Ethics of breeding certain breeds

Discussion in 'The Dog Breeds' started by Shannerson, Jan 6, 2007.

  1. Shannerson

    Shannerson New Member

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    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.
     
  2. pancho

    pancho New Member

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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.
     
  3. RD

    RD Are you dead yet?

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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.
     
  4. showpug

    showpug New Member

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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. :)
     
  5. showpug

    showpug New Member

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  6. Rubylove

    Rubylove Training the Trainer

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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.
     
  7. Bahamutt99

    Bahamutt99 Dafuq?

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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.
     
  8. RD

    RD Are you dead yet?

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    I absolutely agree.
     
  9. Shannerson

    Shannerson New Member

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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.
     
  10. bubbatd

    bubbatd Moderator

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    Personally I've seen many breeds ruined by AKC shows. A few judges can change the whole picture . Sad .
     
  11. RD

    RD Are you dead yet?

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    Showpug, I just noticed the pug pics. What neat little dogs! I do have to say that of all the extreme brachycephalic breeds I've seen, the Pugs have been the most sound. I would love to meet your Mona, because nearly every Bulldog I've met has been unsound and horribly weak when it comes to exercise. Most that I know aren't even overweight, they're just plagued with breathing problems, and in the summer they have a difficult time even walking outside for a few minutes since they can't effectively cool the air.
     
  12. showpug

    showpug New Member

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    Yes, Pug agility is a ton of fun to watch. The pugs really enjoy the challenge and have a lot of fun doing it! I would love to get into it someday with Alice because she is very agile and full of energy. I call her my terrier in a pug body, lol!

    Well as far as Mona goes, she would love to meet you too. She's only approaching 7 months, but so far she's a spitfire and can really get up and move whe she wants to! Today I put her out in the x-pen in the yard and she jumped it and was standing at the back door :yikes: I never thought a dog with her shape could ever jump a two foot x-pen without at least a running start, but she proves me wrong everyday, lol!
     
  13. tempura tantrum

    tempura tantrum Shiba Inu Slave

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    Nicely put- I couldn't agree more!
     
  14. Miakoda

    Miakoda New Member

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    I've been reading up (over the past 2 years) on the history of the EB. And I was shocked to see just how much they have changed just since the late 1950's. All the pictures I've seen of dogs back in that time look very similar to your OEB's (Olde English Bulldogges) of today. Over time one can notice a drastic decrease in heighth, & a larger head size, & much wider chests almost to the point of the dog looking disabled.

    I would love to see the EB go back towards looking like more of a bulldog & less like a genetic mess. But people want "rare" & "unique" looking dogs, not dogs that can actually function well. It's sad really.

    And for any Georgia fans, Uga fans, or just plain EB fans, the book Dam* Good Dogs about the history of UGA's mascot, Uga, is wonderful! & it's easy to see the recent evolution of the bulldog just in this book alone.
     
  15. lakotasong

    lakotasong Sled Dog Guardian

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    I don't like the breeding of dogs that can't breed or whelp naturally. I also don't care for the breeding of dogs with physical traits that affect health (ie: breathing well, being able to RUN, etc) as a normal part of the standard.
     
  16. I totally agree!!! Something doesnt add up to me when it comes to a breed (not individual dogs) having to have the involvement of the human race to give birth. Yes some INDIVIDUAL dogs need help just like humans and there are always complications but for a whole breed to not be able to whelp NATURALLY is...interesting. Not trying to upset anyone who is a breed fancier.
     
  17. noludoru

    noludoru Bored Now.

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    Hopefully I'm not sounding ignorant, but what breeds (as a whole) cannot whelp naturally? I know of a few that have C-Sections often.. but not almost all the time.
     
  18. showpug

    showpug New Member

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    I think one of the only breeds that HAS to have a c-section to deliver is the English Bulldog.

    The majority of all the pugs I know free whelp.
     
  19. frenchboxer

    frenchboxer New Member

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    :hail: Very well said :) .

    I have owned 3 brachy breeds ~ 2 Boxers, and now a Frenchie. It is the responsibility of the owner to not let them overheat. No long walks in hot weather... we enjoy sitting in the shade of a tree in hot weather, and take walks early in the morning and late at night. I would imagine it comes down to responsible dog ownership with regards to each and every one of our breeds' quirks.
     
  20. chinchow

    chinchow Fuzzy Pants

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    Those Pugs are just darling. Those worried little faces seem to say "PLEASE DONT LET ME MESS UP PLEASE LET ME LAND THIS PLEASE OH PLEASE PLEASE"

    I agree that breeders who keep health in mind first are the only people who should be breeding these dogs. They are much too fragile with their health issues to be bred randomly to whatever dog is in their breed just to have pups. Unfortunately, it happens all too much.
    Provided, even from the best breeders, you can get the worst health problem every now and then, it's a given with these breeds. And it doesn't really reflect directly on the breeder if it happens so sparingly.
     

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