Posts Tagged ‘bulldog’


For years, this blog and many others gained lots of views by constantly harping on brachycephalic breeds, especially bulldogs and pugs.  Those were in the days when I was a bit more edgelord in technique, and those were the days when I was significantly more sanctimonious and humorless as person, too.

Sometimes, the ol’ ‘possum spends all his time climbing the persimmon tree, only to discovery the tree is a hickory.  And then he has to climb down and figure out where the persimmon tree actually is.

This is where I am as a person, as a blogger/writer, and as a dog enthusiast. The persimmon tree is somewhere else, and that means taking stock of where I once was and how I can do better.

The issues with brachycephalic breeds are that they never fully oxygenate themselves, and they often have a hard time cooling themselves. I know of certain blogs that spend post after post looking a bulldog and pug nostrils with lots of shaming involved.

The problem is that pet people most don’t care what sanctimonious internet personalities think, and the dog show people, especially those at the top of the game, don’t care either.  The show dog people are going to spend money on health testing and c-sections on their bulldogs, and they will sell them at a high price to homes with resources to care for them.

As pets, they can live full and wonderful lives. They don’t have to have the endurance of a Dalmatian or  German short-haired pointer.

Further, all this shaming didn’t work at all. The popularity of these dogs continues to be quite high. And this shaming has given fuel to the anti-breeder sentiment in the country, which revels in creating division among dog people. This division is why we are getting so many weird laws passed in state houses, ones that ultimately harm responsible dog breeders and do nothing to improve animal welfare.

So I’ve come to the conclusion that what I’ve written about bulldogs and the like in previous years, though well-meaning,  has ultimately been harmful to the things I love the most.

Even if the welfare issues associated with brachycephalic dogs were the greatest issue facing dogs today, shaming people won’t solve the problem.  People will dig in and tell you how awful you are, and whatever wisdom you might have will be simply ignored.

And when we look at the actual welfare issues facing these breeds are they really suffering all that much?  If they live in homes where they are pampered and well-cared for, they are doing pretty well, better than perhaps a billion people living on this planet.

I support educating and disclosing what potential risks of owning a bulldog or pug might entail. I guarantee you that the ethical breeders producing these dogs are disclosing these risks to puppy buyers.

And that should be all that is required of breeder of any breed or strain.

If bulldogs, French bulldogs, and pugs really do have this level of welfare concern, then it will become obvious. In ten years, the craze will have swept through the pet market, and people will be buying something other fad breed.

But I suspect that these health and welfare problems are much easier to mitigate than we have been led to believe, and if they are, why did I waste so much time with this nonsense?

It didn’t even work. And I was a total jerk.

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I have been writing about the issues around purebred dogs for quite some time now, and one of the breeds that constantly comes us is the English bulldog. I know that this is not the “official name” of this breed, but in common parlance, it is the word used to describe this breed that was largely developed in its current form by English dog dealers. Because dog shows were created by the British, this breed gets called the “bulldog” by default, but in the common parlance, when I say “English bulldog,” people know exactly what I mean.

The bulldog wasn’t always what it is today:

At one time, bulls were baited for sport. Active bulldogs and mastiffs were turned loose on bulls in a way that resembled a sort of Medieval hunt scene against the aurochs. The bulldog’s ancestors were used to hunt the aurochs,  and then they were used to control domestic cattle. In those days, cattle had very tough beef from a life wandering the forests and common pastures, and it was believed that if the dogs baited the cattle, it would tenderize the meat. When they let the dogs fight the bulls, it became a spectator sport, and it was not long before there were bull and bear-baiting contests all over England. The dogs became greatly valued as sporting dogs, and their function was greatly esteemed throughout the British Isles. Queen Elizabeth I was a noted lover of baiting both bears and dogs, and her court bred dogs for that purpose.

However, baiting animals began to fall from favor over the next few centuries.

In 1835, parliament passed the Cruelty to Animals Act, and bull and bear baiting were both banned. The bulldogs were without a job, and it wasn’t long before dog dealers got their hands on the animals.  The infamous Bill George of Kensal New Town in London bred several lines of toned down bulldog for British consumers.  He bred little ones and big ones. He may have crossed the dogs with pugs, but it was pretty clear that pug got into the bulldog at some point.

But without a task for which one could breed a bulldog, British dog dealers and, later, British dog fanciers began to produce bulldogs that were totally unfit for anything. By the 1890s, the top-winning bulldogs were known for lacking soundness. One of them infamously got worn out on a walking race against a more athletic but less fashionable competitor. By 1900, bulldogs were known to be difficult to breed and rear, and for most of their history in the twentieth century, bulldogs were relatively rare.

The dogs became known for having so many genetic and conformation problems that essentially the only disorder they can’t suffer from is a matted coat. They have issues cooling and fully oxygenating themselves. They are known to suffer severe infections from inverted tails. The difficulty in breeding such animals almost sounds as if mother nature doesn’t want them be reproducing. Because the dogs are heavy in the front, they often have issues mounting the bitches. Mating cradles are often needed to hold the dog over the bitch, and many breeders simply do AI to produce their pups. And once conception happens, things get complicated when it comes to whelping. Virtually all bulldogs born in the US are delivered through Cesarean.  The pups have such big heads, and there mothers have such narrow pelvises that the pup very often cannot be born naturally.

The average lifespan of a bulldog is just a little over six years, so if you get one of these dogs, your chances of it dying before it hits middle age for most dogs is actually quite high. Many people have purchased bulldogs as companions for their children, but this breed has the potential to cause a lot of heartache for a young child when the animal suddenly dies.

Everything about this dog says that you don’t want it unless you have lots of money and rather weird tastes. The dog’s conformation isn’t just a hindrance to good health. It also a caricature. The dogs have been bred into a kind of canine John Bull figure, and unless someone would rather have the caricature than an actual dog, there really wasn’t a market for them.

But time, as they say, marches on.

In the first decade of this century, I began to see bulldogs on reality television shows. I thought it was a bit strange, but considering that the most prominent bulldog owner was Ozzy Osbourne, I thought that most people would just associate the extreme nature of the breed with the extreme nature of Ozzy.  People would want a bulldog in the same way they would want to bite off a bat’s head.

And I was wrong.

I started seeing bulldogs everywhere.

And that trend has only continued into the present day.

Last week, the AKC released its rankings of its top registered breeds of 2014. Labradors were the top breed in registrations, followed by German shepherds and golden retrievers. Labradors have been the top breed for over two decades, and the other two have had a long run of popularity as well. Those three were also the top three registered by the Canadian Kennel Club in 2014.

But what came in fourth in the AKC rankings was a bit of a shocker.  Bulldogs were the fourth most-registered breed by the AKC in 2014, and this is something that does require some attention.

And this bulldog attention has coattails. French bulldogs, the bat-eared little cousins of the English breed, have moved into tenth place. French bulldogs were once in the AKC top ten list. In the 1910s, Boston terriers were the AKC’s top breed, and their French cousin enjoyed high popularity just because the two breeds were related. A Boston terrier, in case you didn’t know, is actually a small bulldog that was created when fighting bull terriers from Boston were crossed with toy and French bulldogs from Europe.

French bulldogs have many of the same problems as the English breed, but this really doesn’t matter.  This is the decade of the bulldog!

With North America in the throes of bulldog mania, it might be useful to figure out why people are buying bulldogs.

As far as I can tell, there are a few reasons. One of these is that most Americans live in urban centers and have no real connection with other animals. There is no concept of what is “normal” for a dog or any other creature. If a person sees a cute dog on television, then they are instantly going to feel some connection to it. Extreme brachycephalic dogs are quite attractive to people. We forget that as primates we are predisposed to being attracted to things that look like primates. It is easier for us to have comradery with a dog that has a monkey face than it is with a long-muzzled one.

Another reason is that modern Americans work longer hours than every before.  The economic recovery after the recession has led to people spending more and more time at the office, and that means people have far less time to exercise dogs.

People are looking for dogs that don’t require much exercise, and if a dog breed has certain deformities that prevent it from running hard and long all day, then it is going to be the perfect dog for the modern world.

This is the real shame of the modern world.

We now live in a society where it is now much more difficult to own more active and more soundly constructed dogs, so we are turning to dogs that were largely cast aside because of their unsoundness.

It will take a long time for bulldogs to replace Labradors as the top breed. Indeed, I don’t see it happening any time soon. However, it is possible that they could make it into the top 3 breeds very soon. The AKC doesn’t release numbers of the dogs it registers. One reason it doesn’t is that most American dogs are not AKC-registered and that number has dropped over the past two decades. We really don’t know the relative popularity of particular dog breeds in the population at large, but the AKC registrations do suggest that bulldogs are rising in popularity.

The number of people who are willing to spend so much money for a dog must be much higher than I would have assumed. Bulldogs are not cheap.

And their vet bills aren’t cheap either.

But the allure of having a dog that looks like cartoon character, loves kids, and doesn’t have much of a need for exercise must be stronger than any of the money sense that goes into considering bringing a dog into a home.

Of course, my guess is there isn’t that much consideration going on at all.

The urban jungle and popular culture are working against good sense in choosing a dog, and if the future of dogs in this country is the bulldog, then we’ve totally lost whatever it means to appreciate Canis lupus familiaris. Just as the Chinese bred the peke with bent legs so it wouldn’t run off, the bulldog’s utter lack of physical soundness is now an asset in the modern world.

That’s just not a good future for dogs.

If the only way they can live with us is to be like bulldogs, then this is indeed a very dark development.

We have become so alienated from nature that we have forgotten what dogs are, and if we have lost sight of what dogs are about, then there isn’t much hope for the rest of the creatures on this planet.

We’re losing the plot.

We’re losing them, just as we’re losing ourselves.

And we may never regain any of it.

This is the real story behind the bulldog’s rise, and no cute little press releases about the AKC’s top are going to change anything about this dire situation.

Only connecting the modern world with real dogs in a truly meaningful way will ever stem the dismal tide, and such a task may be all but impossible.

If we lose real dogs, then we truly will be alone on this planet. Even though we evolved from earlier earthlings, we will become aliens here.

Our only companions will be these deformed dogs, who might as well be aliens to the rest of their kind as well.

Information-filled but largely ignorant humanity will reign will reign with debased canids licking our fingers.

This should not be where dogs and people wind up, but unfortunately, it may be where the final story of our kind ends up.

And it may not be stopped.

This is the true tragedy of our kind and theirs.





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Now there’s a fine dog!

AKC champion! Must be quality!


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I just noticed that this sort of bulldog tends to possess really screwy loins. The loins actually point up toward the hips, which is so disgustingly freaky.

At a distance the dogs appear short-coupled, but when you really look at the muscles, the loins are pretty long. They just reach for the sky!


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bulldog with baby

I think there is no other way to describe the sudden popularity of the bulldog than as one of the greatest tragedies in modern dogs.

A bulldog is an unfortunate beast that is a medley of genetic disorders and physical deformities masquerading as both toughness and cuteness. Such animals can only be celebrated by a culture that has become totally alienated from what a dog actually is.

We live in a world that wants laid-back dogs, and nothing can be more laid-back than a dog that easily overheats and cannot oxygenate itself fully.

Just as the Chinese empress expressed a desire for her pekes to have bent legs to prevent them from wandering off,  we created a “tough working dog” that can be easily kept in an apartment.

If this is the future for dogs in this country, then I weep for it.

We’ve modified the ancient wolf to fit our needs, but now we’re pushing it to the limit. We no longer want the actual dog. We just want the caricature, not the real thing.

And you’d think the English bulldog would be the only dog like this, but you can also see the rise of the “exotic bully” from the general pit bull/AmStaff lineage as another attempt to create the same thing.

The professional bulldog world is full of denial. The official talking point is that the only unhealthy bulldogs are bred by puppy millers, but this is a pretty hard dog to puppy mill on a large scale. It is very hard to get bulldogs to mate naturally, and virtually every bulldog that has been born has been delivered via cesarean.

This is not to say that there are no bulldog mills; it’s just they are very uncommon.

And certainly aren’t the main cause of this breed’s problems.

The main cause of this breed’s problem is that to be a good quality bulldog, it has to be deformed in so many ways. The breed standard celebrates deformity over soundness. The only way for them to be sound is for the bulldog fancy to redefine what soundness means!

I see these people in their little groups harping on about the animal rights activists as being the source for all criticism of their breed.  The truth is the animal rights activists are always looking for things to pounce on, and most of what they find is bogus.

But every once in a while, a blind pig finds an acorn.

When bulldog fanciers blame all their problems on animal rights activists and refuse to acknowledge simple facts about their dogs, they are feeding the fires of animal rights stupidity even more.

Currently, there are dozen of breeds of “original” or “working” bulldog, most of which are attempts to create dogs that look like those in paintings from a certain time period. It’s a noble effort, but in the end, the majority of the world’s bulldogs will be in this breed.

I don’t think it’s ever going to be fixed, but its popularity is likely to be fleeting. Most people can’t afford the vet bills or the anguish that comes from losing a dog that dies before the age of 5 or 6.

And the dog will remain owned only by the true believers, who sound less and less rational as time moves on.

So the bulldog will go on and on, a creature with no purpose other than what its looks symbolize. To be sure, it is a monstrosity, but one that exists solely because we wish to keep it this way.

This is a breed that should have been removed from the multi-breed registries ages ago. It was the first breed to be utterly deformed through show ring fads. It was one of the first breeds to be shown in 1870’s in the new dog fancy system, and by the 1890’s, there were already complaints about how poorly the animal moved and how hard it was to breed.

Those complaints, like this one, will fall on deaf ears. The keepers of the bulldog know it all already.

They will continue down their well-worn path. It is a path that doesn’t lead to better dogs.

It leads to tragedy.























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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!


“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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madness and stupidity bulldog

What I am about to suggest is something rather extreme.

I wouldn’t have deliberately plagiarized Lenin in the title if I were to write something somewhat milquetoast and banal.

But right now, there is a major welfare problem in the world of dogs that I don’t think can be solved with gentle suggestions and politically correct language.

One must be blunt and clear about the problems and the solution.

Right now, I would argue the biggest welfare problem facing domestic dogs in the West can be found in a single breed of dog. I choose  to take on this breed not because other breeds are without problems. I choose it because there is no breed with as many problems occurring at once, and in the United States, it is sadly becoming even more popular, despite it being well-known that these dogs have very real issues.

And the problem is even further exacerbated when one discovers that well over 90 percent of the breed’s fanciers have their heads shoved squarely up their arses. They live in a fantasy world in which deformities are actually assets, where they live in the delusion that their dog is tougher than all the rest, when it is indeed perhaps the most fragile.

The breed I’m talking about is the bulldog.

The bulldog is the old baiting and butcher’s dog of yore. A creature much ballyhooed for its legendary courage, which eventually made it a symbol of the British Empire.  It is the canine John Bull, and one sort of gets the impression that much of the breed’s current phenotype is really nothing more than attempt to turn much more lithe old bulldog into a caricature of that patriotic figure.

This breed has a lot of health problems and not a single one of them is new. This breed was messed up within twenty years of becoming part of the “dog fancy,” and as it became more and more extreme, there was actually a robust debate about bulldog health even back then.  Perhaps most famously, there was a bulldog “walking race” in which the very “typy” dog wound up positively knackered within a mile.

These dogs have problems breathing and cooling themselves efficiently– which tells you they couldn’t possibly be used to bring down an animal the size of a bull! They problems with infections resulting from their inverted tails. The dogs are so top-heavy that they cannot mate without people holding them or the use of a breeding rack, and in the US, many are produced through AI. Almost all bulldog puppies are delivered through C-section, and the breed has the highest percentage of dysplastic hips, according to OFA hips.

And those are but a handful of the problems this breed faces.

And they’ve been going on and on for a century without any degree of improvement.

But there is now another problem that is coming to the fore:  This breed is now among the AKC’s most popular.

They have been popularized on “reality television,”  and every young idiot who watches too much TV wants one. They are so cute!

This is such a difficult dog to breed that the puppy mills have had a field day with them. They can charge much higher prices for these dogs than all the other mass-produced breeds and crosses. They will sometimes add a bit of boxer to their bulldogs to make them easier whelpers and then dock the puppies’ tails to make them look pure.

So we have a breed that is utterly screwed by its own fanciers and then is getting it double from the really ugly underbelly of the pet market.

Both of these systemic problems mean that it is going to be very hard to help this breed.

It is simply madness and stupidity all around.

This is not to say that there aren’t some good bulldog fanciers out there who are trying to moderate the breed, and there are dozens of breeding programs out there that are trying to produce an “old-fashioned” bulldog.

But these people are fighting an uphill battled against an entrenched idiocracy.

With so many things going against this breed, how can it be saved?

The thing is, I don’t think it can be– not unless there is a very strong cultural revolution against the powers that be.

We must stigmatize anyone who buys this breed as a pet.  We must not be nice about it.  If you buy a bulldog, you are participating in the deformation of a dog. You are encouraging people to breed unhealthy freaks. You are encouraging the misery of living things, and these living thing suffer every breath they take. In this way, the breeders of the extreme bulldog are worse than dog fighters. Dogs that are bred for fighting suffer. It’s certainly true. However, they don’t spend their entire lives struggling to oxygenate themselves or keep themselves cool.

If you are breeding bulldogs as they currently are, you are worse than Michael Vick.

If you measure the amount of suffering each type of cruelty, the bulldog breeder is encouraging far more than the dog fighter.

And what’s more, there is nothing illegal about what the bulldog breeder does. Indeed, what a bulldog breeder does is celebrated!

It is evil that is not seen as evil, and to steal from Hannah Arendt, it is evil that is banal.

People accept the suffering that bulldogs undergo because it is institutionalized and legitimate.

And it is this legitimacy that we must attack at its core.

The dogs deserve so much more.

The radical step is to say that this breed must stop. If it cannot be put on the road to healthier phenotype, then the breed must be stopped.

I would hate to see it go this far, but it may wind up that all bulldogs will be required by law to be spayed or neutered unless put into a breeding program designed to select for a healthier phenotype.

I wouldn’t want to see this happen, but it seems to me that there is very little that be done to stop the madness.

But at some point, this is where this breed is headed.

And in the end, all dog people of conscience have to say stop.

No more.









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This is a Catahoula bulldog (American bulldog/Catahoula leopard cross):

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russ the uga

This bulldog is a mascot for the University of Georgia’s football team.

Anyone who knows anything about bulldogs knows why this dog, which “Russ,” also known as “Uga IX,” is sitting on a bag of ice. Bulldogs cannot cool themselves properly, and Georgia is in America’s humid subtropical belt. That means it gets quite hot and humid right through much of football season.

It’s not the best place for a dog with such deformed respiratory and cooling, which, as I noted in my pug post, are actually the same system.

Russ was given a “battlefield promotion” when Uga VII died of lymphona when he was about year old. Uga VIII’s tenure followed the very short life of Uga VII, who died of heart failure before reaching a year of age.

This breed does not have a very good track record at all. It’s one of the least hardy dog breeds you can find, which is why it is so expensive to insure. The dogs have a legendary toughness that has largely been bred out of them through breeding them to what is clearly one of the most absurd breed standards in the entire dog fancy. These dogs were messed up over a hundred years ago– after only about twenty years of being bred solely for the show ring– and one particularly “typey” specimen couldn’t even win a walking race.

Is this the symbol the University of Georgia wants for its football team? A dog that can’t even walk two miles?

And it’s not like Georgia doesn’t have its own native bulldogs. There is the Alapaha, which is often merle,  and there is the so-called “white English bulldog,” which might be better called the “Old Southern white bulldog.”  Of course, they don’t look like the Ugas, but these dogs were bred to do something in places like Georgia. They were all-around farm dogs, hog-catchers, and guardians. These dogs likely barked and snarled their warnings as Sherman’s troops marched through their owners’ lands on their way to the sea.

But the tradition at the University of Georgia is to use this particular type of bulldog.  They are always owned by the man who started the tradition, a prominent Georgia lawyer named Sonny Seiler. Seiler donated the first Uga to the team in 1956, and as of 2011, he had no interest in changing the bulldog at all. He told a writer for the New York Times Magazine: “Change this dog too much, and it won’t look like a bulldog anymore…. Besides, Uga gets the best veterinary care, and we do everything to keep him safe. These dogs have a good life.”

And this is precisely the problem. The dogs may be cared for amazingly well. They may have the best vets in all of Georgia at their beck and call.

But it is questionable how good a life these dogs actually leave. Remember, that extreme brachycephaly is associated with problems breathing and cooling.  Bulldogs often never know what it’s like to be fully oxygenated. If you’ve ever struggle to breathe, it’s not a fun experience, but bulldogs go through it their entire lives.

So you may have an animal that is well cared-for, but it’s life is pretty miserable.

It can’t tell you that it’s miserable, and because dogs are stoic, it will put up with all the misery that has been inflicted upon by human stupidity.

The nineteenth century dog fancier Rawdon Lee called the bulldog a “burlesque” of a national symbol. The bulldog of the University of Georgia is also surely a burlesque.

But in the South, football is a religion– much more so than even the dog fancy, and it is very unlikely that this mascot will change.

They’ll just have to change them ever couple of years as they die from conditions that normally don’t befall normal dogs until they are least ten.

It’s kind of pathetic and sad in a way.

I readily admit that I don’t really understand football, but I don’t get is how people can get so wrapped up into symbolism that they cannot think for a minute about what their symbol actually is.

This bulldog is an import– developed solely by the British dog fancy and sold to people with more money than good sense.

America– especially the South and Georgia in particular– have a very strong tradition of bulldogs. Bulldog and bulldog-terrier types were once common in every little town and every little farm and plantation. These were hardy, sagacious animals that made life in the subtropics endurable. You can’t control half-wild range hogs with with a collie, unless you want a dead collie.

Football is supposed to be a celebration of toughness and a distinct American-ness that surely could be better exemplified with a true Georgia bulldog.

But that’s trying to make logic out of the illogical.

Modern football traditions are all that matter.

Animal welfare and common sense be damned.

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In Amman, Jordan, there is a conformation show for Damascene goats.

It is called “The Most Beautiful Goat Contest,” and although I’m having a difficult time finding the “breed standard” by which these goats are judged, the goal is to breed a snub-nosed goat with an undershot jaw.

A Google Images search of similar Damascene goats shows that many of these goats have really strange profiles.

My guess is this type of conformation is a hindrance for the goats when they forage. Goats are browsers that need to be able to put their heads in narrow places to pull leaves off branches.

And I’m sure that a large number of Western goat owners don’t approve of the practice.

However, you won’t find as much complaints when the same conformation type when it’s applied to dogs.

What breed is snub-nosed with an undershot jaw?

Well, there is the bulldog.

English Bulldog Looking Up

Damascene goats are primarily kept for dairy purposes, so they actually do have a function.

The Kennel Club bastardized bulldog has no purpose. It’s just an artifact that people can distort and twist with no regard to actual health or welfare.

These goat shows are becoming more and more popular in the Middle East, especially among wealthy Arabs.

Just as the bulldog is derived from the hardy catch and baiting dogs of Medieval England, these show goats are derived from hardy Nubian-type stock that have been the staple of goatherds throughout the region for thousands of years.

When England became industrialized and the British Empire rose, there was a class of people who could afford to breed animals with distorted and quite dysfunctional conformation.

It is that society that produced the bulldog as we know it today.

In the Middle East, great fortunes have been made in recent decades with the rise of petroleum prices.

There are lots of young Arab gentlemen who want to have objects of what Thorstein Veblen would call objects of conspicuous consumption. These are objects that have no utility other than what they symbolize about the status of the person who owns them.

Bulldogs were perhaps the first dog ever destroyed by the concept. They were already in quite poor shape within two decades of the rise of the modern dog fancy, and they have been messed up for so long that people don’t even recognize the very real problems they have.

This Middle Eastern goat fancy is fairly new, and it has not yet had time to reach the pathology of the dog fancy in the West.

But it very well might.

One feature I noticed on the prize winner at the Damascus show is that her ears were cropped:

Damacene goat cropped ears

The cropped ears add even more to the grotesque appearance.

I find these photos quite disconcerting.

Goats aren’t supposed to look this way.

But then I realize something even more disconcerting:  Bulldogs aren’t supposed to either.

But they’ve looked that way for so long and their appearance is so enshrined in our cultural understanding of what a bulldog is that we don’t see it as equally grotesque.

In fact, it is even more so, for I have not heard of any serious health problems that have resulted from breeding Damascene goats.

But bulldog health problems are legion.  They are almost impossible to reproduce without AI or “hand matings,” and virtually all of the ones born in North America have been delivered via a planned C-section.

So we can judge the “brown people” over there for their deformed goats, but the truth is we ought to be looking at the dogs we are producing over here.

We have no room to make such pronouncements.

We are even more guilty than they are.

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