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Archive for April, 2014

pug show dog

I am often amazed at what people think they are doing with dogs.

No one has demonstrated to me what is essentially an article of faith or at least a current mantra of the AKC-apologist set:

That breeding to a breed standard means that the dog is healthy.

And from what I’ve seen in the actual scientific literature, it’s actually something that is probably not true.

At least not always true:

Now, if you’re breeding a vizsla to its breed standard, you’re really not producing any exaggerations that might cause the dog to be unhealthy.

But the same logic that produces the athletic and svelte vizsla– that is healthy because it is bred to a written standard– simply cannot apply to a dog like a pug.

A vizsla is a gundog.  It was developed in Hungary as an HPR, and it actually prospered quite well during the communist years as it was the Hungarian equivalent of the German forester’s drahthaar.

Vizslas, like many continental gundog breeds, were only recently allowed to be sold to people who were not hunters. Thus, through most of the history of this breed, it was always a performance dog that was bred to a performance standard that also was as much about the dog’s behavior and aptitude as its conformation.

You cannot say that about pugs.

Or a lot of other breeds.

What use does a pug have?

Well, it’s a pet dog. A pet dog doesn’t have to bred to any sort of performance standard like a vizsla would be.

And this is precisely where things start to go off the rails.

In the case of a vizsla, a written standard has to have some basis in the real world.

In the case of the pug, it can be as convoluted as the human imagination will take it.

And that’s the big problem with saying that breeding to a breed standard makes a dog healthy.

To breed a dog with as many health problems as pugs have that call all be traced to its various exaggerations in morphology is perhaps the most stupid thing we’ve ever done to dogs.

It’s also unusually counterproductive.

The claim is that modern show dog breeders are selecting for the healthiest dogs ever, but this claim doesn’t even pass the giggle test when you start looking at dogs like pugs.

There are lots of claims that pugs have ancient Chinese origins, and although I will admit they do have some ancestry from dogs imported from China, most of their development actually happened in the West, first in the Dutch Republic and then in the UK.

And it’s in those countries that breed took on its current form.

In the early nineteenth centur, this is what an English pug looked like:

chalon pug 1802

 

It’s still a brachycephalic dog. And yes, it has cropped ears.

But it still has a relatively normal dog body.

And in 200 years of “breed improvement,” we’ve produced a dog like the modern pug, which has too many health problems to elucidate in a single blog post. Almost every single one of these problems can be traced to its phenotype, which has been the result of human ignorance mixing in with human caprice and vanity.

The story of the pug is the story of everything that is wrong with dogs in the West.

It’s a tragedy masquerading as virtue.

Breeding to the standard has done nothing good for the pug.

And these people ought to be ashamed of themselves.

But they aren’t.

They twist it all around to blaming it on puppy mills and the mass production industry.

But that’s nothing more than an obfuscation.

If the public were fully informed of the problems that come from breeding a dog with a muzzle like a pug’s, I don’t think the breed would have one tenth of the popularity it now has.

At the very least, there would be demands to change the standard or maybe bring in new blood to make a more healthily conformed dogs.

Of course, the bastards lambaste the puggles, which are not terrible idea. However, the entire puggle concept has been based upon a puppy mill economic model, so at least right now, it’s a bit doomed to failure.

But that doesn’t mean the concept is wrong. It just means that puggle  and pug cross-breeding for health would have to take more human approach.

Because that’s one thing the modern pug fancy doesn’t have going for it– they really don’t care about how much suffering they cause the dogs.

They delude themselves into thinking that if they just win ribbons, they are being ethical

Instead, they are breeding dogs that have obvious problems. These problems are obvious to anyone but a pug breeder, of course.

They’ve bought into the cult.

And there is no reasoning with them.

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Wasserhund

Warmer spring days mean Der Wasserhund returns to its haunts.

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Turkey vulture in the sky

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This is the best one of a turkey vulture I’ve been able to get. Look at the white primaries!

And the red head!

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Lovers

Phil and his woman sleeping on the bank.  When they are in the water, all they do is have sex.

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Toad porn

The first mating toads of the year!

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The AKC got shellacked in a piece on HBO RealSports last night.

Soledad O’Brien did a short, Pedigree Dogs Exposed-type segment for the series.

And the AKC proved just how inept it really is when it comes to public relations.

This is what the AKC is promoting as its response to the segment, which supposedly shows that Soledad O’Brien was unfair and deliberately cut out reasonable parts to make it look more sensationalist.

The piece was largely about bulldogs, which are the poster dogs for all that is wrong with the modern dog fancy.

So the questions are all about bulldogs.

And to say that these responses were twaddle is a bit of a stretch. It’s not even twaddle. It’s not even spin.  It’s just mantras!

Source.

“Happy, healthy dogs” and “the breed standards is a blueprint” are the worst  mantras ever.

“Happy, healthy dogs” are perhaps the three most meaningless words in the English language when they put in this particular syntax.

And breed standards are not blueprints. They are actually scripture. And like all scripture, they are up for interpretation, and the interpretation often depends upon how ignorant and/or evil the person doing the interpreting actually is.

The only thing they say that is true is that the bulldog has been bred to this standard for over a century, and this was certainly the first breed to be so severely deformed through competitive dog showing, that within 25 years of it entering the Kennel Club, the very “typey” bulldogs were having all sorts of trouble.  And one winning specimen couldn’t even finish a walking race!

It is a circular argument to say that bulldogs have been bred this way for a long time, therefore the standard is good.

The fact is this breed is a monstrosity of canine flesh, and sadly, it has been that way for over a century. i

The AKC better hire some PR people. It is obvious there is now some blood in the water, and it’s just a mater of time before there is a Hollywood documentary in the same vein as Pedigree Dogs Exposed.

If the AKC handles this poorly, as it very likely will, then we will have animal rights legislation of the absolute worst sort shoved down our throats.

This is the real threat.

The AKC doesn’t understand that its values are behind the times when it comes to both science and ethics, and if it continues on,  all dog breeders will soon be so regulated as to make dog breeding next to impossible.

I hope it doesn’t come to this. I hope that it eventually brings back innovative breeding experiments that once were common in domestic dogs– innovation that has been stymied through the closed registry system.

But that’s only the hope.

The reality is that there could be a major disaster in the offing.

I would love it if the AKC as an institution would disappear.

But not if it ends dog breeding as we know it.

 

 

 

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From last year, of course.

easter rabbit

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