I don’t know what it is, but in pit bulls and their derivatives, inbreeding is celebrated.
An American bully is an offshoot of the pit bull, which has been specifically bred to be less aggressive and to have a body that makes them resemble Tasmanian devils. However, there are other breeders of “exotic” bullies that every bit as effed up in conformation as an English bulldog or a show basset hound.
It’s a breed in formation, and because they are breeding for such different phenotype from the general pit bull and bull and terrier type, there is quite a bit of inbreeding going on.
The UKC has recently recognized the American bully as a breed, and the UKC breed standard expressly forbids the “exotic” phenotype– which certainly is a positive.
However, within the subculture, there are many dogs that remain outside the registry, and in many cases, they are very tightly bred to maintain a certain look.
Inbreeding in the established dog fancy has often been celebrated, but within the established breeds, there are many people openly questioning the virtues of such tight breeding. The effects of so much consanguinity have created populations that have genetic loads that are often too difficult manage.
It’s a road to hell that so many dog people want to follow. It’s much easier to sculpt canine flesh using DNA when you’re dealing with breeding populations that are very finite and genetically depauperate.
But as we’ve seen with virtually every closed registry purebred dog, one does not get to select for appearance alone. Not all genes are expressed in the phenotype, and selection away or toward one trait can have very bad consequences for health and temperament.
Even the most educated geneticist or molecular biologist is still ignorant of many aspects how traits are inherited. They will readily admit this to you.
However, from what I’ve seen among “dog people” is there is a tendency to act as if they know things about the genetic composition of a dog that even the most highly-educated scientist would say couldn’t be known.
And this is precisely the danger with “dog people.”
So much damage is being done in the name of impressing other people.
So many dogs have gone down this path.
And it looks like the America bully is going to race down it– just as the Eurasier and the Cesky terrier have done before.
Breeding a nice “pit bull” that looks like a Tasmanian devil is a far nobler enterprise than breeding dogs for fighting, but it’s not going to be of much use if the dogs wind up with the genetic load problems that all the “fancy” breeds have.
Now would be the time for American bully fanciers to take a hard look at population genetics. It would mean that it would be harder to established distinct type immediately, but it would have very good long-term consequences for the health and vitality of the population.
The time to act is before the gene pool gets all sequestered off, and if the sequestration can be stopped entirely, it would be a great benefit to the dogs.