WAY TO KNOW IF WHAT THE BREEDER IS TELLING YOU IS TRUE! I have seen a King Charles spaniel and Lasa’s {both from the pound and nothing known about the dogs themselves} added to the whole pen of AKC REGISTERED PEKE’S, parents older than 10 years old registered by changing the parents names on the papers—it DOESN’T MATTER WHAT YOU DO, A BREEDER HAS A WAY AROUND IT FOR THE MONEY, PERIOD! ONLY A SICKO WOULD BE TOO LAZY TO WORK SO BREEDING DOGS IS CHEAP AND EASY MONEY.

                    I also know many puppies and kittens end up in a trash can of water at birth for the wrong coloring….I have seen it, I have reported it, I have been sick from it & have seen more than most. I wouldn’t take my pet to a groomer unless it was in front of a plate glass window at all times, including the tub….I have seen MANY dogs and cats yanked off the table for not behaving {cuz they’re tired} and allowed to hang by the choke collar until their bowls empty all over, strangled {I gave CPR to some of them when I was there} When animal control doesn’t care and doesn’t fine peep it makes them a large part of the problem.

                    In a small military town {29 Palms, Ca.} I saw this as well as ticks on the owners baby laying on the floor {animal control did nothing}, room full of trash bags of dog poop, hair, ticks, fleas—once there was “enough” and we couldn’t get out of that room in case of fire {and there were several between us & the dogs} the owner would take them to the base and put them out with her trash—YOU, the TAXPAYER paid for her business, lock, stock and barrel—OH, and she was a huge CHRISTIAN!!!

                    • I take offense to your remark about groomers. I own a small pet boutique and grooming salon and have NEVER mistreated/abused a dog or cat in my care in which I am the groomer. I have a small sitting area in my grooming room and the owners are welcome to stay and watch the entire process if they so choose. As far as grooming in front of a plate glass window, that is nuts. Dogs and cats are easily distracted and that alone could pose a great danger to them.

                      Your thoughts about breeders does not apply to everyone either. There are some great ethical breeders out there and I consider myself one of them. While I only have a litter every 3-4 years I am still a breeder of purebred dogs. I normally have in excess of $6000 invested in each litter and always lose money on them. I do it for the love of the breed and keeping true to the breed standard. I am always hopeful to keep a pick puppy back for myself to continue in showing and working competitions as I have working dogs. Many of my dogs are donated to individuals for therapy or service work. The ones that don’t make that cut are petted out at a very low cost to mainly people that I know and that will be good homes. Plus, I place on contract each dog that I will take it back for any reason if they can no longer keep it. My dogs are all health tested prior to breeding and most have some type of title on them. They have to be worthy of being bred. (medical testing includes hips, elbows, heart, eyes, and thyroid AND I will be adding DNA testing now for genetic problems. NONE of the above is cheap!!! Especially when you are talking about 2 dogs) As far as my puppies, they are all vet checked and at least 10 -12 weeks old before they leave me to ensure 2 sets of puppy shots have been given. Since they are a working breed, they have their dew claws removed by a vet. There is nothing worse that seeing a search and rescue dog with a torn dew claw. When selecting a pair for breeding, it is always done with a great amount of research into both parent’s pedigrees and any past medical problems that are in the pedigrees. It is not taken lightly.

                      I breed to be true to the breed standard…something that has been lost in many kennels. Sometimes it even means that my dog doesn’t win at a show because they look differently from what is in the ring. I am not concerned though because I KNOW that my dogs are correct and it is simply a matter of not conforming to what is in fashion. I have Giant Schnauzers and use to breed Standard Schnauzers…both robust working dogs. All of my dogs are very robust with heavy bone structure…something that has been lost with many breeders. I refuse to conform to fashion though. So, do not make a blanket statement about all breeders are bad and don’t care. There are many that do.

                      All of my dogs live inside my home with me…3 Giants and 2 Standards. The 2 Standards are retired and older now, but my 3 Giants all have jobs. They take their job seriously and my youngest one is being trained for search and rescue as she is only 6 months old. The other 2 are serious about their work and one even goes to nursing homes for Pet Therapy with dementia patients. She has also worked with abused children to help them talk during a forensic interview. So, do not group all breeders into one “class”. There are substandard breeders and then ethical breeders. I tell everyone looking for a puppy to go to an ethical breeder and give out guidelines for that.

                      I also rescue and am a co president of a rescue group. I work tireless hours doing that and what I see is not a result of any “breeders” per sey but people that let their animals run at large and get pregnant by a neighbor dog. I see very few purebred dogs in the shelters in our area and when they happen to come in, I always call a breed rescue group if I can’t get the dog placed quickly. People need to learn to keep their dogs contained and we need more animal control officers to help enforce this law as many unwanted litters would be prevented.

                    • Some Doctors are good, some are greedy, goes for anything done for profit. Sorting the greedy from the loving is the trick. Both exist, the ratio is what is unknown…

                    • Ok virginia, you are basing your entire view of breeders and groomers off of your own personal experience? In 29 Palms???? I’ve lived there too and would never in a million years use anything seen or done in that place as my gauge of what’s “normal” or common. Lol. The main demographic of that town consists of mostly single, young, infantry marines along with a large local population of meth users. You are lucky if you can find a decent burger to eat within 20 miles. A decent dog breeder would be like as mythical as a rainbow unicorn. It is also common there for employers to only hire under the table in order to pay people $3 an hour. And it’s common for landlords there to place renters in homes that should surely be condemned. I have yet to experience any one of those things in any other city I’ve lived in but a place as desolate as 29 palms gets away with it daily. Moral of the story? Please don’t harshly judge all breeders and groomers based on anything you see in 29. Even comparing them to each other is outrageous.

                    • im sorry if i offend any breeders out their but i agree that all they see is money.i bred my king Charles with a breeder so i can get one pup of my own from my king Charles …but do you know what they said to me …that we (breeders) breed them more than 5 times ,,,…im sorry but thats just insane stupid and selfish ..my king Charles suffered quite allot in one and last pregnancy and i cant believe if i get her go through more than 5 times ..i wish to see the breeders themselves 5 times birthing 4 a litter.so for you people out their saying ohh the breeders are nice and responsible and care for them… bull i dont think so they might groom them to appear healthy but they are not being love by a family just a breeding dog in a pen. period

          • My advice? Don’t speak of that which you do not know. Because clearly this is one subject on which you have little to no knowledge on. Even those who SHOULDN’T, generally choose to breed because they love their dog(s). Love is not what is lacking.

          • Puppy-mill breeders are horrible, and that’s why I never buy dogs from pet shops. However, it is possible to find small-scale dog breeders who do it for the love of dogs–not for profit (you can’t profit from dog breeding without engaging in abusive cost-cutting measures). My current dog was purchased from such a breeder. He is a miniature poodle, and is very healthy, alert, and intelligent. I spent about $200 on him. An ill-bred, sickly puppy whose mother was bred to death can easily cost more than $1000 at a pet shop.

            My dog looks handsome. This is my own opinion and has nothing to do with inane pet-show standards*. He is a handsome dog to me because he looks healthy and happy, not because someone decided that purely cosmetic inbreeding was a good idea. (Show breeders are infamous for breeding grandparents to grandchildren, and aunts/uncles to nieces/nephews, just to preserve a certain look.)

            * According to the AKC, I wouldn’t be able to show my dog without growing his hair into an exaggerated “saddle cut” that is so long, he wouldn’t be allowed to run around outdoors and be a dog. He’d have to sit there being brushed several times every day. He also doesn’t qualify for show because his black fur has some barely-noticeable brown spots on the muzzle (usually shaved) and underside.

          • A reputable breeder knows the labor of love that it takes to have a quality litter of pups. it is not for the money as I have been in the hole on each litter that I have produced not by a little but by thousands each time. It is because I care and health test both parents and provide all necessary vetting on the pups. Each litter is hand raised in my bedroom and know love from day one. So do NOT say breeders do not know how to love because it is a labor of love to produce a healthy litter of pups. Most of my pups have been donated to service work and those that were not able to make the service dog cut are petted out for a minimal fee. All of my dogs live inside the home and are part of my everyday life. I know many breeders that are like me and are very restrictive on how they do things too.

      • You’re aware that when you support rescue only, you are essentially supporting BYB operations and puppymills, because the vast majority of dogs in shelter situations do NOT come from reputable breeders…So to say people must ONLY rescue is not quite the stance you should be taking if you indeed wish to help dogs in general.

        • Rescue should apply to any dog you save from anywhere. I”rescued” a pure pred GSD, “Shadow”treated as an object by the original owner. I rescued her as a result of the poor starved animal wandering into our yard and I refused to return her to the abusive OWNER. Owner was a friend of the local mayor, so Cops showed up at our door. They tried to intimidate us into returning dog. Head of local ASPCA was inside with us. Stand off (Cop cars, lights troops etc.)ended with cops limping away, emphasis on limp. Any dog saved is a rescue dog.

          • Michael, you sound like a hostile person. Also more than a bit unstable. Combine that with your propensity for exaggeration extremist attitude, makes me wonder when you will inevitably come unhinged. There are medications for that you know. :/

            • What a weird, out of context comment Jill – wondering what your point was. How does rescuing an abused dog get such a mean spirited response? Sheesh…

              • My comment was made following dozens of angry (think lots of caps ;) ) comments Michael had posted. As for my belief he exaggerates and is unstable, that comes from his countless tirades about his personal experiences that sound far fetched and incredibly rage full. For example, the dog he “rescued”…. I would expect a sane person to contact authorities about said neighbor’s dog since he knew there was clearly abuse going on. I would not expect a sane person to wait until the dog finally escaped, then take the dog in and refuse to give it up. That’s called being a vigilanty and while the end result was a dog being given a better life, the usual cases of people acting this way do not end so warm and fuzzy. Just my opinion though. :/

                • All the conclusions you jumped to were erroneous. The story was shortened to save typing and reading time. The dog wandered into our yard. We posted a found notice in all local Vets and with animal control..We were told after 30 days the dog was ours(by then she was pregnant).We were not contacted until six weeks later. We could tell she was abused from her condition. Later people stopped by to tell us they had seen the dog tied to a tree day after day, no food no water, but the lady owner, friend of the mayor suffered no consequences
                  . We were called angels by the SPCA for unknowingly rescuing Shadow from an abusive owner. I think you should consider meds, or upping your dose for you see in others what is within you…

                  • When people defend abusive practices toward animals it does get me ANGRY. call me CRAZY, crazy horse crazy…

    • Look out, they are liable to stone you, and not in the good way. If you are right here you could get crucified…

    • amen to that! besides, many full breed dogs are in shelters. I got my mastin from the shelter because she had mild onset of HD, which is why she was dumped at a shelter, papers and all.

  7. Pingback: Cats and Dogs Not Living Well | The Next Phase

  8. Pingback: December 11th, 2013 « Tikkunista!

  9. The inbreeding and deformity of purebred dogs and cats may also be found in other purebred domestic animals, as well as in certain captive wild animals. Some cattle can no longer give birth on their own, some chickens are vulnerable to diseases that wildtype chickens are not, and so on. And then there are inbred white tigers with bulldog-like faces. This problem of disregarding the needs of the animals goes beyond dogs. It’s a problem with people not perceiving the animals for who and what they are.

      • I’m glad! I think what Jemima is doing is so wonderful, but we need to go beyond dogs, and address the root cause of the problem: people objectifying animals and playing with them like toys, instead of acknowledging them as living beings with interests of their own. This does not necessarily imply vegetarianism or veganism (I’m an omnivore), but it does mean that people should abandon breeding practices that weaken animals, and instead perpetuate strong, healthy animals with high genetic diversity, and wildtype or adaptive features. If we can convince people to do this, then we will have really done something great.

  10. I am a breeder of therapy (primary) and show Tibetan Terriers and I do wholly agree with this article as it pertains to my breed. I show my TTs only because I otherwise would likely be considered a backyard breeder and my dogs would not have the same opportunity to work as therapy dogs. My philosophy in breeding for show is to remain true to the breed as it originally was (is in its native home), but improve the genetic health and maintain the wonderful temperament characteristic of the breed. I began with a foundation of several “modernized” dogs from other breeders and a European female – bringing several other European dogs in for diversity and temperament. My dogs are shorter and smaller than any other TT in the show ring. The breed has gotten so very large, so angulated, the size of the muzzle has increased, etc…Hip dysplasia, supernumerary teeth, cancer, temperament issues have become an issue in many American (USA) pedigrees as a result of inbreeding for these characteristics, which judges now considerable (based on their awarding of the title champion) desirable. AKC judges need to be held accountable as well.

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  15. What would be a good suggestion for dog breeds then? I don’t want to contribute to ataxia or osteocarcoma, bronchial problems, or anything like that. I’d like a dog but I want to know ways to ensure the breeder I find isn’t a mill. Are there criteria I should look for when gauging a breeder? Statements or questions I should ask?

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  17. Maybe, for reference, you should add comparative pictures of the humans from that time period to now. President Lincoln was considered very tall at 6 foot something; but today that is on the lower side of average. There are now athletes (and regular people) pushing 8 feet, or more. It is not just the pets that have changed, we have too.

    • Do you really not understand the difference between a well established corollary between early nutrition and height and the major differences seen between the breeds. When you start seeing people with sloping foreheads and coneheads you can start talking.(i.e. not those physically manipulated)

    • Except the only selective breeding of
      Humans has occurred in Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia and similar regimes. We got this way naturally, Dogs did not!

    • Even ‘just’ six feet isn’t on the lower side of average. Just because there are super-tall people now, doesn’t mean the short guys have gone away.

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    • IF dog/cat breeders were so reputable why are they suing to STOP ALL INSPECTIONS OF THEIR BREEDING OPERATIONS? IF they really gave a tinker’s damn about the animals they breed THEY WOULD SUPPORT MY PETITION TO PROTECT THEIR “GOOD” NAME!

  25. It seems to me a great deal of the blame lies with the judges who select dogs at conformation shows. If they pick a dog with a certain conformation, everyone else will try to breed and show dogs that look like that one, to win. Winning is all in some cases it appears. It is no different with other animals. Persian cats once had visible noses and functional sinuses. Quarter horses used to have hooves large enough to support their weight and use, until horses with ‘bulldog’ style musculature and proportionally small hooves started winning the conformation shows. Now a Quarter horse can look like a racehorse, a bulldog OR like the original type that made them popular in the first place.
    It is all down to humans. We want money, we want ribbons, awards, prizes and recognition. I see a lot of dogs now that are crosses of recognized breeds, being bred purposely because the pure breds themselves have too many issues, and the crosses seem to have fewer of them.
    To breed an animal to serve a reasonable purpose is not necessarily a bad thing. But to breed them for solely for looks or fashion is a disgrace that really ought not to be allowed.

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  34. hmm, your information on this “bull terrier” you speak of is completely wrong, That dog in the picture is a BULL and TERRIER something completely different, that breed of dog was made ENTIRELY to do blood sports, rat baiting, Dog fighting, etc… The dog is a breed of both a bull dog and terrier, and since no one needed dogs for blood sports anymore, the line died off… that’s generally how it happens….

    now, german shepherds are another case, and I would like to say its a big problem but its not, almost all dogs in big cities [The ones police breed] have defects, places in Russia and such still have pure dogs, that aren’t born with defects and your making this article appear to be about EVERY dog in every part of the world is now like what you describe, I think that’s bullshit.

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    • Imagine,an animal once capable of overpowering a full grown bull,now,cannot run up a flight of stairs!

      • I still can’t get my head around why humanity is persistent on playing god, forced breeding is almost like arranged marriage in my eyes.
        Breeding animals with the sole purpose of profit is a whole other story. Every living thing has the right to be with what they please. It’s the natural way.

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  38. Reblogged this on theklajosephina and commented:
    very thought provoking… in their quest for perfection, mankind has fiddled with many animals, in the case of dogs leading to deformities, congenital defects and an ever shrinking gene pool. Some breeds are basically diverted into two lines: show lines (with often exaggerated features causing heriditary diseases and physical discomfort) on the one side, working lines (often closer to the breed as it was, say, 100 years ago) on the other side.

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