February 9, 2009

This just in, and it's important

The report — you can read it here — doesn't mince words: "Selective breeding for physical appearance — the cause of the problem." The publication of this independent scientific report, commissioned by the RSPCA, could be the dog news of the decade and perhaps of the century: the ramifications could be that huge. [See what has already happened in the U.K.]

Patrick Burns at the Terrierman blog has been all over this like white on rice, and thank doG for that. The man has his idiosyncrasies: he likes healthy dogs with brains and a talent for real work, for one. For another, he's not only baffled that some people breed ill, crippled dogs on purpose and win ribbons in the process — he's mad as hell about it.

The good news is that he's not one to stand by while dogs suffer, and he's not alone.

[The bad news is, the AKC and its breed clubs can be so intransigent and so clueless as to beggar belief. Thank God for the defenders of the working border collie, is all I can say.]

I hope the release of this study during Westminster will be the wake-up call the AKC and the breed clubs so desperately need. If you care about dogs, spread the word about this report: selective breeding for exaggerated physical appearance has made life hell for many dogs.

You can read the summary, the full report and Patrick's comments here. Again: spread the word.

Bulldog skull, via Terrierman. No dog that baited bulls ever looked like this poor, deformed creature.

1 comment:

colliefan said...

I have read through much of your site and find myself in agreement with most of it, but I have a problem with this posting. The RSPCA study was designed to promote the viewpoint that breeding dogs is bad, that dog breeders are bad and that dog breeding should be abolished. All of it. This is the same belief held by PeTA and the HSUS.

I don't know how this has happened that people who care about dogs are tearing each other down, when they are natural allies against people who want to end the whole concept of domestic animals. As a breeder of purebred dogs, who has participated in conformation, obedience and herding activities, I care very much about the health, temperament and genetics of my dogs. There are extremists in all walks of life. McCaig's book about searching for a border collie in Scotland pointed out that many of the working border collie breeders there were turning a blind eye to the high incidence of hip dysplasia in their dogs, concerning themselves with nothing except the work they could get out of the dogs.

Please don't buy in to the idea that people who compete with their dogs don't care very much about their dogs. Most of us have our show dogs as house pets and we want them to live long healthy lives. We spend a great deal of money doing genetic screening and will place as pets the most beautiful dogs when we discover that they unfortunately carry a hidden genetic defect that could be passed on to offspring.

We don't want any dogs to suffer and we give hundreds of thousands of dollars to veterinary colleges to study diseases and disorders that affect dogs in the effort to reduce or eliminate those diseases and disorders. We do this not because we want ribbons, but because we love the breeds, the dogs and the dog loving community.