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Archive for the ‘dog breeding’ Category

Nara U. sent me this photo today.  I hope you are not eating when you look at this photo:

sharpei juliuss

This dog was bred by a Peruvian dog breeder (or more likely, a Peruvian dog dealer) named “Sharpei Juliuss,” who apparently has decided to push the defective and feverish sha-rpei phenotype as far as it will go.

This dog cannot open its eyes all the way, and while it certainly wouldn’t be wining prizes at any dog shows, there are very idiotic people who think breeding such extreme dogs is a wonderful thing.

This dog is not the only one that this breeder is producing.

Here is just a sample:

sharpei juliuss II

sharpei juliuss III

sharpei julius IV

The shar-pei breed has a lot of problems.

It is derived from a very small gene pool. When I was a kid, this was “the world’s rarest dog,” and within a decade, I saw them in pretty decent numbers in West Virginia, which is nowhere near where they originated.

So someone had to be cranking out these rarities at a pretty strong clip to get them on the pet market in here in America.

And that’s only its genetic structure.

The dog itself is often bred to such extreme with its wrinkles that many puppies have to have their eyelids tucked up so they can both see and not have their eyelids raking against their eyes.

This is what happens when the only thing you care about is what a dog looks like.

Dog breeders can produce all sort of different morphological traits in their dogs, but at some point, it becomes cruelty– cruelty that in the amount of suffering actually exceeds that of dog fighting.

This is dog production without empathy.

It’s nothing more than perverse vanity masquerading as something noble.

It’s really pretty sickening.

 

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This scene should be part of a population management program for golden retrievers. Source for image.

This scene should be part of a population management program for golden retrievers. Source for image.

Let’s clear the air a bit.

When a dog breed is put into a closed registry system, it has been decided to create a population of animals that has a population genetics structure that resembles that of an endangered species. There is plenty of evidence that many very popular breeds have terrible genetic structures. In a 2008 paper in the journal Genetics, Calboli et al. performed an analysis of ten dog breeds in the UK, using Kennel Club pedigrees to determine effective population size. Effective population size tells you how big the population would be if a random number of individuals were put together that would have the same amount of genetic diversity as the population in question. The general rule for conservation genetics is that anything under 100 individuals is of critical concern.

The results went as follows:

Akita – 45 (effective population).
Boxer – 45
Bulldog – 48
Chow Chow – 50
Rough Collie – 33
Golden Retriever – 67
Greyhound – 17
German Shepherd – 76
Labrador – 114
English Springer Spaniel – 72

Shocking, eh?

Every one of these breeds is a closed registry breed.

All but one have very real problems with genetic diversity. Only the Labrador retriever is out of the crisis zone– and just barely.

If you read the paper, the golden retriever, which doesn’t look as bad, has the worst problems with popular sire effects in its population. Only 5% of the male dogs in the UK population are sires, and for a popular breed, this is a recipe for disaster.

This is because even though these dog breeds have a genetic structure resembling that of an endangered species, they are not bred the way conservationists would breed endangered species.

With endangered species, the goal is to conserve as much genetic diversity as possible.  The Chinese spend countless hours working to maintain what genetic diversity can be spared in giant pandas. Giant pandas, which are actually a primitive bear with no living close relatives left, have no populations for which there can be outcrosses.

You can’t say that about golden retrievers, which would be greatly served with occasional outcrosses to their somewhat more genetically diverse smooth-coated cousins. The differences between Labrador and golden retrievers aren’t that extreme. Both are derived from the same root stock. Both breeds share ancestors in documented pedigrees, and there was a famous cross between a yellow Labrador (Haylers Defender) to the Haulstone line of golden retrievers in the 1920′s.

Not ancient history at all!

If we had a dog culture that was based upon reason and science, this would be a no-brainer.

However, this is not the dog culture we have.

The dog culture we have does two things that utterly gum up the works when it comes to sound population management principles:

1. Closed registries as dogma.

2. Competitive dog breeding.

The former is what creates the genetically compromised population. The latter is what exacerbates it.

Could you imagine the madness that it would be to breed giant pandas based upon a conformation standard?

But that’s exactly what is happening in the world of dogs, and as I’ve noted before, it’s not just dog shows that are causing this problem.  Breeding choices that are based solely on trial performance do the exact same job.

Each generation of dogs that is bred under these conditions loses genes. Some of these genes might be pretty nice to have– like the gene that Dalmatians had for producing urine with normal levels of uric acid. This was actually lost to the entire population of Dalmatians before a pointer was crossed in to reintroduce it.

And it took decades and decades of fighting the closed registry dogma to get these Dalmatians into the breed. Even though they were very, very distantly derived from that pointer that was crossed in, the breed vanguards would not allow in the “mongrels.”

Until it became impossible to say no.

Every single breed in a closed registry system that is being bred with under these principles is at risk for winding up like the Dalmatian. What’s even more frightening is that as these breeds become more and more related through both popular sire problems and “line-breeding,” it becomes impossible to control for genetic load. Dog breeders operate under the delusion that you can just select away from any disease just like you’d select away from poor conformation, which is why they go ape over every genetic test for a disease that comes down the pike.

It’s not that these genetic tests aren’t useful. It’s that they do give dog breeders a crutch to hold onto. You can’t talk about  a better way to manage genetic load– i.e., let in new blood and selectively breed for better gene conservation– because everyone is awaiting the next genetic test to come along.

The problem is that the greater dog fancy is a culture that worships genetic plunder. Most of the effects of such pillage are not known while the pillaging is happening. During that time, a breeder might become rewarded with top winning dogs that may or may not have long lives.

But it is the next generations that the problems with gene loss and reduced genetic diversity start to become apparent. By then the breeder or breeders who plundered the genes may not even be around anymore.

But they have stolen from the next generation of dog owners and breeders.

It’s that next generation who will have to pay the vet bills and watch their dogs die agonizing deaths.

And all because we have contrived up endangered species that we call dog breeds and then bred them in ways that make absolutely no sense.

No one wants to talk about this genetic plunder.

And no one wants to talk about the simple fact that this concept of closed registry breed is really a very new concept. A breed is not a species. And although there are breed differences, when we start talking about breeds that are closely related, the differences become somewhat trivial.

And it is at this point the dog world becomes a dogma– a type of religion.

Breed becomes a faith-based assertion, and the dogs suffer because reason is not the operating force behind the management of their populations.

Dogma is.

Dogma is not good for dogs.

 

 

 

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Skye terrier

I am not fan of journalism by press release.

It’s not really “journalism” anyway. It is simply media relations, and media relations might as well be called spin. Spin is not really about the truth. It’s about advocacy, and it’s often about deception.

There is so much of this in the world of journalism about dogs that it is very hard to tell if something is true or not.

And if you want to see a very good example of it, take this puff piece that appeared on the BBC’s website last May. It is called “Why is the Skye terrier is an endangered breed?”

It discusses how popular Skye terriers were for a time. For a period in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, It was a breed that was quite fashionable to have, especially in the burgher classes in Scotland.  Indeed, I’ve written about how the Marjoribanks family, who started the strain of yellow wavy-coated retrievers that are the basis for the golden retriever, were actually better known for the Skye terriers than their retrievers.

But now their retriever has taken the world by storm, and their terrier is a breed on the verge of extinction.

The BBC piece could have done some really good homework on this breed. The question of why breeds become popular and then become extinct is a very fascinating question to me.

Instead, the reporter who wrote the piece decided to do the laziest thing possible:  Go to the Kennel Club and get their media relations expert to spin a tale for the presses. It goes like this:

Caroline Kisko, secretary of the Kennel Club, says Skye terriers are good house dogs with a very loyal and friendly character.

She says: “They are very glamorous. Their coats are very attractive. They are a very friendly, nice dog to have around and they are certainly very weather-proof.

“If you are out and about they will not get cold.”

So why has the breed fallen out of favour?

Ms Kisko says: “Much of this is about the profile of the dog, whether or not people are aware that the breeds exist.

“Some of the problems we have with the vulnerable breeds is that people have simply forgotten that they are there.”

Well, that actually didn’t answer the question at all. People just don’t know about them.

Except that they do.

I grew up on the story of Greyfriars Bobby. Disney made a movie about this dog, a Skye terrier that stayed at his master’s grave for fourteen years.

Too bad the entire story was a hoax. The truth is it was an elaborate hoax to promote tourism and business in that part of Edinburgh.

People know about this breed. They just don’t want them.

Now, I thought we could delve into why this breed’s popularity collapsed, but the Kennel Club representative decided to use this opportunity as a chance to smear Labradoodles, a dog that has nothing to do with Skye terriers at all. Although in fairness, it is a representative with the parent club of the Skye terrier in the UK who starts down this bizarre comparison.

Designers breeds such as the labradoodle – a crossbred created by crossing the Labrador Retriever and the Poodle – have become very fashionable.

Mrs [Gail] Marshall [of the Skye Terriers Club] says this is another reason why traditional breeds such as the Skye terrier are being marginalised.

Ms Kisko, whose organisation does not register cross-breeds, says: “The designer crosses such as the labradoodle and the cockapoo (a Cocker Spaniel and a miniature poodle) are proving to be very popular these days and that is all on the pretext that they will be automatically healthier than the breeds they come from, which is patently untrue.”

She says people should do more research before buying a dog, checking out some of the British native breeds which have been popular pets for centuries.

I was not expecting this to be the reason why Skye terriers are becoming rare!

First of all, the purebred Labrador retriever is by far the most popular native British dog breed. It was actually developed in its present form from the St. John’s water dog of Newfoundland on a few select estates in England and Scotland. It is an easily trained dog, noted for its versatility in helping guide the blind, assist the handicaped, and sniff out bombs and contraband. It is also docile as can be.

Skye terriers, by contrast, have very hard to care for coats. They known for being difficult to train, and they do not have a reputation for being good family dogs.

The Labrador requires more exercise than the Skye, but if you’re in a world in which dogs with Labrador-type temperaments are more practical and desired, why would you expect Skye terriers to be able to compete?

Futher, the big reason people get Labradoodles is because they want the Labrador temperament, but they don’t want the Labrador hairs all over their houses. So they get Labrador/Standard poodle crosses, which are lower shedding than pure Labradors.

Now, there are a lot of claims about Labradoodles that are not true:

They are not hypoallergenic because people are allergic to dog dander, not dog hair.  Also they do get the health problems associated with both Standard poodles and Labradors, but because the cross has been around for only a short time there have been no good studies to see if there is a heterosis effect (though there probably is).

And Labradoodles are mass-produced, often in deplorable conditions. After all, there is a big market for a Labrador that doesn’t shed as much and looks like a bigger version of Benji.

And that’s precisely what doesn’t exist for the Skye terrier.

Further, the terrier and retriever markets are entirely different demographics, so this claim that people wanting Labradoodles is the reason why no one wants a Skye terrier might be the stupidest thing I’ve ever read on the BBC’s website.

I’m stunned that the answer to the question about why the Skye terrier is going extinct gets reduced to something so completely impossible.

This is actually a question for which I don’t have an answer.

I know that Skye terriers have not been used as actual earth dogs in many, many years, but that alone wouldn’t ruin their value as pets. Yorkshire terriers, which are also silky-coated terriers of Scottish ancestry and are almost never used as anything but pets, are quite popular little dogs.

Why would people be so Yorkie-crazed but so dismissive of the Skye?

There must be a good reason, and the answer absolutely is not that people want Labradoodles.

All that was done in this piece was to deflect what is a very good question into a hatchet piece on intentionally-bred crossbreeds.

Not all is perfect in the world of the doodles, but just because they are intentionally-bred mixes does not make them illegitimate. If done right, doodling is an entirely harmless activity, and if really done right, it could be a source for increasing genetic diversity in established retriever and poodle strains.

It just makes them a convenient scapegoat.

The Kennel Club has no answer for why the Skye terrier is in such dire straights.

I think the real reason it has no answer is the real answer is that this dog is a fanciers’ dog. It became a plaything of the dog pageant set. The dog pageant and freak show people are at the heart of the Kennel Club’s mission. It is their base in the same way the religious right is the base of the Republican Party. In politics, one does not go out of the way to insult one’s base. (Only Bill Clinton could ever get away with it!)

When a dog breed becomes something that can only be admired by a very narrow set of fanciers, then it is on its way to becoming rare already.

I also think there is a distinct possibility that the fanciers of this breed intentionally bred “one mannishness” into this dog after buying wholeheartedly into the Greyfriars Bobby hoax. If you breed a dog that naturally tends to bond with only a few people and then is reactive toward strangers, you might be asking for its popularity to drop rather quickly.

So if you breed a dog with a coat that is hard to groom and temperament that requires lots of work and socialization to make the dog docile and tractable, why would you be surprised that very few people want them?

You cannot blame the public for wanting Labradoodles.

The real blame is on dog fanciers who allowed a romantic story– one with huge gaping holes in it– to cloud their judgment on how to breed a dog for the twentieth century.

And because they allowed that story cloud their judgment, the breed won’t likely see the end of the twenty-first.

That’s definitely not the Labradoodle’s fault.

 

 

 

 

 

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Jemima Harrison Neapolitan mastiff

Photo by Jemima Harrison.

The above image comes from a 2011 post on Jemima Harrison’s blog. It is a part of series of photos she took at Crufts, most of which would make any rational person with any sense of empathy wince.  Why is such unnecessary suffering celebrated in the world of dog?

In it she writes:

These pictures were taken today at Crufts.

This should be the moment the Kennel Club realises that if it wants to be seen to have any shred of integrity, self-respect – or humanity – that it has to ban the Neapolitan Mastiff.

This is cruelty.

No ifs. No buts. Ban them. Now.

These dogs were produced by “responsible breeders.” They were “bred to standard,” but when we really think about it, a dog with open loose eyelids, constantly infected skin, and terrible structure suffers far more than any animal that is hunted. The animal that is hunted suffers only in the last seconds of its life– if at all. A dog like these Neapolitan mastiffs suffers through its entire life.

I should note that she is not calling for banning the breed as pit bulls are in the UK. She calling for them to be removed from the Kennel Club’s registry.

I pretty much said the same thing a few days ago. Until saner, more rational people take the helm in this breed, it should not be given any legitimacy by any major breed registry.

When breed registries allow dog breeds to be bred like this, they lose all moral authority.

It is enabling people with absolutely no empathy.

The only difference between these people and dog fighters is that at least dog fighters don’t make up nonsense about how loose skin makes the dogs better in combat. Game-bred pit bulls and even traditional shar pei don’t look like these Neapolitan mastiffs.

The Neapolitan mastiff as we know it now is just one giant flight of fancy. It was created by a Swiss science fiction writer, then mass-produced by Italian con-men trying to sell the “true Italian dog” to ignorant Northern Europeans and North Americans, and finally wrecked under the guise of “breed improvement” as it entered the international dog fancy.

It is perhaps the most pathetic dog story ever told.

Of course, it’s not the only one.

But it is so obviously messed up that any reasonable person can see it.

And it also tells you that by and large, the people who breed this dog in this way are not reasonable people.

They’ve bought into something that defies reason and logic which they will defend against any and all criticism.

It’s a faith-based position.

But it’s a faith-based position that leads to a great deal of suffering– but hey, it’s the only faith-based position that has caused suffering, is it?

 

 

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clint eastwood

It’s often said you can tell a lot about a person by who his or her enemies are.

Or to put it another way:

“When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him.”

–Jonathan Swift

It’s no secret that I have exposed the dog fancy’s sins time and again on this blog, but generally the main perpetrators of  the crime have either been too ashamed to bother with my piddling piece of work.

Or they are of that generation that has no idea how to turn on a computer.

The only thugs I’ve ever dealt with are the bulldog mafia, but their arguments are so bad that they are nothing more than a minor nuisance.

If I had a dime for every time I got the following argument from bulldog owners, I’d be pretty wealthy man. It goes something like this:

My bulldog is entirely healthy! You’re mean!

Lots of data to work with there, eh?

I’ve written much more scathing posts on other breeds, especially Neapolitan mastiffs, a totally fantasy breed that its fanciers swear is the ancient war dog of the Roman legions.

It is, of course, nothing of the sort. It was created by a Swiss writer named Piero Scanziani (he was Italian-speaking Swiss), who wandered around Southern Italy after the War and began collecting farm mastiffs. As a writer of religious fiction, Scanziani wrote a fiction that these dogs were somehow connected to the ancient war dogs of Rome, and the ideas he expressed wound up gaining currency with many nouveau riche Europeans, who  began flocking to Southern Italy in search of a “real Roman war dog.’

And the Italians began to breed dogs solely for this market, and it wasn’t long before some of these local dog dealers began to select for very extreme traits– excessive skin, hanging eyelids, and massive size.

And moronic Northern Europeans and the North Americans bought into the delusion. The Romans actually had a freakazoid dog with a litany of health problems to serve them in war.

I don’t know who would think such a fiction possible, but the Neapolitan mastiff fanciers certainly do.

Which leads me to the attack I received today.

I woke up this morning to several bizarre comments that I absolutely would never approve on this blog.

If hell were frozen over, I would never approve them. They included several personal attacks on other people who had commented on the blog. I guessed that this person had watched too much Fox News and thought that was how we do business on this blog.

Wrongo.

I banned the comment-maker.

And it normally ends there. I probably have to do this maybe twice a year, but normally I don’t hear anything back from these people.

But not this time.

Around noon today, I received an e-mail threatening lawsuits and calling me an idiot, which is to me the sign of someone with a severe mental disorder or a chemical dependency problem.

The person in question was Anne Latimer Goetz, a Neapolitan mastiff breeder, a science-denier, and a Grade-A Moron.

I need to tell Ms. Goetz something.

Apparently, she thinks she can get her way by bullying other people and screaming like a banshee.

Others, I guess have cowered away from her.

Well to quote Walt Kowalski in Grand Torino:

Ever notice how you come across somebody once in a while you shouldn’t have fucked with? That’s me.

Ms. Goetz has had the gall to ask me to retract a blog post.

For real.

Me?  Retract a blog post?

In your dreams!

This was the e-mail I received:

I have a photo of the internet posting that states that MY image of Magic standing on a rock by a river, is your original photo on retrieverman.whatever your blog is…..

Print a retraction.

Anne Goetz

Centurian Mastini

I’m sorry, Drama Queen.

We don’t roll that way.

If you don’t like what I write, then tough shit, Princess.

Not only does she have the temerity– that’s a big word for cajones– to demand that I retract what I wrote about freakazoid breeding Neapolitan mastiffs.

She has no moral authority to stand on.

None.

0.

Let me show you:

See, this crazy bint has her own blog.

A blog that, unlike this tome, has very little readership.

It’s called Neo News, and it’s very revealing about Neapolitan mastiffs and the culture of their breeders.

The most recent blog post is lamenting the death of a dog she produced. It died of osteosarcoma at the ripe ol’ age of three, and it’s full of woo and science denial.

We kept trying to get the pup back, and when we finally did, his joints were RUINED, btw, he was diagnosed with elbow dysplasia, by Dr Allen, who asked, as we had done, that the puppy be off the concrete! And, she advised high quality food, and medications, and supplements, and the Garcias ignored every one of her recommendations. So,this poor puppy stayed in these conditions for about 6 months. Outside, on concrete, Ole Roy food, no supplements.

We sent a friend to meet Mr Garcia when he finally decided to return our puppy and wait for another litter, (yes, I told him I would replace Blue. I would have done anything to get my dog away from these assholes) And, Mr Garcia met my young, pretty young female friend, and he was so sexually suggestive in his convesation [sic] and interactions with her, that she was frightened. And, the vet records he supplied, were actually, the vaccines we had given Blue prior to our shipping him, to them!!! He received no vet care at the Garcias, until we insisted he be taken to Dr Allen.

Blue is no longer with us. I blame the Garcias. I have to wonder if they are to blame for Moose’s death, also.

So, no, we did not supply them with another male to ruin. And, it won’t happen. Yes, they did take us to small claims court, and we told our story, and the court found against us.

The object of this post, is that we are warning anyone with a litter of neo pups to avoid the Garcias of New Jersey, like the plague.

In that blog post, she blames a dog’s death of osteosarcoma– a cancer with a very strong genetic basis– on vaccines, diet, and keeping the dog on concrete.

But the truth is the reason why the dog died of osteosarcoma is because it was the breed it is.

And a breed is only produced by a breeder. Concrete, vaccines, and cheap dog food won’t make a dime’s worth of difference.

And anyone who tells you otherwise is not a vet.

And it’s not just people like me, who hate the dog fancy, who have problems with Ms. Goetz.

It turns out that she is a dog dealer of the worst sort. On the Spanish Mastiff blog, she is attacked for being an inbreeding apologist and a person who crates her dogs too much. She also produced a litter of Spanish mastiffs, and she found out that she couldn’t sell them for exorbitant prices, so the poor mastinos would be living in cramped cages without enough access to food or water.

Now, it can be debated on what kind of condition the mastinos were in, but I can tell you that Neapolitan mastiff breeders, who are “breeding to standard,” as if that were some sort mission from God, have absolutely no moral authority in the world of dogs.

They continue to produce dogs with ectropion and entroprion. Dogs with bad hearts. Dogs with a very high incidence of cancer. Dogs that spend their entire lives in misery.

Dogs that die before they are 7 years old. It’s very telling that there has never been a dog longevity study on this breed, but most vets will tell you that these dogs are not long-lived. The Kennel Club (of the United Kingdom) did perform some longevity studies on its breed. The median age of death for Neo mastiff is a ripe old 2.33.

That’s pathetic.

But don’t blame the dog breeders, like Anne Goetz.

They are doing their best to “improve the breed.”

By “improve the breed,” they mean “win dog shows.”

And the other part of winning dog shows is to truncate and concentrate the gene pool as much as possible.

It’s pretty obvious to anyone with two or three functioning brain cells that Neo mastiff conformation isn’t healthy, but when you start paring away all that genetic diversity– not that there was much to start out with– you’re playing with fire.

This is the tragedy of the modern dog fancy, It allows scum like this to thrive, when they should be ostracized as much as possible.

In fact, if the AKC, KC, and FCI were worthy of the name of institutions that truly cared about the future and welfare of dogs, they would deep six the entire Neapolitan mastiff breed until someone with a bit more empathy or brains takes the helm.

This is a breed created because of fantasy, and its breeders live in a fantasy world in what is objectively objectionable is celebrated as virtuous.

There is no moral authority here. There is only claimed authority.

And there are too many totalitarians in the world of dogs for this sort of authority to go unquestioned or allowed to run amok in the already compromised gene pools of our domestic dog breeds.

So Ms. Goetz, my advice to you is to find another hobby.

You can continue to lambaste me on Facebook. Among the other things this child attacked me for was the fact that I am single.

I am single by choice.

I am happy as a single person, and I cannot think of anything lonelier than to be a relationship with a person who is totally wrong wrong me.

So if my regular readers can forgive me for my somewhat stroppy post this evening, please understand that the dog fancy has too many people like this.

They very rarely get to me. Otherwise, I’d stop writing about these issues.

But in the face of a cowardly internet bully who argues like a Fox News commentator, I have to turn upon the jackal as a good leopard must.

And do a bit of savaging.

Now, back to your regular programming.

***

Ms. Goetz is also one of those dumbass breeders who thinks that “incest is best.”

Check out the pedigree of the dog above, which she bred.

Click to make larger.

Click to make larger.

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Photo from Robert Milner's Retriever Training Site. The golden is a Holway.

Photo from Robert Milner’s Retriever Training Site. The golden is a Holway.

The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show has come and gone, and like most years, I thought we’d have no meaningful discussion about how dogs might be encouraging people to breed and select for unhealthy attributes in dogs.

However, this year, there is a bit of a viral story going out about how preferred phenotype in the show ring might be deterimental to a dog. But unfortunately, it’s very low hanging fruit.

The story started with this pretty good post from My Slim Doggy  about how fat the Westminster Labradors actually are. And I should note that yes, these dogs are fat, and the behavior of the dog show apologist set on that page is abominable. 

That’s a story in itself, but it’s not the absolute worst case I can think of.

The thing about Labradors is that they are the most popular breed in the United States, Canada, and Great Britain, and they are probably the most common “breed dog” in the world today. They are also arguably among the most useful dogs, for they not only are used for retrieving game, they are now the most common guide dog breed. They also great sniffer dogs, and they use to assist people in wheelchairs. There are many, many things this breed can do, and because the typical member of this breed is also among the most docile of dogs, they are very, very popular as family pets.

As a result, they exist in many, many different lines and what might be called “sub-breeds.” There so many different types of Labrador that it would take me too long to describe them all to you, and then I’d probably miss a bunch.

Labradors that are bred for the show ring are an extreme minority of the breed. And as a result, what happens in the ring really does not affect the survival of the breed as a whole.

And not only that, even if a Labrador has a tendency toward portliness, this problem can be easily remedied through a regime of diet and exercise.

So if the biggest problem that Labradors have from being shown is that the show specimens are a often quite fat, this is not such a big deal.

And the simple reality is that the Labrador breed is not a prisoner to the show culture. You can easily get a Labrador that is not a “labrabeef.” And it’s not that hard.

The real scandal is the countless breeds that are.

Within that Sporting group, there is actually very good example of a dog that has essentially been doomed to extinction through selection for a very exaggerated phenotype.

Unlike the Lab, it’s not a very common dog at all. In fact, unless you’re a dog nerd like me, you may have never heard of it.

The breed I’m talking about is the Sussex spaniel.

The Sussex spaniel is doomed. It cannot be saved. You can write it on a rock. It’s done.

The Sussex spaniel is the last survivor of a stupid fad that swept the early British dog fancy– the desire to breed extreme dwarfism in spaniels.

Sussex spaniel

The Sussex spaniel has an illustrious history as a land spaniel in the South of England, but then dog shows got their mitts on them and things haven’t been the same since.

The two most common fancy spaniels in the early British fancy were field spaniels (which were usually black or black roan) and the Sussex, which was liver. Both of these dogs are ancestral to the two breeds of cocker spaniel that exist today, both of which descend from a Sussex/field cross named Obo. Before that, all small sporting land spaniels were call “cockers” as a generic term.

The fad was to breed them as short-legged as possible, and in some situations while doing beating on relatively flat ground and in heavy cover, a dwarf spaniel would have have been of some use.

But the twentieth century has largely supplanted both the field and Sussex as gun dogs. English working cockers and springers are the sporting spaniels of the UK, and in the US, main sporting spaniel is the working English springer. Welsh springers are still worked, and they have a lot going for them, too. And if the right celebrity were to own one, they could suddenly experience a popularity rise that they might not be able to handle.

And there are even working strains Clumber spaniel, which have bred out most of the exaggerated mass and loose eyelids that you see in the ring.

Field spaniels have been saved through the addition of English springer blood, and they are no longer dwarfs.

But the Sussex remains.

Col. David Hancock writes about the fate of the Sussex:

The history of the breed standard of the Sussex Spaniel tells you a great deal about show gundog fanciers. The standard in use in 1879 didn’t include words like massive, brows and haw or mention a rolling gait. In 1890, in came ‘fairly heavy brows’, a ‘rather massive’ appearance and ‘not showing the haw overmuch’. In the 1920s, in came ‘brows frowning’, a ‘massive’ appearance and ‘no sign of waistiness’ in the body. These words were approved by the KC, the ratifiers of all breed standards. In 1890 the breed’s neck had to be ‘rather short’; from the 1920s it had to have a long neck – in the same breed! The need for this breed to walk with a rolling gait is, relative to the long history of this admirable little gundog breed, relatively recent. Here is a breed of sporting spaniel, developed by real gundog men,subsequently, with the connivance of the KC, altered to suit show dog people, most of whom never work their dogs. It is a sorry tale, with echoes in other breeds.

The so-called ‘Chocolate Drop’ spaniels of Richard Mace have their admirers in the field. Originating in a cross between a working Cocker and a Sussex Spaniel, they are seriously effective working spaniels, strong, biddable and determined. In the last ten years, pedigree Sussex Spaniels have only been registered in these numbers: 89, 98, 70, 82, 68, 79, 77, 74, 61 and most recently 56. What would you want? A dying breed prized for its unique rolling gait, characteristic frown and waistline-free torso? Or a proven worker benefiting from a blend of blood? Gundog breeds which lose their working role soon lose their working ability and then the patronage of the shooting fraternity. I see much to admire in the Sussex Spaniel and long for a wider employment for them in the field.

I would love it if those “Chocolate Drop” spaniels became part of the Sussex breed and reinvigorated it.

But that is not going to happen.

Having written about Sussex spaniels before, I have rarely met with more obtuse dog fanciers than those associated with Sussex spaniels.

Too many of them are part of the blood purity cult, and the breed is also caught up in the double speak of “dual purpose” breeding that I so often encounter in gun dogs.

You will often hear people who have a rare gun dog breed brag about how their breed hasn’t split in type like golden and Labrador retrievers have.

The reason why golden and Labrador retriever have split so much is that they are actually used quite a bit, and the dog shows require parts of the phenotype that are largely antithetical to efficient movement on the land or water. The excessive coat in show goldens makes them easily bogged in the water, and the lack of soundness in many show Labs makes them easily worn out while doing retrieves.

These minority breeds, though, exist within a culture that is obsessed with the Delusion of Preservation.

Part of that delusion isn’t that you must keep the breed pure at all costs.  Within rare kennel club-recognized breeds, there is also a delusion that you have to show in order to breed. The standard make the breed unique, and if you really want to preserve it, you have to test it against the standard.

The problem with standards is they are like scripture:

They are written by fallible people and by devious people, and they are then interpreted by fallible and devious people.

So these very rare breeds become trapped in the show culture.

And though people are using the dogs at tests and working events, they aren’t selecting for those traits alone.

But working springers and cockers are.

And there is absolutely no way that Sussex spaniels can survive this situation.

No redneck hunter is going to go out and buy a Sussex when he can get a springer from working lines for third to half the cos and no waiting list.

But Sussex spaniel people are still trapped in the hope that it might change.

But it can’t.

This is now a show dog that is trying to be preserved within the show system itself.   Fewer and fewer people want this dog, and fewer people know that it even exists.

And whatever the merits the breed might have, it’s just not going to make it.

And then you have its very real problems as a breed:

Not only is it the gun dog with the rolling gait, it is also the only gun dog I know of that has problems with its discs (a common dachshund malady) and a very high incidence of hip dysplasia– 41. 5 % are affected according to the OFA.

Would a serious gun dog person go out of his or her way to get a dog with those sort of structural problems?

They would take their chances trying to slim down a fat Lab!

Obesity in show Labradors is discussion worth having, but it’s not the biggest problem with dog shows.

Labradors are not trapped. They are thriving as no other breed ever has.

But the dog fancy really is destroying breeds

It’s just that it’s not destroying those breeds that have a life outside of the fancy.

With this going on with breeds like the Sussex spaniel, it makes all the attention we’re giving to obese Labradors seem a bit trivial.

Dog shows really aren’t that important to the breed population of Labrador retrievers, but they are the main constraint facing the Sussex spaniel.

And this is where the Sussex will go extinct.

I don’t know when, but it is almost certainly going to happen.

It’s trapped, and no one is saying anything.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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wire fox terriers john emms

The painting above is by John Emms. a British dog artist whose work chronicled many of the scenes and dogs of the dog fancy of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

These dogs are not Jack Russell terriers.

Well, allow me to qualify that statement:

In the nineteenth century, there was no such thing as a Jack Russell terrier.

There were fox terriers, and the Rev. John Russell (“Jack Russell”) was a sporting parson who rode to hounds in Devon.  Foxhunting in the UK is today an illegal and much maligned pastime.

But at the time, it was the most quintessentially English sport.  Americans emulated their mother country and imported both foxhounds and foxes*, and the only reason why there are foxes in Australia today is because someone wanted to bring foxhunting Down Under.

It wasn’t until the seventeenth century that foxhunting became a sport of the nobility. Before that, hounds were run on deer, but as the wool industry became more and more important to the country, there became a need to control foxes. Yes, foxes do occasionally take a lamb, but occasionally is far too often.

And deer parks became very expensive to maintain, and it was much economically sensible to turn those forests into agricultural land for growing grain or pasturing sheep. In this environment, deer became scarce, and foxes became numerous.

So if you have this tradition of riding to hounds after deer, why not train the dogs to take on a fox?

And thus began the British tradition of foxhunting began.

Now, foxhunting ends with the hounds killing the fox– at least that’s the tradition. In America, where red foxes have to compete with all sorts of native predators, the numbers have always been fairly low, but on the island of Great Britain, foxes existed in very high numbers. So American hunts usually never end with the dogs killing the fox.

The fox just goes in a den, and the chase is over.

In the traditional British hunt, the foxes goes in a hole, and when the hounds discover it, another dog is brought in to do some dirty work.

This would be the canine equivalent of the ferret– the earth dog

The earth dog’s job is to go into the den where the fox is and make it run out– the traditional term is “bolting.”

When the fox charges out, the hounds either catch it or start running it again.

This is not an efficient way to hunt at all. The best way is to call the foxes in and shoot them, but hunting in this way was meant to be a replacement for hounding deer. In Medieval England,  access to these deer forests and the right to keep hounds for hunting was always a right of the nobility. Commoners were given some access to the forests over time, and at different times, these rules were relaxed. However, during the reign of the Hanoverian kings, these laws were quite draconian.  Poaching became not only a crime, it became a sort of way of class resistance. The hunts were symbolic of being part of the upper class, and this simple fact is why the Labour Party (the mainstream socialist party in the UK) has always had issues with hunting, especially riding to hounds.

With the fox replacing the deer as the primary quarry, there became a need for the earth dog to help finish the hunt. Deer don’t go to ground. Hounds can cut them off or wear them out pretty easily, but once a fox goes into a den of some sort, the hounds have no chance of catching them.

So the terrier is needed to flush out the fox.

Now, England always had terriers. Their primary purpose was to kill vermin– rat out of the granaries, bolt out badgers, rabbits, foxes, and otters to the gun or into nets or lurchers’  jaws.

They were dogs of the small farmer.  Probably the best way to think of these dogs is the general Jack Russell type terriers that aren’t registered today, as well as the Patterdales, borders, and fells. Some of these dogs were dwarfs. Others were wire-haired. Some were smooth.  These were commoners’ dogs and were definitely associated with poachers. When deer chasing was the main noble sport, there was no way one of these little dogs would be on a hunt.

But things had changed, but the nobles began to modify these terriers.

Almost none were predominantly white. Red and red sable coloration is very common in these dogs even today, and they had to be common in the early terriers used on fox hunts.

And this presented a problem for the foxhunters:

When a fox is spotted running on the ground, the hunting cry is “tally ho,” and the chase starts again.  But if you have a terrier that resembles a fox in anyway, there is a risk that a huntsman might see the terrier, call “tally ho,”  and start a false chase.

But if the terrier is mostly white, then there is no way you’re going to mistake this dog for a fox.

Further, a white terrier is by nature that used for hunting foxes on mounted hunts then it is not the dog of a poacher.

And that’s how we got this white hunt terrier, which has since become several breeds.

The original name was “fox terrier.”

In the past hundred years, there are now two kennel club breeds called “fox terriers,” which are the wire fox terrier and the smooth.

These dogs have rather long muzzles, but that is not what they looked like at all when they were being used on mounted hunts.

They looked like the dogs in painting above. We would call them Jack Russells, but what North Americans call a Jack Russell is just this old type of fox terrier.

This is the type of fox terrier that the parson loved, and because this type of fox terrier was used on a regular basis, it retained the old type.

The fox terrier, according to the Rev. John Russell, was a four way cross of farm terrier, beagle, bulldog, and Italian greyhound.

The fact that this type of fox terrier still exists in juxtaposition to the two breeds of fox terrier that are in the kennel club is a really good example of what happens when a dog exists solely for the show ring.

These three breeds are all essentially the same breed, just bred to different standards. The long muzzles, upright shoulders, and stilted gaits of the show fox terriers are quite uncommon in long-legged Jack Russells.

In the show ring, selection pressures for performance can become released, and selection pressures for novelty, even deformity, become more evident.

Both of these breeds of show fox terrier have entirely left their roots.

And that is precisely what got rewarded at Westminster last night. Winning Best in Show last night was a wire fox terrier named GCH Afterall Painting The Sky.  This breed has won Best in Show at Westminster 14 times, so it’s not particularly a shocker.

GCH CH AfterAll Painting the Sky

This dog has the typical stilted gait of a wire fox terrier, and she looks nothing like the dogs in the Emms painting.

And if you saw the Emms painting, you’d say they were Jack Russells.

Of course, in the UK, hunt terriers are out of work. Foxhunting as it was once practiced is illegal. They can still be used to rat and control vermin.

They have essentially fallen from their noble rise back into their common roots.

The earth dog as it once existed is largely out of a job, especially in North America where we now coyote chase  with hounds and shoot groundhogs. We turned out terriers into treeing dogs, the rat terriers and the feists.

But it’s interesting to me that we celebrate this breed:

It is as English and elitist as anything we can imagine over here. It’s an elitists’ terrier used for an elitists’ sport.

And that’s our show dog of the year.

It tells us that the kennel club system as it exists right now is pretty foreign institution. Most dog people in the country really don’t take it seriously.

And that, I can say, is going to be the thing that saves dogs in this country.

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*At one time it was believed that most red foxes in the Eastern US were English red foxes, but a recent genetic study revealed that they are actually native red foxes that wandered down here from Canada.

 

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alapaha blue blood

One of the most troubling delusions of parts of the dog fancy is one that is actually pretty hard to describe to someone not deeply indoctrinated into that particular value system.

I call this delusion “the delusion of preservation.”  It is a belief that if one just keeps the lineages of certain dogs pure, then one is preserving the breed as it was meant to be.

The notion that one is preserving a particular strain through selective breed is not itself a delusion. After all, all dog breeders are in some way preserving a particular type of dog through their breeding choices.

However, it’s idea that by keeping lineages forever “pure”– that is entirely descended from the foundational stock– that one is doing any favors for preserving the strain.

I’ve come across this delusion many times. It’s most common in relatively uncommon breeds, especially those that have relatively more common relatives that could be easily used as outcrosses for the purpose of genetic rescue.

Probably the most blatant example of this delusion that I’ve come across come from this website of a registry for Alapaha blueblood bulldogs. It appears as part of their FAQ:

17. With such a limited gene pool what are the health concerns for the breed?

Answer: The health concerns are like any other large breed; go with a breeder that screen for things such as hip dysplasia (OFA or PennHip), death ness (BEAR), blindness, skin disorders, entropion and such. Also get a WRITTEN guarantee/warrantee, their word is just that, their word against yours!

And last but not least, some ‘idiots’ feel that they have to go outside the breed to get different blood to sustain them but I’ve never heard of a reputable German Shepherd breeder breeding to a Collie or a Rottweiler breeder breeding to a Doberman because he/she thought they looked similar or the gene pool was too thin.

Yes, and we know that GSD’s, collies, and Dobermanns are perfect examples to emulate! Every one of those breeds has many severe genetic problems that have been almost impossible to control within their respective breeds.  Collies have collie eye anomaly, which is ubiquitous in the breed. Dobermanns, GSD’s, and Rottweilers have very high rates of cancer, and Dobermanns are known for their very high incidence of dilated cardiomyopathy.

And I’m not even talking about the severe structural problems that exist in GSD’s. Those are not the result of inbreeding, but the result of so-called reputable breeders being ignoramuses about how a dog ought to move.

In fact, these so-called reputable breeders have done such a marvelous job wrecking these pretty common breeds that one wonders why a rare breed club would follow their lead.

The answer is pretty simple:

This club wants to the world to know that this breed is legitimate.

Legitimacy for a dog breed winds up  meaning a closed registry breed.

However, this is not actually legitimacy. It is madness.

This club goes out of its way to attack a real breed preservationist organization– the Animal Research Foundation– which actually is engaged in preserving working breeds, including the Alapaha blueblood.

The truth of the matter is that although we call the AKC the American Kennel Club, it is really a foreign institution. Its entire way of functioning came from Great Britain, and before it became established here, almost no one paid any attention to closed registries.

We had good working dogs. In my part of the world the main working and hunting farm dog was the “shepherd,” a sort of generalist collie. If a farmer moved his way up to the level of a kulak, he might also keep a few scent hounds to run foxes on a Saturday night ormaybe a setter to point bobwhites. To keep the rats out of the granaries and to tree squirrels, you would have a generalist terrier, usually called a feist.  All of these animals were often crossed with each other. I have known “collies” with foxhound ancestors, and beagles with bluetick coonhound crossed in.

In Kentucky and Virginia, curs were more common than shepherds, and the ancestral cur is actually the proto-smooth collie. In Georgia and the Gulf Coast states, these curs were often mixed with other things– perhaps even the merle herding dogs from France or a bit of the old southern wolf subspecies. In those states, the cur was a bigger dog that usually was yellow with or without a black mask or some merle variant. Today, these dogs have been split into breeds which are impossible for me to keep up with.

This merle cur dog was often bred to another generalist working dog that was common in this part of the South. This is the farm bulldog, a creature that likely derives from the ancestral stock that gave us both English mastiffs and bulldogs. This dog was used to guard the estate and manage often very wild livestock in much the same way the curs were used.

And even now, it’s a very common practice to breed merle curs to bulldogs for hunting purposes.

And that is the most likely origin of the Alapaha blueblood. It’s a bulldog/merle cur cross.

Of course, saying this is an absolute heresy because many dog fanciers who own this sort of dog are under the delusion that these dogs derive from Spanish war mastiffs, which is nothing more than a flight of fancy. Spanish colonization in this part of the world was intensive, but it was never as extensive as that of England and later the British Empire. There might be a tiny bit of Spanish blood in these dogs, but the Spanish were not coming over in vast waves to settle the South. People from the British Isles clearly were, though, and they came decades after the Spanish were forced back down into Florida.

Also, I hate to burst anyone’s bubble, but this kind of dog cannot live on its own in the wild in a subtropical climate. There have never been any wild bulldogs or mastiffs that have evolved anywhere in the world, much less a subtropical climate where the dog simply couldn’t keep itself cool or free of parasites. So the chances of Spanish bulldogs surviving on their own in the wild in the decades between when the Spanish were driven out and the vast waves of Anglo settlement began in the South are very, very low. It’s a romantic delusion if there ever was one.

So this kind of dog wasn’t living in the South for hundreds of years as a closed registry breed.

It was just a regional variant of the bulldog/cur– one that had a lot more bulldog than cur blood.

And the ARF is allowing outcrosses to other farm bulldogs into their recognized strains of Alapaha blueblood, which is, of course, why they are being so viciously attacked in the FAQ.

The ARF is actually engaging in true preservation breeding. It is keeping the genetic diversity of the strain alive. It knows you cannot preserve any biological entity, be it a rare domestic dog breed or an endangered species, if you simply ignore the genetic diversity of the breeding population.

This is why the dog fancy continues to fail dogs.

And the desire to emulate this failure in rare or working breeds is perhaps the most baffling aspect I’ve seen.

This delusion of preservation is something that must be openly challenged. Otherwise, nothing will be preserved at all.

Genes will be lost.

And dogs will continue to suffer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A tricolored retrieving setter, perhaps very similar to the type Benjamin Franklin imported.

A tricolored retrieving setter, perhaps very similar to the type Benjamin Franklin imported.

On Facebook, a friend of mine posted this bizarre rant from a purebred dog breeder:

“I DON”T call freedom a choice to do whatever!!!!!!… Don’t get confused….. Ben Franklin worked for freedom— but he worked at having a purebred Gordon setter brought from England and bred them.. to preserve something special. the Freedom was to have a choice to own a dog so let’s get this Freedom of Choice thing straight… where did you all go to school???? what happened to parents teaching their children the real meaning of this slogan??? .. not to breed mutts/designer dogs on a whim and to see how much money you might get …Dogs were bred for a purpose for a certain breed to have that characteristic…. Ben and all the rest of us spent millions of dollars to insure something true and honest…. how dare you or anyone else decide to take our Freedom of choice away from US..it is not ok to breed this way.. it shows lack of purpose, lack of loyalty.. lake of knowledge and lack of you wanting to spend money to support a breed to insure it’s Freedom to exist…. you might as well say we have the freedom to poop on the street…or anything else we choose to have the freedom we feel like doing…..”

Well, freedom to choose means the freedom to do whatever. I don’t know how you can twist the meaning of the words to mean to change the meaning to fit whatever totalitarian delusions that one might have. It’s like the people who tell you they are for freedom, but at the same time, they tell you that this country is based upon Christian values.

Those two things do not compute!

As I’ve noted before, the dogs are one of the many ersatz religions that no exists in this post-Christian culture in which we now live. I am fine with the decline of organized religion, but what has replaced it is not a culture of reason.

What has replaced it is many irrational, tribal cults which allow people with totalitarian impulses to act out their pathologies on others. It’s one reason I’m not a joiner. I love dogs, but I’m very dismayed and continually disappointed by dog people.

So in that crazy rant we have several claims. We have the hilariously irony-deficient claim to be a champion of freedom while telling others what to do, and we have a claim from history that could at best be called a delusion. And at its very worst, we would have to call it an utter misrepresentation of the history.

The claim is that founding father Benjamin Franklin imported a Gordon setter from England, and the implication is that he imported a closed registry setter that comes in only black and tan.

Of course, that type of dog didn’t exist when Ben Franklin was alive!

The Gordon setter, which should be called the Scottish setter, is actually derived from the old crouching setter of Britain, a dog that was the quintessential British fowling dog that  would crouch before game birds hidden the brush or corn. A hawk would be flown over the birds to keep them from flying and a net would be thrown over the crouching dog and the hunkered birds.

This type of dog became very popular in British Isles during the early modern period, and it was also sent to the colonies in North America in droves. In America, we developed this setter dog into a sort of HPR, which we would use to point grouse, retrieve ducks from cold water, and track wounded deer.

In Britain, there were many, many different strains of setter, of which only a handful remain. The Dukes of Gordon did breed a type of setter in Scotland, but it is laughable to assume that this was a closed registry breed.  All records of the setters of Gordon kennels I’ve read from that time period talk about the dogs being tricolored, black, white, and tanned like a Dobermann.

And it was well-known that the in the eighteenth century, the 4th Duke of Gordon was always breeding his stock to those of other nobles.

In his excellent Gundogs: Their Past, Their Performance and Their Prospects (2013), Col. David Hancock mentions that this fourth Duke of Gordon coveted the blood of Thomas Coke’s setters, and it was Coke’s setters that were the foundational stock for his particular strain. I have seen no evidence that Coke’s setters were anything other than the more typical predominantly white setters that were always common in England. (Coke’s estate was in Norfolk, nowhere near Scotland).

It is also well-known that Gordon setters have a bit of collie blood, which is always mentioned in all the historical texts of the breed, but no one seems to acknowledge what this means. It means that the Gordon setter as a working gun dog didn’t become a gun dog through being a closed registry breed.

It became a great gun dog through the continuous desire to innovate. This desire to experiment and innovate is what made British Empire the world’s leader in agricultural improvement.

As soon as closed registries were established, this ability to innovate and experiment was taken away.

And we all know that Benjamin Franklin was among the leading intellectuals of the world at the time. He was clearly a man of science and reason, and if he could read and understand the modern concepts of population genetics, he would be among the foremost opponents of this closed registry system.

He imported a British setter because they were great gun dogs. They became great gun dogs because the British were willing to innovate and experiment with bloodlines.

It is that freedom that should be celebrated and encouraged in the world of dogs, but unfortunately, it goes against all the totalitarian impulses that exist in the dog world that has since developed.

For the sake of the dogs, dog breeders should be reading up on the science and understanding the real history of their dogs.

They shouldn’t be wasting their time with pointless myths that are ultimately harmful to the animals they claim to love.

But that means that some grand poobah of yore was wrong somewhere and that modern breed mandarins might have to be humble and accept that they cannot control everything that goes on with their breed.

The first idea that must be trashed is that closed registries and blood purity for blood purity’s sake are ultimately good values. Unfortunately, that is the basic religious tenet of the modern dog fancy, and  it is almost impossible to have a rational discussion with people who adhere to such poppycock.

It is this religious belief that is causing so much misery in the world of dogs– higher incidence of inherited diseases and winnowed away gene pools are not good things.

And it is also stymieing innovation.

We could be producing better working dogs for a variety of tasks if only it were acceptable to cross strains. Imagine West Siberian laikas that natural retrieve because of a golden retriever that was crossed in a few generations before. Imagine a cocker spaniel-sized Labrador that easily fits in a canoe that got its small size from a simple outcross to a small working spaniel.

It is this kind of freedom in the world of dogs that we should all be fighting for.

But unfortunately, too many “freedom lovers” in the world of dogs really don’t want it.

It crosses their fundamentalist beliefs, and they will having nothing of it.

But like all bullies, they ought to be put in their place. Totalitarians have no use fighting for freedom.

Freedom means freedom to do as one would like, and don’t be fooled by the demagogues who apparently can’t understand that simple fact.

 

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Ti Ti, a pekingese painted by Maud Earl in 1913.

Ti Ti, a pekingese painted by Maud Earl in 1913. 

And here are photos of the winner of the Westminster Kennel Club dog show in 2012, Ch. Palacegarden Malachy:

palacegarden malachy

palacegarden malachy profile

The great “breed improvement” contests that have gone on for the past century have certainly done their magic.

What was once a pretty hardy little dog is now a little lion trying to be a marmoset.

It’s now so short-legged that it waddles around when it walks, and we’ve now seen the creation of the ultimate heat-retaining little dog that has both the extremely distorted respiratory/cooling system of the flat-faced dog and a thick undercoat of something we’d expect to see from the arctic.

I don’t know how sane people allowed this to happen, but my word, it is has.

 

 

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