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Old 01-06-2007, 09:12 AM
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Shannerson Shannerson is offline
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Default Ethics of breeding certain breeds

I am wondering what everyone thinks of this. Do you think it is ethical to breed for certain traits in a dog that can potential and usually cause health problems? An example is the brachycephaly type pug-nosed breeds who have breathing problems like the Pug, the Bulldogs, the Boxer, etc.

I think it is cruel; I understand they are bred for a certain "look" but the poor dogs especially in the summer-time with the hot weather have a hard time breathing. Couldn't they be bred with a slightly less exaggerated look for the better of their health/comfort?

Or am I making a mountain out of a molehill. Do I not understand this correctly? Maybe they don't suffer as much as I think they do since I don't own this type of breed.
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Old 01-06-2007, 02:48 PM
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Many people who breed dogs do not put the health of the dog or the breed as their most important choice. Dogs bred for a certain look, color, size, or body trait tend to suffer from the choice people make. We now breed dogs solely for their hair color, hair quality, size, color, length, weight, width, lenght of legs and the shortness of legs.
Breeding for a longer nose in the breeds mentioned would greatly improve the health of the breeds. Breeding for smaller great danes and irish wolfhounds would extend the life of the breeds. Breeding for a shorter lenght and longer leg in the doxie would help the breed. Their popularity and marketing ability would suffer greatly.
The farther we go from the natural dog the more problems we will have. Some breeds suffer from several man made faults all gathered together in one breed, size, width, nose lenght, bite.
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Old 01-06-2007, 02:57 PM
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Personally I wouldn't breed any of the breeds that are so far detached from the original "dog shape" that they can no longer whelp/exercise/breathe naturally. I think it's rather sad what breeding for these exaggerated physical traits has done to many breeds.

That being said I think there are breeders out there who do manage to breed these dogs and produce healthy, sound puppies. I have no problem with those breeders and I do think that the dogs are adorable. I just wouldn't breed them.

While I don't have a problem with most breeds being bred for appearance, I think when appearance interferes with the dog's ability to live like a dog, it's gone too far. As an example, I saw a few English Bulldogs at a park. They arrived at the same time I did with my dogs, and within 15 minutes of trotting they were gasping for breath. My Border Collie and even my short-nosed, unnatural Papillon were barely panting after running their little butts off. That's when I think there's a problem with the brachy breeds.
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Old 01-06-2007, 04:31 PM
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Do I think it's cruel to breed these dogs? Well, my answer is no. What I think is cruel is when breeders don't breed these breeds with health in mind.

I currently own and love 4 pugs and 1 English Bulldog. My pugs are actually very healthy, hearty dogs. Breathing issues have not been a problem for my dogs. They are all very sound in that area and none of them are related to each other. I have found after being around hundreds of pugs that they rarely have all the breathing problems that the books and info sites state. Yes, they can have these problems, but they just aren't commom.

I think it is a common misconception that brachy breeds can't live life normally. Sure, I have to be more carefull around extreme heat etc. but my dogs can still run, they still play and they rarely pant or show signs of exhaustion. My bulldog is actually the most agile and quick dog I have ever owned. She has her spurts of extreme energy and when she is done, she does not pant. My pugs play fetch and sprint around like wild beasties on a regular basis. I can say that there is nothing painful or cruel about their lives. They are all happy, healthy and content dogs that act like dogs.

I will add that a lot of pug and bulldog owners allow their dogs to become obese. This alone will put a huge amount of stress on the animal and try it's ability to breathe and keep up with life. I think because obesity is so common in these breeds that people often see the obese versions out and about and assume the panting and exhaustion come from breed type alone when this is surely not the issue.

All the pug breeders I know make a good effort to avoid ever breeding a "heavy" breather. These dogs are usually placed as pets and not used in a breeding program. I think it is very important with the brachy breeds to be sure you are breeding the healthiest and most "athletic" examples of the breed...

And if you are still not a believer, then I invite you to come to nationals this year and watch pug agility. There you will see some extreme brachy athletes that have more stamina then they know what to do with, lol! Many of these agility pugs are bred true to standard and also conformation champions.
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Old 01-06-2007, 06:36 PM
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Here is a link of pugs doing agility. The pictures are really fun. Just scroll down to watch these guys in action!

http://www.pugbully.no/usa2006ons.html
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Old 01-06-2007, 06:42 PM
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I am torn on this debate. Whilst I believe if you are going to breed you have a responsibility to breed to an exacting standard, sometimes that can be taken too far.

In the case of Persian cats, they have been bred by many to a point where their little squashed in faces are just dangerous to their health. Older-style (now known as `doll-faced' Persians) are much healthier (and prettier, too) but are not recognised as a show standard.

GSDs are heading that way also. They are becoming bigger and bigger and bigger and they were never supposed to be an extra-large dog. Also, the purposeful breeding of the slope in their backs worries me. For any dog genetically prone to hip dysplasia I would think that to breed an exaggerated slope and a markedly angulated hock because it's a trend is just asking for trouble.
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Old 01-06-2007, 07:12 PM
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I'll firmly straddle the fence on this one. My dad has two dogs that may qualify as dogs that should not ethically exist. One is a Tibetan Spanel, a breed that's long-bodied and (while not brachycephalic) short-nosed. The other is a Sheltie, which by virtue of their dense coats can suffer matting and "poopy butt" if not groomed regularly. I like his dogs as individuals, but neither are breeds that I'd own for myself.

That said, I do have a problem with breeding breeds for exaggerated appearances at the expense of functionality. Overly long ears, coats that easily matt, fiddle fronts, shortened muzzles, dwarfism... all very yucky to me. I think breeders could start selecting for less exaggerated traits to improve their stock, but I doubt it will happen. I know at one point, there was a proposed law in England which was going to affect a number of breeds because of bred-in health problems, and the need to crop/dock/remove dewclaws. Don't remember the details, but there were several tens of breeds involved.

But honestly, I've learned a certain viewpoint that overrides those concerns. Respect one's right to own their breed, even if you don't like it. I don't like what has been done to dogs like English Bulldogs, Bassets, Dachshunds, but I would never begrudge a dog owner the right to choose their own companion. Because I don't want them to begrudge me the right to live with a Pit Bull.
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Old 01-06-2007, 07:19 PM
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Quote:
But honestly, I've learned a certain viewpoint that overrides those concerns. Respect one's right to own their breed, even if you don't like it. I don't like what has been done to dogs like English Bulldogs, Bassets, Dachshunds, but I would never begrudge a dog owner the right to choose their own companion
I absolutely agree.
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Old 01-06-2007, 07:48 PM
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Great comments! Love the photos showpug. I guess I have been under the impression that ALL pug-nosed breeds have breathing problems; all of the ones I have been in contact as pets have...I'm glad to hear that you do not have such a problem.
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Old 01-06-2007, 07:58 PM
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Personally I've seen many breeds ruined by AKC shows. A few judges can change the whole picture . Sad .
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